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When It is Time to Rewrite: 4 Steps to Improve Your Manuscript

My fourth novel, Crazy Little Thing Called Love, is due to my editor on August 1. Yes, I am aware that is a mere 29 days away. No, I am not counting hours or minutes — yet.

With my fast draft in hand … well, spread all over my desk and sometimes all over the coffee table in the family room … I am ready for rewrites.

Yes, yes, I am.

First things first: there are certain things I don’t do when I am this close to deadline and deep into rewriting.

I do not clean my house.
I do not cook.
Hmmm. Reality is, I don’t clean my house or cook that much when I’m off deadline. I’m just being honest here. When I’m off deadline, I’m plotting a new novel or I’m dealing with second round edits or galleys . . . or something! I’m thankful my husband loves me.

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Techniques for adding emotion: using other “Voices” in your scene

I love to watch people. Especially in an airport. Yes, I admit I compare myself to others (it’s a woman thing, I think), and I discovered that it’s a great way to reveal the emotional landscape of a character.   See, we often project how we feel in how we might describe a character. Consider this description from the POV of our test subject, Darla, a woman who is afraid to fly. She sees this woman in the gate area:  Across from her, a woman’s sandaled foot tapped to unheard music, her eyes closed, her hand draped over her carryon bag. In her other hand, an empty coffee cup from Starbucks – had she passed a Starbucks on the way in? — as if she’d started her morning early. Sure, fatigue […]

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Quick Skills: Scene Creation Checklist

I thought it might be helpful if I posted the Scene Creation Steps  you could use when crafting a chapter. If you’ve been following the blog for the past month, we’ve addressed each of these sections/elements in the blogs. Part One Keeping Scene Momentum: Character Journal Ask the following questions: 1. What did you think about what just happened? 2. What are your choices? 3. What will you do next, and why? 4. What is the worst thing that could happen to you right now? 5. And, if it’s a romance –how do you feel about this person?  What do you fear happening emotionally?   Part Two Create Scene Tension Scene Tension Equation: Sympathetic Character + Stakes + Goals + Obstacles + Fear of Failure. Step 1: Determine your Action Objectives […]

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Quick Skills: How to Build Scene Tension

I just finished book 2 of the Hunger Games series, Catching Fire. Excuse me while I go pick up book 3 and spend the day ignoring my to-do list. This series is a lesson in how to create fabulous tension. Not only is the story premise powerful, but every chapter has that “can’t put down” quality. Why? TENSION on every page (as the Master Donald Maas would say!) But what is tension. Recently, I read approximately 1,768,639 contest entries. Okay, not quite that many, but it felt like it. And very few really wove real tension into their story. Obstacles and Activity are not Tension. Tension is a combination of a Sympathetic Character + Stakes + Goals + Obstacles + Fear of Failure. If any of these are missing, we don’t […]

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