Ask a male author about your male character traits or thoughts.

Amazon links to my stories: Autumn Breeze, A More Perfect Union, Double Happiness, The Wolves of Sherwood Forest, Neanderthals and the Garden of Eden can be found down the right side of the blog.

Sunday, May 12, 2019


Some writers have a vivid idea of how their character looks. Some rely on images. Some use both an image for reinforcement and their own mind's eye. Some don't go for much description at all.

If you're writing a romance, it's important to see this lovely girl through the eyes of the hero. A twenty-year old hero would no doubt stop in his tracks. His mind would click away like a camera at  every little detail. Of coarse, her hidden smile, cocked head, long hair over her shoulder, the friendly look would make him walk up to her. Okay, maybe I could choose better words for this eighteen-year old. That's where my fellow writers (you) come in. Help. What do you see? I'm a guy so could some one describe the cut of her blouse? Of course, if I get no responses, I'll do my homework and figure it out. Another thing: what's going on with the corners of her lips?

My Novel, Hate or Love? is almost ready for a freelance editor. Here again if you know of anybody...
The story is about what happens to the hero and heroine when he, a white separatist saves her from drowning. I rarely ask for help, but fellow romance writers, if you think your agent or publisher might be interested please correspond.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

New adults do the strangest things

New adult romance

Young men are notorious for chasing the prettiest girls. Young women choose the cutest guy less frequently. Why? Nature, right? Survival of the species. Girls measure attraction with a heavier dose of the ability to provide.

Another way of looking at it: Man survives because he is attracted and therefore wants to procreate, early and often. Woman survives knowing her future children have a good chance of surviving. There’s something to be said biologically for having good looking children.

If you are writing new adult, note what makes them tick, IMO.

1.       Chemistry, physical attraction.

2.       What are they going to do with their lives whether it be in a work situation or at college?

3.       What do their friends think?

4.       What do their parents think?

5.       Last on this list is compatibility because the young adult doesn’t yet understand or has not yet solidified his or her personas.

About a month ago, I finished a first draft of a novel with the working title, Hate or Love? It’s a simple story inspired by true events. Tell me what you think. You’re the editor and we’re in an elevator.

“What’s you got?”

“New adult. A white separatist saves a black girl from drowning.”

“Great, I don’t even have to read it. Here’s a million bucks.”

Okay, okay, maybe that was a dream. But dreams can come true, especially when you’re honoring your daughter’s last wish. My beautiful Lani passed away from cancer on the first day of spring this year. I had promised her I’d do everything I could to get this story published.

I will.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

More critique group woes

Continuation of critic group woes

A newish writer said that all this back and forth about love (in my scene) and it’s parsings* was boring. *over the arc of the story I moved both POVs at different paces and different orders from:

A drastic mutual hate



Wanting to escape


A tiny bit of admiration

Possible friendship






Falling in love


Black moment

Acceptance, being fully in love

Verbalizing it (in the case of this new adult offering—sealed with a kiss).

Of course, there are many paths from start to finish. For instance, Hallmark usually has a misunderstanding to separate the hero and heroine. Written romance has many more paths. However, mine, apparently is boring and right before the black moment. But, I do remember that this newish writer does not read romances. Also, nobody remembers previous chapters or scenes that well, especially the farther you get from page 1. Still, I use every critique to make the manuscript better. I’m going to “fix” this scene today, but I wonder if it needs fixing. You can’t make everybody, every time, fall in love with your story. But I do want them all. I want the most hard boiled misanthrope to melt under my spell.

One thing I will do is reread Natural Born Charmer by Susan Elizabeth Phillips see how she handled the hero and heroine’s journey to love.

Rule 1 for critique groups. Every chapter or scene should be able to stand on its own without preamble (or apology). That is. look at or listen to the words read, nothing more.

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Amazon book rentals

I needed a quick topic today, because we have many guests left over from the funeral of my sweet daughter, Lani.

Every writer I talk to at conferences, critique groups, friendship etc. complains about the same thing.

Whether you published traditionally or it's a selfie, Amazon give you a choice. Share using KBP select and more people will read your book by renting. Yes, you may see pennies because they measure by pages read. BUT, when readers are offered a cheap fee to rent as many as they like, no one buys. SO, if you don't choose allowing rentals, no one will buy your book (In sufficient quantities to make a living).

I have a solution, but not a very good one. Get old fashioned and stick to it. Do paperbacks and hardbacks only! Yes, paperback sales are declining but the other methods already mentioned above are worse.
So why not get it done in paper, print some for your own sales and give aways. You will hold something tangible. Something you can personally pass on to your children and their children.

I read my latest manuscript to Lani before she died. She loved it and made me promise I'd find an agent or publisher. If there's an agent or publisher in my audience, the story's premise is: A white separatist rescues a black girl from drowning [NA (new adult) romance]. Please let me know if you are interested.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Body language versus interior thoughts

Body language versus interior thoughts

It is not a true "either or". BUT.

If you are writing in intimate third or first person, and not as an omniscient narrator, then take care to get this right.

If the POV character is observing another character’s actions he may describe body language observed and may also delve into interior monologue.

If the POV character is in the process of doing or thinking something, then he should not use body language to describe himself unless he’s making a point about what he wants his body language to mean.


Example: Let’s call our point of view character, Mr. Pov.

Mr. Pov began to swallow repeatedly when he saw the heroine approach. Why did he swallow? Could it be he had indigestion, hiccups, guilt, became anxious, nervous, etc. In intimate third person Mr. Pov should share with us his thoughts. Hiding his thoughts is the same as hiding the story, because the story is being told and shown to us through the eyes of Mr. Pov.

If Mr. Pov witnesses the heroine swallowing repeatedly he can’t be sure why. He may speculate. He may ask and hope he gets a truthful answer.

So many authors who are fond of body language fall into this trap. They sprinkle body language over every character, often because they think they’re showing not telling. Don’t let it be you. Tell interior thoughts to develop and deepen the character. Show body language to get a picture in the reader’s mind.

Mr. Pov cried hoping the heroine would think he cared. In realty he planned his reaction to remake his image. His acting lessons paid off. The truth was he cared for no one but himself, but he wanted her money.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

In loving memory

I write today with a depth of sadness I have never experienced. My lovely daughter, Lani Nicole (Richard) Schiller has passed away on March 21, 2019 at the age of 44.
 If any of you would like to learn more about this very special young lady please go to:

With all my love,
Bob Richard

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Scene Structure

Scene structure

I was asked in my critique group by a new-to-romance writer how my scene advanced the plot.

I said, (remember we always feel constrained by time, or at least I do) that I was showing the hero and heroine’s relationship developing, changing.

Afterwards I wondered if that was enough. Remember the book on writing by Debra Dixon, Goal, Motivation & Conflict?

I asked myself what was the goal of the scene.

Goal: To show the hero’s reaching out to understand and enjoy the heroine’s hobby (writing songs, poems or rap).

Motivation: She wants to teach him. He wants to learn, because he was falling in love and had an insatiable appetite for knowledge.

Conflict: A poetry store clerk flirts with the hero which bothers the heroine.

This should be enough, right?

Well, the next scene has an outside irritant introduced. This was my remedy after I thought about how to please my critique group friend. Before her comment, I wasn’t quite sure how to handle the next scene which I labeled meet the FBI agent. So, from trying to justify my little scene about a growing love came the solidification of how the next one should go.

I really appreciate every critique I get, even if seemingly off the mark. Because it often becomes a catalyst to crystalize something in my story.


1.     At least one goal or purpose.

2.    Advance the plot.

3.    Be essential to the story.

4.    Advance or diminish the romance. It is important to include ups and downs and a black moment where they walk away from each other and the reader screams at her book. NO.

5.    Show motivation(s).

6.    Show conflict.

My friend, Ann Siracusa, reminded me to add the following to the list of what each scene should have:
1. Have a beginning, middle and end.
2. Each character should have an agenda.
3. Don't forget the hook at the end of the scene.

Off topic: Last week I was listening to an NPR interview with Benjamin Dreyer, Copy Chief of Random House. His book may surprise you, Dreyer’s English, 2019. He covers grammar and style. He writes about when it is okay to split an infinitive, end a sentence with a preposition, start a sentence with and,& but (but not together). Etc. Want a fresh take on those nasty rules we constantly forget? This book is for you.