Monday, January 26, 2015

Hook Me, Baby! You Have A Great Opening Hook, but Then What? #MFRWauthor #WriteTips #Writers #Authors #MFRWorg


Hello friends, 

If you haven't met me, my name is Monique DeVere. I write Romantic Comedy, or, as some like to call it, Fluff. I also write Christian Suspense and I'm a screenwriter. I live in the UK and have well over twenty years experience in the writing world. I like to think I have a lot of writing experience that I can bring to the table and share, which is why I'm delighted to join the talented columnists at MFRW. When the MFRW Blog Director invited me to join the team, I was more than sure she'd emailed me by mistake! When a few days came and passed and she didn't email me again to apologise for the mistake, I  cautiously accepted that the invitation was indeed meant for me. So here I am, writing the Writing Tips column, which goes out on the 26th of the Month. I'll be helping you to take your writing to the next level. Do make a note and pop back to visit with me, won't you?   

Enough with the intro, let's get on with the column. This month I'm talking Hooks.

Story Hooks


Hooks are little magnets we use throughout our books to keep the reader glued to our stories. 

When it comes to novels, there are all sorts of hooks. These are all designed to force the reader to keep turning pages.We have the opening hook line--created to grab the reader's attention. The opening hook scene--devised to snag the reader's interest and desire to continue reading. The story hook or story question--planned to make the reader keep turning pages in order to discover the answer. And the end of chapter hook--to persuade the reader to forgo sleep in preference of reading "just one more chapter". 

I think we can all agree that a great opening hook line is important. Over the years, I've seen really cool opening lines only to find myself disappointed by what follows. It seems to me some authors forget that the reader will read beyond the dazzling opening hook and will expect the rest of the book to be as sparkling. I believe the problem arises when the author falls into the trap of loading up the reader with back story or scene setting or some other equally unimportant-for-the-moment craft props instead of letting the reader live the scene as it unfolds. If I may, I'd like to use an example from one of my stories in order to demonstrate what I mean.

This is the first line/opening hook from Zach's Rebound Girl.

Dear, Diary, Zach's back!

(The opening hook line)  “MMM ... oh, yeah. Right there. That’s it ... just there.”


When I wrote this, I wanted the reader to sit up and take notice. I wanted to hook her/him with my naughty opening line. 


(The opening hook scene) 


Zach and his buddies are eavesdropping on his neighbour and things are sounding pretty naughty next door. Then Zach hears the name of his neighbour and remembers his old uni friend. He then switches his attention to trying to decipher the different voices. Could the Maddie he knew in uni be the same Maddie he's eavesdropping on? 

Then the fun begins...

What I'm saying is this: create an amazing opening hook line, but don't stop there. The opening hook of your story has two parts. 

Part A: The amazing hook line. 

Part B: The amazing hook scene that follows. 


Think first few pages and not just first line.

Until next time, let's hook them, baby!

Monique 


Author/Screenwriter Monique DeVere currently resides in the UK with her amazing hero husband, four beautiful grown-up children, and three incredible granddaughters. 

Monique writes Romantic Comedy stories some call Smexy—Smart & Sexy—and others call fluff. Monique makes no apologies for writing fun, emotional feel-good romance! She also writes Christian Suspense with a more serious edge.  

Monique loves to hear from her readers. You can contact her by visiting her http://moniquedevere.blogspot.co.uk to learn more about her and check out her other books.


Thursday, January 22, 2015

Author-to-Author: #Thursday13 Benefits of Collaborative Writing @ErincMcRae @Racheline_M #MFRWauthor

Racheline Maltese & Erin McRae talk about COLLABORATIVE WRITING.
Erin McRae and Racheline Maltese’s gay romance series Love in Los Angeles, set in the film and television industry, is published by Torquere Press. The first novel, Starling, was released September 2014; its sequel, Doves, is scheduled for January 2015. The release date for book 3, Phoenix,will be announced soon. Racheline is a NYC-based performer and storyteller focused on themes of sex, gender, desire and mourning. Erin McRae is a writer and blogger based in Washington, D.C.

Joint Blog: http://Avian30.com
Joint Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/Erin.and.Racheline

13 Reasons We Love Collaborating:
1. Two brains takes writer's block off the table.
2. Having an audience from day one.
3. Knowing someone loves the characters as much as you do.
4. Someone to argue about commas with before the copy editor gets involved.
5. The work always gets done. If one of us can't, the other can.
6. Division of labor!
7. Saving our spouses from having to read first drafts.
8. Always having someone to say ""Don't read the comments!""
9. Making each other laugh while editing.
10. Always having someone on continuity.
11. Winning NaNoWriMo is so much easier!
12. Being able to do more events in more locations!
13. Sometimes it's spooky.Synchronicity, mind reading, coming up with the same story at the same time -- it's all best sort of writing magic.

Thier latest book, STARLING, is with Torquere Press.

Be careful what you wish for...

When J. Alex Cook, a production assistant on The Fourth Estate (one of network TV’s hottest shows), is accidentally catapulted to stardom, he finds himself struggling to navigate both fame and a relationship with Paul, one of Fourth’s key writers. Despite their incendiary chemistry, Alex’s inexperience and the baggage they’re both carrying quickly lead to an ugly break-up.

Because the stars aren't benign

Reeling from their broken hearts, Alex has an affair and Paul has an ill-advised reunion with an old flame. Meanwhile, the meddling of their colleagues, friends -- and even the paparazzi! -- quickly make Alex and Paul’s real life romance troubles the soap opera of the television season.

But while the entertainment value may be high, no one knows better than Alex and Paul that there are no guarantees when it comes to love in Los Angeles.

Can J. Alex Cook find his own happily ever after with the man of his dreams when the whole world is watching?

"STARLING is a reader's treasure that completely engaged me from the very beginning. I found myself talking to my kindle, offering advice, yelling, cringing, cheering and processing each emotional experience as if it was my own. The realities of life, love and self discovery that are presented in this highly character driven story are exceptional. STARLING is well written and develops at a slow but steady pace that perfectly complements its raw emotionalism. I was thrilled with this first offering in the Love in Los Angeles series and am eagerly anticipating further additions by this exciting writing duo!"" - Carly's Book Reviews

EXCERPT
Alex finds him alone, eventually, in the kitchen.
“I‘m glad you came,” Paul tells him and offers him another beer.
Alex shrugs. “Thanks,” he says, both for the drink and for Paul actually meaning it.
Paul regards him in silence for a moment. “How are you?”
“Here,” Alex says, because it’s the simplest summation of his current state of being in all its forms.
Paul laughs, loud and surprised like he sometimes does. Alex grins back at him. When Paul’s smile stays and his eyes meet Alex’s and then linger, Alex knows he’s doing the stupid squinchy-eyed thing again. He turns his head away a little, because Margaret has told him what that look can do. He’s not sure what he should be expecting or wanting out of tonight yet.
“Hey, no.” Paul raises his hand and presses two fingertips, damp and cool, against Alex’s temple. He turns Alex’s head back until their eyes meet again, and then he drops his hand slowly. Alex knows it’s to give him a chance to stop him if he wants.
He doesn’t, and Paul’s hand settles on his waist. “Party’s out there,” he says, and tips his head back towards the living room.
“Wanna go join?”
It’s not an invitation Alex has any interest in saying no to."

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Author-to-Author: Staying Motivated @RuthACasie #MFRWauthor

10 Ways to Stay Motivated While You Write
Writing is difficult. Don’t let anyone tell you it’s not. My stories start in my head. I hear dialogue, I see scenery, I even hear the exposition. Getting it down on paper and keeping my tushy in the chair is another thing entirely. It can be downright challenging. Here are some ways that may help you to stay motivated.

1. Take a short time to organize. I’m a ‘plotzer’ – cross between a planner and pantzer I use a basic story outline to know my story’s direction. For me, detailed planning prevents my characters telling me where things are going. I know that sounds strange, but detailed planning for me (and I stress for me), interferes with some of my creativity. So, I use a basic outline and character study (index cards or notes). It’s the character study I find most valuable and where I spend my time. I get close with my characters.  Once I know them well writing flows easier and easier writing keeps me motivated. If I get stumped, I go back to my outline, character study, or do some ‘what if’ scenarios. It recharges me and keeps me writing.

2. Set Deadlines. Deadlines work for some people. For me, they definitely are part of my day job and I had aggressive ones with my editor. I know the punishment for missing these deadlines but what would really happen if I missed a self-imposed writing deadline? Move the date? Besides, I’m a real softy. Ask my kids. So to quote Nathan Bransford “The trick is setting a deadline with teeth. If you secretly know that the deadline you’re setting for yourself is a soft one, it’s not going to have its hair-raising, stress-inducing maximum effect. So either you have to learn to be scared of yourself and your own punishments or you may need a partner in crime who can help you keep to them.”

3. Daydream a Little. Picture what it will be like when you book is completed and you ship it off for query to an agent/editor. Dream about the possibilities of a successful novel, keynote at RWA, Pulitzer (when they have a romance category), and movie option. It all depends on completing what you write. Tuck the daydream in a nice cozy place and come back to the present and make it happen.

4. Journalize. Writers usually keep a journal or pad handy for jotting down story and character ideas. Use your journal to clarify your obstacles, then think of ways around writing problems, like plot difficulties or difficult decisions about how to organization your story. Perhaps solving these difficulties will motivate you to keep on going.

5. Just start typing. Momentum can be invaluable in making progress. Even 10 minutes of uninterrupted writing can be helpful. Find time during the day to write, at lunch, commuting, waiting in line at the grocer, at soccer game practice, you see what I mean.

6. Skip ahead. I tell you this technique but admit I do not follow it myself. I am a linear writer. I find it very difficult to write ‘out of order.’ However, just because it doesn’t work for me doesn’t mean it won’t work for you. So, if you’re stuck about writing the next thing, skip it for now and try jumping ahead to the next piece you’re excited about. You can come back to the part you skipped later.

7. Talk with your critique partner or someone who supports your writing. For me, talking about my work in progress gets me excited. Sometimes that is all I need to stay motivated. I was stuck on a fight scene and spoke to my son (he’s grown) and Rayna Vause (a writer who is also a martial arts expert). Both gave me the support I needed and valuable insight. And while it’s not true of everyone, a lot of people—both writers and readers—are flattered to be asked to talk with a writer about a work in progress.

8. Move Around. Sometimes you need to move out of your space, physically, to reset your mind. I get up and go downstairs to the kitchen for a glass of water or cup of tea. (Sometimes even chocolate.) I come back to my desk renewed.

9. Write what You Love. Don’t try to catch a fad. It may be tempting, but most times it doesn’t work. You need to love your novel unconditionally if you’re going to finish it.

10. Chocolate. Need I say more?

Your turn. What about you? What motivates you?  

This post written by MFRW Author Ruth A. Casie.
Ruth writes historical fantasy romance. KNIGHT OF RUNES and THE GUARDIAN’S WITCH, for Carina Press and Harlequin. She also self-published a short story in the author led TIMELESS TALES anthologies for Timeless Scribes Publishing. Formerly from Brooklyn, New York, she lives in New Jersey with her very supportive husband Paul. Ruth and Paul have three grown children and two grandchildren.  They all thrive on spending time together.  It’s certainly a lively dinner table and they wouldn’t change it for the world. For more information about Ruth’s books, please visit www.RuthACasie.com.

Timeless Treasures: Stories of the Heart,
Mainstream Contemporary, Historic, Paranormal, and Military, Timeless Scribes Publishing

A special wish of hope, strength, and love brings five couples what they treasure most in this heartwarming collection of 5 short stories by Ruth A. Casie, Lita Harris, Emma Kaye, Nicole S. Patrick, and Julie Rowe

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