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Jessica
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Questions for Guest Rachelle Chase

Do you have a question for Rachelle about writing love scenes, or about publishing romance in general? Reply to this message to start the conversation!
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dixielandgrl
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Re: Questions for Guest Rachelle Chase

I have one. I have one. When is it a good idea to just chuck a story? I recently looked at my current book and said, "Nope. Not good. Too many mistakes in plot and character. Bye." At what point is this just quitting? I feel it's the right choice, but it's my first official chucking, so I wanted to confirm that this is normal, and I am not just a big quitty quitter. When is it okay to divorce your book?
"If all would lead their lives in love like me,
Then bloody swords and armor should not be:" Thomas Campion
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dixielandgrl
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Re: Questions for Guest Rachelle Chase

Please ignore the run on sentence. It's very late in my defense. That always makes me talk like a Dawson's creek character without the drama.
"If all would lead their lives in love like me,
Then bloody swords and armor should not be:" Thomas Campion
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lavenderlass
Posts: 270
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Re: Questions for Guest Rachelle Chase

I loved your last post Dixie! I think it's great to play with words! One of our best comedians Ronnie Barker, did exactly that and he wrote such brilliantly clever scenes that involved messing about with words! tehy're classics and never date.

I jsut wondered Rachelle how you decide what level of physical love you're going to have in a book. Are you guided by your publishers requirements? Or do you wait and see what they do? Or do you plot it all from page 1? And what would you do if your characters refused to oblige.

Lynne.
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LeighMichaels
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Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Questions for Guest Rachelle Chase

Welcome, Rachelle! I'm so glad to have you here.

Please tell us what got you started writing -- I think everyone will enjoy hearing why you took that first writing class.

How did you decide to write erotic romance? And what else would you like to write?

And what would readers be surprised to know about you?

Best,
Leigh
Author
RachelleChase
Posts: 22
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Questions for Guest Rachelle Chase



dixielandgrl wrote:
I have one. I have one. When is it a good idea to just chuck a story? I recently looked at my current book and said, "Nope. Not good. Too many mistakes in plot and character. Bye." At what point is this just quitting? I feel it's the right choice, but it's my first official chucking, so I wanted to confirm that this is normal, and I am not just a big quitty quitter. When is it okay to divorce your book?




Great question, Dixielandgrl. With regards to "chucking" a story, I am an idealist. I believe that every story can be fixed. So when I get the urge to stop working on a story because it has too many problems, it's usually because I don't know how to fix the problems, or I'm tired of fixing them, and the lure of starting a new, exciting, story is really strong. Occasionally, I've realized when I started a new project, or was experimenting with a new idea, that the story wasn't working because I really wasn't interested in the story. So this, for me, was a valid reason to stop.

So all this rambling is to say, I think you need to look at the reasons you want to chuck the story. Are you "running away" from the story because it is too hard to fix or you don't know how to fix it? Or are you just bored with writing the story? How far into the story are you - a couple of chapters or half a manuscript? You state that this is your first official chucking, so it sounds like you aren't "running away." In this instance, maybe it's just a good idea to put it aside for awhile, come back to it with fresh eyes - or run it by a critique partner - when you can view it more objectively.

Somewhere in all that, did I answer your question? :-)

Best,
Rachelle
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dixielandgrl
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Re: Questions for Guest Rachelle Chase

You did. There could be elements of running and just not interested. I have plots that are all part of the same story coming together, not really to try and market a series or anything that far thinking.

Honestly, I think that I think the whole story needs a rewrite. I'm on chapter 11. (trying not to think about it). Also, I am attracted to another man and woman. My thought was I'll go here write Gwen and Michael first, then come back and repair my relationship with Abby and Clay. I feel like it's healthy. I know there's a chance I may never come back to it, but, on the other hand, I may come back with a fresh sense of them and how I want it all to fit.

I'm not rationalizing. I hope.
"If all would lead their lives in love like me,
Then bloody swords and armor should not be:" Thomas Campion
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RachelleChase
Posts: 22
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Re: Questions for Guest Rachelle Chase



lavenderlass wrote:
I jsut wondered Rachelle how you decide what level of physical love you're going to have in a book. Are you guided by your publishers requirements? Or do you wait and see what they do? Or do you plot it all from page 1? And what would you do if your characters refused to oblige.

Lynne.




Hmmmm ... Usually, I'll get an idea for a book and I'll write a chapter or two without plotting. This allows me the freedom to experiment, to see if I even like the characters/story. Then, I go back and plot the whole story. The actual sexual intercourse scenes are added where they make sense - meaning, my sex scenes are not just about sex. They serve to advance the plot or the internal conflict or the external conflict or a combination of all of the above. I never throw in a sex scene just because I notice I'm on page 200 and my characters haven't had sex.

Regarding other levels of physical love - like sexual attraction, sexual innuendo, sexual thoughts, kissing, foreplay, etc. My goal is always to weave sexual tension consistently throughout every scene and chapter. Once again, what I decide to use depends on what's happening in the chapter. It has to work for the characters and what's going on in the scene.

In terms of what I do when my characters don't oblige ... well, I let them have their way. :-) For example, the end of SEX LOUNGE was supposed to end with my hero and heroine have sex on a piece of furniture that was prominent throughout the book. But, when I got to the end, there was no more conflict to resolve, there was no more plot to advance, there was no REASON for them to have sex, so I left it out.

Lastly, regarding my publisher's requirements. Since I write erotic romance, the only requirement that I know I have to abide by is that my hero and heroine have to have sex - as in, sexual intercourse. But the type and quantity is up to me. One day, I'd like to write highly erotic romance where my hero and heroine do not have sexual intercourse, just to prove that it can be done. :-)
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RachelleChase
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Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Questions for Guest Rachelle Chase

Thank you, Leigh. And thank you so much for inviting me. It is truly an honor!!

In answer to your question about what got me started writing ... well, I've loved reading all my life and am good at writing college papers and business documents, but I'd never thought I could write fiction. So one year, I found a Gotham course catalog and signed up for their online romance writing class, taught by the one and only, Leigh Michaels, at WritingClasses.com. Based on the feedback I got from Leigh in that class, I knew I still had a lot to learn, but Leigh helped me see glimpses of writing ability, too. I got excited about the prospect, took more classes from Leigh, started entering contests, etc.

I ended up writing erotic romance by accident. I was entering contests for all subgenres of romance I had an interest in writing. When I finaled in a contest and the editor requested the full, I had to go write the book. :-) In 2003, I entered a 750 word erotic romance scene titled “Out of Control” in bestselling author, Lori Foster’s, online writing contest. This resulted in an editor asking to see the completed manuscript, which I rushed and wrote. The rejection letter had me crying, vowing to never write again. After a month, I was determined to sell that story. I entered it in a few contests, where I won and got some helpful feedback, then submitted it to Red Sage, who bought it for SECRETS VOLUME 13 in 2004.

Something that not many people know about me? ... Hmmmm ... Well, my parents let me read whatever I wanted to read when I was young. By 3rd grade, I was reading books written for adults, with Stephen King being my favorite, who I’d borrow from my dad. One day when I was in the 4th grade, I was reading a teen book about a teenage girl who had run away to LA and become a prostitute. I came home from school and told my mom that I’d shared the book at Show-and-Tell. She looked at me aghast. “Honey, not everyone’s parents feel the way we do. You can talk to us about what you read, but if you share it with others, we’re going to have to take your books away from you.” My life flashed before my eyes – literally. For a life without books was no life. I never told another kid about what I read. :-)

Best,
Rachelle
http://www.FindingDerek.com
http://www.RachelleChase.com
Author
RachelleChase
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Re: Questions for Guest Rachelle Chase



dixielandgrl wrote:
My thought was I'll go here write Gwen and Michael first, then come back and repair my relationship with Abby and Clay. I feel like it's healthy. I know there's a chance I may never come back to it, but, on the other hand, I may come back with a fresh sense of them and how I want it all to fit.

I'm not rationalizing. I hope.




Running is not always a bad thing, as it gives a bit of distance. I think it's only something that requires further examination if it's a tendency that surfaces in every book you write and you give in to it every time, thereby resulting in never completing a book.

Going on to write something else - in your case - Gwen and Michael - may be the perfect solution, giving you the distance you need from Abby and Clay. The important thing is that you do what works for you.

Best,
Rachelle
http://www.FindingDerek.com
http://www.RachelleChase.com
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lavenderlass
Posts: 270
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Re: Questions for Guest Rachelle Chase

Thanks for that Rachelle, your experience was a little the same as mine is. I was a nurse then a social worker and was very used to writing formal report stuff. But I decided I wanted to write fiction and got myself a how-to book. Well, I sat at a computer day in, day out, for ages getting not very far. The how-to book didn't seem to help and I was at a loose end.

Then one day I came across Leigh's website, someone on an email list might have recommended it I can't quite remember. By this time I'd read every how-to book ever written and still got nowhere. But Leigh's website was an inspiration. She had excerpts of how she'd taught other people and I knew instantly that she was the teacher for me. What I liked was that she has a great way of showing just where you're weak points are, in a way that you understand instantly, but don't feel silly about. She also suggests things that improve your work both short term and long term.

Luckily for me she'd just produced a new how-to book, 'On writing Romaance.' I live in the UK and ordered it from the US as it wasn't out here yet. When it arrived I was gripped from the word go. Not only did it make sense straight away, but it was a great read too. What she does that I've never seen before ie include many examples of each lesson, so you get to see how other authors handle each thing. I found a few books I'm going to read too. She's also great at explaining things in a really interesting and clear way.

As soon as I found that Leigh teaches online at Gotham I signed up. That and the book were the best investments I ever made in learning to write. Like Rachelle I had feedback that I learnt loads from and no longer sit in front of a computer wondering what to write. I have a much greater command of what I want to achieve now and and how to do it. I know my work is far closer to publishing standard because of it and look forward to writing every day now.

I am still very slow, I'm a single mum of 2 and my own mother is very ill with heart failure at the moment. She's weak and her heart keeps slowing down, then the dr's find a drug that perks her up again for a while. But we've been told that won't happen for ever and we've to prepare for the worst. So I have to help her and spend time with her for the time being. I'm still on my second book though and am much more sure it won't be too long till I produce something reasonable! It's also much more fun.

ooops, I've gone on much more than I meant to! Sorry!

Lynne.
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RachelleChase
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Re: Questions for Guest Rachelle Chase

I can only imagine how difficult writing must be for you right now, Lynne. And I am deeply saddened by your mother's condition. That is a great fear of mine - going through something similar with either of my parents - and my heart goes out to you. Do you find that writing provides a sense of relief? When I was going through one of my darkest moments, I was inspired to write a book as a means to escape.

Thanks for sharing your experiences, too. And no need to apologize about going on too much - there's no such thing as 'too much' and it's an easy thing to do when you're talking about Leigh. :-)

Like you, I honestly can't say enough about Leigh. Without her instruction and guidance, *MAYBE* I still would have gotten published, but it would have taken me much, much, MUCH longer. There are many things that distinguish her from other instructors, but the key for me is that she immediately zooms in on the key/major problem areas, and is able to communicate that clearly, succinctly, and in a way that I "get it." She is always direct and honest and when she gives me praise, I know that she really means it. I know that I've earned it. :-) Even after I was published, I took Leigh's classes and read her books.

At any rate, it's exciting to hear how your writing continues, that you're continuing to write, that you're already on your second book. Much success to you! I hope to read your publication announcement soon ...

Best,
Rachelle

http://www.FindingDerek.com
http://www.RachelleChase.com
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ChristineM
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Re: Questions for Guest Rachelle Chase

I had to laugh at your Stephen King story because I have a very similar one. My mother let me read whatever I wanted too and I was reading The Stand one day for free reading in 6th grade when the nun who was the principal of my school asked if my mother knew what I was reading. I told her that my mother had given it to me. She said, "We'll see about that" and called my mom who backed me up.

Now for the question portion. Do you ever have characters who basically slam the bedroom door in your face? I've got a couple of characters who, once I get to the sex scene seem to get … embarrassed? I've got other charaters who aren't shy at all and I can't figure out why one will and one won't.
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dixielandgrl
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Re: Questions for Guest Rachelle Chase

Christine,

Maybe you don't feel like these characters are there yet. When we write people we basically give them a psychology. Maybe, you keep balking at it because these two need more time together or more depth to the characters. It sounds like your instincts may be kicking in.
"If all would lead their lives in love like me,
Then bloody swords and armor should not be:" Thomas Campion
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Ch-Janet
Posts: 111
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Questions for Guest Rachelle Chase

[ Edited ]
Hi Rachelle,
I have a writing question. Is it possible to write a compelling scene with the H and h on opposite ends of the telephone on live radio? If not then I'll rethink the situation and try and get them into the studio together. I've never tried writing sexual tension through sound alone. Any advice on that would be great.
Janet

Message Edited by Ch-Janet on 05-17-200702:56 PM

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RachelleChase
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Re: Questions for Guest Rachelle Chase

ChristineM, I had to laugh at YOUR Stephen King story. I would've loved to have seen that nun's face when she called your mom. LOL I've never met anyone who had a similar story - nor, whose parents allowed them to read whatever they wanted at a young age, so thank you so much for sharing! It's great to meet a kindred spirit. :-)

Regarding your question ... no, I've never had characters who got embarrassed once inside the bedroom door but I have had characters who refused to have sex once they got there.

I think Dixelandgrl has hit the nail on the head because, well, for me, this is a form of being blocked. And when I get blocked, it's usually because I don't know my characters well enough - I've lost them, lost sight of who they are, their motivations, why they're supposed to be having sex in the first place. So, maybe the fact that one (or both) of your characters are embarrassed is for a similar reason. Why are they embarrassed?

This is the point where I'd whip out a sheet of paper (or a blank Word document) and begin a session of Q&A, trying Leigh's technique - her List of 20 (I think I got the name wrong, though - what's it called, Leigh??). Meaning, I ask myself a question and just list all possible answers until one resonates with me, then I go on to the next question, repeat the process. I keep doing this until I'm unblocked and know what's supposed to happen in the bedroom scene.

So, in your case, if I thought the embarrassment was a valid part of the story, I'd ask myself, "Why is so and so embarrassed?" If that line of questioning didn't work, I'd recap what happened in the last scene and ask myself questions like, "How's so and so feeling now?" "What does she feel about the hero?" "Why does she feel that way?" "What does she want from him?"

It's hard to give specifics without knowing what your story is about. So if nothing here has helped you move forward, please give me a bit more information about what's happened previously and why your character's feeling embarrassed.

Best,
Rachelle

http://www.FindingDerek.com
http://www.RachelleChase.com
Author
RachelleChase
Posts: 22
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Questions for Guest Rachelle Chase



Ch-Janet wrote:
Hi Rachelle,
I have a writing question. Is it possible to write a compelling scene with the H and h on opposite ends of the telephone on live radio?
Janet

Message Edited by Ch-Janet on 05-17-200702:56 PM






Hi Ch-Janet! By all means, I think that's possible. In fact, I did that in SIN CLUB.

With a phone conversation, you've still got a lot of things to work with to increase sexual tension. For example, you've got dialogue - which can be fraught with sexual innuendos, sexual tension, meaningful silence; you've got interpretation - the hero can say one thing, and the heroine's not sure what he meant, as she's only got the sound of his voice to go by, which can cause a bit of conflict; you've got sound - a gasp, groan, sigh, etc. can be arousing; you've got internal thought; you've got internal thought being at odds with what's being said - say the heroine is thinking really racy thoughts but is not voicing them; if there's a radio host, and the hero or heroine are too shy to express their attraction, the host can do it, and the h/h can react to it - the POV character can think one thing but say another, while the other character on the other end of the line can stammer or there voice could be deeper, etc. and the other character can react to that.

The possibilities are endless. In some ways, the sensuality/sexual tension can be heightened by the parties not being in the same room because there's the strong desire but the inability to satisfy it physically with the person.

Does that give you a few ideas or are you still stumped?

Best,
Rachelle

http://www.FindingDerek.com
http://www.RachelleChase.com
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Ch-Janet
Posts: 111
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Re: Questions for Guest Rachelle Chase

Rachelle, thank you!!! I can see now how it can work. :smileyhappy:
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lavenderlass
Posts: 270
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Re: Questions for Guest Rachelle Chase

Your spot on about Leigh Rachelle, I agree with every word.

I've been reading a really good medical, 'A Bride for Glenmore,' by Sarah Morgan. She uses a lot of body language and intuition which I really like, for instance, 'he heard the suprise in her voice,' that would work well on the phone or radio and really involves you with the characters. You've made me want to write a phone conversation now!

My question is a bit more broad, that looks like I haven't thought it through but I have, and I got stuck, so I thought I'd ask you. What makes a good sex scene and what makes a bad one? I learnt so much from Leigh's examples on dialogue etc. in 'On Writing Romance,' that I hoped you wouldn't mind me asking you.

Lynne.
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RachelleChase
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Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Questions for Guest Rachelle Chase

Great, Ch-Janet! I'm glad that gave you some ideas. :-)

Best,
Rachelle

http://www.FindingDerek.com
http://www.RachelleChase.com
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