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Friday, November 30, 2012

In Print!!!

I got the cover block for Bewitching Desires Volume 4 this morning! Two from the Triangle/Beyond Bewitching will be available in print in 4-6 weeks at Amazon and B&N!!! I'll post the links as soon as they're active :)
Mellanie Szereto
Romance...With A Kick!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

On Amazon!

Beyond Bewitching (Bewitching Desires 8) is now available at Amazon!

Mellanie Szereto
Romance...With A Kick!

Writing Tip Wednesday--POV

What is POV? P = Point. O = Of. V = View. Point of View is the perspective from which a story is told. Different genres allow for different perspectives. Romance should be written from either first or third person POV. This encourages a deeper connection to the reader. Mystery often incorporates omniscient POV.

What do I mean by "first person," "third person," and "omniscient?"

First Person POV--When a writer tells the story from first person, he/she uses the "I" perspective. All scenes are shown through this main character's senses and thoughts. No other characters should intrude. I can't know what another person is thinking or feeling unless that person tells me. First person POV can be written in past or present tense.

Example: I flattened myself against the wall, peeking around the corner to locate my target. My pulse thumped in my ears, and my stomach roiled at the stench of rotting garbage.

Then he stepped out of the crowd gathered near the fountain. His eyes seemed to latch onto mine, sending my heart to my knees.

Third Person POV--When a writer uses the "he" and/or "she" perspective, multiple characters' POVs can be shown. While one character can tell the entire story from third person POV, you must use this approach if you want each main character to have an opportunity to show a scene from his/her point of view.

Example (Starting in her POV and then transitioning to his POV): Lyra flattened herself against the wall, peeking around the corner to locate her target. Her pulse thumped in her ears, and her stomach roiled at the stench of rotting garbage.

Then he stepped out of the crowd gathered near the fountain. His eyes seemed to latch onto hers, sending her heart to her knees.

A slow scan of the square yielded nothing, but Kem strode out of the throng, intent on finding his stalker. He'd yet to catch sight of the follower, the tingle between his shoulder blades the only hint that he was being watched. His instincts had never failed him.

Omniscient POV--When the reader is aware of all characters thoughts/feelings and information the characters may not know, the writer has used omniscient POV. The perspective comes from a non-participating observer, much like a movie. Omniscient point of view is acceptable in some genres, but it's a no-no in romance because it distances the reader from the story.

Example: Lyra flattened herself against the wall, peeking around the corner to locate her target. She could hear her pulse thump in her ears, and her stomach roiled at the stench of rotting garbage.

Then he stepped out of the crowd gathered near the fountain. His eyes seemed to latch onto hers, but he only suspected he was being followed. The tingle between his shoulders blades had never failed to warn him that he was being watched.

He continued to scan the square as he strode out of the throng.

Note the subtle differences between the examples. They all contain the same action, but each gives the reader a unique perspective.

Next week, I'll continue on this immense subject, posting about how to choose the right POV for your story and why one character should show a scene rather than another.

Happy Writing!

Mellanie Szereto
Romance...With A Kick!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Writing Tip Wednesday--Active vs. Passive

One of the most common misconceptions is what constitutes passive writing. I've seen numerous sources telling writers to never use "was" with an -ing word because it's passive. While "to be" verbs are clues that the sentence might be passive, using an -ing word with it is active.

Here are some examples of active writing:

1) I wrote one chapter today.
2) I was finishing the third chapter when the phone rang.
3) I am letting my characters tell the story.

Notice the sentence structure. In each example, the subject and verb are followed by a direct object. I did, was doing, or am doing some action to something. The subject is doing the action.

Here are some examples of passive writing:

4) Chapter two was critiqued by an editor.
5) I was bitten on the leg.
6) They were attacked in the woods.

The subject is the recipient of the action in these sentences rather than the one doing the action. I saw a great hint on Twitter a few weeks ago on how to recognize passive sentences. If you can add "by zombies" at the end, the sentence is passive. Examples 4-6 can be rewritten to become active.

4) (active) An editor critiqued chapter two.
5) (active) A zombie bit me on the leg.
6) (active) The zombies attacked them in the woods.

Am I saying you should always write in active format? No. In some cases, passive is acceptable and helps vary sentence structure. However--active writing keeps the reader engaged with the characters. Use passive writing sparingly and purposefully.

If you haven't gotten your hands on a copy of a style book, go buy one now for even more information on active vs. passive! Chicago Manual is a great resource for this topic!

Next week--Show vs. Tell

Mellanie Szereto
Romance...With A Kick!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Bound by Voodoo on Amazon!

Bound by Voodoo popped up on Amazon yesterday! Here's the blurb: Fantasies abound when sex therapist Aurora Bond receives a gift of four anatomically correct dolls from a voodoo priestess. Preferring to have all three of her handsome building mates rather than choosing only one, she uses the dolls to her advantage. Her suspicion that two of the men are already involved sends her imagination soaring to places even her kinkiest clients haven’t ventured. Winston DeLong and Miles Parrish have an uncommitted sexual relationship, and Winston wants more. When Miles leaves him high and dry, he turns to the new guy in the building. Aurora’s former high school classmate Barrett Cunningham has barely acknowledged his bisexuality when Winston makes an offer he can’t refuse. His desires go beyond experimentation, but he’ll have to convince Winston and Miles to reunite before they can all share Aurora. When the men discover the voodoo dolls, they use them to ensure a happy ending for all.

Happy Reading!

Mellanie Szereto
Romance...With A Kick!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Writing Tip Wednesday--Standard Manuscript Formatting

After a couple grammar-intensive blogs, I figured I'd throw in the most basic of non-grammar writing tips--formatting.

Formatting is often the first thing an agent, editor, or contest judge notices--especially when the writer makes obvious mistakes that leave the impression he/she hasn't researched how to prepare a manuscript. While improper formatting won't necessarily earn an automatic rejection from an agent or editor, it will take away "free" points in a contest and put some agents and editors in a less-than-favorable mood toward the actual writing.

Show that you've worked to prepare your submission in a professional manner by following standard manuscript formatting (or the agent's, publisher's, or contest's guidelines, if available)!

Current Standard Submission Formatting:

1) Use 1-inch margins on all sides.
2) Use left justification for the body of the manuscript.
3) Double space the manuscript.
4) Author name and title are placed to the left side of the header. Exception--most contests do not allow the entrant's name on the entry. Read and follow the rules!!!
5) Page numbers belong in the upper right corner.
6) Use Times New Roman as standard font unless otherwise specified in the submission guidelines.
7) Use 12-point typeface.
8) Paragraphs are indented 1/2 inch.
9) Use one space between sentences.
10) Begin chapters 1/3 down the new page.
11) Chapter numbers/titles are centered, with an additional double space before the beginning of the text and using standard font and typeface size. Do not use bold, italics, or underline.
12) Use italics for italicized words in the manuscript.
13) Scene breaks are centered, using ### or ***. Use an additional double space before and after the scene break.
14) Save and send the document as a .doc unless the guidelines require a different document format. Again, read and follow the rules!!!

An additional tip--Always submit a "clean" copy of the manuscript. Accepted/rejected track changes comments can reappear when the document is reopened.

Make a good first impression by learning and following the standard formatting rules. Show that agent, editor, or judge you're a professional who deserves an offer of representation, a contract, or a high score!

And did I mention you should ALWAYS read and follow the guidelines???

Mellanie Szereto
Romance...With A Kick!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Updates!

I passed the 60K mark on the foodie last week, Bound by Voodoo should be popping up on Amazon and B&N this week, and I've spent a wonderful weekend with my writing buddies at the annual IRWA Retreat!

Butt in chair and more writing today! BTW, on Wednesday I'll be posting about standard formatting :)

Mellanie Szereto
Romance...Wit A Kick!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Writing Tip Wednesday--Comma Splices

You've spent the last week working on dialogue, right? Here's a different example that came up in a question from one of my chapter sisters.

What happens if the dialogue is split, with the tag between two parts of continuing dialogue?

"I heard," Bob whispered, "you had a new book released last week."
**Notice the placement of the commas inside the closing quotes of the first segment and after the tag; the first word in the second segment doesn't get capitalized since it's a continuation of the sentence from the first segment. This only applies to a single sentence of dialogue split by a dialogue tag.**

You're ready to tackle comma splices now, aren't you? I know you are :)

A comma splice contains two or more independent clauses connected by commas. This means each section of the "sentence" can stand alone.

Examples of comma splices and their possible corrections:

1) I jumped in the lake, the water was cold. (comma splice)
I jumped in the lake. The water was cold. (correct)
I jumped in the lake and the water was cold. (correct)
I jumped in the lake, but the water was cold. (correct)

2) My dress was purple, my shoes were blue, they didn't match. (comma splice)
My dress was purple, but my shoes were blue. They didn't match. (correct)
My dress was purple and my shoes were blue. They didn't match. (correct)
My dress was purple and my shoes were blue, so they didn't match. (correct)

Notice that each independent clause (the parts separated by commas) in the comma splice examples has a subject and a verb. Use conjunctions like and, but, so, etc. to make compound sentences or replace the commas with periods to make separate sentences. Be sure to capitalize where necessary.

I highly recommend buying a style book for handy reference. Chicago Manual of Style is widely used and offers comprehensive guidance in almost all areas of grammar and punctuation, along with lots of other great information for writers. I have a copy on my desk and refer to it a lot! Others are available, so research your target publishers to find out what their house styles are.

Feel free to make comments or ask questions! Happy Writing :)

Mellanie Szereto
Romance...With A Kick!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Now Available!!!

Bewitching Desires Volume 3 (Two Times the Trouble/Two Roped and Ready) is now available in print on Amazon and B&N!!! Time for promo and updates again :)

Happy Writing!

Mellanie Szereto
Romance...With A Kick!