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No leniency for heroines

On the few occasions a reader has expressed dissatisfaction with one of my main characters, it’s been with the heroine. This is a theme I’ve noticed when reading reviews of other authors’ books too. The hero can be a womanizing playboy, an arrogant jerk (wounded underneath, of course), or a self-blind martyr and most romance readers will

Give me a black moment

I’ve noticed a distinct lack of gut-wrenching black moments in several of the books (by major authors) I’ve read recently, and it’s bothering me. I hope it’s not a trend. What is the black moment you ask? It’s that all-is-lost moment in the story just before the final act begins. It’s  the absolute worst thing

Epiphany at a workshop

Over the weekend, my local RWA chapter hosted bestselling romance author Virginia Kantra for an interesting workshop on characterization, gender roles, and the struggle our characters face between developing intimacy and maintaining control. She talked about starting with gender stereotypes to meet reader expectations, but taking it further to create unique, compelling characters. She discussed

Lightbulb moments

Writers who talk about structure often reference the concept of story beats. Like beats of music in a song, story beats are the little moments that are strung together to make a novel or screenplay. But I never quite understood how long a story beat was until I started reading STORY by Robert McKee. He’s