Thursday, March 19, 2015

Story Weaving—10 Fundamentals in Writing the Romantic Suspense Novel

with guest Lisa Carter.


In my latest romantic suspense novel, Vines of Entanglement, Laura Mabry is a widowed mother of a young son and the owner of a needlepoint shop in Raleigh, North Carolina called Tapestries. And just like God weaves the strands of our lives into a masterpiece for His glory, as romantic suspense authors we, too, must learn to weave the differing elements of our plot and characters into a unified whole. Sometimes from the back of a needlepoint project, all the threads appear to be a tangled mess leading nowhere. But from the perspective at the front of the tapestry, a Masterful Design takes shape. Here are the ten essential elements I incorporate in weaving together stories of romantic suspense.



1.    The essence of any story is conflict and the tension produced by unmet desires


Conflict and tension must be ratcheted higher in romantic suspense involving life and death stakes.

2.    Questions for the plotting process—What do my main characters want? What goes wrong? What’s at stake? What can I do to make it worse?


3.    The point of view (POV) is usually confined to hero and heroine. And sometimes, the 3rd POV of the antagonist. Either hero or heroine will have the largest block of story time—ultimately, his or her journey of discovery and transformation.


4.    In a Christian worldview there are 3 story tension threads woven into the plot.


•Romantic tension thread—The protagonist must overcome certain obstacles threatening the relationship or love will die.


•Spiritual tension thread—
The protagonist must come to grips with God’s invitation for relationship or something vital within the character will die.

•Suspense tension thread—
The protagonist must find the killer/escape the killer or someone will die.


By novel’s end, the protagonist must experience an irrevocable transformation and resolution in all three areas to satisfy reader expectations.


5.    The first chapter in Act 1 paints a portrait of the normal world of the main characters.


 Make the main characters likable, but flawed and searching. If readers don’t like the hero and heroine, they will stop reading. Within the first few chapters in Act 1, turn the main characters’ world upside down with a pivotal crisis/point of no return. This becomes the problem that must be solved—which throws characters and readers into Act 2.

6.    Each scene must escalate the tension or provide deepening insight into the character.  


Therefore, every scene/chapter ending should be unexpected; leave readers wanting more; compel them to turn the page and read one more chapter. Always leave a chapter with a question the main characters must answer, a choice to make, or in the middle of action.


7.    The heart of suspense for the reader is the delectable anticipation/dread of the coming terror. Heighten the sense of the characters’ impending doom by inserting a countdown or deadline before tragedy strikes. Make readers care and worry about the characters.


8.    Act 2 involves the protagonist taking steps to resolve all 3 threads of tension—to no avail and with intensifying pressure as things go from bad to worse. Every event must trigger a cause and effect in all 3 strands of tension—suspense, romantic, and spiritual story lines. 


Finally near the end of Act 2, the protagonist will make an attempt to resolve one or all of the issues, but this will end with disastrous results. This the black moment when all seems lost.


9.    The depiction of violence in Christian fiction rule of thumb—imply more than you show. Disturb but don’t entice the reader. Less is more. The act imagined is far more terrifying than if depicted.


10.    Act 3 moves toward resolution quickly. Here in the last few chapters, the 3 threads of tension are intricately woven together and the threads tied off in a final resolution. The ending must be both inevitable (killer dies/brought to justice, romantic future consolidated) and yet contain an unexpected twist. Leave readers with a sense of hope and overriding grace—which translates into leaving them anticipating your next novel, too.

What a privilege we have as authors to be in a creative partnership with the ultimate Creator in weaving stories of truth and hope. Happy reading and story weaving everyone. Thanks for hosting me today, Seekers. 



What are some of your favorite romantic suspense novels or series?

GIVEAWAY! Today Lisa will be giving away 2 copies of Vines of Entanglement. Please leave a comment letting us know you'd like to entered! Winners announced in the Weekend Edition.


Lisa Carter is the author of four romantic suspense novels, Carolina Reckoning; Beneath A Navajo Moon; Under a Turquoise Sky; and Vines of Entanglement. Also writing contemporary romance, she is the author of Aloha Rose in the Quilts of Love series and Coast Guard Courtship, releasing April 1, in a new Coast Guard series with Love Inspired. Lisa and her husband have two daughters and make their home in North Carolina. She has strong opinions about barbecue, ACC basketball, and the Cola Wars. When she isn't writing, Lisa enjoys traveling to romantic locales, quilting, and researching her next exotic adventure. 


 

Connect with Lisa at:


https://www.pinterest.com/lisacoxcarter/vines-of-entanglement/


https://www.facebook.com/lisa.carter.1272

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5821807.Lisa_Cox_Carter

 Vines of Entanglement


video
A tangled web of lies characterizes the life Laura Mabry has built for herself and her son after the tragic death of her husband. But Laura’s carefully constructed world slides off its axis when she stumbles upon the body of a young college student on the recreational trails of Raleigh’s Greenway. What’s worse, Detective Jon Locklear is Laura’s worst nightmare...and her dream come true. Jon has spent years trying to forget Laura. Past experience has taught him that he can’t trust her, but old habits—like old loves—die hard. When the killer turns his attention to Laura, Jon may be the only one who can save her.



121 comments:

Leola Ogle said...

Great post, Lisa. And your book title: Vines of Entanglement. I love it! A romantic suspense. I'd love love love to win a copy.Okay, I overused the word love. LOL

Lisa Carter said...

Thanks for stopping by, Leola. This title is very atmospheric. :)

Marianne Barkman said...

Lisa...I already know that I have to read Vines of Entanglement before reading the blurb. Your post did that for me. Please enter my name in the draw?

Lisa Carter said...

Sure will, Marianne. Do you have a favorite romantic suspense series?

Vince said...

Hi Lisa:

A big problem with romantic suspense is the story often happens in a few days or weeks. Given the danger and action it is hard to develop a strong falling in love sequence. Therefore authors very often have heroes and heroines who have a past. This gives them a backstory and headstart to falling in love. Do you have any stories where the hero and heroine did not know each other before the story begins? I'd like to study how you make it work.

My favorite Romantic Inspirational Suspense author is Debby Giusti because I was in the military police and Debby loves to have multiple threats that the hero and heroine must face. In one book there were different sets of bad guys tring to kill the hero/heroine but the one that came the closest to killing them was the enviroment. (A flooding river.)

Vince

Please include me in for a copy of "Entangled". Your video with that wonderful music has sold me on the story. But I must say that the music and the words to the song were so captivating that they took my mind off reading the words on the screen. I favor instrumentals for that reason. Just an idea.

Lisa Carter said...

Thanks for stopping by, Vince. My previous novel to Vines was Under a Turquoise Sky. The hero and heroine meet on the first page and what a ride they take together as the story unfolds.

Pam said...

I have enjoyed your other books very much and look forward to reading Vines of Entanglement. Please enter me.

Natalie Monk said...

Lisa! What a gripping story premise! Would love to be entered for a copy of Vines of Entanglement!

Thanks for sharing these 10 elements to look for in our suspense!

I have a question. Does the suspense thread have benchmarks like the romance thread does? (Kind of like how some say 1/3 of the way into the story is the "first kiss" or the moment where the characters acknowledge attraction, halfway is the no going back and the 2/3 mark is the breakup)?

I've heard of using the "Pinch Points" to show the villain's progress. Are there any other "rules" or guidelines to help in writing the suspense thread? Or any writing craft books you'd recommend that are specifically good for suspense writing?

Mary Preston said...

A very interesting post thank you. I always enjoy Romantic Suspense but don't have an absolute favorite series.

Count me in thank you.

Cindy W. said...

Great post Lisa and I loved the video promo for your book. I would love to win a copy of Vines of Entanglement. It definitely is a book I want to read.

I have a lot of romantic suspense series I enjoy. One of my favorites is Dani Pettrey's Alaskan Courage series. I also love to pick up series in the Love Inspired Suspense line of books.

Have a great day Speedboing everyone!

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.

Tina Radcliffe said...

Welcome back, Lisa.

You have to tell us who did your video, it's just excellent.

And your ten steps are sooo helpful!

Also love the cover of your latest release. It's my favorite cover so far.

Tina Radcliffe said...

Vince was an MP?????

Did you know I wanted to be an MP and they wouldn't let me because there was a height requirement. I was in the Army Security Agency instead.

Trivia for a Thursday.

Tina Radcliffe said...

Happy Speedo. 136 participants. 1/2 there and prizes still to give away.

Let us know if you want a critique. Any comment gets you in for a 25$ Amazon gift card. Cheerleaders get in for a box of books!

Lisa Carter said...

Thanks Pam for stopping by. Happy Thursday, everyone. Is today the first day of spring?

Lisa Carter said...

Natalie Monk, I think one never stops learning as a writer. One of my favorite craft books is by Elizabeth George the suspense writer. I think there are benchmarks—maybe another good post topic. Wondering if anyone else has craft or benchmark advice to share.

Lisa Carter said...

Thank you Mary Preston for talking with me on Seekerville.

Lisa Carter said...

Cindy W—I definitely agree with you about Dani's books. Love 'em. Thanks for your kind words about the video promo. I enjoy doing those.

Lisa Carter said...

Thanks Tina for having me once again on Seekerville. I'm glad you liked the video. My husband and I do all my videos. A lot of people have commented on the Vines cover. Abingdon does a wonderful job with all my covers. Right now, I think my personal favorite cover is Beneath a Navajo Moon, which is landscape. Who prefers setting covers or house or people covers best?

Lisa Carter said...

How is everyone's writing goals going so far?

Mary Hicks said...

I love the cover and your video, too! Very cool, Lisa!
Thanks for the ten points.

Suspense romance is probably my favorite genre—maybe because falling in love with another person is a mystery in itself!:-)

What makes us choose one person over another? What causes that pull on our heartstrings?
Verrryyy interesting . . .

Would love to win a copy of your book. :-)

Lisa Carter said...

Thanks Mary Hicks for stopping in to chat. I, too, love rom susp best. I grew up on Mary Stewart and Phyllis Whitney. I love strong, romantically torn characters and exotic, larger than life settings.

Janet Dean said...

Welcome back to Seekerville, Lisa! Thanks for the excellent post! I don't write suspense but these elements work for any story. Seems to me that most stories have some type of suspense in the plot. Not necessarily a threat to losing one's life, but always the threat of losing one's goal.

Love the cover and video!

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Lisa, I write for LIH and historical covers are almost always people covers. Which makes me happy. I love seeing that rugged hero or feisty heroine on the cover. Or both. I prefer a close-up of the faces so I can study them, always hoping the cover matches the description inside. :-)

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Vince, I suspect most romance novels have a short timeframe of weeks or at the most a few months. In the real world, people do occasionally fall in love that fast but not often. Desperate circumstances/tension/conflict can create faster connections.

Janet

Tracey Hagwood said...

Hi Lisa,
Your 10 writing points are the perfect explanation to this reader of how one gets from point A to point B.

Re covers: I usually prefer:
1)the characters 2)a house or setting 3)landscape in that order, but not a carved in stone rule.

Re suspense series: LIS has some great ones and I think Irene Hannon, Dani Pettrey and Dee Henderson all excell in this category.


I love the parallel you draw about the tapestry in your new book. This has personal meaning to me, and I can't wait to read your "Vines of Entanglement". Winning a copy would be great, please enter me.

DebH said...

hi Lisa!
I love, love, love this post. Will be printing it out to keep front and center as I attempt to edit my romantic/suspense ms. I've editor comments/suggestions to implement and feeling a bit overwhelmed. This list will help me a bunch. Yay!

Also. I LOVED both Beneath A Navajo Moon; Under a Turquoise Sky. I think I posted reviews, but if I didn't, I'd better rectify that because both books are AWESOME. I'd love to be in the draw for your newest, but since I won both your other books from your other Seekerville visits (how lucky am I???), I'm thinking that would be a tad bit selfish.

My favorite line is LIS... they have a lot of cool authors. I think for suspense books, I prefer the landscape covers (yours, btw - STELLAR!!!!) For others, I like people with some of their features just a little hidden so I can imagine a bit of the characters on my own. Does that make sense?

Thanks for visiting Seekerville again. I always learn a bunch when you do.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Lisa, Welcome to Seekerville. You gave us lots of useful information today. smile

I found screenwriting classes taught me a lot about writing a novel. They taught us many of the same elements you presented. Great going.

Have fun today.

Jeanne T said...

Thanks for the great tips today, Lisa. I like how you mapped out the types of tension and how to weave them into stories. I don't write Romantic Suspense, but I can see the need for tension in all genres, and how your steps help me in adding it into my stories. :)

Dee Henderson was my introduction to Romantic Suspense. She does it so well. :) I still love her O'Malley series. I know . . . it's OLD. I enjoy listening to them on CD.

Wilani Wahl said...

Lisa, this post was just what I needed. I decided to do the blurb to book with love inspired and I am doing a romantic suspense so I will keep this as a guideline. I would love to have a copy of your book.

Connie Queen said...

"The essence of any story is conflict and the tension produced by unmet desires."

I know if probably heard this before but it really jumped out at me this morning.

I love a variety of suspense authors and books. But do you know my favorite amnesia story was by Louis L'mour A Man Called Noon? The suspense in that one has always stuck w/me.

Connie Queen said...

Speedbo goals have changed due to LI Blurb2Book contest.

Yesterday I mapped out a 5 month calendar. Turned in stage one on Tuesday and am working on my first 3 chapters now.

Go all Speedboers!

Myra Johnson said...

Welcome, Lisa! Thanks so much for this point-by-point description of what goes into a successful romantic suspense story.

Love your book cover, too--very intriguing!

DebH said...

Go Connie!!!

*oops, better get back to work...*

Vince said...

Hi Lisa:

OMG!

I have “Under a Turquoise Sky”. I won it the last time you were here and it started great but, at that time, I just could not read the small type. I had to put it aside. I have since had cataract surgery on both eyes and I think I can read it now. I have been reading “The Homestead Brides” in the print version and the type sizes look about the same.

I found “Under a Turquoise Sky” right away. It was in my very small pile of print books I’d hope to read if I could ever see that well again. It was there with “The Lighthouse Brides” and three Mary Connealy books.

This is like winning the book all over again! Glad you came today. Thanks.

Vince

Kelly Bridgewater said...

I would like to be entered to win a copy of Lisa Carter's Vine of Entanglement. As a writer of romantic suspense, I greatly appreciated your suggestions, Lisa. Might have to print it off and slide it in my binder of great writing advice. Have a great week.

Vince said...

Hi Tina:

I was in the Air Force military police. I was the biggest AP on the base and they came to me to take over the biggest German Shepherd K-9 dog in Europe. (134 pounds) When I went to the K-9 school in Germany the biggest dog there was 110 pounds.

They said: “Scout's big, over-aggressive and under-sensitive.” (About the most dangerous dog to work with.)

I asked “why would I want to do that?”

“In the summer you work three days, dust to dawn, and then you get three days off”.

“I’ll take it!”


And that’s how I saw thirty countires in Europe. (Some were quite small.)

So now you know to tall and the short of it. : )

kaybee said...

This has NOTHING TO DO with today's topic. Does anyone have the e-mail for submitting to the Harlequin/LIH pitch sessions? I can't find it anywhere on the material.
KB

Audra Harders said...

Hi Lisa and welcome back to Seekerville! I absolutely love the cover of your book. Beautiful work and creates great anticipation.

I don't write Romantic Suspense, but elements of your post can be included in any inspy romance. All the threads still need to be woven together, only I use them in differing degrees.

Excellent post, thanks for sharing!!

Audra Harders said...

I know it's post St. Patrick's Day, but I love Irish Soda bread. So, for those who love the day if only for the food, I've brought hot slices of bread with a crock of fresh creamery butter.

Um, um, good!!!

Jackie said...

Hi Lisa,

What a great post. Thanks for nailing down the essential elements and sharing them with us.

I'd love to be entered in the drawing. Thanks!

Kav said...

Lisa, you are very good at the leaving your readers anticipating your next novel part. :-) I'm awaiting delivery of Vines of Entanglement. I'm praying it arrives today 'cause after watching your book trailer I'm more anxious then ever to start reading!!!! So, no need to enter me in the draw.

And thanks for these great suspense writing tips. A tremendous amount of information in a succinct format -- perfection!

I loved Dani Pettrey's Alaskan Courage series. I really enjoyed becoming part of the McKenna family -- loved that while each book was a standalone there was still the comfort of continuity with the rest of the family.

kaybee said...

I agree with Connie Queen. The LIH opportunity may have to trump some other goals.
KB

Niki Barlow said...

Great article. The information on implying violence versus showing is very timely for me. It reminds me of old Alfred Hitchcock movies. They scared me beyond what the horror movies of today do. Disturb, but not entice wonderful way to word it. Please enter me in the drawing. Thanks

Kav said...

KAYBEE: here's the email address

Blurb2Book@harlequin.ca

Meghan Carver said...

Hi, Lisa! Would love to win a copy of your most-excellent-looking book! Your tips come in perfect timing for the Blurb2Book opportunity. I'm printing them out, and thank you!

Lisa Carter said...

Thanks Janet for hosting me again on Seekers. I, too, love people covers for historical. I love the richness of the costumes of a bygone era.

Lisa Carter said...

Tracey Hagwood—I love Irene Hannon books, too. And Dani's are always an adventure.

Lisa Carter said...

DebH—Thanks so much for your kind words regarding Beneath a Navajo Moon and Under a Turquoise Sky. Writing Turquoise Sky was almost a surreal experience—as much fun in the writing as the fun the characters have in that book dodging bullets and falling against all odds in love with each other. I'm with you about the partial character reveal on the cover. Sometimes I like to imagine the hero/heroine in my own way.

Lisa Carter said...

Thanks Sandra Leesmith for stopping by to chat. Happy writing.

Lisa Carter said...

Jeanne T—The O'Malley series was my first intro to inspirational rom susp, too. And I always love to read Lynette Eason books—Dee Henderson mentored Lynette in the early days.

Lisa Carter said...

Wilani Wahl—Hope it helps. Keep up the good, hard work you're putting into your latest project. Thanks for stopping by.

Lisa Carter said...

Connie Queen—Love your diligence and preparation. Happy writing. Thanks for coming by.

Lisa Carter said...

Myra Johnson—Thanks for your encouraging words. Hope you have a great writing day. :)

Lisa Carter said...

Kelly Bridgewater—Thanks for stopping in to chat. I hope you have a wonderfully productive writing week.

Lisa Carter said...

Audra Harders—Thanks for joining in the conversation. You're right that these thread tensions work well for many genres—just leave the suspense loop out if you don't do mystery/thriller/suspense.

Lisa Carter said...

Hi Jackie—Thanks for stopping in today. Have a great week. :)

Lisa Carter said...

Kav—Thanks so much or your encouraging words. I hope you enjoy Vines and by extension to the South. There are a lot of naturally Gothic elements in my Southern people group heritage that lend itself well to rom susp.

Dana McNeely said...

Plotting is my weakness, so I hone in on discussions of plot. I liked your 10 easy things to think about and especially liked your 3 summaries of how to look at the romantic thread, the spiritual thread, and the suspense thread, showing that each involves a "death" of some sort. I've heard James Scott Bell discuss this before, but this was very pithy. I'd love to win a copy of one of your books. Thanks!

Lisa Carter said...

Niki Barlow—You're so right with the Alfred Hitchcock analogy. Do you have a favorite Hitchcock?

Lisa Carter said...

Hi Meghan Carver—Thanks for joining in the conversation. Blessing on your Blurb2Book project.

Sarah Claucherty said...

Lisa, great breakdown of romantic inspirational suspense writing! Adding Vines of Entanglement to my TBR pile!

I'd love to be entered in the giveaway!

Julie Lessman said...

Hey, Lisa, SO glad to see you back here, my friend, and with what sounds like a VERY exciting book!

LOVE the title, LOVE the cover, and LOVE the plot, so sounds like a win-win-win to me!

Excellent post, Lisa, because when you can make me edgy with just a blog and a video, I can only imagine the suspense in store in this book!!

Hugs!!
Julie

Lisa Carter said...

Sarah Claucherty—Will do. Thanks so much for stopping by Seekerville today.

Julie Lessman said...

TINA SAID: "Vince was an MP?????"

Sweet Vince??? Can't imagine it, sorry! ;)

And Tina WANTED to BE one???

LOL, now THAT I can imagine because she may be short on height, but trust me, Tina is L-O-N-G on authority!!

Hugs,
Julie

Marianne Barkman said...

Sitting here with my cup of coffee, listening to the rain on a tin roof, wish for a suspense romance novel to read, reading comments on Seekerville. Excited for all 136 participants in Sppedbo! What a gorgeous day!

Lisa Carter said...

Thanks so much, Julie Lessman. You have no idea how often I copy your Seekerville posts to keep beside me as I work on a project. Hope you are having a happy week. :)

Tracey Hagwood said...

Totally off topic:
JULIE LESSMAN-thank you for your sweet card, I'm so touched that you would take the time from your schedule to send comforting words to me, what an amazing woman you are!

Lisa Carter said...

Marianne Barkman—It's 59 here. Monday it was 80. We've all got spring fever in a bad way.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Lisa, thanks so much for being here today! Your wonderful post creates such a clear picture of threading romantic suspense. You make it look doable!

So glad you were able to be here with us during SPEEDBO... and I love your book titles, the way they represent the stories so well. Wonderful!

Lisa Carter said...

Thanks for stopping by and hosting me on Seekerville today, Ruth Logan Herne.You are a great encouragement to the devoted followers of this great blog.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Kaybee, here's the link to the announcement and there's a link there to show you how to enter:

FROM BLURB TO BOOK CONTEST

Hope that helps and good luck!!!

Connie Queen said...

Kaybee, it's Blurb2Book@harlequin.ca

You can find it on the announcement page. I know because it took me awhile to find it.

Bettie said...

Love the way you wove your points together. Please enter me for the critique or today's book. Thanks.

kaybee said...

Thank you Kav.
KB

kaybee said...

OK, NOW I can talk about romantic suspense. It's one of many genres I'd like to try but am holding back for the same reason I don't do mysteries: can I handle a complicated plot? It's a silly question in some ways because my two Western stories, "Trail" and "Town," both have elements of suspense in that both have "Good" guys being tracked across the continent by "Bad" guys and an ultimate showdown, but I wouldn't call them "suspense" books. Hmm, one more thing to learn, thank you Lisa.
KB

Lisa Carter said...

Thanks Bettie. Hope you are having a great writing day.

Stephanie Queen Ludwig said...

Hi Lisa! Your tips are wonderful, and although I'm writing a murder mystery cozy instead of romantic suspense, I can use several of your tips to make my story better (there is a sideline romance in it, after all). Tips 1 & 6, especially.

I really like the cover for Vines of Entanglements and would love to be in the drawing! As for romantic suspense writers, I do enjoy our very own Debby Guisti, but I also really enjoy Mindy Starns Clark's novels, such as "Under the Cajun Moon" and "Echoes of Titanic."

Have a wonderful day!

Lisa Carter said...

Stephanie Queen Ludwig—Debby is wonderful. I, too, am a Mindy Starns Clark fan—Under the Cajun Moon and Whispers of a Bayou being 2 favorites. Have a great day—reading or writing it's all good. :)

Susanne Dietze said...

Very helpful post! I write historical romance, but love reading rom suspense.

And what premise for Vines of Entanglement. Looking forward to reading this book!

Tina Radcliffe said...

I want to write RM and this is a hugely helpful cheat sheet! Thank you!

Tina Radcliffe said...

Lisa do you ever use the Bad guy's POV?

Tina Radcliffe said...

Random question... Are you attending Writer's Police Academy this year?

May the K9 Spy (and KC Frantzen) said...

Lisa,

Just what I needed for my WIP. #Speedbo2015
YAY!

Thank you. Great insights and examples.

Mary Hicks said...

Mary Stewart and Phyllis Whitney were two of my favorites. I still have some of those books.:-)

Word count for yesterday: 1,564

I didn't expect to do that many words since the day was busy. I started early and worked more after evening services.

I'm trying to get ahead because I'll be out of town next weekend. My granddaughter and her hubby bought eight acres and a fruit orchard. I have to go walk over every inch of it. Can't wait! :-) Their new home is going up, too.

Lisa Carter said...

Good for you, Mary Hicks. You have been extremely diligent and busy. :)

Lisa Carter said...

Tina—I'm not planning at this point to go to the Writers Police Academy since they moved it to Wisconsin. I loved the 2 years previous I attended in NC. I've tried writing the villain's POV several times and ultimately rip it out—this includes Vines. So no bad guy POV in this one either.

Lisa Carter said...

KC Frantzen—Thanks for stopping by. Hope the post will be helpful. Happy writing.

Lisa Carter said...

Susanne Dietze—the premise is basically that no matter how fast you try to run or hide, lies will always catch up with you, snare and entangle. That and old loves—like old habits—die hard.

Kathryn Barker said...

Thanks Lisa for this great post! So much info..I'll be using it a guide...I'm saddling up for the Blurb to Book with Love Inspired and needed a bit more help!! I'd love to have a copy of your book...thank you!

Chill N said...

Lisa, so good to see you back at Seekerville. I am in awe of suspense writers and what they accomplish. It's interesting to read how you go about that. Best wishes for Vines of Entanglement.

Nancy C
P.S. The cover of Under a Turquoise Sky continues to be one of the most striking I've seen :-)

Jamie Adams said...

I enjoyed reading this post, thank you for breaking it down for us. I'm going to print this one out for future reference.

Lisa Carter said...

Kathryn—Wishing you success with Blurb2Book. :)

Lisa Carter said...

Nancy C—Thanks so much for stopping by. I love the cover for Turquoise Sky, too. Wait till you see my next one—Beyond the Cherokee Trail—in September. Thanks for your encouraging words.

Lisa Carter said...

Jamie—Thanks for joining the conversation. Blessings on your writing endeavors.

Rhonda Starnes said...

Great post, Lisa. And very timely, too. I'm gearing up to enter the newest Love Inspired pitch contest Blurb to Book. I will be pitching to the Love Inspired Suspense line since I discovered last year Romantic Suspense is my favorite to write. I'll definitely be book marking this post for repeated future reference.

Vines of Entanglement sounds intriguing. Please enter me in the drawing.

Speedbo update for today: I've added zero words so far today. :( I had my first physical therapy post-op session this morning and I've napped all afternoon. :) I'm up now and feeling rested. Think I will write my blurb and edit my first page for the Book to Blurb entry. Hopefully, I'll get back on track with Speedbo tomorrow.

Lisa Carter said...

Rhonda—Wishing you much success. Glad you found the post helpful. Keep moving forward with your story. :)

Sandy Smith said...

Very interesting. I don't know that I will ever write suspense fiction, but much of this advice works for other kinds of fiction, too.

The first Christian suspense book that I remember reading was Linda Hall's book Shadows in the Mirror. It kept me on the edge of my seat.

Please enter me for your book.

Carol Garvin said...

Lisa, thanks for this excellent review of what I need to check in my suspense stories. It's definitely going to get printed out. Your book cover and trailer are wonderful, too.

My first preference for covers is some kind of landscapes, with or without buildings, but anything that's well done catches my attention.

As for favourite author and series, Christian author Linda Hall writes suspense that usually takes place on or near the ocean, and that hits a sweet spot for me. She has a few series on the go -- I liked her 'Coast of Maine' series. I also recently finished STEAL AWAY.

Carol Garvin said...

P.S. I should add that, while Linda Hall is a Christian author, she's no longer writing traditional Christian fiction. She's moved to the secular side, but I still love her writing. :)

Terri Wangard said...

Lisa, I immediately liked your characters in Under a Turquoise Sky and Beneath a Navajo Moon.
Another suspense I love is Jeanette Windle's Crossfire and Fire Storm.
Please enter me in the giveaway.

Tina Radcliffe said...

Wow, that Rhonda is amazing. Post op writing!! Love that you are a no limits gal.

Tina Radcliffe said...

Welcome to Seekerville, Terrri Wangard!!

Lisa Carter said...

Sandy—I love Linda Hall suspsense, too. Thanks for stopping by.

Lisa Carter said...

Carol Garvin—Thanks for your kind words. I enjoy doing the videos. I'm a musical person and it's fun to see the book "sing" onscreen. :)
My cover preferences would be iconic landscapes (which is what my book locations lend themselves to). I like intriguing houses (like the Vines or Carolina Reckoning covers) but also peaceful village/Mitford type covers, too.

Lisa Carter said...

Thanks Terri for joining in the conversation. So glad you enjoyed the characters in Navajo Moon and Turquoise Sky. Aaron and Kailyn especially are a hoot. I love Jeanette Windle books, too. Especially her Central America settings—we travel to Guatemala each summer with our church to work in an orphanage in the highlands and visit with my Guatemalan "daughter" who is nine. I love books like hers where you feel as if you've actually taken a trip and visited a place.

Terri said...

Lisa - thanks for a terrific post. I'm going to need to purchase the craft book by Elizabeth a George.

Please throw my name in the hat for a copy of Vines of Entanglement.

One of my favorite suspense authors is Terri Blackstock. She keeps the suspense high and has me reading as fast as I can.

Also, Ms Tina, I'd love to win a critique.

Lisa Carter said...

Terri—I also love any craft book by James Scott Bell. Love Terri Blackstock, too. :)

Becky Dempsey said...

Interesting seeing the different steps in a romantic suspense story. I haven't read many of those types of books yet.
I'd love to win a copy of the book.

Speedbo Update: I exceeded my word count goal for today AND the month already! I think I have filled in all the incomplete scenes except maybe one (I'll have to look). Since I have my monthly word count done and my WIP is basically a finished rough draft now, I am going to switch to working on typing the part of my story that I'd written longhand in a notebook. While I do that, I'll make sure that my hero gets his time to show his POV.

Olivia said...

Thank you for the great analysis and guidelines in writing a romantic suspense. I am going to use the fundamentals to check my plot progression in editing my first novel. Behind in Speedbo goals but having a great vacation in Phoenix. I would love to have a copy of the Vines of Entanglement, Lisa. Please enter my name in the drawining

Lisa Carter said...

Becky—Congrats on exceeding your goal for the month!!!! Thanks for stopping by.

Lisa Carter said...

Olivia—I love Phoenix. There is this soda fountain/bakery maybe in Scottsdale called the Sugar Bowl. Love it. Have a fabulous time. Thanks for joining the conversation.

Anna Weaver Hurtt said...

Excellent post, Lisa! Some of my favorite romantic suspense is written by Christy Barritt, Terri Blackstock, Brandilyn Collins, and Dee Henderson. :)

Debby Giusti said...

Lisa, sorry I'm stopping in so late! Wonderful blog post on suspense. Great info! Thanks for sharing and for being with us in Seekerville.

Hope to see you at the Writers' Police Academy later this year.

Hugs!

Lisa Carter said...

Anna—Love all those rom susp authors. Thanks for dropping in to chat.

Lisa Carter said...

Anna—Love all those rom susp authors. Thanks for dropping in to chat.

Megan Z said...

I enjoyed reading this post, Lisa! I want to make a move towards writing suspense. This was a nice guideline to compare what I have written to :)

Lisa Carter said...

Debby—Don't think I will make it to the Writers Police Academy this year since it moved to Wisconsin. Maybe another year. I know you will have a blast. Thanks for allowing me to visit with everyone at Seekerville.

Lisa Carter said...

Megan—Wishing you much success. Thanks for joining the conversation.

Lisa Carter said...

Thanks Tina and Seekerville ladies for talking suspense with me today. Have a great weekend everyone. God bless.

Deanna Stevens said...

I do enjoy clean romantic suspense! I'd love to win a copy of your book. I do enjoy the Texas K-9 series.. count me in as a cheerleader, wishing you all success in this weeks speedbo writing!

Hope Dougherty said...

Hey, Lisa. I'm late in replying today, but I like covers that showcase settings. That's why I like your covers so much!