Monday Morning Fika with Siobhan Muir: Making your stories real

What makes a story feel real?

I’m absolutely delighted that Ana asked me to join in her Fika Mondays. Ana and I met on Six Sentence Sunday when we were both trying to get our names out there and find out about other authors we’d never read. Though we don’t usually read each other’s genres, one trait we both share in our storytelling is the ability to capture just enough reality to grab the reader.

So what makes a story feel real?

For me, it’s the ability of the author to make me feel like I could be there, in the story, doing what the characters are doing. I need dialog and vivid description to take me into the world, to hold me there, and make me believe I could be experiencing everything going on. Suspension of disbelief is necessary as well, but there has to be enough realism, particularly in paranormal romances. You’re dealing with complete fantasy creatures, but have to make them seem like you could see them on the street.

When I start writing a story, no matter the premise, I always try to write it as if I’m there, doing whatever the scene calls for (and yeah, that goes for sex scenes, too. :D) Put yourself in the shoes of your character. How would you react to someone charging out of the shadows, roaring, and swinging a sword at your head? How would you respond to someone shifting shape from human to something else right in front of you? How would you react to shifting into a werewolf if you thought yourself human?

When writing your stories, ask yourself how you’d react to whatever you’re putting your characters through. Put yourself in the conversation and write the dialog as if the other characters are in the room with you. Fill the narration with sensory data (tastes, sounds, sights, textures, and emotions) and paint the scene as if physically present. If standing at the edge of a graveyard, at dusk, what kinds of sounds would filter into your awareness? What kinds of scents would perfume the air? Rotting vegetation? Freshly turned dirt? Anything you can add to a scene, whether an emotional response from the main character or a sensory detail, will make it all the more real to your reader.

You don’t want your story to read like a movie – where the reader is here, watching the action over there. You want your readers experiencing the anxious excitement of the heroine being stalked by the bad guy, or the adrenaline rush of the hero as he lights an entire cohort of alien troops up with a thermal grenade. And yes, you want the reader to be out of breath and shaking with orgasm after a really hot sex scene. 😀

So how do you make your stories feel real? Picture yourself in the scene and write it as if you’re there. That way the reader will be there, too.


Magic, mayhem, and motherhood… a witch’s work is never done, but Sabrina draws the line at the Fae.


After almost two decades as a practicing witch in Cloudburst, Colorado, Sabrina Foxglove is done with men, magic, and the fertility rituals of High Beltane. She’s dealt with all three before and ended up with a young daughter and no partner. Twice. She’s looking forward to a magic-free May Day, with nothing more exciting than making brownies for a kindergarten class and decorating a May Pole. She definitely doesn’t have time for a handsome, Fae-touched man.

After almost two centuries as the human chamberlain to the Fae’s Summer Court, Darius Winterbourne is a man accustomed to getting his way. So when the Summer Queen tasks him with finding a witch to perform the annual rituals and strengthen the ancient warding magicks, he figures it should be easy. He doesn’t expect Sabrina’s hardheaded refusal, her untrained abilities, or his attraction to her. With less than a week to Beltane, he must gain Sabrina’s trust before he loses his home, his position…and his heart.


Siobhan Muir lives in Las Vegas, Nevada, with her husband, two daughters, and a vegetarian cat she swears is a shape-shifter, though he’s never shifted when she can see him. When not writing, she can be found looking down a microscope at fossil fox teeth, pursuing her other love, paleontology. An avid reader of science fiction/fantasy, her husband gave her a paranormal romance for Christmas one year, and she was hooked for good.


In previous lives, Siobhan has been an actor at the Colorado Renaissance Festival, a field geologist in the Aleutian Islands, and restored inter-planetary imagery at the USGS. She’s hiked to the top of Mount St. Helens and to the bottom of Meteor Crater.


Siobhan writes kick-ass adventure with hot sex for men and women to enjoy. She believes in happily ever after, redemption, and communication, all of which you will find in her paranormal romance stories.


Siobhan’s recent release, The Beltane Witch, is the second book in the Cloudburst Colorado series, and she has also published Not a Dragon’s Standard Virgin and Queen Bitch of the Callowwood Pack through Siren Publishing, and Her Devoted Vampire through Evernight Publishing. Her free read entitled A Hell Hound’s Fire introduces her Cloudburst, Colorado series.





20 thoughts on “Monday Morning Fika with Siobhan Muir: Making your stories real

  1. terpsichore says:

    thank-you for sharing your thoughts. I do love stories in which I really get into the characters and by the end I feel like I am part of their story and do not want it to end.


  2. Joseph McNamara says:

    Thank you so much for sharing a bit of your life here with us this day. I truly loved and believe in your thought “Picture yourself in the scene and write it as if you’re there. That way the reader will be there, too.” — I do relate with this profoundly… ✨

    Thank you again for thoughts and openness and Thank you Ana for another great Monday Morning FIKA… 🌟


    • siobhanmuir says:

      Thank you so much, Joseph. The best stories are those that sweep us away with them to their worlds and those are hours well spent reading. Thanks for commenting. 🙂


  3. Minelle says:

    I love paranormal romance! I cannot wait to put this on my list!
    Your advice is great. Feeling as if you could be there right with the characters experiences…gold. I want to feel as if I am stepping into the pages and lose myself.
    I am such an amateur writer but will attempt to follow your advice!

    Thanks for Fika dear Ana!


    • siobhanmuir says:

      Hehehe, when I get stuck on a story, I often go for walks and talk the story out, which makes me look like a crazy woman talking to herself. I once diverted two Morman guys to the opposite side of the street because of it, lol. Thanks for dropping by, Karysa. 🙂


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