Monday, August 24, 2009

Meet The Romance Author

Bettye Griffin

Rae lori

Sophia Shaw

Tiffany Amber Stockton

Here's your chance to ask those questions of your favorite authors.


Shelia Goss said...

All - IF you write books in a series, how do you keep the characters/stories straight? Do you use character charts or have files on each book?

Bana said...

Character don't do that! But I've been avoiding the series thing, but I have so many readers who want to keep tabs on previous characters--even the ones who were only secondary characters to the secondary characters! How do you handle such unexpected response?


Dyanne said...


I purchased liquid silver so that I could start keep track of my characters in my vampire series. You know what? The thing is not so easy to use and I'm impatient on things like that. Basically I'm a pantser but I have been finding that I have to go and look at my previous books to see who was doing what because I can no longer remember all of the characters I've created.


bettye griffin said...

I'm so glad my participation day is today rather than tomorrow (when I'll be traveling back home).

Hey, Shelia! I don't really write series, but right now I'm working on a sequel to my mainstream titles books The People Next Door and Nothing But Trouble. I'm constantly referring to my copy of The People Next Door to help me get re-acquainted with the characters, i.e., didn't these people have a dog? It's not the most organized way of writing, but for me it works. Besides, it's not like I set out to write a sequel; this one is being done because of reader requests.

Rae Lori said...

Hey everyone!

Hey Shelia! I usually write notes and short character files. I'm a panster so I usually keep the info in my head until it gets too complex to remember the smaller details!

For my current paranormal/contemporary fantasy romance series I had to create a timeline because so many things happened over the centuries and I wanted to make sure I kept all the little events so the world building is consistent. I created a wiki online which I moved over to my website and made it sort of a behind the scenes look at the series and characters so it can work out both ways. :-)

I think this can work for different genres, even contemporary. Readers love to check out the little tidbits and info with your characters and it'd be a great treat to add a little something on your website to make the character come even more alive.

Hey Savannah! If the idea is within you and if the characters still live, I say go for it definitely! If the story isn't in you or alive, then it'd probably feel like pulling teeth a bit!

I've experienced both ends. I had the latter happen to me sometime ago and I couldn't continue because I felt the story was told and the world was set. So I couldn't "feel" anymore story to tell. Although I have had the former happened to me recently where when readers asked what happened after 'The End' I started explaining it but there were still some threads left over to complete. And soon a story emerged.

Maybe you see some more story with your characters (even the secondary secondary ones may have come conflicts to resolve in their own story) to continue that your readers can look forward to in the near future. :-)

LaShaunda said...

Welcome to our panel. As you know we started as a romance magazine so romance is close to my heart.

What is your favorite part about writing romances?

bettye griffin said...

Hi LaShaunda!
My favorite part of romance writing is the developing relationship between the Hero and Heroine as they set off to falling in love, on the road to Happily Ever After.

Rae Lori said...

Hi LaShaunda! I have to say I also like the journey of the hero and heroine falling in love as well. Especially when everything is working against them. Knowing that there's an HEA (happily ever after) waiting, and no matter what is thrown in their way they'll get there, makes the journey even more interesting!

Shelia Goss said...

@Bana - That's what I'm finding too. So keeping track of the character's personalities has been a challenge--especially when I might be writing the "new" story 2 years later.

@Dyanne & Bettye - I think I'll be re-reading the previous book because I can't find my original character chart and then as Bettye mention, it can be some small thing like did they have a dog. I have a good memory--but not that good :)

@Rae Lori - that's an idea. A 2 for 1. Keep the readers entertained and it keeps me on track :)

Tiffany Amber Stockton said...

Sheila, I usually have a separate document called a style sheet that lists all the characters, their relations to other characters, their descriptions, their occupations, characteristics, key experiences from prior books, etc.

If I didn't have something like this, I'd go insane trying to recall all of the details in my pitiful little brain. :) And my editors usually catch me, then call me on details they remember that I didn't write down. That's embarrassing, so I try to avoid it if I can.

Some authors have a notebook. Some use computer software, and others have character charts on a wall or board near their desks. It all depends on what's easiest and what works for you.

Tiffany Amber Stockton said...

Hmm, favorite part of writing a romance. I'd say it's the sexual tension and getting the two right to the point where they're about to kiss, then writing an interruption of some sort. :) If not that, it's the banter between the two when they're in denial of their feelings.

Another author once told me the best way to write characters that compel the reader is to put them in an impossible situation...then make it worse. I do that to my poor characters until it's time to give them a break and let them have that kiss or embrace.

Goodness knows, real life doesn't work out perfectly when it comes to romance. Why should romance books be any different? :)

Sophia Shaw said...

Hi everyone.

LaShaunda, like a couple of the other writers, my favourite part of romance writing is the conflict between to two main characters. It's no fun if the love is too easy! I enjoy creating a complicated situation and find a way for them to come together because of it or inspite of it.

Kimberly Cauley said...

My fav part is the supporting characters. The tension between the main characters will always be fascinating and intriguing but it's the additional characters that can add the fun!!

Question: What is the best way to pitch a story angle when almost all romance novels contain the same elements? Is it the setting that makes it pitch-able or is it the conflict that the hero/heroine goes through?

Rae Lori said...

Oh! That's another good one, too. The tension between the hero and heroine is fun to watch, too. :-)

Question: What is the best way to pitch a story angle when almost all romance novels contain the same elements? Is it the setting that makes it pitch-able or is it the conflict that the hero/heroine goes through?

Hi Kimberly!

It's true that all romances have that formula but I think it's a mixture of the conflict and the characters that will make your particular work stand out.

If you're writing romantic suspense or paranormals, naturally the plot would have an added outside conflict whether it's a mystery or the world building the particular supernatural characters you're dealing with. Same thing with historical romance where the setting would make a great addition in defining the theme and mood of the story.

If you're writing contemporary romance, you should probably focus on accentuating your characters and what makes them unique. Tell the agent/editor who they are, what kind of job they may hold that gives an insight to their personality and life and also what the overall conflict is when the hero and heroine come in contact with each other. Anything you can do to show how unique your story is and what you're bringing to the table in this particular story will most likely up your chances of catching interest.

Karen C. Brown said...

I think that this is great and I and I am enjoying reading the comments and just seeing the names and pictures of writers that I have read their work.

Karen (Houston)

Melissa said...

Thanks to everyone for your helpful comments and insight. I always find out things I've never thought about. Very helpful. For the panel, do you have a favorite genre inside of romance you enjoy writing most? Should you limit your secondary characters in romances?

Rae Lori said...

Thanks for coming, Karen! :-)

For the panel, do you have a favorite genre inside of romance you enjoy writing most? Should you limit your secondary characters in romances?

Great questions, Melissa! I'd have to say I'm a speculative fiction gal. I love my sci-fi, fantasy and paranormals because there's so many places for the imagination to go. Sci-fi has always been used as an allegory for humanity and I love the prospects of giving commentary on society and the world within that genre. Plus, on an aesthetic note, space, ships and science are pretty cool. ;-)

As for secondary characters, I don't think you should limit them so they don't get a chance to shine but you do want to keep the focus on main characters because it's their story to tell. The secondary characters are there as support to help tell that story but they're still in that supportive status.

If it's a friend of the main characters, perhaps you can have particular dialogue that reveals how the characters are feeling. A close friend of the main character would know a lot about them and how they tick, so there are tons of great character moments you can explore through their conversations.

If a secondary character is a friend to a villain, it'd be a little different but still they could offer up insights to the character through dialogue and maybe some insights to the plot via actions. Every scene helps move that plot along and practically every character serves a certain purpose for being in one way or another.

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