Sunday, March 30, 2008

CNYRW Mini-Con Recap / News For Next Year

CNYRW's two-day mini-conference is over, but I am still jazzed up. Day one was a two-hour session on rhetorical devices, and I scribbled notes so fast I got a hand cramp. The hotel was terrific, recently remodeled with an indoor pool. I was up until midnight chatting with fellow authors. If I learned that much in two hours, I wondered whether my head might explode the next day in an all-day workshop!

Margie was terrific and she really knows her stuff. If you haven't taken her classes, online or otherwise, I highly recommend them. Check her website out too - Click Here! She's also a very nice lady who's generous with her time and talent. She drives you to dig deep into your characters' psyches and put the physical expressions of their mental workings on the page. I thought I was good, but after Margie's workshop I realized I have only been scratching the surface of what I can do. Now to carve out a few hours where I can really rake this manuscript and get down deep into my characters' heads. I came away inspired from this workshop, and I can't wait for next year!

Which brings me to my next point: Next year's Mini-Con! The speaker will be CJ Lyons, whose first novel LIFELINES scored a perfect ten with Romance Reviews Today and a Romantic Times top pick! Coming soon, you'll find all the details at the CNY Romance Writers website!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Who Turned Out The (Background) Lights?

Why's my background black today? Find out what's going on and help your planet at Earth Hour! As anyone who knows me can attest, I am very pro-environment. You can help, too, and it's simple. Click the link and see!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Golden Heart News (Not Me!) & Pub News (Also Not Me) / Thanks!

I have a plug this week for my fellow Book Cents author, Amanda Brice, whose YA manuscript PARTY LIKE IT'S 1899 finaled in the Golden Heart awards. Way to go, Amanda!

In other news, my pals Susan St. Thomas and Jenni Holbrook have contracted with The Wild Rose Press. Susan's book MELTDOWN will be released later this year, and the release date for Jenni's book REKINDLED is TBA. Congrats, ladies! You've earned it!

Thanks to all who have been following The Villain's Journey this month. (Three posts pretty much covered it!) If there is something you'd like to see me blog about, feel free to E-mail me.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Villain's Journey #3

The Big Fight

Everything your hero and villain do is leading up to the big fight scene, the climax of your book. In this scene, there is one extremely important rule to remember:

Do not pull your punches.

If your villain strikes at your hero, let your hero get hurt. This proves that not only have you created a villain who is strong and vicious enough to mean business, but just as in the real world, if you fight, you'll get hurt. Writers who pull punches because they don't want to hurt their favorite characters are only doing their readers a disservice. There's no threat in a world where your hero can't be touched, and that makes for a dull book.

Let your villain fight in character. Is he smooth and polished? Make him fight that way. Is he a bloody-minded man of chaos? Show that. The same goes for your hero, by the way. What you'll have by doing this is a fight as unique as your characters.

Another important rule: Your villain must lose.

Seems obvious, right? But in the romance genre, this is a must-happen, just as is a happy ending. Let that bad guy get his comeuppance so your reader can cheer with your hero!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Villain's Journey #2

Strength of Character

Your hero isn't the only one who needs to be tough. Your villain, too, must have strong goals, motivations, and resources. If he's a pushover with laughable henchmen, your reader's going to know without doubt that he'll be beaten, and what fun is that? (In romance, we know it anyway, but we like when you make us forget that and sit on the edges of our seats.)

Give your villain as much attention as you do your hero. Arm him with powerful resources and a darn good reason to hate the hero. The resulting power struggle is what makes epic battles epic. The more powerful your villain, the harder your hero must fight to win, and the more gripping your story will be. Remember that a hero shines best against opposition that offers him the greatest test of his heroic qualities. So save some of that super-strength for your bad guys!

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

The Villain's Journey #1

It's All About Me

The first thing you need to remember about villains is that they think your book is about their story and struggles. And, in a way, it is as much about your villain as it is about your hero and heroine. If you're going to have a bad guy (or girl!) in your story, it makes sense to have him as fleshed-out as your hero and heroine, with his own goal, motivation, and conflict. It's no contest fighting a cardboard villain, and no fun for the reader either. Yaaa-a-awn.

Remember that your villain believes he is in the right, and that's what makes him battle your hero so tenaciously. So spend time on his story, and what makes him tick. You don't have to agree with his goal, but it must make sense and be a solid one. Get into his head and find out why he does what he does. It helps to have planned out his story arc, even if the reader doesn't see it all on the pages. The more thought you put into your bad guy, the more of an obstacle he'll seem to the good guy. That makes for a great read.