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Do you believe in writer’s block?

I was on a writer’s panel last week, with authors from a mix of genres. Children’s books. Memoirs. Poetry. Romance. One of the questions the moderator asked was: Do you believe in writer’s block? If so, how do you get past it? After the votes were counted, we had three who believed and four who […]

Laughing in the Face of Danger Pt. II

The Hows and Whys of Using Humor to Freshen your Prose, Strengthen your Story and Deepen your Characterization. Oh, and hook your reader! DRAMA APPEALS TO EMOTION, WHEREAS COMEDY APPEALS TO THE INTELLECT In LAUGHING IN THE FACE OF DANGER PT I, we talked about the key principles of comedy and how to incorporate them […]

Laughing in the Face of Danger Pt. I

KEY PRINCIPLES OF COMEDY “Make it dark, make it grim, make it tough, but then, for the love of God, tell a joke.” —Joss Whedon Comedy, like romance, is an art form that is oft maligned. And while most comedy has the advantage of added elements like facial expression, voice intonation, timing, and body language, […]

5 Tips to Creating Fresh Plot Twists

  The title to this post should be longer. It should really read, 5 Tips to Creating Fresh Plot Twists that No One will see Coming and Will Leave your Readers Breathless and Begging for More. Whew! Before I get started on the tips, I want you to know something. I feel like I’m giving […]

The (Not-So) Dreaded Synopsis

In thinking about what I wanted to blog on, I remembered a synopsis article I’d written for my RWA chapter several years ago. In my distant memory, I’d recalled having fun with it (fun with a synopsis, you say?!?!) and dug it back up. I hope you’re forgive the re-do, but I thought it might […]

Autism and writing what you know

I give a writing craft workshop called Write What Your Family Knows. The concept is partly about research, partly about a writer’s life. By mining my family’s interests or careers, I have instant access to a (mostly) inexhaustible source of expert information. Do I want an alpha hero? Little brother is an Army retiree. Do […]

Let’s Get those Manuscripts Ready

Next week, many romance writers will be convening in Orlando for RWA’s annual conference.  Authors will be pitching their work to editors and agents, and a lucky few will be asked to submit full or partial manuscripts. And that’s when the panic hits. It’s a wonderful feeling to have an agent or editor request your […]

Body Language

     I recently had a conversation with someone who said using body language to express the emotions of a character was lost on them.  Really? Wow!  Me: “So, if, I made a fist and extended my arm in the direction of your face you would not know what was coming or how I was […]

I love revisions

I love revising a manuscript. I’d rather fix a second draft than write the first, and today I’m sharing three of my favorite revision techniques. I’ve included an exercise with each, plus examples from my YA novel I Wish. Rediscover the heart of the story We’ve had other great Ruby posts about creating taglines. To recap, […]

Where’s the Beef? Finding Truth and Pain in Comedy

Go on–write comedy! Maybe you can’t go full Nora Ephron, but even the most serious of novels can use a break. Even you (yes, you!) can add a few lines for laughs to break up all the kissing and fighting and sighing and scheming in your romance. If it doesn’t come out naturally, it always seemed […]

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The Latest Comments

  • Vivi Andrews/Lizzie Shane: The first cut is the deepest, but I barely feel them now – it’s just so good...
  • Bev Pettersen: The first rejection always seems to be the hardest. In anything. Great post, Vivi.
  • Vivi Andrews/Lizzie Shane: Thank you, Joan! And the same to you!
  • joan ramirez: One thing I’ve learned about being an author: Keep on. I wish all of you courage to do the same...
  • Vivi Andrews/Lizzie Shane: Congrats on your new series, Darynda! I’ll be sad to see Charley end, because I love...

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