a guest post by Marlene M. Bell
I couldn’t be more excited about today’s guest author! Marlene not only writes the riveting, award-winning Annalisse books, she’s also a generous woman. For example, she’s written this guest post full of important information for authors, AND she’s offering a giveaway to end all giveaways (see below). Thanks, Marlene! You’re a keeper!
Avid readers like twists on good story plots they’ve read hundreds of times, and they’re vocal about what they don’t like in the romance or mystery genres, as an example. The single most important thing I learned about writing fiction is to consider the reader at all times. Writing a novel isn’t about what the author wants to convey. It’s all about what the reader expects to gain from the experience. Simply put; write for the reader and not yourself.
Once I’d moved from a single work of non-fiction into fiction writing, I totally left out the most important part, the research. I laid all novels I’d read aside and chose to abstain from reading altogether. Afraid to plagiarize, (which I understand is a common newbie mistake,) I was so ignorant how to write my first multi-genre romantic mystery. Blending two genres made my work more difficult. Two years in, my first draft took a severe hit during an expensive developmental edit. I couldn’t write well because I hadn’t done the fiction research and wasn’t a strong reader. Therefore, my book draft had failed miserably in the eyes of the editor.
Three drafts later, the basic reading rule was enforced by many on my growing list of editors. Read other authors in the genre you plan to write your story. Study the genre and note how others plot and subplot their work. Chances are, future readers you hope to gain know more about plotting and characterization than the debut author. My editors coaxed me into reading more on many occasions until the suggestion stamped itself in permanent ink where I wouldn’t forget it. The more I read, the smoother my writing became. It took well into five drafts before I realized what genre I liked and how to tailor the story in that direction as anticipated by the reader.
Whether planning a book in women’s fiction, light romance, mystery, or anywhere in between, there’s always a basic template for writing each kind of story. Find out what that is. No matter if it’s your first book or number ten in a series, readers expect what bestselling authors before you have given them, but in your own writer’s voice.
One word of caution from personal experience: Venturing deeply into a mixture of genres in one book is possible if done well, however, authors who mix must expect some reader pull-back from readers who prefer a single genre novel. Blurring the line too much can bring disappointment and backlash in reviews. Find a genre. Spend time in the genre intimately—breathe the genre, and stick with it.
Annalisse Drury and Alec Zavos find themselves on opposing sides when an ex-lover from Alec’s past introduces him to his alleged son. With Alec distracted and their future engagement in limbo, Annalisse accepts a key to her dream cottage—situated on a picturesque sheep station on South Island, New Zealand—only this time, she travels alone.
But not long after her arrival she’s confronted by two peculiar deaths—either accidental, or the deliberate acts of a psychopath.
Local investigators are closing the cases too quickly and want Annalisse to exit the country before she reveals the town’s darkest secrets.
Will she return to Alec, or sacrifice their future together to expose it all?
About the Author
Marlene M. Bell is an eclectic mystery writer, artist, photographer, and she raises sheep in beautiful East Texas with her husband, Gregg, three cats and a flock of horned Dorset sheep.
The Annalisse series has received numerous honors including the Independent Press Award for Best Mystery (Spent Identity,) and FAPA— Florida Author’s President’s Gold Award for two other installments, (Stolen Obsession and Scattered Legacy.) Her mysteries with a touch of romance are found at marlenembell.com. She also offers the first of her children’s picture books, Mia and Nattie: One Great Team! Based on true events from the Bell’s ranch. The simple text and illustrations are a touching tribute of compassion and love between a little girl and her lamb.COPPER WATERS Book Tour Giveaway
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