About Me

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A writer by predilection, an aunt by blessing and a friend by choice, Shelley has spent many years journaling before sitting down to draft her first novel. She has a B.A. in English discourse and is currently working on her third romantic-suspense, the title of which will be announced soon pending publication. Shelley is a member of the Romance Writers of America as well as her RWA state chapter of the Maryland Romance Writers.
"I love story-telling. It's a way to live an experience through the eyes of a character." - Shelley N. Greene

Saturday, August 24, 2013


          Hi again. I’m fashionably late as usual.

          Well, if sweat shorts and a tank top counts, but you don’t see that.

          I won’t fib and tell you that I’m all dolled up.

It’s writer dress code: Shabby-Sit-for-four-hour-periods-at-a-stretch.

And this post touches on fashion at the end. Stay with me and we’ll leave off on that note.

I’ve been busy since returning from Romance Writers of America nationals and submitting my manuscript for publication. I look forward to having good news to share soon. 

And I have a pretty new RWA pin on its way to me now, too. Whoo-Hoo!

It will be the pride of my nametag lanyard when it arrives.

          In its wake emails have been sent, queries issued and I’m embarking on manuscript number two; a new journey.

          With all this experience I often wonder if I’m getting comfortable with the process. There’s always this spark when typing the first words, the first sentence. A buzz that says a new adventure is beginning.

Whenever I mention that I write books, I smile when someone comes back with, “You’re an author? That’s cool!”

I feel that I must earn the title, even though I’ve done the work. 

When reading the author Q&A on blogs, I notice that a writer inevitably gets asked, “When did you know that you wanted to write?”

For many the response is, “Since I could hold a pencil” or “Since before I could walk.”

I wish I could say that it started that young.

           In the weeks leading up to Nationals, I thought back to the origin of when I knew writing was the dream.

I think the process is what developed initially. I remember watching television shows and pointing out the gaps in the plots. I liked the drama when it was plausible, real. I’d break down the series of events in my head and connect them, like dots. When an image formed with the lines, an overall connected theme, I got this feeling of victory. Like I linked it all together, that the story had come full circle. Which kind of points to my writing style.

In writing there are two types of drafting personalities: Plotters and Pantsers

Plotters are those who like to have an outline before starting to write. The events and story arc are bullet-point and sequential, with few surprises. Pantsing is coined from the phrase “Seat of your pants.” It’s where the writer sits down and lets the story come to them, which is spontaneous and in the moment.

Pantser. If on deadline, add hair-pulling. 

There are pros and cons to both of these approaches, but as with all acts of creative endeavor, there is no wrong way, you go with your process.

I’m a plotter by nature, listing the scenes, drafting them in linear order, which isn’t as dry as it sounds. There are times a moment surprises me, unfurling some unique emotion, or opening up a sweet nuance that connects to the overall story.

The parts of my books come to me in pieces at first, floating around my head, keeping me up at night. The pivotal scenes tend to emerge early, fermenting in my mind’s eye until I get it down on paper.

That is one of the stories behind THE FIRE WALKERS. I didn’t expect to draft FIRE first, I didn’t think I had it in me to do it. Then the heroine’s big black moment burst into my head and changed everything...

Before packing up to head to Atlanta, I made a trip to the library. I drive when I travel, and I take audio books along to fill the hours on the road. This year I borrowed the biography of a famous media magnate. Engulfed in his story, I listened to the whole book during my drive; with one part standing out. It mentioned how he used story-boards in all of his features, a process that has been rarely used in movie-making since.

An expensive middle segment, the planning out of the script in scenes enabled animators to edit or develop the elements of the narrative. Thus resulting in some of the most memorable images in story-telling. I found that fascinating.

It reminded me of an outline of a book. Plotters use big index cards that list the actions, point of view and “essence” of a scene. Many writers tack them up on a cork board to synchronize the order, changing and intensifying as the story gels.

Like a story-board. Without a pen touching paper, it's writing.

And I’ve done this from the beginning. From the time I was little, I'd connect the dots. I think that counts.

So, where’s that fashion I promised you? I didn’t forget.

I had a friend in high school who dressed a little strange.

Always trendy and out-of-the-box creative with it, she earned the funny looks not with her style, but with her timing. At the end of summer she wore heavy layers. In the dead of winter she donned bright, cotton colors. She remained perpetually three months ahead all throughout school, putting on a show called, “What is she going to have on today?” 

To many this came across as odd. It went against the silent and impermeable creed of secondary education:

Thou shalt not wear shorts year round, nor dress in contrast to the elements.

Over the course of four years, she cast off the nay-sayers with her polish and flash, and went on to graduate with honors.

How does this relate to dots and writers, you ask?

A few years after our class reunion I got an update. After college, my friend headed up to New York City with a degree in design, working her way up from an intern position at a big fashion magazine.

An industry that continually works a season ahead.

Those were her dots.

Her story drove home a personal belief: I think everyone has a concealed talent.

It reminds me of a favorite quote by Drew Barrymore:

“The only fundamental rule for me is to just be yourself,” she says. “Let your freak-flag fly.”

           That stands for mice, men, fashionistas, and writers.

-         SNG   ;0)