A dozen years ago author, Merline Lovelace, gave a presentation to my RWA chapter entitled "Ten Best Tips I Stole From Other Authors". She thanked each contributing author for the tips given in her presentation and written on handouts she gave to our members. Merline was a gem. I referrred to those tips many times, finding them to be helpful to me as a beginning writer. Especially did I value the section of her presentation which was about the craft of writing. I replicate here the five tips mentioned on craft for anyone who may be starting out, or perhaps for those authors who may be self-editing their work with an eye on improvement.
#1. Organize Your Research (thanks Margaret Malloy)
Build a chronology of significant events during time period of your book
Insert key dates of characters (eg birth, 1st meeting, marraige etc.)
List key reference material and build your own reference book
#2. Pictures of Hero/Heroine (thanks Maggie Price)
clip pictures of characters from catalogs or magazines
Post over your computer for visualizing & consistency as you work
send in with your art cover plans/suggestions
#3. Start Where the Action Is (thanks Annie Steinmetz)
Open your book in the middle of the action
Write chapters 1,2, & 3. Then throw out chapter 1
#4. Balance the Romance and Action line (thanks Leslie Wainger)
Writing two stories - the drama and relationship
Think big, fat braid
Consider using a plotting chart
#5. Blow something up in chapter 8 (thanks Jayne Ann Krentz)
Avoid sagging middles. Keep the action moving.
This is where plotting helps (ie plot bullets for action per chapter}
This blog post is brief by necessity. Declining health this past month leaves me no choice to do otherwise. Perhaps it will spark the memory of their "beginnings" for some of my AE coleagues or even give a little aid to others. I hope so.