Romance Writers Weekly

Welcome, if you came from J.J. Devine’s blog: If not- go back! She recently published “Into the Darkness.” It’s vampires, it’s witches, it’s way more. 

This week’s questions come from the awesome Fiona Riplee.

1.Does humor help or hinder you in your creative process?

I love using humor in my stories, but I never add something funny if I have to force it. Natural humor in dialogue or situations can turn a regular scene into something special. If I can’t think of something funny, I leave it out.

I once tried to make a character have a funny comeback to an insult. It took me months to try to find the perfect phrase. Never happened. Instead, I shot it out to my critique partners and ended up with something far better than the comebacks I had created. Same thing happens in my real life.

Robin williams

Robin Williams: He made it look easy.

2.What is a favorite go-to book or movie you use to unblock a problem in your writing?

I struggle to avoid creating boring passages. When I’m stressed, my words flow fast. Fast and generic. Dick and Jane books have more description and feeling than anything I write under pressure.

“She walked into the room and sat. He dropped the paper and glanced at her. She smiled.” Are you asleep now?

I have one major “go to” source to kick my rear back into quality writing. I re-read Susan Elizabeth Phillips novels. I love her voice and the fast pace she brings to every scene. More important, she uses words like an artist uses color. Each word is chosen to provide background, action, or emotion. I could read other authors as well, but I find reading a few pages from her books shows me how slowing down and focusing on the art of writing makes a difference.

“Gwen sashayed across the room and dropped her left hip onto the corner of his desk. Her skirt slid up enough to reveal the edge of a black lace garter. He noticed. The legal brief he’d been reading floated from his hand to the floor. His gaze floated down as well, stopping at the hem of her skirt.

‘Can I help you?’ His fingers tapped out his annoyance, but his eyes stayed transfixed on her thigh.

‘Nope. I just wanted to observe that iron clad control you’ve been bragging about.’ She touched her finger once under his clenched chin. ‘Impressive.’”


3.What’s the most inspiring book you’ve read this week or month that’s generated a new idea?

I listened to Kristen Higgins “Catch of the Day” on a recent road trip. Her hero, a lobsterman named Malone, barely spoke throughout the entire book. In addition, his POV was never used to provide a fuller picture of him. Despite all of this, he captivated me. Kristen Higgins formed a perfect picture of an introvert who felt deeply, but didn’t express himself to the outside world. A very tough hero to create. I love challenges and I’d love to create a Malone type character someday.


Next up is Kim Handysides. I can’t wait to see how she tackled the questions!

14 thoughts on “Romance Writers Weekly

  1. You’ve peaked my interest. I am one-clicking a copy of Catch of the Day right after I finish this comment. =)
    Great post! There are a number of writer that just seem to “make it look easy.” Joan Swan and Laura Kaye come to mind.

  2. I think sometimes I need to put pressure on myself just to write, but of course then there is that ‘go back later and fix it’ ordeal. Loved your blog!!!

  3. I will have to check out that Kristen Higgins book. I always feel like I have to have my characters clucking away, and I’m intrigued with the character development she accomplished with Malone. And I am the same under pressure. The words are so forced and stale. Bleh.
    Thanks for the post!

  4. They say you should never force humor because it would seem…forced. If it comes, it comes. I’ll always wait for it.

  5. I love your writing example! Thanks for suggesting Susan Elizabeth Phillips. I’ve heard of her, of course, but I’ve never read any of her books. You’ve convinced me. :) Same goes for Kristen Higgins and her enigmatic Malone character. Adding more books to my TBR pile now.

    1. We could practice by trying to write a scene with someone behind us saying “Are you done yet?” every five minutes. After two months of that, you’ll either be a rock solid writer, or you’ll be insane!

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