02-24-2007 12:12 PM
Thanks so much, I thought that dialogue was needed. But sometimes it seems that'a all I do -- write dialogue.
I am better at showing these days, this was written in 2003, for the first few classes I took with you. A lot more tell then.
Thanks again, I will work on the dialogue and add it to the scene.
02-24-2007 07:16 PM
02-24-2007 07:26 PM
02-24-2007 08:01 PM
Is Garth a good hero for a Harlequin novel? He inherits the family corporation because of his brother's death and will take over once recuperated from wounds. I think he fits all the necessary criteria. If not, what will make him more acceptable?
Also, is the problem they face of constant danger in the twists and turns the novel is going to take a sufficient enough problem to face? Throughout I intend them to be in constant danger of losing their lives. If not, what other difficulties or problems could I add to make their conflict tougher and more acceptable for romantic suspense? If this isn't a big enough problem, I'm not sure I truly understand what a sufficient problem would be? Are romantic suspense problems and conflicts between the characters different than other types of romance novels?
02-25-2007 04:17 AM
02-25-2007 11:31 AM
There are good arguments both ways.
Especially when you really enjoy the line and the books they've already published, it would be a bit silly not to pay attention to those stories and the standards you've deduced from reading them, as well as the suggestions the editors have made about what they're looking for.
However, if you're thinking all the time about how the story fits into the line, this attempt to write and edit at the same time CAN have a very chilling effect. Especially when you're a new writer, this can keep you from ever finishing the book. (Even as an experienced writer, I found that the more I listened to my editor up front -- the more warnings she issued or suggestions she made or questions she asked about the work in progress -- the less fun the writing was, and the more I questioned every line and every character. It got to the point where I was next-door to paralyzed.)
So if you can tweak your story to better fit the line, by all means that's the sensible move. But if you find yourself stalling out, more worried about the editor's response than the story itself, then back off, try not to let yourself think about what the result will be, and just write the story for love of it.
02-25-2007 11:35 AM
How much information should I give the reader about the characters and the mystery to catch their attention at the beginning of a story to draw them in without giving away so much of the story that I lose the suspense that keeps them turning the pages? What kind of teasers lead the reader on to keep turning that page?
Oh, that's a tough question to answer, because every story is different. I wish there was a set of clear rules about how to handle this, but there isn't.
I wrote an article once about handling backstory, pacing, and transitions that you might find interesting (if only because so many established authors weighed in to say how much trouble they have with every new story!) It's on my website at www.leighmichaels.com -- then click on the "Articles" button and it's called "Things That Stump the Best of Us."
I'm sorry not to have a clear and complete answer -- the best I can do is say that you want to intrigue the reader into turning the next page, without confusing her so much that she gives up. In general, that means holding back on explanation, and just showing the facts. You might think about movies, and how without long explanations the director draws you into the story by showing you what's going on from moment to moment.
Hope this helps!
02-25-2007 11:41 AM
The short-term problem -- external conflict -- is the thing that brings the hero and heroine together and causes the story to happen (he buys her building and threatens to evict her, for one cheesy example). The long-term problem -- internal conflict -- is the reason these people seem unable to have a happy ending (her feelings of being abandoned as a child, his reaction to his parents' nasty divorce, for more cheesy examples).
In your case, Garth's got a good internal conflict because of survivor's guilt over his buddy and his brother, and how that will make him reluctant to commit to anyone else for fear of losing them too.
What's the short-term problem? Why does he need Chantal to help investigate? What's her reason for helping? And what's her long-term conflict -- why is she reluctant or unable to commit to him?
That's a very oversimplified summary, but it hits the high spots where you might look in developing your story.
02-25-2007 03:46 PM
"Watch her steal that candy," he heard behind him.
I said that it should be "Watch her steal that candy." He heard behind him.
Heard is not a tag is it?
02-25-2007 03:59 PM
" Watch her steal that candy", said the distrustful grocery store clerk behind him. Right?
He heard a voice behind him whisper, "Watch her steal that candy."
Then bloody swords and armor should not be:" Thomas Campion
02-25-2007 10:36 PM
The preferred structure would be something like Dixie's first suggestion: "Watch her steal that candy," said the distrustful grocery store clerk behind him.
Cariann's example 1 -- "Watch her steal that candy," he heard behind him -- is technically correct but pretty confusing, because we're not sure who's talking, and we expect the speaker to be the person we're focusing on.
Example 2 -- "Watch her steal that candy." He heard behind him. -- is incorrect because to be the verb of a full sentence, "heard" requires an object -- what did he hear? Since there's no object, this is a sentence fragment.
02-28-2007 01:59 AM
I actually have a couple questions...well a couple subjects with several questions
1) Do you have any tips for writing about a place, or a setting, of someplace you've never been? I research, research, and research some more...but sometimes I worry maybe I won't be accurate. I don't want to be too vague because I want the reader to feel as if they are really there. Any particular website maybe that is better for getting good information on a place, especially in regards to terrain or climate, any good pictures etc???
2) Do you have any favorite authors that you like to read? Who has influeneced you the most? Your favorite novel?
And thanks for the tip on writing a log for the Chapters. I divided what I had written into chapters (lol..I was just writing and writing, and not in manuscript form or anything), formatted it into manuscript form...and everything flows and clicks right along much much better. NOW...if I can just get everyone to leave me alone long enough to finish!!
Thanks so much!
02-28-2007 07:12 AM
If you're too accurate the description could read like a travelogue. Being little vague can be good as it gives the reader the chance to use her imagination and fill in the details. Maybe collecting pictures of your chosen area and building up a collage would help. A bit like a scrapbook but everything is on one big sheet of paper pinned on your wall rather than pasted into a book. Then you can use it each time you want to describe the area
02-28-2007 10:28 AM
The larger question, I think, might be why you're setting a story in a place where you've never been. While there are stories that can only happen in one particular place, most can be located in a variety of settings -- real and fictional. We don't necessarily need an exotic setting; our own back yard will be exotic to readers elsewhere.
Perhaps the overall answer is to look again at your setting and story to see if there's a way to use a familiar place instead, or to create a fictional location so you can be free to imagine (while using your research of real places to make it realistic).
As for favorite authors -- I read widely in romance to stay current with the market, but when I'm relaxing I read mystery (mostly cozies) and non-fiction. Some of the authors whose books stay on my shelf include Margaret Maron, Elizabeth Peters/Barbara Michaels, Deborah Donnelly, Parnell Hall, Julia Quinn, Rosamunde Pilcher, Maeve Binchy, Claire Cross. Last night I was up much too late with an older Dean Koontz title. (Yawn. Where's my coffee?)
And of course I read and enjoy my former-students-now-published-authors, including Rachelle Chase and Roxanne Rustand -- whom I'm singling out because both of these lovely ladies have agreed to stop by the book club in upcoming months and chat with us for a week or two.
02-28-2007 12:08 PM
A friend of mine, a little group of four who met via the Romantic Novelists Association uk has just got offered her first three book deal! She has four children, a psycotherapist husband and has been working a few years at writing novels before finally being accepted!
can you tell who is going to be accepted long before they are Leigh?
02-28-2007 01:39 PM
Just curious how long you've been (or anyone that would like to chime in) have you been writing? Has everyone taken college classes for English/creative writing/journalism etc to reach this point? I guess at first I kind of felt as if I wasn't "qualified" other than that I LOVE to read and am a historical romanace junky. (I think I went straight from "Little House on the Prairie" to "The Wolf and the Dove".) Leigh?? How did you discover your calling to being a romance writer and what path did you take to get there??
Have a wonderful day everyone!
02-28-2007 01:43 PM
Take care, Angela
02-28-2007 02:04 PM
I love the idea of making up a setting. I was going to set my story in London but I'm not familair with the place and would have to research it. Maybe I shouild make up a city. The problem is getting a name that sounds right. Liz fielding has set several of her books for Harlequin Romance in the fictitious Melchester (which does sound like an English city. In fact, I think there might be a Melchester in Hardy's Mayor of Casterbridge)
Can anyone suggest a credible name for a ficticious English city?
02-28-2007 10:57 PM
As for predicting... no, not always. But a few years ago Karin Stoecker, now the editorial director of M&B, came to visit and I had a writers tea party -- eleven writers for tea, scones, and conversation with Karin. Afterwards, she said, "How many of those people do you think will make it?" and I gave her two names. One of them she bought within six weeks (in fact, she told this writer about a new program over tea, and Ellen went straight home, submitted, and sold). The other was Margot Early, who sold to Supers within a year of that tea.
So sometimes I hit the nail on the head. Most often if I'm wrong it's because someone has loads of talent but doesn't persevere -- it takes both ability and stick-to-it-iveness to make it in this field.
02-28-2007 11:07 PM
My degree is in journalism, and I intended to be a feature reporter, figuring that I'd need a day job if I wanted to sleep indoors. Fortunately, I also acquired a supportive husband. Though there were times that I had three part-time jobs, he always believed in me. (He says he married me for my money. I say, "When we were married, I had a radio station job that paid nothing, a college debt, and a car loan!" He says, "True, but I saw the potential." Fortunately for him, he says it with a smile!)
I always liked reading romance, but nobody was writing the story I wanted to read -- not quite, anyway; I always wanted the story to take a little different turn, so I started writing my own. I wrote and burned six books, and then submitted my first one to Harlequin. I was fortunate enough that the package was picked up by the legendary Jacqui Bianchi on a day when she didn't want to write back cover blurbs, and she saw potential.
And that, as they say, was that!
People who love romance but aren't trained writers probably have better odds of succeeding than people who are professional writers but don't like romance -- there's something about absorbing the attitude of romance novels through lots of reading, until they become almost second nature. So hang in there -- we can teach you about storytelling and POV and dialogue and conflict, and then if you have the patience to persist and practice...