A great critique group.
I give a lot of credit to my critique group to helping my get published. My group has four members and we each write in a different genre and have different strengths. That diversity provides a well-rounded critique of each chapter we submit.
It is also great for brainstorming ideas. Whenever I get stuck, I can ask for help and get a lot of ideas that will give me a complete story.
The ending of the first draft of Courting Sparks was rather boring. Not much happened and a reader was likely to fall asleep in the middle of it. In fact, the characters probably could have. It was that dull.
So one day, one of my group and I were on our way home from a writing group meeting and were discussing what we were working on. I complained about the ending and wondered what I should do. She thought for a minute and said, “Noah needs to get arrested.”
I gasped. Noah arrested? Noah would never do anything that would get him arrested. He’s too sweet.
But we kept taking and working the idea, throwing out scenarios where it could happen and what would come next. The ideas were flying all over the place. I could barely wait to get home and start writing. When I did sit down to write, I ended up adding three chapters and a much more fulfilling ending.
They’ve recently helped me when it looked like the underlying motivation for another character would be historically impossible. We worked out the timeline and made the events plausible. We came to the conclusion that a rabbit would have to die as there would be no other way for the character to know the truth. Again, I couldn’t wait to write it.
My critique group is awesome.
Who do you go to when you need help with an idea?
Courting Sparks - Avalon Books - 12/10
Dusting off the ashes of a failed relationship, Daphne Morrow decides she is ready to date again. But when her scorched prom photos are discovered to be the ignition point for a small forest blaze, marking her as the prime suspect for the arson, she finds they’re not the only part of her past sparking interest. After a friend’s wedding provides a romantic interlude with her longtime friend Noah Banks, Daphne tries to explain away her attraction to him: the atmosphere of the wedding, his resemblance to her ex, his heroic efforts as a volunteer firefighter. Still, their desire just won’t sputter out.
When the arsonist strikes much closer to home, Daphne fears she must risk Noah’s friendship to find the culprit and clear her name. She’ll know their love is real if his interest isn’t put out by her need to uncover the truth.
Courting Sparks – Excerpt 2
Noah waved her over. “Want to dance?”
“Sure.” She followed him to the dance floor. He pulled her into his arms and they swayed to the music. She expected the casual comfort she usually felt when Noah touched her. She didn’t get it. Her nerves sparked like downed power lines. Miranda and Max playfully bumped into them as they spun around the floor. Miranda grinned at Max like he was her prince. They kissed.
“It’s the romantically tinged atmosphere of the wedding,” she muttered, as Noah twirled her around and they proceeded to bump Beth and Jake.
“What was that?” Noah asked.
“You know I’ve danced at weddings in every color. Purple, blue, yellow, Barbie pink, several times.” She nodded to her dress. “But never white.”
“It’s not a bad thing it didn’t work out with Aaron.”
“I know. It’s better to know he’s a weasel now rather than be stood up at the altar, but it doesn’t make it hurt any less. At least he could have had the guts to break up with me in person. Maybe then I wouldn’t be taken in every time he calls. Sorry, I shouldn’t say things like that about your cousin.” She sighed. “But whenever he calls…”
“It reminds you of it all over again,” Noah finished for her. “You’re the only one he calls anymore. I think he’s really messed up.”
“He sounds so contrite about cheating on me. About how much he regrets it. I’ve stopped falling for it and I shouldn’t dwell on it.” She shook her head. “What about you? Do you think you’ll ever get married?”
Noah looked away. She saw resentment and disappointment cross his face. “I want to. But it’s complicated.”
Daphne wanted to ask why but the tight look on his face told her he didn’t want to talk about it. The first beats of the hokey pokey blared from the speakers. Noah hurriedly steered her off the floor and toward the bar. “Do you have any practical jokes planned for Miranda’s apartment while they’re on their honeymoon?”