Tag Archives: endings

The Power Of A Great Opening

Lips, lips pressing down on hers. Kate’s eyes fluttered open and she found herself looking into soft, brown eyes that were liquid pools of concern. Kind eyes. Without thinking her arms went up around his and she found herself responding to him. Applause burst out from the bystanders around her.

Opening from: Amsden, Pat. “Lost In Vegas.” Lost in Vegas Cover

Hopefully that makes you want to read further. In a short presentation on writing best selling novels earlier this year, Phyllis Smallman said “great writers are great readers.” We all nodded sagely. Then she clarified. You not only have to love reading but you have to read to learn how others write. Oh.

She suggested going to the nearest library and reading the first paragraph from best selling novels. I’d like to think the above example from Lost In Vegas works. It has at various times made it into the top 100 books on Amazon. Below you’ll see an opening line from one of Phyllis Smallman’s books. It definitely draws me in.

Do you think you can catch crazy? In Dutch’s, where I mix martinis and pull drafts, some nights a madness swirls through the air, like a virus infecting everyone.

Opening from: Smallman, Phyllis. “Jack Daniels And Tea.”

Then start to think about how books you love are constructed. Chances are none start with a page on botany. Chances are you’ve met at least one of the main characters in the first page and there’s been an inciting incident within the first thirty. Whether it’s romance or mystery there’s probably a giant problem in the way that makes a neat resolution impossible and makes you wonder “how on earth will they solve that?”

That’s what makes you keep reading. Maybe the botanist is trying to save a plant in the middle of a proposed logging site. Conflict! The life blood of books everywhere. If the botanist is gorgeous and the logger a testosterone soaked version of man candy even better. Switch it up and make the botanist a male version of sex on a stick and the logger a pissed off blue eyed blonde who’d look more at home in a women’s magazine than at the job site decked out in steel toed boots. Excellent!

Depending on size you may have a sub plot or two. Maybe three. They should tie into the main story line, adding depth to the story and characters.

Then think about the ending. You want to end with a bang, not a whimper. There should be resolution that leaves the reader feeling emotionally satisfied. They should close your book feeling that the ending you wrote was the only way the book could have ended.



Valentine’s Day

Valentines broken heartIf you’re a romance author it’s pretty well expected you’ll pull out all the bells and whistles for Valentine’s day.  Perhaps you’ll give out chocolates or free books.

True. But I recently ended a 20 something year relationship. I’d be lying if I said I was in the mood for romance.

Apparently I’m in good company. Love for No Reason author, Marci Shimoff, found her relationship ending at the same time she signed the contract for the book. But though she and her partner agreed to go their separate ways the book is still fascinating.

Soul Mates, a book I’d left unread for years, literally fell at my feet one day. It did help that I was in the process of moving. Yep, that’s something you want to think about when you’re going your separate ways – Soul Mates. But since I felt like torturing myself I decided to read it.

I found out my idea of what soul mates were wasn’t necessarily true. According to author, Richard Webster, soul mates meet in order to enable both people to grow and develop in different ways. Sometimes this happens over the course of several life-times.  Some even kill themselves in the process. Some are brothers and sisters, best friends.  And of course there’s always the odd pair who find eternal love through the end of time. Just not my husband and I.

We apparently have learned and grown all we can with each other. In the process we’ve created a wonderful 21 year old son and had some good times so it’s pretty hard to think of that as a failure. I really do wish him all the best. Most of the time.

So this Valentine’s day I’ll celebrate with fellow romance authors at our annual RWA Valentine’s lunch. Rounding out the month I’ll go to a friend’s 40th birthday wake. Unless of course she talks her significant other into hopping onto a plane to Mexico for a few days of fun and sun. It’s entirely possible.

I will be posting an excerpt from my next book ‘Grady’s Pic’ and have a limited number of ARC’s available for blog readers. For those of us not in loving relationships this Valentine’s day just remember everyone starts out single. And the path to true love is rarely easy, but it can be entertaining!

She needed a man in her life as much as she needed lint in her dryer, sunscreen on a rainy day, slugs in the garden or holes in her tires.

‘Grady’s Pic’.