Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Beginning Writers: Redundancy and other misc tips

Beginning Writers: Redundancy and other misc tips
Watch out for these redundant words:
Stand (up)
Sit (down)
Turned (back)
Needs (to be)
He thought (to himself)
The following are words that you can usually cut from your manuscript. They are too wordy:
That had Been
Words that sometimes trip us up
Lay – to place
Lie – to recline
Quite, quiet, quit (easy words to type wrong)
Affect – is the verb
Effect – is the noun 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Beginning Writers: Learn to Crawl Before You Run

Beginning Writers: Learn to Crawl Before You Run
by Beverly Oz

(reprinted from the Greenhouse on Wild Rose Press website)

Most new writers will never write 'the end'

At a local chapter meeting of the Romance Writers of America (RWA), I heard some staggering statistics about newbie writers. Most new writers will never write 'the end' on a full-length manuscript. They'll start the novel of their hearts, but for various reasons, will never finish the story.

Learning the craft can be overwhelming

Having spent the last three years on my first novel, I can certainly understand why so many newbie authors give up. Learning the craft of writing romance can be overwhelming. There are so many confusing rules and guidelines to follow (showing vs. telling, creating and maintaining goals, motivation, and conflict, POV, etc…), those without a handle on knowing what they are doing can quickly find themselves in over their heads. At that point a sink-or-swim mentality can take over. If the statistics are true, most newbie writers go under.

Baby steps. Start small and work my way up

While experiencing my own bout of career-stalling water sucking, the fates intervened with a lesson I should have learned from Mother Nature long ago. Baby steps. Start small and work my way up.

Like a newborn attempting to run a marathon, I simply didn't have skills or writing techniques at an advanced enough level to start and finish a 100,000 word novel. I needed to start small, to get my footing. After almost giving up on writing all-together, I swallowed my pride, and wrote a short story.

At only 5,000 words, finishing the story was relatively easy. But as I pounded out those few words I learned how to hone my craft. I had conflict, goals, and motivation. I had interesting characters and descriptions. All the pieces needed for a good, compelling story came together like a puzzle.

Everything clicked.

... gave me the confidence to continue writing

The sense of accomplishment I experienced at completing that story (which appeared in the October 2006 edition of True Romance) gave me the confidence to continue writing.

My second completed story was longer - 10,000 words. But not only did I up the ante by writing a longer story, I tried my hand at a paranormal erotica. I had never attempted writing in that genre or at that level of sensuality before, making the story a real challenge. But I took one baby step after another, and met the challenge head on. The experience forced me to stretch my skills and grow as a writer. I'm waiting to hear from a publisher who may or may not be interested in this story. But, even if I don't sell, I'm proud I finished another project I started.

My latest baby step is a 20,000 word novella that will be a part of a Christmas anthology published by The Wild Rose Press, an on-line publisher. The story, Tales From Christmas Town, is due out in November.

...writing short stories prepared me for the novel of my heart

Everything I've learned and all the confidence I've gained in writing the short stories has prepared me for the novel of my heart. Now that I've mastered how to crawl, I'm ready to beat the odds and try out my first real step into a full-length novel. Should be a walk around the park.

(reprinted with permission from 

Monday, May 20, 2013

How to lose a sale in 3 seconds

It has been said that you either win or lose a sale in under 3 seconds of exposure.  I firmly believe that.  I myself became a romance book junkie (me being a girl who absolutely hated to read)  just because the cover begged me to pick it up.  I did, and whamo, I’ve been reading and writing ever since.

Books are regularly tested in this way.  If the cover doesn’t grab the reader in those first few seconds, you aren’t going to get that sale.  Oh sure, your steadfast fans will buy your book, your mother, your sister and friends, but what about expanding your base?  More sales equals more royalties, which in turn means you get to do more of what you love.  Write!

With all that in mind, the cover art department here at The Wild Rose Press, Inc. strives to grab the reader within those 3 seconds.  A book has to be marketable or else you’ve done all that writing for, well...nothing.  But together we can achieve this goal.

Here are a few things to consider when giving the artist information about your book.  Remember, it is highly unlikely that they will read the work before designing a cover.

  1. Tone.  A cover should always represent the overall feel of the book.  It should have a presence, one that clearly depicts what is inside.  Readers don’t like surprises.  No one wants to pick up a book that looks sweet and endearing to find it’s all about kicking puppies.  Tricking a reader is an instant loss to any future sales, not to mention how they tend to respond to their disappointment by  posting hateful, almost cruel reviews all over the Internet.  They’re never going to trust you again.  So, whatever the sub-genre, make certain that tone is heavily conveyed in your descriptions, suggestions, and examples.  This will be the overall guide for the artist. 
  2. Elements.  Always apply the KISS principle.  ‘keep it simple stupid’  The average size of a book cover image is rather small.  Just pop over to Amazon and you’ll see what the norm is.  Sure you can click and see the bigger image, but that’s after those first few seconds.  Therefore, you want to keep the clutter on the cover at a minimum.  You don’t have to have every element in your book on the front.  Try the old artist rule of three.  What three things (people are things too) represent the most important elements of your story?  How could they be incorporated together to tell the potential reader what it’s all about?  If a consumer is just grazing the shelves (electronically) and can’t make out what is on your cover due to its clutter, you’ve just lost a potential sale.  They’re not going to click through to read about it.
  3. Communication.  The artists need all the input from you they can get, and then…they need a free hand to go and create.  They may not get it just the way you want, but you have to throw that notion out.  No two people will perceive the cover or your writing in the same way.  So be very clear in your suggestions.  Don’t mention horses if you don’t really want them on the cover.  Use examples, other covers, offer up photos as suggestions, anything to explain to them what it is you’re hoping for and what your book is all about.  If you don’t tell them, they’ll never know, and you stand the chance of getting a cover that has nothing to do with your story—in other words, poor to no sales.
In this world of tweets, tubes, and blogs, your book will be seen around the world in a variety of ways in less time than it takes to say hello.  So, make those first 3 seconds the best they can be.  The wrapping is just as important as what is inside.

Co-Founder & Vice President
The Wild Rose Press, Inc.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Flower Basket Series - Final call for submissions

Over the past four years, as Senior Editor in the Sweetheart line,  I’ve enjoyed overseeing the stories included in The Flower Basket series. These shorter-length stories set in the fictional central California town of Almendra have been fun additions to the line. As with all things, the time has come to wrap up the series and possibly look for a new series idea. Therefore, the deadline for submitting a completed story is set as June 30, 2013. For who might have a story idea or wish to review a copy of the fictional setting guidelines, please contact me directly at

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Contingency Plan or Succession Plan for Your Author Career

No one likes to think about death.  Its sad, unpleasant, and simply not something you try to think about on a regular basis.  However, the reality is it could happen. To you.  At any time.  Do you have a plan in place for your books - both published and unpublished if you should suddenly not be here?

I've lost a handful of authors since our company opened its doors seven years ago.  Each time it is sad and heartbreaking both to me and to their family.  Harder still are the ones who come to me years after the author's death and say they finally made it through their loved one's paperwork and found out they were published with us.  How sad.  Both that the family member had no idea who the author's publisher was and that they had to dig to find us.

Take some time this year to plan for "what if".  Make a list of all your published books.  Write down the publisher, when they were published, when the contract expires, and the contact information for the company. Not just your editor as jobs change, but the main company email, website and phone if you have it.

Now list your unpublished work and indicate if it is finished or not.  If its out for consideration, indicate who has it.  Indicate your wishes for what to do with everything.  Most contracts, ours included, expire upon the death of the author.  However, we have kept contracts open for family members and kept books for sale for years if that is what the family has requested. Indicate your wishes for your unpublished work as well.  Should it be destroyed?  Do you want someone else to work with it?  For example, I've told my family that any of my manuscripts that are unpublished should be given to my sister to deal with.  As she is also an author, I know she will make the correct decisions as to what to do with them.

Don't put this off.  Your writing career is a business and your manuscripts are your assets.  Maybe not worth anything except to you and your loved ones but make sure they know what to do with them if you aren't here anymore.

In any business, the death of the owner is something that has to be planned for.  You are the owner of your writing business. Make sure you have a contingency plan in place.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Beginning Writers: Is it a Romance?

Beginning Writers: Is it a Romance?
By Bronwyn Storm

I think the most painful word in the world is "rejection," (this word is closely followed by "we can still be friends," and "I’m sorry, we don’t make that dessert anymore," but I digress). Rejection. Three syllables worth of disappointment, hurt, confusion—the angst-related synonyms could stretch on for eternity.

There are different reasons for rejection—the story doesn’t fit the line; there’s too much telling, not enough showing (writing, it appears, is the one industry where baring all and exposing one’s self are regarded as the commendable…unlike in the real world where showing your everything could get you a fine and jail time). Perhaps the most confusing rejection for a writer to hear is "It’s a good story, but it’s not a romance."

Not a romance? Not a romance! There’s a boy, there’s a girl, they end up together in the end. What else could the editor want?

Well, a lot, actually.

Despite misconceptions, just because you have two bodies declaring their undying love at the end of a story doesn’t mean your story is a romance.

First of all—and proving my suspicion that those who pursue writing as a career have some deep-seated masochistic issues—romance can be subjective. One of my friends told me that she thought Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean was a great romance. I, on the other hand, thought it was an action-adventure with romantic elements. Who was right? Me, of course. Hey, this is my article; I get to be right, don’t I?

The reason I didn’t think it was a romance was because the story didn’t really seem to focus on Elizabeth and Will as much as it did Jack Sparrow. The other characters seemed to be fighting him, working with him, missing him, looking for him, wishing they’d never found him…so for me, I felt the story was Jack’s because everything seemed to revolve around him.

Oh dear. I think I’m digressing (which you have to admit, is far better than when I’m regressing). Anyhow, to anyone who’s ever written a story, thought it was a romance, submitted it, only to be told, "Sorry, dear. Great story, but not a romance," I offer the following as a helpful checklist.

When you’re done writing your story, take a look and answer the following questions (I’m going to answer according to the classic fairy tale, Beauty and the Beast):

Is the majority of the story is focused on the relationship between the hero and heroine?

Yes, without question.

How as close to the first page as possible do they meet?

In the version I read they met on page three—after the father had picked the rose and incurred the Beast’s wrath.

Do their interactions take up the majority of ink space in the book?

Yes again. I’d say about ninety percent of the book was about them.

When they’re not together are they thinking about each other?

Absolutely. When Beauty goes home, all she can think about is the Beast.

Do they both have to sacrifice/learn something at the end of the story?

Yeppers. They both learn that love can run deeper than the skin/appearances.

Whatever the external conflict, can it only be solved by working together?

Yes. One of the external conflicts is the well-being of the father. That’s solved by Beauty moving to the Beast’s castle. The other conflict is the Beast’s well-being, which also provides the climax and resolution of the story.

If the story is spicy-hot/depicts love scenes, are they the only ones whose lovemaking the reader is privy to?

In the story I read they never made love.

At the end of the story, is there is a Happy Ever After?

Sigh. Yes, oh, yes!

If there are secondary characters, is that all they are—secondary. They don’t dominate the text. Their stories (if they have any) are alluded to, rather than focused on?

Yes. The secondary character in my version was the father, whose actions instigated the story and got the plot going.

If there is a subplot, it serves to further the interactions between the Hero & Heroine?

In this version, there was no subplot. But if you think about the Disney version, then the subplot was Gaston and he certainly furthered the interactions between the hero and heroine.

The main Points Of Views are the Hero & Heroine. If we step away from it, is it because a character has information the reader needs to know that can’t be conveyed via the Hero or Heroine?

In my version, there were no other points of view save Beauty’s.
So there we have it. Beauty and the Beast was a romance, Pirates of the Caribbean…well, even if it wasn’t, that soul-searing-sigh-worthy-kiss between Elizabeth and Will (where they’re on the tower) certainly made up for it.
As for your story, take the checklist, hold it up to your novel and decide: is it a romance?

Reprinted with permission. Bronwyn Storm is a super-hero in training—hey, one day being a klutz will be a superpower…if she doesn’t break anything vital in the meantime. When not tripping over her feet, she writes for The Wild Rose Press and plays butler and cuddler to her furry boys. Check out her website and drop her a line, she could use the excuse to stop petting the dogs and cats.
© 2008 all rights reserved.  

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Beginning Writers: Prose Pitfalls

(reprinted from The Wild Rose Press greenhouse of articles.)

Beginning Writers: Prose Pitfalls         
by Natasha Bacchus
You read a story, something seems “off,” but what is it?

Here are things I always check for—they are more, but these are the ones that came to mind and can (for me) make or break an offer to contract.

Dialogue Tags
What is it: A dialogue tag is the part on the end of a spoken section that tells you who is saying what.

What it looks like: “he said” “she said” “she exclaimed.”

Quite often, we are redundant with them:

“Don’t do that!” she exclaimed.

Because of the exclamation point, there’s no need to add “exclaimed.”

“Don’t do what?” he asked.

Again, the reader already knows the character is posing a question.

“I hoped to have the report done by Thursday,” she said.

“Okay, there’s no rush,” he said.

“I’ll meet you at Starbucks for lunch,” she said.

Now, you’re just torturing the reader.  Don’t include dialogue tags in every sentence.

And don’t do this:

“I hoped to have the report done by Thursday,” she said.

“Okay, there’s no rush,” he responded.

“I’ll meet you at Starbucks for lunch,” she rejoined.

The eye glosses over “said” but will catch every other dialogue tag.  Most publishers like writers to stick with “said” and sprinkle in the occasional pumped up tag.

And definitely don’t do this:

“I hoped to have the report done by Thursday,” she said worriedly.

“Okay, there’s no rush,” he responded comfortingly.

“I’ll meet you at Starbucks for lunch,” she rejoined cheerfully.

Use adverbs judiciously.

How to fix it: So when would you use tags?

1)    When you have a variety of speakers in a conversation. You help the reader keep track of who is saying what.
2)    After a passage of narration and you’re starting into dialogue.

White Room Phenomenon
What is it:  The author gives little to no description. You don’t know where you are, what the scene is.

What does it look like:  Charlie sat in his office and took the file.  The room felt hot, claustrophobic.  He opened a window and went back to his work. The door opened and she came in.

A story is only as good as the world it creates.  The world is only as rich as the writer’s descriptions.

How to fix it: Charlie sat the scarred pressboard desk and took another parole application from the drawer.  The room, a renovated janitor’s closet, felt hot, claustrophobic.  He turned on the fan by his foot (note: b/c a janitor’s closet wouldn’t have a window) and went back to his work. The door opened and she came in.

Talking Heads
What is it: A lack of description of the characters, leading to the impression that they’re talking heads, with no tangible/physical form.

What it looks like:

“Oh, you’re here,” said Charlie.
“Yes. I wanted to talk to you about Winston.”
“There’s nothing to talk about. He’s a bad egg.”
“Can’t you reconsider?”

Again, a fictional world is only as vibrant as the writer behind it.  I read a book series about a detective, but the writer never described him, (and he wrote in 1st person). It was the most frustrating book. I can only guess that the author wanted the reader to superimpose their own image of the man, but I found it annoying. He was nothing but a talking head to me. Coupled with other problems with the book, I never read the entire book and never read another book by the same author.

How to fix it: Action, description, sensory detail.

“Oh, you’re here,” said Charlie.

The smell of her perfume, cranberries and spice, curled around his head, seducing him.  He swallowed, trying to get moisture in his suddenly dry throat, and concentrated on the file with enough force to burn a hole through the desk.

“Yes.”  Mary’s voice, too damn husky and sexy for his own good, tickled his libido with smooth tones. “I wanted to talk to you about Winston.”

“There’s nothing to talk about. He’s a bad egg.”  Don’t look at her. Don’t look at her.

Too late.

Red hair, soft skin, and a smile that turned his legs to pudding.

“Can’t you reconsider?” Her brown eyes were wide with hope.

“No.” He readjusted his wheelchair, locking it into place. Then he engaged the brakes on his heart.

Vague References
What is it: The author includes detail, you have a sense of the scene. But the descriptions are so generic, it doesn’t create a three-dimensional image/ground the reader.

What it looks like: Jon set the chips on the coffee table, then went to the fridge and pulled out the drinks.  He arranged the food, shooed the dog from the chair, and turned on the music. When the doorbell rang, he answered it.

“Things” tell character/setting.  They can intensify a scene, kick the reader in the gut.

How to fix it:  Compare the difference in what we know about Jon, based on the following (and special thanks to Nancy Kress for the inspiration/creation of this):

Johnny set the beer nuts on the formica coffee table, then went to the fridge and pulled out the beer.  He arranged the food, shooed Rover, the Heinz-57 mix from the Lazy-boy chair, and turned on the Garth Brooks CD. When the doorbell pealed, he answered it.

John set the tortilla chips on the glass coffee table, then went to the fridge and pulled out the Wild Vines white wine.  He arranged the food, shooed Murphy, the Labrador retriever from the suede chair, and turned on the Kenny G CD. When the doorbell chimed, he answered it.

Jonathon set the canapés on the Louis XlV coffee table, then went to the fridge and pulled out the 1964 Chateau LeFic.  He arranged the food, shooed Emerald Ginger Sparkle, the pekinese from the over-stuffed chaise, and turned on the Mozart CD. When the doorbell rang, he answered it.

Which Jon would most likely own season tickets to the Philharmonic? Which Jon would love a monster truck rally?  Which one is most likely to shop at the Gap?

Each Jon has a distinctive personality, socio-economic status, and attitude and all because of minor details—beer nuts over canapés, a retriever rather than a show dog.  Details make the story, they are what help to pull readers in and create that fictional dream.

Adverb Overuse
What is it: The author uses adverbs in every (or almost every sentence).

What it looks like: Jon hurriedly set the chips on the coffee table, then went to the fridge and quickly pulled out the drinks.  He artfully arranged the food, shooed the dog from the chair, and leisurely turned on the music. When the doorbell rang, he answered it smilingly.

Adverbs are used like salt—to spice up writing. But just like salt, too much of it can spoil the story and leave a bad taste in the readers mouth.  Also, the brain will start to repeat the “ly” sound in the readers head, leading to an impression of boring/repetitive writing.

Adverbs can also be a great indicator that the writer is in passive, rather than active voice, and is telling rather than showing (more on this later).

How to fix it:  99.9% of adverbs don’t need to be there.

1)    Delete them
2)    Replace with more active verbs (ie. “quickly pulled” becomes “yanked”)
3)    Show don’t tell

What is it:  When a writer repeats information.

What it looks like:

1)    “The water completely surrounded the tree.” (taken from
2)    “Let me explain what happened.  The pipe broke,” he explained.

Thanks to Governments, Universities, etc., we’re very used to reading redundant writing, but in fiction, avoid it.

How to fix it:

1)    “The water surrounded the tree.” (“surround” doesn’t need “completely”)
2)    “Let me explain what happened.  The pipe broke.”  Or “The pipe broke,” he explained.

Repetitious Prose
What is it: Similar to redundancies, but in this instance, the author offers information, then keeps repeating it.

What it looks like:

She noticed his startling blue eyes…(then, 5 paragraphs later)…his startling blue eyes hypnotized her.

Or, the hero is tagged as handsome, and then the term “handsome” is used again, and again, and again.

Something that authors need to keep in mind is that the page is a gold mine.  Sift through the words, let readers find gold. Don’t cheat them by repeating the same information. Every sentence is a glorious opportunity to share something new.

How to fix it: Rewrite the sentence.

Bloated Prose
What is it: Loads of extraneous, boring writing that does nothing to move the plot along.

What it looks like: Pages of internal monologue; pages of descriptions of the setting sun; dialogue like:

“Hey, how are you?”

“Okay, I guess.”

“Just okay? What happened?”

“Nothing, couldn’t really sleep last night.”

“How come?”

“I don’t know.  I guess I had a lot on my mind.”

“Yeah? Like what?”

“Well, work for one. Yesterday the copier broke down and it really annoyed me, because I had to run photocopies off for Mr. Heiniken.”

Are you bored to tears, yet?  Go back to the metaphor of writing as panning for gold.  Bloated prose is like silt. It’s there and doesn’t do anything, other than cover the nuggets.

How to fix it:  If a scene or chapter doesn’t move the plot, cut it.

Dysfunction masquerading as Conflict
What is it: Characters act/think/feel in a manner that’s supposed to read as conflict or tension, but in reality, makes them seem immature or in need of psychotherapy.

What it looks like:  Jack, aged forty-five, looked the beautiful middle-aged woman in front of him.  He didn’t understand why men his age chased after younger women. What could they have in common—other than the obvious?

If you really read this sentence, it’s not just dysfunctional, it’s discriminatory.  The Wild Rose Press will not print racist, sexist, or discriminatory stories or protagonists. If the villain is discriminatory, that’s one thing, but not the protagonists.

Why is Jack an ass? Because he’s judging an entire group (younger women).  Take out “younger” and insert “black” and you’ll see what I mean.  What a stupid comment: what could they have in common? Duh. Intellect, life experience, philosophy, religion.

Dysfunction can also be the hero/heroine refusing help for the sake of refusing help. Again. Stupid.  You don’t want your protagonists to read as the jerk that the reader knows; you want them to inspire the reader.  Yes, they need to be fallible. Fallible. Not dysfunctional.

How to fix it: Tweak, rewrite, or delete.

What is it: The over-use of weak verbs (to be, to have, to feel, etc.) that leads to a stale, uninspiring story.

What it looks like:  The note on the table told him goodbye.  He could hardly bear to hold it.  It made him sad. He felt it in his bones.  Jeff was regretting his rash words.

Again, we live in a society where business and educational institutions push passive writing. Think about this sentence: Cigarettes were determined to have been a cause in cancer. Now think about this one: Cigarettes cause cancer.  Which one hits you in the gut? The second one.  Why? Because it’s intense, to the point and vibrant.

Now, let me state that these verbs are not “bad” they should not all be omitted.  But often, with a little work and imagination, a writer can create a better sentence which evokes emotion and a sense that the reader is living and breathing the story, rather than just reading it.

How to fix it: When it comes to “was,” often you can take it out, change the verb it precedes to an “ed” ending, ie. Jeff was regretting his decision „³ Jeff regretted his decision.

With states of emotion, or the “to have” verb, these are great places to show (ie., to create word pictures).   So, he felt sad (or he was sad).  Despair washed over him, drowning him in regrets and images of a future that would never be.

One other way to pump up a weak verb, is to link it with an image.
So rather than writing “he was confused” try “he was in free fall.”  Stick in images, classical references, and see what happens.

The Bystander Phenomenon
What is it: A lack of sensory detail leads to the feeling that you’re a witness to events, rather than a part of them.

What it looks like:  Traffic was backed up.  She prayed it was better on the north side.  Her father was heading to the doctor to get his heart checked. She wanted to drop off her paperwork and meet him there.  Kassie hoped he would be okay.

Okay, we know where she is, and what’s going on…but do you care? Really? Or do you feel like I do, that I’m standing on the side of the road and watching her, but not really identifying with anything that’s going on?

There are seven senses: feel, touch, taste, sight, smell, sound, and humor.  Writers need to include these (not everything, all at once) in their writing to pull readers in.

How to fix it: A stalled car on the 401 had turned the freeway into a six lane parking lot.  Kassie inched along in her Ford Focus, cursing fate so she didn’t curse at the cars around her. Each swish of her watch’s hands boomed like canon-fire.  Please God, that traffic was better on the north side. A sudden, swift image of her father came to mind. His gnarled hands clasped on the steering wheel, the pounding of his heart as he drove for the follow up on the heart tests.  Her dad, alone in the cold, sterile examining room, a thin scrap of paper covering him, fear clogging throat, panic making his voice crack.

One thing to notice here, is that the inclusion of details makes the story longer.  All we know here is that she’s afraid, and worried about her dad. We don’t know she’s trying to make it to the office and finish off her work, and the paragraph is already twice the size of the original.

That’s okay. That’s part of the give and take of more active writing. It increases word count.

Something to bear in mind is that writers don’t always have to turn every sentence into a show sentence. That would bog down the writing, decrease the pace of the plot.
You want to use show when you’re talking about emotion, internal/external conflict, or dealing with the climax.

Don’t use it to talk about the weather—unless the weather can be referenced by the character or is vital to the plot (ie. the rain comes at the black moment and symbolizes the heroine's despair or they're trapped in a log cabin and the snowstorm is preventing them from escape).
There are a variety of other things to bear in mind, when reviewing a submission:
•    Does the plot move at a good pace?
•    Are the characters behaviour/thoughts consistent?
•    Are the characters 3-D?
•    Is the conflict realistic?
•    Does the author change Point of View (from hero’s internal thoughts/sensations to the heroine’s) too often (you want a ratio of one POV/scene, unless you in a climatic moment).
•    Is the writing cliché (ie. He was as hungry as a horse)?

Natasha Bacchus is an editor and multi-published author who writes under a pseudonym. She has graciously given permission for the reprint of this article.