Mastering the Sexual Tension Tango

Ramp up the sexual tension and get readers turning those pages

By Sabrina Jeffries
Posted on 10/1/2010

The tango is considered a sexy dance precisely because it epitomizes sexual tension. Sexual tension isn’t about sex. It’s about the constant push-pull of attraction and repulsion: what attracts the characters to each other, why it simultaneously attracts and alarms them, and how to keep them engaged in the dance when they think the person is either wrong for them, wrong for their situation, or just plain wrong.

Dodging the Dreaded Saggy Middle

What to do when your story loses momentum

By Sherry Lewis
Posted on 5/1/2010

The dreaded saggy middle—it can happen to any writer at any time. There you are, happily writing along, when suddenly you realize your novel has run aground. Maybe you’re out of story, or maybe what you’re writing is so lifeless even you aren’t interested anymore. Worse, you can’t end the book for another 100 pages.

Who’s on Top? Intimacy, Control, and Conflict

There is a delicate balance between a hero and heroine

By Virginia Kantra
Posted on 7/1/2009

At the center of every story is a protagonist who wants to do, accomplish, or change...something. In pursuit of her goals, our protagonist must struggle, learn, and grow to become a more self-realized, self-reliant, and autonomous character. This is the character arc.

Basic Conflict and Analysis: A Cheat Sheet

Writing professor and best-selling author Jennifer Crusie steps up to the chalkboard on one of the most difficult and important elements of writing.

By Jenny Crusie
Posted on 9/1/2004

Feel conflicted about conflict?

Being, Doing, Becoming - The Heroic Flaw and the Heroic Journey

Make him irresistible . . . now make him suffer a major screw-up or battle a life-size thorn in his side. Alicia Rasley shows you why flawed characters are a must-have and how not just any flaw will do.

By Alicia Rasley
Posted on 8/1/2003

Nature abhors perfection — and so does the novel.

Show Don't Tell: Or, Exposition as the Scourge of 21st Century Literature

Everybody knows that Show Don't Tell is one of the major rules of storytelling.  What everybody doesn't agree on is what Show Don't Tell means.  So this article isn't about Show Don't Tell, it's about the three tools writers use to tell stories — dialogue, narrative, and exposition - and why you should use only the first two if you want to make sure you're showing not telling.

By Jennifer Crusie
Posted on 3/1/2003

Repeat after me: Exposition kills.

The Five Things I've Learned About Writing Romance from TV

Even if you don't watch the great love-story driven television shows airing today — and if you are a member of RWA, we can't imagine that you don't — this close look at what fiction writers can learn from popular teleplays will illustrate how watching and writing can be mutually beneficial.

By Jennifer Crusie
Posted on 5/1/2002

If you call my house at 8:00 on Tuesday night, I won't answer. I'll be working very hard, studying my craft by watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer. How is that studying, you ask? Consider the following...
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