Writer’s Wednesday

To continue with the on-going project of re-purposing a magazine to a story idea, I used the next pages (which mean to date, I’ve only skipped one page). Have the creative challenge has become how to use the pages in my story.

Since I haven’t done a lot with character developing, I focused on that this week.


For Marchesa – of course I left the eyes because that’s a basic element for my story. When the characters aren’t formed clearly in my head, I’ll often pick a random birth date and use the traits of that horoscope. I picked one thing to link her and Samuel – an interest – they both like Don Knott’s movies – the reason for those pictures and they are both seeking a relic – the map. Her favorite food is chili cheese fries with an egg on top. Born to Die – a Lana Del Ray song goes with the theme of her character and will be on the playlist. I just found the black rose card and will incorporate that somehow. I placed my items around the page to leave ‘words’ I thought added to her character. IMAG0041

For Samuel – must is the same as Marchesa. The motorcycle is the type of bike he rides. He loves hot dogs…. all kinds of hot doges. I’m using the moral on the Queen of Hearts card as his character growth.

What are some of the ways you develop your characters?

Tourist Tuesday

Last week I featured a charming little park in the middle of downtown where I live. It has lovely flowers, soothing fountains, red brick paths, and a charming gazebo. A place for romance – or – murder :-O

This week, I’m going to share a few other local things that spark my muse.

Welcome to my neighborhood….

Where there are ….

Things that go nowhere…

Things that lurk in the fog…

Things abandoned in the woods…

And a red waterfall….

What do you see in my neighborhood, I’d love to hear



Writer’s Wednesday

I’m still working on pre-writing/brain storming for my story – Love Blinds – yup got a title 🙂 This week, I added a snapshot of a scene that sets the relationship between Marchesa (the heroine) and Derek (her demon handler – bad guy). Samuel (hero) has just asked her to go away with him. He’s hoping if he can get Marchesa to himself for a few days he can make see it’s possible to leave. Only Derek shows up…and wham…

This is in the beginning of the story before Samuel realizes the depth of the hold Derek has on Marchesa. The scene is also to give the reader a clear understanding of why she isn’t just leaving with Samuel. That she’s not too stupid to live but the stakes are HIGH…


This add was the next in the magazine. I like “A new way to Face (clearly I added every day). As Samuel is offering her this by ‘just letting go’ and ‘coming to a beach all our own’ Eye’s across the top are just something I had in my bag of goodies and since eyes are the key theme and have been featured on all the pages up to this…I added them. I wrote the snapshot on the bird paper as a challenge of a way to add them to the scene.


I did remove three pages to get to the second page of this week’s prompt. I liked this because again her eyes are a focus. I also like the A fragrance to seduce the senses at the bottom under my add. I feel this needs more but as right now I’m not sure what… 

So far I’ve enjoyed this form of brain storming, it has led to some interesting twist in the development.

What are some unique brain storming/pre-writing things you have done?

Tourist Tuesday

As a writer, I’m always clicking pictures of places I could use in one of stories and … not always in the way you would expect. For example…


A walk in a forgotten city garden.


She’s amazed at the beauty and wonders why no one else is there.


Drinking her lemonade, she decides she’s glad to have it to herself.


She makes her way to the gazebo. She smiles thinking she’s like a princess with her own private garden….only instead of Prince Charming waiting for her,  there is a killer. One who grooms the garden to lure his victims in. She’s a fly in his spider web.

I love this park…the beauty, the contrast of the business city around it, but I can’t help but think a serial killer would love it to 😉 I’ve made places we go into book settings so often, my hubby will now ask, ‘Is someone dying here or having great sex?’ Because with me it could go either way 😀

Have you ever been somewhere and have an unexpected way to use the setting hit you?


Writer’s Wednesday

I’m continuing my using/recycling a magazine into a writing prompt. Last week was vague as I just started to brain storm but this week I felt the story coming together some what. I came up with the character’s names. I narrowed the premise down a bit… Samuel(my hero) is catching Marchesa (my heroine). She’s running because she can’t trust Samuel enough to risk her daughter’s life. I haven’t really found an angle with Marchesa’s eyes that I’m thrilled with yet…

IMAG0210 (1)

There is a secret obsession which I haven’t developed yet but I fell in love with the idea… the rest I’ve talked about


Time is going to be a major factor in this story. Marchesa’s time is running out… why I haven’t developed yet but she’s desperate…. she needs to make sure her daughter is safe and she bring herself to trust Samuel.

These pages followed the those of last week. Next week my goal is to do 4 pages of prompts. Now that I’ve developed some basic blocks, I’m excited to continue to use this as food for my plot bunny.

Writer’s Wednesday

Today I’m going to start a new series for Writer’s Wednesday on writing prompts…I know some writers use prompts daily to ‘start’ the juices. I’m not that but I do occasionally like to do prompts, mostly when I’m ‘stuck’. I use the prompt as a free writing tool to let my mind wander (like it doesn’t do it enough on it’s own that I need to encourage this behavior).

The series I’m doing is how to turn a magazine into a writer’s prompt journal. I came up with the idea last week as I sat at the beach relaxing and thumbing through the pages of the latest InStyle magazine. I often use magazines to make story boards/pages for a story I’m working on but I realized a lot of the pages sparked different ideas. For example, here is the second page of the magazine….


I used both pages for this prompt


I added the admit one ticket I had in my storyboard stash



She’s going to be my focus for these prompts…




My plan is to focus on the same character through out the magazine. I don’t know her name yet (I struggle with names) but I do know that

  • she has a daughter – one of the phases above the admit one ticket is… she lures men to their death to protect her daughter. I’m not sure what that means exactly.
  • I know her eyes are going to have something to do with the story…
  • My hero is aware of the stakes because one of the lines in my free writing is…He has one chance to save her … 

I’m going to definitely use the next two pages and I plan on doing those this week so make sure to check back to see how the prompts are going.

Do you use writing prompts? If so what kind are they and when?


Writer’s Wednesday

Last week I started a series on boosting your sagging middle with several examples of different spins you could put on the ‘I got a secret’ technique. This week it’s the “what if” question. This works great for those middles where you know you have solid key events, you just need a little shot of caffeine to get you through.

The key to the “what if” technique is to unleash the muse. Don’t limit the possibilities. Sometimes the wilder the “what if” the better it works. For example, let’s say I need a distraction for my serial killer, something that gets him out of the house away from my victim because I have a great scene but the killer has to walk in. I could just have him ‘leave’ go into the black hole known as a scene break. Which isn’t bad but it slows your pace and a slow pace equals a saggy middle.

What if... they all had doughnuts and lived happily ever after?

What if… they all had doughnuts and lived happily ever after?

So I list the “what if” possibilities for my serial killer. If I had limited myself, I would have never came up with the birthday party. My serial killer has a twin sister, who he happens to love. So I started to “what if” possibilities that included her. I decided she has a child. A child with special needs. My serial killer feels for the child because he knows what it’s like to be a ‘freak.’ He realizes that it’s the child’s birthday. He’s torn between killing my heroine and attending the party. In the end, he goes to the party. This was unexpected and it gave my killer another layer besides a crazed lunatic. The scene was intense because he kept bouncing back and forth between wanting to be there for the child and his sister and the need to return to his victim.

Common questions to ask the “what if”…
-there is a family illness not life threatening (remember you’re looking to boost a sagging middle not change the plot)
-there is neighbor event (block party, bomb scare – a false alarm)
-someone makes an unexpected request (mom calls and HAS to be taken to store)
-It’s an anniversary of an event that means something only to the character.

****Key with the “what if” technique. The purpose is to boost the middle NOT change the plot. Sometimes you might stumble across a “what if” that does change the plot of the better BUT I can’t warn enough about using caution with this. The “what if” plot bunny is a slippery fellow, he often leads down a dead end tunnel.

Do you use the “what if” technique to boost a sagging middle? If so what are some of your favorite “what if” questions?

Writer’s Wednesday

The Middle –

While donuts are awesome to eat they are every writers nightmare. A story that circles around an empty hole

While donuts are awesome to eat they are every writers nightmare. A story that circles around an empty hole

Man and woman meet. They like each other – a lot. They decide to give it a whirl. SOMETHING happens. They deal with the SOMETHING. SOMETHING almost rips them apart. The SOMETHING is resolve. They happily ever after.
That’s the ‘basic’ formal to every good romance from a pantser point of view. And I know many plotters who follow the same formal only with pages and pages AND pages of details. One thing that pantsers and plotters have to deal with is the ‘SOMETHING’ or sagging middle.
It doesn’t matter if you have to come up with the ‘SOMETHING’ at the plotting stage or when you are staring at the words Chapter Five. It has to be done.
So how do you write a ‘SOMETHING’ that does sag? That hasn’t been used 2 million times? You want a ‘SOMETHING’ that will keep your reader engaged. A ‘SOMETHING’ that is worthy of the awesome characters you’ve created.
One thing that will determine the answer to these questions and shape your ‘SOMETHING’ is the genre and length of your book.
For example, I write suspense romance. So my ‘SOMETHING’ is going to deal with murder. But still I don’t want my ‘SOMETHING’ to be a serial killer who had a bad mom…. I want a bigger ‘SOMETHING’ – a better ‘SOMETHING’ – a ‘SOMETHING’ that make my reader go “oh shit, I so didn’t see that coming.”
I have 7 techniques I use to try to amp my ‘SOMETHING’ up to make rock my reader and make my characters shout ‘you’re the boss.’
The first one is – Keep Secrets.
While this one is used heavily, the key to make it work is have the secret be totally unexpected.
Today let’s look at the secret child. Your hero and heroine have a history and there is a child about the same age of when the heroine left. Your heroine tries to keep the child a secret. Why? She doesn’t know how to tell the hero that it’s his…I’ve read some great books using that standard idea.
‘SOMETHING’ different
The child is his sisters. The heroine and the hero’s sister were best friends. The sister was raped by her boyfriend – a real creep but one that has money and power. The sister begs her best friend to take the child after it’s born and leave. This opens a bag of gummy worms…
The child is the hero’s only it’s by another woman. The heroine leaves to seek a career. Only a year later her best friend shows up with a baby in tow. She hooked up the hero after the heroine left but his heart has been and always will be with the heroine. Now the mother is sick – dying sick – so she ask the heroine to take the baby. This is a jumbo bag of gummy worms….
I’d love to hear of any of the secret child ones that you’ve read love or wrote.

Writer’s Wednesday

A couple of weeks ago, I started a writing series on using writing prompts blast writer’s block into the next week and to tunnel under a plot block.

The prompts I’m discussing are from a ‘scrap book’ that I put together from newspaper headlines (I have do something with the Sunday paper besides coupon). In the first week I discussed character building.

Today is all about the plot.

WARNING: Don’t spend too much time picking out your prompt. Making any prompt work – the weirder the better 😉 Now for those of us that suffer from shiny object disorder and are like me have taken procrastination to a fine art, the urge to flip through the pages and read each headline at least 2 times will be stronger – stronger than mine for a doughnut. To avoid this, I take several deep breaths and select a number. I open my scrap book to the page and work from there.

Since today is the fourth, I went to page four. It had two headlines pasted on the page and a few pictures….Sometimes, I try to work both in and some of the images but today, I did the second one and decided to choose two images.

The headline ~ Simply put: Brandon had to go.

The images where a set of deep blue eyes framed in thick glitter black eyeliner and a full moon.
Let’s start brainstorming on the headline.

(1) Which character will be Brandon? I select my 3 main characters (hero/heroine/heroine’s best friend).
I write their names on the top of a piece of paper. I almost always do my brain storming on paper.

(2) What does ‘had to go’ mean… die, to the store, or to visit a person he doesn’t want to.
I omit the hero/heroine from the die prompt because I just don’t write that type of story, I love a happy ever after ending. However, I do use it for the heroine’s best friend.

TIP: Don’t just use the first one that pops up, often the best plot twist-plot enhancer- is the fourth or fifth idea. Muses love to hold out, make you work for the golden gem.

(3) Review the pages and see what one my muse likes the best. Now this may lead to some changes in my story prior to this, I make the notes of what I need to change in my OneNote file on the edits page.

Next week will be how to use the random pictures I selected as plot twist.

Happy writing!

Thanks for stopping by.