Every scene in your book should count, whether its purpose is to further the plot or build empathy for your characters. This is why I liked the article 10 Checkpoints for Your Scene. It’s a neat little checklist that will help you determine if your scenes have all the necessary elements to be, not only important to the story, but complete as well.
Writers’ Toolbox: Links of the Week #20
Happy Saturday! What? It’s Memorial weekend? OMG, what am I doing inside. I have weeding to do, plants to put in the garden, roses to train, books to read, a MS to edit…and more blogs to read 🙂 I have a pretty collection for you today and don’t forget to listen to Jeff’s music selection today. You won’t regret this listen, it’s powerful.
Suzanne Rock at Romance on a Budget shares a tip Do you have Business Cards?
Darcy Pattison at Fiction Notes had some great reminders 5 Plot Fixes for Peace Makers
Alan Chin posted this week Writing Tip #36 Story Starter Questions. Very interesting collection of 12-questions. A quick test to see if your plot is missing something.
Janice Hardy at The Other Side of the Story had a brilliant line at the beginning of her post on plots this week: “The house is story. Decorating is plot.”…
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If you are looking for a way to get noticed, or add some credits to add to your query letter, winning a writing contest is a great way to do it. Agents and publishers like to know that your manuscript has already received recognition. Not to mention, it shows that you probably have been networking and that will help them sell you and your book to prospective publishers because you’ve already made a name for yourself.
If numbers are to be trusted, it seems that everyone loves Jericho Barrons. In fact, his one measly post has received more hits than all of my other posts put together. When I saw that in my summary tables, I was startled. The post wasn’t even that good. So, I did some digging and it turns out that the reason Barrons has received more hits is because he brings the most traffic to my site.
This is no coincidence, and I’m going to milk it for what it’s worth.
It’s easy for me to understand why so many people are fascinated with Jericho Barrons, because he is my all time favorite hero. Barrons is just so unapologetically male. He is who he is, and he won’t change that. In many ways, he is the perfect alpha hero. So, I’ve decided that every Monday I will analyze a quote about/by Barrons, and use it to point out qualities all alphas should have.
Being touched by Jericho Barrons with kindness makes you feel like you are walking up to the biggest, most savage lion in the jungle, lying down, placing your head it its mouth and, rather than taking your life, it licks you and purrs.
This quote sums up the most important aspects of the alpha male.
First and foremost, your alpha male should be the baddest of the bad. He wins, hands down, and no one ever doubted he would.
Secondly, the unpredictably of his nature. As Mac said, even she is surprised at his tenderness.
Thirdly, and the most important quality, is Barrons effect on everyone else. Its not just that he is a badass, it’s that everyone knows it. It’s not that he’s unpredictable, it’s that his unpredictability is appealing. But most importantly, people are drawn to him, despite it all. It’s the fact that Mac was willing to approach the lion, put herself at his mercy just for the chance to experience his greatness.
You want to write a truly great hero? Then these are qualities you have to aim for.
1. MIA Hero – this is the number one reason I will put down a book! When I pick up a romance, I’m expecting to see two characters for a majority of the time. If the hero is missing for a legitimate reason, then the other character must at least think about the hero enough to satisfy me.
2. TSTL (Too Stupid to Live) heroine – I cannot stand these characters. These brass pantied women jump into the action without rhyme or reason. I’m not talking about a woman who gets backed into a corner and has no choice. I’m talking about the woman who chases the hero/firefighter back into the fire, for no reason other than she thinks he’s being chauvinistic. Is this really necessary? She couldn’t just discuss this with him later, over dinner? NO! She has to follow him into a burning building, to prove she’s as tough as he is.
3. All-powerful heroine – almost as bad as the TSTL heroine, is the impossible to kill heroine. I absolutely hate when authors create these larger than life characters (this usually happens in urban fantasy) and then they put them in life or death situations.
Here is how the scenario usually plays out. The heroine has survived everything from fire to dismemberment. She is super strong, super fast, and usually a capital B. Then suddenly an unlucky chance encounter brings her face to face with the one and only being in the world that can kill her.
Which leads me to….
4. Coincidence – While small coincidences are okay (I need a bar of soap and my neighbor accidentally bought an extra), those big coincidences that bring the villain to a small town in Wyoming, where he finds the heroine, who just happened to meet the hero who can help her defeat the villain. 98% percent of the time, coincidence in writing is a bad thing.
5. Cliche physical descriptions – I know that not everyone is as picky as I am when it comes to physical descriptions, but this is truly a pet peeve of mine. If I read anything in the blurb about red hair, green eyes, or scarred heroes, I give the book a pass. I know that this has no real bearing on the quality of writing, but my instinctive thought is “if this author can’t even bother to try and come up with unique physical descriptions, will they really bother making their plot original?”
6. The BIG misunderstanding – Most of my favorite authors use this, and the only reason I forgive them because everything else they do is so great. I understand that there are certain times when misunderstandings are plausible, but 70% of the time they just aren’t believable. I will give examples of both….
Acceptable: Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost ends on a BIG misunderstanding. While I still think that Cat underestimated Bones, I understood her reasoning behind making the decision she did. She really did have something to loose, which made her dumb move more believable.
Unacceptable: New Moon by Stephanie Meyer. I don’t hate the Twilight Saga like many people do. I believe that it is a very good series for the genre and age group for which it was written. However, Meyer should have worked a lot harder to make the lapse in Alice’s visions more believable.
If you’re taking on the challenge of self publishing, book cover design must be a big priority. The cover is the first thing readers see. It persuades them to read the blurb, so it has to catch their eye and make them curious. I’ve browsed through May I Design’s portfolio and I have to admit I’m impressed.
Also, for those of you who are going the traditional route, and don’t need a cover artist, May I Design and also does website design.
We need to thank Brenda Hiatt for this fabulous resource! Show Me the Money! is survey Hiatt manages to keep readers informed of the average payout with certain romance and young adult publishers. The list includes most of the prominent publishers out there. It’s a good resource for authors looking around for place to submit their manuscripts.
Also, for those of you who are published and don’t mind confidentially sharing your figures, please contact Haitt so that she can keep her survey updated and as close to accurate as possible.
I’ve been gone a long time!!! But I’ve really missed you guys. I should have a lot more free time coming around now, so I’ve decided to get back into blogging and writing. I really have no idea where I’m going to start, so I guess I’ll just start with…