The Key to Writing Romance Your Readers Will LoveThe Key to Writing Romance Your Readers Will Love by LauraMizvaria
I'd like to address an element that has been bugging me for some time that can make or break a romance storyline. The thing is, all too often characters are purported to fall deeply in love with each other for no apparent reason and without ample time to even do so. Thus, there is a plot thread or even an entire novel wrapped around a relationshi
Naming Your NovelNaming Your Novel by LauraMizvaria
*This is also helpful for other types of fiction and possibly even non-fiction.*
Note: How careful you have to be naming your novel depends heavily on if you are planning to sell it, and how you are planning to sell it. If you are an unknown who is self-publishing and you want a lot of people to read and buy your novel, you need to do extensive research on the market. This article only covers a few tips, and I am in no way a publishing expert. But, even if you don't plan on going mass-commercial, that doesn't mean you shouldn't spend some time deciding on a name for your labor of love and I hope this article provides some useful ideas.
Consider important items--does your story revolve around a magical staff, sword or pendant? For example: "The Staff of Alema," "The Sapphire Sword," or "The Destiny Pendant." (I know these are cheesy but you get the idea).
Consider who your protagonist IS--is it an assassin, a magician, an apprentice
How to Hook a ReaderHow to Hook a Reader by LauraMizvaria
I should note that this article will be primarily concerning YA fiction, as that is what I know most about. You may notice that some of these openings use elements that I cautioned against in an earlier article. Told ‘ya there were bountiful exceptions to writing “rules.”
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis
“There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.”
This one is just awesome. I adore some subtle humor in a book, and it’s a great way to start out if you’re witty enough. This short and amusing opening line tells us a lot about the character in a very short time. His name also gives an indication that he is not from the land of Narnia, but is probably from England, if this book is to be similar to the ones prior to it in the series. We know something about his age in t
The 10 Worst Story OpeningsThe 10 Worst Story Openings by LauraMizvaria
*disclaimer* I did not come up with all this all by my lonesome, it kind of evolved from things I read by other people when researching how I should start something I was writing, and I noticed a lot of people were saying pretty much the same things. I know I’m cynical and I know there are bountiful exceptions to these so-called “rules.” These are just things to avoid or be careful about.
1. Waking up.
“BEEEP BEEP RIIIING RIIING, the alarm clock jerks 14 year old Jessica Parker out of a sound sleep. She groans and fumbles to shut it off. Her mom calls from the next room, ‘Hurry up Jessie you’re going to be late!’ Jessie wills herself to get up, and get ready for school. She looks into the mirror at her frizzy red hair, which always turns into a rat’s nest after sleeping. As she begins to brush out her tangled locks, her annoying little brother comes running into the roo
Ultimate Character QuestionnaireUltimate Character Questionnaire by LauraMizvaria
What is your name?
What is your name’s origin and meaning, and how was it chosen?
How tall are you?
Who do you live with or near, if anyone?
Where is your residence and what is it like?
What is your hometown and local culture like?
Who are your parents?
Are you married, single, seeking a relationship, avoiding romance?
What is your class/income level?
What is your income source and/or occupation?
What is your education?
What is your worldview/religion? What is your level of devotion to that philosophy?
What are your current life problems?
Who (or what) are your enemies?
What are your priorities in life?
What is your goal in life? What is your motivation for this goal?
What is your goal in this story? What is your motivation for this goal?
What changes do you undergo by the end of the story (emotional, physical, philosophical, relational, etc)?
What is your central philosophy in life?
What moral code do you follow and wh
11 Awesome Websites for Writers11 Awesome Websites for Writers by LauraMizvaria
Other writers I follow are constantly posting articles from this site, and for good reason! You don't have to be a teen to take advantage of their extensive writers-education articles on topics like character background, getting published, how to get good inspiration, developing ideas, writing prompts, and much more! They’ve also got a great Pinterest account and a Facebook group with a fun and helpful community.
If you’ve been in the online writing community long, chances
Story Structure: Plot PointsStory Structure: Plot Points by LauraMizvaria
A story without structure is like a body without bones: it’s messy and won’t get very far. Structure gives both you and your readers a clear sense of direction and purpose. If you check around for story structure outlines, many of them will based on Blake Snyder’s Beat Sheet. It is a basic plot structure, typically used in screenwriting. However, it can really apply to any media form because it follows a basic three act structure. This one is somewhat based on Snyder’s outline as well. Note that all of the elements of this outline are not completely set in stone, but this is a good structure for sequence of events. Sometimes it's hard to analyze exactly where every point of a story falls into the beat sheet, but you'll get the idea. The three most basic ingredients you need before you can fill out the details of this structure are: a protagonist, a goal
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I'd like to address an element that has been bugging me for some time that can make or break a romance storyline. The thing is, all too often characters are purported to fall deeply in love with each other for no apparent reason and without ample time to even do so. Thus, there is a plot thread or even an entire novel wrapped around a relationship that has very little basis--which causes readers to care very little about the story. Admittedly, this has been a flaw in my own writing whenever I try to insert a romantic thread and have only recently discovered the true problem with boring, dispassionate love stories.
When I'm watching a poorly written chick-flick on the Hallmark Channel or browsing through romance books online, too often I wonder, "Why are these people in love? Why do they want and need each other so much? Why should I care?" An example of such lack of "chemistry" and basis for romance would be the movie Love Comes Softly--in my opinion, at least. Maybe I'm just missing it, but I don't see a particularly spectacular reason the heroin and love interest should be paired together. It makes sense that they are both lonely and need someone to share life with, but there isn't much reason the lead characters in particular should be paired, it seems most any other decent person would do. Love comes softly indeed--so softly you can't even hear it, in this case.
As an author, you can't just tell your readers "and they were deeply in love and would even die for each other so they are going to get married and you should be thrilled" and expect readers to get emotional about it. You must show why and how those elements of romance and true love arose. How is the character's life different with or without her significant other? Why must the character be paired with THIS particular person and no other? What is going make your readers ship these characters? Why should your romance story be your readers' OTP?
One of my all time favorite love stories is Pride and Prejudice. Why is this love story so provoking? Because Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy are just so perfect for each other--both are prideful, both hold prejudice against each other initially, both enjoy witty banter, both are stubborn and cynical, yet when they see virtue truly appreciate it. All of these things and more make them seem as though they were made for each other. When reading the book, we feel that Elizabeth could never love any man but Darcy, and vice versa. The King and I is another great example--both are interested in each other's cultures, both want to better the world around them, and both have a very strong sense of "the way things should be." As in Pride and Prejudice their similarities at first cause conflict but end up making the better understand and love each other. In both of these examples, the characters have attributes that make them complimentary to each other, the characters are complex enough that it is extremely unlikely any other pairing could work, and the two have gotten to know each other well enough to reveal their deepest attributes to each other.
If you still have difficulty giving your romantic pairing a good basis, it might help to forget about the romance element altogether for a moment and consider why any relationship is significant. What makes the parting of two best friends so sad? What makes a person away at college miss her family? What makes some siblings love spending time together? What makes a student remember a particular teacher all his life? The deepest of love stories don't have as much to do with infatuation as they do a deep connection--someone who understands her better than anyone else, someone who makes him want to be of exemplary moral character, someone who makes her want to suck the marrow out of life, someone who makes him feel like he's no longer an outcast of the world, etc. These type of connections don't often happen and go much deeper than just someone to hang out with who has a few things in common.
Your romantic storyline will fall flat and fail to impassion if two characters suddenly "fall in love" without explanation, reason, or build-up; however, you can enthrall readers when you give a strong basis for why your characters are in love.