Story Length- Does Size Matter?

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Have you ever written a piece that became a form, or even a genre, you hadn't planned on writing in? Or do you choose a form/genre in advance?

“Make the story as long as it needs to be.” The words from my writing coach echoed in my mind when I began my journey writing romance and continues to help me with each story as it evolves.

Storytelling is an art form that requires writers to let the tale unfold the way it needs to. Resisting can influence the quality of the final execution. I have been in situations where I tried to pound a story to fit into specific word counts, mainly based on my own capricious standards or a publisher’s guidelines. The story almost always pushed back, leaving me to streamline and coax it into the required length. Sometimes it worked–but not always.

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Writing Real-life in My Books

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What's the most unusual experience you've ever had? Have you included it in one of your books?

Authors, like most creatives, often use their talents to weave stories reflecting their lives, I am no different. I have included some wonderful, horrible and pretty strange things that happened to me over the years in books.

In Sweet Love-Bitter Fruit, Toni’s struggle with infertility and getting the people around her to understand her pain reflects my own years of frustration. It was difficult, but I was able to channel a lot of pain to connect with readers with similar experiences and giving those who haven’t to empathize with the hurt that comes from unfulfilled desires. Linking fiction with real-life motivates my writing.

In My Way to You, I created a scene with the main characters, Regina and Simon similar to an unusual situation I found myself in with my husband when we first married. Continue reading “Writing Real-life in My Books”

The Literary Pilgrim – a Writer’s Journey

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Have you ever gone on a literary pilgrimage? If so, where and why?

Pilgrimage is an important part of my faith. In Islam, traveling to the venerated city of Mecca (known as Hajj) is a sacred journey that provides those blessed with the chance to perform Hajj rites expiation of their sins and closeness to the creator.

Some people save for their entire lives to make the holy trip. Others go on Hajj to die. It is an arduous trek. Every pilgrim has their Hajj stories, telling of illnesses, injuries, and challenges to finishing everything without blowing their cool. Despite the physical obstacles, many Muslims through the world strive to go on Hajj. The emotional and spiritual benefits far outweigh any difficulties.

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#OpenBook Building a Stand Alone Universe, Connecting Characters

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Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

One of the great things about storytelling is that the worlds that authors create can be as simple or involved and complex as they want. Although I have some stories with less porous worlds, I do like to have some characters show up in other plots, which can be important in the romance genre.

Many romance readers end up falling in love with characters in a book, wanting to see more of them. I developed a series based on the desire for readers’ requests to see more of one character or another. I initially wrote the book Open to Love as one book, when beta readers asked me to also tell the stories of secondary characters Tarika and Aqil. I also got feedback asking what the deal was with Rahma. I hit the keyboard and framed the Open to Love series. Queen of the Castle joined book one, and book three is coming soon.

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