Monday, March 12, 2012
Beginnings: Why I Started Writing & How I Start My Books
So, speaking of beginnings, I thought I'd write about how I started writing. It wasn't a like-long dream; in fact, my goal had been to be a teacher. I graduated from college and began my teaching career, teaching mostly early grades, K-3.
But while my life was rolling along with my job description as "teacher", I was reading books. Lots of them. First biographies, then Shakespeare (was crazy about his works and took a number of Shakespeare-offered electives in college).
Reading romance books came next...and I was hooked. I started reading regencies and historical romances, and love Barbara Cartland and Georgette Heyer. Eventually, I started reading romances involving seasons (especially Christmas-themed books), then romances that had children in their stories. From there, I branched out to contemporaries and finally, paranormal.
As a voracious reader, I trekked back and forth to the library many times. Bought tons of books, too. And once all four of my kids were teenagers at the same time for a three-year period, I searched for a sanity release.
Not knowing anything, I bought a book titled, "The Romance Writers Pink Pages" and used it as a reference. I sat and wrote a book called, "Three Strikes to Love" (yes, baseball was involved).
Using my reference "bible", I sent queries to agents. Two asked to see the book, one asked for a partial. Two rejections came quickly; the last one actually had some advice...put dialogue in the book.
Yes, I'd written most of it as a narration so obviously I was clueless.
I went to some weekend seminars/workshops on writing and met someone from a local Romance Writers of America chapter. Intrigued, I joined. And, thus started my REAL journey to my writing career.
After years of learning the "ins and outs" of writing and the industry, I finally published my first book in 2007. It was a long journey, but an interesting one.
My books, contemporary/paranormal/erotic romances, all start with dialogue. My feeling is that dialogue immediately draws readers into the action, and that first sentence or two has to be a strong hook to catch their attention.
Beginnings for my other books (either Marianne Stephens or April Ash):
MS-(Paranormal) Second Sight Dating: "I want him, not the other one you just showed me."
AA-(Erotic) Sexy Games: "I hate this job."
AA-Erotic) Strip Poker for Two: "I'm upping the ante. Bring underwear."
MS-Contemporary) Anything You Can Do: "Shit. Another message from that Minetti woman."
MS-(Romantic Suspense/Time Travel) Street of Dreams (there's a prologue then this): "Take Murphy with you on this one. She's a nut about the decade."
Readers...do you like reading dialogue first? Writers...what do you consider when writing that first sentence? Share your ideas!
Photos: Flickr: massdistraction and throgers photostreams
Posted by Marianne Stephens at 12:01 AM