My guest today is talented, multi-published author Amber Leigh Williams. She's going to talk about how our writing styles and processes change as we mature as writers. Welcome, Amber Leigh --
As writers learn more about their craft and what works for them, they tend to use their own guidelines to see a story through to completion. My writing process has changed so drastically since I began writing romance eight years ago that I wonder what might have happened if I hadn’t made necessary adjustments.
We’re all told at some point or other that change is necessary, whether referring to an element of our story or something to do with the storytelling itself. We might not be completely comfortable with change, but there’s no doubt it helps us grow as professionals. When I began writing, I wrote by the seat of my pants and only when inspiration struck. Now I understand more about plot structure and taut storytelling so I know my major plot points ahead of time and the muse has fun pantsing everything in between.
But that’s not the only thing that has changed. Descriptive detail was once my strength, to the point where I was writing 140,000-word manuscripts. Changes, of course, had to be made and detail was whittled down to necessary information, enough to paint the scenery and atmosphere without overwhelming the plot itself. Now I find emotional description and dialogue the more important aspects of the story because romance is completely character-driven. Layering is used to add descriptive detail later during the editing process – knowing my embellishment-happy limits, of course!
And speaking of characters, they’ve come a long way. A novel is more than about creating a pretty picture. A romance novel, especially. It’s about giving readers a connection to characters and an escape into the dilemmas of somebody else’s life. Never has change been more necessary for me than in character development. Take the hero of my historical romance, Forever Amore, for example. In the first 140,000-word draft of the novel, Charles was like a cardboard cutout. His motivations weren’t all that genuine and he said a lot of nice things to woo his heroine. I realized, however, that the heroine, Lucille, deserved more of a man. And not just any man – a real man. Forever Amore was revised down to 75,000 words and Charles’s character went through a metamorphosis. He became the alpha hero I’d always wanted to write (the first of many, fortunately) with clear-cut motivations and identifying qualities that added a whole new layer of strength – and sexiness! – to his character. These characteristics also added another layer of intrigue to the story itself. It didn’t take long after this final revision for Forever Amore to sell. Now I’m more than comfortable writing in the male POV. I find myself drawn to it. Let’s face it – the male is a fascinating being! Romance readers also tend to be much more critical of heroines and good heroes, as with any good man, is often hailed.
Writers, sound off! What kind of change have you experienced in your way of storytelling? And readers, which character POV do you prefer – the heroine or the hero’s?
Thank you, Vonnie, for letting me share today!
Blurb: FOREVER AMORE
Was their love destined to last forever …
Engaged in a brutal dogfight, dashing American Lieutenant Charles Tyler crashes his broken plane into the Italian countryside. He prays for divine intervention—and is certain he’s found an angel from the very moment he looks up at Lucille Renaldi’s lovely face. Yet how can he be with her when his sense of duty tells him to stay away?
… or become another casualty of war?
Lucille’s attraction to the American is forbidden, her obligation to her family’s safety overwhelming. At great peril the Renaldis carry Charles from the crash site and disguise him as just another worker in their vineyard. Hidden there inside the ugliness of World War II is the beauty of a growing love, and a danger that could end their lives any day—when all they want is … forever.
Praise for FOREVER AMORE:
“A beautiful love story woven with suspense to make you race through the pages!”
- Lisa Britton Jacoby, The Baker City Herald
“Mark this as a must-read! Williams has brought the romantic back to romance!”
- Long & Short Reviews
“The setting of Italy during World War II is an exciting one filled with political intrigue and danger from all sides. The author has brought the era to life and filled it with some memorable characters…from the first page to the last one.”
- Coffee Time Romance
Now Available in Paperback & Ebook: http://www.blacklyonpublishing.com/Forever%20Amore.html
All Romance eBooks: http://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-foreveramore-434203-158.html