Monday, July 30, 2012

The Winner!

It was another really TOUGH decision. You guys must be writers or something, because they were all good questions. Even the silly ones. ;D But I had to pick a winner, even though I will be answering many of your questions in the coming weeks. So without further ado...

The winner is: *drum roll* Vicki!!!

And her question was: "When do you show backstory and which character do you use to do it most effectively?"

I'm going to make you wait until next Monday for my answer. I know it's mean, but here's the update: I'm expecting to give birth in the next couple of weeks. SO, I may be behind in responding to comments and visiting blogs for a bit. Please hang in there and don't give up on me though! This isn't my first (or second) so I can confidently say I"ll be back. I will schedule posts to answer your questions in the meantime and I still love getting your comments! I always read each one. 

Monday, July 23, 2012

Contest, New Blog Series, and Free Ebook, OH MY!!

Our E-anthology, Journeys of Wonder, is available for free download on Kindle today and tomorrow! Spread the word! 

Here's another thing I'd love you to spread the word about. Some of you may remember my series of WHY and HOW posts that I did a while back. I really enjoyed those, and especially answering your writing questions. Plus it's been a while since I've done a contest! SO... DUN DUN DUN.

I would like to do a series of posts on WHEN, WHO, or WHERE. Meaning, ask me in the comments a clever question about when to do something, who to do it to (or send it to, etc.), or where certain things belong, and I will: A. Pick the best question and give the winner a prize! (leave your email so I can contact you) B. Do my best to either answer your questions to the best of my ability or find a guest poster who can. 


Good! OH and the prize?? Let's go for a $10 Amazon gift card this time! Only those eligible for me to send that through email please. 

Monday, July 16, 2012

You Aren't That Interesting

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Before I start - if you'd like to win a $15 Amazon gift card visit Journey's of Wonder.

Now to the post! I know a young lady going to USC this fall for Screenwriting. She shared the title of one her potential classes with me and not only did it crack me up, it made me think. So here's my take on the term: Just because it happened to you doesn't make it interesting. 

We hear all the time the advice, write what you know. But that doesn't mean a literal recounting of your life. Well, I suppose there are a lucky few who've been through some pretty amazing stuff. But the vast majority of people... not so much. 

What it DOES mean is that we've all experienced similar emotions. Whether it was from losing a loved one, or your goldfish when you were six, you experienced something called grief. It's that feeling that you have to capture. The situation you can extrapolate. But the visceral reaction that underlies it, that's what you want to evoke. If you can do that to the reader, then you've made a connection that means everything. How? Well, NOT by revisiting your own life in detail. Instead truly understand your character and put them in situations that will evoke those emotions. 

Doesn't that class sound fun though? That's my type of humor!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Guest Post

I'm guest posting today on the specific revision process of one of my short stories over at Journeys of Wonder. Come say hi!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Unusual Habits

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My daughter has a habit of irritating her older brother by insisting that unicorns are real. It's something she loves because it bothers him so much. Most recently she's insisted that there's a unicorn that eats all of his socks (you know how they disappear). And it got me thinking...
One of the things that can make a character unique is adding a quirk. We're all a little odd, aren't we? I know I am. Some of those endearing (or not so endearing) idiosyncrasies can make an MC or supporting character - or even antagonist - jump to life. It has to fit though. It has to feel real. I totally believe that my daughter's unicorn could be sneaking around eating socks. :D Here let's use some actual examples, shall we?

  • Hermione Granger can't resist getting questions right, even when it's inappropriate. Think of the Minister revealing Dumbledore's will. She can't help but mention the snitch's touch memory even though it may not be in their best interest. Or the slightly manic look she gets when planning the foray into the ministry that Harry associates with "revision". 
  • (from my daughter) Avery in Charlotte's Web enjoys collecting weird objects. 
  • President Snow in the Hunger Games will forever be associated with roses. When he left one behind in District 12 in Mockingjay, chills ran up my spine. 
  • Hobbits in LOTR have "second breakfasts" a pastime that still makes me smile. 
What kind of quirks have you used for your characters? What are some of your favorites that you've read? Do you believe in sock munching unicorns?

Monday, July 2, 2012

Brain Storms

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Shiny new ideas are so much fun! But how many of your shiny new ideas become full fledged books? If you're like me, you have numerous false starts on your laptop. Though hopefully they eventually become something, they may not. I don't fret over it because I know that each time I set fingers to keyboard, I'm furthering my writing abilities. 

But have you had the opposite happen? You feel like you need to write something and can't come up with an original idea? I suppose it depends on the writer. But here are a few suggestions that can be used to take an ordinary idea and flip it on its head OR take that shiny new idea that's not going anywhere and uncover the hidden gold.

  1. Flip the premise around. Let's take a tired idea as an example. Girl falls for mysterious guy who is really a demon/werewolf/vampire/paranormal creature. Eh. How about if he tries to get her to fall for him, but she isn't interested and it turns out she's actually a demon hunter who has become the hunted? A little better...
  2. Change the gender roles. What if it's a girl that's the creature and the normal boy falls for her? Still not great, but it's got more promise.
  3. Take a necessary supporting character and look at it from her POV. Maybe it's about a girl who knows the guy's secret all along and has loved him for years, but has to watch as he makes a fool of himself going after the other girl.
  4. Combine several: The girl above has to protect the demon from the hunter because he can't see the danger ahead. Yeah, I like that one. What do you think? 
Sometimes it takes time to find the heart of your story. Sometimes it's a character that won't leave you alone. Don't ever count anything as waste, you never know what will occur to you later!