Some of the Romance Authors have a tradition of sharing writing tips at the end of the year. In the spirit of sharing, here they are:
Lois Sullivan: Start every chapter with a hook and when writing romance, write the heroine and hero in a deep point of view.
Brenda Schetnan: Be open to suggestions from your editor. Be prepared that what comes out your fingertips may not be the final product. Your editor will have a different vision for the story than you might have. Don't get upset, get revising and be open to the process.
Tammy Baumann: From The First Five Pages by Noah Lukeman, "In order to even begin to learn how to play his instrument, it takes the guitarist weeks to build calluses on his fingertips; it takes the saxophonist months to strengthen his lips so that he might play his instrument for only a five minute stretch; it can take a pianist years to develop dual hand and multiple finger coordination. Why do writers assume they can just 'write' with no training whatsoever--and then expect, on their first attempt, to be published internationally? What makes them think they're so much inherently greater, need so much less training than any other artists?" In other words, work on your craft, never stop learning and practicing.
Louise Bergin: Don't lose sight of your vision for your story. Unless it's someone offering you money, only make the changes to your manuscript that further your vision.
Gabi Stevens: When you reach that point in your career and need to make bookmarks, make them stand out by buying bookmark tassels and fun beads to decorate the top. You can find the tassels on line and fit the beads to your books. I found some great hearts and stars that worked really well.
Sarah Storme: 1) "Never give up. Never surrender." ~Galaxy Quest (movie) 2) It's great to set goals, but don't waste time being envious of others. Enjoy where you are in your writing career, because each phase offers its own marvels. If you're just starting out, you have the amazing discovery of the "writer's zone" ahead of you. If you've signed your first contract, you're about to experience the thrill of seeing your name on a book. Once you move to the next phase, those wonders give way to others. The journey is everything, so travel it with joy!
Jeanne Magill: I recommend Samuel Barber's "Adagio for Strings" for romantic inspiration. It's available on Rhapsody or other sites, even as an Amazon download.
I usually favor silence when I read or write, but sometimes instrumental background music is helpful, especially movie soundtracks.
Darynda Jones: Try idea books like The Pocket Muse or The Writer's Block to come up with small subplots to keep things interesting as your story moves forward.
Georgi Porter: Surround yourself with successful people/writers like the LERA group!
Barb Simmons: My tip is keeping inspiring words/phrases around you where you write. I have three that I feel very strongly about. The first is a red laminated sign with a mantra that says, Passion, Confidence, Tenacity, Guts. The other two are: a yellow paper star from Margie Lawson that says, "When the going gets tough, the tough get tougher," and finally from Winston Churchill, "If you're going through hell, keep going."
Celeste Bradley: Take the printed manuscript and highlight the POVs. Just mark a line down the side of the page-pink for your heroine, blue for your hero, green for anyone else. Then read straight through in one POV without stopping. Look for consistency in motivation and voice, repetition and weaknesses. Then read through the other main POV, doing the same thing. You'll end up with seamless characterization!
Thank you all for a wonderful year of inspiration and friendship! ~Sarah