"If you could say one thing to aspiring novelists, what would you say?"
Today the talented Ms. Shope shares her response:
That means read that genre. Study it as though you are preparing for a college exam. Take notes on how the characters are developed, when the problem occurs, how a hook is used, what about the story keeps you right on turning the pages. Better still, write down what you don’t like. Writing takes work. Writer Loops are filled with the same type of questions from aspiring authors all asking the same basic questions such as I am writing a book for young adults. Can anyone suggest a good author for me to read? I shiver when I read that and not in a good way. Their shelves should already be filled with the likes of Jean Craighead George and Cynthia Rylant.
A good mystery book was all I ever used to pick up. I read them voraciously before I even considered writing them. Because of that passion I decided to craft my own thriller filled with DNA, and fiber evidence. It took root and everywhere I looked I saw a potential story. I worked at a rough school with at risk kids. One day a student attacked me with a metal door. I was asked to write out the police report detailing what happened. My principal at the time knew my love for setting up a story scene and told me to try to keep it under forty pages. Honest.
By the time my third book was published, I had acquired a bevy of forensic experts that I consulted. I also bought an underground book of how someone can acquire a new identity and studied that for my fourth mystery book, Wildcard, which is coming out 2009.
Yep, mystery writing was my genre. Then the unthinkable, the unexplainable happened. A publisher asked me to write a romance book set at Christmas time. I bit back my laughter. After I agreed I went into shock that lasted for several days. What did I know about romance? My opinion of romance books up to that point was; woman falls in love with man. Man falls in love with woman. A problem arises that causes the woman and the man to break up. Woman cries. Man sulks. Woman and man get back together. The end. What to do? The only thing I could. I turned to Lifetime TV for help. The romance kind. And watched a weekend worth of sweet, very romantic stories, and I took notes. On Monday I headed to the library and checked out best selling romance authors.
Ooou, I soon discovered that romance is ripe with emotion and conflict. And dark villains. So I wrote my Christmas book and sent it to the publisher. A week later I signed a contract for a five holiday book series. --Robin Shope, author of The Candidate (with Susan Wales), Wildcard, and more. Visit her online at her blog and Shoutlife pages: