Tuesday, August 30, 2011
As an editor and a reader before that, I've seen many, many different types of books come through our doors. Some manuscripts I just know the author's trying to push through because the topic is what's 'in' right now-or they're trying to do a twist on a popular theme. For example, if we still accepted YA novels, I'm sure there would be a million and one about high schoolers falling in love with vampires.
Now in theory there's nothing wrong with this. And if the story is well-written with dynamic characters, it definitely works.
However, if you aren't writing your heart, or your passion, it shows on paper. It's lifeless, or cardboard. Flat characters. Or crazy ideas. Things that may make even the most prolific romance reader cringe in horror.
As a writer, I'm aware that my first completed novel is not ready for prime time publishing. But I think about it frequently. I love the hero and heroine. I still love the story. And I'm sure at some point I'll take it out, dust it off, and give it a rewrite.
Getting published is important-a dream of most writers. We, here at TWRP love to help authors' dreams come true.
But don't forget to write your heart.
Something started you on this path. Don't lose sight of it.
Monday, August 22, 2011
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Monday, August 15, 2011
Hi...I'm Ally Robertson, an editor for the Crimson Suspense line. 'Suspense' is the operative word here. I receive countless submissions that just aren't suspenseful enough. We need danger...threats...maybe a little violence...yes, even death. I want you to keep me on the edge of my seat. I want you to make me worry for your characters. I want your bad guy (or girl) to give me chills. Of course, there has to be romance--we're a romance publisher, after all. But, in the SUSPENSE line, I also need some danger and devastation. I need to see it soon, too. If your character hasn't experienced anything harrowing in the first chapter, you don't have a suspense.
It's hard to pinpoint exactly how soon the danger should come, but the first scene is an excellent place for it. I will, however, settle for the first chapter. I've received partials of the first three chapters where absolutely nothing frightening or the least bit worrisome happens. Sometimes, the writing is good and the romance is good. In that case, it's probably just in the wrong line.
If your heroine has a psycho ex she's running from, just having her mull over all the bad stuff he did to her in the past isn't enough. Something should happen early in the story to at least make her think he's caught up to her. A dead body is always good...not literally, not in real life, but in your story. If, for example, someone the heroine knows dies under suspicious circumstances, if it looks like psycho ex could be involved, you've probably got a suspense.
Some examples where you likely don't have a suspense are, first and foremost, if nothing threatening or mysterious happens in the first few chapters. Or, if nothing happens during your story, period. For example, if you have a story where the townspeople talk about killings that took place years ago, and no one is in danger now, you probably don't have a suspense.
So please, before you send us a suspense story, make sure you hurt or kill or maim someone (IN YOUR STORY, THAT IS), or at least severely threaten and/or terrorize them. And do it soon. Otherwise, you might have a stellar romance...but you just don't have a suspense.
Crimson Rose - Suspense and Intrigue
Monday, August 8, 2011
Hello, I’m Corinne MacGregor, and I’ve been an editor here at TWRP for about four years. It seems our editors have touched upon so many wonderful topics that I wondered what I could add this week. Then something came to mind, an issue I often encounter as an editor: distant writing.
Distant writing is something that stands out and is a problem because it interferes with the emotional enjoyment or connection with the characters in a story. Reporting something after the fact is not as exciting as letting the reader experience a scene as it unfolds for the characters.
It’s more fun to read a story if you’re involved and can almost hear, smell, see, touch, and taste what the point of view character does. Also, the inner happenings of the non-POV characters can be shown through expression, body language, tone, etc.
Here are some words that can be rephrased to take a story from distant writing to more in-depth, emotionally alluring writing:
Heard, saw, watched, thought, knew, and my favorite ;) “felt.”
When I see these in a manuscript, many times I’ll ask the writer to be more direct and “get under the character’s skin” so to speak.
While being more direct, the writer can involve the character’s emotions. Make it relevant to the character. For example, instead of “She heard footsteps coming up the stairs” this could be rephrased as “With each creak of the step, growing louder as he ascended, her excitement grew. She clasped her hands together and chuckled.”
Seeing words such as “saw” and “felt” draw a reader from the story by putting distance between the characters and them that shouldn’t be there to be engaging. Those words give it less of a feel of fiction and more like one of journalism/reporting.
Adverbs, especially those that end in –ly do the same thing. They water down writing and should be avoided where possible. There you go! Happy writing.
Thursday, August 4, 2011
For instance, if you are a British author we let you keep your spelling but require the punctuation follow U.S. rules, including periods and commas inside quotation marks, generally, with those quotation marks double rather than single. We like commas in sentences using direct address, too: “Oh, John, are you leaving?”
- Too many spaces between words – we have an easy fix for that when we format the galley proof.
- Whether dashes are the right size – as long as you have two hyphens, an n-dash, or an m-dash wherever you want a dash, we will take care of that, too.
- Underlining vs. italics – we can accept either one, but with underlining the editor will have to change each to italics during editing.
- What type font to use – or any other formatting details. We will make sure everything is in order for publication, and you will see it before it goes out.
Monday, August 1, 2011
Sometimes a story is well written but the voice is I guess you'd call it DULL.
There you go writers - take these words and heed them. Go over your latest manuscript and see if you fit any of these rejection flags and see how to change it. As always, you will grow the more you write so never stop trying.