Kat: How To Write A Romance Novel

YoungWomanWritingAtDeskOh, if only I’d found this four-part, six+ minute primer on writing a romance novel before I spent oodles of $$ and a year+ studying writing at McD ;-). Actually, too many people think this is all there is to it (how wrong they are), but I prefer to take it tongue-in-cheek. Either way, I found it hilarious.

Happy 4th everyone!

Michille: Favorite Characters

Dream A Little Dream by Susan Ellizabeth PhillipsOne of the reasons that I like reading and writing romance is the character-driven nature of the stories. I like character arc. One of the reasons that I don’t usual watch TV series is the lack of character arc in most of them. If the focus of the show is on, say, solving crimes, like Law and Order or Criminal Minds, I don’t get annoyed with lack of character growth. I do get annoyed when it takes 5 or 6 seasons for two people who clearly have spark to get together. I understand why it takes that long, I just don’t like it so I don’t watch it.

I have favorite characters and there are usually the books that I go back and re-read, particularly when I’m struggling with my own character’s arc. What was the character like in the beginning? How was he/she changed at the end? How did the author show the change? Here are some of my favorites: Continue reading

Elizabeth: Conference Tips for Introverts

intj-headAs you undoubtedly know if you are a frequent reader of this blog (or from Justine’s post Tuesday), many of the Eight Ladies will be attending the RWA National conference in New York this summer.  We have been looking forward to the event, not only to see each other again, but to learn new things, meet new people, and enhance our craft.

The other day it occurred to me that, although I had registered for the conference, booked the hotel, and made pre-conference sight-seeing plans months ago, I never actually bought the plane tickets.

My first thought after that realization was, “Yay, now I don’t have to go.”

Wait, what? Continue reading

Justine: How Body Language Can Project Confidence

This post is a re-boot from one I posted last year just before RWA Nationals, but it’s worth posting again. Nationals is in NYC this year and is a little less than a month away. No doubt many of us are working hard on our manuscripts (or bemoaning the lack of progress we’ve made on them lately), or we’re excited to see friends. Perhaps you’re looking forward to catching some of the great workshops being offered this year. Or perhaps you’re like me…stressing about the agent/editor appointment you managed to get. You’re wondering Continue reading

Nancy: Mind Mapping Your Way Out of Trouble

The Daniel in my head has issues. The Daniel on the page - not so much. I built this mind map to bridge the gap.

The Daniel in my head has issues. The Daniel on the page – not so much. I built this mind map to bridge the gap.

A few weeks ago, I sent my critique partner the first several chapters of my manuscript that’s under revision (not to be confused with the one in first draft stage or the other one in discovery phase). I knew those pages had problems but I’d been staring at them too long. I didn’t know where to start. When I got my my CP’s notes, she had lots of great insights, the most important being that my hero, Daniel just wasn’t clicking.

She had a few suggestions for improvement, and I immediately came up with some more. But I wanted a quick picture of what I know about Daniel and his character arc, and what steps he needs to take in his journey. Around this time, I’d been reading a lot about mind mapping for my ‘day job’, and in a flash of inspiration, decided to apply it to my ‘Daniel problem’, resulting in the lovely picture you see to the left.

What the Heck Is Mind Mapping?

Mind mapping is a way to get information out of your brain and onto paper (or screen) in a graphical way. The term graphical is up for grabs. It’s what works for you. That might be pictures, text bubbles (which obviously work for me), or some combination of words and pictures. The important thing is to avoid creating a linear structure. No sentences, paragraphs, or lists. You can get a more in-depth definition of the concept  here.

How Do I Create a Mind Map? Continue reading

Jilly: Writer, Interrupted

Writer, InterruptedHow much control do you have over your writing, or reading, or work time? Is there anything you can do to make a better environment for yourself?

We live in a world of constant interruption. These days I work from home, and my environment should be more controllable than it was when I worked in an office, but in truth the flow of people popping their head into my office has been replaced by the ping and pop-up notification of emails, texts and messages, phone calls on my mobile and land-line, doorstep callers, and over the last four months, a team of builders re-decorating the house. Continue reading

Michaeline: Description, Part One

line-drawing of a horse in the Japanese style

A horse is a horse, of course. But how much detail do we really need to be able to see a horse? (Via Wikimedia Commons)

I am wrestling with description this week, and will probably be doing so for much of next month (and perhaps for the rest of my writing life).

Description boils down to the very simple fact that you have to get images out of your head, and transfer them into your readers’ heads. Some writers are quite particular about drawing word pictures, and they want the reader to see almost exactly what they see (a bit quixotic, if you ask me).

Others, on the other hand, concentrate on getting the images out of their own heads, purging them, if you will, by writing them. They may not care if the writer’s image and the reader’s image match exactly. They should care, however, about whether or not  Continue reading