Wednesday 27 March 2013

Driven to Murder Wrap Up Post - SURPRISE AWARDS!

Hello there, Romantic Friday Writers

The stories this month were such a treat, Donna and I can't ignore the opportunity to hand out awards.

I'm sure, like your hosts, you enjoyed reading the varied entries which certainly encapsulated what we had in mind when we set this challenge - the basic challenge was that it was to be a husband/wife or a lover commit murder, and mostly this was highlighted with aplomb.

We've had our usual email discussions re Featured Writer and Runner Up. We both chose the same person for FW, but this person is over word limit, which, actually, *several of you were. However, seeing no one knew this was to be an award challenge (including your hosts) we are not disqualifying anyone this time for being over the word count - we'll allow the academic 10% over - 1100 words.

THEREFORE, AWARDS ANNOUNCED, along with a critique of the stories in the challenge:

NILANJANA: Both of us chose Nilanjana for the FW this month. I love poetry, especially epic poetry, and Nilanjana's poem had it all - the many stanzas had symmetry,  the plot consistently progressed and added tension through each one and the ghosts of the lovers and the plot to kill the king lingered long after their deaths. Dwijen or his lady love may not exist, but they came alive in this powerful tale of self-sacrifice, deceit and...romance. Most of us struggled to find a romantic element...I think Nilanjana managed very well.  An epic tale, even if it was over word count. That second-last stanza was inspired.

CHARMAINE: Charmaine and Sally rivalled for RU. Both had excellent stories. In Charmaine's, the policeman was putting together the plot based on years of experience. The cliche "its always the husband" was used to good effect, showing that just because a theme is well used, it doesn't mean a good writer can't come up with her own twist and make it work. After much splitting of the atom, we voted for Charmaine as the RU this month.  Her writing shone just that little bit more..

SALLY: Sally hit about all the motives too; love, money and power and a touch of revenge all tied together with the wife scheming on the husband's behalf. Sally had a more direct lover's link than Charmaine's story, although as noted above, Charmaine's was the more polished piece of writing. Sally, the Encouragement Award (which is for someone who missed out on RU by a cat's whisker) is for you.


DAWN: Dawn. we really loved the long term plot here; a serial killer in the making due to being jilted by a beautiful, callous, careless lover. All the plot planning was excellent, and the creepy feel was intense. This writing was also a bit unpolished, but it is obvious this is the beginning of a larger writing which could prove very successful as it is refreshingly different. Please take the Highly Commended award Dawn.

And on with the critiques:

ANNA: Anna continued the story of the lover's trio - Emil, Caroline and Romona, but there is no lover's plot -- (accidental death during a lover's quarrel doesn't count), and the plot was about hiding the body and avoiding discovery rather than murdering the lover.  

ROLAND: Roland, grisly scene, and although Claus and Strasser were lovers, it's clear Strasser played no part in the death and there doesn't seem to be a love triangle for a jealous lover/affair to have killed Claus. 

YOLANDA: Yolanda had the required plot to kill the ex-spouse - we loved the twist of the male partnership/black widow theme - but the action was a little clunky, and sometimes the First Person POV can be problematic when the perspective character is to die.Yolanda's story was very last minute so as a result it lacked that final polish, but the story ticked the boxes...creepy as... 

Donna has critiqued both of us...

DONNA: Admits she had some problems with the flow of the story, some things were deleted to keep in word count so the plot looks a bit thrown together - and it was still over.

DENISE: Donna says she liked my husband-did-it murder - she noted a good twist to the plot and adding the Macbeth "out spot" theme was brilliant. Then letting the reader know it was the hubby, setting up the extra-marital lover for the blame; lots of good plotting in that writing.

*WORD COUNTS: Donna counted words on all excerpts (and went by author honesty on those with posted counts):

Dawn: 1053
Roland: 1803 even without the backstory which was considerable
Donna: 1015
Charmaine: 578
Anna: 999
Nilanjana: 1086
Yolanda: 993
Denise: 996
Sally: 1000

.Thank you all for planning, crafting and delivering creative stories for our March challenge.

Now onto our April Challenge...or lack of April Challenge. Some of you will be disappointed, some of you will be relieved...but after much "Yes, we will, No we won't, Yes, we will.." Donna and I have gone with "No, we won't". We've been around the A-Z Challenge long enough to know that those of you who are participating will be frazzled enough without planning a story for RFW. This is the first year I won't be committing to the challenge, but I will be happy to support you in your endeavours.

My plans are to have my novel submitted by the end of April and Donna has a lot of critique work to do, plus she really wants to get back to her own writing which has taken a back seat for sometime.

So...we will be back with a bang on Wednesday May 1st. We will post the Inlinkz sign up for our May Challenge -- Letters. Most of us will have letters of the alphabet on our minds during April, whether writing to the letter of the day or commenting. RFWer's Letters will be a little different.

LETTERS will be the central theme of our new challenge. You can use letters any way you like.

Multi-generic writing is popular ATM, probably always has been. Multi-generic writing includes embedding other text types within your prose/poetry. Within prose you could add letter/s to/from lovers, letters could form the bulk of your story. You could add other text forms  -- death certificate, diary entries, appointment calendars, a found as creative as you want!  Your entry will be a free-flowing story interspersed with whispers from the lives of the lovers. A poetic entry could be interspersed with the same type of texts -- let your imagination have free rein.


*One of the lovers may have gone away - to work, to war, has left the relationship, wants time out...
* Someone has been left at home - fretting, upset, determined to save the relationship, determined to have revenge
* Perhaps one of the lovers wants a holiday by themselves, (not unusual these days), and the one left at home is furious, feels unloved, or relieved to have some time out too

These are scenarios that just pop into my head. Your entry may use all/none of these suggestions. It is your story, your way, your era...just let's go back to a romantic element in whatever form we write for this challenge.

The Timeline will be -- Inlinkz Submit List will be posted on May 1st. You will have until May 24th to post your story.

If you're participating in the A-Z Challenge, please tell us in the comments and we will try to visit you.

Tuesday 5 March 2013

#RomanticFridayWriters March Challenge - Sign Up here - Driven to Murder

get the InLinkz code

Monday 4 March 2013

How to write a murder mystery, by Charmaine Clancy

I've been following along with writing prompts from Romantic Friday Writers to learn more about adding a little romance to my stories. I'm learning a lot from fellow RFW members, so I was very humbled when Denise invited me to share what I know about mystery writing. Thanks so much for having me here today! I hope what I have to share will help you write that murder for the March challenge.

I've been working on a mystery series for kids, and love reading crime fiction. If I was to pick one element of mystery writing that is essential (and writers sometimes overlook), it would be motive. 

Motive is essential because we need to know why the killer was willing to risk everything to commit murder. It is usually the undoing of the criminal, once the detective figures out motive the rest is just comes down to proof. To make it trickier for the detective, every suspect should have a strong motive.

Motive drives every decision and action for your characters. So why did the killer stab Old-man Hubbard in the library with scissors? Is it the struggling writer who received a bad review? The fashion-designer wife who will lose everything in a divorce because of the pre-nupt? Or the wife's lover, too passionate to control his jealousy?

Motive is not just for suspects. The detective needs a strong motive to solve the case. They may face danger, so the motive needs to keep them going, especially if they're an amateur sleuth and not employed to reveal the murderer. Do they need to prove their own innocence, like in The Fugitive?

Here's a few of the top motives, can you think of others?
  • Greed - character is usually seen following the money.
  • Power/Fame - this character is all about control.
  • Fear - possibly through paranoia or perhaps the threat is real.
  • Protection - someone the character cares about is at risk.
  • Revenge - driven by anger, bitterness.
  • Passion - love is the motivator and perhaps it's unrequited or there is a love triangle.
  • Blackmail - this character has a shady past they want to keep hidden.
  • Shame - this character acts through a sense of being unworthy.
  • Faith - even if it is misguided, it can be powerful enough to push a character.
  • A Rush - wild and untamed, this character comes across as spoilt.
Once again, thank you for having me on Romantic Friday Writers - happy writing!

Brisbane author Charmaine Clancy loves to create characters for mystery, fantasy and adventure.

Visit Charmaine's blog.

Saturday 2 March 2013

Fan Fiction Wrap Up Post - A - Z Challenge - Announcing March challenge - Driven to Murder

Hi RFWers and friends!Sorry

Sorry this blog has been a bit of a black hole, but both Donna and I have been flat out with our writing, and I have had visitors. I've blogged about one of the interesting workshops I attended yesterday on Plotting. You might like to have a read. It was excellent.

Nas Dean, Myself, Charmaine Clancy (RFWer) and Jillanne Harrison (writing group member)
All Plotting!

Now onto our fan fiction...This was one of the most challenging challenges yet, I think, and judging by the comment stream under the sign up, many of you agree with me. It wasn't that easy to choose a couple, then write a fan fiction piece. Most of us had never attempted it before. Once I'd written my Heathcliff monologue, I checked the fan fiction site to find that there are well over 100 fan fiction pieces for Wuthering Heights. Impressive.

Maybe I chose the easy way out by writing Heathcliff, one of the best-known wacky lovers in classic history.  But I loved your takes on Gone With The Wind, (Linda, Yolanda), Lord of the Rings (Donna), Twilight (Rek, N R Williams ), Arthurian Legends (Sally), Anime (Dawn Embers), Terry Pratchett's Discworld series (Charmaine ), Selma Lagerlof's Gosta Berlings saga (Anna), the Mahabharata (Nilanjana), Pride and Prejudice (Erin Kane Spock), 80's Hindi movie, Ek Duuje Ke Liye (Janu). (I'm always worried I've missed someone out--if I have inadvertently done so, please let me know in the comments.) 

I loved learning the stories from other cultures--this challenge was all about what is classic all over the world--and you delivered. I was thoroughly entertained. How about you?


How many of you are participating in the A - Z Challenge? Donna and I are tossing ideas back and forth regarding an April challenge. The jury's still out on whether we will offer a challenge or not. If you want to massage it to fit a daily post for the A - Z Challenge, go for it. It'll probably be around the S. Please leave a comment and let us know.


Anyone up for a bit of murder and mayhem; the intrigues of conspiracy and betrayal, either for political gain, money, or even - true love? RFW invites all stories of pose or poetry, up to 1000 words, with the theme that pays homage to the Roman God Mars (Greek equivalent Ares), patron of war and agriculture. Mars is depicted as a cold and impersonal God, caring more for the battle itself than the outcome.

To honor Mars (March) your characters will plot and/or implement a deceitful act under the guise of love. We're looking for motives; what does the lover hope to gain by the nefarious or altruistic act. We want to see themes of vengeance, manipulation, self sacrifice.

Any POV, any genre; just be sure your MCs are in love and have a self serving reason for the plotted course of action.

The linky will go up on Monday, 4th March, giving you 3 weeks to plan/publish your story. The instant sign up worked last month, except for a couple of peeps who ran out of time. Usually it is quite easy to delete your link by hitting the little cross against your name. This saves readers the frustration of clicking on an entry that isn't there! Otherwise, send me a request to delete your name from the list. (I don't like to do it without your permission!)