Thursday, October 2, 2014

Romance and Mystery Authors on Writing: Roseanne Dowell on Characters and Editing, Giveaway

To listen to the welcome and introduction of the Romance and Mystery Authors on Writing series, 
click the red arrow at the top of the page.

Hello and welcome to the kick-off of the series, Romance and Mystery Authors on Writing. Our "tipster" author today is Roseanne Dowell. Roseanne is giving away an e-copy of her romance/mystery, All in the Family. Please leave a comment to be eligible for the drawing on Sunday at 9 p.m.

Roseanne, where do you get your ideas for stories?
1.      Where I get my ideas. That’s easy. Everywhere, from groceries stores, looking in people’s carts,  restaurants, overhearing people’s conversations, to making up stories of people sitting next to me in traffic. Even newspaper articles, classified ads, just everywhere around us.

     Thanks so much for sharing these helpful tips on characters and editing. 


I always make a character sheet for the main characters of the book. I like to know everything about them – the obvious, of course, age, hair and eye color, height, build, occupation, favorite color, do they like children, animals, where they live, where they grew up, do they have sisters, brothers. Their likes, dislikes, birth date, favorite sport, hobby, general physical description, what kind of clothes do they like to wear, what’s important to them, their dreams, goals, what do they fear, undesirable characteristics *yes even the hero/heroine should have undesirable traits, no one is perfect. 
I often make storyboards with pictures from magazines of my hero/heroine other important characters labeled with their names, even their houses or other important settings. It’s amazing how helpful that is. 


1. Editing. Wow that’s a topic in and of itself. One of the first and most important things to do before editing is to let your manuscript sit for at least a week. I usually let mine sit longer – a month or months. You need to get away from it for a while, forget about it. When you come back to it, it’ll be with fresh eyes.  One of the first things I look for is the word, ‘that’ . Most of them can be removed. And then is also over used. Type in She/he – see if you can change the sentence to avoid overuse. Many sentences can be changed with strong verbs and eliminating she/he to start a sentence. Watch verb tenses keep them consistent. And a pet peeve of mine is the improper use of me and I when combined with another name and and. There’s an easy way to see which one to use. Jordan and I went to the store, eliminate Jordan and – you’re left with I went to the store which is correct. You wouldn’t say me went to the store. Another example. Sarah went to the store with Jordan and me. If you eliminate Jordan and – you’re left with Sarah went to the store with me. That is correct, you wouldn’t say Sarah went to the store with I. 
2. Vary the length of your sentences. Sometimes shorter sentences are better. It’s fine to use a compound sentence occasionally, but if you use too many, or if your sentence is so long you run out of breath reading it aloud, much like this sentence, shorten it. Short choppy sentences add tension. Sometimes it’s good to have a string of short sentences. 
3. Be careful with ing words. If you begin a sentence with an ing word, the action has to be physically possible to carry through to the end of the sentence. Example – Getting into the car, I turned on the ignition. Impossible. You have to be in the car to turn it on.  Sobbing, I got into the car and turned the ignition. That works because you can sob the whole time you’re getting into the car. 

Roseanne's advice to writers--"WRITE! Write every day."

Ø    Back of the book: Taking over the police chief’s job in her hometown should have been easy for Callie Johnson. At least that's what she thought. After working in a big city, small town crime would be a breeze. What a surprise when she arrives to find her grandmother, the judge, accused of murder. As if that wasn't enough she’s attacked while walking to her car. Between criminal investigations, her nutty family’s antics and her Aunt Beatrice Lulu's matchmaking, Callie definitely has her work cut out for her. Will her grandmother be exonerated? Can Callie ward off her aunt’s unsuitable suitors? What other surprises were in store for her? More importantly, can she find the person who attacked her?

      Purchase Link and sample for All in the Family

About  Roseanne Dowell

Roseanne grew up reading first Nancy Drew mysteries and soon moved on to Victoria Holt and Phyllis Whitney. She’s a big fan of Agatha Christie and always loved writing even as a teen, often making up different endings to books she read and writing poems. 
While working as a school secretary, she took  a correspondence course, writing for children. It didn’t take long to realize that even though she had six children, it took someone special to write books for them. So, she tried her hand at nonfiction, but didn’t care for that either.  That’s when she moved on to romance novels. But they sat in the attic with her poems and journals.

In 2002 at a Book Club meeting, she confessed regret about not pursuing a career in writing. That’s all it took.  Her friends convinced her it wasn’t too late. After giving it some thought, she decided they were right and took another writing course. Within a few months, her first article was published in Good Old Days Magazine. Since then, she’s had articles published in several magazines. 

In 2006, Roseanne’s first book, Satin Sheets, was published and sold over 35,000 copies. Since then, she’s decided to go the way of the future – E-books.  She writes various types of romance – paranormal, contemporary, mystery and women’s fiction. Her heroines range from their early twenties to late seventies. Yes, seniors need love, too.  

Roseanne lives with her husband of fifty years, has six grown children, fourteen grandchildren and two great grandchildren. She spends her time between writing, quilting, and embroidering. She also enjoys blogging, tweeting, facebooking and posting on various writers’ groups. Her favorite time is being with her family.

Connect online with Roseanne at her Amazon Author Page.


Cellophane Queen said...

Nice kickoff post. I was surprised to see the SoundCloud link up. You have a very nice voice, JQ.

Roseanne: As always, great advice. I know more than a few writers who need to read the editing part several times. Me'm crazy about the I/me mixup too.

J.Q. Rose said...

Hi Marva. Thank you for the compliment on my voice. No Midwest twang noticed?? LOL..We badger our grandkids about saying me and him in the subject--at least put yourself last like my friend and I. Thanks for stopping in Marva.

J.Q. Rose said...

Roseanne, thanks so much for kicking off this series and offering a giveaway to readers! Very helpful tips for sure.

Roseanne Dowell said...

First off, thanks for having me, J.Q. I always enjoy being on your blog. Marva, thanks for the kind words.

Miss Mae said...

Sorry to be getting over so late. I HATE my internet provider!!! Grrr...

But did so love hearing more about Ro and how she finds inspiration for her stories. :) And you sold 35,000 copies? Awesome! Congrats! :)

Great idea for your Thursdays, J.Q. :)

Ro, keep writing, which I know you will. :)

Marsha said...

Hey, Roseanne. I love the blurb for your book. Sounds like a delightful read.
OMG! I nearly missed the voice part. (Thanks, Marva, for pointing that out!) You sound fantastic, Janet. Love lead in to this set of topics.
I want to know how to do the voice thing! I actually took voice over classes while I was still "principalling, thinking I might do that when I retired, but then I started writing and never looked back. Love the whole look of this, I'm tickled to be involved. Good luck with sales, Roseanne!

Anonymous said...

What a great voice intro, JQ. You have a lovely diction. And thanks so much for the editing tips, Roseanne. Very useful reminder of polishing tips.
Loved this start to the "fall" blog season

Anonymous said...

What a great voice intro, JQ. You have a lovely diction. And thanks so much for the editing tips, Roseanne. Very useful reminder of polishing tips.
Loved this start to the "fall" blog season

Unknown said...

Janet, love your intro!
Roseanne, thanks for the great tips. Your book sounds fantastic!

J.Q. Rose said...

Roseanne, you are welcome anytime at the J.Q. Rose blog!

Hi MM, six lashes with a wet noodle for being late today! Ha. I was delayed in getting the word out too. Good thing I carry these over till Sunday evening.

J.Q. Rose said...

Hi Marsha, so happy you enjoyed the blog and the voice! I wrote a blog post on adding audio to Blogger if you want to check it out. Not very hard to do once you find the "share" button on Soundcloud. Glad you're participating in the series too!

J.Q. Rose said...

Marsha--Oops forgot to give you the link to the Soundcloud info.

J.Q. Rose said...

Helena, thank you for your kind words about the intro. I love doing it too. Watch out there will be more!!

J.Q. Rose said...

Thanks, Heather. I've heard Google search loves audios and videos. But you never know. Thanks for stopping in!

gail roughton branan said...

Well, I guess I'm giving new meaning to the word "late". Janet, why didn't you remind me? I've learned so much from Ro Dowell, she was a Godsend to a newbie writer. And Miss Mae designed the banner for my author Facebook page! Janet, when am I going to hear that voice over a lunch table again? Janet and her husband stopped off in my hometown on their way home from Florida a few years back, and it was wonderful to actually meet them!

J.Q. Rose said...

Gail, you aren't late until Sun night. That's when the drawing is. Roseanne is very supportive of authors and I value her friendship and advice too. Probably catch you on the way back to MI next spring. We are visiting family and friends in IL and LA on the way down this fall. Would love to get together then!

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