Thursday, October 22, 2009

Shake Things up in Your Fiction

Want to write something awesome, read awe-inspiring books. I’m currently in the middle of rewriting a manuscript I wrote way back in 2006. Ever wonder if you are growing in your craft? Go back and read something you wrote a few years ago. Don’t despair if it makes you cringe. That means you are growing, evolving, becoming better with every book, every page.

My book has lots of potential. I love the story. But alas, there are a few things missing. It’s a romantic suspense. Sadly there is little romance. Worse, there is virtually no suspense.

Back to Square One.

In order for a book to be suspense and not women’s fiction or contemporary satire, the element of suspense must be integral to the plot. The hero or heroine must be in clear and present danger. My characters are not. They learn a lot through the course of the story. They grow into more compassionate individuals. But no one is in any real danger, and the romance is minimal at best. Not good if I intend to market the book as romantic suspense.

I just finished reading a romantic suspense by a prolific writer whose books I enjoy. Throughout the course of the story, the characters kept getting deeper and deeper in trouble. Suspense mounted with each turning of the page. The villain became more twisted and brazen while the hero and heroine kept discovering new reasons to survive and renewed determination to help them reach this end.

Now I need to figure out how to incorporate these methods into my own writing. My heroine isn’t the focus of a serial killer. She doesn’t have enemies from a past life bent on silencing her. Danger must lurk behind every corner. Suspense is always fun for me. I like coming up with twisted, convoluted situations. That’s my task for today. Delete mundane passages. Insert suspense.

What about you? Do you need to up the ante for your characters? Have they become content and complacent in their circumstances. Shake things up. Insert some suspense—regardless of your genre—and see what happens.

Happy writing!

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