1) Read, read, read.
Reading within your genre as well as within other genres will make you a better writer. See what works for you as a reader and what doesn’t. Incorporate the good traits and resolve to eliminate any bad habits you observe.
2) Study writing blogs, books, and sites.
You might feel like you’re an expert once you’ve gotten your book published, but there’s always more that you can learn. Writer’s Digest, other authors’ websites, genre-specific magazines, and writing newsletters can help you understand what mistakes other authors are making and how to avoid those mistakes. For instance, one writing ezine often discusses disreputable publishers and agents, warning other writers to say away.
3) Watch TV and movies.
Yep, you read that right. Watching television and movies helps you to understand what’s popular and can help you to see issues in ways you might never have considered. Let’s say you watch a detective program. It could give you insight into why your villain behaves as she does. Granted, your villain might not be a murderer, but her long history of abuse could explain her actions.
4) Subscribe to agents’ and editors’ blogs.
They know the industry like no one else. If you want to know what’s going on in the publishing world, this is an excellent place to start.
5) Follow Publisher’s Weekly on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/pubweekly) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/PublishersWkly).
6) Learn to proofread.
In order to properly proofread your own work, you might have to read the story backward or in some other order to truly see the words. When we’re proofing our stories, we tend to see what we believe is there. If our intention was to write, “We took the dog to the groomer,” then we’ll see that even if we’ve actually typed, “We too the dog to the groomer.” The eye skims right over that missing k, and the mistake isn’t highlighted as such by my word processing software.
7) Learn to self-edit.
Self-editing differs somewhat from proofreading because it is more involved than correcting typos. Self-editing includes fixing flaws. Did your character say something that doesn’t ring true? Have you used the word jump ten times on the same page? Does your character behave in a way that isn’t faithful to her personality for no apparent reason? Once you’ve had your work edited by a professional, you’ll be more aware of what to look for. In the meantime, do a search for some helpful articles.
8) Listen to how people actually speak.
To do dialogue well, you need to truly listen to people talking. This is another good thing about watching movies. The first time I picked up an Elmore Leonard novel, I thought, “Huh? This guy doesn’t follow the rules.” But his dialogue rings so true! He uses dialogue to create characters that are realistic.
Write outside your comfort zone. If you don’t write poetry, try a poem to see what you can come up with. I took a creative writing class where students had to read a short story in a particular genre and then write a story in that genre. We had to write western, science fiction, romance, horror, mystery, and even how-to instructions. Stretch your limits—you might be surprised at what you can do.
All the study in the world won’t make you a better writer if you don’t simply put your butt in the chair and write.
Brandy and Luke Fontaine are sexy, fun, rich, and maybe just a little oversexed. They’re newlyweds honeymooning in Hawaii when they find a dead body. Turns out their fellow guest has been murdered, and they set out to solve the case.
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Genre - Erotic Romance
Rating – X
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