Tag Archives: Kara Lennox

Kara Lennox plot fixer-moonday mania

The summer before last I attended a Colorado Romance Writers mini-con put on by Kara Lennox. It was an incredibly invaluable day. So I was thrilled to find some of what she taught us at one of my favorite blogs, Writers in the Storm. Sometimes you know there is something wrong with your manuscript, but you aren’t sure what. Kara’s plot-fixers help you identify the ten main problems writers encounter.

Take for instance, lesson ten on Loss of Focus. This lesson not only covers when you are drifting away, but why. You need to figure out your theme.

A theme is a “universal truth,” though it doesn’t have to be “true” for everyone, and you don’t have to believe it. It just has to be true for this book.”

Themes are tough, I’m not sure I even know my theme when I start outlining a book, it’s only after I have figured out why both my characters get together that a theme starts to gel. But then to stay with it throughout the book? That’s a tough one. I try to focus on  a theme of growth through love of another person. To me true romance is finding that person who forces you to grow, even if you don’t want to!

Let’s say your heroine is afraid of heights. You could write about a hero who is kind and understanding, unlike her bullying parents who forced her to go rock climbing. That hero would be a nice guy, but he wouldn’t support my theme of growth. Now the hero who helps her confront her fear and have a successful rock climbing trip would be more my kind of hero. Of course since I write more suspenseful books it would likely be rock climbing in the rain to get away from the villain!

But you get the picture.

Theme can be book specific or you can always write the same theme. When you have the same theme running throughout your books that contributes to your voice and to forming a solid brand. That is the goal: to find your voice, identify your personal theme, and make sure that theme runs under each book. When you’ve done that, you’ll know you are well on your way. But it starts with just one book.

For example, in Little Red Riding Wolf, Red is searching for independence from her family and pack. So independence might be the book’s theme, but throughout the book Evan is supporting her in her attempts at independence, so that hits on my personal theme of growth through love. She wouldn’t separate from her family if she didn’t have his support.

What is the theme of the book you are currently reading or writing? Does the author have that theme throughout their writing? Do you as an author have an overall personal theme that runs through all of your books?

Want to start with Kara’s Lesson One? Click HERE  to learn about why your premise is not compelling.

I’m on a promotional blog tour this week, so don’t forget to drop by Romance and Beyond, where I blogged last week about love and icecream and then on Wednesday hop on over to Sherry Isaacs Sizzling site for a Wildflower blog.

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Filed under Moonday mania, writing craft

Why Write?

On Saturday I did something I love to do. I spent the day socializing with my peeps at the Colorado Romance Writers mini-con.There was something for everyone. An editor, Kristen Sevick of Tor/Forge, for pitches. A silent auction, which I am happy to report was full of wonderful critiques and gift baskets. And of course a whole day spent sucking up the wisdom of our guest, Kara Lennox.

Kara has published sixty-eight books. Sixty-eight! In an amazing feat Kara provided a one-woman conference, doing workshop after workshop for the whole day. We started with queries, moved through three act structure and right on into movie tricks for romance writers. Her plot-fixers and agent advice finished out a marvelous day of information overload.

Even when its a topic I think I know something about, I still learn something. I took pages and pages of notes and intend on reviewing them to see what I’ve already forgotten. For example, the three act structure. I use a plot structure when I write that is based on something like three act structure. I am going to do exactly what she suggested and peek into my mid-point and see if its where it should be. Did it move during those many revisions?Kara used movies as her examples. She explained that movies are exactly three acts and when you write screenplays, there had better be three acts. Its something I do and something I’ve learned, but the way she explained it has me wanting to pull out my stopwatch and check my Disney movies for their exact mid-points and black moments.

Many authors want to ignore structure and fly by the seat of their pants, but even fly-by-fabric writers should have some sort of map. Kara said many people think the three act structure is hardwired into our brains. That we look for it, and if an author doesn’t stay close to it, the reader feels cheated.

The most exciting thing for me was seeing that even after so many books, and the ups and downs of a long career, Kara is still excited about writing. She loves her plots and characters. She’s written category romance and screenplays and hopes to publish in single title, but the common theme for the long, long, long day was her enthusiasm.

She kept us interested right to the end. I always wondered how anyone could be as prolific as a Harlequin author. How do they keep coming up with new plots that are fresh and interesting book after book. After listening to Kara, I think I know the secret.

She loves it. You can see as she talks that she feels lucky to have made a career out of romance. And who wouldn’t? A lifetime of creating new stories, new characters and new happy ever afters? Why wouldn’t everyone be struggling to do this for a living? Well, maybe because it isn’t the easiest thing to do. You have to be prolific to pay the bills and there are the rejections and revisions.

But seeing someone who has been successful and prolific and still loves writing? That’s a calling. That’s inspirational. That’s who I want to be.

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Filed under channeling success, Optimisim, writing craft