Tuesday, March 15, 2022

3T Writing Tidbit

One of the realities of the writing life is that after you've written your amazing perfect story, you've got to entice people to read it.

So we all have hooks, those things that make us go Ah! or Wow! For many of us, these hooks are in the form of a stereotype.

Ugh, no! Not the STEREOTYPE.

Do you like brand better? or how about archetype? Whatever you call it, it's a character or trope or situation that's deep-rooted in our very psyche, and it gets our interest.

But here's the tidbit. Excite the reader with the stereotype -- then add a twist. Go off at a right angle or 180 degrees or swing your partner do-si-do all the way around. It freshens up the stereotype, it makes it your own, it gives it the pizzazz it needs to go from Ah! or Wow! to I want.

The sweet, shy maiden who gets stubborn when you threaten her friends.

The hooker with the heart of gold who's actually an undercover agent.

The up and coming rock star with an identical twin brother who is undercover and can't afford to be outed.

Go wild!

Published since 2009, over the years I've accumulated various items of writing wisdom. The Third Tuesday Writing Tidbit showcases these items in no particular order. Click here to see all 3T Tidbits

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

2T Repeat Performance -- Contrast

I've done a number of blog tours over the years, posting on different sites. Now I'm bringing them to you!

Originally published May 2, 2011 for Star Shadow


I visited Alaska for the first time last week. I’d done some research and knew Anchorage was a good-sized city near the Gulf of Alaska, and that mountains were nearby. So I wasn't expecting any surprises. I’d seen mountains before, rising from the plains in Colorado. I’d seen water before, the Pacific in San Diego and the Atlantic in Florida. I’d seen cities before, from Boston to Kansas City, from Chicago to Houston.

What I didn’t understand though, was that in Anchorage, the mountains and water and city are right on top of each other.

No gentle foothills swelling from the Plains. No long beaches lapped by ocean tides. Mountains thrust from water, and are the city's backdrop scrim. The contrast is abrupt. Stark.


Writing must also be compelling, so contrast is vital. Which leads me to taglines. After the book's cover snags the reader's attention, the tagline and blurb are story capsules to draw the reader into trying a page or two. 

Sharp contrast makes these short capsules sing. Here are three of mine.

  • He’s a candy box of sex appeal wrapped with a golden bow. She’s on a diet. (Biting Me Softly)
  • Nitro? Meet glycerin... (Biting Nixie)
  • At last, the perfect lover. Now what? Stake him, shoot him—or love him? (Bite My Fire)