What do you do when your emotions interfere with your writing? I had an especially bad day. I got home, took an hour to decompress, and started on my wip. It was a disaster. Both my hero and heroine sounded cold, angry, and whiny all at the same time. I cut the whole scene and saved it in my junk file. Then I turned off my computer and attacked my bathroom with a scrub brush.

Let me tell you a little about my junk file. It's full of over the top, love you, hate you, wish you were dead scenes. The character's emotions are all over the place. Looking at the file, I realized something interesting about myself. I can't write usable scenes when I'm angry or stressed. I've heard it before and will probably hear again that I should be able to write no matter what. Sorry. I'm not wired that way. I can only handle one problem at a time.

Give me calm, happy, bored, or even sad and I can get in the zone, no problem. Thank God I'm not a chronically angry or stressed person. My bathroom would glisten, but I'd never get any writing done.

I've got a secret. I'm a habitual procrastinator. Biggest problem, I justify my habit with legitmate things that need to be done. The laundry is piling up, my living room is a mess, grandbaby wants to play. My family has decided to stop enabling me. My son cleaned the livng room, my daughter and her boyfriend took the baby shopping with them, and hubby did the laundry. Guess what I came up with next. I just want to wash my hair, then I'll get started.

That's when it hit me. What am I afraid of? So what if I sit at my desk and stare blankly at the screen? Turn out three pages of crap? No big deal. Realize I really hate my characters? No problem. But it is a problem. I make it a problem. I also have a bad habit of setting myself up for a bad writing day before my fingers hit the keyboard. But I sit down anyway, take a deep breath and write. Something wonderful happens. I don't have a bad writing day. I have a really good one. Sure, the chapter doesn't sparkle like I want, but I realize I can fix it.

And I turn out three pages of pretty good material. And my day has been saved. Now on to the next task. I really do have to wash my hair.

     This month has been a wild one.  I've had good and bad things happen.  I have a new love in my life.  My granddaughter, Jullian.  She's two weeks old and like most newborns, a complete diva.  She wants what she wants when she wants it, and I can't resist her.  Neither can her other grandparents, her parents,  aunts and uncles. 
     I've received three rejections on my manuscript and I'm still alive.  I didn't break down into a sobbing puddle or throw my lap top out of the window, vowing to never write again.  Instead I thought, Wow, they actually responded.  I had to ask my critique partners if my reaction was normal.  I didn't want the depression I just knew was coming to catch me off guard.  I ignored the fact that they were form letters.
     Yesterday, I participated in a three mile run-walk with my son.  He finished in twenty minutes.  I finished in an hour, but the point is I finished.  Yeah me!  Today, my legs are killing me, but I went to the day job and did what I had to do.
     So now I have a screaming baby in the house, a host of people dropping by to see her, submissions, rejections, and new challenges.  This is my life.  It's become complete and utter chaos.  I have no idea what's gong to happen next.  And I wouldn't change a thing.

I love a kick ass heroine. Always have, always will. But if your hero and heroine are interchangeable, except for body parts, I get turned off.

Example #1: Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Totally rocks. She kicks some vampire ass, catches the bad guys, but still has time to act like a woman with steamy love interest, Angel. If memory serves, she even had a thing for Spike for a little stint.

Example #2: Sarah Connor: After the first Terminator movie, she turned into a man with boobs.

First scene: In her cell doing pull ups. Ripped arms. After her son risks his life to save her, she does nothing but feel him up to see if he's injured and tells him it was dumb for him to risk his life because he is too important to the future. If she had been more concerned about him as a mother, she would have come off as likeable. But his well being was treated as an after thought. No motherly love, no...nothing. She spent the rest of the movie as a hard ass sucking on cigarettes. A man could have played that part and I don't think I would have known the difference.

I've had the same experience with some books I've read, and they were supposed to be romance novels. They shall remain nameless. The heroine was trying so hard to prove she was just as good as a man, I couldn't tell the difference between her and the hero. Until it came down to sex. Of course she was soft as silk and he was hard as granite.

Maybe I'm old fashioned, but besides having a vagina, I'd like for there to be something feminine about the heroine.

Blog question: Where do you draw the line? Have you ever found yourself at a point where your heroine lost her femininity because she was supposed to be kick ass? Where does that leave your hero?

This is something that has weighed heavily on me for a long time and I would love to hear your responses. Have you ever been disappointed by a kick ass heroine because she was the female version of Arnold Schwarzenegger?

How do you keep that out of your writing?

After I typed "The End" on my wip, I cracked open a glass of wine, danced around my office, and announced to the hubby that he would get to see my face for more than a couple of hours a day now. Then a scary thing happened. I read the manuscript in it's entirety.

I wanted to run screaming from the room. I'd changed a couple of character's names mid -story, including the villain. I realized that at the beginning of the book, my heroine was a weenie. And not only was it only forty-two thousand words, it needed a serious rewrite. I felt like there was a major conspiracy going on and I was in my own version of writer's hell. Someone had let the air out of my balloon and left me standing around with a string and a limp piece of rubber.

Thank God my crit partners had some suggestions on areas that needed expansion. I'm very wary of expansion. I don't believe in fluff. You now those sometimes endless snippets that have nothing to do with the story? You can almost hear the author pounding at the keys chanting, "I must increase my word count." It's made me put a book down on more than one occasion.

So now, I'm back at page one, the critiques from my crit partners at my side, and luckily, tons of ideas of my own. I see so many opportunities that I didn't see before. And none of it's fluff. But it's definitely not "The End."

Blog question: Have you ever had to expand after you thought your story was perfect? How do you avoid the fluff?

Have you ever bought a romance without looking at the blurb on the back? It had a beautiful cover and your favorite author wrote it so you didn't bother looking at the back before you went to the register and happily gave the cashier your money.

So now snuggling into your favorite reading chair, beverage and snacks at your elbow, you open the cover and start to read. And almost choke on your Coke. The hero's name is Elmer and the heroine is Beulah. What do you do? Do you keep reading, or do you put the book down?

As I pointed out in a previous post, I'm a little twisted. I'd keep reading because the characters had such unattractive names. I'd want to know what love between Elmer and Beulah looks like. I've read the stories of the exotic people (some had names I couldn't pronounce) so the change might be refreshing. Romance has changed over the years. The heroes and heroines are not always outrageously beautiful or have rocking hot bodies. Why not have out of the norm names?

I may be dating myself here but does anybody remember the movie 'She Devil' starring Roseanne Barr and Meryl Streep? Meryl Streep played a romance author whose writing became a little weird after she and her lover stopped getting along. Her agent told her that her latest book wasn't good and one of the reasons was because the hero was named Bob.

Would that really bother anybody? What if the story was awesome?

Blog question: Would you read Elmer and Beulah's story?

Do you remember the romance novels from the 80's? The heroines were virgins (depending on which line you were reading) and the heroes were experienced, brooding millionaires. When I got older I quickly got bored with the virgins and started reading about more experienced heroines. That's when I found out that apparently, I wasn't having great sex. When the h/h finally hit the sheets, it was, for lack of a better term, unbelievable. They were "riding on the crest of the wave" or "doing a dance as old as time itself," and my favorite, "felt like a volcano ready to erupt." One of the heroines actually passed out. Really?
Fast forward to the romance novels of today. My fave has become paranormals. Heroes and heroines are vampires,werewolves, sorcerers. There's some seriously twisted stuff in some of them, and I love it. It's different, exciting, abnormal. Even the unbelievably erotic sex is well done.
I don't mean to suggest that contemporary romance isn't just as good. I still read it and enjoy it, if the story is strong. But it has to have a twist. There has to be something there that makes me keep turning the pages. Throw a crazy villain in there and I'm hooked.
What keeps you turning the pages?

A sample of what I think about when I can't sleep.

GMC. Goal, motivation, and conflict. Not just ingredients for a good story, this is the story of my writing career. (Okay, so it's not a career---yet.)

My goal may sound a little self indulgent. I hear people say, quite often, "I write for me." Well, I'm about to be politically incorrect. I don't. I write for everyone. I want to write a fast paced story that a reader can't put down. They keep me on their bookshelves and revisit the characters often. The story doesn't have to be on the best sellers list, although that would be nice, I just want relatable characters, with a story to tell. Then I want to quit my job and write full time. Ha!

Besides wanting to quit my job and write full time? Being a published author has always been my dream. To put a story out there and have others enjoy it as much as I do, is my greatest wish. I know there will be those out there who hate my work, but for right now, can I have five minutes in La-La Land?

Conflict One:
I have characters that nag the hell out of me. This presents me with a dilemma. I'm one of those people who can write only one story at a time. Not all of my hen-pecking characters belong in the same story, and I have to figure out who fits and who doesn't. I have spent countless hours trying to fit characters in where they are not welcome, just to find out they're in the wrong story.

Conflict two:
Sure, I want to love the story, hero, and heroine. I want them to ride off together in the sunset. Then there are times when I just want to slap the crap out of both off them, close my laptop and never look at their story again. But, they always come back to haunt me. "Give us another chance," they whisper. "We'll cooperate." Then I give in. Two maybe three pages later, with a big "tee hee -hee," they stop talking again. It's a vicious cycle.

Blog Question:
What's the GMC in your writing career? I'd love to hear from you.

My husband and I were in a club last night for a friend's birthday party. About mid-way through the festivities, two young girls strutted through the door. Most male, and some female heads turned their way. They sported black, ruffled, micro-minis that barely covered their butts, thigh high boots, and shirts that looked like a lace bra I got for Christmas one year. After sauntering to the side of the dance floor, one girl bent over and started shaking her butt like a stripper. I don't know what message they were trying to send but if they had 'easy lay' tattooed on their foreheads, it would have been more subtle. To be fair, I don't know if they were easy or not, they could have been very nice girls, but that wasn't the message they were putting out.
So, what does this have to do with writing? I can't tell you how many books I've read where the was no clear message. I think I was supposed to like the heroine, but I wasn't sure. She was mean, conceited, sadistic and never changed. I couldn't figure out why the hero loved her.
I have also written some confusing characters. The heroine was someone you were supposed to care about, feel sympathy for. She came across as weak and pathetic.
How do you make sure the message is clear in your writing? Do you have a formula or do you just put the words down and hope for the best?

So you've decided you want to write a book. You sit down in front of your lap-top and you pound away at the keys. Oh God, you're a genius! The words just pour out of you. The hero is the perfect man. The heroine is the perfect woman. Their story is hot, romantic and compelling. After a few months of blood, sweat, and tears, you type 'The End.'
Your friends and family read it and tell you how good it is. Someone tells you about RWA and you join. You get word of the Golden Heart and enter your masterpiece. As you anxiously await your perfect scores, you join a few writing loops and discover critique groups. You're warned about having a thick skin but you don't need one. Your work is perfect. You send in chapter one, and wait for the shinning admiration of the group.
The first one comes in. The critic hates it. She tells you to throw the whole thing in the garbage and start over. But hey, what does she know? This person doesn't know great work when she sees it. The second critique comes in and it's worse than the first. Then the third, and the fourth. You start seeing phrases you've never heard of. Show, don't tell, head-hopping, passive voice. You go back to your writer's loop and ask about these mysterious phrases, and that's when you get the wind knocked out of your sails. Rules, writing has rules. You go back to your masterpiece and realize you broke all of them on page one.
You attend a few workshops. You learn about the rules, and that some of them can be broken. You want to slap yourself silly when you re-read your first manuscript. Did you really write about your hero's throbbing manhood?
You realize that writing is hard is work. But you still want to do it. You develop the thick skin. You know there's always room for improvement. You even learn to give a few critiques yourself.
Months go by, and you've grown as a writer, but you know you still have a way to go. You know there are no guarantees. You'll get rejections and not every chapter will be great. Humility is your middle name. You are now a writer. Unpubbed, but still a writer. And you will never forget the journey. Especially since your Golden Heart scores just arrived in the mail.

About Me

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A dreamer. That's how I would describe myself. Come to think of it, that's how most people would describe me. It's one of the reasons I fell in love with paranormal romances. I live in Atlanta, Ga, with the man of my dreams. We met in Korea while serving in the armed forces and after a two month courtship, got married. We've been together 21 years.

About this blog

Welcome to my dreams. Sit back, relax, and explore my mind. Who knows? You may find something you like.


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