My guest is author Ally Broadfield, who stopped by to share some insights about her writing career with my readers.
Nancy Lee: Welcome! Tell us about how you became a writer.
Ally: When I first started writing, I was a total pantser, and I made all the classic newbie mistakes. Though I had a black moment and a beginning, middle, and end, I started the story in the wrong place, there was too much backstory, and most of the scenes were full of fun, witty dialogue and very little conflict. I knew just enough to know my manuscript was a mess, but I didn’t know enough to fix it myself. So I took lots of online classes, read many craft books, and most importantly, keep writing. When I finally sold my first book and was able to submit future projects on proposal, I realized I had to start plotting.
Nancy Lee: I have always had an issue with plotting. What did you learn?
Ally: The first part of a story that comes to me is always the characters. As soon as they’ve taken shape in my mind, I start to think about conflict. I determine the internal and external goals, motivations, and conflicts for the hero and heroine, and make sure their goals are in conflict with one another.
Once those steps are complete, I use the information to help me complete a beat sheet based on the examples in Blake Snyder’s book, Save the Cat. This helps me determine the correct place to start the story, the inciting incident, turning points, and resolution. If you’re not familiar with it, Save the Cat is written in an entertaining, easy to understand style that makes the information easily accessible, even to those unfamiliar with screenwriting techniques. (For more information about beat sheets, see Pat Haggerty’s excellent post about Using Scrivener to Save the Cat)
Nancy Lee: I recently purchased the book First Draft in 30 Days by Karen S. Wiesner, and it has helped me get the character names, descriptions, and goals set in an outline of the story. Tell us more.
Ally: Once the beat sheet is complete, it’s easy to create a synopsis if needed for a submission package or pitch. I’ve also found that I write a lot faster after completing a beat sheet, but still have the freedom to make changes as I go.
Nancy Lee: What’s next for you?
Ally: I’m currently working on the first round of edits for a Regency-set romantic suspense that is the second book of a continuity series with four other authors. It will release in early 2015. I’m also writing the first draft of a Regency romance with a dash of mystery that will release this fall. After that I will be revising the first draft of a single title Regency that is the sequel to Just a Kiss and will tell Anna’s story. It should also be released in early 2015.
Charlotte Lightwood has one season to find a husband or she’ll be forced to marry her guardian’s loathsome cousin. With no title or dowry, she doesn’t have much hope of making a good match. Sebastian Wilkinson, the Earl of Marley, has been the most eligible bachelor on the marriage mart for more years than he cares to count and is very aware of his duty to marry a woman who will add to the wealth and stature of his title. Sebastian makes Charlotte an offer she can’t refuse: he will pretend to court her to help her attract more suitors in exchange for her advice about which ladies he should pursue. As they work together, their mutual attraction grows. When they realize they just might be perfect for one another, they must decide whether to bow to the dictates of society or follow their hear
EXCERPT from Just A Kiss
“You should also consider Lady Hoskins. Though she appears quiet initially, you’ll discover she’s quite intelligent upon closer association. As the daughter of a duke, she exceeds your requirements.”
He seemed overly interested in the pattern of the parquet floor and didn’t answer immediately. “I’ll take your suggestion under consideration.”
Charlotte raised her eyebrows. “Have you spent any time with her this week?”
“I’m afraid she’s too…perfectish.”
She stopped and turned toward him. “Perfectish?”
He lowered his head and gazed into her eyes. “Yes, perfectish. It’s a clear indication that some horrible fault will come to the surface the moment you’ve irrevocably declared your intentions.”
She allowed one corner of her mouth to curve upward. “Well, then. I guess it’s a good thing I could never be considered perfectish.”
His eyes darkened as he leaned closer. “No, you are certainly not too perfectish.”
She struggled to catch her breath and turned away from his intense gaze. “Where are we?” They had been walking much longer than should have been necessary. Marley Hall was exceptionally large, but surely they should have reached the main stairwell by now.
“In the east wing.”
“I thought you were concerned about leaving the duke and duchess waiting. Have you lost your way in your own home?”
Sebastian shot her a sheepish smile. “They’re not actually waiting. I was the one impatient to get started, but now that you’re entertaining me, I feel no particular need to hurry.”
“Odious man,” Charlotte mumbled under her breath, turning away to hide her smile from him.
Nancy Lee: How can my readers buy your book?
Ally: Readers can go to the Entangled Publishing page for Just a Kiss to see all of the purchase options: http://www.entangledpublishing.com/just-a-kiss/
More About the Author
Ally has worked as a horse trainer, director of marketing and development, freelance proofreader, and a children's librarian, among other things. None of them were as awesome as writing romance novels (though the librarian gig came closest). She lives in Texas and is convinced her house is shrinking, possibly because she shares it with three kids, five dogs, a cat, a rabbit, and assorted reptiles. Oh, and her husband. Ally likes to curse in Russian because very few people know what she's saying, and spends most of what would be her spare time letting dogs in and out of the house and shuttling kids around. She has many stories in her head looking for an opportunity to escape onto paper. She writes historical romance set in Regency England and Imperial Russia.
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