Monday, September 27, 2010

List-Building Begins With Threads….

Coming Up With 100 Plus Ideas in A Couple of Hours!

The professional creative person will first come up with ‘threads’ to exploit and not the end items. It helps to have these thread items created first because as soon as one thread stops producing ideas, you can immediately switch to another thread. If you do this well, you can usually come up with one idea a minute. You also avoid down time when no more ideas come from a dry thread.

For example: consider the “Ways to Show Your Hero and Heroine Falling in Love”

First make a list of threads:

The physical. What does your body tell you or show you. Do you feel differently and how? These should be new experiences not felt with other girlfriends.

The psychological. What is your mind telling you? . Are you daydreaming about the person in a way you have not with other women. Again first time experiences are the best.

The economical. What does this mean in terms of money. For first time hero wonders if it is true that ‘two can live as cheaply as one.” (What if a wife makes more money than the man? Could I live with that?)

The spiritual. What this means from the point of view of your religious or metaphysical belief system. This works best when it is the first time the hero has considered these issues with relation to a woman. (He is doing this without thinking in terms of marriage, yet. He often concludes with, “Why should I care anyway?”)

The pragmatic. How do married people decide on food and spending, and household chores? This works best when it is the first time the hero has considered these issues.

The metaphysical. What would it be like to ‘loose my freedom’. Could I actually be happy in a committed relationship? How much of your true self can you give up in a relationship and still be who you are: an authentic person. This works best when it is the first time the hero has considered these issues.

The behavioral. Ways the hero acts differently than he did in the past. This is best if he does these things without thinking about them and then when he notices them, he chides himself. (He starts wearing a watch all of a sudden. She does not like it when people are late.) Show, show, show.

The female: how a woman would view all the other threads listed here differently than a man would. (This will give you a whole new set of ideas to squeeze more ideas out of the other threads.)

The male: how a man would view all the other threads listed here differently than a woman would. (This will give you a whole new set of ideas.)

The young: how would a young person view all the other threads listed here differently than an older person would. (This will give you a whole new set of ideas.)

The senior; how would an older person view all the other threads listed here differently than a young person would. Would the older person feel ‘nostalgia’ at the first sight of a heroine rather than a spark of lust? (Look at things thorough many different eyes.)

The skeptical: How do I know this is the real thing? Show doubts in the various actions the hero or heroine takes. (Yes this can also be physiological but it is a more refined thread and can lead to new ideas once you thought that tread has run dry.) The hero plans to buy tickets to a show that will really please the heroine but on the way to buy them he has second thoughts: “Why am I doing this?” and decides not to buy them. This is a strong case of showing an inner turmoil.

The professional: how will this alter my career plans? What kind of woman would just up and move to Santa Fe, if I got that promotion I dream about? Hero never considered this before. He’d move and that is it.

The Educational: should I take more college classes or go to on to get an advanced degree? Why? Heroine has masters and he does not. Always think of showing.

The Seasonal: How would these threads differ by season. “How would the heroine fit in or react to my big family’s Thanksgiving dinner? Hero has never worried about this before with other women he has dated.

Actually these are just a few threads. I could think of many more but I have enough ideas on this question already. You can see that if you get your threads in place first, you can come up with many ideas very quickly and avoid down time when the creative well runs dry on a given thread. I feel 100 ideas are always doable if you start with sufficient threads.

Like many skills, the more you practice, the better you get. Why not give it a try.


Sunday, September 26, 2010

106 Ways To Show Your Hero & Heroine Falling in Love

Also See: 100 Ways to Show Character Growth in Your Romance

Showing & Not Telling

"An 'inner process' stands in need of outward criteria."
Ludwig Wittgenstein

These 106 ways of showing your hero and heroine's attraction for each other also includes many reasons why your hero is falling in love with your heroine and vice versa.

My special thanks to Michelle Douglas for posing these questions.

Hero/heroine are falling in love:

1. because he/she is a worthy person…a sympathetic person…a deserving person.
2. because of the many small acts of kindness he/she renders to children, animals, strangers, old people.
3. because of acts of kindness when no one is looking -- as seen by the other.
4. because he/she listens and remembers.
5. because he/she cares about me; shows acts of protectiveness.
6. because he/she supports my dreams and ambitions – and also dreams right along with me.
7. because he/she likes me the way I am.
8. because he/she would make a good mother/father.
9. because he/she is a good friend.
10. because he/she is someone I can talk to in confidence.
11. because he/she has a great sense of humor and can make me laugh when I need it.
12. because he/she gives me my space when I need it without me having to ask about it.
13. because he/she is generous.
14. because he/she is truthful.
15. because he/she is brave and stood up for me in a dispute.
16. because he/she treats me with respect.
17. because he/she is not quick to anger.
18. because he/she has the same religious beliefs.
19. because he/she loves to travel.
20. because he/she has good manners.
21. because he/she is highly intelligent.
22. because he/she is handy and can do many things well.
23. because he/she takes care of parents or grandparents.
24. because he/she knows what I am going to say before I say it.
25. because he/she knows how to make me happy.
26. because he/she has patients.
27. because he/she rubs my back relieving much stress without needing to be asked.
28. because he/she bought same brand of bubble bath that I use.
29. because he/she stayed with me when my dog died, cat died.
30. because when hero walks through a parking lot in the summer he always looks into cars to see if any kids are trapped inside. (There could be a story behind this)
31.hero sends flowers to heroine’s mother for having such a wonderful daughter.
32. every time hero hears the heroine’s name, (her first name which is common), he perks up and thinks about her.
33. When the hero sees a dress in a store window he now wonders how she would look in that dress.
34. when another woman is wearing the same perfume as the heroine wears the hero notices it.
35. when heroine says Annie Hall is her favorite movie, hero rents it the next day to re- familiarize himself with the story.
36. hero asks a girl at work, “What’s a good
Chick flick? (He’s never asked this before.)
37. when heroine did something that the hero would have a right to be angry about, he was understanding.
38. because of the unique ways he/she goes about making up after a dispute.
39. because he/she can actually admit when he/she was wrong.
40, the way he/she is always encouraging others -- even if they ask a stupid question in class, he/she says, as teacher, that’s an important question and then goes on the bring up points that shows it was, indeed, an important question. He/she just assumes the student was asking the deeper question.
41. the way he/she does not rain on another’s parade. When someone has a small victory and wants to tell all about it, he/she never says he/she has had many more higher awards himself/herself.
42. he/she lets a relative show off her grand children in many photos…instead of bruising her off…he/she even asks a few questions to keep the happy experience going longer for the relative.
43. when he/she sees an item in a store that the hero/heroine likes, he/she buys it just to have it in the house or car.
44. he/she feels sad when something happens to the hero/heroine: not getting a promotion or being late for a meeting and getting into trouble. (Your hurts are becoming my hurts.)
45. the way his/her voice sounds when he/she says my name.
46. the way he/she notices any little change I make in my appearance.
47. he/she makes the effort to learn the names of all the hero’s/heroine’s tropical fish.
48. hero notices little things that could use fixing in heroine’s house or apartment. Hero has little tool kit to fix things in his car.
49. he/she keeps looking at the seat in the car where he/she sat and keeps doing it as if he/ she would somehow magically appear there.
50. Hero drives a different way to work to look at houses that are for sale: he’s never done this before and thinks “What in the heck am I doing?”
51. Hero wonders if a song playing will become their song…how does a song become ‘our’ song.
52. Hero wonders what ‘she’ is doing right now.
53. Hero calls his own cell number with info he wants to remember about heroine. For example, heroine mentioned she has same birthday as a famous person…find out what that date is.
54. Heroine likes an author, Donna Leon, and her next book will take a year to come out in US but hero knows he can get it now from England and orders it to surprise her. (I really did this.)
55. Hero buys 5 lbs of kitty litter so heroine can use on her front walk.
56. Hero dials her number by mistake at work. Surprised that he has it memorized.
57. Hero checks the air in her tires. They looked a little low and besides he keeps a pressure gauge in his glove compartment.
58. When hero goes into heroine’s apartment bathroom he reads off the items and brand names into his cell phone so he can have the same items at his apartment.
59. Hero goes out of his way to ‘incidentally’ tell heroine’s girlfriend: ‘isn’t she wonderful?’ knowing it will get back to her.
60. Hero sees a bridal dress magazine in the doctor’s office and wonders how heroine would look in it…then pushes the magazine way like it had germs.
61. Hero orders heroine a sweat shirt with her collage logo on it by calling the school bookstore in small college back east. He knows this will really please her.
62. Hero sees heroine is reading a book, so he buys the same book and stays up most of night reading it…so if the title comes up in conversation, he can causally mention that he read it as well.
63. hero hears heroine quote Shakespeare a few times, so he learns the monolog so he can finish the whole monologue the next time she does it. (This is crazy he thinks to himself. BTW: he listens to a library recording of the monologue so he can pick up the dramatic emphasis. True story.)
64. Hero gets the heroin’s favorite author to autograph a book to the heroine. When heroine sees the book at the hero’s apartment she’s surprised he is reading it. “Oh, that’s for you. I saw Nora and asked if she’s autograph it for you.” When heroine opens the book and sees that it is true, she’s hooked!
65. hero sets a mirror up in his office so he can see heroine as she walks all the way back to her desk. (He’s very pleased with himself.)
66. Hero goes to the university library and copies heroine’s dissertation so he can seem very intelligent on a topic dear to the heroine. (I’ve done this too.)
67. hero laughs when someone on a TV show does something heroine has a habit of also doing. (Hero would not have found this funny before the heroine.)
68. Heroine once said she did not like a certain aftershave, it makes her sneeze, and as he is about to put it on, he stops and uses the aftershave his mother gave him for Christmas and which he has never opened.
69. hero starts thinking women he sees on the street are heroine. He feels a slight disappointment when it turns out not to be her.
70. hero starts carrying his cell phone more often than in the past: hoping she will call.
71. all of a sudden hero is interested in something heroine is interested in. He even looks in store windows where the item is displayed. Pick your item.
72. Heroine mentioned that she had a good time at a resort in Cozumel last summer. Hero checks the place out on the internet. He’s now ready to talk about the place.
73. Heroine mentioned that she came from and grew up in a small town in Iowa. Hero checks the town out on the internet. He gets a feel for the town and learns the high school sports teams names.
74. hero starts thinking of pet names for heroine, then catches himself, almost horrified.
75. in season he sees a robin building a nest and says out loud to himself, “I hope you know what you are getting into.”
76. When eating alone at his favorite restaurant, hero thinks how his food does not taste as good without the heroine eating with him.
77. hero goes into his apartment, sits down in the dark, and thinks about how his life seems empty all of a sudden – you don’t have to relate this to the heroine.
78. hero looks at copy of DVD and thinks how much more he liked the movie after watching it with heroine.
79. hero calls life insurance agent for the first time in his life just because he is curious as to what a policy costs. No mention of the heroine.
80. hero finds himself smiling over something the heroine said a few days ago.
81. hero starts looking at women’s hands to check out their diamond rings for the first time…catches himself and looks away.
82. hero thinks it's cute that heroine has a Prayer plant that she named “Flora”.
83. hero buys expensive after shave…more than twice what he has ever spent in his life…tries not to connect this to heroine. “It’s time I’ve tried some new things.”
84. hero when alone orders the ‘girly’ coffee drink the heroine always orders just to experience what it tastes like.
85. hero sees brand name initials, like G.E., and notices that it is also heroine’s initials.
86. hero wonders about how much the heroine looks like his mother.
87. hero finds himself humming a popular song named after a woman – same name as the heroine! “I better be careful” he thinks.
88.hero buys heroine a Tear Gas keychain. Not on purpose. He just saw one in the hardware store and thought she might need it.
89. hero gets upset when guys around water cooler at work say something sexy about heroine – even though he has never been upset before this.
90. after years of not paying attention to heroine, in that way, hero offers to walk her out to her car when they work after it gets dark.
91.same as 90 above except the first time he gets this ‘feeling’ he restrains himself in order ‘not to give the girl the wrong idea’. Do 90 and 91 in stages.
92. hero sees a $5 Off coupon for laundry detergent the heroine uses and he cuts it out to give her without even thinking about what this might mean.
93. for first time hero thinks about cleaning up his apartment to a degree greater than just picking up the big pieces.
94. hero takes pictures of past girlfriends off his refrigerator door. “They keep falling off anyway” he deludes himself.
95. hero notices that he is trying to speak more correctly around the heroine: “As if she is going to complain if I end a sentence in a preposition,” he chides himself.
96. hero starts looking for second meaning or deeper meaning to things the heroine now says. He never did this before.
97. hero becomes upset by the number of buttons undone on her blouse while at work.
98. hero starts looking more closely at heroine’s face, especially makeup, how much is her and how much is real.
99. hero becomes more critical of heroine, in his mind, it like he paid no attention to his friend’s car when riding in it before but once he considered buying it, he started noticing everything.
100. hero gets upset when the heroine jokingly puts herself down…he has never felt that way before…in the past he would have enjoyed the joke.
101. hero finds he is applauding heroine’s performance inappropriately too enthusiastically. People look at him. “Oh, my” he thinks.
102. hero drives by what he knows is heroine’s church and for the first time he wonders how that church’s beliefs may differ from his church. (He does not associate this with the heroine).
103. hero for the first time becomes concerned with the heroine’s spending habits, drinking habits, and/or eating habits. He never did this with his other girlfriends.
104. hero stops taking heroine to the places he took other girl friends – places the other guys would see him with the babes.
105. hero notices that his priorities seem to be changing.
106. hero wonders why heroine has not asked him over to her apartment for a home cooked meal. Maybe she can’t cook. “Why would I care?”

Also See: 100 Ways to Show Character Growth in Your Romance

Showing & Not Telling


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

My First Amish Romance – But Is It Really About the Amish?

(An Ada's House Novel) - Paperback
by Cindy Woodsmall

Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: WaterBrook Press; 1 edition (August 11, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1400073960
ISBN-13: 978-1400073962
Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.2 x 0.7 inches
Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces

The Author Has Never Read an Amish Romance!

I had never read an Amish Romance so I asked the author, Cindy Woodsmall, who has written many of them, which one to read. She said, while she has written many, she has never read an Amish Romance, either! However, she did recommend “The Hope of Refuge” which was one of hers.

Best Opening Pages -- Impossible Not to be Hooked!

After reading a few pages of “The Hope of Refuge” I was hooked. As these these pages and the next two chapters were not yet about the Amish, it became very clear to me that Cindy Woodsmall is an extraordinarily talented author. I would compare Cindy Woodsmall's quality of writing to that of Linda Howard. After reading all of "The Hope of Refuge", I was delighted with the story. It is clearly a 5-star book. But here’s the rub: I’m am not that interested in the Amish. I would have liked the book just as much if instead of an Amish community, the story featured a community of Navajos in New Mexico or even communities of vampires or werewolves.

The "Ugly Duckling" Theme Romance

I would call “The Hope of Refuge” an “Ugly Duckling” theme romance. In this theme the outsider, usually the heroine, is considered an ugly duckling (often by herself) and discovers that she is actually a beautiful swan within the swan community (Amish, Vampire, or Harry Potter Wizards). This ‘Outsider” finding a home and acceptance is a very powerful theme because many people feel alienated at various times in their lives. (Especially young people.)

A 5-Star Story No Matter How You Look at it!

Even if you are not interested in the Amish, you can still enjoy reading this book because the story is excellent. The heroine is a widow with a young daughter who is being stalked by an evil man who might even kill her and her daughter. She runs away with her daughter with no preparation taking a bus as far as her money can take her. She winds up in an area with Amish families. Her mother fled this same community when the heroine was a little girl. The story is about how the heroine and daughter find refuge in the Amish community and how she actually has her roots in that same community.

It's About the Talent -- Not the Amish!

"The Hope of Refuge" is a heartwarming, wonderful story. Yet I think it is a universal story of an outsider being accepted in a new group and finding happiness therein. I also think the author should try writing a mainstream theme novel ala Linda Howard and Nora Roberts. I think she would also be a mainstream best selling author.

Read the book and see if you agree.


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Single Father: Wife and Mother Wanted is Just Too Good to be a Debut Novel!

But then, Sharon Archer’s Second Book, “Marriage Reunited: Baby on the Way” Won Book of the Year in Australia!

I enjoy reading debut novels. I’m always looking for new authors to enjoy. “Single Father: Wife and Mother Wanted”, however, didn’t read like a first novel. The writing style is fresh, characters engaging and the plot is particularly interesting.

The story opens with a bang! There’s an accident requiring a doctor and a veterinarian. The hero, GP, Matt Gardiner, is the doctor. The heroine, Caitlin Butler-Brown, is the vet. This makes for an exciting first meeting. The heroine sounds like she is from Ireland but she is really from the local area. Her dilemma: she has secrets she must reveal but which she fears to deliver.

Since “Single Father: Wife and Mother Wanted” is a sweet romance, there are only a few kisses. Yet the passages where the hero and heroine fantasize about making love to each other are as passionate as the actual love scenes would be. I’d love to see the author also write for the “Short and Sexy” category as well.

The story takes place in Garrangay, Australia. Dr. Matt Gardiner lives with his foster mother and has a young son. His ex-wife is a self-centered, career woman, who wanted a career more than she wanted a husband or being a mother.

The heroine, Caitlin Butler-Brown, has a career centered mother who put her in a boarding school to get her out of the way. Caitlin’s mother and Matt’s ex-wife are two of a kind.

Caitlin has come to town the reveal a secret to a long lost relative. It is both bad news and good news. Caitlin sees only the bad news part and can’t bring herself to find the right time to reveal the secret. This situation creates both the strongest part of the plot and also the weakest. I personally would be eager to reveal this particular secret. So the plot didn’t work very well with me in this important respect. However, it might work well with other readers who think the way the author does. You have to read it and judge for yourself.

In any event, everything else about Single Father: Wife and Mother Wanted is 5-star quality. Sharon Archer shows great promise and is already an award winner. (I just wish the secret in the book would have had something to do with DNA and wanting to learn if you had an early death from a debilitating disease in your future.)

Outstanding Debut Novel! A Great Writing Future Ahead!