Tag Archives: summer

#MondayBlogs Writing Tips for Love Interests

6 Jun

Romance sells. This is a proven publishing fact. Though that doesn’t mean you should add romance to your novel just to add it, romance is quite popular in ANY genre, and let’s be real, love is everywhere. The chances of writing a book with no one (not even a side character) falling in love or being in some sort of relationship is pretty slim. Think of your own family and friends. Someone is going through something. Which is why love is so relatable. It might also be why we love reading about love. So, how do we write about love?

Like any topic, there are a million ways to write about love, but since I know you have a million more articles to read, I’m only giving out two quick tips to keep in mind when developing a relationship for your characters. But first, I want to get one stereotype out of the way, a stereotype we’ve all loved to hate. That’s right. I’m talking about Insta-love.

A note on Insta-Love:

I use the term “love” loosely here, but can we admit that insta-love happens? All. The. Time. In reality, it might be classified as infatuation or lust, but in the moment, a lot of people believe they have fallen in love at first sight or fight kiss, and technically, some people do fall in love right away. We’ve all heard stories of those couples many envy. You know, “She walked into the room, and I just knew!” It does happen, and it happens to people of all ages, but I definitely prefer when an author allows love to shape over time. This generally means love is more character-driven than plot-driven, and there are many ways to approach it.

Here is one system to think about.

1. Show How the Love Interest is Different

Why should we love them? Sure, he/she is good-looking and funny and smart, but so? Everyone is good looking and funny and smart to someone—and as an author, you’re not necessarily trying to get only one character to love another character. You’re trying to get most of your readers to also love that character, or in the least, believe in that character’s love. This is why we have to start thinking beyond types and start thinking about love in general. What makes love relatable? More love! Think about the love interest’s relationships with all of those around them—their friends, their family, etc.—and I guarantee you’ll make that character relatable. You’ll also figure out why your love interest is a standalone (and interesting) character. If that doesn’t work, try some personality questionnaires to get to know your characters better. Maybe they have a strange hobby or a secret phobia or a new dream that contradicts everything they’ve ever dreamt of before. Questionnaires will help you concentrate on the love interest as a person rather than as a love interest in your story…which is key to creating an interesting character for ANY situation. Not one character should be in a book to simply support another character. Sure, supporting characters support the main character, but much like the villain, supporting characters are still the main characters in their story. Treat them as such. Give them their own desires, interests, fears, and arcs. Love interests are never just love interests. Love interests are just characters who happen to fall in love.

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2. Now Show How the Love Interest is Different Around The Lover

This is the “two characters who happen to fall in love” part. To me, it basically translates to affection, and not necessarily physical affection. I mean, emotional affection. Maybe they open up to one another about topics they’ve never opened up about before. Maybe they simply cry in front of one another. Maybe they are the ones who challenge them the most and cheer for them even harder than anyone on the sidelines. Maybe they can dance and trip and don’t feel embarrassed that they tripped together. It’s both about comfort and accepting discomfort, knowing the other will love them anyway. The juxtaposition between positive and negative emotions—while sharing them with one another—helps readers relate to the couple while also allowing the couple to relate to one another on a more intimate level. In this process, you’ll probably see where the characters draw lines with friends and co-workers and family members as well. A great exercise I swear upon is taking your protagonist’s deepest darkest secret and figuring out how they would tell everyone in their life and why the situation changes based on who they were talking to. Of course this doesn’t have to go into the book. (But who doesn’t love a good secret?)

Of course, there are many types of love—and the English language is very limiting to the definition of love—so exploring lust, infatuation, obsession, admiration, and love all come with their own complications and expectations. That’s the joy in writing stories though. Get lost in the chaos. Figure out the unknown. Push boundaries. Listen to your gut. But most of all, follow your heart.

I hear that’s the key to love, after all.

Original—Insta-Love Isn’t Instant—is very different. 

~SAT

Enter Clean Teen Publishing’s Summer Fun Giveaway!

Clean-Teen-Publishing-Summer-Fun-Giveaway

Win a paperback of November Rain in this Goodreads Giveaway.

Win signed swag from The Timely Death Trilogy and Bad Bloods by signing up for the Bad Bloods Thunderclap and emailing me your support at shannonathompson@aol.com.

Pre-Order Bad Bloods

November Rain, Part One, releases July 18, 2016

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November Snow, Part Two, releases July 25, 2016

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I’m Back :]

12 Jun

I’ve returned from my vacation, and I am so excited, because I returned to ShannonAThompson.com passing 8,000 followers 😀 Thank you for the coming home present. I’m truly blessed to be gifted with so much encouragement, and I’m working hard to get more novels out along with writing and publishing tips. But what am I going to write about today?

I wanted to share my vacation with everyone, because I had a wonderful time, and I think it’s a great place to go! I also think it’s important to also think about potential in vacation in regards to writing. Who knows? You may be vacationing in your novel’s next setting. I definitely thought Eureka Springs was an interesting and beautiful place.

That’s right. Eureka Springs, Arkansas. I went there, because I wanted to spend time in the Ozark Mountains. I also love history, and there’s a lot of really interesting history there (not to mention a lot to do.) So here’s what we did:

Eureka Springs, Arkansas

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Downtown

There is so much to do downtown: art galleries, shows (opera and magic), bars, music, and historical tours, including the Basin Park Hotel. My favorite place for food was Local Flavor, but I enjoyed Eureka Live Underground for drinks. The photo below is the New Delhi Cafe. It was the Blue Grass Festival this week, so there were a lot of bands entertaining the town.

New Delhi Cafe & Patio

New Delhi Cafe & Patio

Crescent Hotel

Built in 1886, this famous hotel was originally an elite hangout. It later became a women’s college and then a cancer hospital with one of the biggest medical scandals in the U.S. The grounds is beautiful, but it’s been on Ghost Hunters (with some amazing ghost footage) which you can watch here. I actually went on the tour, and it takes you through the historical deaths, ending in a morgue in the basement. If you’re not into ghosts, The Crescent Hotel also has a gorgeous spa and a patio sky bar.

The front

The front

The ghost tour

The ghost tour

Christ of the Ozarks

That’s right. There’a four-story statue sitting 1,500 feet into the air (at 67 feet tall.) It’s a pretty amazing site, and you can see it from the sky bar on the Crescent Hotel.

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Berlin Wall

They have a piece of the Berlin Wall right behind Christ of the Ozarks. Definitely worth the stop to see such an amazing piece of history.

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I did more than this, but I thought these were some of the best places to go! 

But I also wanted to share something else–a part of the vacationing process I always enjoy. Whenever you go somewhere, consider stopping (or going a little out of the way) to see other location. We stopped at two: Tablerock Lake and Osceola Cheese Factory, and it was worth it! The lake was beautiful and the cheese–yum!

Basically, I had a great time, and I think Eureka Springs is a lovely vacationing spot if you’re thinking about going somewhere. I hope to return (and soon!) In the meantime, I will be in Kansas, organizing some writing and publishing tips for everyone. I’ll continue those posts starting on June 14th, which is the day Minutes Before Sunset becomes available as paperback! You can pre-order it now, but it’ll ship on June 14th, so I’m excited for that change! Amazon is selling the paperback at $10.95 while Barnes & Noble is selling it for $10.86 (for members.) Both are selling the ebook for $7.

While I was gone, I also received another Minutes Before Sunset review from Mike, a Christian blogger of Fencing with Ink:

“Adopted, but now returning to the place where she was born, Jessica wants to look into her birth parents and find out just what happened to them. It won’t be a pleasant journey, but her lab partner, Eric, isn’t making things any easier. But the closer she gets to him, the more she sees, and the more she sees, the more danger she is in. Star-crossed teenagers intertwine in this young adult story of love and survival, and finding out which of the two is more important.”

You can read the entire piece here.

I have a few more updates: 

  • On February 26, 2013 I wrote Writing Tips: How to Handle Rejection, and I discussed John’s entertaining ability to be honest about rejections from the publishing industry. His website has changed to share anyone’s rejection letters from publishers, so feel free to email him by checking out his website Rejection Love Letters.
  • On April 16, 2013 I was interviewed by author Dan Thompson. (Click here to read it.) And his writing, The Casework Memoirs, will be available for FREE June 14 through June 18 on Amazon.

Again, thank you for helping me reach 8,000 followers and celebrating all of these moments with me! I hope everyone’s summer is going great, and I can’t wait for the paperback of Minutes Before Sunset to be released this Friday!

~SAT

June 14: Paperback Now Available & Why I Won’t Give Up

Writing Tips: Character Chart

31 May

Over the past two days, I’ve had the pleasure of receiving two more reviews of Minutes Before Sunset and one interview about the behind-the-scenes of the work. And I’m here to share it with you all before I begin my “Writing Tips” sessions.

On May 29, Nada Faris, author of Before Young Adult Fiction, Fame in the Adriatic, and ‘Artemis’ and other Moms wrote a five-star review on Goodreads: 

“…This story has twists and turns (even the prophecy changes). It has magical powers, romance, and some funny moments. As a young adult novel, it will satisfy its readers. All in all, the first book in A Timely Death series, was promising. It sets the stage for more conflict. Seconds Before Sunrise, Book 2 of the series, is scheduled for release in fall 2013.”

Read the rest of her review by clicking here.

The five signed copies of Minutes Before Sunset are in the mail for the winners! Congrats!

The five signed copies of Minutes Before Sunset are in the mail for the winners! Congrats!

On May 30, Tina Williams, host of A Reader’s Review, wrote an analysis of my recently released novel while also expanding it with an interview/guest post: (Click the links to read more.) 

Review: “…Minutes Before Sunset is an original and compulsive read. The tale is told in the first person, with chapters told from the perspective of Eric and Jessica. This is effective in terms of both advancing the plot and giving depth to the characters. I particularly enjoyed the maturity and selflessness of the hero and heroine, Eric and Jessica, and found their growing attraction and love for one another both believable and sweet. The novel ends in such a way that I am chomping at the bit to read the next installment. Minutes Before Sunset is a magical, if slightly dark tale, containing romance and adventure, which explores fate and free will and self-sacrifice. I recommend it to readers of both adult and young adult paranormal romance.”

Interview: “As a much younger child, I often suffered from nightmares and night terrors (I honestly couldn’t differentiate between reality and dreams) so my mother had me turn them into stories in order to cope. My latest young-adult paranormal romance, Minutes Before Sunset, is actually a result of the same thing, but it was a different series of dreams. I was in a very dark time in my life, and I had dreams of a boy visiting me at night—just to talk. He’d ask me about how I was feeling, what I was going to do next, and what my hopes were for the future. When I got through that dark time, the dreams were quite literally ripped away from my conscious, and I was distraught. Despite my happiness, I still wanted him as if he was a real person, so I created a story explaining his visits. And Minutes Before Sunset was born.”

Special thanks to both of these talented and lovely ladies. I am proud and grateful to have such great supporters like you all. 

In case anyone is curious, Minutes Before Sunset is available as a paperback on Barnes & Noble and Amazon as a preorder. It will be shipped to you on June 14, 2013. Click the links to be directed to the website. (And don’t forget to let me know if you review it! I will put your blog right here.)

Now. ::takes deep breath:: The writing tips! 

I’m a big fan of graphs and charts. Seriously. I graph everything. (I’m sure I’ll do more posts on this later–you will not believe the things I can find ways to graph.) But why do I like to graph and chart?

Whether or not I expect it, graphs and charts show something–a pattern or lack thereof–and I think this visual information can help more than a writer (or reader) might originally think. So I came across one the other day called The Character Chart, and I wanted to share it with you all. I would take a screen shot and post it, but the website asks users to “link only” and use only for personal use, and I want to respect that. 

However, I will say that it is a great chart. It’s basically a questionnaire for you to print out and get in-depth with your characters about who they are, what drives them, and who they will become. I particularly like this one because of the detail involved (like self-perception compared to reality.) This is not to say that all of these details are completely necessary to know, but I do say this: this list will challenge you, no matter how well you know a character (especially minor ones), and you might learn something about your character you haven’t expected. I think this list is great for those who are also looking to bring depth to their character (or even to create an entirely new person!)

I’ll definitely be returning to it. Again, I’d share more about it, (I’d even share my answers for Eric or Jessica in Minutes Before Sunset) but I want to respect his copyright properly, so all I can really say is check it out :] And let me know if you’d like to see more interactive websites like this. I’ll be sure to share them as they come.

~SAT

P.S I hope everyone is enjoying the arrival of summer. I sure am! And I wanted to share a piece of my lake fun with everyone: Have a great (and sunny) day!

I'm on a boat...wait...a raft.

I’m on a boat…wait…a raft.

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