Hello, Everyone! Today I have my first ever guest blogger on Jenna’s Journal, author Sherry Gloag. I met Sherry through the Sultry Summer Night Blog Hop and Six Sentence Sunday and she agreed to do a post for me today to help give me time to finish revisions for As Long As You’re Mine.
Sherry has two works currently available:
Getting to know your book is a bit like finding the jigsaw pieces and putting them together. But, unlike a jigsaw, the pieces don’t come ready-made or ready packed. To add to the confusion, you don’t even know what those “pieces” look like.
My latest jigsaw puzzle is a romance called From Now Until Forever that has just been accepted by Astraea Press.
Authors are often described as “plotters” or “pantsers.” They first plot their stories in detail before they start writing, while others work from an “idea.” I fall into the latter category.
So how can a pantser possibly “get to know their book?”
Even they must have a few basics on the table before they start. What kind of book do they want to write? If it’s a romance they then have to decide which sub-genre they are aiming for. And by association what kind of reader they want to attract.
But that’s not enough.
When a reader picks up a book they expect to be drawn into the story. They want to experience that personal connection with the main characters.
To ensure the reader will keep turning the pages the author must create well-rounded, believable characters that are fully developed. People the reader can relate to, whether they like your characters, or hate them, if they can say “she/he reminds me of…” then you have reader connection with your characters.
To do this the author must ask themselves three basic questions.
1) What does my character want?
2) What is obstructing their goal?
3) How will the characters solve their problems?
That on its own will not hold your reader, so you have to add action and suspense.
You have to find a plot that has more twists and turns than the most dangerous mountain switchbacks. But, and there is a but… the conflicts you put in your characters’ way must be believable.
This does not necessarily mean gunfights, murder and mayhem or shouting matches between your hero and heroine. Especially not the shouting matches. Nothing will turn a reader off more than a book-full of constant bickering.
Your action and conflict can be internally related. By that I mean something in their past influences the moment you open the first page of the book. The action and conflict must draw the reader in so they forget the real world around them. All conflict requires balance to hold the reader.
Even a pantser has to keep these criteria in mind when they write. They have to know their book.
The characters in my debut novel The Brat, published by The Wild Rose Press and the characters in my current novel Duty Calls, published by Black Opal Books seemed to know this instinctively. For the most part they “told” their own story and used me as their “go-between.” On the occasions when they, and I, forgot the rules we found ourselves backtracking that involved some major re-writing.
An author can’t help but get too close to the action when writing a book.
To them their characters are real people, with real problems. They are the jigsaw pieces that complete the puzzle. The only difference is the author must know their puzzle/book inside out before putting each piece of the puzzle together in the correct order.
Then, and only then, when they have that knowledge, can they start writing!
Sherry is also offering a Giveaway: A signed bookmark of The Brat for one commenter drawn at random. So leave her a comment and be entered to win! You can also check out Sherry’s Website and visit her on The Heart of Romance Blogspot.
And if you haven’t already hopped onto the Sultry Summer Night Blog Hop, check out my post from Monday and jump right in. All 28 authors are offering some fantastic prizes. I’m giving away a $10 Amazon Gift Card and copies of my published works. Come on! You’ve got to enter to win!