Michille: Favorite Characters

Marrying WinterborneOne 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 five or six 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? Continue reading

Michille: Planning a Novel and NaNoWriMo

NaNoWith NaNoWriMo fast approaching (as in TOMORROW), I am trying to nail down my approach for this year. I’m not writing, I’m editing. I plan to work on my story scene by scene for 1 1/2 hours per day. But for those of you planning on doing the real deal, which is 1,667 words-per-day,  I’m sharing a page I found a while ago on a site I visit regularly: Creative Writing Now.

The subject of the post is “How to plan a novel.” Nancy (not sure who Nancy is exactly but there is a video of her explaining her approach) starts off with the basics: set a writing schedule, come up with an idea, a main character, a problem facing that character, etc. Then write down the scene ideas for the character and the problem. This is often how I start. Although, I tend to start more the main character’s goal, and then have difficulty with the conflict lock. Nancy goes on into a description of a plot outline. I don’t usually get this far in the early stages. I tend to just start writing and then have to do the outline later when I’m figuring out where I am and where I’m going. Continue reading

Michille: Unusual Strategy for National Novel Writing Month

NaNoAs the title of this blog post suggests, I plan to have an unusual strategy for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo or just NaNo), which commences on November 1. The typical NaNo goal is to write 50,000 words in the month of November. That’s about 1,667 words per day. I am taking a different approach this year and working on the words I got on the page last year and trying to incorporate them into the overall manuscript.

I started with a skeletal story of about 40,000 words that was my master’s thesis. Then last November wrote 50,000 more words to flesh it out. I wrote the first 40k in a coherent order and the NaNo 50k in random scenes. Right after NaNo ended, I made excellent progress on inserting scenes where they should go and re-figuring the plot to make some other stuff fit. In working so diligently through November and probably through about January/February, I made great headway.

And then Life interrupted. As I’m sure at least one or two of you have experienced that, I won’t go into details, but suffice it to say work stalled and then I got so far out of the story that I could never get myself motivated to get back into it. I’m going to use NaNo to hopefully get back in my story. Continue reading

Michille: Get Ready to NaNo

NaNoIt’s that time of year again, folks. Time to get ready to NaNo. Next month is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). For the uninitiated, NaNoWriMo is a “fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writing.” It starts on November 1 and ends at 11:59 p.m. on November 30. Participants attempt to write a 50,000-word novel in that timeframe. I’ve done it several times and was actually successful last year. After November and my 50,000 word success, I kept working on the book for a month or so, then life interrupted and I haven’t gotten back to it at all.

I plan to NaNo again this year, but I’m thinking I’m going to edit instead of write. If I force myself to edit a scene a day, I should get back into my story and back into the habit of writing. If, between now and November 1, I have a brainstorm for a new story idea, maybe I’ll write instead. Continue reading

Michille: The Grammar Police

Parse_tree_1That’s not me. I’m not the Grammar Police. I am a Grammar Police wannabe. It’s on my to-do list to find a refresher course on grammar because I believe mine is somewhat lacking, which is something I usually discover when I go to edit (I don’t worry about it when I’m writing the drafts). I’m not trying to diagram my sentences, but sometimes, I think that would help. Go back to the basics to boil the sentence down. Continue reading

Michille: Romance and Natural Disasters

Dark and StormyWith Dorian soon to become a memory and already leaving a staggeringly colossal disaster area behind in the Bahamas, I looked at disasters in romance novels. I read one recently that was set in a flood (freebie from RWA Nationals in a previous year), but I got really annoyed with the author because the hero and heroine kept standing around in floodwater while the rain was pounding down, discussing their history, wondering where his brother was and if her sister stayed at work, sharing scorching kisses and wishing for a bed. I’m not thinking that the folks going through Dorian were standing waist deep in floodwater reminiscing about a high school football game that took place 10 years ago. The memory of that book and the coverage of Dorian led my brain down the path of how an author could set a romance in a natural disaster and do justice to mother nature, the devastation and tragedy, and the romance without minimizing or horrorizing (is that a word?) the tragedy or the reader. As in, people are dying and these two idiots just want to do the horizontal tango. Continue reading