The Unconventional Guide to Writing a Good Romance Novel

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What does it take to go about writing a good romance novel? Well first, let me throw out the disclaimer I am no way, shape, or form an expert in writing, but it’s a part of my daily life, and besides I know more now than when I wrote my first novel five years ago. And to be honest, I still pick up valuable tips when I stumble upon them.

Even as a novice writer back then, the one thing I knew for sure when I became an independent author was my genre would be romance. I love reading it. Readers get deep down, invested in a romance novel, one of many reasons the genre is so popular. They love the concept of two attractive people meeting and falling in love, are ready to go through boxes of Kleenex when the male and female go through their conflicts and struggles, and can finally breathe again at the end of the story when the love-birds work everything out to live their happily ever after.

So how do you begin a good romance novel? Well, think about story ideas you can write about for your novel, if possible, something that would spark a reader’s interest. After you figure it out, the next move is to work out your storyline. Try thinking about it in different phrases (e.g. beginning, middle, end) and mapping events out. It helps a lot.

The information below are a few ideas to steer you in the right directions.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I need inspiration for my storyline. How do I get it?
You can base a storyline off real-life experiences or something you made up. This is where you get creative and let your imagination soar. Still, if you find yourself at a loss, think about things that have triggered your interest, and why it did, such as books, magazines, tv shows, and movies just to name a few.

What is the age group of your audience?
Determine if adults or tweens will read your romance novel. It doesn’t matter which one you pick, just remember your novel should be age-appropriate for the reader.

Point of View.
When you’re creating your story you should consider what point of view you are writing. I prefer writing in third-person point of view, but choose what’s comfortable for you.

Think about the main character.
The main character tells the story so you want this person to be interesting so he/she engages with the reader (e.g. Joe of Caroline Kepnes’ book/Lifetime Movie YOU).

What type of romance should I write?
By this I mean there are subgenres of romance (e.g. historical, contemporary, time travel, etc.) For example, the subgenres of my stories are interracial romance, which is the partnering between different races; paranormal, these deal with vampires, werewolves, and other undead; and/or urban fantasy, which is good vs. evil. Though writing in different genres may not be the norm, my belief is you should write however you want and do what works for you.

These suggestions are starters to head you in the right direction. I hope you found it useful.

 

 

What is Scrivener?

I never thought I would say this, but Scrivener is wonderful for putting a story together. What is Scrivener? Plain and simple it is a word-processing program and story outline designed for authors, writers, students, and bloggers, among others who do a lot of writing.
scrivenerTo be honest, I wasn’t always optimistic about Scrivener. My first-time hearing about the program was from someone who told me it was something I might find useful. Okay fine, that person piqued my curiosity. I did a little research, however, after watching a few YouTube videos, I felt intimidated by Scrivener. Yes, you could do a lot with it, but it was so overwhelming for a newbie. As I think back, I know now it had a lot to do with the presentation not being clear, concise, and to the point. That’s pretty much how I lost interest.

 

Okay now fast forward to the present. Out of the blue, I get an email invite about a user-friendly webinar explaining how I can get Scrivener to do exactly what I want. To tell you the truth, I was real iffy about it, but I took part, and I’m glad I did. The webinar was so helpful and well explained for a beginner such as myself. It helped in familiarizing me with Scrivener and explaining how I can best use Scrivener in managing my writing. The concept behind Scrivener is it’s basically an electronic huge binder that holds all your saved correspondence on a specific writing project (i.e. video and audio files, web pages, pictures, PDFs, etc.) in one place that is available to you at a click of a button. That’s huge for me, and I find it convenient not having to search all over my hard drive for something.

 

A Few Features of Scrivener:
• Piece it Together. Switch instantly between editing your writing one section at a time and together as a whole.
• Corkboard. In Scrivener, every section of your project is attached to a virtual index card. Scrivener’s corkboard lets you step back and work with just the synopses you’ve written on the cards—and when you move them, you’re rearranging your manuscript at the same time.
• Outliner. Like the corkboard, the outliner lets you work with an overview of a chapter, a part, or even your whole manuscript—but puts even more information at your fingertips.
• Print, Export, Publish. Scrivener has everything you need to prepare your manuscript for sharing with the world.

I could go on and on because there are more features, but if you visit Scrivener’s website you can get a better insight of the program. What I appreciated the most is before you pay for anything, you can do a 30-day free trial. That was so beneficial for me, for it allowed me an opportunity to see if this was a purchase I truly wanted to make. The outcome—it won me over.

My final words on Scrivener would be, try it out. Who knows, you might like it too.

Tax Tips for Authors

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It’s 2018 and I’m diving back into action after taking a long, but strongly needed hiatus from my blog. Initial subject of this piece is discussing the new tax law and the effect it has on authors and their 2017 taxes. So if you’re a procrastinator and haven’t filed still, such as me, continue reading.

The outcome of my research on this was freelance writers and self-published authors are: (1) small business owners; (2) their profits are described as self-employment income; and, (3) they may write off standard business cost. As far as changes, this is nothing but excellent news! A quick reference to keep in mind is, if you declare yourself as an employee of your business, you cannot enter deductions.

One article I saw online, Tax Tips for Freelance Writers and Self-Published Authors, offer great advice for filing your 2017 taxes, along with useful information on the Schedule C, home office deductions, and the 1099-MISC. I hope you find it helpful.

One Space or Two Spaces After the Period at the End of the Sentence?

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I decided to do a little research about that pesky question of whether to use one or two spaces after the period at the end of a sentence. As a lifelong proponent of the two spaces camp, I now grudgingly yield to the 21st century and advances in typography to move to using only one space after the period.

Every major style guide–including the “bibles” of the Modern Language Association Style Manual and the Chicago Manual of Style–prescribes a single space after a period. The two-space rule began during the age of typewriters, when the spacing of letters was not proportional (as it is now) and using two spaces at the end of a sentence made documents more readable. The only computer font that is not proportional is Courier, which we do not use. (I don’t think anyone uses it anymore.)

According to an article in Slate (http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/technology/2011/01/space_invaders.html) which addressed this very issue, “because we’ve all switched to modern fonts, adding two spaces after a period no longer enhances readability, typographers say. It diminishes it.” This same point was made by every major source that I researched.

So, I am waving the white flag of surrender in my ancient, Tyrannosaurus Rex hands to say that I think the switch to one space is the better and updated rule to follow.

I feel I can adapt to change okay, however, if you find yourself having great difficulty in making this transition, I saw the following suggestion in the online version of the Chicago Manual of Style: once the document is finished, use the Find and Replace feature to eliminate all double spaces. In the “Find” box, type two spaces, and in the “Replace With” box, type one space. Hit “Replace All” and you’re done.

R. Lynn Archie

www.rlynnarchie.com

IS SELF-PUBLISHING RIGHT FOR EVERYBODY?

IS SELF-PUBLISHING RIGHT FOR EVERYBODY

The book publishing world has gone through a revolution in recent years that is similar to the one that happened in music ten years ago when it became easy for bands to publish their own music and have their fans download it, instead of dealing with the middlemen – the record companies. With the rise of e-books it’s easy for authors to self-publish, rather than go through the laborious process of trying to get a book contract with a mainstream publisher.

But is it worth it? There are many pros and cons to self-publishing, and if you’re thinking of doing it, these are the questions you should ask.

How long am I willing to wait to get published?
If you have a story or idea that is just gnawing at you and you feel compelled to publish it, you’ll definitely get it into your readers’ hands a lot quicker if you self-publish. The traditional publishing route can take years, from the time when you send out your first manuscript to when the book actually gets on the market. If you self-publish an e-book it will be a matter of months from the time you write it to when you can publish it.

Am I willing to promote and market my book, or do I want somebody else to do that?
Traditional publishers do a lot of the marketing for their books, which takes pressure off the authors. If you self-publish, the marketing begins and ends with you.

Do I want to do all the editing, cover design, formatting, etc. myself, or do I want somebody else to do that?
Again, traditional publishers have the manpower to do the jobs involved in the book’s presentation. If you self-publish, you’re responsible for all that.

How much of a royalty do I want?
Self-publishers get to keep up to 70 percent of their book’s income. The royalty offered by publishers is usually in the single digits. Self-publishing is a viable option for some authors, but for others, it’s not as attractive as going the traditional publishing route. It’s a question you need to research and think about, to determine if it’s right for you.

R. Lynn Archie
www.rlynnarchie.com

Suggestions on How to Get Out of a Writing Rut

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Has there ever been a time when you wanted to get essential thoughts down on paper but just could not get yourself moving to do so? Whether you are a writer, student, or simply someone wanting to inscribe a thank you note, it can happen. The magic question is what can be done to get out of the rut?

Helpful Suggestions

Think about what you are trying to write about in the first place. Start by focusing on the task at hand and then begin mentally de-cluttering your mind of everything else.

Put your thoughts down on something tangible like paper or a computer. If you are anything like me, as soon as a great inspiration pops into my head I have to immediately write it down. When you have a busy schedule, it’s very easy to forget things.  With this method, you then have the option to go back to your notes later on. It’s a helpful way to kick-start your creative juices to get it flowing again.

Select a means to push your productivity. This can be a special room, a selective piece of furniture like a bed or chair, a special music playlist, or even something straightforward as a change of scenery like sitting in the park or going to a coffee shop. Whatever you decide to do it should be something that is refreshing, and will give you the ability to concentrate.
All it takes is the decision to get started, and as long as you stay motivated and passionate you have the foundation to work through getting out of a rut.

 

R. Lynn Archie

Website:  www.rlynnarchie.com

Just a quick Update

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Sunday was a busy day, but I made time to work on Trial of Marriage 3. Slowly but surely, I’m making progress. Since this is the final book of the series, it’s kind of sad to have the story ending because I’ve really enjoyed the characters. Nevertheless, I’m striving to make sure that all loose ends are cleared up and thoroughly explained. I really wanted to have the book ready by Mother’s Day; however, I’m afraid that’s not going to happen. But, I’ll keep you updated, and I’ll have a better feel about the release date around the middle of May.

The fact that someone other than myself enjoys reading my books means a lot, so thank you for your support. Oh before I forget, I wanted to mention that you should sign up for my website mailing list at www.rlynnarchie.com.  I plan on doing spontaneous giveaways and freebie stuff for my mailing list participants.

Talk soon, and enjoy your day!

R. Lynn