How do romance authors and editors address tricky issues of communication and safer sex without killing the mood?
Writing prompt: Two characters, en route to falling in love, are about to fall into bed together. Make it steamy. Make it satisfying. Oh, but don’t forget to have them talk about safe sex and make sure there’s affirmative consent. And don’t make it weird.
Although romance has been dubbed “porn for women” by critics as diverse as the Family Research Council and the New Yorker, the fact is that the genre was less complicated before things got hot and heavy on the page.
I really enjoy writing my villains. I can channel my dark side and it helps me think about character motivation far more than I do for the protagonist.
Because the villain is the hero of their own story, and their reasons for destroying the world (in my books) needs to be convincing.
In today’s article, Sacha Black gives some tips on how to write a convincing villain.
Writers have a habit of worshipping their heroes. I know I do. It tends to be the first character we create when we start a new project, and that’s for a reason; our hero saves the day, and usually, that’s who the story is about.
OhmygoshitisWednesdayandthatmeansitistimeforMEEEEE!!!!! In other words, it’s Squatter’s Rights Wednesday with me, Cait Reynolds. Today, I’m going to talk about the fact that there is nothing new under the sun.
And, by that, I mean that every variation of story has been told before. Every culture from every time period has its version of Cinderella, its Aladdin or Jack, its greedy kings and tricky old witches. No matter how many magical mice, talking mirrors, or transportation-challenged pumpkins dress up the tale, every story has at its heart the most basic, most fundamental truths about the human condition and human relationships.
Myths and fairytales appeal to our innocence, our belief in justice, and our sense of history. The fact that most of them have happy endings doesn’t hurt, either. The past two years have seen a kind of renaissance in retellings and modern interpretations of these classic stories. A handful have been very well done. The rest have been inconsistent efforts that show very little thought and research has been put into understanding the nature of both mythology and fairytales and how to translate them into contemporary settings.
If you dream of a full-time freelance writing career—but have felt discouraged by the largely negative messages about how difficult it is out there (many of which come from freelancers themselves), then allow me to introduce you to Mridu Khullar Relph of The International Freelancer.|
Last week, she released a list of 70+ publications that pay $1 a word or more (or a $500+ flat rate). She put together this list in defiance of everyone who says it’s “impossible” to make a living as a freelance writer and to provide a helpful resource to the wider community of freelance journalists and writers who are looking for ways to earn more.
Mridu was a successful freelance journalist for twelve years before starting The International Freelancer. She built her career from New Delhi, India, writing for top US and UK publications, including The New York Times, TIME magazine, The Independent, CNN, Forbes, ABC News, The Christian Science Monitor, GlobalPost, and more. She’s won several awards for her journalism, including being named Development Journalist of the Year in 2010 by the Developing Asia Journalism Awards for her work on wastepicker women in India. She is currently based out of London.
Mridu was kind enough to answer my questions about the freelance life.
By far the most common entry-level mistake in the writing game, the thing that can get a perfectly good story rejected by an editor on the first page, is overwriting: a writing voice that is laden with energy and adjectives, that tries too hard, that is self-conscious in a way that detracts from the story, that is obviously the work of a writer trying to poeticize a story that doesn’t stand a chance.
Bad writing voice is like wearing a clown suit to the Oscars. Chances are you won’t make it past the lobby.
Of course, one writer’s clown suit is another’s tuxedo. Which is to say, you may believe your eloquence is palatable and beautiful, and you may feel the need to stuff all this fat into your sentences because you don’t feel they’re muscular enough as is. It’s always an opinion—yours and the editor’s, and finally the reader’s—but it’s a critical one.