Mind Mapping Your Story Ideas

Are you a visual person? Do you hate outlining? Then mind mapping is for you. It is also a powerful tool for any writer. A mind map is a visual representation of connected ideas. This makes it perfect for playing with different elements of a story.

How to Brainstorm Your Novel into Existence

All the motivation and energy in the world will not produce a finished novel. We first need ideas. Focused brainstorming is one way to inspire them.

What Can a Writer Learn from the Principles of Art and Design?

Both fine art and writing require creativity and hard work. They also require an understanding of structure and principles. Surprisingly, the same principles used by an artist can inspire excellent writing as well.

W-Plot Your Way to a Better Scene

W-Plot a better scene by Zara West

~ Plot Your Scene with the W-Plot Method ~ The W-Plot can be used to lay out an entire novel, but it's true strength is in plotting scenes. I am doing NaNoWr again this year. I love being part of a huge group of writers all excited about writing and encouraging each other every day … Continue reading W-Plot Your Way to a Better Scene

Plotting a Romance: What Works for Me

ZAra West reviews Roamncing the Beat by Gwen Hayes

~The Path of True Love ~ I truly believe that the best way to learn to be a writer is to be a voracious reader. That said, how-to-writing books definitely have a place in honing one’s skills. I have read many books that I have found helpful. Today I will review one of my favorites … Continue reading Plotting a Romance: What Works for Me

Fast Drafting My Way to The End or What I Learned from NaNoWri

Fast Drafting for NaNoWri

My first novel, written as a respite from working on my dissertation, took me five years to write. My second novel took seven years to write. My third novel took one month. What made the difference? Fast drafting. Fast drafting is the writing process in which you throw out everything you've learned about good writing … Continue reading Fast Drafting My Way to The End or What I Learned from NaNoWri

NaNoWri starts Tomorrow and I Can’t Wait.

Ready. Set. Go. Got my plot. Got my characters. Got my GMC outline. Got my alarm set. Everything appears ready for me to dive in and write my first 2000 words (Technically you need to write 1533 a day, but I aim for 2000 words a day - that way I get ahead a bit … Continue reading NaNoWri starts Tomorrow and I Can’t Wait.

Why NaNoWri fires me up to write faster

NaNoWri or National Novel Writing Month starts on Tuesday. This will be my third year participating. I don't know why, but somehow tracking words and trying to attain the 50,000 word challenge in 30 days just gets my blood flowing and the creative juices oozing.  So I am getting set for the race to the … Continue reading Why NaNoWri fires me up to write faster

Beneath the Skin is different

Beneath the Skin romantic suspense www.zarawestsuspense.com

Now I read a lot of romantic suspense novels. I love them. Why else would I write them? I like the fact that there is mystery and threatening villains along with the love story. I like the complexity of the plot and the challenging of binding the romance so tightly into the suspense plot line … Continue reading Beneath the Skin is different

What Makes a Romantic Suspense Suspenseful?

Beneath the Skin romantic suspense www.zarawestsuspense.com

Lisa Gardner in the “Seven Secrets of Romantic Suspense” lists the following elements that all romantic suspense novels need to be successful: A tense, dangerous setting Complex heroes, heroines, and most importantly, villains, who have goals they must accomplish and something personal at stake, often their only chance at love. Heroes and heroines with a … Continue reading What Makes a Romantic Suspense Suspenseful?

Beneath the Skin Book Cover Just Released

Beneath the Skin Romantic Suspense Book Cover

The book cover for Beneath the Skin is here! Back Cover Blurb Ex-Olympic wrestler and reclusive billionaire artist Aristides Stavros has one mission—to rescue his sister, a popular tattoo artist from the old enemy who has kidnapped her. But at every turn, he is confronted by anthropologist Melissa Dermot. Is she just an innocent girl … Continue reading Beneath the Skin Book Cover Just Released