How to Write a Memorable Romance Scene

by Michelle Griep, @MichelleGriep

Nobody wants to admit to
reading romance novels. Those are for the trashy sort, the kind that hang out
in laundromats, the losers with awkward social skills who don’t have a hope of
ever snagging their own happily-ever-after. Right?
Wrong-o bucko.
Besides that statement
being politically incorrect and highly intolerant, it’s also a huge
misconception. In fact, romance novels are and have been some the hottest
selling books flying off the shelves. So rest at ease if one of your guilty
pleasures is snuggling up with a romantic tale. In fact, I just wrote a
kissy-faced scene today and had to stop and think about the actual nuts and
bolts of romance. And since I did all that brain work, thought I’d share . . .

4 Questions to Ask Yourself After You Write a Scene

By Michelle Griep, @MichelleGriep

Just because you’ve written a scene doesn’t mean you can pack away your computer and grab yourself a brewskie. Guess what, little writer? Your work is NOT done. There are some questions you need to ask yourself after each and every scene you write . . .

1. What was the conflict in this scene? Were the stakes dire enough?

If you can’t identify a conflict in your scene, delete it. Yeah, that’s harsh, but cut the fat and get to the lean mean story. No one wants to read about characters who don’t have problems. Readers want to punch those kinds of characters in the head.
Continue reading “4 Questions to Ask Yourself After You Write a Scene”

7 Character Non-Negotiables

by Michelle Griep, @MichelleGriep

What’s more important . . . plot or character? Yeah, that’s a loaded question. The answer is they’re both important. But today let’s focus on character.

To make a really great character—meaning one that sticks in a reader’s mind for a long time after they shut the book—you need to have a few essential elements. Okay, I lied. It’s more like seven.

1. Conflict

Is your character feeling like life is all rainbows and happiness and their pants aren’t digging in at the waist? Too bad. You’ve got to mess it up all up for him. Make it rain. Break his happy bones. Give him a weight gain of five hundred pounds.

2. Desire

What does your character want? He’s got to want something. A burp to ease his heartburn. A new Porsche. Maybe some Smart Wool socks because his toes are cold. What’s his goal and what’s motivating him to get there?

3. Confusion

Misdirect your character and you misdirect the reader. That’s a good thing. As long as you’re keeping your character guessing, you’re keeping your reader guessing as well. Just make sure to tie things up by the end of the story and make everything clear.

4. Credibility

Your character has to deserve his losses and earn his victories. Coincidence won’t cut it or your reader will slice you to pieces with a one-star review—a sharp, pointy, throwing-ninja star.

5. Flaws

Nobody loves a perfect character. They’re annoying. Every character needs to have some kind of flaw, even if it’s just a zit on the end of her chin. Okay, that’s annoying too. Don’t use that flaw. Make up a better one.

6. Cluelessness

Don’t make your characters all knowing, unless your character is God, and that seems kind of heretical. The point is that it’s fun for the reader to know something the character doesn’t. Makes the reader feel all superior and hey-look-at-me-I’m-brilliant.

7. Success

Every now and then your character needs to be successful. Yeah, you’re supposed to be upping the stakes, leading to a blood-gory climax, but along the way the reader needs a break. Put little park benches of wins for your character to give the reader a rest from the action.

Next time you’re working on an epic, make sure to include these traits in your main characters.

TWEETABLES
7 Character Non-Negotiable by Michelle Griep (Click to Tweet) 

What’s more important . . . plot or character? Michelle Griep (Click to Tweet) 

__________

12 Days at Bleakly Manor

Imprisoned unjustly, BENJAMIN LANE wants nothing more than freedom and a second chance to claim the woman he loves—but how can CLARA CHAPMAN possibly believe in the man who stole her family’s fortune and abandoned her at the altar? Brought together under mysterious circumstances for the Twelve Days of Christmas, Clara and Ben discover that what they’ve been striving for isn’t what ultimately matters . . . and what matters most is love.

Author Michelle Griep

Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She is the author of historical romances: The Innkeeper’s Daughter, 12 Days at Bleakly Manor, The Captive Heart, Brentwood’s Ward, A Heart Deceived, Undercurrent andGallimore, but also leaped the historical fence into the realm of contemporary with the zany romantic mystery Out of the Frying Pan. If you’d like to keep up with her escapades, find her at www.michellegriep.com or stalk her on FacebookTwitter, or Pinterest.the next level.

How Many Books Are Too Many?

by Michelle Griep, @MichelleGriep

Which would you rather have your favorite author do . . .

Pump out three books a year, maybe a little lighter in content, the characters not quite as complex, and the plot is a bit predictable.

— or —

Write one book in a year with multi-faceted characters, a twisty-turny plot, and a theme that makes you wonder about life’s big meanings.

Your choice? And no, you can’t have it both ways, not consistently. So pick one. Go ahead. I won’t judge you . . . leastwise not on this issue. Shoes are an altogether different topic.

Personally, I like a meaty, heavy-fisted book that whacks me upside the head. But that’s just me. If you answered differently, then more power to you, Scooter, because here’s the deal . . . there are two distinct types of readers:

  • Those who devour books like there’s no tomorrow, who are satisfied with an entertaining story that’s not necessarily profound. 
  • Those who like to dig into the what if’s and how come’s of life in a story format.

And you know what? That’s great news for you, writer, because it gives guilt the big beat down. You need no longer feel pressure to either ramp up or down your writing speed.

Writers are psychotic little mammals, all worried about if they’re putting out enough books in a certain amount of time or if what they’re putting out is too fluffy. Yet in light of reader diversity, open your arms wide writer, because there’s a place at the readerly table for you.

If you’re a writer who loves to pound out words at high speed and have so many plot ideas you could type your little fingers to nubbies, then do it and quit fretting about not having themes that vibrate a reader’s heartstrings for months afterward.

Or if you’re a writer who’s slow but sure, anguishing about word placement and choice, and the thought of finishing two books in a year is not only exhausting but devastating, then listen to this round of applause. It’s okay to not work at lightspeed.

Newsflash: there is no magic number of how many books you need to put out in a year, despite what marketing gurus say, because readers are as diverse a group as writers.

Guilt about what you create and how you create it will suck the joy right out of your bones—and ain’t nobody got time for that.

TWEETABLES
How Many Books Are Too Many? by Michelle Griep (Click to Tweet)

_________

12 Days at Bleakly Manor

Imprisoned unjustly, BENJAMIN LANE wants nothing more than freedom and a second chance to claim the woman he loves—but how can CLARA CHAPMAN possibly believe in the man who stole her family’s fortune and abandoned her at the altar? Brought together under mysterious circumstances for the Twelve Days of Christmas, Clara and Ben discover that what they’ve been striving for isn’t what ultimately matters . . . and what matters most is love.

Author Michelle Griep
Michelle Griep’s
been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She is
the author of historical romances: The
Innkeeper’s Daughter, 12 Days at Bleakly Manor, The Captive Heart, Brentwood’s
Ward, A Heart Deceived, Undercurrent
andGallimore,
but also leaped the historical fence into the realm of contemporary with the
zany romantic mystery Out of the Frying
Pan
. If you’d like to keep up with her escapades, find her at www.michellegriep.com or stalk her on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.