Ask a Romance Writer

Welcome to the first installment of RWA-SD’s Ask a Romance Writer, where the fearless members of our chapter answer your burning questions about any and all things related to writing romance.

This week’s question:

What are some writing resources you can’t live without, and why?

“As goofy as it may sound, I couldn’t live without my Excel spreadsheet!  I use it to track word counts and have it set up so I can add my word counts as I go and see where I am for my overall goal and my daily goal. Sometimes knowing, ‘just 150 more words to goal!’ can keep me going.”

Marie Andreas

“I can’t live without non-distracting background music. For free on-line radio, Soma FM offers all kinds of groovy music, including space sounds!

Focus at Will is a paid site that provides music to increase your productivity and focus. There is a 30 day free trial.”

— Laura Connors

“I write exclusively in Scrivener. I am able to separate each POV into its own scene and then pair them into chapters. I can drag and drop those scenes or chapters wherever they need to go without worrying if I’ll lose them during a cut/paste.  Scrivener also tracks my word count which helps me reach my daily and manuscript goals. I’m sure there is a lot I’m not doing that I could be doing in Scrivener, but for now, it works perfectly for me.

On my Apple phone, there is an app for recording voice memos. I love that! I think best when I’m walking. Usually I’ll forget the brilliant idea when I’m finally home to put it on paper. So I record it while I’m walking. Getting the main points, even acting out some of the dialogue. Then I can transcribe it when I’m feeling particularly stuck or need word count. Most of the time, it’s a scene I’ve forgotten about and it pushes me over the hump.”

Rachael Davila

“I swear by AutoCrit! I’m terrible with repeating words, and often I can’t see them in my own work. Autocrit highlights them for me as well as checking for verbs I might overuse. There is an annual membership fee, but I think it’s completely worth it. I run every chapter through it when I’m editing. You can try it out for free!”

Lisa Kessler

“I can’t write without music playing in the background. It varies of course depending on what I’m writing.

I play a Reader’s Digest CD of The Most Beautiful Songs of the Century, love songs, when I’m writing contemporary romance, or classical music. I play Ravel’s Bolero over and over when I’m writing erotic love scenes.

Haven’t found the right CD for writing a mystery and suspect that’s why I can’t get it out of my head and onto the page.”

Toni Noel

My critique group. I’ve been working with the same wonderful people for over 5 years. They help me untangle plotting problems, tell me where my story isn’t working, and cheer me on. I can’t imagine being a writer without their help and support.

RWA. A fantastic place to network, get educated, and hang out with some great people. RWA’s conferences, classes, and workshops have expanded my knowledge base and made me a better writer. And I love seeing all the writers who attend our monthly meetings here at RWASD.”

Janet Tait

Thank you to all who participated for providing us with lots of new ideas to help enhance our productivity and improve our craft! Keep an eye out for next month’s installment of Ask a Romance Writer!

6 thoughts on “Ask a Romance Writer

  1. I love this post! And I’m definitely getting AutoCrit. Thank you, Lisa! I tend to have a new favorite word with each book and I don’t realize I’m repeating it until I read over the final proof. So frustrating! This will save my sanity.

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