Aching to Write

Writing is my drug. I write a lot of non-fiction just to have something going on. I rarely run out of ideas for blogs, and I love posting things on Facebook. That said, there are days when I am aching to write on my Work In Progress (WIP) and can’t because I need a blog. I guess I have two levels of my drug. One is the write anything but keep writing drive, and the other is the write the characters and get them into trouble drive. Continue reading “Aching to Write”

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Real Characters Have Hobbies.

Sometimes you write a character and you can see the person. You can hear their voice. You can have long, meaningful conversations with this person. You know their favorite color. You know what they studied in school. You know who they are going to vote for in the next election. You have created a well-rounded person whom your readers will enjoy and want to read all about.

Or did you forget something? Besides making love to your other main character, does this person have a hobby? What do they do in their free time? Are they good at it, or just learning?

My nutritionist suggests hobbies like knitting and painting to keep me from overeating. If my hands are busy, I won’t be reaching for the Double Stuff Oreos. Not that I like Double Stuff Oreos. Just saying. Even better are hobbies that keep a person moving and not sitting very long at a time.

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When you read the Summer edition of The Bowman’s Inn Anthology, you’ll meet a character named Rusty who is hired to tend bar. In passing, we learn that Rusty drives a restored Classic Chevy. That’s all I say about it, but for Rusty, restoring cars is his hobby. He also works out at the gym every day, and donates time to help kids at the Y train to be physically fit. None of this has come out yet, but it will. Over the next year or so, more of his hobbies and lifestyle will be revealed. I thought when I first created Rusty that he would be gay. I wanted something for everyone in the pub. But turns out, he’s not. He fell in love with another character, and insisted on getting together with her. So I reduced my cast by one and had Rusty put the moves on Pepper. That’s how it works when you know your characters.

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You’ll also meet Nate and Charlene in the Anthology. Nate is a werewolf. Charlene is an office worker who daydreams about finding Mr. Right. She’s going to school but it’s summer, so she’s making use of the extra hours to stop in at the pub for coffee, and enjoy the beautiful day. Nate is a detective working undercover with a group of criminals. This group has been getting away with bank robbery after bank robbery. Nate got into the group and is determined to stop their winning streak. And Charlene happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

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These two really haven’t been telling me much about themselves. But I plan to write more about them, and hopefully they will talk to me about their hobbies and interests. For Char, this is her first serious relationship, and for Nate, this is his first relationship with a non-shifter. He can’t find the right way to tell her. Maybe if she dresses as Little Red Riding Hood for Halloween?

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Thanks for reading, I’ll be back on Thursday.

Time Enough to Write

We have clarified that you know you are a writer if you have a preponderance of certain traits I listed a few weeks ago. Some readers mentioned that the last paragraph, about families who let them have time to write, was really lacking in their lives. So here are some tips I learned from fellow writers who are blessed with a needy spouse and dependent children. Continue reading “Time Enough to Write”

Learning to Write

Do you remember the first time you picked up a writing instrument? Chances are you had a marker or crayon and headed to the nearest wall. Good times. Then you went to school and had to use a pencil on soft brown paper with lines on it. You learned how big to make a lower case A. You zipped all the way through to Z. Printing seemed like the best thing since the decoder ring in the cereal box. Continue reading “Learning to Write”

Don’t Look Back

Last night we watched one of our favorite movies of all time, Spirited Away. There’s an awesome paranormal love story woven in to the adventure, and the growth of the main character is done to perfection. However, I noticed near the end that Chihiro is told “Don’t look back” as she goes away from the bath house. Unlike Lot’s wife, she manages this simple task. Not looking back is very important for most people. Regrets can bog a person down in depression and guilt, which makes moving forward through life really tough. My husband and I try not to indulge in it too much, even though we both wish we could have met sooner. The scary part is, there’s a chance we could have met up decades before we did. But that would mean such a big change in our lives, where our children come into it, that it’s not worth it. I wouldn’t trade my daughter and son for anything in existence, even with all the tears and heartaches involved. Characters, however, need to look back sometimes. Delivering back story is a necessary evil of writing fiction. Without creating an info dump, or making the character look stupid for having to be told things he or she should already know, the writer needs to explain about the family curse on the beautiful diamond ring which was stolen during the rush of English citizens to get out of France and then turned up in a pawn shop and purchased by the hero who is engaged to the heiress who should by rights have the ring in her possession. I do my best to bring up the facts in a painless way, usually through conversation between characters. In Main Course, the twins talk about the fact that their father is against his eldest son joining the army, and that he has been out of London for a very long time pursuing a female person in the country. If you didn’t read Appetizer in the Regency Banquet series, then you would still know why Roland has to switch identities with his twin, Bernard, and that the beautiful Aunt Vivienne is providing companionship to Mr. Curtis. Also they discuss the fact that sister Ellen is married and not able to see through their plan. This is a process I know I can always learn to do better. There are great articles available to help any writer. http://www.writersdigest.com/online-editor/how-to-weave-backstory-seamlessly-into-your-novel Should you write a flashback scene? http://www.be-a-better-writer.com/flashback.html What is it about Lot’s wife? http://www.pw.org/content/i_wasnt_born_yesterday_the_beauty_of_backstory You can’t move forward without looking back. http://www.fiction-writers-mentor.com/back-story.html Pretty much, a fictional character who doesn’t look back is either amnesiac or one dimensional. So learn how to do backstory before you do anything else. But for yourself, keep your mental eyes forward unless you are remembering something you want to write about. Then, it’s all good. Thanks for reading, I’ll be back Sunday, probably late because I will be attending my first Writers’ Convention, California Dreamin’. #excitedbeyondwords http://caldreaminwritersconf.org/

Don’t Confuse Me with Facts!

As you read each of the names in the following list, let an image come to your mind.

Mr. Darcy. Bond. Holmes. Thor. Loki. Batman. Superman. Gomez Addams. Jamie Fraser.

Some of these characters have been portrayed in movies or TV shows by more than one actor. Some have only been on screen once, but have been read by millions. And many readers are annoyed when their favorite characters are cast for film. They have a vision of this character, and they don’t want anyone else’s ideas.

When Jane Austen introduces Mr. Darcy, she gives very general information: [He] soon drew the attention of the room by his fine, tall person, handsome features, noble mien; and the report which was in general circulation within five minutes after his entrance, of his having ten thousand a year. The gentlemen pronounced him to be a fine figure of a man, the ladies declared he was much handsomer than Mr. Bingley, and he was looked at with great admiration for about half the evening, till his manners gave a disgust which turned the tide of his popularity; for he was discovered to be proud, to be above his company, and above being pleased; and not all his large estate in Derbyshire could then save him from having a most forbidding, disagreeable countenance, and being unworthy to be compared with his friend.

There’s little to go on, no hair color, no eye color or shape, not even a sensuous mouth to fix on. This is the conundrum faced by Romance authors. A certain portion of the readers want to imagine their own heros. They aren’t attracted to blond men, so don’t want to know if he has Thor-like tresses. They abhor beards on men, so must have a clean-shaven image.

But another group of readers who must know exactly what the author had in mind when writing the hero and heroine. Frustration abounds when critics say add more description, the writer adds it, then critics say too much detail. This whole writing thing would be vastly improved if the pictures in the author’s brain could be forced into the readers’ brains.

My “classic” Regency Romance, The Viscount’s Mouse, with any luck will be self published in the first part of 2015. Miles, my hero, in my head looks exactly like Brad Pitt. But I can’t say that anywhere, except here and later in the blogs about the book. If someone buys the book and doesn’t read any of the blogs, then they are going to picture their own favorite blond eye candy. And Cassie is anyone’s guess, I don’t really have a set image for her. That might change as we go on. It’s so hard to find photos of plain women. I did find an excellent Ms. Farnham, but no Cassie yet.

I’d love to hear from you on who you picture for any of the characters mentioned above. I’d also love for you to subscribe to my newsletter that is just getting started! Click here to be added to the group.
http://mad.ly/signups/126177/join I’ll be back on Thursday.