I’m delighted to be invited back to Scarlett’s blog to continue a discussion I began last month. http://scarlettvandijk.weebly.com/2/post/2013/09/guest-post-bernadette-rowley-6-tips-on-becoming-a-successful-writer.html
Writing is about building on your strengths and I think most of us who write have loved to write stories as children. I certainly did. I described writing as ‘like breathing’. How wonderful it would be if it were that easy now. As children, our imaginations are limitless and free to roam. I think this changes as we grow older and the reality of life sets in.
So, it’s important to suspend that inner critic we all have and let our imagination and our right brain have free rein as we draft our stories. I’ve discovered my muse (right brain) responds well to questions and if I ask the right questions and wait long enough she will solve the plot problems that inevitably crop up. She’s also really good at helping with that all important story outline, which forms the basis of your synopsis.
I think mentoring is a very important part of success as an author. My most important mentor has been Louise Cusack. Louise set me up for success in my writing life and I hold tight to what she taught me.
The above three points are what has made the difference for me and I am so lucky I happened across Louise. She remains in my life, a constant source of advice and support, and she is the reason I began writing romance.
Finally, for this blog, I now understand the need for plotting. Princess Avenger was written without anything more than a vague plot and then I wrote the synopsis after I completed the story. Now I work differently. I write the synopsis of a new story with the basic plot points of a romance and this is where my muse helps to come up with ideas that will increase tension and twists that the reader, hopefully, doesn’t expect. Once I have the synopsis, I go ahead and write the story. This ensures that my story structure is fundamentally sound but still leaves enough room for new ideas as I draft. It also helps to avoid getting stuck or blocked a few thousand words into the story.
My second book, The Lady’s Choice, was released on the 14th October by Penguin Group Australia and tells the story of Squire Ramón Zorba, a secondary character from Princess Avenger. Ramón created such an impression on me that I knew he needed his own book. I love reading series and I love the fact that as I’m writing these stories I keep creating secondary characters that are demanding I tell their story. I now have a list of new heroes and heroines whom I can base stories around in the coming books; and my readers get to catch up with their favourite people from previous books.
The Lady’s Choice is the first book where I used my ‘write synopsis then the story’ plan and I think it worked well. I also set about really understanding my characters before I wrote the book, writing reams on their likes and hates, their past and their dreams. Once that is done, you know what your characters will do in any situation and the story follows. It makes for less editing and that’s what you want at the end of the day.
About Bernadette Rowley
Bernadette Rowley is a writer and veterinarian who was born on the Sunshine Coast and now lives in Townsville. She has been immersed in the world of speculative fiction since her early teens and remembers being spellbound by Tolkien and Brooks and their epic quests. It is not surprising that her stories contain more than a little magic.
Bernadette works part time as a vet, allowing her five days a week for her passion, writing. Her other interests are reading (fantasy and romance), singing (a capella), cricket and music.
Bernadette’s blog – http://bernadetterowley.com
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/bernadetterowleyfantasy
Princess Avenger http://www.destinyromance.com/products/9781742538013/princess-avenger-destiny-romance
The Lady’s Choice http://www.destinyromance.com/products/9781743483978/lady-s-choice
A Writer's Tale
Scarlett Van Dijk
Writer of young adult, fantasy series, the Sky Stone series, poetry and short stories.
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