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Friday, May 14, 2010

Actions That Really Speak

Please welcome guest blogger Raquel Rodriguez

Every writer’s heard the phrase “it’s all about the story,” and, well, in romantic fiction it seems doubly so. Actions can speak loud and clear, especially when there’s a lack of it through the plot. Heroes and heroines have a purpose to meet and fall in love just as readers have expectations of a happy ending. It’s the journey through the plot, all the little ups and downs, all the conflicts those two characters must face and eventually overcome, and all the actions those characters take that add a touch of magic and make the reader come back for more stories.

But sometimes that doesn’t happen, which was one of the reason I created my workshop “Get It Up And Running: Action That Goes And Flows.” My workshop can jump start your action sequences with three simple and effective techniques to enhance your scenes and excite your readers, make your sentences and paragraphs (and chapters) do what they're supposed to do, and move your plot forward.

I read a novella once that had so many opportunities for action that didn’t happen I soon grew bored though I was determined to finish. In a nutshell: a young couple was on vacation at a snazzy beachside resort then the ex-fiancée showed up. There was even an instant dislike among the female characters in the very first scene where they were all together. It promised to be interesting, so I read on.

The entire time I kept expecting interesting and conflict-laden actions and reactions between the three because the writer had obviously set up the jealousy between the two female characters. I expected the conflict to evolve and the characters to grow and learn something. I found myself even hoping for a juicy cat fight.

Nothing really ever happened. With a mere word from the hero, the ex- pouted and then went away toting her perfectly muscle-honed and tanned arm-candy behind her. The heroine never once was confronted with anything except cozy, vanilla bedroom antics that bordered upon ... well, boring. This was supposed to be a spicy story. (yawn ...)

I kept reading and was totally disappointed even though the main characters did have their Happily-Ever-After.

Lack of action (or ‘lac-tion,’ as I've been know to refer to it) can kill an otherwise great plot. My "Action" workshop addresses this deficiency with suggestions for improvement and exercises to help get characters up and keep them moving.

Giving the protagonists something to do also widens the possibilities of things to occur in the story. I show how sagging middles (of stories) can be avoided and fixed with easy cures. My action ‘therapy’ also adds opportunities for plot twists that make characters read with more depth and dimension, like they’re real people.

Readers want to believe in the hero and heroine. They want to sympathize with the situation, cry and shout and laugh out loud with them. Readers want villains to be overcome and to experience the action of daily life and changes of venues with the protagonists (not just from the bedroom to the boardroom and back again).

And readers want the protagonists to move around.

Actions can be built upon to help a story progress. Boring scenes can be transformed with simple changes. And actions can be any kind, from a character moving through a hallway or shopping for groceries, to running for their life, fighting a battle, or sailing through the clouds in a dirigible.

Have a difficulty or want to know more about how to add action (and even adventure) to a story? There’s still time to sign up for my workshop. Check out the right sidebar on my website (www.RaquelRodriguez.com) or visit the Special Interest FF&P Chapter of RWA (http://www.romance-ffp.com/workshops.cfm) for more details, and write on!


Growing up around ghosts and having written stories since her teens, native Texan and author Raquel Rodriguez is quite used to things that go "bump" 24/7. She has studied, taught, hunted (and found) ghosts, written articles, and has lectured about Parapsychology for over 25 years under her real name. She utilizes Astrology and Tarot (especially in combination), is inspired by J. Campbell’s and C. Vogler's work and other creative avenues to enhance and plot her stories. With the release of MY LOVING ENEMY in August '07, there is no end to her creative ideas. Raquel loves adding paranormal elements into her passionate stories with twists of action and suspense, and she divides her time teaching and writing. For more information, please visit her on the web.

Getting it Up and Running: Action that Goes and Flows runs from June 1, 2010 through June 28, 2010

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