Blog by VONNIE DAVIS -- International, Award-Winning Romance Author: Adventurous...Humorous...Amorous.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


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!


Amber Leigh Williams is a multi-published author, a member of Romance Writers of America, former Secretary of the Gulf Coast Chapter of RWA, and weekly contributor to The Roses of Prose. Her accolades include 2009’s 1st Place More Than Magic Novella, (Blackest Heart) as well as a Best Book of 2009 nomination from Long & Short Reviews (Forever Amore). Her titles have been published in paperback, ebook, and audio. She is represented by D4EO Literary Agency and lives on the Gulf Coast with her husband and three labs. Visit her on the web at and!


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.


“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


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Rhiannon said...

Hi Amber! I can relate to the change thing. I, too, used to write only when inspired. It seemed the only way I *could* write. I wanted to make a career out of writing and knew I needed to control my muse instead of letting my muse control me. So I wrote even when I wasn't in the mood--had to delete a lot along the way--but I eventually got to the point where I could write good words/scenes on demand.Change is good!

Charmaine said...

I'm still a pantser, but I make myself write everyday. Some days I don't feel like writing but after the thousandth word, I'm glad I'm writing!
I don't write romance, but I find myself wanting to write with a male voice most of the time, lol.

Lilly Gayle said...

As a reader and a writer I don't prefer male over female POV or vise versa. I like it when the POV fits the scene. Nothing pulls me out of a story faster than when I'm reading a scene and thinking to myself that it should have been written in another character's POV. As a writer, it's sometimes a challenge to chose the right POV for the right scene. A lot of my edits involve changing POV to give the scene more depth.

Amber Leigh Williams said...

@Rhiannon - I know exactly what you mean about toning down the muse. That's probably why she and I don't get along so much these days - the resentment ;) I seem to delete more pages when I pants and I hate having to erase progress. Which is why some pre-plotting is more my style nowdays! Thanks for stopping by :)

@Charmaine - I love the male POV! It doesn't matter what genre of romance I'm writing. I always lean toward the hero!

@Lilly - Hi! It's funny because once I started plotting rather than pantsing, knowing whose POV to write each scene in became much easier. Maybe because the pre-planning allowed me to what information or emotions needed to be revealed to the reader or not revealed, for later reference.

Vonnie Davis said...

Amber--Thanks for blogging today. I much prefer writing in the male's pov. But then I enjoy my male characters more so than my females. In fact, I often make my heroines TDTL (too dumb to live) before I realize what I've done. Yikes! No wonder I don't like them until after I do some major rewrites. Much success to you!