Friday, June 29, 2012

How To Write Romance

Every writer has tips that help them write, rules they follow, and methods they use. Below are ten tips that I find helpful when I am writing romance.

1.     Build suspense and intensity. Nothing draws a reader in and keeps them captivated than romance that slowly heats up like a teapot on a stove. First, it sizzles, boils, and then it erupts. Start things out slow between your characters with contact that is just a brush of the lips and a touch of the hands then builds to breath-stealing kisses and full-bodied caresses.

2.     Describe, describe, describe. Oh yes, romance is just as thrilling as action and excellent prose can make all the difference when writing a romantic scene. Cover all the bases of the five senses: sight, taste, smell, touch, and sound. Get creative!

3.     Use similes! Similes are a tiny piece of art in your writing. You don’t want to overpower the scene with similes, but creating a few of them can make all the difference to your details.


* He kissed her as if he were drinking her lips.

* They made love like two warriors battling over the same goal.        

4.      Know your characters, plot, and genre. Don’t change your characters attitude just because they are being intimate. If the woman is shy, keep her shy during the whole love-making process. Also, keep your genre in mind. There are certain genres that require more steamy romance scenes, and then there are others where it isn’t necessary to go that far into detail. However, plot is the biggest factor. In my first book, I didn’t go too far into the details of my characters’ intimacy, but as the series went on that changed –especially in the third book because the plot (which consisted of war and death) required that I go further in the love scenes than I ever had before.

5.     Use setting to your advantage. Seasons can make romance more sensual. If it is the peak of summer and the temperature is blazing hot, compare the heat outside to the heat your characters are feeling on the inside. Describe their surroundings too, and give attention to the bed (or whatever piece of furniture they happen to do the deed on).

Photo by Chrys Fey

6.     Don’t ignore dialogue. Dialogue is just as important in romantic scenes as it is everywhere else. Have your characters voice how much they want each other and what they are feeling. Use cheesy comments even if a person in real-life wouldn’t ever say those things in the throes of intimacy. This isn’t real-life, this is a book, and let’s face it, we like some cheesy dialogue.

7.     Get into the characters thoughts and emotions to make it more romantic. What are they thinking? Tell us! Are they nervous, scared, or anxious? Reveal it! After all, romance is very revealing. It is not all about the physical but the emotional as well.

8.     Listen to the great love songs that make your heart go pitter-patter and arouse your deeper desires.

Songs that help me write romance:

* We’re In Heaven by DJ Sammy
* Take My Breath Away by Berlin
* In The Arms Of An Angel by Sarah McLachlan
* Changes by Deftones
* My Love by Sia

9.     Pretend you’re the one being romanced. How would you want to be treated? What would you want to happen? What are your desires? In real life, your fantasy may not come true but it can in your book!

10.  Lastly, there are two ways to go about writing a romantic scene. The first route is soft and sweet. The second is hot and steamy. If you’re writing a sweet encounter, the kisses will be long, their hands will be caressing each other tenderly, and the love-making will be slow and gentle. On the other hand, if you’re writing a steamy encounter, the kisses will be bruising and breathless, their hands will be eager, and the love-making will be fast and furious.

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Friday, June 22, 2012

How To Write Action

Every writer has tips that help them write, rules they follow, and methods they use. Below are ten tips that I find helpful when I am writing action.

1. Show action and reaction. In a fight, every movement from one person causes a reaction with their opponent. What happens when someone receives a punch? Their head turns with the impact, they stagger, and sometimes they fall. Bones breaking and blood gushing is also a reaction.

Examples of action-reaction:
•     He shot off a round of bullets. She dodged them and fired back.
•     Her fist connected with his face, breaking his nose.

2. Describe, describe, describe! Remember that prose we were talking about? Use it here, but go above and beyond! Give a crime scene details so that the reader can see the morbid site imprinted on their eyes. Describe each step of a fight, the cocking of a gun, and the pain a character feels from injuries. Bring a car accident to life with speed, bending metal, and shattering glass. Let your words make the suspense! (But keep the tone of your story in mind. If you don't use much detail in the rest of your book, only add a little more detail during the action scenes to give your reader's a clear image of what is happening.)

3. Use action verbs! If you can, try not to use the same verbs over and over again. A thesaurus can help you to find a good alternative.

 My favorite action verbs:     
·         Bombard
·         Explode
·         Hammer
·         Thrust
·         Assault
·         Slither
·         Growl
·         Mangle
·         Vanish
·         Pummel

4. Write short sentences. Short sentences quicken the reader's pace and gives the illusion of fast action.

5. Use “All of a sudden” and “Suddenly” sparingly. Back-to-back paragraphs starting with this will become annoying to the reader and is a bit lazy.

Photo by Chrys Fey
6. Don’t forget dialogue! Action is not all about what a character does, but also what a character says. Have your characters spit threats back and forth, and let them curse. Also, injecting a character's thoughts can add a great deal of suspense.

This is it, he thought, I’m going to die.

7. Read books by your favorite authors and study how they write action. Note words and phrases they use, but don’t plagiarize!

8. Get into the mood for writing action. Listen to rock music or any kind of song with a fast beat that makes you want to get up and cause havoc.

Songs that help me write action:

* Shoot It Out by 10 Years
* Your Betrayal by Bullet For My Valentine
* Hold On by All That Remains
* Blood On My Hands by The Used
* I Will Not Bow by Breaking Benjamin

9. Act it out. Remember when I said that I sometimes talk aloud to create dialogue between two of my characters? Well, I also act out fight scenes. Granted, I can’t move or do half the things a fighter can do, but by acting it out (the best I can) I can understand how a body moves and better describe the movement with words.

10. Watch action movies. Watching movies can help you to understand the rhythm and flow of fighting. It can also give you ideas. Depending on what you need to write, find movies that show a lot of it and then study them. How do the characters move in fight scenes? What do you see when there is an explosion? Now write the scene in your book as if you are watching it unfold on a television screen. This is how I do it and it is my best strategy for writing action.

Movies that help me write action:

* Underworld Awakening
* Matrix Reloaded
* Fast and the Furious
* The Day After Tomorrow
* UltraViolet

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Friday, June 15, 2012

Writing Chapter Six

"There's nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein." - Walter Wellesley "Red" Smith  

The next time you’re working on your book, do me a favor and scroll up to take a look at all you’ve done. It’s really beginning to take shape, isn’t it? You have pages and pages of writing and it is beautiful! After all the sweat and blood you’ve put into it, isn’t it worth it to see the first five chapters? Oh yes, it is!

When you get to Chapter Six, you’ve officially come out of the beginning of your book. Celebrate this victory (pour a glass of wine, eat a box of chocolates, or heck, take a nap!) then grab a pen because it is time to start writing the next phase. 

Now is the time to let an event happen that will define the rest of your book. 

If you’re writing a romance, let sparks fly either from a blood-boiling argument or attraction that causes fireworks. If it hasn’t already happened, now is a perfect time for that first kiss between your two characters. Make it good!

Photo by Chrys Fey

If you’re writing a thriller, bring a little (or a lot more) suspense to your story. Write something that’ll make your reader's jaw drop! But remember, this event is just meant to spring you toward the middle of the book (where a bigger event is waiting to happen) and of course the ending, which is the grand finale.

I have just reached Chapter Six in my book and I personally can’t wait to begin, because in this chapter my protagonist is going to hunt down a brutal criminal, and her encounter with him is going to be chaotic!

QUESTION: What event will you let happen in Chapter Six of your book?

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Friday, June 8, 2012

Words Are Magical

“The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter - it's the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.”  -Mark Twain

Words are more important in our lives than most people realize. We use words to apologize, declare love, express anger, and to share the secrets of our hearts. Whenever we write, we are immortalizing our words with ink. When we do this our words become magical. They can hold a spell over our readers, draw them into our world, and bring them face to face with the people we create.

A single word is as powerful as ten words. Have you ever read a word that enticed your brain? 

I have.

Photo by Chrys Fey

Here is a list of 15 of my favorite words. Try using them in your writing if you can:
  1. Animalistic
  2. Gargantuan
  3. Orgasmic
  4. Ominous
  5. Evanesce
  6. Apocalyptic
  7. Mystique
  8.  Zealous
  9. Ticking
  10. Torturous
  11. Pulverize
  12. Illuminate
  13. Conspiratorial
  14. Havoc
  15. Celestial
Do you have any words that you love to use in speech and in writing? Make a list of them. Have you ever read a word that gave your brain tingles? Write those down too. Read poems, articles, and books to find such words to build your list, and then use those words to make your writing even more beautiful, but don’t overuse them or they’ll lose their power.

QUESTION: What are some of your favorite words?

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Friday, June 1, 2012

Writing Good Prose

“For me, a page of good prose is where one hears the rain [and] the noise of battle."  -John Cheever

Although you don’t want to write a page-long paragraph describing a room, what you do want is prose that will bring to life the events in your story. 

Is there a thunderstorm in your book? Describe it so that your readers can visualize a streak of lightning, hear the crack of thunder and see a steady downpour of rain. If the storm is intense let your reader feel its intensity through your words.

Disney's Hollywood Studios Christmas lightshow.
How would you describe this picture so your readers could visualize the lights?
Photo by Chrys Fey

Is there a fight in your book? Let your reader hear the clatter of colliding blades and the shrill of gunfire. Help them to see the blood and sense the agony. Describe how a character moves so they feel as if they are beside them on the battlefield.

Do your main characters share a kiss? Make the readers feel as though they are receiving that kiss and not just reading about it. Tell your readers about their rising heart rates, the flavors they taste from each other’s mouths, and the eagerness of their hands.

TIP: To write good prose use the five senses: 
  • Sight
  • Taste
  • Smell
  • Touch
  • Sound

And don’t forget that adjectives are your friends!

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