Tag Archives: Writing Tips

Writing Tips ~ Understanding Your Voice/ New reviews/Contest


For a writer first staring out, I think understanding one’s own voice is kind of a strange concept to grasp. You’re trying so hard to wade your way through the mechanics of writing, your focus isn’t on what the heck your voice IS at that point in time. :) The reality of your voice is…it becomes more defined and distinctive the more you write.

I’ve read authors’ books where I really appreciated their writing style, it was so lyrical. But “voice” is more than just style of writing. It’s the whole package. The best way I can describe “voice” in all its intangible glory is as follows; Voice is what gives your dialogue its unique rhythm, your characters their distinctive pop, and your plot its layered depth.

Does having a specific “voice” mean you can only have one type of writing? I hope not! I’ve written serious tear-jerkers, humorous romps, and intense action-adventures. But I’ll bet one thing is true in all of these stories…my voice comes through, regardless. In other words, no matter the genre or focus of your story, your voice will circle back to that “unique rhythm, distinctive pop and layered depth” thing every time. At least, that’s how I see it.


Not just the same ole, same ole! “Have you ever picked up book after book after book (I could keep going on) and none of them were holding your attention because it was just the same ole same ole? Brightest Kind of Darkness, love the title by the way, was a book I picked up after becoming bored with reading and *hoping* it would fix the my lack of good reads…it did just that! Click here to read the entire review at The Reading Housewives of Indiana


Unique storyline and beautifully written “…Brightest Kind of Darkness is a wonderful start for a new series which isn’t easy to forget. Its unique storyline and the beautiful and easily flowing writing makes it possible to be sucked into a new world and I can’t wait to find out more about this.” Click here to read the entire review at Fictional Distraction.


“…Brightest Kind of Darkness was a really entertaining read full of original ideas. It wasn’t perfect, but it was certainly somewhere in my top reads of 2011. The reasons for this are many: the unique plot, the chemistry between Inara and Ethan, the solid characterizations and the writing itself…” Click here to read the entire review at Great Imaginations.


Definitely going on my list of FAVORITE kindle books! “…This story was scary, suspenseful and extremely romantic. I loved the growing relationship between Nara and Ethan and they way their gifts worked together. I did not put this book down until I was finished with it and wanted to start it all over again from the beginning. I highly recommend this author and I will be diligently looking out for the sequel.” Click here to read the entire review by The Book Runner


AMAZING BOOK!! “This book was so good on so many levels. The idea of it was so intriguing and even now I have so many questions! When I first started reading I was excited because even though Nara had some kind of supernatural ability there wasn’t any of that usual instant attraction stuff between her and Ethan. I loved how naturally their relationship progressed. They spent time together and built up a trusting friendship first, eventually leading to love. The love I felt as a reader from both of them was so obvious, and I adored how the author used such a natural evolution from friendship to what they now have. I can’t wait to read more about Nara and Ethan… together they make one heck of a pair and I’m so excited to find out what happens with Ethan!…” Click here to read the entire review by Sara Hulce


Tomorrow is the last day to enter the BOOK LOVERS INC contest to win an eBook copy of BRIGHTEST KIND OF DARKNESS. 🙂

Writing Tips ~ Where to Start Your Story

I usually post Writing Tips on Thursday, but with Nanowrimo officially starting I thought today would be a great day to post an entry for my Writing Tips series.

Don’t you wish there was some magic formula that said, Start you story HERE like that sign to the left? Haha, me too, but hopefully this post can help point you in the right direction.

I admit it, I was a backstory queen when I first started writing. But I think that had more to do with the fact I was 1) initially a total seat-of-the-pants writer and 2) I didn’t plan my characters. They evolved as I wrote the story. Therefore my first two or three chapters were really me creating long, drawn out–very involved–character sheets. Heh.

Then a writer friend passed along a concept that has stayed with me…

Start your story where your character’s conflict and your plot’s conflict collide.

I’ve never forgotten it. Did it change how I started my books? Sure it did. But what I also discovered was that my progress slowed a bit in the beginning, because (apparently) I needed those first two chapters to get to know my characters inside and out. That was my muse’s process.

Now, instead of having to cut the initial three chapters, I’ll have to go back and flesh out the beginning. I also now create a detailed outline as a way to get to know my characters. That way I’ll know what I need to go back and work on for more for clarification.

Keeping that rule of thumb “how to start my story” in mind has been immensely helpful. It forces me to stay focused and reminds me that all that stuff I’m itching to show about my character right up front can come later, sprinkled in bit by bit.

The nice thing about following the concept of starting where the character’s conflict and the plot’s conflict collide is that you have so many options for a gripping opening scene…from an action scene to a dialogue scene…to even strong narrative. I just ask my character(s): What kind of scenario can I put you in that represents the crux of YOUR issue and the story’s main plot? and then I’m off and running, er typing. 🙂 

Hopefully you will be too. Best of luck, you Nanowrimo-ers!


Also, I wanted to highlight a couple of recent reviews BRIGHTEST KIND OF DARKNESS received. Thank you to Angel’s 909 Reviews, Ron C. Nieto and Romancing the Book for the wonderful reviews!

5 Stars! “…P.T. Michelle will leave you dying for more! Over all, this is a great story of love, mystery, loss, gain, friendship, and adventure. I cannot wait for P.T.’s next novel!
Brightest Kind of Darkness will have you on the edge of your seat, fighting every need you may have, just to read one more page, and always dying for more. With great characters, a strong plotline, and a never-ending supply of action—this novel is the perfect read, and will have you questioning everything from, “What will happen next?” to, “Just how far you would go to keep the ones you love most, safe?”  Click here to read the entire review at 909 Reviews
4 Stars! “I do have one roaring complaint about Brightest Kind of Darkness: I want more of it! There are so many things I thoroughly enjoyed from this book. For starters, the action was non-stop. From the opening scene, which put me on edge and shot up my adrenaline even when I wasn’t yet invested in the characters, all the way through to the very end, I was glued to the pages and unable to turn away! Every spare moment I had, I invested into reading more, into trying to figure out the mystery of the dreams and the visions and the crows and…Wait. I’m not making much sense, am I? I always try not to spoil reads, though, so I can’t really explain what the above referred to, but I can promise that you’ll be hooked from one issue to the next…”  Click here to read the entire review at Stories of My Life
4 Stars! “This was an exceptional Young Adult novel. I grew attached to the characters pretty early in book and was with them everything step of the way…”  Click here to read the entire review at Romancing the Book.

Writing Tips – Mini Story Arcs Within Your Story’s Arc

The other day an author had a post on his blog where he talked about writing a weekly serial and how he had to write such that he always left off at a part where readers were dying to find out what happens next. That way they’d come back the following week and read the next installment. I commented that I naturally wrote in chunks of 2,500 – 5000 words at a time, which turned out to be very helpful. My writing process has evolved over the years such that with those 2,500 to 5,000 words I subconsciously include a small story arc within each chapter.

I thought the subject would make a great blog topic. Typically when people talk about ‘story arcs’, they’re referring to the plot line of the book. The story arc usually follows a bell curve style like this:

Story Arc: Where the beginning of the story starts out ramping up, then it peaks in the middle and then by the end, there’s the story’s resolution, leaving the reader fulfilled by time they finish the book.

Within every book, each chapter also includes its own tiny story arc. Each chapter will follow a similar pattern as the main story arc with the exception of an up-turn on the tail-end of the bell curve like this:

Chapter Arc: The goal here is that each chapter has a ramped up beginning, heightened middle and then a ramp down until you get near the end where the plot jumps back up yet again. This is a “hook” to keep the reader engaged and turning the pages.

So back to my comment on the author’s blog where I said, “I naturally write to 2,500 to 5,000 words per sitting.” What I meant was, each time I sit down to write, I’m leaving off at a highpoint (either at 2,500 words (ie, the middle of the chapter (the peak of the chapter bell curve) or at the end of the chapter (the up-turn right after the bell curve’s decline). In both cases, that’s a highpoint in the small chapter arc.

If you put all the chapter’s side by side within the story’s overall arc, they’d look something like this:

As you can see, each chapter arc moves upward, building upon the overall story arc, then peaking before coming back down to the final conclusion in the book.

This is how I “visually” see writing a story in my mind’s eye. It helps me in terms of pacing and avoiding the dreaded “sagging middle”.  Hopefully you’ll find it helpful to think in these “visual” terms. 🙂