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How to Write STEAMY Sexual Tension

Okay, so you know how to write tension. But can you write it…sexually? If that sounded dirty to you, you’re on the right track. Sexual tension is all about getting your reader to long for your characters to do something. And it’s a whole lot more about what they’re NOT doing than what they are doing. Which makes it hard to write, yanno? Can’t write something that’s not happening. Or can you? Have a look at this. You just tilted your screen away from the rest of the coffee shop, didn’t you? But what does that picture really show? Knees. Knees aren’t that racy. For all you know, outside the frame that girl could be wearing a giraffe costume. But all you had to do to make that set of knees sexy was to add panties (which created an atmosphere...
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The Dreaded R&R

What are your chances of getting signed if you get an R&R? An R&R is one of the terms in the publishing industry that frequently has writers drawing a blank…or devolving into sheer panic. Simply put, an R&R stands for Revise and Resubmit. It means that instead of rejecting or offering representation, an agent thinks you’re close but not quite there yet, so they send feedback, and invite you to resubmit if you choose to revise to their feedback. They can be exciting (hey, it’s not a no!) but they can also be a lot of hard work. My husband repeatedly pointed out the irony of the acronym when I was working 15-hour, eye-bleeding days on an editorial R&R of my own. No, folks, it does not stand for rest and relaxation. It also isn’t a guarantee of an offer,...
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Leave Room for the Holy Ghost: Tension in Writing

My PitchWars mentee said something really smart the other day, in passing. Yeah, I know, I’m supposed to be teaching her things, but if you do it right, it always goes both ways. The thing she said was about always leaving little moments open in her writing like fanfiction prompts. Because “the key to inspiring fanfic writers is leave them wanting more.” This reminded me of that old saying about “Leave room for the Holy Ghost” at church dances, so the boys and girls don’t get too close to one another. Presumably because boy/girl friction calls up the devil, though in practice we all know that space for the Holy Ghost might as well be magnetized because all it does is make the people on both sides wish really hard that it weren’t there. Which brings me to fanfiction. Fanfiction...
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