Yesterday I became officially hooked into the Romance Writers World. That’s right, now I am a member of the NH Chapter too. This is a good thing. They are such a great bunch of gals and fun to be around and full of great information. They meet at the Baker Free Library in Bow, NH on the second Saturday of the month.
We had a speaker visit us at the meeting yesterday. This is one of the great benefits of attending a local writing group meeting. Next weekend I will be attending the meeting at the Monadnock Writers’ Group at the Peterborough Library on Saturday. They too will have a speaker.
Our guest was Kristan Higgins and wow what a speaker!
She is the author of 9 bestselling – 9 mind you – romances. She is also funny, witty, and full of great information. I see she has a blog too. http://kristanhiggins.com/blog/
So yesterday she left us with some tidbits on writing. These bits would probably work for almost any type of fictional writing and not just Romances.
The title of her presentation was Chapter One – I am born
Kristan explained to us how the first chapter is the most important chapter in any story. It is the chapter that gets the reader to keep coming back for more. It is your hook. So here is a condensed version of some of her tidbits.
- “Wicked Awesome First Line”
- Tone – Funny, Tragic, Terrifying, Elegant – “Don’t mislead your reader by writing a funny opener and having a tragic ending.”
- Theme – “What is your Book about?” – Show what your Character does not know.
- Personality – Demonstrate through action – “Beware of the cliché in character development – Create a Character the reader can relate to. “Romances are about the Character.”
- Character’s beliefs is somewhere stated
- Everyday life & World – where the story takes place and how things work in the character’s world. If the character has emotional scars, give glimpses and let the readers use their own imagination.
- Keep the first chapter Lean and only include the key players of the story.
- Seeds of the past – Flash backs, but don’t tell the reader EVErything.
- Immediate Goal
- Character Flaw – “why she doesn’t have what she wants just yet.”
- Character in Action – “Don’t have the character just sit there doing nothing. Create some disturbance or conflict, hooking into the emotions of the character so the reader can relate to them.
- The Hook – Last line of the chapter and its job.
- Call to the Adventure – Why life can’t continue to be the same after what has taken place in the first chapter.
- “The last chapter of the story should echo the first chapter.”
Then she gave us a list of NO – No’s
- Flash back – sometimes okay if used properly
- Secondary Plot lines
- The next four heroes & heroines in your series – keep them out of the picture as best as you can and don’t let them steal the show.
- Overt revelations
- Grocery list of descriptions
- Prologues can sometimes be allowed if they are very important to the story. But don’t give away the trump card.
At our meeting we have a Pro Liaison and she is great at giving us writing challenges to take us through the month. They are more like exercises to help us get out of the way of our muses. This month’s challenge is to write crap for 5 minutes every day to kill your inner critic.
Okay – I found an outlet for my crap writing. I have this manuscript I started in 2010 for NaNo and never finished it because I thought the story line was crap – Maybe something can happen with it and I can shape it after I finish writing the crap in the first draft. Yesterday I did 500 words in the five or so minutes I worked on it. Who know what could happen with this story.
This week was a blah week. I was sick and didn’t feel like doing much of anything but sleeping. I even missed a day of work from my everyday job. It isn’t like me to call in sick.
I’m feeling better, and yesterday I was able to pick up some motivation from the girls at the Bow meeting. So yeaH! I added another 1k words to Road Salt. The first draft isn’t anywhere near the word count I am seeking but at least the story line is over 2/3rds done. I can see the end of the story off in the distance.
After what I did with the revision on Witch Book I am sure I will be able to make my word count when I go back and add some fluff to the story. I tend to do the opposite of most writers. I write tight and have to force myself to add the stuff our imaginations are made of.
Have a great week and may the ROW be with you… If you have time come check out some other ROWers and cheer them on Linky List.