Putting the other book on the shelf for a while to find a new heroine and plot means starting a new book in the meantime. And that means pulling out my trusty writer’s toolbox — and some wine and chocolate — and start playing with my characters.
The toolbox is actually a bookshelf. I thought I’d share the books that I find indispensable as I write.
First up is The Writer’s Brainstorming Kit by Pam McCutcheon and Michael Waite. If you write on your own, this is a great book and deck of cards to get your creativity flowing. Each card has a descriptive word on it like greed, honesty or power. You deal cards for your hero and heroine, plot, antagonist, etc. For instance, if you draw honesty for your heroine, is it a benefit for her or a fatal flaw?
East Tarot Guide by Marcia Masino. Yes tarot. Yes really. I don’t particularly care if you believe in the cards. When you do a reading for a character, you force yourself to consider what the cards are saying. You may agree with them, or you may say, “No, that’s not it at all. The reason he’s that way is because…” Either way, you get something to work with.
The Complete Guide to Heroes and Heroines by Tami Cowden, Carol LaFever and Sue Viders. This is one of my favorites because it looks at the sixteen archetypes and how they play together. Want to see the character traits of two beta personalities? It’s here, Want to see what some of the basic issues would be between your alpha hero and equally alpha heroine? It’s here, and it’s a great starting point for building your characters. Yes, this is where I tend to start my plotting.
GMC: Goal, Motivation and Conflict by Deb Dixon. Awesome. If you ever get to hear her speak on this or the hero’s journey, spend the money. It’s well worth it. In this book, Dixon uses movies you’re familiar with the explain why a character’s goal, motivation and conflict are key to writing believable characters. Once you read this, you’ll start dissecting everything you read that you love — or hate — and you’ll regularly find that the problem is because one of these things is missing. Don’t believe me? Go read Twilight and tell me what Bella’s GMC are. Good luck finding them.
These are my go-to books. If you’re looking for an all-around book on writing romance, check out Writing a Romance Novel for Dummies by Leslie Wainger. former Executive Editor at Harlequin.
I’m off to plot a book. Good luck building your toolbox…and your book.