Sunday, September 16, 2012


A famous line from William Shakespeare's ROMEO & JULIET is, "a rose by any other name would smell as sweet."

So, if that is true....what's in a name?

I'd have to say ABIANCE!

The definition for ABIANCE in the dictionary states - The special atmosphere or mood created by a particular environment: It comes from the French word, ambiant, which means "surroundings."

I believe ABIANCE should not only pertain to one's surroundings, but to names as well....especially the names writers give their characters.

We'd probably love GONE WITH THE WIND just as well if Scarlet O'Hara's name was Ivy O'Leary....but Mitchell's heroine sweeps acrossed the pages of this novel so much more romantically with the name that was orginally given to her.

And what if THE GREAT GATSBY was THE GREAT HORNSBY? Or MR. DARCY was MR. DUNSTIN? And what if instead of DR. JEKELL & MR. HYDE we read DR. PICKLE & MR. MCBRIDE?

When naming characters for a novel, picking names that flow, capture, and that are unique always adds a touch more magic to any story. Keep each character's name defined from one another as well. Having one character named Brent Thornton and another Horton Trenton could become confusing to the reader.

And I'm so glad the beautiful bloom we know as a ROSE, is called such. No matter how sweet it still might smell by any other name, I don't think it would be quite the same for a gent to send a lady a dozen long-stem red HACKLEBUMS!


Roberta C.M. DeCaprio

Thursday, September 13, 2012


In this entry I'm going to discuss POV.

No, this POV doesn't stand for the POWER OF VETO, like on the CBS show, BIG BROTHER. The POV I'm referring to is the POINT OF VIEW.

In writing there are three different POV's a writer can use to tell a story. The first and third person point of view is most common in a novel, so I will explore these two techniques first.

The first person point of view is when a character tells how they feel about something from a personal observation. "I" and "we" are used. Even though this type of narration can bring the reader closer to the character in question, it limits them from knowing what other characters in the story are thinking or feeling.

Example: I hurried to the door, and pulled it open. We hadn't seen each other in years. But when I saw him standing before me, so handsome in his black leather jacket and jeans, it seemed as though time stood still. In his hands he held a bouquet of flowers. My favorite, lilacs. And suddenly I could feel my heart pounding in my ears, as I motioned him to enter.

The third person point of view is a form of storytelling whereby action is related using third person pronouns, such as "he" or "she".

Example: She took the flowers he handed her, and inhaled their scent. The heady fragrance made her flush . . . or was it the way he was looking at her that warmed her cheeks?

In second person point of view, the narrator tells the story to another character through the addressee's point of view. Pronouns such as "you" and "yours" are used. Second person is the least commonly used POV in fiction, and used more in writing step-by-step instructions.

Example: You move to the kitchen and take out a vase from the cupboard, fill it with water, and place the flowers just so. Then you turn to him and give him a little nervous smile.

Be careful NOT to HEAD-HOP. Though there are novels that do this, sometimes it can become confusing. When a writer HEAD-HOPS, they are jumping from one character's POV to another within a paragraph.

Example: He could sense her nervousness by the way she smiled, her lips curving tight acrossed her teeth. He had stayed away too long this time, but he'd make it up to her. Slowly he took a step, closing the distance between them.
Faster her heart raced as he approached. She could smell his after-shave . . . a clean mix of citrus and musk.
Reaching out, he gently stroked her cheek.
His touch sent a wave of excitement through every fiber of her being.

To keep the reader from becoming confused as to whose POV they're reading, it might be helpful to add a "page-break" to separate one character's thoughts from the other. When I write I donate a chapter to one character's POV, and then use another chapter for the next character....and so on and so forth. I feel my story flows best using this style. It also entices the reader to go further into the novel, as they want to know how the other character feels and reacts. And holding a reader's interest is paramount in having a best-seller.


Roberta C.M. DeCaprio

Sunday, September 9, 2012


I've learned, now being a writer for 27 years and only published for the last six, that rejection letters are a raw fact of the business. If you're receiving them....then you are truly a part of the writing world.

I remember when I received my first rejection letter. I took it so personal. I cried, vowed never to write another thing as long as I lived, and stashed my manuscript away in a desk drawer.

But, as time went on I discovered I had to write. It was a part of me, almost as much as a leg or an arm. I felt too frustrated stifling the ideas whirling around in my head. And eventually I pulled out that rejection letter again and re-read what the editor had to say.

If you're fortunate enough to get an editor to write the reasons for the rejection, and not just a form letter, relish and cherish the correspondence. Learn from the comments and suggestions, go back and apply them to your story. You'll probably be pleasantly surprised at how much of an improvement is made.

As I took apart my story....with a flinch and a tear....I began to see more clearly what it lacked, what needed to be omitted, and what should be added. The novel was finally published, after seventeen rejections and 25 years later. Today, THE GOLDEN LADY is the first book in a five-book four to be released November 11th, 2012.

The natural reaction to a rejection letter is to quit writing, as the hurt is so great. After putting heart and soul into the story, how can we be anything but hurt? However, stashing your work away is never going to give it a chance to cross another editor's editor who might like what she reads.

So, when a rejection letter arrives, give yourself the time to heal your pride and lick your wounds. Go yourself a daring shade of lipstick or a new scent. Take a bubble bath. Drink a glass of wine and eat chocolate. Rent a romantic comedy and munch on popcorn. But then get back to that manuscript and send it out again....and again....and again!


Roberta C.M. DeCaprio