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Friday, November 30, 2012

The Novel Within

People always ask me questions about writing. How do you get started? How do you write a book?
Here's a workbook from a workshop I did a few years ago. Hope this helps.

The Novel Within


What Do You Want To Write?

          Every novel starts with one sentence. What do you want your sentence to say? How do you want to hook the reader into moving on to the next page?

Exercise 1.

Open your favorite book and read the first sentence. Write five things about it that captured your attention.

Exercise 2.

Write a sentence with an interesting hook.

Exercise 3.

Build a paragraph around the sentence from exercise two.

Planning and Plotting

          There are many ways to start writing your novel. You can plan it with an outline, defining your plot, developing your characters and describing your setting.
Or you can “wing” it. It depends on what you’re most comfortable with.
However, if your goal is to get published, then you will need to write a synopsis.

What is a Synopsis?

 What is a synopsis? Webster’s defines it as "a shortened statement or outline, as of a narrative. Abstract." Nothing sounds particularly evil in that definition. Let’s look at it a little closer - "shortened statement or outline." Hey, look at that, "outline." Now, there is a little word we’re all familiar with. Does "outline" make you cringe as much as "synopsis"? What about "shortened statement"? Not me. Probably not you, either.

Start with a Simple Sentence

Let’s start with the shortened statement. I’ll use the popular children’s story, Lady and the Tramp, to help demonstrate my points.

What is our story about?

"Lady and the Tramp is a story about dogs." True, but the portrayal is dry and uninteresting. Would you want to just read a story about dogs? What makes this dog story different? Let’s see if we can add some more information to better describe the story.
"Lady and the Tramp is about two dogs from different sides of the track."
Good. Now we know that there are two main characters. And, we know that these two characters are different in some way. Let’s see if we can do a little bit better.
"Lady and the Tramp tells the adventures of an upper-class, well bred cocker spaniel and a roguish mutt from the wrong side of the tracks."
Okay. Now we have some description and a hint at a story. We know that these two distinctly different characters are going to have at least one adventure.

Describe Your Story in 25 Words or Less

So, now we need to think about our audience. The synopsis generally goes to an editor, agent, or publisher. So, we must capture their attention. Give them something to grab onto and not let go. This is where you can really get creative and meet the "describe your story in 25 words or less" challenge.
"Lady and the Tramp is filled with exciting adventures of Lady, a lovingly pampered cocker spaniel, and Tramp, a roguish mutt from across the tracks."
Whew! There it is - 25 words - exactly. We’ve just written a strong hook for the opening of our synopsis.
Every synopsis should start out with a statement that describes your story in approximately 25 words. However, don’t be a stickler about trying to hit the "magic" number. There isn’t really a magic number. But, keeping your description to approximately 25 words helps to focus your writing on the key elements of your story.

Developing Characters
People want to read about characters that they can identify with.
But this doesn’t mean that you should write about people that you know and just change their names.
Sure, good fiction has a pinch of truth in it, but you will lose friends if you write about them and they don’t like their characterization.


Develop a main character. Create a back story, give this person a history, give him or her flaws, and give him or her emotions. What does this character look like? Who does this character remind you of?

Books that will help you

·        Characters & Viewpoint by Orson Scott Card
·        Creating Character Emotions by Ann Hood
·        Writing Dialogue by Tom Chiarella
·        The Forest For The Trees by Betsy Lerner
·        The First Five Pages by Noah Lukeman
·        The Joys of Writing Sex by Elizabeth Benedict
Web Resources
African American Online Writing Guild -
Romance Writers of America - National -
Children’s Writing Resource Center -
Christian Booksellers Association -
Publisher’s Weekly -
Novelists, Inc. -
BookWire  -

Forces of Nature excerpt: "I am Douglas Wellington."

Pre Order Forces of Nature today
Crystal stood up to the towering guard. “If you want me to leave, get Wellington out here. Otherwise, I’m camping out.”

            Moments later, a tall man, moving with the grace of a panther and the body of a Greek god, crossed the lobby and planted himself in front of her. Crystal gazed up at him, momentarily speechless as he stared at her with slate gray eyes. His full lips seemingly beckoned her to kiss them, and those hands—big and wide with long fingers—she wanted them on her body, caressing her breasts, thighs, and everything in between. She blinked and swallowed hard. She needed to get her hormones together; she wasn't here to lust after this man, whoever he was. She was here to meet with Wellington and she didn't give a damn if they sent Denzel Washington to the lobby to meet her--Crystal wasn't moving until she got what she wanted. Still, the man looking at her was fine as hell.
            His face told a story of annoyance, with a scowl darkening his handsome features and his wide nostrils flaring with anger. “Are you going to just stare at me or do you have something to say?” His voice reminded her of a sensual sax, hypnotic and melodic. Her body was electrified at the thought of him whispering sweet words of passion in her ear.
            “I’m not talking to anyone but Douglas Wellington.” Crystal’s voice wavered, but not from fear. Carnal desire described what she was feeling as she stared into his eyes.
            “I am Douglas Wellington,” he announced dryly.

Video Blog: Edits done, sleep is next

Pre Order your copy. Forces of Nature

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Chatting with Amour, author of Child Support

They say you should never judge a book by it's cover. As an author who's had a couple of jacked up covers, that old saying is so true.
Take the novel Child Support by Amour for instance. If you think this is a typical story, be prepared to have your socks knocked right off.

Angel Jacobs has a stunning face and a petite, drop-dead body. She has two jobs and an apartment in a pricey Chicago neighborhood. She has a sister with Down’s syndrome, a mother with cancer and a daughter she hasn’t seen in years. She has bipolar disorder, hallucinations and short-term memory loss. She has hot nights with one handsome man after another, but she doesn’t have a lot of second dates—because the men she sleeps with always wind up dead. Does it have anything to do with the child her baby daddy won’t let her see?

Angel is distressed by the rash of murders in her neighborhood, yet she doesn’t quite connect them to her increasingly bloody home…but eventually, the police do. Branded a serial killer, Angel goes on the run.
Amour spoke to me about her writing journey and her unique novel.


This is a different take on Child Support. Where did you find the inspiration to tell this story?

Well, actually my mentor First gave me the idea of a girl killing people because she thought that they were her child's father. I took that and put my own flavor to it. 
What has the reaction to this unique story been from readers? 

They love it! They enjoy the fact that it's a different type of urban read.  

What’s next on the horizon for you?

I plan on going on tour sometime in the spring and continue delivering stories that people love.

Will we see Angel again?   

Well, I'm currently working on the sequel to Child Support. So, I'm sure you all will be seeing Angel sooner than later.

How can readers follow you online? (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) 

Twitter: LoveAMOUR_ 
Instagram: loveamour 
 Facebook: Facebook/Amourwrites