Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Romantic Tension

Just some thoughts about 24 different Types of Romances Possible Tension

1. Love at First Sight (Cinderella)
Disney-type insta-love. The couple falls fast.
Tension: something/someone comes between them rather than conflict from the relationship.

2. Oops! (Chuck and Agent Walker)
Career-minded character doesn’t intend on falling in love, but it happens and could end career/dreams.
Tension: Difference of power; reasons why each person is with or not with the other

3. Forbidden Love (Romeo and Juliet, most paranormal romances)
Should not be together and know it, but they are drawn together anyway.
 Tension: class differences, family decisions, rules to break/change

4. Love/Hate (Han Solo and Princess Leia)
Start off with intense dislike. Chemistry might draw them together.
Tension: enemies, difference of opinion, actual fighting

5. Childhood Friends (Anne of Green Gables and Gilbert)
Sweet memories and relationship. May involve a childhood promise.
Tension: know too much about each other, feelings not taken seriously, family, personal history issues

6.  Best Friends or Friends First (Dawson’s Creek, Monica and Chandler)
They know everything about each other including past relationships. When they realize they have a romantic interest they try to keep it secret.
 Tension:  lots of history and not all good, known other romances for each other, grew up and apart, extended friends might not accept

7. Rivals (Mr. & Mrs. Smith)
They are competing for a prize. One will lose and one will win.
Tension: like love/hate but in a fun way, highly competitive, team pressure, life and death possibility, conflicted about win and lose possibilities

8. Love Triangle (Twilight)
These are best when it could really go either way.
Tension: best when it really could go either way leaving the reader conflicted, jealousy, time together

9. “Sorry, I’m Taken” (Titanic)
One or both are already involved in a romantic relationship.
Tension: existing relationships, guilt, sneaking around, sadness, tragedy, high highs and low lows

10. In Disguise (That Girl, Shrek)
A girl pretends to be a boy. Or a character’s true identity is hidden.
Tension: trust issues, keeping it a secret, loved for who they aren’t creating doubt, rebuilding the relationship after the reveal

11. Different Worlds (My Big Fat Greek Wedding)
They don’t understand each other because of different customs or cultures.
Tension: Culture clash in all social spheres

12. Second Time Around (The Parent Trap)
Have been together before and meet again—sparks fly!
Tension: discovering why you loved, overcoming what pulled you apart, letting go of hurt, fixing yourself, recognizing your part in separation

13. Tragic Past (A Walk to Remember)
They fall in love, but one of them has suffered a tragic loss and can’t get over it.
Tension: hello—TRAGIC! make it bad!, depression, self-sabotage, struck down humble moment

14. Long Distance Relationship (Sleepless in Seattle)
They start the story already in love, then they’re separated (war, college…) and the use letters, texts
Tension: keeping in touch, loneliness, someone else is close/available/interested, intimacy

15.  Unobtainable/1-Sided Love (Peter Parker and Mary Jane)
They are secretly in love with someone out of their league.
Tension: watching love develop with your crush and someone else step by agonizing step, awkward situations, hurt, inferiority, finding strength and love for self (not necessarily romantic connection), accepting

16. Lovers in Denial (Meg and Hercules)
A little like Love/Hate but it is playful not hurtful. Everyone around them knows they’re in love.
Tension: obviously intimate conversations but deny fulfillment of the STEPS OF INTIMACY (see blog post http://www.iwritenetwork.com/2015/06/earning-that-kiss.html to learn about these)

17. Passionate Lovers (Pretty Woman)
Physical attraction leads the romance, love comes after lust.
Tension: Lust before Love, embarrassment or at least awkward, meaningless, very annoying, work at redefining the relationship

18. Sweethearts Forever (Sweet Home Alabama
they’ve always been in love, easy romance, they are made for each other
Tension: Outside tension, personal goals, money, work, neighbors, family...

19. Opposites Attract (Grease—Sandra Dee and Danny Zuko)
Introvert-extrovert attraction
Tension: City and career minded v. family and country minded, finding common ground, redefining the opposite point of view for themselves

20. Similarities Attract (Indiana Jones and Marion Ravenwood)
They have similar personalities, goals, expectations…
Tension: might be competitive, inherent loss, sympathy and empathy conflict, hate/scared of something in the other that they see in themselves

21. Partners in Crime (Bonnie and Clyde)
Bad guys who work together to malicious things but are a devoted, loving couple.
Tension: The crime, the run, and consequences

22. Arranged Marriage/Date (Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Hitch)
Set up. Forced to spend time together because of who set them up.
Tension: not being in love, strangers, don't like or understand qualities of other person at first, misunderstandings

23. First Love (Pretty in Pink)
Typical YA trope, over the top scenes okay here
Tension: Leaning curve to love, friends, what else is out there, fear, rejection, misunderstanding

24. Long-term Lovers (50 First Dates)
Already been together for a while. Staying in love is the focus.
Tension: change in self, change of the relationship, health, satisfaction, know how to be together

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

J. Scott Savage on Characters

This morning while going through my bag, I found a 3X5 card with red writing on it. As I looked closer, I noticed it had the notes I'd taken from an author visit from J. Scott Savage. So that's where they went. Booyah!

He taught about characters and I'm going to pass that information on to you today. If you haven't heard him speak, you should. He's awesome.  In fact, you should go to his launch party on Oct. 1st. It's going to be awesome! Click here to join the fun.

And while we're clicking,
Click here to read about a bunch of awesome characters in the latest Sweet and Sassy Anthology- Castle Collection. Only .99 cents right now. Snag it. You'll be glad you did. One click

And now, J. Scott Savage speaks:

1. The more people care about your characters, the emotion they will invest in the story.

2. The character needs to change over the course of the story.

3. You should know the following things about your characters:

a. How the character talks-what words or phrases does he/she use often? This can add interest to your character.

b. What is the history of your character? Where does he come from and what has his relationships looked like?

c. What does he look like?

d.What are your character's passions or goals? This gives you their motivations.

e. What are your character's defects?- what are his/her personality flaws? What makes him or her human?

f. What are her thoughts like?

g. Is she relatable? Is he like you and me?

h. What are her restrictions? Physical and mental? Does your character has asthma? Is he missing a leg? Does she suffer from depression?

Which of these tips would you consider the most important?

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Call for Submissions - Sweet & Sassy Anthology: Beach Collection

We're calling for submissions for the spring Beach Collection. What are the Sweet & Sassy Anthologies and what's involved to participate?

PURPOSE: This is a promotional opportunity to broaden your readership and benefit in pooled marketing resources.

GENRE: Contemporary Romance (no YA and it has to be clean)

THEME: This varies with each volume, and they come out twice a year, in the spring and the fall. The first anthology was the Hidden Identities Collection and the second one is the Castle Collection.

In each case, the theme plays a major part in the story.

ORIGINAL WORKS: Submitted works must be original and not already published in some form somewhere else.

SIZE: 20,000-30,000 words

ROYALTIES: Once the initial cost of the cover creation, formatting, and marketing is paid off, any royalties will be split evenly between all anthology authors.

YOUR RIGHTS: These original novellas are only exclusive to the anthology for the first 90 days. After that, you may publish your novella in other mediums, using your own cover. (This is one of the reasons you  are responsible for paying for your own edit.)

PROFESSIONAL EDITING: You are responsible for procuring a professional editor for your submission at your own expense. Even if you are an editor, you're too close to your story to do your own. You need another professional to edit your work.

DEADLINES: The anthologies follow a tight schedule, below being an example for the spring 2016 anthology. If you are interested in submitting for consideration:

  • Submit story synopsis and 1st chapter to 2anthologies@gmail.com by October 30th 
  • Authors of accepted submissions will be notified by November 10th
  • Full drafts due for critique on January 15th
  • Return all critiques to contributing authors by January 30th
  • Complete revisions and edits on your story from the critiques returned to you by Feb. 15th
  • Have (at your expense) a professional line-edit completed on your story by February 28th
  • Submit author bio and back cover blurb for your story with your finished story on March 15th


  • Meet deadlines
  • $45 upfront for formatting, cover creation, and marketing. This will be paid back as funds become available from book sales.
  • Critique all works accepted for publication, and you will receive critiques from all authors for your submission, too!
  • Submit your story to critiquers and for final submission in Word doc or docx using 1" margins, 12 pt Times New Roman font.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Book Reviews, The Adult Book Report

As authors we rely on getting book reviews. They help us gain access to various advertising avenues, and readers lists. So are you reviewing the books you read? I have to hang my head here, I'm not great at this. I often review on Goodreads, but I rarely post to Amazon. It's lame since I know how powerful those reviews are in the visibility of an author, so I set a goal to post all the books I'm reading from now on to both sites.
What goes into a good review? Just as in elementary school, you were given book report guidelines, a book review has key point you should hit. 

Book reviews should help a reader decide if they want to read the book. The review should contain the central idea, an indication of the author's writing style ie: this other author meets that author with a twist, and at the end you should have an overall evaluation.

 I often look for reviews that have several 1-2 star reviews on amazon because to me, this is a book that is talked about enough it made it past the target audience and may be something I'd be interested in. I for sure check out the 4-5 star reviews as well though! :)

Do us all a favor though, if you have spoilers in the review, let us know at the beginning of the post! 


Are you a regular reviewer? As an author do you read your reviews? 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Plot Generators and TWIST

Generate one plot and twist it into many more.

I used this website to generate the first plot for a fairy tale:

 Here's what the fairy tale generator suggested:

• The story is about an ambitious girl who must defeat a tyrant, save a princess, and find a magic mirror to return home.  Things are complicated when the villain kidnaps the main character's sister.


• The story is about an ambitious woman who must crash through the glass ceiling at the corporation she works for to save her boss who she has secretly been in love with for 4 years, then find the lost financial reports to return to the home office.  Things are complicated by revelation that the employee who orchestrated the fraud is the main character's sister.


• The story is about an ambitious girl who must overcome a tyrannical uncle who is her guardian to save a Lord from financial ruin, and find and return the Lord’s family heirlooms she finds at her home.  Things are complicated by the villain blackmailing the main character by threatening her sister’s marriage prospects and dowry.


Can you make a plot twist from the basic fairy tale plot generated above for a horror, space story, dystopian, zombie, or other genre? POST BELOW!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Writing Successful Scenes

My daughter came to me the other day, frustrated because she hadn't thought out a reason for the scene she was writing and it was going nowhere. We had a great conversation, and she was able to resolve the issue and get back to work after just a few minutes. I'd like to share some of the highlights of that conversation because I found it pretty eye-opening.

1. Every scene needs to have a reason. If the scene does not move the plot forward, help to create setting for future scenes, or show characterization, it's a do-nothing scene and should be deleted.

2. Every scene should present a problem or discuss an ongoing problem. We already know that the overall structure of a book is character + problem + goal + conflict + conflict + conflict + resolution = good story, so each scene should be a reflection of that. If there's no new conflict or discussion of existing conflict in that scene, it's outta there.
3. Every scene should include action, reaction, and emotional interpretation of the actions and reactions. A book without emotions is flat and boring. Pretend like you're the character being faced with that situation. How would you feel? Now give those feelings to your character and let them experience what you'd experience.

4. Every scene should act as a bridge between the previous scene and the next one to come. If you ended the previous scene with the discovery of a dead body, sure, you can leap ahead in time a little for the next scene, if you like, but you should be following up on what happened before. This gives flow to your story and keeps the book moving forward at a good pace.

As you edit your book, put each scene on trial - does it deserve a spot in your book? If you've got pages of fluff and filler that aren't moving your story forward or adding to setting and characterization, yank those puppies out of there. Your reader would probably skim them anyway ... save them some eye strain.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

How to Best use Pre-orders

There was a lot of hype about indies having the ability to use pre-orders, and we finally got the ability. What's my take?

*Warning- 90% of people in a poll of about 75 said they do not like to pre-order unless there is some kind of incentive. If they do pre-order it is usually within 2 weeks of the book coming out.

1. The ideal use of a pre-order is to have it in the back matter of the book that precedes the one coming out. (Amazon let's you set up a pre-order 3 months in advance and iBooks and Kobo 1 year. I'm not sure what the time frame is on Smashwords, but it's at least 2 months)

2. If you have a serial, think TV episodes instead of novels, then pre-orders will rock your world. Put serial 1 and 2 out at the same time, keeping #1 free and then put the pre-order link in the back of it. Put the pre-order link in serial 2 for serial 3, etc. It's best if they come out within a few weeks of each other once the first 2 are out.

3. If you are going for a bestseller list, 2 weeks of pre-orders seems to be the best recipe. If you put the pre-order out there too soon, your momentum could die, and you'll end up in no-man's land on the charts, and no one will be able to find you.

4. It's hard to get people to pre-order the first in a new series or a book in a different genre that is different than your typical offering.

Inquiring minds want to know:

 Do you pre-order eBooks? 
How far out are you willing to pre-order? 
Do you pre-order books from links at the end of a book?

You can pre-order
the Daring Hearts boxed set with 14 amazing books right now. Don't miss. Limited time only.

Only .99 cents- No joke. One click and it's yours.
and everywhere else, too.