Common Problems Faced in Writing Romance Novels

February 22, 2016

Even the most seasoned author faces problems when writing. Each genre carries its own set of rules, and authors who don’t follow the rules face problems. Here are the common problems (and solutions) faced in writing romance novels.

  • Stay true to the romance plot line. The basic plot line is simple. Girl meets boy. Girl loses boy. Girl reunites with boy. They end up happy. The problem arises when the author deviates from the plot line by putting the girl in some crisis to be rescued, or by inserting some other dire situation as part of the main plot instead of a subplot.
  • Make sure your heroine is likeable. Avoid making her pitiful, wimpy, whiny, stupid, or a victim. She’s the heroine so make sure you emphasize her courage, ingenuity, or warmth instead of her destitution.
  • Offer an attractive hero. He doesn’t have to be drop-dead gorgeous, but he does have to be someone of good character. No bullies, brutes, or bad boys and no wimps. You need to offer a hero who complicates the heroine’s life, but doesn’t try to deliberately make her miserable.
  • Make the initial attraction between heroine and hero believable. It’s not realistic that the initial chemistry reaction to each other kicks in during a dire circumstance.
  • Make every word spoken in dialogue count. Listen to real people talk and you’ll have a good model of how to write dialogue.
  • Write the romance novel you would want to read. If you want to read it, there’s a good possibility the editor and publisher will see its potential in the marketplace and consider publishing it.

Remember that romance novels provide readers with an escape into the world of romance. Romance novels aren’t boring. Instead they offer some fun, some thrill, a lot of romance, and pure entertainment. Happy writing!

Good Stories Require Conflict

February 9, 2016

Whether you’re writing a fiction story or a nonfiction story, you need conflict to create a good story that keeps the reader’s attention. By definition, there are two sides to every conflict. Your job is show the conflict so well that your reader has someone or something to root for.

Simply put, conflict is confrontation–tension between characters or tension between factions of the environment or tension between characters and the environment.

What you’re really striving to write is action and suspense, better known as drama.

Here’s the formula: Effective drama creates exciting conflict that eventually develops robust action and substantial suspense. You instinctively knew that already, but now that the formula is simplified for you, you’re more apt to notice it in your own reading.

As always, you want to show, not tell, your reader what’s happening. When your reader creates the mental image of what’s going on in your story, he or she becomes more engaged and willing to root for one side or the other in the conflict.

Basic story plot requires someone wanting something (a goal). Something gets in the way (conflict). That something creates trouble for the character or for what the character wants or for the way the character can get it.

Characters get into trouble by something they do or by something done to them. Show the reader how the character solves the problem. If there’s action involved, show the character’s feelings (fear, anxiety, anger). If there’s suspense involved, show the character hiding, waiting, feeling dread of being caught.

Sometimes a character’s trouble comes from within. Show the reader how the character struggles with a problem such as betrayal, feeling too strongly (love or hate), or dealing with other internal conflicts. Show the reader the choices the character faces, then show the reader the action the character takes to move in the direction of one choice or the other. Keep the reader guessing about which way the character will finally go.

Keep the reader in the action of your story. You can do this by writing in present tense. Another way is using language that creates images in the reader’s mind. Active verbs help this. Which of the following two sentences creates a better image for you? He drank his beer. He guzzled his beer. A third way to keep your reader in the story is to appeal to the reader’s senses. Choose words that remind your reader of how something feels, smells, sounds, tastes, or looks.

Good stories require conflict. I hope these ideas spur some drama in the stories you write. Happy writing!


Tips for Writing Opinion Pieces

February 2, 2016

The political season is upon us and you may find yourself wanting to write an opinion piece or two, so here are some tips for you.

  • Focus on one point. Everyone knows issues have more than one facet, but your opinion piece will be stronger if you focus on one point at a time.
  • Offer solid, factual reasons for your viewpoint. Using objective facts gives credibility to your piece.
  • Ask yourself if anyone else really cares. You might feel strongly about something, but if you stand back and try figure out who else cares about the same thing, you may discover the issue isn’t that important to other people.
  • Be honest is your assessment of how much the issue has already be covered. If it’s been done and done and done, it may not warrant you using your time and energy to write about what’s already been said.
  • Write succinctly. If you want your opinion piece to be read, keep it short.
  • Use active verbs and be straightforward. You’re offering your opinion, so own it rather than waffle.
  • Avoid whining. Your opinion should come across as well thought-out and insightful. Better to show the benefit people will receive if they consider your opinion than to appear to be self-serving.

You probably won’t make a living writing opinion pieces, but you can have a lot of fun offering your perspective at times. Hope this tips help you do just that. Happy writing!