Does My Story Need a Villain?

Someone posted on social media “Does a story needs a villain?” If you mean someone twirling their mustache and plotting evil deeds, no. However, your story does need an opposing force. Why? Without conflict there is no lesson learned and without a lesson learned, there is no plot. A series of events does not aContinue reading “Does My Story Need a Villain?”

Why I Allow Myself to Cheat on My Projects

When you have a creative mind, you’re always bursting with ideas. Some are inspired by your environment, entertainment, art, and some come from dreams. Have trouble writing about your dreams? Dreams are nonsense and have no plot, but your brain is free for the fantastical and is using a dream to work out a problem.Continue reading “Why I Allow Myself to Cheat on My Projects”

Preptober: Preparing for National Novel Writing Month

NaNoWriMo is in seventeen days. Whether you’re a plotter, pantser, or plantser, you should be doing some sort of prep during October for the story you’re going to write in November. Why?

You don’t want to spend a month writing a collection of scenes with no plot, no character arc, and no theme.

Don’t ‘Write What You Know’ Write What You Feel

Every writer has heard the advice “write what you know.” I like to say, “Write what you feel” or “write what you’ve observed.” I’ve lived up and down the East Coast and the Pacific Northwest. I’ve travelled around the world and I’ve had forty-five years to soak a lot up. Yet, most people who meetContinue reading “Don’t ‘Write What You Know’ Write What You Feel”

The World is Burning, but I’m Still Writing: 6 Things I’m Doing to Stay Sane in These Trying Times

Disclaimer: This blog post is what I do personally to stay healthy and creative. I’m not a mental or medical health professional, and this no substitute for medical advice. For transparency, and to help those also suffering, many post on social media about their struggles with mental illness, addiction, or illnesses in general. I, myself,Continue reading “The World is Burning, but I’m Still Writing: 6 Things I’m Doing to Stay Sane in These Trying Times”

A Dedication to RBG

Yesterday, I mourned. Today, I wake up another day to fight. I used to think that stories were just that. Dragons and magic, tech and battles, or just about personal demons. But, even the short erotica I published, Adoration, had a theme of empowerment for women, of not accepting a mediocre existence. Writers have anContinue reading “A Dedication to RBG”

Creating Character Boards and Why They’re Useful Visuals

In preparation for NaNoWriMo, I’m doing character profiles for the story I plan to write Dot and Al’s Paranormal Detective Agency. Character profiles are part of my plotting process. It’s where I create backstory and discover motivation long before I know what’s going to happen. I think this is key to creating compelling characters. IContinue reading “Creating Character Boards and Why They’re Useful Visuals”

Troublesome Tropes in Urban Fantasy, Romance, and Paranormal Erotica and How to Subvert Them

Alpha Male/Rich Asshole: The concept that a man who is power-hungry, aggressive, violent, stalkerish, possessive and territorially jealous as a romantic lead is worrisome. It not only promotes toxic masculinity, but might encourage readers to seek abusive or codependent relationships. It’s not just toxic for individuals, it’s toxic for humanity in general. We live inContinue reading “Troublesome Tropes in Urban Fantasy, Romance, and Paranormal Erotica and How to Subvert Them”

Writer Talk: Why Isn’t My Story Selling?

I’ve been alpha and/or beta reading manuscripts for about four years. I read a mix of about fifty to sixty traditionally and indie published novels a year for pleasure. What do some indie novels have in common with not-yet-polished drafts I alpha and beta read? Bad beginnings. Info dumps. Lack of developmental editing. The wayContinue reading “Writer Talk: Why Isn’t My Story Selling?”

Test, Allies, and Enemies–A Hero’s Journey Plot Point Featuring an Excerpt from Tam Lin: A Modern Queer Retelling

With a hero’s journey style plot, after your protagonist steps out of their ordinary world and into the new world, they’re going to meet some people along the way. These are little mini adventures that will give your character tools for the ultimate challenge. They’ll get pieces of advice too. This is an excerpt whereContinue reading “Test, Allies, and Enemies–A Hero’s Journey Plot Point Featuring an Excerpt from Tam Lin: A Modern Queer Retelling”