Readers, Writers and Protagonists Setting Healthy Boundaries

Warning: This post makes references to violence and sexual assault. If you'd rather skip this post, we completely understand.  Note: Much of what I share in this post I've learned from taking empowerment self-defense and martial arts classes at an organization called El HaLev. Learn more by reading or watching "Beauty Bites Beast" by Ellen Snortland. Melina Kantor ~ By Melina Kantor It seems to happen more often than not. I'm getting into a book, grateful for some much needed down time, and then. . . The hero shows up unexpectedly and unwanted someplace where the heroine feels safe. Maybe it's her home. Maybe it's her workplace. Maybe it's a coffee shop where she goes to unwind. The heroine asks him to go away. He doesn't leave. And then a few lines later, he's kissing her. Worse, the heroine finds this romantic. And I'm not talking about erotica, romantic suspense, adventurous paranormal romance, science fiction or even dark romance. I'm talking about my favorite genre - contemporary romance. The most recent book I've read with this scenario has a pink cover with cupcakes on it. Nothing bad is supposed to happen in a book with cupcakes on it. Right? In my opinion, which I admit might be unpopular, behavior like this is completely and totally unacceptable and belongs in one of David Schwimmer's videos on sexual harassment, not a romance novel. Am I being over sensitive? It's fine if you think so and I might not convince you otherwise. Just please consider this. As romance writers, our audiences include: Think that last one is the exception and not the rule? I wish it were. Sadly:
That is a huge percentage of our readers, and I believe that it's important to be aware that a woman who has experienced certain types of trauma (or any woman, for that matter) might see certain gestures, like showing up outside a woman's window while she sleeps and blasting a love song, or a sudden, surprise kiss that comes out of absolutely nowhere, as more intrusive than romantic. [caption id="attachment_7904" align="alignright" width="336"]Riley and Ben kiss Ben, who Riley has had a crush on since childhood, kisses her by surprise. Look at her hands. Does she look happy or comfortable? (Photo Credit: Baby Daddy, ABC Family/Free Form)[/caption] The good news is that we, as authors of contemporary romance, have a great opportunity to write protagonists who set healthy boundaries and serve as comforting role models. Even better, we have the honor of providing women with tools they can use to keep themselves emotionally and physically safe. But how do we, and the characters we bring to life, figure out and set healthy boundaries? The answer to that is all about assertiveness. Before we talk about what assertiveness is, let's talk about what it is not

The Passive Protagonist

We all need to be safe before we can thrive.

~ Ellen Snortland

The passive protagonist allows her boundaries to be crossed. "Love and War and Snow" is possibly my favorite episodes of Gilmore Girls. It's so cozy and delightful. [caption id="attachment_7888" align="alignright" width="234"]Max and Lorelai Photo Credit: IMDB[/caption] Except for the part where Lorelai puts up a boundary, which literally involves her front door, and then proceeds to let Max, a man she hasn't known long, trample all over it, much like the guy in the song, "Baby it's Cold Outside."
LORELAI: See, I have really strict rules about dating. I keep my personal life totally separate from my life with Rory. You know, I never want her to feel unsettled or like her life could just shift at any moment.
That could not be more clear, yet Max starts to push:
MAX: What if I promised you that if you let me in, all I'm expecting is a cup of coffee, that's it. Nothing weird or funny. Unless, of course, you're into weird and funny. . . LORELAI: Max!
And then he pushes even more:
MAX: At some point in your life you're gonna have to decide that some guy is worth opening that front door for. I am just volunteering.
Here's Lorelai's passive response:
[Lorelai opens the front door and starts to walk inside. She turns back to him.] LORELAI: Would you like some coffee? [Max smiles and follows her inside]
The next morning, Rory is not exactly thrilled when she finds Max, her teacher, asleep on her couch. At best, Max's behavior is severe chutzpah. At worst, behavior like Max's could, in some cases, be a precursor to date rape. Either way, in this situation, Lorelai is not safe emotionally or physically. So how could she, or the relationship possibly thrive (even with the help of a thousand yellow daisies - which were a problem in themselves)?

The Aggressive Protagonist

When we fail to set boundaries and hold people accountable, we feel used and mistreated. This is why we sometimes attack who they are, which is far more hurtful than addressing a behavior or a choice.
The aggressive Protagonist crosses other people's boundaries. For example (language alert):
  No doubt Sally had a right to be angry. And she was dealing with Harry, so there was no real threat of physical danger. In real life though, and by extension our books, a slap like that, with swearing to top it off, could escalate the situation and put Sally in danger. (And imagine if Harry had slapped Sally. Not cool.) Here are two more classic scenes that we all love but should not use as examples for our own protagonists. 1. Julia and Ray Don:
  Hilarious, right? Not to mention entertaining. The problem? Julia's rant was filled with things Ray Don could argue with or even just comment on, which could make the challenge of staying at the table and pushing Julia's buttons more appealing. The rant creates a game that has the potential to become dangerous. And by being insulting, she's crossing his boundaries when all she needs to do is put up her own. 2. Dorothy and Stan:
  Again, classic and fabulous. The problem is that a door slam, like Sally's slap, has the potential to escalate the conflict. A door slam is aggressive and, as you can see, does not prevent Stan from returning. So how could Sally, Julia, and Dorothy have addressed specific behaviors instead of attacking Harry, Ray Don, and Stan? To answer that, let's talk about what assertiveness is.

The Assertive Protagonist

"No" is a complete sentence. ~ Anne Lamott
The assertive protagonist does not allow her boundaries to be crossed. I hope it goes without saying, but assertive does NOT mean bitchy. More importantly, leather jackets, combat boots, or even the ability to fight don't necessarily mean much (and can even turn readers off). What matters is that our readers connect and identify with protagonists who set and protect their boundaries, regardless of their personalities or body types. The examples of boundary crossing that we've talked about so far could have been taken care of with two simple words: "Go away!" ("Back off!" and "NO!" work too.) Or by simply just walking away. And when "go away" or the more polite "please leave" don't work, the phrases can be repeated until the boundary crosser gives up. They work because:
  1. There's no way to misunderstand, misinterpret, argue or contradict those statements.
  2. They aren't accusatory.
  3. They are clear.
  4. They don't present a challenge.
  5. They show that the encounter is over, thus ending the power trip and thrill.
Remember that volume is important, but it's possible to be loud and firm without hysteria or yelling. Here's another Gilmore Girls example in which Chris crosses Lorelai's boundaries by forcing his way into Lorelai's childhood home. The problem isn't the argument itself. The problem is that Lorelai engages him by arguing, which is why he doesn't leave. But look at how Emily solves the problem: Here are some more examples of protagonists who "used 'no' as a complete sentence." (Notice that there's no need to turn to Wonder Woman or Supergirl, as wonderful as they are, as examples). Cher:
  Bay:

Creating an Assertive Protagonist

Your protagonist can be sweet as pie, polite and soft-spoken, and extremely kind, yet remain assertive. When we create character profiles, many of us spend time figuring out things like what our protagonist carries around in her purse. But we can also do exercises to help us figure out what gives our protagonist confidence, and what she values about herself. Once you've figured that out, you can start figuring out what her boundaries are. Why not start now? Exercise 1: On a scale of 1 to 5, 1 being relaxed and feeling completely safe, 5 being completely freaked out and uncomfortable, how okay is your protagonist with the following scenarios (feel free to leave a comment with additional scenarios):
  • A man she's just met tells her that her smile is sexy.
  • A coworker, either male or female, returns from a trip and greets her with a hug.
  • A guy she's been on three dates with shows up at her house without calling first to drop off an earring that fell off in his car.
  • A guy she's been going out with calls her every night and texts her at least 3 times a day.
There are no right or wrong answers here. Your protagonist gets to decide what's okay, without providing one word of justification or feeling even one ounce of guilt. Exercise 2:
  • Write a scene in which your protagonist sets a boundary.
-- and / or --
  • Write a romantic scene in which your hero respects a boundary set by your heroine.

Consent is Romantic

We don't need surprise unwanted visits, kisses or sexual advances to add romance to our novels. One of the most romantic things a hero can do is be aware of your heroine's boundaries, which can be even more romantic than knowing her favorite type of chocolate or coffee. A true hero understands when a woman needs a night to be home alone, do her laundry and order A true hero understands when a woman needs a night to be home alone, do her laundry and order take-out, and that some nights, a woman might want to watch her favorite show with him but not talk and not touch. See? How sweet, not to mention hot, is this?
 

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Here's to Us:

So. I think the time has come to raise a glass and make a toast. Here's to our safety, the safety of our protagonists, and the safety of our readers. Here's to true, boundary-filled, love! To those things, we can all shout, "YES!"

*What are some of the boundaries you set for your characters (or for yourself)? Please share in the comments!

* If you'd like to continue talking about boundary setting, I strongly encourage you to join the group Women Setting Healthy Boundaries, which is run by one of my fabulous self-defense teachers. You'll love the videos she posts every week, and I promise you'll be inspired. *

Melina writes contemporary romance with a pinch of oregano and a dash of chutzpah. She loves to travel, especially to her family’s village in Crete, and turn her adventures into research for her novels.  In July of 2012, she moved from New York to Jerusalem with her adorable but sneaky cocker spaniel. Her family now includes an incredibly sweet yet troubled rescue puppy. Melina likes the color pink, baking, daffodils, teaching girls to code, running her small business, learning to use power tools, practicing self-defense, Krav Maga and karate, and breaking cinder blocks with her fist. All three of the protagonists in the trilogy she's currently working on study empowerment self-defense. You can visit her at http://melinakantor.com.

Beyond the Typical Contemporary Character Occupations

claire_boston~ Claire Boston The suggested topic for this blog was common contemporary vocations; doctors/nurses, military, business mogul/secretary, cowboy and I have to admit when I saw the list I groaned. It’s not that I don’t enjoy a good romance with those occupations, but I do get a little tired of them. The romances that really excite me are those that step away from what’s normal or common. I love learning little things about other people’s lives and jobs when I’m reading. One romance that sticks clearly in my head is Nora Roberts’ Chasing Fire about the fire fighters who parachute in to fight fires. It was exciting, fresh and new and I loved finding out more about the whole fire-fighting process. When I’m brainstorming what occupation my latest hero and heroine are going to have, I ask myself two things:
  1. What does the story need?
  2. What do I want to learn more about?
Story is important and if you want your characters to be able to go gallivanting across the globe, then they can’t have a 9-5 job or major responsibilities – unless of course they pay the consequences of the gallivanting later. It also needs to fit the setting – a swimming teacher in the middle of the Arctic might not work. Sometimes you need to be a little bit flexible. I had to adjust the type of company my characters worked for in my latest book, Break the Rules. Originally the idea was sparked by reading a true account of some miners being stuck underground for two weeks after an earthquake. I wanted my characters to work in safety on an underground mine in Western Australia, which is where I live, but my publisher wanted the story to be set in the US. I’d already set a series in Houston, so I looked at the industry in the area and decided an oil refinery had as much use for safety advisors as a mine did, and so while the vocation didn’t change, the setting did. Another thing to think about is changing the tropes of romance. I know the male business mogul/female secretary is a really popular trope, but I grow weary of it. Why can’t the heroine be the billionaire? So instead of complaining about it, I did something about it. In the second book in The Flanagan Sisters series, Change of Heart, my heroine is the software billionaire. I had so much fun writing her, and though her secretary is male, he isn’t the hero (though he may be for a future book). I think the key to writing strong characters is the ability to have fun with them and really explore what is important in their world. This could mean that you get to explore what interests you and what you enjoy. I don’t need to tell you that one of the best things about writing is being able to explore places, occupations and cultures that you might not otherwise have an excuse to explore. Sometimes this very research can give you a story that you never would have thought of writing. In my Flanagan Sisters series I wanted to explore ethnic diversity and I made the sisters half-Hispanic, half-Irish migrants from El Salvador. This opened a whole different world to me. Before I knew it I was researching unaccompanied child migrants from Central America which became a key thread in the whole series. If I’d stuck with the common occupations and my default white character, I wouldn’t have found this different and fascinating subject. So next time you’re thinking about character, consider reaching for the obscure jobs, or putting a twist on common tropes. I think your readers will thank you. Claire Boston is the best-selling author of The Texan Quartet. In 2014 she was nominated for an Australian Romance Readers Award as Favourite New Romance Author. Claire is proactive in organising social gatherings and educational opportunities for local authors. She is an active volunteer for Romance Writers of Australia, as a mentor for aspiring authors and the reader judge coordinator. When Claire’s not writing she can be found in the garden attempting to grow vegetables, or racing around a vintage motocross track. Claire lives in Western Australia, just south of Perth, with her husband, who loves even her most annoying quirks, and her grubby, but adorable Australian bulldog.

Turning A Villain Into A Hero: Alan Rickman

SVT2015~ By Sarah Vance-Tompkins I fell in love with Alan Rickman in Truly, Madly, Deeply, a sweet indie movie about finding closure after the loss of a love.

I had no idea how good he was at being bad until I saw him as Hans Gruber in Die Hard. Dressed in a Saville Row suit, with a vaguely European accent, he bursts onto the screen, opposite some delicious man candy in the form of Bruce Willis and Alexander Godunov, and dares you to look away. Every time I watch Die Hard, I am reminded once again, why Hans Gruber is at the top of so many lists of favorite movie villains. There is so much you can love to hate, especially the way Rickman played him. Rickman didn’t think of Gruber that way. “I’m not playing the villain,” he once said in an interview with The New Yorker magazine. “I’m just playing somebody who wants certain things in life, has made certain choices, and goes after them.”
"I don't play villains. I play interesting people."
Maybe that's why Hans Gruber is so much more than just a classic villain. As the movie hurtles toward the climax, there is a scene when the female heroine, Holly Gennaro, confronts Hans after realizing he is not a political extremist.
"After all of your posturing, all your little speeches, you're nothing but a common thief," she says.
Hans grabs her by the arm, and pulls her close. The top of Holly's blouse is hanging open, and they're both breathing heavy. "I am an exceptional thief, Mrs. McClane. And since I'm moving up to kidnapping, you should be more polite." Wait? What? What is going on here? My 'anything-can-be-a-romance' imagination has transformed Die Hard from a popcorn- action flick into a romantic suspense plot bunny. What will happen next? Will Holly and Hans find passion in each other's arms? Or will the FBI find them before they make it to the secluded beach where they'll be 'collecting twenty percent'? Maybe I should be writing this down. Can you think of other movie villains or bad guys who could be transformed into romance heroes just by looking at the story from their unique point-of-view? Who are your favorites? Sarah Vance-Tompkins received an MFA in Film Production from the University of Southern California. She went on to work in feature film development. She is a member of the Los Angeles Romance Authors RWA, the Contemporary Romance RWA, and the Young Adult RWA. Her debut YA novella, KISSES ON A PAPER AIRPLANE will be released by Inkspell Publishing in May 2016. 

How I Prepare to Write Fast — Character and Plot [REPOST]

jadechandler~ By Jade Chandler So all of us have different styles of writing, and I am naturally a quicker writer, words flow, sometimes faster than my 60wpm fingers can type. Other times, not so much. So this year I added to my prep work before typing my first sentence. I hope you find something you can use among the tools I’ve found that help me best. So I write romance, steamy to erotic usually, and I believe character rules in romance, not that I ignore plot. So first I get to know my characters. I use up to three tools, depending on how secretive my character is being –as you know—some won’t quit yammering in your head. My go to character steps include the Character Target Tool and Character Pyramid Tool because they focus on traits that lead to emotions and emotions that reflect action. This way my characters do more than smile every time they are happy. I am sold on the whole Positive Trait, Negative Trait and Emotion Thesaurus series. They also have lots of other handy questions. I also use a character questionnaire for quiet characters, like this one, but there are thousands if you google it. So now I know my characters. I then write their internal and external Goal Motivation Conflict. Simple stuff. Avery wants the town and bikers to get along because she secretly wants to be a biker’s old lady but her father is the main voice against the motor cycle club. Once I get that down, I move to plot. Here I have to say thank you to Jamie Gold’s blog for these awesome Excel spreadsheets for plot. I like Story Engineer best but have used them all and now have created my own sheets that fit my plotting style. These excel sheets give you the key plot points for a book on an excel sheet. Based on awesome magic, not only does it give you descriptions of what those points should do, it gives you a corresponding word count where each one of these happen. I fill the skeleton of my plot into these worksheets, and make sure the ideas I have actually work, and that I have enough conflict. Pacing and good conflict were two of my early weaknesses. Then I outline, you outline to the degree you want, I just use bullet points that encompass the chapter’s POV, a couple sentences about setting, word count for the chapter, and 5-7 plot points for the chapter… Generally my chapters are about 4,000 words long. As I outline, I match my word count in the spread sheet. For example, fun and games begins at about 20,000 words and is where the characters usually get to know each and fall in love. I make sure I outline lots of good sex and fun dates, along with some minor disasters in this section. This outlining method helps me make sure I have tension, highs and lows in each chapter and give each major plot point enough attention. Unless I’m working with a publisher who needs a synopsis before I write the book, this is where I start writing. Otherwise I complete the dreaded synopsis. My last hint is how I sit my butt down to put words on paper. I like to write in 15 to 30 minute blocks with no interruptions. But sometimes, I don’t know a fact or remember a name, so I use this trick…. I type #restaurantname and move on to the next sentence. Now, I use *** to mark scene, POV, or time breaks in chapters, if you use ### then pick another symbol. The beauty of this is that you can search the symbol and go back later and fill in the blanks easily, without missing any. Writing is an art and a craft. I find that my best writing comes when I write every damn day. When I take breaks, days or weeks, I have to retrain my body and mind to write again. And that sucks. So why do you care? This formula has given me about an extra 1,000 words a session as I have lots less time I need to stare into space deciding what should happen now. Instead I keep writing. Last year I completed four novel-length books, this year my goal is five. And to be fair, I give you this disclaimer, I work full-time, do kids, family and all the stuff that keeps everyone busy. Generally I have two hours a day to write, occasionally more, and on some days no time. You can use these tools whether you are a panster or a plotter, and believe it or not, I’m primarily a panster, as my characters change the freakin’ plot all the time, and I don’t outline in depth. But this style keeps me from needing to cut pages of back story or too much sex, and gets my first draft done in 3 to 8 weeks, depending on my motivation and focus. Happy writing! And feel free to email me if you have questions! Jade Chandler is a new author who lives in Kansas City Missouri, with a hubby surrounded by a house full of girls–two daughters, a dog and a cat. A life-long lover of romance, she decided to write romance in 2014. Her first book in the Jericho Brotherhood MC series will be released Summer 2016 by Carina Press. @jadechandlerrom || Jadechandler.com || 14jadechandler@gmail.com

Romancing the Jerk

Jane Peden ~ By Jane Peden Writing a hero readers will fall in love with is always challenging – but never more so than in category romance.  Especially if you are writing about presumptuous arrogant billionaires whose cold hearts and rash judgments are in dire need of redeeming.  You know the type.  The CEO who seduces his secretary, then fires her when she’s falsely accused of being a corporate spy.  The heir to the throne who shows up on his discarded girlfriend’s doorstep and demands that she leave her job and her country behind and go with him to a distant land, or else he’ll take their child away from her forever.  The corporate raider who forces an old rival’s daughter to marry him under threat of destroying her father’s business. See?  You already don’t like him . . . But the author knows that by the end of the book, this man will be totally worthy of the heroine’s love. In my debut novel, The Millionaire’s Unexpected Proposal, I struggled with making my heroine likeable.  I wrote a secret baby story, where the heroine shows up five years after a Las Vegas fling, with the hero’s child in tow.   Not only did she never tell him she was pregnant – she also married another man she didn’t love for money, and passed the child off as her husband’s.  Only now, when she’s a widow facing an ugly custody suit by her former in-laws, does she run to the hero for help. Did she have good reasons for her choices?  Of course.  But I worried that readers wouldn’t be willing to give her the benefit of the doubt. Well, readers liked my heroine just fine.  They had much less tolerance for my hero, whose anger and lack of trust in the heroine seemed to me to be completely justified.  More than one reader-reviewer lamented Sam is such a jerk.  And a few even went so far as to say that by the time he groveled at the end of the book it was just too late. Looking back on those reactions, I’ve concluded that category romance readers – the vast majority of whom are women – come to the book hard-wired to identify with the heroine.  So it’s easier for them to accept her motivation as genuine.  The hero, on the other hard, better prove himself worthy of both the heroine’s and the reader’s love. man with bouquetAnd you have to lay the groundwork early on, or readers – and agents and editors – may never read past the first chapter. Here are some ways to romance the jerk hero, and keep readers from giving up on him, regardless of whether you are writing category or single title:
  • Give the reader some insight into his motivation as soon as possible. You don’t have to tell all in the first few chapters, but drop a few hints about why he’s so closed off emotionally.
  • Show us one little vulnerability.  Maybe he has a soft spot for stray dogs. Or he can’t resist jelly doughnuts.
  • Give him a backstory that parallels a point of conflict in your story.
  • Have him admire – even fleetingly – some trait of the heroine’s.
  • Give him a touch of self-awareness.  He knows he’s being a jerk, but believe he has no alternative.
  • Have a likeable secondary character find him worthy of admiration or trust.  If they like him, there must be something more beneath the surface, right?
By including one or more of these ingredients, you humanize your hero and make the reader want to dig deeper to discover why he behaves the way he does – and they’ll be invested in his struggle to overcome the obstacles he’s put in his own path. Because what good is an HEA if no one is rooting for it? * What are the characteristics of your favorite heroes? Leave a comment and share your thoughts.  Jane Peden is a Florida trial attorney who writes sexy contemporary romances set in the exciting South Florida city of Miami, where millionaire lawyers live extravagant lifestyles and find love when they least expect it. When Jane isn’t in court, you can find her at the beach with her laptop, dreaming up stories about successful, confident men who know what they want and how to get it, and smart, sexy women who demand love on their own terms.  Jane lives on the Gulf Coast of Florida with her husband, two kids, two dogs, and a fish.  Jane’s debut novel, The Millionaires’ Unexpected Proposal – the first in her Miami Lawyers series - was released through Entangled Publishing’s Indulgence line in March 2015.  

Website || Facebook || Twitter || jane@janepeden.com

How I Prepare to Write Fast — Character and Plot

jadechandler~ By Jade Chandler So all of us have different styles of writing, and I am naturally a quicker writer, words flow, sometimes faster than my 60wpm fingers can type. Other times, not so much. So this year I added to my prep work before typing my first sentence. I hope you find something you can use among the tools I’ve found that help me best. So I write romance, steamy to erotic usually, and I believe character rules in romance, not that I ignore plot. So first I get to know my characters. I use up to three tools, depending on how secretive my character is being –as you know—some won’t quit yammering in your head. My go to character steps include the Character Target Tool and Character Pyramid Tool because they focus on traits that lead to emotions and emotions that reflect action. This way my characters do more than smile every time they are happy. I am sold on the whole Positive Trait, Negative Trait and Emotion Thesaurus series. They also have lots of other handy questions. I also use a character questionnaire for quiet characters, like this one, but there are thousands if you google it. So now I know my characters. I then write their internal and external Goal Motivation Conflict. Simple stuff. Avery wants the town and bikers to get along because she secretly wants to be a biker’s old lady but her father is the main voice against the motor cycle club. Once I get that down, I move to plot. Here I have to say thank you to Jamie Gold’s blog for these awesome Excel spreadsheets for plot. I like Story Engineer best but have used them all and now have created my own sheets that fit my plotting style. These excel sheets give you the key plot points for a book on an excel sheet. Based on awesome magic, not only does it give you descriptions of what those points should do, it gives you a corresponding word count where each one of these happen. I fill the skeleton of my plot into these worksheets, and make sure the ideas I have actually work, and that I have enough conflict. Pacing and good conflict were two of my early weaknesses. Then I outline, you outline to the degree you want, I just use bullet points that encompass the chapter’s POV, a couple sentences about setting, word count for the chapter, and 5-7 plot points for the chapter... Generally my chapters are about 4,000 words long. As I outline, I match my word count in the spread sheet. For example, fun and games begins at about 20,000 words and is where the characters usually get to know each and fall in love. I make sure I outline lots of good sex and fun dates, along with some minor disasters in this section. This outlining method helps me make sure I have tension, highs and lows in each chapter and give each major plot point enough attention. Unless I’m working with a publisher who needs a synopsis before I write the book, this is where I start writing. Otherwise I complete the dreaded synopsis. My last hint is how I sit my butt down to put words on paper. I like to write in 15 to 30 minute blocks with no interruptions. But sometimes, I don’t know a fact or remember a name, so I use this trick…. I type #restaurantname and move on to the next sentence. Now, I use *** to mark scene, POV, or time breaks in chapters, if you use ### then pick another symbol. The beauty of this is that you can search the symbol and go back later and fill in the blanks easily, without missing any. Writing is an art and a craft. I find that my best writing comes when I write every damn day. When I take breaks, days or weeks, I have to retrain my body and mind to write again. And that sucks. So why do you care? This formula has given me about an extra 1,000 words a session as I have lots less time I need to stare into space deciding what should happen now. Instead I keep writing. Last year I completed four novel-length books, this year my goal is five. And to be fair, I give you this disclaimer, I work full-time, do kids, family and all the stuff that keeps everyone busy. Generally I have two hours a day to write, occasionally more, and on some days no time. You can use these tools whether you are a panster or a plotter, and believe it or not, I’m primarily a panster, as my characters change the freakin’ plot all the time, and I don’t outline in depth. But this style keeps me from needing to cut pages of back story or too much sex, and gets my first draft done in 3 to 8 weeks, depending on my motivation and focus. Happy writing! And feel free to email me if you have questions! Jade Chandler is a new author who lives in Kansas City Missouri, with a hubby surrounded by a house full of girls--two daughters, a dog and a cat. A life-long lover of romance, she decided to write romance in 2014. Her first book in the Jericho Brotherhood MC series will be released Summer 2016 by Carina Press.  

@jadechandlerrom || Jadechandler.com || 14jadechandler@gmail.com