Thursday, December 3, 2020

The Wrong Idea about Story Ideas by Alice Orr @AliceOrrBooks #MFRWauthor #AmEditing

The major misconception about story ideas has to do with what they can and cannot accomplish. Let me illustrate with a cocktail party – or family barbecue or writers' event – scenario. The Author, maybe you or me, stands at edge of the crowd to maximize observation potential. We're eavesdroppers and surveillance experts after all. We know, as Nora Ephron said, that everything is copy, so we're always on the lookout for glimpses of story fodder.

Story Fodder

Since we are also savvy Authors, our glasses contain sparkling water, diet cola, tonic with lime or something equally nonalcoholic. We know that keeping the head clear is essential to keeping the perception sharp and the memory intact for later notetaking. We are further aware that every foray into the world holds the possibility for sighting a publishing pro, and we must be ever ready to do some sober impressing. Like I said, we're savvy.

Meanwhile, a fellow partier sidles over to you, but is unfortunately anything but a publishing professional. In fact, this guy or gal is a civilian, as in not a publishing person at all, and especially not an Author. Soon he or she discovers that you however are the real thing, an actual bona fide Author in the flesh. At which point, your new-found companion from the non-pub world suggests some variation on the following.

"I've got a terrific idea for a novel. Bestseller for sure. How's about I tell you my idea, you write the story, then we split the take fifty-fifty?"

More than one misconception is in play here. First off, this non-practitioner of the writing arts completely underestimates the writing process. Legendary sportswriter Red Smith once famously said, "There's nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at the typewriter and open a vein." Of course, your sidekick with the bestseller idea, who has now glommed onto you like an overboard sailor in search of port in a storm, knows nothing about the bloodletting aspect of a writer's work. Worse yet, he does not understand that an idea is not a story.

An idea is only a kernel. That kernel may possess the potential to grow into the next Nora King Mary Higgins Grisham opus, or it may not. Either way, tons of nurture, strain, frustration, doubt and, ah yes, bloodletting must be applied between the planting of that seed kernel and its sometimes quite long-distant future harvest. A clever idea may be a jumping off place, but, without the sweat equity required, the storyteller is in for a hard fall and a lean crop.

Let me make very clear that not only non-writers are susceptible here. I have myself experienced the exhilaration of a Technicolor idea strike. Here's how that phenomenon generally goes. A story concept, or maybe just the flash of a scene, appears unexpectedly out of the blue, like lightning in the mind. And, in that instant, I am immediately certain something entirely new and previously unimagined has been revealed.

"This is it," I cry out in creative ecstasy between heart palpitations. "This is the story I have to write."

The problem is that I don't really have a story. I only have an idea, and an idea is only a beginning. A story, particularly in the commercial publishing arena where so many of us practice our craft, requires a plot with a beginning, a middle and an end. At best, my dazzling epiphany of inspiration will get me through the opening scene, maybe even the first chapter. Sadly, on the other hand, without a lot more work, the story tumbles downhill from there.

Any editor worth her blue pencil will see straight through the Technicolor bit to the lackluster follow-up. Even if she is impressed by the story's start, she'll have figured out the truth long before the probably nonexistent finish. Which did, in fact, happen to me with the proposal for a suspense novel tentatively titled Live Burial. I must admit I was as blindingly dazzled by that title inspiration as I had been by the initial idea strike. Until my then-agent leveled her critique straight at me.

"Sorry, Alice," she said, and she actually did look sorrowful. "You've got no second act."

My own twenty-twenty hindsight eventually leveled its critique as well. I had no subsequent acts at all, only a wham-bam opening scene. What had been buried alive, by me, was my story, along with my chances of making that all-important boffo first-read impression on my agent. The object lesson here is this. Follow my advice, not my example. Tell your partytime buddy, "Thanks, but no thanks," and never let The Wrong Idea about Ideas enter your storyteller's mind ever again.

For more insights into writing and publishing, visit my blog at www.aliceorrbooks.com.

Alice Orr is author of 16 novels, 3 novellas, a memoir and No More Rejections: 50 Secrets to Writing a Manuscript that Sells. A former book editor and literary agent, Alice now writes full-time. Her latest novel is A Time of Fear and Loving – Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Series Book 5. Find all of Alice Orr's books at amazon.com and other online retailers. Alice has two grown children and two perfect grandchildren and lives with her beloved husband Jonathan in New York City.
Author Website www.aliceorrbooks.com
Author Blog www.aliceorrbooks.com
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/aliceorrwriter
Twitter https://twitter.com/aliceorrbooks
Amazon Author Page https://www.amazon.com/Alice-Orr/e/B000APC22E

Monday, November 9, 2020

Give your tweet more reach with #MFRWauthor members @MFRW_ORG

It's Retweet Day for MFRW on Twitter. All Marketing for Romance Writers are invited to set up tweets for their books.

Go into Twitter and create a tweet. Make sure to use #MFRWauthor or #MFRWorg You can share up to 280 characters per tweet.

Once the tweet has been posted, click anywhere in the white background of the tweet. This will open it and allow you to highlight and copy the URL.

Navigate back to here and paste the URL in the comment section of this post.

Each month, the RT post goes live the Monday before RT day. You can post your tweet until Wednesday of the same week.

Retweet Day is on the second Wednesday of each month. Retweet everyone on the list who uses one of the hashtags.

HINT:
To help people find your tweet, click the the white background and then the down arrow (found on the right side). Choose "Pin to Your Profile Page." This will keep the tweet at the top of your Twitter feed so more people can find it.

Retweet Day Rules

1. Must have #MFRWauthor or #MFRWorg in the tweet. (This retweet day is to promote each other and our group.)
2. Do not use profanity or sexual explicit graphics. Keep it for all age groups.
3. Please do not use adult topics for this one tweet.
4. Limit hashtags to three (3) per post.
5. Return on Retweet Day and click each link in the comments.**
6. On the tweet, click the heart and then the retweet button.

** To share a tweet, highlight the url, right click, and you will see an option to open the link or go to the url. Do that, and it should open in a new window and take you there.

Come back after sending the tweet and go through the entire list. 

PLEASE NOTE: If a tweet doesn't fit your stream, you are under no obligation to share it.

Here's to a great day of retweets!

Kayelle Allen writes Sci Fi with misbehaving robots, mythic heroes, role playing immortal gamers, and warriors who purr. She is the author of multiple books, novellas, and short stories. She's also a US Navy veteran and has been married so long she's tenured.




Tuesday, November 3, 2020

It's All About Her Humanity – How to Create the Perfect Heroine for Your Story by Alice Orr @AliceOrrBooks #AmEditing #MFRWauthor

Alice Orr - A Time of Fear and Loving

Mike Nichols was a master storyteller, one of the best that ever lived, in my opinion. I saw him in an interview once where he was asked to name the most important element in a story. His answer was this. "All we care about is the humanity."

How to Create the Perfect Heroine for Your Story

He was saying we must put the core of what makes us all human into the characters in our stories. Their dreams and hopes. Their disappointments and losses. Especially how they FEEL about their dreams, hopes, disappointments and losses. All portrayed in well-written scenes.

In Nichols' film Heartburn, from the novel and screenplay by another great storyteller, the fabulous Nora Ephron, humanity is at the burning heart. Rachel Samstat spends the entire story trying to get into, get through and eventually get out of the marriage of her hopes and dreams. She is toppled into disappointment, one she creates for herself by an error in judgment.

Her blunder sets her up for what feels at the moment like the most devastating loss of her life, the discovery that her husband Mark Forman has been unfaithful. Let me emphasize that Rachel FEELS like his infidelity is the greatest loss of her life and this is what matters. How the situation FEELS to the character. How what happens to her impacts her humanity.

We may know she is better off without this lying, philandering so-and-so, but she doesn't FEEL that truth. She triumphs, so to speak, in the end because she comes to grips with that truth, and we FEEL that triumph with her. We also FEEL her heartache. We FEEL her humanity.

The entire story really belongs to Rachel Samstat. It could have been titled The Adventures (or Misadventures) of Rachel Samstat. Similarly, each of our own stories could be titled The Adventures of ________ (fill in the name of your story heroine). Or more accurately The Emotional Adventures of ________.

It's All About Her Humanity

In the romance genre in particular, our audience, our readership, cares most about the humanity of our heroine, and how that humanity acts itself out in our story. How her humanity comes to life on the page in the way she behaves and talks and most of all FEELS. In other words, what our readers care about most is our heroine's Emotional Truth.

Emotional truth is what's really going on in your story. The real, underlying truth of what is happening to your heroine, and all of your characters. What your characters allow us to see and hear on their surfaces can conceal what they are truly feeling. Great stories are all about TRUE FEELINGS REVEALED.

This is exactly like real life, and real life is the mother lode from which you mine your own emotional truth and refine it into storytelling treasure. The precious coins of that treasure are the deeply felt emotions at the beating heart of your story, the deeply felt emotions that make your reader feel deeply too. Like we feel for Rachel Samstat, because we recognize her heartburn and her heartbreak, because at one time or another it has most likely been our own.

I write romantic suspense novels. Scary things happen in my stories. In my latest novel, A Time of Fear and Loving, my heroine, Amanda Miller Bryce, is terrorized by a brute. That same thing happened to me once. Fortunately, Amanda and I both survived. In the meantime, as I wrote the story, she and I both benefited from my emotional truth of that awful experience.

We shared the powerlessness we felt while the awfulness was happening. We shared the shock and numbness we felt after it was over. We also shared our awareness of the way others reacted around us. I didn't need to take notes. All of that was branded on my own, very personal humanity in indelible emotional ink. Now it is branded on my heroine's humanity.

We have all had emotionally indelible experiences. We have been changed by them, traumatized by them, sometimes stopped in our tracks by them. As writers, we get to pass those experiences on to our heroines. We get to convert our own emotional landscapes into the very raw material of very intense, very dramatic, very powerful storytelling.

You know what these stories are for you. Pass them on to your heroine. Write those stories the way your heart FEELS them to be true. Don't worry about whether or not these stories may differ from factual truth. Facts are verifiable. Feelings are not. Someone else's emotional truth may vary from yours, but that doesn't make your truth any less valid. Besides, you are creating fiction, which can be anything you, as creator, want it to be.

Emotional Truth is individual, for you and for your heroine. Her truths are what she honestly FEELS. That honesty gives your story authenticity and makes your heroine come to life on the page. That authenticity gives your heroine her humanity. It is what makes your story really matter, to you as you write it, and to your readers as they read it.

Dig Deep

So, dig down and dig deep. You will know when you hit the humanity mother lode because it will zing straight to your heart, just before you zing it straight onto the page, where you will create the perfect heroine for your story.

For more insights into writing and publishing, visit my blog at www.aliceorrbooks.com.

Alice Orr is author of 16 novels, 3 novellas, a memoir and No More Rejections: 50 Secrets to Writing a Manuscript that Sells. A former book editor and literary agent, Alice now writes full-time. Her latest novel is A Time of Fear and Loving – Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Series Book 5. Find all of Alice Orr's books at amazon.com and other online retailers. Alice has two grown children and two perfect grandchildren and lives with her beloved husband Jonathan in New York City.
Author Website www.aliceorrbooks.com

Monday, October 12, 2020

On Retweet Day we share tweets with members #MFRWauthor @MFRW_ORG

It's Retweet Day for MFRW on Twitter. All Marketing for Romance Writers are invited to set up tweets for their books.

Go into Twitter and create a tweet. Make sure to use #MFRWauthor or #MFRWorg You can share up to 280 characters per tweet.

Once the tweet has been posted, click anywhere in the white background of the tweet. This will open it and allow you to highlight and copy the URL.

Navigate back to here and paste the URL in the comment section of this post.

Each month, the RT post goes live the Monday before RT day. You can post your tweet until Wednesday of the same week.

Retweet Day is on the second Wednesday of each month. Retweet everyone on the list who uses one of the hashtags.

HINT:
To help people find your tweet, click the the white background and then the down arrow (found on the right side). Choose "Pin to Your Profile Page." This will keep the tweet at the top of your Twitter feed so more people can find it.

Retweet Day Rules

1. Must have #MFRWauthor or #MFRWorg in the tweet. (This retweet day is to promote each other and our group.)
2. Do not use profanity or sexual explicit graphics. Keep it for all age groups.
3. Please do not use adult topics for this one tweet.
4. Limit hashtags to three (3) per post.
5. Return on Retweet Day and click each link in the comments.**
6. On the tweet, click the heart and then the retweet button.

** To share a tweet, highlight the url, right click, and you will see an option to open the link or go to the url. Do that, and it should open in a new window and take you there.

Come back after sending the tweet and go through the entire list. 

PLEASE NOTE: If a tweet doesn't fit your stream, you are under no obligation to share it.

Here's to a great day of retweets!

Kayelle Allen writes Sci Fi with misbehaving robots, mythic heroes, role playing immortal gamers, and warriors who purr. She is the author of multiple books, novellas, and short stories. She's also a US Navy veteran and has been married so long she's tenured.




Saturday, October 3, 2020

Five Idea Engine Kickstarts – Just to Get You Writing by Alice Orr @aliceorrbooks #MFRWauthor #writingcommunity

Alice Orr - Author of No More Rejections


Every Now and Then the Idea Well Runs Dry
. That's what it can feel like anyway. And it is likely to give a writer what, where I come from, they used to call a conniption fit. Not to worry. As Anne Lamott says, "Help is on the way. One hundred percent of the time."

Get Out Your Writer's Journal. Remember the Writer's Journal? I talked about in my last column, "Your Life as Idea Central." A notebook that is special in some way for you personally. If you don't have one, get one. If you have one, open it up. Either way, prepare to be gifted with help ala Alice.

Read Through the Following Story Idea Kickstarts. Do so quickly. It's a gut reaction you're after, not a head one. Pick the possibility that strikes you hardest. Maybe because you'd love to write it. Maybe because you dread writing it. Either way, your gut is engaged. Your imagination is sure to follow.

Here we go. Five Story Kickstarts.

You have a particular fear. What would happen if that fear materialized? For example, what if those brakes you've been meaning to repair on your car gave out? Think of all the possible consequences of that occurrence. Make the absolute worst of those consequences into a story situation or a scene for a novel.

Make a list of people who frequent a place with which you are familiar. Your neighborhood laundromat, your favorite deli or diner, the place you most enjoy stopping for a cocktail or a beer or a diet soda. Choose the three most intriguing, or potentially most intriguing, of those people. Imagine past histories for them and present circumstances. Go way beyond what you actually know about them. Specifically, give each of them a serious life problem they are struggling with, and write how those pressures cause them to interact in a story or a scene set in this place.

Choose a favorite, or better still, a least favorite relative. Recall an incident from that person's life, or create an incident that could have happened to that person. Choose a situation that puts this person in extreme conflict, maybe even life versus death. Build a scene or story around this person, that incident, and what happens to her or to him.

Think of a close relationship you envy. A family relationship, or a romantic one, or a friendship. (The envy lends emotional intensity on your part.) Imagine a situation that alienates these individuals from each another, maybe causes them to hate one another, or even makes one want to kill the other. Build a story, or the beginning chapter of a story, around what happens. Maybe make yourself a character in that story.

Go through photographs of people and scenes. Choose two photos. Imagine a connection between them, and build a story or scene around that connection. Make sure there is something disturbing or unsettling or even dangerous involved in the way these people and scenes connect. Make that threatening element the heart of your story.

If You are Using Real-life People or Situations, Change the Details. The names, the physical descriptions, anything else that would make these folks recognizable to themselves or each other. In other words, fictionalize everything, for your own safety. Never forget we are an extremely litigious society, and this story or scene might get published someday.

Consider Yourself Kickstarted. Don't worry. It won't leave a bruise. But it could lead to an injection of imagination juice straight into your psyche. Now, there's one thing left for you to do. JUST WRITE!!

For more insights into writing and publishing – Visit my blog at www.aliceorrbooks.com.

About Alice Orr

Alice Orr is author of 16 novels, 3 novellas, a memoir and No More Rejections: 50 Secrets to Writing a Manuscript that Sells. Hero in the Mirror: How to Write Your Best Story of You is in progress. A former book editor and literary agent, Alice now writes full-time. Her latest novel is A Time of Fear and Loving – Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Series Book 5. Find all of Alice Orr's books on Amazon. Alice has two grown children and two perfect grandchildren and lives with her beloved husband Jonathan in New York City.
Author Website www.aliceorrbooks.com
Author Blog www.aliceorrbooks.com
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/aliceorrwriter
Twitter https://twitter.com/aliceorrbooks
Amazon Author Page https://www.amazon.com/Alice-Orr/e/B000APC22E


Monday, September 7, 2020

It's Retweet Day Come share your tweet #MFRWauthor @MFRW_ORG

It's Retweet Day for MFRW on Twitter. All Marketing for Romance Writers are invited to set up tweets for their books.

Go into Twitter and create a tweet. Make sure to use #MFRWauthor or #MFRWorg You can share up to 280 characters per tweet.

Once the tweet has been posted, click anywhere in the white background of the tweet. This will open it and allow you to highlight and copy the URL.

Navigate back to here and paste the URL in the comment section of this post.

Each month, the RT post goes live the Monday before RT day. You can post your tweet until Wednesday of the same week.

Retweet Day is on the second Wednesday of each month. Retweet everyone on the list who uses one of the hashtags.

HINT:
To help people find your tweet, click the the white background and then the down arrow (found on the right side). Choose "Pin to Your Profile Page." This will keep the tweet at the top of your Twitter feed so more people can find it.

Retweet Day Rules

1. Must have #MFRWauthor or #MFRWorg in the tweet. (This retweet day is to promote each other and our group.)
2. Do not use profanity or sexual explicit graphics. Keep it for all age groups.
3. Please do not use adult topics for this one tweet.
4. Limit hashtags to three (3) per post.
5. Return on Retweet Day and click each link in the comments.**
6. On the tweet, click the heart and then the retweet button.

** To share a tweet, highlight the url, right click, and you will see an option to open the link or go to the url. Do that, and it should open in a new window and take you there.

Come back after sending the tweet and go through the entire list. 

PLEASE NOTE: If a tweet doesn't fit your stream, you are under no obligation to share it.

Here's to a great day of retweets!

Kayelle Allen writes Sci Fi with misbehaving robots, mythic heroes, role playing immortal gamers, and warriors who purr. She is the author of multiple books, novellas, and short stories. She's also a US Navy veteran and has been married so long she's tenured.




Monday, August 10, 2020

Come share a tweet with a fellow #MFRWauthor on Retweet Day @MFRW_ORG

It's Retweet Day for MFRW on Twitter. All Marketing for Romance Writers are invited to set up tweets for their books.

Go into Twitter and create a tweet. Make sure to use #MFRWauthor or #MFRWorg You can share up to 280 characters per tweet.

Once the tweet has been posted, click anywhere in the white background of the tweet. This will open it and allow you to highlight and copy the URL.

Navigate back to here and paste the URL in the comment section of this post.

Each month, the RT post goes live the Monday before RT day. You can post your tweet until Wednesday of the same week.

Retweet Day is on the second Wednesday of each month. Retweet everyone on the list who uses one of the hashtags.

HINT:
To help people find your tweet, click the the white background and then the down arrow (found on the right side). Choose "Pin to Your Profile Page." This will keep the tweet at the top of your Twitter feed so more people can find it.

Retweet Day Rules

1. Must have #MFRWauthor or #MFRWorg in the tweet. (This retweet day is to promote each other and our group.)
2. Do not use profanity or sexual explicit graphics. Keep it for all age groups.
3. Please do not use adult topics for this one tweet.
4. Limit hashtags to three (3) per post.
5. Return on Retweet Day and click each link in the comments.**
6. On the tweet, click the heart and then the retweet button.

** To share a tweet, highlight the url, right click, and you will see an option to open the link or go to the url. Do that, and it should open in a new window and take you there.

Come back after sending the tweet and go through the entire list. 

PLEASE NOTE: If a tweet doesn't fit your stream, you are under no obligation to share it.

Here's to a great day of retweets!

Kayelle Allen writes Sci Fi with misbehaving robots, mythic heroes, role playing immortal gamers, and warriors who purr. She is the author of multiple books, novellas, and short stories. She's also a US Navy veteran and has been married so long she's tenured.




Monday, August 3, 2020

Creativity Has Enemies – Do Battle Against Them by Alice Orr @aliceorrbooks #MFRWauthor #AmWriting

Creativity Has Enemies – Do Battle Against Them by Alice Orr @aliceorrbooks #MFRWauthor #AmWriting
I'm writing this on a difficult day. I am surrounded by pressure, stress, and expectations – the first phalanx of the Enemies of Creativity. I/we long to let go and dive into the depths of our imaginations, but it's tough to let go when you feel yourself inundated by demands. A responsible person finds it difficult to ignore the lurking expectations of others.

Nonetheless, ask yourself these three questions.

1. Can I lower my standards in some non-writing areas?

2. Do I want my legacy to be the perfectly performed To Do List?

3. Would I prefer to be known for a shelf of books with my name on the spine?

Life is about choices.

The above choices must be made over and over each day in large and small ways. Defeating the external and internal demand-makers takes vigilance on behalf of your writing, and on behalf of your time to imagine and create.

The Puritan Ethic is in the front ranks of the Enemies of Creativity. Our culture too often sends the message that creative work, such as writing, isn't really work at all. Messages like, "If you love something passionately, you should feel guilty about pursuing it," or "If that same something feels natural as air to you, it can't be truly worthwhile."

The most lethal Enemy of Creativity is "Not-Good-Enough Syndrome." The verdict we too often pronounce upon our own writing work is "Not good enough, third rate, why even bother?" I suggest a strong dose of "Get-over-it" for this, and for all of the Enemies. However, I suspect a more concrete battle plan is in order.

Battle Strategy

#1: Calm Down. Anxiety erects a wall of nervousness between you and your own creative spirit. Find a chill-out technique. Deep breathing works for me.

Battle Strategy

#2: Make Your Inner Enemies Your Friends. When you find yourself jangly, insecure, fearful, angry, paranoid, resentful, vengeful, and/or hurt, use it to your writerly advantage. That darkness holds ideas and thoughts you won't have in your sunnier moments. Write them down.

Battle Strategy

#3: Turn Your Outer Life Conflict into Story Conflict. Trouble happens. Trouble is distracting and can go on disturbing your state of mind for quite some time. Yet again, write it down. The details. What was said and done, scraps of setting, what you felt with each of your senses. Exaggerate those feelings. Transfer them to a character in your current work.

Battle Strategy

#4: Do Nothing. Once a day, at least, stare at a wall and let the ideas come.

Employ these strategies against the Enemies of Creativity.

I guarantee that you, and your writing work, will emerge victorious every time.

For more insights into writing and publishing – Visit my blog at www.aliceorrbooks.com.

About Alice Orr

Alice Orr is author of 16 novels, 3 novellas, a memoir and No More Rejections: 50 Secrets to Writing a Manuscript that Sells. Hero in the Mirror: How to Write Your Best Story of You is in progress. A former book editor and literary agent, Alice now writes full-time. Her latest novel is A Time of Fear and Loving – Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Series Book 5. Find all of Alice Orr's books on Amazon. Alice has two grown children and two perfect grandchildren and lives with her beloved husband Jonathan in New York City.
Author Website www.aliceorrbooks.com
Author Blog www.aliceorrbooks.com
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/aliceorrwriter
Twitter https://twitter.com/aliceorrbooks
Amazon Author Page https://www.amazon.com/Alice-Orr/e/B000APC22E


Sunday, July 5, 2020

#MFRWauthor members share their tweets on Retweet Day @MFRW_ORG

It's Retweet Day for MFRW on Twitter. All Marketing for Romance Writers are invited to set up tweets for their books.

Go into Twitter and create a tweet. Make sure to use #MFRWauthor or #MFRWorg You can share up to 280 characters per tweet.

Once the tweet has been posted, click anywhere in the white background of the tweet. This will open it and allow you to highlight and copy the URL.

Navigate back to here and paste the URL in the comment section of this post.

Each month, the RT post goes live the Monday before RT day. You can post your tweet until Wednesday of the same week.

Retweet Day is on the second Wednesday of each month. Retweet everyone on the list who uses one of the hashtags.

HINT:
To help people find your tweet, click the the white background and then the down arrow (found on the right side). Choose "Pin to Your Profile Page." This will keep the tweet at the top of your Twitter feed so more people can find it.

Retweet Day Rules

1. Must have #MFRWauthor or #MFRWorg in the tweet. (This retweet day is to promote each other and our group.)
2. Do not use profanity or sexual explicit graphics. Keep it for all age groups.
3. Please do not use adult topics for this one tweet.
4. Limit hashtags to three (3) per post.
5. Return on Retweet Day and click each link in the comments.**
6. On the tweet, click the heart and then the retweet button.

** To share a tweet, highlight the url, right click, and you will see an option to open the link or go to the url. Do that, and it should open in a new window and take you there.

Come back after sending the tweet and go through the entire list. 

PLEASE NOTE: If a tweet doesn't fit your stream, you are under no obligation to share it.

Here's to a great day of retweets!

Kayelle Allen writes Sci Fi with misbehaving robots, mythic heroes, role playing immortal gamers, and warriors who purr. She is the author of multiple books, novellas, and short stories. She's also a US Navy veteran and has been married so long she's tenured.




Friday, July 3, 2020

An Author Self-Interrogation by Alice Orr @aliceorrbooks #MFRWauthor #AmWriting

An Author Self-Interrogation by Alice Orr @aliceorrbooks #MFRWauthor #AmWriting
I've written several articles about generating ideas for your writing. Sorry, I'm not finished yet. Because, YOU are your most natural subject matter for your fiction, your nonfiction too, and not only memoir writing.

Get Out Your Writer's Journal.

You say you don't have a Writer's Journal? Then, the first step of today's exercise, and this article is almost all exercise, is to get a Writer's Journal. One that's special for you personally. I once favored black-and-white mottled-cover quad-ruled notebooks. Next, I turned fancy with leather-bound Paperblanks brand. Now, its faux-whatever from the 99-Cent store. All are special to me. Find the journal version that "speaks" to you. Listen. You will hear its song for sure. Bring it home where it belongs.

Answer the Following Questions in your Writer's Journal.

Longhand is important. The words flowing from your head and heart together, down your arm, through your fingertips to the pen and the page. Write your answers in detail. The more candid and complete you are, the more resource material you will create for writing ideas. Tell your truth.

Be liberal, not conservative, about what you include.

Tell all of it. Everything. And, leave room for more, further additions later, then others also. This is a LIFELONG exercise. There is no such thing as an insignificant experience. Secrets and holding back are inappropriate. Dramatize (write out) specific anecdotes wherever possible. Play at it. Have writerly fun.

Here we go. The Questions:

1.     What is your ethnic background, especially your cultural experience of that ethnicity, its language, customs, foods, rituals, challenges?

2.     What places have you lived long enough to know the feel of them? (Describe that feeling.)

3.     What have been your occupations, past and present, and what happened there?

4.     What are your special abilities, your areas of expertise, your particular knowledge?

5.     If you had to describe your physical appearance, what would you mention first and why?

6.     How would you describe your temperament? (Tell Everything. Warts and all.)

7.     Which relationships in your life have involved conflict, in your family, your romantic life, your friendships, your work life? (Conflict is story dynamite. Blast big time.)

8.     Who have you loved intensely in your life? (This is gold mine territory. Dig deep.)

9.     Who have you disliked intensely in your life? (More gold mine material. Excavate deeper.)

10. What have been your most powerful – as in intense, significant, formative – non-sexual experiences (during childhood, adolescence, maturity)?

11. What have been your most powerful sexual experiences? (This is private. Lust is a Must.)

12. What have been your personal triumphs, past and present? (No modesty. Brag Brag Brag)

13. What have been your biggest frustrations and disappointments, past and present?

14. What are your complexes, inhibitions and superstitions, past and present?

15. What do you long for?

16. What do you pray will never happen to you?

17. What sort of person do you feel the most sympathy for and why?

18. What sort of person do you feel the least sympathy for and why?

19. What crime have you most seriously considered committing?

20. What act of courage or heroism would you be most likely to perform and why?

21. What do you like most about yourself?

22. What do you dislike most about yourself?

23. In what specific experience of your life did you feel most angry?

24. In what specific experience did you feel most terrified?

25. In what specific experience did you feel most humiliated?

26. In what specific experience did you feel most heartbroken?

27. In what specific experience did you feel most ecstatic?

28. Feel free to add further questions with emotional idea potential for you in your life.

Your Writer's Journal is a Sacred Space.

These are Sacred Truths. Feel free to cry and laugh, to hurt and celebrate. In fact, you should. Meanwhile, you have compiled a pile of Your Most Precious Life Stuff, a treasure mountain of story ideas and details. Don't forget the details. God and the devil are there together, waiting to do battle while you write it all down.

Your Personal Everything is Right Here.

All that's happened or been said. Each and every fantasy. Plus, a running commentary of thoughts and insights about YOU and your experiences. A sacred space to reverence. Visit often. Find your personal storyteller's nirvana here in your own words You will be amazed at what you uncover/discover/recover. I guarantee it.

 

For more insights into writing and publishing – Visit my blog at www.aliceorrbooks.com.

About Alice Orr

Alice Orr is author of 16 novels, 3 novellas, a memoir and No More Rejections: 50 Secrets to Writing a Manuscript that Sells. Hero in the Mirror: How to Write Your Best Story of You is in progress. A former book editor and literary agent, Alice now writes full-time. Her latest novel is A Time of Fear and Loving – Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Series Book 5. Find all of Alice Orr's books on Amazon. Alice has two grown children and two perfect grandchildren and lives with her beloved husband Jonathan in New York City.
Author Website www.aliceorrbooks.com
Author Blog www.aliceorrbooks.com
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/aliceorrwriter
Twitter https://twitter.com/aliceorrbooks
Amazon Author Page https://www.amazon.com/Alice-Orr/e/B000APC22E


Monday, June 8, 2020

Retweet Day #MFRWauthor members share their tweets @MFRW_ORG

It's Retweet Day for MFRW on Twitter. All Marketing for Romance Writers are invited to set up tweets for their books.

Go into Twitter and create a tweet. Make sure to use #MFRWauthor or #MFRWorg You can share up to 280 characters per tweet.

Once the tweet has been posted, click anywhere in the white background of the tweet. This will open it and allow you to highlight and copy the URL.

Navigate back to here and paste the URL in the comment section of this post.

Each month, the RT post goes live the Monday before RT day. You can post your tweet until Wednesday of the same week.

Retweet Day is on the second Wednesday of each month. Retweet everyone on the list who uses one of the hashtags.

HINT:
To help people find your tweet, click the the white background and then the down arrow (found on the right side). Choose "Pin to Your Profile Page." This will keep the tweet at the top of your Twitter feed so more people can find it.

Retweet Day Rules

1. Must have #MFRWauthor or #MFRWorg in the tweet. (This retweet day is to promote each other and our group.)
2. Do not use profanity or sexual explicit graphics. Keep it for all age groups.
3. Please do not use adult topics for this one tweet.
4. Limit hashtags to three (3) per post.
5. Return on Retweet Day and click each link in the comments.**
6. On the tweet, click the heart and then the retweet button.

** To share a tweet, highlight the url, right click, and you will see an option to open the link or go to the url. Do that, and it should open in a new window and take you there.

Come back after sending the tweet and go through the entire list. 

Here's to a great day of retweets!

Kayelle Allen writes Sci Fi with misbehaving robots, mythic heroes, role playing immortal gamers, and warriors who purr. She is the author of multiple books, novellas, and short stories. She's also a US Navy veteran and has been married so long she's tenured.




Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Building a Hero with Stature and What Not to Do by Alice Orr #MFRWauthor #amwriting

Thriller author and former editor Alice Orr shares tips for writing heroes.

Building a Hero with Stature – What Not to Do

Thriller author and former editor Alice Orr shares tips for writing heroesIf your storytelling goal is wide audience appeal, build an admirable hero. A hero the reader will look up to, and remember that when I use the term hero, I'm referring to main characters of all genders.

I base my admirable hero assertion on two things. First, the bestseller lists. Most fiction titles you find there tell stories of admirable protagonists confronting great obstacles in admirable ways. Second, my experience as editor and literary agent, which too often illustrated what an admirable hero is not. Here are some examples, with names changed for discretion's sake.

Caroline is the hero of a Regency romance set in early nineteenth century England. We're told she's a woman of spotless character, which would be an appropriate portrayal. Most readers of this genre prefer their heroines intelligent, wise and, above all, dignified. An author seeking wide reader appeal would be wise herself to honor these preferences.

Unfortunately, Caroline is not the highly principled woman we are told she is. Instead, she shows herself to be of low moral character. Specifically, she joins a traveling theatrical company where her performance specialty is as a procurer or, in more forthright terms, a pimp. 

To make matters worse, Caroline lacks acceptable motivation for her choices. She's an unhappily married woman to be sure, but she is also from the landed gentry with ample financial means. She doesn't need to disgrace herself and her family to escape her husband, nor allow herself to be degraded as she does in this author's story.

A Regency era main character may find herself in dire straits. She may act to overcome her trials in many ways, but not at the expense of dignity and self-respect. Otherwise, she becomes too tawdry to qualify as a hero of this genre, and maybe as an admirable hero of any genre, at least for a non-established author. Bestsellers can afford to take chances, sometimes.

As for Sebastian, I wonder if even his author liked him very much. Sebastian is cold, distant and uncaring. His lack of compassion must be counteracted by noble qualities to make him an admirable hero. He could be written as remote on the surface with endearing depths beneath, but, in this portrayal, under his craggy surface beats a heart of unappealing stone.

Kendra has heroic qualities but is never called upon to use them. Her story is meant to be suspenseful. She should be in danger, real danger that, to maximize appeal, threatens her life. She is strong, resourceful and brave. We're eager to see those qualities tested by extreme circumstance. When no truly thrilling challenges arise, our reader expectations are dashed.

Kendra's author could have made stronger storytelling choices. A perilous situation, which Kendra only narrowly escapes. Better still, another character, vulnerable, like a child, faces serious threat, and Kendra risks her life to defy that threat. These scenarios would reveal her heroism in action and intensify the suspense. Instead, Kendra is a heroine waiting to happen, and the author squanders the dramatic potential of her story.

Shattered reader expectations, heartless main characters, dramatic potential squandered. Avoid these like the storytelling plagues they are, unless you're a bestselling author with maybe some room for risk. Build instead a hero with stature we can admire.

For more insights into writing and publishing – Visit my blog at www.aliceorrbooks.com.

About Alice Orr

Alice Orr is the author of 16 novels, 3 novellas, a memoir and No More Rejections: 50 Secrets to Writing a Manuscript that Sells. A former book editor and literary agent, Alice now lives her dream as a full-time writer. Her latest novel is A Time of Fear and Loving: Riverton Road Romantic Suspense - Book 5. Alice has two grown children and two perfect grandchildren and resides with her husband Jonathan in New York City. 

Author Website www.aliceorrbooks.com
Author Blog www.aliceorrbooks.com
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/aliceorrwriter
Twitter https://twitter.com/aliceorrbooks
Amazon Author Page https://www.amazon.com/Alice-Orr/e/B000APC22E

 

Monday, May 11, 2020

Share a tweet with fellow members Come share on #MFRWauthor Retweet Day @MFRW_ORG

It's Retweet Day for MFRW on Twitter. All Marketing for Romance Writers are invited to set up tweets for their books.

Go into Twitter and create a tweet. Make sure to use #MFRWauthor or #MFRWorg You can share up to 280 characters per tweet.

Once the tweet has been posted, click anywhere in the white background of the tweet. This will open it and allow you to highlight and copy the URL.

Navigate back to here and paste the URL in the comment section of this post.

Each month, the RT post goes live the Monday before RT day. You can post your tweet until Wednesday of the same week.

Retweet Day is on the second Wednesday of each month. Retweet everyone on the list who uses one of the hashtags.

HINT:
To help people find your tweet, click the the white background and then the down arrow (found on the right side). Choose "Pin to Your Profile Page." This will keep the tweet at the top of your Twitter feed so more people can find it.

Retweet Day Rules

1. Must have #MFRWauthor or #MFRWorg in the tweet. (This retweet day is to promote each other and our group.)
2. Do not use profanity or sexual explicit graphics. Keep it for all age groups.
3. Please do not use adult topics for this one tweet.
4. Limit hashtags to three (3) per post.
5. Return on Retweet Day and click each link in the comments.**
6. On the tweet, click the heart and then the retweet button.

** To share a tweet, highlight the url, right click, and you will see an option to open the link or go to the url. Do that, and it should open in a new window and take you there.

Come back after sending the tweet and go through the entire list. 

Here's to a great day of retweets!

Kayelle Allen writes Sci Fi with misbehaving robots, mythic heroes, role playing immortal gamers, and warriors who purr. She is the author of multiple books, novellas, and short stories. She's also a US Navy veteran and has been married so long she's tenured.




Sunday, May 3, 2020

Aerobics for a Writer's Imagination Muscles by Alice Orr @aliceorrbooks #MFRWauthor #AmWriting


Time to buff up your Writer Imagination Muscles

An editor and author provides advice on th eessential storytelling question.
Would you feel better or worse if I told you I get rejections? In my pre-indie days, I
Aerobics for a Writer's Imagination Muscles by Alice Orr @aliceorrbooks #MFRWauthor #AmWriting
traditionally published several romantic suspense novels and a nonfiction book. One night back then, I had a dream so vivid I woke up trembling, short of breath and convinced the goddess had sent me a bestseller for sure.
I'd actually experienced An Idea That Wasn't A Story. Too bad I didn't recognize this. To my credit, I honed that nightmare scene till the impact was razor sharp. Too bad I didn't have much to go with it. I figured my boffo opener would carry the rest. My agent disagreed, and pointed out that, after the boffo had passed, pacing lost steam, story urgency waned, my heroine lacked a compelling voice. I'd built up expectations with my opener, then squandered them.
I'd leapfrogged over the essential storytelling question. "What am I going to write about?" as filmmaker David Lynch, author and director of some of the most imaginative screen scenarios ever, says. "Ideas dictate everything. You have to be true to that or you're dead."
Yet, there's always pressure to write what will sell. I'd been piling that pressure on myself when I conceived my boffo opening with no follow-through. I was writing pyrotechnics I thought might turn my agent on, instead of seeking the true conflicted heart of my story and letting my imagination lead me onward from that place.
I call it the Idea from Heaven. The idea that makes the heart of a story pound. I could have taken my nightmare inspiration, then coaxed depth and richness from it to create an Idea from Heaven. I forgot I possessed the power to accomplish that. What, specifically, should I have remembered to do?
Imagine that the imagination is a muscle. To make and keep the imaginative muscle equal to the rigors of storytelling, we must give it a daily workout. If I'd gone from terrifying dream to imagination exercise mat, instead of straight into writing, the results would have been very different. Here's the five-step exercise I should have done. You should do it too.
Step 1. Find your most fertile imagination time. For me, that's morning, immediately after waking, close to the state that produced my terrifying dream. Pen and pad are ready. I believe imagination, and writing voice, are best accessed in longhand. BTW I used to think night was my most imaginative time, but found that being tired encouraged me to natter on way too much.
Step 2. Find the idea recording method that works best for you. Notebook, cards, a voice recording device, which works well for many verbal people. Try different possibilities.
Step 3. Pose yourself a question. "Where does the story go from here?" Or, "What does my main character do next?" Fashion your most pressing question, take your time, but don't obsess over it. Trust your writerly instinct to know what your story needs. Use a current writing project as subject ground. If you don't have a current writing project, get one.
Step 4. Come up with answers to the question you've posed. Never settle for the first idea that comes. Keep thinking. Push yourself to the more original response, the less expected reaction. Burrow deeper into the situation and the characters. Encourage your mind to run wild.
Step 5. Record each idea as it comes. Limit the exercise to 10 or 15 minutes. Don't censor your responses in any way, like "That's too outlandish," or "This won't work." Record everything, without critique or evaluation. Time limit ends. Put down your pen or turn off the recorder.
The Crucial Cool Down. Sit for a moment and take note of how you feel. Maybe stimulated, full of mental energy, ready to spin off still more ideas in a cannonade of creativity. The imagination muscle has had a good workout for sure. Do this every day. You'll find yourself being more creative than ever before, and enjoying it too.
I robbed myself of that enjoyment when I neglected to take time for this exercise as preparation for developing my story idea. My flabby imagination muscle failed me because I failed it. Learn from my negative example. Take power over your own creative laziness, and give your story idea the strength it needs to succeed.
For more insights into writing and publishing – Visit my blog at www.aliceorrbooks.com.

About Alice Orr

Alice Orr is author of 16 novels, 3 novellas, a memoir and No More Rejections: 50 Secrets to Writing a Manuscript that Sells. Hero in the Mirror: How to Write Your Best Story of You is in progress. A former book editor and literary agent, Alice now writes full-time. Her latest novel is A Time of Fear and Loving – Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Series Book 5. Find all of Alice Orr's books on Amazon. Alice has two grown children and two perfect grandchildren and lives with her beloved husband Jonathan in New York City.
Author Website www.aliceorrbooks.com


Monday, April 6, 2020

Want to tweet with fellow members? Come share on #MFRWauthor Retweet Day @MFRW_ORG

It's Retweet Day for MFRW on Twitter. All Marketing for Romance Writers are invited to set up tweets for their books.

Go into Twitter and create a tweet. Make sure to use #MFRWauthor or #MFRWorg You can share up to 280 characters per tweet.

Once the tweet has been posted, click anywhere in the white background of the tweet. This will open it and allow you to highlight and copy the URL.

Navigate back to here and paste the URL in the comment section of this post.

Each month, the RT post goes live the Monday before RT day. You can post your tweet until Wednesday of the same week.

Retweet Day is on the second Wednesday of each month. Retweet everyone on the list who uses one of the hashtags.

HINT:
To help people find your tweet, click the the white background and then the down arrow (found on the right side). Choose "Pin to Your Profile Page." This will keep the tweet at the top of your Twitter feed so more people can find it.

Retweet Day Rules

1. Must have #MFRWauthor or #MFRWorg in the tweet. (This retweet day is to promote each other and our group.)
2. Do not use profanity or sexual explicit graphics. Keep it for all age groups.
3. Please do not use adult topics for this one tweet.
4. Limit hashtags to three (3) per post.
5. Return on Retweet Day and click each link in the comments.**
6. On the tweet, click the heart and then the retweet button.

** To share a tweet, highlight the url, right click, and you will see an option to open the link or go to the url. Do that, and it should open in a new window and take you there.

Come back after sending the tweet and go through the entire list. 

Here's to a great day of retweets!

Kayelle Allen writes Sci Fi with misbehaving robots, mythic heroes, role playing immortal gamers, and warriors who purr. She is the author of multiple books, novellas, and short stories. She's also a US Navy veteran and has been married so long she's tenured.




Friday, April 3, 2020

Editor Alice Orr on It Takes Two to Tangle: Relationships that Move Your Story @AliceOrrBooks #MFRWauthor #amwriting


Editor Alice Orr on It Takes Two to Tangle: Relationships that Move Your Story #MFRWauthor #amwriting
It Takes Two to Tangle, in real life and in storytelling. But, whether a fictional connection is romantic or not, the other person in your main character's relationship exists, mainly, for the purpose of moving and intensifying your hero's story.
The second character gives your hero someone to talk to, moves her thoughts into dialogue. Which cuts down on internal monologue that slows the pace of the story. Dialogue appears more active on the page than paragraphs of uninterrupted narrative, and more active to the reader's consciousness also. This dialogue must, of course be interesting and compelling.
How do you make dialogue interesting? First, by creating a complex, fascinating story mate to match your complex, fascinating hero. A mate whose opinions and attitudes differ from those of your main character. They may be mates in general, but they debate, irritate one another, and even openly conflict on occasion.
These conflicts are usually variations in attitude rather than violent disagreements. They force your hero to articulate her feelings and beliefs. This allows your reader to know her better and identify more closely with her, which is critical to hooking the reader into your story.
The second character need not be portrayed as sympathetically as the hero. This mate character may be in the process of evolving, with something major yet to learn in life. He or she may or may not accomplish that goal in this story, unlike your hero who must learn and grow.
You should also contrast these two characters in more external ways. Family and cultural background, life experience, economic and social status, physical appearance. These differences provide potential for fireworks in the relationship, which may be sexual or not. Either way, they enflame reader interest, and that heat serves your storytelling purpose.
In real life, we prefer people to get along, but, in fiction, too much harmony is boring. Conflict in a story relationship makes that story more interesting. However, you, as author, must understand what storytelling conflict is. Banter back and forth between characters, no matter how clever, is not strong enough conflict to create compelling fiction.
There must be a crucial problem between the characters for real conflict to occur. The greater the problem, the more intense the trouble between them becomes, and intense conflict is the heart of strong storytelling. These two characters may basically like, or even love, each other, but if they get along too well for chapter after chapter, they lose the reader's interest.
You must create characters with the potential for legitimate contention between them. Most importantly, create an active hero with the strength to stand up for herself and what she believes, and to defy opposition. She is a person who refuses to remain passive while bad things happen to her, or to those she cares about. This portrayal makes her defiance believable.
Next, create a mate character strong enough to be a worthy adversary. Now, you have a relationship that is a juxtaposition of equals, with potential for true tension between them. Without this tension, conflict that grips your reader will fail to ignite. With this tension, and the sparks it produces, the relationship, and your storytelling, set fire to the page.
For more insights into writing and publishing, visit my blog at www.aliceorrbooks.com.
Alice Orr is author of 16 novels, 3 novellas, a memoir and No More Rejections: 50 Secrets to Writing a Manuscript that Sells. A former book editor and literary agent, Alice now writes full-time. Her latest novel is A Time of Fear and Loving – Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Series Book 5. Find all of Alice Orr's books at amazon.com and other online retailers. Alice has two grown children and two perfect grandchildren and lives with her beloved husband Jonathan in New York City.
Author Website www.aliceorrbooks.com


Monday, March 9, 2020

Retweet with fellow members on #MFRWauthor Retweet Day @MFRW_ORG

It's Retweet Day for MFRW on Twitter. All Marketing for Romance Writers are invited to set up tweets for their books.

Go into Twitter and create a tweet. Make sure to use #MFRWauthor or #MFRWorg You can share up to 280 characters per tweet.

Once the tweet has been posted, click anywhere in the white background of the tweet. This will open it and allow you to highlight and copy the URL.

Navigate back to here and paste the URL in the comment section of this post.

Each month, the RT post goes live the Monday before RT day. You can post your tweet until Wednesday of the same week.

Retweet Day is on the second Wednesday of each month. Retweet everyone on the list who uses one of the hashtags.

HINT:
To help people find your tweet, click the the white background and then the down arrow (found on the right side). Choose "Pin to Your Profile Page." This will keep the tweet at the top of your Twitter feed so more people can find it.

Retweet Day Rules

1. Must have #MFRWauthor or #MFRWorg in the tweet. (This retweet day is to promote each other and our group.)
2. Do not use profanity or sexual explicit graphics. Keep it for all age groups.
3. Please do not use adult topics for this one tweet.
4. Limit hashtags to three (3) per post.
5. Return on Retweet Day and click each link in the comments.**
6. On the tweet, click the heart and then the retweet button.

** To share a tweet, highlight the url, right click, and you will see an option to open the link or go to the url. Do that, and it should open in a new window and take you there.

Come back after sending the tweet and go through the entire list. 

Here's to a great day of retweets!

Kayelle Allen writes Sci Fi with misbehaving robots, mythic heroes, role playing immortal gamers, and warriors who purr. She is the author of multiple books, novellas, and short stories. She's also a US Navy veteran and has been married so long she's tenured.