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A Formula For A Good Romance, Or Suspense, Or Mystery, Or Just About Any Darn Good Book


With a lot of begging, some pleading and a small temper tantrum, Joe and I managed to wrangle a guest blog from our fellow romance writer, the wonderful Allison Knight! 

(“Check out her cover. It’s awesome. I want that book.” – Joe)

And now, without further ado (or interruptions), we now present Allison Knight with her special guest post!

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A FORMULA FOR A GOOD ROMANCE, OR SUSPENSE, OR MYSTERY, OR JUST ABOUT ANY DARN GOOD BOOK.

In the twenty some years I’ve been writing fiction, I’ve learned what I believe are the three most important points in writing that darned good book.

First, I learned you better start with action, or dialogue and it had better be where the story really begins. It doesn’t matter if the reader doesn’t know the hero or the heroine or the murderer yet. The first couple of sentences, the first couple of paragraphs had better be the start of something important. You can tell us later what happened before, maybe at the end of the second, third, or fourth chapter. But start off with the immediate. The long detailed explanation or scene setting no longer fits our life style. We move fast, we get bored easily. It has to be in the here and now.

Second, I learned much of a romance needs to be full of dialogue. Good dialogue, in the voice of the character, with indications about what he’s feeling, doing, or how he’s reacting. If the heroine is despondent, then she can talk followed by an action – hanging her head, wiping away tears so the hero can’t see them, or even flopping into a chair. It would depend on the heroine’s character.

Third, and just as important as the other two for a romance, the reader has  to know the hero and the heroine have problems right from page one. They don’t have to be together on page one, we just need to know things are anything but good, and we understand they are not going to go well. He can be a tycoon, she a struggling artist. He can be a bad boy, just out of prison and she the daughter of the most honest politician the town has ever known. They have to be different, enough to make the story interesting and for the reader to say at the end, “Ah, isn’t that nice. They solved their problems and now they’ll live happily ever after.”

It took me years to figure all this out, but I now read lots of books with the soul process of deciding why I like a particular story. The reasons are always the same.  The story starts right away, there’s lot of dialogue and the hero and heroine have what seems like an insolvable problem at the beginning of the book. I’ll also add the bigger, the more difficult it will be to solve the problem, the better the story usually is. Look for my three points with the next book you read. I suspect you’ll find that’s what makes a good book for you too.

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Award winning author Allison Knight claims she’s married to the world’s greatest husband because he’s her greatest supporter and works with her on all her projects. The mother of four children, Allison retired from teaching to baby six grandkids and now, since they’ve grown, three cats. She has published seventeen romances and because she loves to share her knowledge blogs often. She also loves to talk  about the growing digital market.

Visit Allison Knight at http://www.allisonknight.com/

You can also get Allison’s ebook Roses for my Lady (and many other wonderful Champagne ebook titles, like The Devil’s Wife, hint hint) at 50% off until May 24th (Yep  1/2 off!). Go to the Champagne bookstore, pile up your shopping cart, and mention the code ‘vicday50’ at checkout. It’s that simple.

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May 18, 2011 - Posted by | Interviews with Awesome Authors

2 Comments

  1. Excellent points, Allison!

    Comment by Rosemary Gemmell | May 18, 2011

  2. Holly,

    Thanks for having me. It’s always fun to trade posts.

    Comment by Allison Knight | May 18, 2011


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