Author: Nina Romano (page 2 of 22)

DJ Niko’s Review of The Secret Language of Women on Goodreads

D.J. Niko’s Reviews > The Secret Language of Women

The Secret Language of Women
by Nina Romano (Goodreads Author)

7566814

D.J. Niko‘s review

Feb 22, 16
it was amazing

 

Nina Romano’s first installment in the Wayfarer Trilogy is a richly detailed journey through China during the time of the Boxer Rebellion, circa 1900. The story follows Lian, the daughter of a Chinese mother and Swiss physician father, who struggles to find love and hope in spite of adversity. Lian’s use of Nushu, the secret language used by Chinese women, to write about her life and dreams is fascinating and at times heartbreaking. The author is also a poet, and it shows in her lyrical language. Romano’s beautiful descriptions of the setting and the characters’ inner worlds draw the reader into the plot and build interest with every page. Highly recommended.

The Important Role of Religion in Lemon Blossoms

The Important Role of Religion in Lemon Blossoms

When I was a young girl I studied with the cloistered nuns of Visitation Academy in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.  I learned not only school subjects but also a great deal concerning the Roman Catholic Religion and Latin at the hands of this devout, spiritual community. An aside—I used some descriptions of the cloister grounds inside the walls and the “parlatorio” in my third book of the Wayfarer Trilogy, In America, but a tremendous amount more about the religion is incorporated in Lemon Blossoms.

After I finished the eighth grade of elementary school, my religious training continued during my first two years of high school when I attended Notre Dame Academy on Staten Island.  I frequently participated at daily Mass, including responding in Latin to the priest as an altar boy because we didn’t have any.  I made novenas, went on retreats, and even had a nun for a roommate! Three of us girls shared a room with this nun, who slept with a curtain drawn around her bed.  She entered our room from the bathroom, after we were supposedly asleep, and after she’d had her bath. I will not divulge those long-ago secrets garnered in youth! I will say, however, that when we went home on weekends, I set up sleuth-type devices to find out if she ever riffled through our dresser drawers! Call me, Sherlock—she did!

When writing Lemon Blossoms, I sought out and interviewed the very learned Rev. Monsignor Frederick Brice various times with questions so that I would be correct in portraying my main character Angelica, a very zealous and overly religious girl at the beginning of the novel, and Padre Ruggeri, Angelica’s confessor and uncle.

I attended a neighborhood church and got to know the pastor Fr. Brice, who was retired only a few years ago and passed away last year at the age of eighty-five.  He was pastor of St. Paul’s Roman Catholic Church in Lighthouse Point, Florida, for almost three decades, during the time that I sought his council.

In order to understand the significance of the vestments used during the Mass, I questioned this knowledgeable priest on many occasions.  He was generous enough to also lend me several books and have a close look at his Breviary. These were enlightening sources to consult along with my several antique Missals, one of which I had used while attending Notre Dame.  Fr. Brice was most kind and very accessible and even eager to discuss the prayers, the sacraments, the vessels, and the laws and liturgy of the church. Much of what I acquired from my discussions with this cleric is included in the novel Lemon Blossoms.

 

 

Review of M.K. Graff”s Novel Death Unscripted

What’s so great about this book, is the fact that it’s a “NOW” situation set in the Big Apple.

Didn’t you always want to know what goes on behind the scenes of those medical TV shows? Reading M K Graff’s Death Unscripted gives a firsthand peek at how some of it gets done.  The fact that Graff knows the medical profession comes through and made this such an interesting read and a seemingly REAL one.

This is a nicely paced cozy with a host of interesting characters, and one of my new personal favorites, Trudy Genova, an amateur sleuth.  Graff’s mystery drew me in right from the beginning.  The sparks set off between her mail character and the detective, add an interesting subtext.  Graff’s  settings, dialogue and plot have me begging to read her next installment in this new American series.  Brava!  I definitely “suspended my disbelief!

 

Getting the Most Out of Your Editor’s Feedback/Heeding the Call to Revise:by Amy McElroy

 

    Getting the Most Out of Your Editor’s Feedback

                     Heeding the Call to Revise

  by Amy McElroy

Revising a work to its essence challenges writers of every genre and manuscript length. Hiring an excellent developmental editor remains a crucial step in the writing process. Yet even though an editor or unbiased reader can often see the need for editorial changes, writers themselves can examine the reasons behind many of these “blind spots” and look for new ways to reduce them at an earlier stage, thereby allowing others to address deeper issues in their work.

As a writer, there’s a gnawing that comes when there’s a problem in my work. Maybe it’s a treasured phrase—what Faulkner called the difficulty in “killing our darlings.” Often there’s a thread I know will cause major work to rewrite as a result. Sometimes, there’s a whole separate book or essay tangled in our manuscripts.

As writers, we try to avoid the revision or the cut, the shuffle or restructure. But deep down, we know when we give it to our editor our gut will be reaffirmed. We will have to do the dirty work.

Improving our ability to revise lies in learning to trust those instincts, so we can make those painful changes ourselves. Then we can allow the person who sees the material next to take it to yet another level instead of wasting  time on what we knew needed to be done in the first place.

Of course, sometimes, we truly don’t know what needs attention—how, when, or why to make a change—and it’s ok to ask for a second opinion. But the more we can learn to trust ourselves, the better the final product will be.

Here are some tips for revising:

At First, Just Don’t

After you finish the latest draft, put it away! Give yourself a significant chunk of time between drafts. We all must learn what that means for us, depending on the length of the manuscript, how long and how much focus we’ve given to it, how much we’ve neglected the rest of our lives. Regain some perspective. Step away long enough for the myopic focus with which you’ve been working to develop into a broader view. The next step requires  it

Hire Yourself

Don Roff said, “I’ve found the best way to revise your own work is to pretend that somebody else wrote it and then to rip the living shit out of it.”

So, when you pull it out, edit with the critical eye you would give to someone else’s work. You wouldn’t even know it if you were killing someone else’s darlings; they’d just look like any other words on the page. Don’t you owe your own writing the honesty & quality you’d give someone .

Grab the Mic

Speak out loud the major point or points you are trying to get across in the work. “This work shows . . . ” or “This story is about . . . ” Not a summary precisely, but more of an elevator pitch, main idea, or thesis. Using an actual microphone will help capture each attempt at this distillation of the work for later reference. Once the essence of the manuscript has been captured, use it in the next step of revision.

Make an Extra “Copy”

You can do the “old school” method by making an actual hard copy to chop up with scissors and rearrange with tape, or save the manuscript under a different file name and go through and delete or condense anything extraneous to your point.

Deleting material in our own work becomes easier when we know it’s all still there under some other file if we need it. More often than not, we’re happily surprised to find the condensed version reads better.

If you’re really struggling with how much to cut, make two new versions. Ask yourself which one reads better, so you’re free to be ruthless with the  scissors or the cut and paste functions.

While you’re revising with the extra copy method, try bringing the theme of your work to the forefront. Obviously, this doesn’t necessarily mean begin and end by outright stating the theme, but understand that readers put much stock in beginnings and endings—even subconsciously.

What to Do with the Darlings?

Save the darlings you cut for another work. Create a document entitled “Darlings” on your computer for these clips. Name longer sections with easy to find labels or in folders related to their work of origin or another system that makes sense to you.

What to Do When You’re Done

Then DO give it away for an objective opinion to someone you trust—preferably a professional editor, certainly someone who knows how to edit. Ask for particular feedback on whether the theme holds together or if there are extraneous, distracting side issues.

Read the comments, then, put the work BACK in the drawer and sit with them awhile. Again, what’s “awhile” depends on how long the works is, how long your deadline is, how you are feeling about the work and the comments, etc.

Then, you can begin to consider what part of the feedback to heed and what

Now, you’re finally ready to begin a round of revision based on another person’s feedback. Because of your preliminary work, the theme will pull together more tightly for the reader just like you’d originally hoped. And having first traveled this long and tedious road of revision alone will yield treasures that will shine brighter in the final product than any darlings that may have been sacrificed along the way. Good luck and happy revising!

Author Bio:

Amy is the Editorial Director and a writer for the popular website sweatpantsandcoffee.com. Her work has also recently appeared in Billfold,Noodle, ReWireMe, BlogHer, The Mid, RoleReboot, elephant journal, and The Manifest-Station. On her website, amyjmcelroy.net, you can find her writing craft blog—which was republished on Joel Friedlander’s Carnival of the Indies—and a list of her editorial services.

 

 

Homage to C. K.Williams

Homage to C. K. Williams

I am deeply saddened by the passing of a great poet, Charles Kenneth Williams, who always used his initials, C. K. before his last name.

At the 2008 Palm Beach Poetry Festival I was offered any poetry workshop I wanted to act as intern/assistant to a poet, due to seniority.  I was older than any of the other younger interns, I had four college degrees, one of them, an MFA in Creative Writing, and I had published a poetry collection.  I chose C.K. Williams, knowing his excellent work, and realizing the fantastic opportunity it afforded me to sit in his seminar for one week.

On January 21, 2008, I took notes from his lecture, made copies and passed them to all the fine poets in attendance. These notes follow below.

He was an instructor who pulled no punches, as I wrote on Facebook. He told you what he thought of the poem being critiqued, the musicality of the language, the word choice, whatever.  This was a professor, who did not suffer fools.  This was a teacher, who got up in the middle of one of our sessions and went next door to Claudia Emerson’s workshop, and asked her and her class to keep the noise and the laughter down to a dull roar—No, I don’t believe he said it quite that way, but when he returned to our classroom, the uproar from the class next to ours ceased.

He was a Princeton professor, who won major awards for his writing, and by his mere presence, made sure he received the respect due him.  It was a great honor and privilege, but also a pleasure to see genius in action. He has left a formidable legacy, one that I am personally grateful for.

After our workshop time together, on the last day, CK signed three of his books that I had with me: Flesh and Blood, C. K. Williams Selected Poems, and C. K. Williams Collected Poems (hard copy). The one that he didn’t sign was C.K. Williams Poems 1963-1983,  because apparently I’d left it home that day. Each book that he autographed was signed “for Nina,” and he wrote: “With warmth,” “Thanks for everything.  Best regards,” “With warmth again,” but in Flesh and Blood he wrote these precious words to me: “for Nina warmth for your poems.” I’d like to think that all the poems I’ve written since then, conveyed that very sentiment of warmth.

Having lived in Italy for twenty years, I was very familiar with the work of Primo Levi, an Italian Jewish poet/writer, and read his works repeatedly throughout the years starting in 1970.  Levi was a man who had been a member of the Italian anti-fascist resistance during the WWII, was arrested and survived the Holocaust, but then took his own life. It was beyond shocking to think that the author who wrote If This Be a Man, and endured the tortures of Hell in Auschwitz, could commit suicide. One day after reading some poetry of CK’s about Levi, we had a delightful one-on-one discussion after class. I am grateful for having had that incredible conversation, and cherish it along with the memory of my days with CK.

After the Poetry Festival, I drove him to the airport with Sharon Olds, another fine poet, and it tickled me to hear her call him, Charlie, but to me, he’ll always be CK.

RIP, CK

Notes about revising from C K Williams                                                                                                 1/21/08  PBPF

(Nina’s Notes—take or leave, but this is what I garnered and gleaned—if you heard it differently—go with it.)

The Empty Space: A Book About the Theatre: Deadly, Holy, Rough, Immediate (Paperback)

http://www.amazon.com/Empty-Space-Theatre-Deadly-Immediate/dp/0684829576

(Available on amazon.com for $9.59)

There is a kernel (an energetic spot) in each poem from which everything is variable and from which a poem can “re-grow” (into something new)

First of all in this seminar there will be no judgment (on work) these are experiments

Find the principles (which inform the work) and which will enable us to work with (the poem)

Find the principles and incorporate them (the unconscious principles)

Why did you write the poem? What was the impulse? The occasion?

What were the inspirations?

What seems to be inspired (in the work)? The magic?

Did you do justice to the inspiration and the impulse?

Variables

Music.

Who does the poem address? Why How? Is it a person?  A character?

What is the tone?—conversational, natural, artificial, poetical, formal, heightened?

Is the “self” in the poem? Is this important?  Represented enough to keep the reader reading on?

Poetical? Experiential? Is there expedience?  Metaphor? Simile?

These serve as a means of interest.  Is there plot?  A display of information?

Drama has climax—does the poem?  Where is it situated: the end or the beginning?

Syntax

Not always a narrative

Diction (language) colloquial?

Compression vs. discursive

Narrative vs. logic

Irrational (unconscious) vs. rational (conscious)

Is there commitment?

Use of metaphor (aha! the light!) and simile

Music—most difficult to speak about with regards to free verse.

(stress, pulse, cadence, repetition—symphonic melody repeats)

 

Three Things Authors Need to Know about Dialogue by Chéri Vausé

by Chéri Vausé

Three Things Authors Need to Know

1. Don’t write dialogue the way people talk Sol Stein, the great editor and author of luminaries like Elia Kazan and James Baldwin, taught a class on dialogue that had never been taught to writers before. He taught at University of California at Irvine and had to hold the class in a medical amphitheater to house the number of writers taking his course. The first thing he said was critical. Dialogue is a foreign language. What that means is when you write you don’t write the way you were taught to speak. It must be adversarial, filled with nuance and revelatory language, but not so much for what is said, but what is meant. I love the example he uses: Elmore Leonard: “Let’s get a drink, and talk for a few days.” This line is rife with meaning. And, I’m sure you didn’t learn to talk like that.

2. Conflict is critical in dialogue

This doesn’t mean people need to shout, or to use profanity. Yes, use profanity sparingly. Curse words should only be used when absolutely necessary. So far, I haven’t found them necessary in any of my stories. Using lots of profanity is an easy way out of designing dialogue between characters that reveals what they are made of and where they are going. It should express conflict in order to thrust the story forward. Using the “f” ­word does neither. It also shows a lack of imagination. Think of this. How do you write a scene between two people where one is so angry they are ready to kill? It would be easy to say, “I’m gonna kill that motherf­­­­­…­.” All this line shows is anger and nothing else. I personally love the line that Alan Rickman uses in Robin Hood where he screams, “I’m going to cut ­out his heart with a spoon!” Hmm. Don’t you think that gives you a better visual?

3. Dialogue should also show an adversarial bent

Sol Stein says it should “show sparks.” Crackle is another way of expressing it. Here’s an example from my book The Night Shadow: “And to think I could be at home cleaning the cat box,” Esther Charlemagne said. “Watching for a Peeping Tom is so much better.” You know at least a half dozen things about this character. Her relationship to the job and her partner is definitely adversarial. It’s the opening gambit and you already know she’s sarcastic, bored, she owns a cat, and it sounds suspiciously like they are on a stakeout… well, you get the point. Dialogue that snaps and crackles and lights a fire will make your story unforgettable. Readers love those sparks, and you won’t just have a reader of one book, but a follower.

 

 

Author bio: Chéri Vausé

Miss Vausé spent more than twenty years teaching theology and volunteering. She decided late in life to change careers and begin writing novels. With all her children grown, she turned her dining room table into a desk and research center, and now she serves up murder on an icy platter rather. She lives on a small ranch in Central Texas with her husband and two dogs, Scully and Mulder.Scully is a Coydog (half­beagle and half coyote) with reddish brown hair. Mulder is a black Great Pyrenees. Together they equal an X­File.

How to Use Twitter: Some Quick Tools

How to Use Twitter: Some Quick Tools
What I’ve learned about  how to use Twitter
  • Thank people for favorites and re-tweets–sometimes you can reciprocate with things you like from their pages
  • Don’t push your book every single minute. (Everyone out there is trying to do the same thing.)
  • Put up pertinent material–for instance I tweeted when Truner showcased my novel at BEA, and I put a link up to an excerpt of my book, or the new cover for my book.
  • Theme pictures should be interesting.  I took the cover of my book off as my theme picture and put up a picture of a statue of Buddha.  I  may change it again, but I won’t be putting up the cover of my new novel. I’ve got so many interesting pictures taken in Asia!
  • Make sure to use a photo of yourself
  • Follow people you’re interested in and follow back for the same reason
  • Check in with followers and who you’re following every couple of weeks–things change and you’ve got to keep up with the times.
  • Use some hashtags, not many.  I use them for  #writers and re-tweet groups when your’re tweeting about your publishing, or giving readings, or presentations, etc.
  • Don’t overuse direct messaging.
  • If you have time ,you can chat people up and try to make connections and “hook ups”–for instance I met a terrific writer in England and asked him to guest blog on my personal website, and I wrote a guest blog for his site. This was quite thrilling!
  • Blogging is important. Your own blog site and others (In fact my website is being revamped, but when it’s ready, I will ask some authors to write guest blogs for me.) Link to your blogs and other people’s when they have pertinent material.
  • Write interesting little tweets: quotes, links to articles, things about other writers you’d like to plug.  I use  #WW : worth watching on Wednesdays and #FF : Follow Fridays on Fridays, and then add the handles of people that I’d like to support.
  • Support other writers, even if they don’t write in your genre or mine, historical.  Support poets!
  • Follow friends, writers, professionals in other fields,  and groups. I  introduce yourself when I find something in common: various states or countries they live in and I’ve visited,  people who speak Spanish and Italian, wine-makers, etc.
  • There are tons of tools to use, but I don’t have the time, or energy to devote more than I do, which is a little every day, just to keep my fingers in the pies.

Horoscope Helped Me Develop a Realistic Character by Nina Romano

Horoscope Helped Me Develop a Realistic Character
                                                                    
                                                                 by Nina Romano

In The Secret Language of Women, the first book of my Wayfarer Trilogy, I decided my main character Lian’s horoscope would be the Year of the Dog.  Knowing her horoscope facilitated my understanding the protagonist for this novel.  Since the book is set in China, I used Lian’s Chinese Zodiac sign to learn about her qualities and personality traits intimately so that she appeared genuine yet flawed. She is straightforward, a warm and caring being, courageous and intelligent. When a person born in under this sign falls in love, they do not ever change.  Lian fell in love with an Italian sailor, and remained faithful to that love, despite the fact that she was forced into a loveless marriage.
Moreover, having visited China, a unique experience that enabled me to see in person: Hong Kong, Beijing and its fabulous Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square, I was able to envision Lian’s travels and travails in war-torn China, an era suffused in superstition, intrigue, culture and history.  I incorporated the themes and things I care about, such as: love, family, food and recipes, art, dragons and horses.  Why? Simply because it’s straightforward to write what I know and have feelings for, and all of these ideas translated well even to a novel set in China during the Boxer Rebellion.  My own horoscope is the Year of the Horse, which was last year, so I made sure I had an important role for a horse in this novel, and I’m positive that my horoscope had incredible influence on my stars being aligned because I signed a contract for a three-book deal for my Wayfarer Trilogy with Turner Publishing.
While writing, I pictured Chinese New Year, the cleaning of the house, the distributing of red envelopes, and Lian cooking on a wok, serving rice to her beloved. Since this story takes place in China where live fish, most especially carp, are good Fengshui, which according to Wikipedia is a “philosophical system of harmonizing everyone with the surrounding environment.” For this reason, I put carp into a pool in the Summer Palace in Chapter 1, where Lian meets the love of her life. Do I believe in the influence of horoscopes and how they can help round out a character?  Of that there is little doubt.
Excerpt from the Secret language of Women
The things that test you and are vanquished bring everlasting joy.  The differences between traditional written Chinese and Nüshu, the secret language of women, made it difficult for me to learn it.  My mother and grandmother could not write Chinese and learned Nüshu when they were young and wanted me to grasp it too.  I cannot say they harped on me or were tyrannical, but I will say they were insistent, and for this I am eternally indebted. 
My mother said it challenged me because I wrote like a man and didn’t have to rely solely on Nüshu, the way they did to communicate with other women.  The ideograms of Chinese correspond to a word or part of one, whereas each of the seven hundred characters of Nüshurepresent a syllable— women’s language is phonetic, in Chéngguān dialect 城关土, adaptable and pliant for singing, poetry and writing with such delicate strokes they appear as lines of feathers.
Though learning was problematical, I mastered it, like I do all things I set my mind to
conquer.  At the time, I resented the study of it, yet I knew innately one day I would be grateful to possess the knowledge and skill of this secret language, which would offer me strength and solace for a lifetime.  And although I was writing in Nüshu, for some reason, I signed with flourish in Chinese: Wǒ Lián.  I am Lian.
  
  Author’s bio
Nina Romano earned an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from FIU. She’s a world traveler and lover
of history.  She lived in Rome, Italy, for twenty years, and is fluent in Italian and Spanish. She
authored a short story collection, The Other Side of the Gates, four poetry collections, and two
chapbooks. A fifth collection is forthcoming from LLC Red Dashboard.  Romano has been
nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize.  Her Wayfarer Trilogy is forthcoming from Turner
Publishing.  The first historical novel of the saga: The Secret Language of Women will be
published in September 2015.  More about the author at: www.ninaromano.com


Margie Klein, guest blog: “You Can’t Write if You Don’t Read”

You Can’t Write if You Don’t Read

To me, writers were just names on covers. Until I fell in love with Edgar Allen Poe.  This wasn’t my crush on Tommy, who wore his jeans low and spit-curled his hair in a slow curve over his Clearasil’ed forehead.  This was true passion–for a writer.
A very dead writer, which made Poe all the more romantic.  No more would he pen (and I was sure it was a plumed pen, taken in hand by candlelight in the dark recesses of night) the lush verses that I committed to memory, the horrific tales that captured my darkest imagination.  Alas, alas!
I was nuts for the guy.  Even now I get retroactive palpitations.  I know.  He looks pretty hokey today, and I don’t think I would voluntarily wade through “The Fall of the House of Usher” again.  But, as convoluted and archaic as the language now seems to be, that’s what sucked me in, in the first place: his language.
Language.  Compelling plots.  Complex characters.  Evocation of time and place.  Flashes of insight.  Poe did that for me, spoiled me, made me seek those things in everything I’ve read since.  Sometimes I find one or two of those qualities in a book.  That’s good; I’ll read on.  Three, four or more and I’m in love. In high school I found all of the above in John Steinbeck, whom I adored until he made me Travel With Charley.  Then he lost me.  The old magic was gone. 

My reading eye began to wander.  In college I became promiscuous, flitting from one to another: D.H. Lawrence, Thomas Wolfe, Hermann Hess, Dorothy Parker, Tolstoy, Katherine Anne Porter, Dostoevsky, and even–God help me–Ayn Rand.  I loved them all, even though I’m sure I missed a lot of what they were saying.  Without much depth of life experience, it was difficult for me to relate.  Poor, poor Anna Karenina, I’d sigh—but I really couldn’t tell you why. As much as I loved to read, that’s how much I loved to write.  It seemed so preposterous, so presumptuous, to even dream of being one of Them.  It never really crossed my mind to call myself…a writer.
Bio
Marjorie Klein’s first novel, Test Pattern (Wm. Morrow Publishers, 2000; HarperCollins/
Perenniel 2001, now an e-book) was a Barnes and Noble “Discover Great New Writers”
selection.  Her creative nonfiction has appeared in various publications, including 20
years of free-lance work for Tropic, the Miami Herald’s former Sunday magazine. She
received her MFA from Florida International University.  Recipient of a Florida
Individual Artist Fellowship, she has taught at the University of Miami, Florida
International University, Warren Wilson College, University of North Carolina at
Asheville’s Great Smokies Writers Program, and served as a preliminary judge for the
National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts.  She has completed another novel,
Shifting Gears, and has begun a new one.  (www.marjorieklein.com)

On the Art of Writing by Chris Hill

On the Art of Writing
            by Chris Hill
I thought I’d share a couple of my favourite quotes about writing and what I think of them – one is quite well known, the other less so, but I think they both have something useful to teach us writers.
The first is from the Russian master story writer and dramatist Anton Chekhov who said famously: 
“Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.”
What’s that all about then? Well basically what he’s summing up in powerful and poetic fashion is what has come to be known as ‘show don’t tell.’ That’s a technique much beloved of creative writing courses where would be writers are encouraged, for example, to focus not on telling the reader directly what a character is feeling, but instead on showing the reader things which allow him to make his own mind up.
For what it’s worth, my view on this is that a better phrase would be ‘show and tell’. The trouble with being prescriptive in writing is that it excludes—and while excluding some terrible writing it might also exclude some great, experimental work. So it never does to be too closed minded. Still, it’s a useful point to bear in mind I think, show don’t tell.
Whether you are describing moonlight or a character’s state of mind the route one – blunt description is likely to be less involving, less evocative for the reader than showing them something which draws them into the text and allows them to decide for themselves what is going on. Do it that way and you have given them a stake in the action— you have made the reader part of the story.
Now here’s some advice on writing from a more unusual source. The great movie director Alfred Hitchock was once asked how long a couple could reasonably be seen on a movie screen, kissing on a bed. He replied: 
“As long as you want—as long as there’s a bomb under the bed.”
Portly, upper-crust curmudgeon he may have been – but he knew about story telling didn’t he? Whatever kind of fiction you are writing it’s a very important thing I think, that bomb under the bed.
When I think of the better writing I’ve done, the stories which work well, it’s not usually the style of the writing, the quality of the jokes, or whatever, which sets them apart—it’s something else—it’s the presence of dramatic tension, the bomb under the bed.
If you don’t have that dramatic tension in a story you are writing then the words pretty as they might be, can lack focus.
When I’m writing fiction now I sometimes stop and ask myself where it is – that bomb – that sense of jeopardy.  The form it takes varies widely depending on what you are writing of course , but in some form it’s a must.
Author’s bio:
Chris Hill is an author whose latest book The Pick-Up Artist was released in February 2015 by Magic Oxygen Publishing, you can find it on Amazon here:http://www.amazon.co.uk/Pick-Up-Artist-about-Dating-Digital/dp/1910094161/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1424014293&sr=8-1&keywords=the+pick+up+artist+chris+hill
You can find Chris on his website here http://www.chrishillauthor.co.uk/ on Twitter @ChilledCh and on Facebook here https://www.facebook.com/chris.hill.3726

Chris Hill is an accomplished writer and author with a Bridport Prize winning feather in his cap His first novel, Song of the Sea God, was published by Skylight Press; and was shortlisted for the Daily Telegraph Novel in a Year competition as well as winning the eFestival of Words award for best literary fiction. Chris Hill works in communications and has a background in newspaper journalism as a reporter, news editor and editor. His second novel, The Pick-Up Artist, was published by Magic Oxygen in early February 2015. It is described as a raucous rom com about dating in the digital age.

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