Changing It Up—Writing Short and Learning a Lesson- Jill Limber

Today the RWASD Blog is pleased to welcome Jill Limber!



My first short story, Fool Me Once, was just released.  11,659 words. Should be quick and easy to write, considering my past books ranged between 100K, back in the old days when the New York publishers were bringing out what we used to call ‘Big Books’, to my Harlequins that ran around 60K.

Not so. I discovered writing short is an art.  You have very little time to get all the conflict, attraction and angst on the page. No time to wander through the countryside setting the scenes with pretty descriptions, have characters explore their feelings at length, or have the hero and heroine slowly discover their growing attraction to each other.

All the information needs to be on the page NOW.  First scene—the who, where, what, when, and why all has to be there to launch the story.

I leaned a very important lesson from writing a short story. You know, one of those ‘duh’ moments. This is how all books should be written.  Get the information to hook your reader right up front.

Pretend you are writing a short story every time you start a book.

Which brings me to my pet peeve as an editor. I get a lot of submissions I turn down. Don’t start you book with back story. Ever. Don’t explain anything up front. Ever. Show the action through your characters as the story moves along.

Look at your synopsis for the book you are working on. How much of the synopsis is information that happens before the story starts? Red line it and figure out how to show it in the body of the story.

As the late Elmore Leonard once said: Don’t write the stuff people don’t want to read.


Jill Limber:

A multi-published author and former RWA President, as a child some of Jill’s tales got her in trouble, then, to her delight, she got paid for them. At the beginning of 2012, Jill entered a new phase of her Romance career when she became an Editor at Boroughs Publishing Group; now she helps other writers realize their dreams. Residing in San Diego with her husband and a trio of dogs, Jill’s favorite pastime is to gather friends and family for good food, conversation and plenty of laughter.

Jill’s books are available from Amazon or on the Boroughs Publishing Group website.

Coming Soon: Fool Me Once
Project: Dream Girl–out now!
Book #6 New Year’s Eve Club Series
Boroughs Publishing Group
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About RWA San Diego

The Romance Writers of America's San Diego chapter promotes excellence in romantic fiction, helps writers become published and establish careers in their writing field, and provides continuing support for writers within the romance publishing industry. Contact us for more information about RWASD.

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