Category: Author Ramblings

On Writing Captive Lies

Posted March 5, 2018 by Victoria in Author Ramblings, Fire and Ice, Misty Grove, Smoke and Shadows / 1 Comment

Captive Lies was a “turning point” book. I wanted to explore my writing voice, to see where I could improve and to figure out what could be holding me back. I have always written what I wanted which was why quitting my day job wasn’t in my immediate future. 😉

Let me backtrack a bit. Writing Fire & Ice started out as an accident. I’d been reading about amazing alpha male heroes but they were always getting paired with doormat heroines and I got frustrated. Out of that frustration, I wrote the first five chapters of F&I and sent it to my friend and forgot about it. A couple of weeks later, she emailed me back and asked me where the rest of the manuscript was. And I thought, really? Someone wanted to read it? I went ahead plotting and writing the rest of it, googling editors and sending it off to one I found. No way was I publishing unedited work. I got good feedback as well as critique. I had a male editor, and he thought Jack was a wooden character, but he liked Maia and my plot was well-paced. Made some adjustments and the rest, as they say, was history.

I’ve always liked to tinker with a character’s story arc, but I noticed I always followed what was the “trend.” I’ve ventured into dark and twisty with Deadly Obsession, but that hesitation to go darker than I was comfortable with curtailed some of its storyline. Don’t get me wrong, I loved how it turned out, but I knew I could have explored it more, but would I be writing “me?”

Then I wrote the alpha-hole that was Matt in Saving Grace. Could I have made him more of an asshole or did I hesitate because I didn’t want readers to hate him so much? Or maybe his arc was a bit too contrived? Maybe a bit, but that was where my editor and betas came in and I think he’s still an asshole but he’s my lovable asshole. 😉

I was learning throughout my writing journey, but I wasn’t exactly sure what I was learning.

Makes sense?

Then came clarity.

Read More

Divider

James River Writers Confere..

Thanks to a tip-off from a good friend of mine, I was able to attend my first writer’s conference right here in Richmond. My first impression was, Boy, there’re so many serious-looking writers. I thoroughly enjoyed the humor and charisma of speakers Brad Parks and Christopher McDougall (author of Born to Run). I was kind of put off by how some speakers derisively labeled New Adult as soft porn. They obviously have not read Colleen Hoover’s Slammed and Hopeless series. There wasn’t much smut in Beautiful Disaster either. I think they should not ignore the generation of readers that Fifty Shades of Grey have spawned. I myself have no interest in reading pulitzer-prize winning pieces, because I love my smutty reads. 😉 I had my eye on the Improving your Craft track. Some were helpful, some were not what I was expecting. Suspense across Genre Always lead with your best stuff. Create compelling characters—balance the good and bad in him. Make the readers care for that character and then raise the stakes. Chop up the suspense—no info dumping. Build the suspense, but slow it down at some points. *My own thoughts. Since I write romantic suspense, I build the characters […]

Posted October 21, 2013
Author Ramblings, Uncategorized
Divider

Writing Gems

What a journey it has been! I have published my first book in April this year, followed by a novella and a short story and will be publishing my second full-length novel in October. Through it all, I have learned a lot: from the reviews of my books (both from readers and editors) and through other writing periodicals and books—I only hope to improve my craft, voice and writing style. Here’s a list of helpful texts: The Elements of Style – Strunk and White – when in doubt, this is my goto book, oh and google helps too. Revision and Self-Editing – James Scott Bell Story Engineering – Larry Brooks – His website has several interesting articles that will help you write a tightly-plotted story, including questions that will challenge your character’s motivations and plot. storyfix.com Helpful articles: 4. How to use Dialect, Slang, Profanity – Writer’s Digest May/June 2013 *there is a secret to cursing well. Too much in your novel reduces the impact. Do not use profanity to disguise poor writing. Think twice if that F-word is really needed in that sentence. This is a great way to improve your writing. Strip away the curse from your sentence […]

Posted September 11, 2013
Author Ramblings
Divider

There be growling

When a book like Silver Fire has to juggle three over-the -top Alpha males (Derek, Jack and Viktor) and then some, I can’t help but use the word “growled” in a lot of dialogues. How else can you say: “You’re mine!” he growled. However, my editor has a point, I did a word count for “growled” in Silver Fire and I cringed at the sheer amount of growling by my heroes; they’re not werewolves after all. 😉 So before I start editing, I write a a list of word alternatives. Sometimes when you’re on a roll, you can’t pull that best word out of your mouth, but you would hate disrupting the flow of the prose—you soldier on. I guess, that’s the type of writer I am. It’s when you finesse your story (and after you’ve read it a couple of times) that the elusive word finally makes itself known. 🙂 I also did a word count on the f-word, and it’s well below the average for the genre. 😉 (at least I hope so). I’ll probably clean it up a bit. Incidentally, the may/june issue of writer’s digest has a topic on using profanity and raw talk in fiction. And […]

Posted July 1, 2013
Author Ramblings, Silver Fire
Divider

Some great reads this week

I’m getting ready to re-plot my second book. I had a story fixer look at my plot outline and I had realized a few home truths: I had too many villains that my story could rival ‘24′ …  after all my next heroine is a brilliant nuclear scientist and not Jack Bauer. And although my male protagonist could be as badass as Jack Bauer (with the sexy of a Christian Grey), I had a plot twist that could either be too brilliant or too contrived. And when my thoughts are too mired in my plotting, I need to clear my head by reading. Great reads are getting harder and harder to come by because I’ve been avoiding books with cliffhangers. Is anyone tired of this trend yet? I had been looking forward to Entwined with You because that’s the last Gideon and Eva book, but Sylvia Day announced that there was to be more Eva and Gideon. I mean, really? Can we just give them an HEA? They’ve been through enough, right? And I’ve slowly O’D on New Adult. I think the stories are getting repetitive. Let’s see, tortured hero (preferably tattooed), heroine running away from a dark past, college […]

Divider

The Importance of Content E..

After I got my manuscript back from my editor, I noticed that most of his corrections were my inconsistencies of when to spell out numbers. There is no fixed rule about this, I think it is largely dependent on the standards of a publishing house. For a self-published author, it is important to establish that guideline early on and stick to it. From the corrections of my editor, he spelled out numbers twenty and below. For time of day, I have always used PM and AM, so using the number equivalent was fine like 3 PM. I’m still deciding whether I should use 9mm or nine-millimeter regarding the weapons used in the book, it looked like either form was acceptable. The impact of the former was better in my opinion. Oh, about content editing. As a new author whose desire was to write the novel that has been percolating in my head, there were some new phrases I had to learn. Content editing was one, suspension of disbelief was another. As a beginning author, I guess I had the tendency to explain every scene or the thoughts and motivations of a character that it had left nothing to a reader’s […]

Posted March 31, 2013
Author Ramblings
Divider

Details, Details …

As a reader, I’m not much for endless details or filler chapters, but I do realize that sometimes they are needed pace the story. I do not like to read about pages and pages about a character’s clothes or a certain location. This triggers my automatic skimming. However, I do appreciate specific details and this is one skill I want to develop, writing a setting and keeping the flow interesting. I came across the February 2013 issue of  Writer’s digest and am impressed with the wealth of information contained within. It’s a great magazine for a new writer like me to navigate ways of improving my writing. A short article that caught my eye and tickled my interest was : “Getting the Details Right” ~ Write it real by knowing your high heels. My current heroine, Maia Pierce has a shoe fetish. 🙂 Here is an excerpt. This article was written by Tiffany Luckey. There were 9 types of shoes mentioned here but the top three are the most commonly used: Pump : A slip-on with a low-cut front. Heel length varies (typical 2-4 inches). who would wear it: the working woman who is both stylish and practical. Stiletto: A […]

Posted March 22, 2013
Author Ramblings, Uncategorized
Divider

Use the best word

When I become interested in something, it almost becomes an obsession. I read/buy books, I buy the best tools—everything needs to be top-notch—I try to go to classes when I could. Fortunately, in novel writing, you just need your writing tool—this could be your computer or if you are still old-style … a typewriter. The internet is also a wealth of information, but use it wisely. My husband has always thought that I was the queen of the internet because I was quick to find the answers I needed. But there’s nothing like a good old reliable book. I’m sure most writers are familiar with it— but to those not in the United States (I know I’ve never heard of it when I was in school)—this book has been my bible: The Elements of Style by William Strunk JR. and E.B. White Unfortunately, like most textbooks, retention is bad unless I find real-life applications of the rules in the book. I have the illustrated version, but I’ve bought the e-book version as well for a quick reference since I always have my e-reader with me. So what are some commonly misused words? which/that – Usually, I can tell which one to use […]

Posted March 16, 2013
Author Ramblings
Divider

The Writing Process

I had dabbled in writing since maintaining a food blog for over six years. Tackling a novel is a whole new ballgame. Wait, let me backtrack a little. I’ve always been a dreamer. I remembered my early childhood when my father always scolded me for being absent-minded. Even then I would think up scenarios in my head and appear to be lost in my own world. In high school, I even started on a science fiction novel which I, unfortunately, abandoned. I grew up learning and speaking three languages. You can just imagine how confusing that can be when it came to writing. Fortunately, I only had to do composition in two of them. I did well in my English courses in high school, but when I headed off to college and took up an Engineering degree, I got rusty in composition. When I started writing a food blog, I realized that I had a habit of shifting subject-pronoun agreement, and mixing up verb tenses. I was able to get a writing coach to help me be more mindful of this. When I switched to fiction writing, I told my friend who was a beta-reader to excuse my dangling modifiers […]

Posted March 13, 2013
Author Ramblings
Divider