Guest Post: From Writing Facts To Writing Fiction by Darlene Deluca

I remember trying my typing fingers at fiction in 2007 and wondering how I was going to just make things up. It was foreign to me, this concept. I’d been a journalist, a corporate writer, an essayist, then dabbled in the brand new world of blogging. All true writing, all authentic, all me. Now I had to put the five Ws and and the H (Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How) aside, at least sometimes? 


Today we have a guest post from Darlene Deluca who did the same thing. While I continued writing both fact and fiction, she set aside her corporate life to embark on fiction writing alone. Brave (and lucky) Darlene is joining us to day to share her journey.

Please welcome Darlene Deluca to Women’s Fiction Writers!

Amy xo

From Writing Facts To Writing Fiction

by Darlene Deluca

No Fluff.

Darlene Deluca

Darlene Deluca

The motto of a journalist, those two words used to hang in large bold letters on a sign in a colleague’s office where we worked together in corporate communications. That sign was a constant reminder. For a journalist, it’s all about the facts. Who, what, when, where, why and how. No need to elaborate. No space for unnecessary words. Get to the point, and make it as clear and concise as possible.

In J-school, the no-fluff rule was hammered into my brain. The exception was the occasional feature article or magazine story where I was able to include a bit of “human interest.” When I moved from being a newspaper reporter to corporate communications, things changed a little. There were employee magazines that featured personal profiles in addition to stories about changes to employee benefits or new product releases. Those offered more variety, the opportunity to go beyond who-what-when – to, yes, add some “fluff.”

Turned out, those articles were always more fun – more fun to interview and research, and way more fun to write. There is certainly skill in being able to take a heap of information, often from a variety of sources, and whittle it into a concise, snappy article that’s easy for readers to understand in only a few minutes. It takes a different kind of talent to widen the lens and bring more to the story. More depth, more emotion, more human interest.

And that brings me to writing fiction.

I left corporate America a few years ago and set out to give voice to some of the stories rattling around in my head, to try my hand at fiction. Never planned to write fiction, but the timing worked for me, and once I got started, the new possibilities energized me. I could use my basic writing skills, but in new and different ways. I could connect with readers on a different level.

Some things haven’t changed. The bible of a journalist is the AP Style Guide. I still have it handy when I write, along with several other reference books and materials. I still want to be grammatically correct. Yes, I still use a real, printed Merriam-Webster dictionary. But now I have other resources at my fingertips – a thesaurus of emotions, a book about putting the “fire” in fiction, notes from workshops on building scenes and creating characters. And I still do a lot of research because I want my stories to feel real and authentic. For my most recent release, I researched alcoholism and recovery. For my current work-in-progress, I’ve learned about surrogacy laws and medical procedures.

Switching from journalistic style to fiction has been quite liberating. Emotion? Embellishment? Description? Oh, my! It’s such a departure, that my critique partners often have to push me to loosen up even more. Add more ambiance. Give more details. Set the mood. Show, don’t tell. Gulp. You mean use extra words?

Yes! Not only do I get to expand in descriptive ways, I can go beyond the facts. Even better, I can make up the facts.

Sometimes I sit at my computer crafting a scene, and I have to smile. I. Am. Making. Stuff. Up. I’m adding expression and emotion. A reviewer recently wrote this about my newest novel: “As the reader, I was drawn completely into the emotions of Claire. At one point in the story…my chest felt tight. I felt anger and shame….I empathized with Claire….I felt her confusion, pain, and fear”.

I cried when I read that. It’s what writing fiction is all about.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000026_00031]Darlene Deluca writes women’s fiction and contemporary romance, and likes to explore relationships – what brings people together or keeps them apart. Her characters seem like real people with real issues that readers can relate to.

Darlene released her debut novel, Unexpected Legacy, in January, 2013, and it advanced to the quarter-finals in Amazon’s Breakthrough Novel Award. Her second novel, Meetings of Chance, is a contemporary romance. Last August, she released the first book of a small-town trilogy, The Storm Within. The series focuses on the bonds of friendship, and family relationships.

Darlene has been a reader and writer since childhood. She holds a degree in Journalism, and is the go-to person when her kids need help with an English paper, resume or essay. (Math, not so much.) Darlene started her writing career as a newspaper reporter, and later moved into corporate communications. “Writing fiction is a lot more fun,” she says. “It’s liberating. I can make up the people, places and the pertinent facts.”

She has a daughter who just graduated from college, and a son who’s a senior in high school. Darlene tolerates living in the Midwest (that’s where the fam is), but when the temperature plummets and the ground turns white, she often longs for a distant sunny beach.

Guest Post by Debut Author Lindsey J. Palmer: Why I Set My Novel At A Women’s Magazine (even after The Devil Wears Prada)

pretty-in-inkWhen you’re writing a novel do you choose the setting—or does the setting choose you? When you read about debut author Lindsey J. Palmer’s decision to write about the world of women’s magazines, you’ll see that in her case (and in many) a setting just begs for a story. How can we, as writers, resist?

Please welcome Lindsey J. Palmer to Women’s Fiction Writers!

Amy xo

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Guest Post: One Writer’s Plan To Write A Novel Before She Turned Thirty

What’s your writing story? I was always a writer, but frankly, I didn’t think I’d ever write a novel. It just wasn’t on my to-do list. And when I was looking at thirty I was looking at a two-year-old, a golden-retriever, and a cross-country move—NOT at a typewriter. When I was turning thirty, we did not own a computer, almost no one did. OY!

But, Cortney Roudebush had a plan and she followed through and finished writing a novel before her thirtieth birthday! (Which I’m guessing wasn’t that long ago.)

Remember: finishing a novel is an accomplishment. Caught up in the drive to publish we forget that. But I do remember the first time I typed THE END on the first draft of what would become The Glass Wives. That book was pronoun-challenged, cliche-filled, and lord only knows what else. But, it was FINISHED.

Read about Cortney’s journey, and welcome her to Women’s Fiction Writers!

Amy xo

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Guest Post: A Tale As Old As Time—Sexism and Books By And About Women by Author Katie O’Rourke

katie orourke postIt’s a tale as old as—well for me, this blog. Overall, books written by women are not given the same attention as books written by men. I’ll be honest, it wasn’t something I paid attention to until I was on my quest to become a published author. I’ve always read books by men and women. Mostly women. When I tried to decide (in that “you must know what you write before you query” frenzy) what I was writing, the term women’s fiction made sense. I mostly write about women. Likely about topics of interest to women. Now, I know that men have read The Glass Wives and enjoyed it, appreciated it. Even men not related to me.

Obviously, I don’t mind the term women’s fiction. I always used it as a way to describe what I write until I started also using the term book club fiction. I never saw the term as an emblem of righteous indignation. Yet, the facts that author Katie O’Rourke brings to light below, are troubling. And the fact that books of all kinds by women (women don’t just write women’s fiction, shocking, I know!) don’t get the reviews and acclaim—or are even considered for it—is troubling.

Many thanks to Katie O’Rourke for wanting to share her thoughts here. Please share yours in the comments.

Amy xo 

Sexism and Books By and About Women

by Katie O’Rourke

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Guest Post: Why I Lead A Writer’s Group by Joanne Tailele

roundtableclipartA common question I’m asked is “Are you in a writer’s group?” I’m not, which is not the answer someone is usually seeking. Even though I’m part of a few groups online Backspace, Women’s Fiction Writers Association, and Writer Unboxed on Facebook, in addition to my treasured Book Pregnant tribe, and have in-real-life writer friends with whom I can drink wine, kvetch, eat chocolate, hang out on the beach talk about writing and publishing and share my work, I’m not part of a group that gathers in a meeting room for the express purpose of talking about or sharing writing on a regular basis.

So when Joanne Tailele offered to write a guest post for WFW on how and why she is the president of her local writer’s group, I knew that post was the perfect fit!

Are you part of a writer’s group? Give us the info in the comments! If it’s a group at maximum capacity, or only for urban fantasy writers who are over 5’5″ and live in Idaho, share a little about the group anyway. We’d love to know how and why it started and if it works!

Please welcome Joanne Tailele to Women’s Fiction Writers!

Amy xo

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Guest Post: How And Why Award-Winning Author Ann Hite Turns Her Family’s Stories Into Books

1925—Ann Hite's grandmother and grandfather at ages 15 and 16

1925—Ann Hite’s grandmother and grandfather at ages 15 and 16

StorycatcherIt can be precarious to reveal family truths within fiction. So what a treat we have today at Women’s Fiction Writers! Author Ann Hite shares with us not only the fascinating stories from her family, but how and why, she took those stories and reimagined them for her books.

Please welcome Ann Hite to Women’s Fiction Writers!

Amy xo

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Guest Post: Author Sharon Maas Flies (And Writes) By The Seat Of Her Pants. And It Works.

pantsAs writers we’re often asked how we do what we do. Do we: free write, outline, summarize, dictate, timeline, chart—or do we pants. Pants? Yes. Pants. Do we write by the seat of our pants? Do we write without a roadmap? Everyone treads her (or his) own writing waters differently, and it’s always interesting and fun to find out how other writers do what they do. I do a little of each. I write outlines that I don’t always follow. I covet Post-It notes to remind me of ideas that might flee. I allow my work to wander, and use my guidelines to keep the story in check. Except when I don’t. :)

Today, we have author Sharon Maas sharing with us her writing journey which began in the 1970s in Guyana, and her writing style, which has wings. Share your journey and style in the comments.

Now, please welcome author Sharon Maas to Women’s Fiction Writers!

Amy xo

The Writing Journey: Flying By The Seat Of My Pants

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Guest Post: Debut Novelist Kathryn Craft On Women’s Fiction And Coming-Of-Age In Life And In Fiction

ArtOfFallingSmallI love introducing debut novelists at Women’s Fiction Writers! Not only is Kathryn Craft a debut novelist, but she lives in Pennsylvania not far from where I grew up. Isn’t it always fun to find out that you have something extra in common with other writers and readers besides the love of books? Today, Kathryn shares with us her true life and fictional coming-of-age story. Both are different than you might expect, and will grab your attention!

Please welcome Kathryn Craft to Women’s Fiction Writers!

Amy xo

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Guest Post: M.L. Gamble’s Journey To Becoming Author Emelle Gamble

SS_cover_200_x_300Publishing is like Chicago’s summer weather. Just wait a second, and it’ll change. And I’m thinking that’s not necessarily a bad thing because it’s invigorating, exciting, keeps us guessing (and we can’t do anything about it so we might as well embrace it. That goes for the weather and the changes in this industry). 

This is an exciting time for authors to be published. And I do mean be published, not self-publish (that’s fine too, just not what I’m addressing, so no hate-email, please). There are traditional publishers, small publishers, university presses, e-publishers, and publishers that are some crazy combination of all those and maybe something else. What this means, to me, is that there are opportunities more than there are not. I love the idea that editors are working. (Hello? I’m an editor.) So while one road was right for me, that same road might be right for you, or it may not. I think as writers the best thing we can do is encourage each other to do our very best and seek the very best for our stories.

Author Emelle Gamble has found that very best for her stories in different ways at different times, and she’s here today to tell that story. I hope you’ll share yours!

Please welcome Emelle Gamble to Women’s Fiction Writers!

Amy xo

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Guest Post: From Series Romance To Women’s Fiction Author—How Kate Hewitt Did It All

The Vicar's WifeAs a writer you have a choice. You can be discouraged by another writer’s success, or you can be inspired by it. I say—choose the latter. And in the case of Kate Hewitt (Katharine Swartz) you can be exhausted by it! I asked Kate one additional very important question. WHEN DO YOU SLEEP? Her answer? ANYTIME SHE CAN!

Please welcome Kate Hewitt to Women’s Fiction Writers!

Amy xo

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