Writing a Modern Romance

A friend of mine recently approached me about her plans to write a romance novel. Many writers get their start with romance novels. It is a genre that never goes out of style. A lot of aspiring writers denigrate romance writers, assuming that it is simply a matter of writing soft-core porn (harder to write…

Why Aren’t You Writing?

I have often heard people who want to be writers complain that they could get more writing done if they didn’t have to work at a normal job, didn’t have to finish all their school work, didn’t have so many activities that take up their time. When I talk to them I discover some interesting…

Using Real People as Characters

The issue of using real people as characters in your stories or books comes up frequently in writer workshops. The reality is that we frequently use aspects of a person whom we have known or aspects of our own personalities in our stories. We often write about our own personal experiences. After all, especially in…

Read Everything

Photo is of the public library in Kansas City, Missouri. Photo was taken by Jonathan Moreau. https://www.flickr.com/photos/jonathan_moreau/ I read between 150 and 200 books per year. I’ve actually read over 100 already this year, but this is an unusual year for me. It is a matter of how a person spends his or her leisure…

Give Your Characters a Pet

I tend to worry about the dog. It’s probably a knee-jerk reaction for a childhood spent reading books like Zachary Ball’s Bristle Face, but if there is an animal in a story, I’m worried about what is going to happen to it. I don’t want anything bad to happen to it. Kill off half of…

The Importance of Setting in Fiction

Photo is “For Sunday – a Church in North Georgia” by JR P The significance of a setting in a work of fiction cannot be underestimated. Poets can use precise details of setting to convey both an emotion they are trying to evoke or to symbolize an element that they are emphasizing. Writers often record…