Article on Valentine's Day 2008
Keyboards on Fire Blog
Moira Reid and Samara King

Hi everyone! *waving* L. Shannon here on Valentine's Day to talk about love... preaching to the choir as it is. Who could know love better than romance writers?

Traditionally Valentine’s Day is all about romantic love. But why can’t we as romance writers share some love too? We may all be reaching for the same goals but that doesn’t mean we have to beat other down just to make it to the top. In fact helping each other along the way can be very rewarding. Sure our purpose is a lonely one. Very few writers ever find someone compatible enough to co-write books with, but some are lucky enough to find critique partners who work well together.

If you don’t have a reliable CP you may at times feel lost in a sea of uncertainly. Even if you do have the perfect CP, you may feel that way until they kick your behind out of those very normal writing depressions.

Another way to gain support is to join critique groups, but if that isn’t your hat then what?

Although there are many different groups that will offer support, my suggestion today will offer both support and motivation. My favorite support group of late has been participating in writing challenges. I actually met my CP through one. The benefit is a mass of positive energy. With everyone trying to produce words and all facing the same difficulties, support is easy to offer and accept.

Challenge groups may be right for you. There are several kinds. Here are a few that I’m familiar with… You may have tried NANOWRIMO which is one well known book in a month (BIAM) group but there are others. There are also book in a week (BIAW) groups that might work even better for you.

Here are two groups I've bee a part of and found very helpful. (run regularly on a yahoo loop) (held regularly on the forum)

And here are some articles to learn more.

Some cool meters to track your progress. (at

And my own contribution which is a BIAM spreadsheet chart to track your progress. Because the number of days is a variable you can change it to use the file for BIAW or any length challenge. You can download the spreadsheet at my website The direct link is under “Shannon’s BIAM Progress Chart”.

I'm just sharing some love. Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Article on Deep POV
Moira Reid and Samara King's blog,
Keyboards on Fire

What do I know about POV? Some, but certainly far from everything. So why am I here offering up my opinion to everyone who wants it or not? *shrug* I'm not sure. BTW Thank you Moira and Samara for the invitation to spout my opinions. :)

Actually it all started when Moira was telling me how much she hadn't enjoyed a recent book by a well known print author. Basically she just kept being yanked out of the story and so had no chance to get in and enjoy the plot or characters. I've seen this before, actually in a different novel by that same author that I happen to usually love and occasionally worship. *sigh* What I saw was the author taking POV shortcuts that left me watching from too far away. I wanted to be right in the story and was instead watching from outside it. So Moira and I got to talking about how this happens and more importantly how to fix it. Now, I'll share some of what came from that conversation.

What is deep POV?
Deep point of view is that most magical thing that pulls readers into the story’s world and makes them forget they're reading a book. Done well it might even make them forget who they are and let them become the hero or heroine. Now the question is how can a writer use deep POV? How can they grab the reader and not let go? How can they guarantee that the reader will be dying to get the next book and get back to that world or another one just as rich and fulfilling? Here are a few tips to help…

First learn what POV is and how to use it. You can find information on POV in just about every book on the craft of writing. Study it. Devour it. Point of view is far more important than it at first may seem.

Pick the right POV perspective for your story. Pick the right POV character for your scene. Usually this will be the character that has the most to lose. If the hero is about to have his heroine catch him in a compromising situation, think about whether you want the reader to know the truth (from his POV) or just feel the emotional betrayal (from hers). Either one can work done in deep POV.

Use all five senses appropriately. Not every character will focus with the same senses, but the use of sensual experience can make a world more real to a reader. This means when the hero picks up a jagged piece of metal, the author helps the reader experience the texture of the sharp edges, smell his blood and feel the pain as it cuts into the hero’s hand as well as his determination to keep holding on despite the pain.

Use internal dialogue. People don’t always say what they think and neither will your characters, but when an author knows the characters well enough they can share what they think just as easily as what they say. Just remember that only your POV character can share his thoughts. The others will have to be understood through their actions or dialogue.

Be aware of and carefully use distancing techniques. This is the ability to put space between the reader and the character’s deepest emotions and senses. Anytime you as an author use the following words you are putting distance between the characters and readers. Examples of distancing words: wondered, wanted, looked, thought, watched, saw, felt… and about a hundred more. The best way to know if you are pushing your readers away is to check if you are telling them what the character is experiencing or letting them experience it with the character. Here are some example to help show you the difference.

Some examples.
1a. John wondered how he would get out of the trap his enemy had set.
1b. The noose tightened around John’s throat. Damn them. Their trap had worked perfectly and he was caught but good this time. But there had to be some way out. No way in hell would he die here like this.

2a. Sherry wanted him.
2b. Heat coursed through her veins, tightening her nipples as he caressed them so lovingly.

3a. Billy watched the stranger walk into the bar.
3b. The stranger walked in, bee-lining straight for Billy.

There is nothing wrong with using any of the above sentences. The duty of an author is to know enough about the craft of writing to use whichever one is needed in the story being written. Distancing does have its place in fiction. The reader does not need to know everything and sometimes secrets or a secretive feeling can add mystery or suspense to the story. The trick is being aware of the technique and using both options to their best advantage.

Happy Writing!

L. Shannon
author of dark paranormal romance