Carr Counsels

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“I connected instantly with the characters and just wanted more and more and more.”

That’s how bestselling author Debbie Macomber described her response to Robyn Carr’s “Virginia River” series. Who wouldn’t want a review like that? A bestselling author herself, Robyn’s written 40 romances. When I came across one called Angel’s Peak featuring a back-of-the book interview, I was intrigued. A few highlights:

On how she got started:  “I was reading all the time, mostly historical novels. And one day, I just wondered, ‘Can anyone do this?’ I tried – pen and notebook in hand – and the process of writing a story hooked me.”

On advice for new writers:  “Read all the time, write all the time, plan to spend years learning the craft. Write the kind of book you most like to red and find a suppot system like Romance Writers of America or Mystery Writers of America.”

On getting stuck:  “I can’t say I suffer from serious writer’s block, but invariably there’s a point in every book when I think, ‘Oh, no – what’s my next idea?’ But it comes. Sometimes in a few hours, sometimes a few days. Like any job, some days writing is easier and more fun than other days.”

On developing plot and characters:  “For the plot, I am looking for one primary conflict, with the subplots and additional conflicts to follow. And for the characters, I begin by asking myself, what is he/she u against? What must he/she learn in the course of this story?How will he/she change? For the basic construction of the character – personality, traits, limitations – I begin by finding the primary character traits, then add additional traits that support the primary traits. Then there are many minor character details. And finally, a cautious use of contrasting traits. For example, she’s a well organized, attractive, intelligent female detective with a passionate belief in justices; she’s no-nonsense and dedicated, but she has romantic issues and a junk-food habit. It’s the traits, many minor details, and a bit of contrast that make them individual.”

On what comes first:  “Most definitely the character comes first. That’s what my stories are about – the people and their issues and challenges and problems. There will always be events (plot) that might put them up a tree, but it’s who they are that detemines how they will resolve their issues and the eventual outcome of the story.”

It’s always fun and rewarding to learn how writers write, whatever their genre. “Read all the time and write all the time” – simple but powerful advice, as we all write on!


About karinwritesdangerously

I am a writer and this is a motivational blog designed to help both writers and aspiring writers to push to the next level. Key themes are peak performance, passion, overcoming writing roadblocks, juicing up your creativity, and the joys of writing.
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