Writing

A Killer Beginning

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“I cut my bangs with some rusty kitchen scissors…”

Those are the very first words of the Miranda Lambert song, Mama’s Broken Heart.  Every single time I hear it, I’m like, “I can totally see that girl.  I know who that is.  I know what she’s feeling, where she’s probably going, and who she’s after.”  And it’s not because I’ve ever been there or done that.

It’s one of my favorite openings ever because less than ten words in and you have to know the rest of the story.

And then I sit there, awestruck, and try to come up with my own attention grabbing openings.  It’s really tough, y’all.  😉

I think to accomplish a great opening line, it helps to identify your strength.  What do you feel most confident about in your writing?  What gives you that thrill inside when you’re in your zone?  Are you great at Dialogue, Characters, Emotion, Action, Grief, Humor, Mystery?  Whatever it is,…
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Tawny Weber (aka Hot Sassy Romance Author) dips a toe in the water!

From Mermaid Susan:  The Mermaids are delighted to welcome author Tawny Weber to talk about her titles A SEAL’s Seduction, and its equally hot companion, A SEAL’s Surrender, both from Harlequin  Blaze.

Welcome to the lagoon, Tawny!  Tell us a bit about yourself and how you came to embrace the writing life.

Thank you for the lovely welcome! And what a nice lagoon you have here!  Can I get a frothy drink in a coconut shell?  I’m a fan of froth.  :)

I love the writing life. But I wasn’t one of those gifted writers born to it, or even one who discovered it in their early years.  Growing up, though, while so many friends worshipped actors or rock stars, my pedestals were all saved for authors.  I love books.  But it wasn’t until my husband asked me what I’d do if I could have any dream career that I even considered writing.  Once he’d prodded me in the right direction, I embraced the idea. …
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Tick-Tock, Tick-Tock

Ticking Clock

Good morning fishy friends!  I’m actually going to blog about “writing” today on my group writers blog and not cute boys or cute boys or cute boys.  And that is because it’s contest judging time for my local writing chapter’s annual unpublished writing contest, WRW’s Marlenes.  This is my second year judging and the entries I received this year were very impressive.  There wasn’t a single head hop which stood out to me because I can admit that was my biggest mistake when I first entered my own submission.  More positives were that the characters were all well written and likeable.  The premises were all genuinely unique and interesting.  And there were some really good synopsis’ included at the end.

If the stories I read lacked anything, it was a clear understanding of the Ticking Clock.  I pulled this definition from Mary Buckham and Dianna Love’s power plotting book, Break Into Fiction.  The Ticking Clock is “an internal or external element in the story that creates…
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Writing Through the Angst

I am the first to admit the winter months (after the holidays) do me in.  DSCF0313

But how can I feel this way when the first week of the new year is like a new start for me?

We all have times, whether it is the first of the calendar year, school year or just sometime we decide on a “fresh start” to things, that things are going to change for the better.  Well, I’ve gone and done it again!

Here it is, half way through the month of a ‘new start’ and I can’t get the motivation I need to do what I know I need to do.  And because of that I tend to go into a slump, emotionally at times (and trust me, the wonderful rainy, dreary weather that I’ve been faced with does not help at all).

Years ago when I was just a pup, I went through the normal pre-teen angst we sometimes face…
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The Salon Incident

Dana MermaidYesterday, I went to the salon to have my hair done—it looks fabulous, by the way—but while I was there I had the most bizarre thing happen. A middle-aged woman came in and asked about having her hair done although she didn’t have an appointment. One of the owners, a very nice woman I have known for years, politely explained that they were completely booked for that day but that she would be happy to schedule an appointment for her.

Instead of scheduling the appointment like any sane person, the lady went berserk in a manner any Viking conquerer would admire. In a loud, demanding voice she went on a tirade about her boss letting her off from work early for this and that they simply must squeeze her in. As you can imagine, all eyes were glued to the drama unfolding. I was shocked a grown woman would act like that.

Writers or Cooks: What Are You Willing to Do?

Denny's MermaidsI don’t know what it is about me and cops, detectives, private eyes, lawyers, or could it be the entire judicial system, but no matter what I write, there is always, always, always, a crime, suspense, weapons, a moustache-twirling villain, and a dead body.

I’m not a cop who writes books. I’m a PR and marketing person, who writes. But PR divas, we don’t do. We strategize ways for our clients to influence human behavior – in other words we help our clients’ customers buy or think the way our clients want the public to buy or think (I love PR:).

So what does this mean to my storytelling? Lots of research, research, research.

I know. Research is required of any project you decide must be done, and that doesn’t only apply to writing a book. You routinely  gather facts before diving into any pool blind. If you’re planning a special meal for the family or friends, or…
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Starting at The End

Sometimes to know where to start, it helps to look at the end.  Mermaid Carlene

My first book is coming out this Friday and although the story is told in chronological order, it didn’t start out that way.

When I began writing Sidewalk Flower, the first scene that came to me was gut wrenching and dark.  It was so powerful and for a long time, I thought because of that, it had to be the book’s opening.  My thinking was that with such a powerful opening scene, it would be hard to put down.  In the business, it was the hook I was sure I needed.

Then I learned from a Savvy Authors Editpalooza workshop that sometimes it’s best to let the scenes happen organically.  That way the reader has a chance to build up to that powerful event and experience it as it was meant to happen.

Once I let go of the place…
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How a Mermaid got Entangled and Lived to Tell the Tale

The Savvy Authors Entangled NaNoWriMo Smackdown is winding down, and I am one of the lucky writers who participated.  I had an entire month to achieve a book, just for the Entangled Line!  How exciting is that?

Entangled Smackdown

I confess, I didn’t take this challenge seriously until I had an email telling me (surprise!) that my badge was waiting to be claimed.  Once I understood, I spend a couple of days being just plain scared.  I even ordered a workbook, Susan Alderson’s The Plot Whisperer Workbook (worth every penny, imho).  I splurged and went to Staples for a new paper notebook.

Then I got to work.  Then a hurricane came and took away my power for four days.  But I kept working, charging up (and showering) at a friend’s house, and working some more.  In fact, I worked even harder.  I was determined not to let a measly power outage stop me from writing!  I also knew a…
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Ask a Mermaid: The @MargieLawson Experience

Do you want to add a psychological punch to your writing and editing?

Are you interested in capturing the full range of body language on the page?

Is your goal to turn your work into a page-turner by powering up emotion and hooking the reader viscerally?

Well, duh! What writer doesn’t want to do those things? Recently, many of the mermaids left the lagoon for a writing workshop. What kind of awesomeness does it take to get us to leave the warm waters? The Margie Lawson kind.

Here are a few of the things we picked up during the Empowering Characters’ Emotions workshop presented by Margie Lawson and the Washington Romance Writers.

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Denny S. Bryce said:

“I was reminded that revising a manuscript is a different ball game (cliche) than writing one, and there is an ebb and flow (cliche) to story telling…
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The Art of Dialogue

Courtesy of Netflix, and my teenage daughters, I have been sucked into the television series “Supernatural.” After a “Supernatural” marathon on Sunday afternoon—when I should have been writing—I had a moment of clarity.

It all comes down to dialogue.

I know, what the heck is she talking about? Well, as we watched episode after episode I was enjoying the action and adventure, great music and witty dialogue, and then in a particularly sentimental scene where the brothers, Dean and Sam, are having somewhat of a heart to heart, talking about their feelings and how much they care about each other my husband turns to me and says, “Jesus, are all the writers for this show a bunch of women?”

You have to understand that my husband is the original alpha male. He is six foot six and a retired Marine so he knows a little something about how men interact. But his comment made me realize that he was right….
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