Tag Archives: writing tips

Paranormal Suspense – The Good, The Bad and The Sexy

I love reading and writing romantic suspense. I also enjoy a well written paranormal when the author constructs a believable world. Blending the two genres was a no brainer for me. Paranormal Suspense. Suspense that is out of this world. Where the only thing normal is the suspense. Yeah, I’ve been playing with tag lines.

The key to writing good paranormal suspense is keeping the characters and story line as normal as possible. It doesn’t matter if the heroine has blue skin or the hero is a werewolf as long as their story is emotionally charged. The reader has to connect to them on a human level. Which means the author should spend more time on GMC and less on describing the creature’s physical features unless they can tie the appearance to the character’s internal/external conflict.

World building is another area that can be overdone. I’ve read paranormal and fantasy novels where the author put so much effort into creating an extraordinary world that the plot became secondary. Usually the story line really kicks in around the third chapter but by then I’ve lost interest and gone in search of a new book.

Paranormal Suspense should contain all the elements of a fast moving thriller. Creatures, super human powers and atypical settings can actually add to the suspense. The author has the option to create new weapons, more colorful villains and add another layer of angst by making one of the main characters human and the other not.

My Paranormal Suspense WIP is entitled “An Unholy Alliance”. It has some twist and turns that I hope will be a surprise for my readers. It also challenges belief systems. It’s meant to be edgy and I think it is.

Just for fun, I decided to take my Paranormal Suspense in another direction by adding erotic elements. I use the pen name Alexis Thomas for those hot, sexy manuscripts. An excerpt of “Demon Heat” is available at my alternate website, www.alexisthomas.wordpress.com

Please stop by and leave a comment. Am I on the right tract or have I completely derailed?

Hook, Line and Sinker

Is it possible to love a book from the opening line?

You bet. A good “hook” will make or break your story. That’s not to say every novel topping the NY Times Best Seller list attracted reader’s in the first paragraph. Ranked authors usually have a reputation that precedes them. Fans are content to let the story unfold, buoyed by knowledge the author crafted well written stories in the past and most likely has again.

For a debut author, however, it’s best to have a good opening hook. Something that packs a punch. Let’s look at some memorable opening lines from published works.

Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. – Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita

This is the saddest story I have ever heard. – Ford Madox Ford, The Good Soldier

We started dying before the snow, and like the snow, we continued to fall. – Louise Erdrich, Tracks

Ice hung from windowsills with a glitter that rivaled glass, and new snow turned the sooty streets to rivers of milk. – Eloisa James, An Affair Before Christmas

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife. – Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way. – Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

And one of my personal favorites:

Summer, that vicious green bitch, flexed her sweaty muscles and flattened Innocence, Mississippi. – Nora Roberts, Carnal Innocence

Remember, a good opening line will lead your reader right to the second, and if they reach the end of the second…they’re “hooked”.

Attention All Writers…

A Word. My Kingdom for a Word!

Have you ever sat in front of the computer, staring at your monitor or searching a Thesaurus for a word…and still felt frustrated because nothing seemed to convey exactly what you had in mind?

I have. And if you’re a writer, I know you have, too. What tools do you use when a dictionary and standard thesaurus just don’t seem to work?

I’ve compiled a list of websites that will help you break through the block. I can’t take credit for finding all of them. They come courtesy of some savvy tweeps on Twitter, great bloggers and a lot of internet research. I especially want to mention Angela Ackerman as an awesome resource. You can follow her on Twitter @WriterThesaurus or @AngelaAckerman. She blogs at http://thebookshelfmuse.blogspot.com/.

I hope the following links will be as useful to you as they are for me.

Reverse Dictionary: http://www.onelook.com/
List of Phobias: http://phobialist.com/
Emotion/Setting/Colors & Shapes Thesaurus: (and much more!) http://thebookshelfmuse.blogspot.com/
Character Trait Chart: (another great blog chock full of wonderful advice) http://www.inspirationforwriters.com/techniques/character-trait-chart.html
Writing Realistic Injuries: http://www.users.totalise.co.uk/~leiafee/ramblings/realistic_injuries.htm
Sounds: http://www.writtensound.com/index.php
The Character Archetypes: (This link is for heroes. Look in the left column for others) http://www.tamicowden.com/heroes.htm
Plot Generator: http://funstuff.pantomimepony.co.uk/writers-plot-ideas.htm
Grammar & Punctuation: http://www.grammarbook.com/ and http://www.getitwriteonline.com/archive/tips.htm
British Phrases: http://englishclub.8m.com/ukus1.htm
Cliches: http://www.clichesite.com/index.asp
Slang Dictionary: http://www.peevish.co.uk/slang/
Research Links: (a delightful hodge podge of interesting links) http://www.charlottedillon.com/ResearchLinks.html

There’s so much information in cyber  space; this list could go on and on. But I’ve given you enough distraction. Now go back to what you should be doing which is finishing your manuscript!