Tag Archives: Writing

Amanda Rescued My Writing Career – Here’s How

Amanda Rescued My Writing Career, but before that was necessary, I would wake up in the morning with an itch to get back to whatever story I was working on at the time. I carried my writing notebook with me everywhere. I even took longer subway routes so I would have more scribbling opportunities between stops. Then, I put my writing notebook aside and hardly remembered where it was.

Before Amanda rescued my writing career, I was despondent. One of my very best friends, my devotion to telling stories, was losing her life right in front of me and I had no idea what to do to save her. Thank heaven I did have enough mind presence left to realize I needed help from an expert and got in touch with a motivational coach. Maybe a professional mojo locator could relocate mine.

To tell you the whole truth, I didn’t really believe it would work. I figured she’d assign me some intriguing creativity exercises. I would complete the exercises, because I’ve always been the kind of student who does the assignment. But, in the end, my motivation to write would continue to be disappeared.

Then we sat down to talk and her first question was this, “Would you mind telling me about your heroine?”

My response was to stare, probably slack-jawed. In the interests of full disclosure yet again, I must admit to you that I had barely thought about Amanda in weeks. FYI – Amanda is the main character of A Time of Fear & Loving – Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Book 5.

Amanda is a widow,” I began, because I needed to say something. Then, I caught myself. I had to qualify that statement. “But she’s tired of being thought of as a widow. She’s ready to come back to life.”

“What kind of life does she want to have now?” Ms. Motivator asked.

I hesitated for a moment before it hit me. I knew the answer to that question as well as I know my own name.

“It’s what she doesn’t want that matters most to her. She doesn’t want to be taken for granted as the always-dependable Miller sister any longer. She wants to break out and become somebody even she doesn’t expect herself to be.”

FYI once more – Amanda’s family owns Miller’s Inn in Riverton NY, and she has two sisters, Bethany and Patrice. We’ve already heard Bethany’s story in Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Book 3 – A Vacancy at the Inn.

I didn’t hesitate again. Detail after detail tumbled out of me, including some I hadn’t previously imagined. There were murders, even a possible kidnapping. I write Romantic Suspense after all. There was Amanda, of course, and Mike and Willow and Justin and the entire Book 5 gang. Every one of them had returned to life demanding that their story must be told.

Meanwhile, most magically, my love of writing had returned with them, and that is how Amanda Rescued My Writing Career.

Alice Orr – http://www.aliceorrbooks.com/

– R|R

Read Amanda’s story – A Time of Fear & Loving – Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Book 5. Available HERE. You can find all of Alice’s books HERE.

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Things with Wings. The Detail that Makes Your Writing Fly. #MFRWAuthor #IAN1

Grabbing a reader’s attention is all about hooking her emotionally. Prying beneath the surface as she scurries along from sentence to sentence and page to page. Hitting her where she truly lives – in her heart.

We do that first and foremost by creating a main character about whom the reader not only cares but cares very much. So much so that she begins to behave as if this character were a real-life human being.

Red Jeep 1The reader roots for your character to succeed and dreads that she may not. When such rooting and dreading happens your reader is engaged on an emotional level with your story and that engagement keeps her eagerly turning pages all the way to The End.

Meanwhile, beyond this deftly drawn main character, lies another engaging element of great storytelling. An element that compels your reader to stop short for an instant in her pell-mell plunge through your plot to be hooked yet again by the Deeply Felt Detail.

This detail draws your reader to a particular moment in your story and holds her there to experience a flash of connection. She recognizes the essence of what you have written. She responds at an emotional level even if she doesn’t consciously understand why.

You’ve caught your reader on the hook of your deeply felt detail. But first you must experience that detail even more deeply yourself. Where do you find such resonance – moments, sights, objects, whatever they may be? You find them among your own deeply felt attachments.

For example, I feel such attachment to my red Jeep Wrangler. When I think about that vehicle my heart flies to a fond place, soft and warm and sentimental. Or it can fly more frantically to a place of terror. The difference depends on the circumstances of the scene.

Fond and tender if that scene is of my grandchildren filling the backseat with cookie crumbs and squabbling between bites. Frantic and fearful if that scene involves a wrong turn of the steering wheel that could send us hurtling to disaster.

I drive my red Wrangler onto the page and make my story fly straight into my reader’s psyche and most especially into her heart. I do that by revving my writer engine to the max on every drop of drama fuel this detail holds for me personally. I give it storytelling wings.

I possess a lifetime’s worth of emotionally potent details – moments, sights, objects, whatever they may be. You do also. Think back. Feel deeply. Engage your heart and your nerve endings in the search. Make a list. Then use those details in your writing and watch your stories soar.

Alice Orr – http://www.aliceorrbooks.com/

– R|R

A Villain for Vanessa – Riverton Romantic Suspense Book 4 and my other books are available from Amazon HEREA Wrong Way Home – Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Book 1 is a FREE EBOOK  there also.

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The Crucial Cool Read – Ask Alice Saturday

Coolness imageQuestion. You talk about the cool read. Could you explain what that is?

Answer. The cool read is what needs to happen after you finish the first draft of a manuscript.

 We all know we must always submit Only Our Very Best Work. We achieve our very best work by revising. Revision is where Excellence happens. Revision is where a salable story happens.

We must beware of the blush of enthusiasm we all feel when we complete our first beginning-to-end draft of a manuscript. This is euphoria and it is totally misleading.

We are overjoyed to be finished. Certain our story is a thousand percent wonderful. We’ve lost all capacity for critical judgement. We’re in love – in love with our accomplishment. As we well should be. The completion of a first draft is a huge achievement.

BUT we must never submit our work at this point. This is where the crucial cool read comes in. We need to let the manuscript “cool” for a while. A few days at least. A bit longer if possible.

Set the piece aside. Do something else. Give yourself a total break. Or catch up on your social media/internet presence which will also be crucial to marketing your work. Or do some background prep for your next writing project.

Whatever your choice of cooling mode the purpose is the same. To give yourself distance from your creation. To clear your eyes and your mind and your heart so you can come back fresh – with your critical judgement intact.

When you return to the manuscript read it All The Way Through. Preferably in one sitting if you can manage that. If you can’t manage that – as many of us cannot – read it in subsequent sittings with no other writing work in between. You’ve cooled your head. Take full advantage of that.

Then Revise. Prepare for that revision by interrogating your manuscript. Ask it – and ask yourself – Six Crucial questions.

  1. How can I give this work a stronger narrative hook? A more intriguing Story Idea or Premise? A more riveting Dramatic Opening?
  2. The next 3 questions are for fiction writers. How can I make my Protagonist more sympathetic so the reader will really care about this character and thus be emotionally involved? Is my Protagonist a decent, admirable, heroic person?
  3. How can I make the Villain more formidable and still believable so he is a real source of conflict for my Protagonist?
  4. How can I make the Plot work better? Perhaps, by strengthening character motivations?
  5. For both fiction and nonfiction. How can I keep the Middle move rapidly along without sagging or getting muddled? With cliffhangers? With revelations?
  6. How can I make the Ending as satisfying as possible?

Congratulations. You’ve done the work. You’ve taken the truly cool road to producing your hottest work. You’ve earned a euphoria boost. Don’t forget to celebrate your work and yourself.

RR

A WRONG WAY HOME – Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Series Book 1 – the eBook – is FREE at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00T9RVGGC. It is also FREE at Barnes & Noble and iTunes and KOBO and other online platforms. A YEAR OF SUMMER SHADOWS – Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Series Book #2 – is available at those same platforms including http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00ZBOTH5O. These are my 12th and 13th novels. They are both cool reads. Alice Orrwww.aliceorrbooks.com.