What’s more inspiring than meeting a writer who loves to write? And one who’s young, enthusiastic, and eager to share what she’s learning about developing her craft? Jessica Lauryn has been writing contemporary romantic suspense novels for the past six years while working at a day job. Now that’s dedication! Once she became hooked on the romance genre, Jessica committed herself to learning everything she could about mastering her niche. During a Write Group program, she shared her author’s journey and some of the approaches she’s used to strengthen her storytelling:
Immerse yourself: Once she found her niche, Jessica started reading widely in the romance genre and studying the way stories were structured by established writers. As she puts, it: “When you begin to immerse yourself, you’ll learn a lot,” This strategy has helped her in developing the first three books in her romance series: Dangerous Proposal, Dangerous Proposition, and Dangerous Ally.
Keep a notebook: Initially, Jessica shapes her stories by jotting down whatever rough ideas come to her in a notebook. She may come up with a scene she wants to include, or a snippet of dialogue, or a theme she wants to explore. As she begins gathering these fragments, a rough storyline starts to emerge. Even when she’s working on something else, if an idea pops into her head, she captures it on a Post-It note and then adds it to her growing idea file.
Build a support system: Once she started writing, Jessica joined the Romance Writers of America. Her chapter meets monthly and hosts speakers and informal sessions where people discuss what they’re working on and exchange advice. Joining a group where you can meet other practitioners in your field, from aspiring authors to established pros will give you both support and a sense of professionalism.
Keep it playful: If you get stuck and find it hard to keep going on a project, then put it down for a while and make notes about a new story. This will help rebuild your confidence and re-energize you. If the start of your story is giving you trouble, try playing around with different openings without editing yourself and see what happens.
Ask “What if”: This is a valuable question on a number of fronts. You can start a query letter with it. You can use it to help you tease out a promising story line. You can use it to help you ratchet up the conflict in a scene that needs more tension.
Keep writing: The more you write, the stronger your stories will become. As she’s progressed from one novel to another, Jessica has learned how to edit out scenes that aren’t working, to build more action and dialogue into her stories, to sharpen her descriptive language, and to write more concisely.
To find out more about Jessica’s books, visit: jessicalauryn.com. And write on!