Romance Weekly: Week 10!

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Do you like to read romance novels? Wouldn’t you like to know more about your favorite authors? Well, you came to the right place! Join the writers of Romance Weekly as we go behind the scenes of our books and tell all…… About our writing of course! Every Tuesday we’ll all answer the same questions and after you’ve enjoyed the blog on this site, we’ll direct you to another. So come back often for a thrilling ride. Tell your friends and feel free to ask us questions in the comment box. 

How do you find the appropriate setting for your story or does it find you?

I seem to like to incorporate different cultural settings into my novels. For  Gemini, the original concept had the setting in New York City, I then decided to  add Citrus County Florida into it to get a culture shock element when my New York City psychiatrist had to come down here. The mixing of settings became an important aspect of the novel. My hero, the forensic psychiatrist, worked closely with NYPD as a consultant. When he came down here, he experienced different procedures as far as how the police department is run. The differences encompassed the structure of ESU versus SWAT, the differences in training, the differences in age groups and requirements to enter those two teams.

The psychiatrist also had culture shock regarding living in a very rural  environment which he had never experienced before. He was in New York City fella through and through. Living down here forced him to reevaluate what makes him  worthy as a man. So he had a lot of growth through introspection living here. I say living here, because that’s where I live now. In rural Central Florida. I am  a New York City transplant, here in Florida for just six years. I am still getting over the culture shock. I believe no one will ever take the New York City gal out of me, nor would I want them to.

In my WIP,  Operation Destiny, my hero and heroine go through culture shock coming down from New York City to rural Central Florida. Living in this environment it’s very interesting to see their reactions to the ethics, morals, and police procedures of a small town.

I believe it shows a lot about a character’s character, showing their reactions  to different environments.

In my third novel that I am planning now, there will be culture shock for  southern guy having to go to New York City on a case.

What is your support system for your writing?

I have a huge support system for my writing. If it weren’t for my newfound friends and family in Sunshine State Romance Authors I would not be where I am today as RWA pro. When I first came down to Florida, I always had writing in my blood, but being down here and meeting this group has really helped me in my journey towards publication. I believe the knowledge I have gained from this group and through RWA in general with all of its conferences, workshops and  online courses, I would have not learned otherwise. I had won at a Christmas party raffle a critique of Gemini from a published author in our group. That was insurmountable in helping me with the rewrite.

I also have a group of supportive friends. Three of them critiqued Gemini before  I started sending it out and I know it made better.

My husband is also very supportive. He has learned to cook more and do laundry and put it away. He knows when I close the door to my office he better stay in his man cave and watch hockey and football.

What is the worst writing advice you’ve ever received and how did you deal with  it?

This one is very painful to talk about and it did scar me. It’s a scar that I’m always trying to overcome. It takes me back to 1966, freshman English class in college. My professor, a youngish guy in his 30s, well he wasn’t so young to me then since I was 18, went around the classroom and threw our papers back on our desks. When he got to mine, he loudly made a statement. Just as an aside, I was in the running for homecoming queen, so everybody in the University knew me. He  said, as he plopped down my paper upside down on my desk so that I couldn’t see the grade. “You write like a three year old.” The grade was indeed an F. That  stung. There are no words to describe how I felt in front of a class of forty.

I carried that remark through college, through my masters degree, through my doctoral work and my dissertation, to being published in nonfiction in professional journals where publishers and editors told me I could write for them any time, to creating curriculum for the NYC Department of Education, through creating web sites, writing articles and creating syllabus for alternative therapy workshops. But I still remember that remark. However, I don’t remember his name nor, could I describe him.

But none of that matters. The remark that a teacher had made, or that a teacher makes, can stamp a permanent imprint on the child or student no matter the age.

It may have been one of my driving forces in my 33 year teaching career in the  New York City Board of Education. Teachers go into the field for two reasons, 1.  Because they absolutely loved school and they want to give students the same  experience. 2. They had a miserable time in school and they want to make it  better for children so they don’t go through what they did. For me it was the latter.

Okay. So how did this comment affect me? For one, I’m always trying to increase the readability levels of my writing, whether it be nonfiction or fiction. I’m  also drawn to reading novels with higher readability levels.

Even with my critique partners, I’m always questioning them if my readability level is too low or not. Invariably they say it’s higher than I expected.

So there you have it. A look inside my dynamics of writing. Please feel free to  leave a comment or question and I’ll be happy to get back to you.

Please follow me on Twitter @RonnieAnovelist. and on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/ronnie.allen.507 and my writer’s page, http://www.facebook.com/RonnieAnovelist.

Now please continue the blog tour with awesome writer, Brenda Margriet, http://www.brendamargriet.com/blog.html

The Mind behind The Crime,

Ronnie

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26 Comments

  1. Ronnie, that teacher is unbelievable. He had no idea his callous comment would have such a lasting effect, and lordy I hope it was a one time fluke instead of a regular habit for him to demean impressionable minds. That’s really an abuse, and how horrible for you. I’ve had something like that happen to me where it emblazoned itself on the brain. Look at your success nowadays with writing!

    • Hi Flossie, Thank You! He must be in his late 70’s now. Who knows if he’s still on this earth plane. Maybe one day I’ll meet him and tell what I think! Thank you for all of your support, advice and expertise in our chapter. I know its been so instrumental in my progress towards publication. Best, Ronnie

  2. I am so sorry you had that experience. I am a mother of three and a grandmother of four and I am a firm believer in finding the positive and building from there. Big hugs!!!

    • Hi J.J. I believe in positive reinforcement too. I think negative experiences I’ve had, really pushed me into helping and supporting others, in the helping fields I delved into. Best, Ronnie

    • Hi Mishka, Thanks! My characters in Gemini were from different cultures and their effects on each other changed both. Best, Ronnie

    • Hi Elizabeth, I think there are several teachers in our group, all having the same reaction. Teachers affect students more than they realize. Best, Ronnie

  3. I want to smack that teacher! I’m a teacher and what you said about a teacher’s words lasting a lifetime are so true. I still remember my first grade teaching making fun of my handwriting. Could be that I didn’t attend kindergarten and she forced me to write with my right hand when I was left handed.

    • Hi Collette. Tell me about it. It’s horrible to try to change a child’s handedness. It makes their handwriting so much worse. Maybe his comment drove me. I’m a survivor and have overcome insurmountable odds in life, but that’s for another blog. One of my goals in life is to prove everyone and anyone who says, ‘you can’t,’ wrong. And I accomplish that 100% of the time. Best, Ronnie

    • Hi Amy, Yes, it takes awhile for me to find the comment link on some sites too. Glad you figured it out. Best, Ronnie

  4. Oooo, hubby support! Love it!
    I remember the first time my man offered to do the laundry so I could finish the rough draft of my first novel. (Which was brutally amaturish and sucked big time.) None-the-less, his help was greatly appreciated. This fall, he bought me a lovely patch of land where we can run away from the city and hibernate and write. Can’t wait for spring!

    Great post!

    • Hi Katie, having a place to escape to is awesome. I love to write near water, natural or manmade such as the pool. We live in the woods so writing on my lanai also works, except for the glare on the lanai from the afternoon sun. Thanks! Best, Ronnie

  5. I was in all below average English/language courses in high school. The teachers didn’t even think I was capable of reading full versions of the classics (I LOVE to read, ironically) and I still can’t tell you what a pronoun or adverb is. The teachers would have laughed me out of the school if I’d told them I wanted to be a writer. I never figured out what it was about me that made them assume I couldn’t handle a basic writing assignment or read Romeo and Juliet, but it still worries me sometimes that one of these days people are going to realize I *can’t* write, and that I’m just really good at pretending.

    So glad you decided not to listen to that teacher, and write anyway. Awesome answers!

    • Yup Eden. Teachers can make ya or break ya. I’m sure you really can write. I was talking to the 13 x pubbed author who was the founder of our SSRA chapter, Loretta Rogers, and the feelings of self doubt are always there. She says we have to give ourselves permission to write crap, and then when we go through the rewrites, we realize it wasn’t crap. Best, Ronnie

  6. Many a teacher has killed the dreams of a writer. I think some get their kicks that way. I quit too for a long time. They couldn’t keep up down! We came back!

    • Hi Carrie, Cute. We just re-decorated Bob’s so he’s quite comfortable for hours at a stretch. Best, Ronnie

  7. My husband is also very supportive. He has learned to cook more and do laundry and put it away.

    I laughed so hard at that sentence!!! But that he does those things really does speak to his support!

    • Hi Brenda, Yes! So many of the hubby’s of writers I’ve met have been forced into domestication! Best, Ronnie

    • Hi Kim, I find changing the environment a character is used to, shows another personality aspect. It works for me. Yeah, sure glad I got over that moron too. Best, Ronnie

    • Hi Sarah, Yes he was. I don’t remember my immediate response but I know I was traumatized. It took many Tony Robbins tapes for me to go through it. I’m glad I did too. Now when it comes to mind, I can laugh it off. Best, Ronnie

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