Notes from February 20 Meeting

Love is in the Air (Imagine Barry White singing…)

Romance is an age-old genre. In fact, none of us would be here without some form of romance. Though I did have a fellow suggest to me once that lust might be enough…

Wikipedia has a lot of info about romance, suggesting that the first romance novels began in ancient Greece. And the stories have been coming ever since. But romance takes many forms. There are YA romances about crushes. Remember your crush in middle school? You might be “going steady” but you never talked to your crush and he never talked to you. You told your best friend what you wanted him to know, and she told his best friend. Then there was high school— And romance at a “mature” age takes on a whole different spin. You compare medication lists and Medicare plans, wondering if he has a nursing home policy.

Suspense, thriller, horror, mystery, sci-fi, fantasy, all of these genres can have an element of romance, even if it’s just a hint. Other times, the romance can be a sub-plot.

There are Amish romances, historical romances, sweet romances, erotic romances, hotter than erotic romances. Even other species romance: Lady and the Tramp anyone?

Some reference works suggest there are 7 types of romance subgenres:

  • Contemporary Romance.
  • Historical Romance.
  • Romantic Suspense.
  • Erotic Romance.
  • Religious/Spiritual Romance.
  • Paranormal, Sci-Fi, or Fantasy Romance.
  • Young Adult Romance.

Master Class suggests there are 6 subgenres: They rename the genres and leave out erotic romance. Harlequin also details the subgenres.

The Write Life posts a list of Don’ts for romance writing. All of them relate to not making the characters nuanced, flawed, vulnerable. Another don’t is Love at first sight. That only happens in Hallmark movies, and they spend an hour and 45 minutes fighting it.

Ingramspark provides a How to Write Love Scenes, emphasizing that, unless you are writing hardcore porn, it needs to be a LOVE scene, not just a sex scene. The reader should fall in love with the characters as they fall in love with each other. The reader should want to cheer when they work it out. And the love scenes, like every scene in your book, should move the story along. It needs to be essential to the story, not just a gratuitous scene.

Romance Writers of America, a group to promote the writing of romance, has lots of resources available.

But the thing to remember is that romance writing should also be GOOD writing. Make your characters nuanced, flawed, realistic. Give them backstory that comes out as needed. Go into deep POV. Make the plot realistic (even if it’s fantasy or sci-fi. Even Lady and the Tramp works on that level). Above all, create characters that you and your readers can care about, cheer for.

In my romantic suspense, More Than a Point of Honor, the heroine is attracted to the hero but has doubts fed by the antagonist. The hero is attracted to her, but fears she is in league with the antagonist. The hero’s goal/motivation/conflict is initially revenge, but as the attraction to the heroine grows, his GMC changes gradually, until revenge is replaced by the goal of protecting her at all costs.

In my police procedural in process, A Little Shame, hero Scott stumbles into a relationship, while confounded by a romance he witnesses between his mentor, who is Scott’s mother’s age, and a new flame. The romance is a subplot, but it does manage to complicate his getting to the bottom of the mystery.

Resources:

https://www.masterclass.com/articles/common-romance-subgenres-to-guide-your-writing

https://thewritelife.com/romantic-relationships-in-writing/

https://www.ingramspark.com/blog/how-to-write-romance-scenes-ultimate-guide-for-romance-authors

https://blog.reedsy.com/how-to-write-a-romance-novel/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romance_novel

https://www.rwa.org/Online/Romance_Genre/About_Romance_Genre.aspx

https://www.harlequin.com/shop/pages/guide-to-romance-genres.html

From Kathy Pritchett

Writing Opportunity

Here is something from the Wichita Public Library that might interest you as either a writer or reader. Submit your short stories. https://www.wichitalibrary.org/
 
The following was in the library’s newsletter and has more details, forwarded to me by another member.
Let your short story be seen by readers all over Wichita. You can now submit your short stories for placement in the Library’s three short story dispensers in Wichita! Click here to create an account on the online portal. Read below for story prompt ideas and for complete terms and conditions.
 
Writing PromptsWichita has no shortage of ghost stories. Choose a local legend and tell us what really happened. How did the projectionist who haunts the Orpheum die? Why does the woman with the blue handkerchief refuse to leave the Eaton Hotel? What ghosts haunt your Wichita dreams?

You are walking your dog on a windy day when an unusual tree branch blown to the sidewalk catches your eye. On closer inspection, it’s not a tree branch at all. It’s…a dinosaur bone?

Write an “epistolary novel,” a story told entirely through a letter written to one of the characters.

Write about an event that doesn’t go as planned. Examples of events that might go awry include: New Year’s Eve, the first day of school, or the year 2020.

The bronze statues by Georgia Gerber that line Douglas Avenue in downtown Wichita see a lot of action on any given day. Pick one of them and tell us who they are and how they got there. What does the Barefoot Businessman think about what he’s reading in The Wichita Eagle? What do the mother and little boy see in a window of the Kress building? Is the busker having any luck today?

Write a story that takes place the same year you started kindergarten. What political events and cultural trends happened that year? How was technology different? How will these factors shape the narrative and setting for your characters?

A “macguffin” is defined as an object or device in a work of fiction that furthers the plot. Using the “macguffin” of a sealed shut, featureless cardboard box, tell a story about the box, who is responsible for it and what might be inside it.

Imagine a world where humans hibernated during the winter. Write a mystery story that takes place in this hypothetical universe.

Write a story that takes place in a singular setting; that setting is the last building you went to that wasn’t work, school or home.For horror writers, think of the last time something scared you but it turned out to be completely harmless. Write a story where that harmless thing is the story’s antagonist.Douglas and Oliver, Murdock and Washington – Select a Wichita intersection and develop a story around two characters that take their names from the streets in that intersection.In the tradition of Franz Kafka, write a story where the protagonist goes to sleep a human only to wake up as an animal of your choosing.On January 1, 2021, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald entered the public domain, which means that the novel is no longer protected under copyright. Incorporate elements from The Great Gatsby into your story in the same way other public domain characters (like Sherlock Holmes and Dracula) have appeared in contemporary fiction.

 
Terms & ConditionsSubmission Requirements
The author should submit an original story/poem in English. For stories in English, the maximum length is 8,000 characters (including spaces). The work must be fictional, or deal with historical or biographical topics in a literary manner. Journalistic works, nonfiction articles or essays, etc., will not be accepted. Stories can be of any genre, e.g.: drama, romance, science fiction, etc. Pornographic or erotic texts are not permitted.
 
Author Information
Authors shall submit their work using a Short Edition account they will need to create. The author should clearly indicate how they would like to be credited for their work. This name will appear next to the title of the story.
 
Rights, Guarantees and Responsibilities
The author declares that he/she is the sole author of any text he/she submits, and that this same text is an original creation. The author declares that he/she controls the copyright of the submitted text, meaning that he/she has never transferred these rights to a third person/entity.
 
Copying and Distribution
The author grants a non-exclusive right to the project organizer to reproduce, correct and publish his/her stories via Short Story Dispensers belonging to the Wichita Public Library. The copyright of the work shall remain with the author. The author agrees and acknowledges that in this specific case, publication and distribution of their work shall not result in the payment of royalties from
Short Edition.
 
Selection and Publication
The coordinators of the Wichita Public Library project have sole discretion in selecting works for distribution via the Short Story Dispenser. They may also reject or remove works from the dispenser without giving any prior notice or justification to the author. The author can also ask for his/her work to be removed by notifying the project coordinators in writing.
 
Contact
If you have any requests, please email shortstories@wichitalibrary.org.

February 16th KWA Meeting

The program for the February 16th KWA meeting was arranged by Wes Brummer. He invited a film crew from WSU Shocker Studios to come talk about their programs, and making trailers. WSU Shocker Studios website https://www.wichita.edu/about/wsunews/archive/index.php?si=3853

This should be a great learning experience. Come with questions for our guests.

December 15th Writing Prompts

Yes, we’re going to party at the December 15th KWA meeting. Yes, we’ll have fun visiting and networking. But you can still try you hand at one of the writing prompts for December.

  1. Grandmother pulled the last tray of gingerbread men from the oven. Suddenly…
  2. “Ho-Ho-help me!” came the voice from the chimney…
  3. All the elves were hard at work in Santa’s workshop. All but one that is…
  4. Three children are sitting on a log near a stream. One of them looks up at the sky and say…

If you would rather use a different prompt, please do so.

Remember to bring a snack to share with everyone. If you forget, I’m sure there will be plenty to share anyway.

November 17th Writing Prompts

Once again it is time to offer you some opportunities to challenge your writing skills. The writing prompts for the November 17th meeting are as follows:

  • “Hello,” said the voice on the phone. “My name is _______. I know you never expected a call from me, as famous as I am, but I’ve been given your name as someone who can help me _______. Write a story that follows this line.
  • Your old villain quit over creative differences, so you’ve put yourself in charge of hiring a new villain for your novel. What questions do you ask? What does the new villain’s resume say? Write this scene as if it were a job interview.
  • You’ve scheduled a root canal and the dentist finishes up. You pay and head to your car. Once in your car you hear a voice (from the tooth) that informs you that the dentist inserted a government device in your mouth and you’re needed for a secret mission. What happens next?
  • I have never done anything unpredictable, but that changed today when I woke up, packed a bag, went to the airport and randomly bought a ticket to _______. Write a story that follows this line.

As always, you don’t have to take part in this writing challenge. But you’ll have fun if you do.

October 20th Meeting & Writing Prompts

The October 20th meeting will focus on writing dialogue and more. Gloria Zachgo and David Heffelfinger will present the double program.

The Writing Prompts for October are:

  • You’re at your favorite department store buying a birthday present for a friend. As the cashier gives you change, you notice a message with specific instructions scribbled on one of the bills. What do the instructions say? Do you carry them out and, if so, how?
  • You’re walking home from work one night and taking shortcuts through a labyrinth of dark city alleyways to meet someone on time. Suddenly a stranger parts the shadows in front of you, comes close, and asks you to hold out your palm. You oblige.
  • Describe an event that changed your life forever, or make up and describe an event that would change your life forever.
  • How do you know someone loves you, even if he or she doesn’t say it?

If you don’t like any of these prompts, please feel free to make up one of your own.

Critiquing Opportunity:

If you would like the group at the meeting to critique your story prompt, please bring copies. It is much easier to critique if they can follow you on paper and make comments rather than try and remember. Bringing copies is not a requirement to do a prompt – THIS IS ONLY AN OPTION.

September 15th Writing Prompts

Writing prompts are provided to challenge our members, to get our creative juices flowing. If you haven’t joined the fun, now is your chance.

The prompts for September 15th are:

  • What would you do if you could travel free anyplace in the world?
  • Who is the person from history that you would most like to meet and talk to? Why? What would you like to ask?
  • If you had $100,000, how would you spend it?
  • If you could do something you never have done before, what would it be? Why would you want to do it?

As always, if you have a different prompt that you would like to use, do it!

August 18th Meeting

The August 18th meeting will be a time of learning, a time of sharing our experiences on the subjects of the month.

Drum roll here… The subjects are Cliff Hangers, Plot, and Theme. Kathy Pritchett will present a program to start the discussions off.

Come prepared to learn something new. Come prepared to share your experiences pertaining to these subjects as a writer.

And don’t forget to try one of the writing prompt challenges. Or come up with your own writing prompt.

August 18 – Writing Prompts

Writing prompts are provided to challenge our members, to get our creative juices flowing. If you haven’t joined the fun, now is your chance.

The writing prompts for August 18th are as follows:

  • I have never been more frightened than when….
  • What would you do if the Internet quit working?
  • What would you do if someone just gave you a $1M dollars?
  • Be a building you know well. Talk about your life and memories.
  • What would you do if you were able to communicate with animals. (Requested to have again from last month.)

If you have a different prompt that you would rather use, please do so.