Friday, December 21, 2007

Happy Holidays to Everyone!

Christmas is right around the corner and I am ready for it! My son arrived home early Wednesday from boot camp (called at 4:00 a.m. to let me know he got an earlier flight) so we've been busy taking him Xmas shopping, and wrapping gifts. Today was our last outing for gifts and I am finished. Tomorrow I get the holiday groceries and we are good to go.

It's very nice having him home again and he is already a different person. A neater one (wasn't before) everything has a place and everything must be in that place. Wish I were that good. He is up early and out jogging at 5 a.m. (better person than me!) So I'm grateful that the entire family will be together this year to celebrate.

I hope all my readers have a wonderul holiday as well. Family is a cherished commodity nowadays. So make every moment count. I'll be getting a fresh start on my writing after the New Year. Going to spend my time now with my family. So to all of you out there - Happy Holidays and a safe and Prosperus New Year!


Friday, December 14, 2007

Gail Gaymer Martin - Guest Blogging!

I am excited to welcome Gail Gaymer Martin to my blog. Gail is a fabulous Inspirational Romance Writer with Steeple Hill and Barbour Publishing. She also has a new nonfiction release coming out soon entitled Writing The Christian Romance. Welcome Gail!!

Plotting: Story Structure
by Gail Gaymer Martin
from Writing Fiction Right Blog at

With the release of my new book for Writers Digest, Writing The Christian Romance, to be released at the end of December, I decided that a new blog on writing for all genre would be appropriate and Writing Fiction Right came into being. I began with plotting and describe four plotting styles, one of which is more uncommon and has gotten a lot of great reaction from my blog readers. This style is Index Cards. Following the four entries on Plotting Styles, I followed with this topic: Story Structure.

I can't talk about plotting styles without talking about plotting structure. Structure refers to the way our story breaks down into pieces that have established purposes. The most common structure, and the one I will describe, is using the pattern of a three-act play. Most movies and stage plays are structured this way, and I'm sure you'll find the same pattern in most books you read.This means that your book will fall into three acts, and each act has a purpose. The first act sets up your story. It introduces the major characters and provides some characterization. This act establishes setting which also means location and time of year, and introduces a goal and usually some of the motivation for this goal, but most important it initiates the first conflict in your book. A good conflict and dynamic characters will hook your reader from the very beginning.Conflict is a major proponent of fiction. Without it, you have no story but only vignettes of characters existence, and vignettes are not what makes a good book. Remember that conflict is both external and internal. External conflicts are those that are outside the characters. They both want the same thing and only one can have it, for example. Internal conflicts are those that go against the character's beliefs, morals, and values. In Christian fiction, the internal conflict is often one of the strongest conflicts because the character not only struggles with what is right or wrong, but it also owes allegience to God who established guidelines for Christians to follow. Still whether a Christian character or not, the internal conflict is strong because if deals with the person's morals, values and pride.While Act I sets up the first conflict, Act II will add conflict upon conflict until the dark moment of your book when it seems that all will be lost. As you construct the conflicts, make sure they are believable, logical, and that they grow in seriousness to the lives of the major characters of the story. As one conflict seems to be resolving, let another appear to hook the reader and draw him along with you.The final Act - Act III - is the resolution of your story. This final section of your book usually deals with the horrible black moment -- the worst conflict that could occur --then resolves it and pulls together all the "loose strings" of all subplots and story lines to come to a final ending that will please the reader. Normally in romantic suspense, you will solve the mystery and then resolve the romance.Within these Acts are scenes. Each scene is an event in time presented through the eyes of one character. This means that only those things that this character can see, smell, hear, feel, touch and know can be part of the scene. The character has no idea what is going on in the head of anyone else. He can only surmise it at best. Each scene must move the story forward in some way by presenting new information, heightening conflict, deepening characterization, or foreshadowing something that will happen later in the story, but each scene must also have conflict and leave the reader with questions or an "ah-ha" moment at the end of the scene.As the story progresses, the scenes must show the growth of the characters and their faith (if this is Christian fiction) as well as show the changes in the characters relationships.As you begin to plot, check all three Acts to make sure that each is accomplishing its purpose. Usually Act I and Act III are the shortest sections of the book. Act II is the longest and the most difficult to write since it must have dynamic plotting and pacing to keep the reader connected and interested. But if you follow the basic rule --- each scene adds something new and important to the story---then you're on the right track.Ask yourself these questions:Have I provided an important piece of information to this scene?Have I upped the ante (made the situation more serious for one character)?Have I given clues or hints -- foreshadowed -- any event that will happen in this story?Have I provided new information about a goal or motivation of a major character?Have I shown the strengths as well as weaknesses of a major character?Have I added or strengthened a conflict?These are some of the questions that can help you make your scenes both meaningful and ones that will capture your readers attention. Next I'll discuss the acts of a novel in more detail.

If you're interested in learning more about Gail's book, Writing the Christian Romance, you can go to and find the book cover, then use the cursor on the description to go to where you can learn more about this book and pre-order it.

Almost Time!

Well, color me excited. Here it is the middle of December (almost) and for once I am actaully ready for the holidays. The tree is up and decorated, my Snow Baby collection is set up in the living room (ok, cheated on that one, it's been out since last year), the wreath is on the door and the presents are wrapped and under the tree, and the holiday food is bought and in the frig. Now the only thing left is for the fat man to slide down the chimney on Christmas Eve. (G)

My writing has taken a slow turn on a slippery road this past week. While I am being productive, I am not being as productive as I would like. I know it's the holidays, but the bills have to be paid and they utility company doesn't want to hear my muse is slacking off! Just took a very good workshop by the Southern Magic chapter on agents. Learned quite a bit. And today went and saw I Am Legend with Will Smith. What a great movie. There are lots of twists and turns and freaky moments (I'm one of those hide behind my hand when I'm creeped out kind of gals!) and also squeezed the living daylights out of my poor hubby's hand more than once.

I also want to let everyone know that Gail Gaymer Martin will be guest blogging on my site tomorrow. She is a fabulous inspirational romance writer who is so sweet and kind in person and a wealth of knowledge! She also has a new release coming up Dec 15th entitled Writing the Christian Romance. If you haven't heard about it already, go check it out!

So Happy Holidays to all and I hope you stop back tomorrow and check out Gail's post.


Sunday, December 2, 2007

Let It Snow, Let It Snow

Well, I don't know where everyone else is living, but here in Michigan it is definitely a white wonderland. While I love snow, I really like it when I don't have to be out in it. (G) I'm perfectly fine admiring it from inside the warmth of my house! Right now it's not coming down but it really foggy outside.

I hope everyone is doing well this holiday season. I'm looking forward to Christmas with my family. My son will be arriving home for a holiday break from the Army Boot Camp and I know that means it's time to restock the frig. That boy can eat 8 times a day without coming up for air.

I hope you will all check back on December 15th when I'll have Gail Gaymer Martin guest blogging for the day. She is a very prolific author and a good friend. And if you are an aspiring writer, you need to check out Gail's newest release Writing the Christian Romance Novel. You can find it at her webiste

Until next time, take care and stay warm!