Writing A Sci-Fi short story romance

I’ve been wanting to write a short story for some time.  This is a new endeavour, I’m used to pumping out 100K words.  Tackling 3-5K was daunting.  How would I express my H/h ‘s goals, motivations, and conflicts?  How would I create their character arcs?  I kept the concept in the back of my mind, but I didn’t know how or where to start.

A Sci-Fi short story romance

Be careful what you wish for


Until I saw this cover at  Continue reading Mr. Right, Mr. Wrong, Mr. Alien : A Sci-Fi short story romance

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The Plot Thickens:21 Ways to Plot Your Novel, including how to outline your novel
This is an excerpt from “The Plot Thickens:21 Ways to Plot Your Novel“, written by me and my wildly creative partner, Jack Monroe.
The Plot Thickens
Love It or Hate It, It’s Time to OutlineIt’s time to outline your story.  I’m a big fan of outlining; it helps me stay organized and focused, and keeps me drifting off subject.
Your outline should be a living, breathing document, able to change as inspiration and your characters take you in new directions.
You’re going to spend a lot of time on your outline, tweaking it until order starts to take shape.  Don’t be discouraged; it’s all worth it in the end.

First, brainstorm the heck out of your story.  Nothing is off limits, nothing is a stupid idea.  Write down all the elements you want to appear in your novel—the characters, their situations, the setting.  Once you feel you’ve exhausted your imagination, start funneling your ideas into something more manageable by writing a summary, an abbreviated version of the main body of work.

Some of the things to consider:

  • Who is your main character?  What happened in his back-story to shape him and prepare him for his challenge?  Some authors make a complete character sketch for their major players.  Some choose pictures, write bios, or create a vision board.  Use whatever you’re most comfortable with to get a handle on your characters.
  • What conflicts will they face in the novel and how will they solve them?  Remember, their problems will move the story.
  • What are their motivations to accept the challenges they’ve been presented?
  • What are they trying to achieve (their goals)?  Their goals, motivations, and conflicts should be internal as well as external.
  • Where is it set?  Build your fictional world.

Now list the plot points, the major milestones your character has to experience to get him to the end of the story.  Use the Hero’s Journey section of this book to define them.
These plot points will become your scenes.  Each scene must have a purpose.  Something has to happen which drives the story forward.  It will produce a change molded by conflict.
Summarize each scene in a few sentences.  Use index cards, Post-Its, an Excel spreadsheet or (my favorite) Scrivener, to organize them.
Elements of a scene:

  • Who is in the scene?
  • Where does it take place?
  • Whose point of view is used?
  • Do the decisions made by the character move him closer or further from his goal?
  • Do your subplots tie into the main story?
  • Does your character suffer and grow and change until he can’t go back to the way he was at the story’s beginning?

You probably have an idea of how long you want your novel to be.  Using the three or four act structure, break your estimated word count into the appropriate sections.  Place your “must-have” scenes where you think they should fit in the overall structure.  Take a step back.
Believe it or not, you’ve just outlined your novel!  Don’t be surprised if you deviate from it.  Characters have a habit of taking over, but you’re in the driver’s seat!
Congratulate yourself and start writing!

The Plot Thickens:21 Ways to Plot Your Novel is available as a FREE Kindle Unlimited book!


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Tall, Dark and Slayer is now available for purchase

A purchasing agent for vampires and a slayer who takes out rogue vamps must set aside their differences to fight a common enemy in Tall, Dark and Slayer.After months of writing and editing, my paranormal romance, Tall, Dark and Slayer is now available for purchase.

Betty Banks has made a living as a purchasing agent for New York City’s vampires. Artificial blood. Sunscreen. Chocolate? Yes, because all of the vamps in Betty’s world are women, fighting a bloodlust that hits them in their childbearing years. They’re not immortal yet, but Dee Villa, a powerful vampire, hopes to soon make that legend a reality. Under her influence, Betty’s clients are taking to the streets, looking for fresh victims. Helping Dee is Betty’s grifter father, who sees the Back-to-Nature movement as the perfect con.

Gabe Mercer, a childhood victim of the bloodlust, is a cold, calculating slayer. He’s in town to take out Dee, a threat to the peace the government likes to keep. When he crosses paths with Betty, fireworks erupt. Soon, he’s embroiled in a fight to save her business, but to do so, he must first confront his past.

How playing “What If?” lead to a new story

Tall, Dark and Slayer started when I wondered if I could write a vampire book could be without vampire main characters. Could the hero NOT be a seven-hundred year old, jaded vampire, positive he’ll always outlive any woman he’s attracted to? Can the heroine NOT be a freshly-minted vampire with a shoe fetish? What if (my favorite game, playing “What If?) the vampires aren’t really vampires, but have a rare disease that makes them crave blood? And what if the heroine was their purchasing agent for artificial blood, working for a secret government agency keeping them quiet and satisfied? What if the hero worked for the same agency, taking out rogue “vamps”? And what if one of the “vamps” thought she’d found a way to convert to a traditional, immortal kind of vampirism?

With all these “What if?” questions, a book was born. The rest was easy (not).

Check out Tall, Dark and Slayer at the following sites:





Thanks again to the supreme Kris Norris for the cover!


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