Tag Archives: Chats and Forums

Don’t sleep with him/her? Rule #19 of 32 Simple Rules to the Writing the Best Novel Ever


I’m dissecting the article Hunting Down the Pleonasm, by Allen Guthrie, using it as a cattle prod to search for little nasties in my manuscript.  Yep, you can join in the fun, too.  Let’s take a looksee at topic #19

19: Don’t allow characters who are sexually attracted to one another the opportunity to get into bed. Unless at least one of them has a jealous partner.

Umm…. What?

I’m staring at this, and trying to think about novels that were good, where there was a little bedroom time, but no jealous lover.

I have to admit… there are a lot… and they are fine. A sexual triangle just is not the main conflict of the story.

Sometimes the strong relationship between two characters makes the overall conflict (not necessarily a jealous partner) a deeper conflict, because the characters really care about each other.

Maybe Allen Guthrie has never read a romance novel? Maybe he just doesn’t like to read bedroom scenes?

What’s your take on this?


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Writing to a Deadline AGAIN? You betcha!

Yes, I placed myself in the clutches of a publisher’s deadline AGAIN.  I didn’t expect to. It wasn’t planned.  It just kind of happened.  Here’s the scoop…

About two months ago a writing buddy of mine Terri Rochenski announced that she was submitting to an anthology. I looked up the publisher.  They only did Romance.


I giggled.  Despite the fact that there was a romantic element in LAST WINTER RED, I knew that writing a straight Romance was not for me… and I was having so much fun blowing stuff up writing FIRE IN THE WOODS that I didn’t really want to take the time to start something new.

Anyway… A month later she put out feelers for beta readers.  A little niggle gnawed at my gut, poking and peeling until guilt set in.

The little writing demon inside me smacked me upside the head…  Who cares that it’s Romance!  You just missed an opportunity.

The overachiever in me flipped back to the publisher’s web-site. There were still five weeks until the submission date.

Five weeks…

Is that long enough to come up with a story, outline, write, beta, edit and submit?

Honestly… No it wasn’t.  Did I try anyway?


I’m not going to draw this out… I’ll cut to the chase and tell you that I have already submitted a story to this publisher within the timeframe, and I managed to get it in a week early.

So, How’d I do it?  Just to not make this post too long, I’ll tell you tomorrow.  Be there or be square!

OMIGOSH! I missed a Post! But I had a good reason!

Ugh.  I got home tonight, totally exhausted, and realised I had no FLash Fiction for  Flash Fiction Friday On Wednesday.

Oh!  I have failed you **Sob Sob**

But I have a really good reason.  Tonight I attended a critique session with a group of local writers.  I have a love/hate relationship with these things.  For one thing, I get really tired of saying the same things over and over again.  sometimes I wish I could just be the queen of cut and paste.

So… why do I do it?  Because someone a few years ago saw a glint of hope in a little newbie writer called Jennifer Eaton, and took the time to SLASH THE HOLY HECK out of her work, and then explain why.

Someone took the time to help me, and now is my time to give that little bit of help back.  That’s also why I do this blog.

Now, this is not to say I am the one-stop know it all about writing.  ‘Cause I know I’m not… but I do have a lot of experience at this point that I can relay to others.

So, yes, I groan over first time critiques… but I love when I get to talk to people and explain things to them, and have their eyes light up with an “ah-ha” moment.

There were mostly new people tonight, so I was starting from scratch, but one girl had been critiqued by me before, and her writing was SO MUCH BETTER than last time… I was SO EXCITED for her.  Congrats, Dawn!

I really love when I can relay a little of what I’ve learned.  It is so much better to learn from my mistakes than making these mistakes yourself.

And what did I get in return for my personal critiques?  An overwhelming consensus that my Main Character in my new WIP  Fire in the Woods is fourteen years old.

Why is this significant?  BECAUSE SHE’S SEVENTEEN.

So… back to editing my first few pages… where they thought the problem lay.

And sorry for missing flash fiction.  My mind is just a pile of goo.

Time for Bed!  Good night!

Hey! Look at me! I’m a ROW 80 Sponsor!

Wahoo!  We are well into Round 2 of Row 80, and I am proud to be one of the sponsors helping out the lovely and talented Kait Nolan on her ambitious endeavor to keep writers writing.

Today, you can find me ranting about how to get started on a new work, or how to write your way out of writer’s block over at the Row 80 site.  (Just scroll down after Kait’s Wednesday check-in to see my words of wisdom)  Hop on over and give a look.

As for me?  Where am I?

I am struggling to keep my head above water… that’s where I am.  I was hoping to have a sports-free spring, but that didn’t work out.  Why do parents suffer when kids want to do sports?  My goodness… I want to support my kids, but what a time suck!  Don’t these other parents have writing to do after their normal workday?  Blogging?  Publisher’s deadlines?  Critiquing?  Oh… I’m the only one who does that.  Ergghhhh.

I am sticking with my one goal for 2012.

And guess what?  If you haven’t heard… YES!  I am getting published!

See that pretty little book cover to the right?  Yep, that’s my name!

But signing the contract does not mean the work is done.  I’m busy editing and reworking right now, and working through my marketing plan.  It’s tons of work.

I’m also playing around with a new idea in my head.  I need to get it outlined so I can start the fun of exploding things writing something new.  I guess that is my short-term goal… get through the outline so I can get to the fun part.

How are things in your writing world?

Biggest Mistakes New Authors Make #2—Jumping the gun- Writing Non-linearly

At a recent Author’s panel discussion, Jonathan Maberry, Mike McPhail, Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Jon Gibbs, Jennifer R. Hubbard, and Kristin Battestella discussed the biggest mistakes they believe writers make.

Mistake number two was not writing linearly, which means not writing your story from start to finish, beginning to end, without jumping around.

Everyone gets great ideas while they are writing.  When you get one that happens later in the story, do you stop and write it?  I admit, I do this all the time.

To keep yourself moving, have a folder called “revision notes”.  Rather than jumping back to something you wish you wrote, or hopping forward to a great idea you have… place the idea in a “notes folder” so you don’t forget it, and then keep writing.  This will keep you focused on where you are.

I admit I am guilty of this in a big way.  I have whole chapters that are written that will not appear until book five or six, and I don’t have book one published yet… This is why book one probably needed so much editing.

Who else is guilty of this little gem?

Jonathan Maberry:  www.Jonathanmaberry.com

Mike McPhail:  www.mcp-concepts.com

Danielle Ackley-McPhail:  www.sidhenadaire.com

Jon Gibbs:  www.acatofninetales.com

Jennifer R. Hubbard:  www.jenniferhubbard.com

Kristin Battestella:  www.jsnouff.com/kristin

My First Face to Face Critique Group

Believe it or not, up until today I had never been part of a face-to-face critique group.

There weren’t any around me, and I didn’t want to travel all the way into the city and pay $30 for parking.

I had thought of starting my own, but hesitated because of the work involved with being a moderator.  Then, luckily enough, a friend of mine started one ½ hour from me.  She was so nervous, and very happy when I signed up… THe old strength in friendly numbers thing.

In retrospect, we discussed a few mistakes, one of which was opening it up to ANYONE who was interested.  She was trying to be nice, but it was frustrating to get there after critiquing ten pages of 4 other authors, and only having two other people show up. (The moderator, myself, and another participant)

It worked out fine, but I wasted valuable time reading and critiquing twenty pages for two people who will never see my comments,  — and if you know me… 20 pages equals about 90 comments. I am very thorough.  Also, I won’t see what they did for me (if they ever even read mine in the first place)

In retrospect, we discussed only opening up the critique sessions to established members of our writing group (which is 300 members strong).  This way, we can be sure the people are already invested, and not just “fly by night”.

What WAS good was that the three of us who came were serious.  We critiqued each other’s work, and since we had an extra hour, chatted further about each piece than we would have been able to under normal circumstances. (If the other two showed up)

I was particularly tickled that they both asked for the rest of my work (Last Winter Red) because they liked it so much they wanted to see what happened.  Everyone needs a little ego-boost now and then 🙂

Did they come up with anything my beta-army didn’t?  Yeah, a few things.  Every set of eyes notices something different.  What was cool was that I could talk to them about it.  The only problem with on-line beta partners is that you have to email back questions, and sometimes that’s hard.  Here, we just chatted it over.

Probably— if I knew who the people were, and I could trust that they would show up.  I believe that the more opinions you get, the better your work will be… and someone may just see one word that is wrong that everyone else read over.

Also, I love getting out and chatting with other writers.  I love helping people develop.  There are so many people out there with great ideas, they just need help formulating them in a marketable way.

I was there once (a novice), and it was not too long ago.  Someone helped me.  Okay, a lot of people helped me.  Gosh, I was bad… but my ideas were good.  Now that I know a little bit about writing, it’s my turn to share the wealth.

That’s not to say that I don’t make the same silly mistakes all the time.  I am nowhere near arrogant enough to say I don’t need my beta-readers.  I am just to the point where I know what they mean when they think something is not right.  I can look at their comments, hit myself in the head, and I know EXACTLY how to fix it.

Other writers taught me how to do that.

Now, I can give that knowledge back to others.