Things that Stump the Best of Us
(with ideas for getting down from the pole)
Even when the author knows exactly what her story is, it's sometimes tough to actually get it onto paper. What does the reader need to know? When does she need to know it? What doesn't she need to know, now or ever? What comes next? What bit of information should be included on this page, or in the next sentence? How much history needs to go in? When should it be shared, and what's the best way to share it? How can you smoothly move characters from place to place and from one time frame to the next? How can you use coincidence while keeping your reader from throwing the book at the wall in frustration?
The ability to seamlessly handle backstory, pace your book so it draws readers along without confusion, move your characters smoothly from place to place and time to time, use rather than abuse coincidence -- these are the skills that take a writer from good to great.
Leigh Michaeis is the award-winning author of more than 100 books, including historical romance novels, contemporary romance novels, and non-fiction. More than 35 million copies of her books are in print in 25 languages and 120 countries. Six of her books were finalists in the Romance Writers of America RITA contest, and she has received two Reviewers Choice awards from Romantic Times (RT). She is the author of Writing the Romance Novel and has taught romance writing at Gotham Writers Workshop (www.writingclasses.com) and the University of Iowa.