• It is said that good things come to those who wait. I believe that good things come to those who work. - Wilt Chamberlain
  • A professional writer is an amateur who didn't quit. - Richard Bach
  • You don't find time to write. You make time. It's my job. - Nora Roberts
  • Each morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most. - Buddha
  • Luck is when an opportunity comes along and you're prepared for it. - Denzel Washington
  • I can accept failure, but I can't accept not trying. - Michael Jordan

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Humor, Heat, and Hooks Part 2

As promised, here is my second post from the Humor, Heat, and Hooks: The Building Blocks of a Page Turner workshop I attended at national. My apologies again to author Katy Madison, the presenter, as I am unable to access the link she provided and thus cannot transfer it on to all of you.

Humor is one of the quickest ways to endear a character and engage the reader's attention.

Using self-depreciation can let the reader know that:
-  Your character is not a whiner
-  Your character has a sense of humor and is likable
-  Your character is optimistic and not beaten

Even if you don't have a sense of humor, your characters can. But remember not everything is funny to everyone.

Ways to write humor:

Series of three
Running joke
The ridiculous
Dogs and children
Fish our of water
Banter ---Not argument
Male vs. female differences
Slapstick ---Can be easily overdone.

Caveat: Never, never have your characters laugh at another character's jokes.

And tread lightly --- this is a place where less is more.

I like to write humor. I think most of you have heard about my beloved cactus scene. In my WIP I had a scene, one of my favorites, where, at the hospital's New Years Eve party, in the process of avoiding her ex and the hero, a nurse hides out in a dark office......and bumps into a cactus. Not just any cactus, a huge six footer that weighed several hundred pounds. I researched cacti. Learned about their spines and which ones were most likely to attach to clothing.

Did you know the San Pedro cactus is alleged to have aphrodisiac properties? But I digress.

The scene was funny...hysterical in my opinion. With lines like: The King Kong of Cacti and a cactus accoutrement.  My agent says it was so different, it's one of the reasons she signed me. I entered the scene in two contests and finaled in each with very positive feedback. I won the Medical Romance Pitch with that scene. And yet the editor I'm working with said something to the's a great scene, I just don't think the cactus adds anything to it. Doesn't add anything? It added humor. (My character: "Hello. Caught on a cactus here." Now that's something you don't say every day.)

And that's when I learned that humor, solely for the purpose of laughs, is not what my editor is looking for. In fact she mentioned the reader may be concerned for my character's safety, worried about her being injured by the sharp spines. That's not at all what I'd intended. So, after three attempts to get it past her and with much procrastination, I edited it out.

Do you write humor? Do you enjoy reading humor? Any humorous scenes that have taken root in your mind that you'd like to share?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Getting Your Picture to Show up on Blogs

Hello Blog Friends!

I'm writing a quick post to share some interesting information I've come across. It's always frustrated me that my picture only seems to show up when I post on certain blogs. Well, I recently learned of a site named  Gravatar and when you upload your signature picture it shows up on most blogs as long as you log in using the e-mail account attached to your Gravatar profile.

I tried it out tonight, and it worked!

Did you find this information helpful? I hope so.

Happy writing!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Building Blocks of a Page Turner

I've been a bit remiss about sharing some of what I learned at RWA national. So today I will post a bit of information from a workshop titled Humor, Heat and Hooks, The Building Blocks of a Page Turner by Author Katy Madison. My apologies to Ms. Madison as I was unable to access the website listed on her handouts and thus am unable to provide you with her link.

Elements of a Scene:

Business Elements:
1) Show the setting; time and place
2) Set the mood
3) Allude to all characters on scene
4) Foreshadowing; hinting of future events
5) Linking past details and reminding the reader of plot points
6) Backstory, only when necessary

Dramatic Elements:
1) Show character
2) Dialogue
3) Action
4) Introduce obstacles
5) Raise the stakes
6) Solve a problem
7) Sexual tension
8) Reinforce the conflict

Essential Elements:
1) Advance the plot
2) Character growth
3) Romantic development
4) Engage the reader's emotions
5) Entice the reader into the next scene


Opening Hooks:
-  Story question - Why? What will happen next?
-  Do not withhold valuable information from the reader. Tell them who, what, when, and where. The WHY comes later.
-  Present your characters in a scene where further action or a decision is required.

Types of Opening Hooks:
-  Setting - set mood
-  Protagonist is faced with an immediate choice or crisis
-  Protagonist is immersed in action
-  Witty dialogue
-  Problem to be solved
-  Character is faced with a dilemma

Ending Hooks:
-  Each and every scene should end on a question for the reader.
-  Except the last scene of the book - unless you have a sequel

Types of Ending Hooks:
-  Reinforcing the conflict
-  Why would the character do that?
-  What will they do next?
-  Cliffhangers
-  Breaking a love scene in the middle
-  Out of the frying pan into the fire
-  Emotional or physical danger to the character.

This workshop taught me that each scene needs to serve a purpose other than to simply entertain the reader. I knew all about an opening hook, something to grab your reader, to entice him/her buy your book. This workshop taught me the importance of ending hooks, to keep the reader reading, to make him/her turn page after page without being able to put the book down. (I'm still working to perfect it!)

What types of hook draw you into a story? Are you good at writing hooks? Did you know about ending hooks before you read this post?

Next week I'll go over the humor portion of the workshop. Hope you'll come back to read it!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Book Trailers

I'm pressed for time blog friends. But I wanted to share with you an awesome post on the blog of one of my new followers, Author Laura Kaye. On September 4th, Laura wrote a post titled Book Trailer How-Tos and Resources. It is chock full of great information including helpful hints and where to obtain stock images, stock video and stock music.

I encourage all of you to stop by and take a look. And if you're not quite ready to put together a book trailer, join Laura's blog or bookmark her site so you can easily find it when you need it.

Enjoy the last few days of summer.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

I Really Should Stay Home and Write!

"I really should stay home and write." I utter these words time and time again when my husband takes my children to the local baseball stadium, the movies, or the mall. I'm always looking to carve out some alone time so I can sit at my computer, uninterrupted, and actually finish a thought. As a result, I miss out on doing some fun things.

Today (Sunday) my family was in charge of lunch preparation at The Lunch Box, a local facility that provides free meals to the poor and homeless of the area. I took the lead, making phone calls and sending e-mails to obtain the necessary food donations and kitchen help. My children love volunteering at The Lunch Box. I routinely donate food but to date have never worked a meal.

As of last night everything was confirmed. I coordinated a good crew, didn't really need to go. The house would be quiet from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. "I really should stay home and write."

But no. Not today. Today I wanted to join my family in a volunteer project that means a great deal to us. I wanted to show up, be present, and help. And I did. I lost a chunk of valuable writing time, but I gained togetherness with my family and a feeling I did a small part to make the day better for someone less fortunate.

As writers we need to be careful not to get so caught up in our characters' lives that we forget to live our own.

What pulls you from the computer when you really should stay home and write? And what are you willing to forgo for a few extra hours at the keyboard?