What makes a character a character?

May 15, 2008 at 4:05 pm | Posted in character, Meg, writing | 3 Comments

Characters are a fundamental piece of the story. In my opinion, you can have a great plot, one that captures the reader’s attention and makes them stay up until 3am, cramped on a loveseat with a full bladder, just so they can get to the happily ever after or resolution of the killer. However, if you don’t have great characters to get the reader to care about what happens, then you may lose them before the black moment.

I’ve teased my good friend, Kristan Higgins relentlessly that her latest book, Catch of the Day, angered me because it caused me to lose sleep on a weeknight. However, as much as I loved her plot, it was my investment in the characters that made me burn the midnight oil. I wanted the heroine to find love, to get over her crush on the town’s priest and discover where her heart would find happiness. She was my new best friend and I needed to make sure she was taken care of before I went to bed.

Another example of great character development comes from my fantastic critique group (hello ladies!) when Sherry posted a chapter with a incredible cliffhanger. An explosion occurred that put two characters in jeopardy. Everyone immediately reacted to the possible losses, but more so for the dog than the man. Was her male character unimportant, no, but she had written the dog as such an integral part of the hero’s life. We all knew that the hero would never be the same without the four-legged mutt. He needed to survive and we didn’t want to deal with the emotions that would surface for us if we’d have to mourn his loss.

I struggle with character development in my own story. I love my characters, hang out with them often and worry that what I see in them translates correctly on paper. Am I capturing their sense of humor, their strengths, their funny quirks? Do I show enough of their weaknesses or losses so everyone else understands their motivations without making them whiny or pathetic? They are real people and I want everyone to love them as I do.

So how can we create characters that people cry out for and want with them at the next office party? I’ve tried the character worksheets to 3-D my hero and heroine, but find I can’t get in touch with them that way (Bria has many of them posted in yesterday’s entry). Instead, I have to develop my characters as I write and edit them. A flaw in my writing method, maybe. Something I’m trying to overcome.

I am also trying to figure out what I love about the characters that stay with me. What draws me in so that I pull out the book while waiting to pick up my kids at school? What qualities in the heroine causes me to miss my favorite show? Perhaps knowing what works in other books, I will figure out how to make mine as captivating.

So I challenge you- think of a favorite character and tell us what you loved about him/her. What drew you in? What capture your attention? What made you fall in love with him/her (or caused you to loathe them if it’s a villain)? Let us know so we can all learn how to develop characters that make the world lose sleep!

P.S. Check out my follow women’s fiction writersexchange’s blog: Lynn Romaine at Ecosuspense. Her latest entry poses the important question of character vs. story- which do you remember most clearly? Please leave a comment for her!


Killing Your Darlings

May 12, 2008 at 10:39 am | Posted in character, Jessica, life, writing | 2 Comments

Last week, I finally accepted the death of one of my friendships — something I had been resisting for a very long time. Fortunately, the person is alive and well, but my bestowed opinion, emotional attachment, and deep care and concern for this person, which had been challenged off and on for that very long time, have reached their final resting place. From the moment I made the conscious decision to lop the head off that proverbial snake, I have felt an incredible lightness of being – more healthy, more peaceful, more hopeful . . . as though I lost about 200 pounds of unnecessary and dead weight.

It took me a long time to endure the relationship ups and downs and reach this personal breaking point — the point where I felt that for my own personal story I needed to metaphorically kill this darling or have it somehow kill me. It strikes me how the agony, deliberation, and emotional stress in ending this relationship is very similar to making the decision to kill a beloved fictional character in our stories. After all, whether in writing or in ‘real’ life, we tend to get attached and grow a vested interest in the people whom we let inhabit our worlds. But despite the attachment and at times iron-clad heart strings, sometimes a character just has to go. Whether for the growth of the main protagonist, a turning point that moves the story forward, or a black moment that could make or break a story’s outcome, we are often faced with a hard yet necessary decision to eliminate a character from the story.

And despite the pain and suffering that characterizes the act of killing your darlings, aren’t our stories stronger for the painful exercise? Speaking personally, both as a writer and a friend, I must say yes. Either way, there is good that can come from the bad . . . making us better storytellers and better individuals for having endured the process.

So my goal this week is to keep putting on the big-girl pants each morning, one leg at a time, move on from my loss, and embrace my new lightness. A new twist in my story awaits!

RIP, my once and past darling! I wish you no ill will, but I am so happy to be moving onward and upward.


Managing Secondary Characters

March 19, 2008 at 10:10 am | Posted in Bria, character, hero, writing | 2 Comments
Tags: ,

Secondary characters can make or break a story. They bring in the texturing that colors the line of your hero or heroine’s character. They can mirrors, foils, instigators, protectors, fall guys, scapegoats, cheerleaders, misdirectors – the list goes on and on.

So, if you have a great secondary character, how do you fulfill his destiny?

Just like in life, treat everyone well and they’ll respond. Your secondary character should have a full life and vivid life.

Here’s an example of how I brought my SC’s (Tane) backstory out while keeping the focus on the main character (Brennid, the crown prince.)

Tane reacts strongly to Brennid threatening to have the heroine ride with him. The heroine – obviously – is a bit annoyed by Tane’s revulsion. Brennid keeps the heroine with him and tells her why:

Tane had Brennid’s older brother at the rear of the line with him when they were attacked and the then-crown prince was killed.

Having Brennid tell the story, we hear his pain and how the death of his beloved older brother nearly destroyed him – BUT we read between the lines and learn Tane’s motivation for his obsessive need to protect Brennid.

Brennid stays the focus, we learn a bit more of his why/where/how/when and at the same time divulge Tane’s number one objective and it’s reasoning.

Speaking of objectives – SCs should have no more than one personal objective and it should relate to the MC in some way.

Tane’s personal objective is to protect the prince (the main character.) Everything he does on the page is to that end.

Tane has his own love interest, an interesting backstory and some twists and turns along the way that have made him a favorite with my readers. But a book can only be so long and only belong to so many, so most of Tane’s non-Brennid related stuff happens off the page.

How do we keep them in line? Well, I’ll be honest. One of my favorite chapters was Tane reacting to his love interest’s dismissal. I played by the rules and kept the Main Characters there and involved, but in the end the focus was on Tane, it didn’t further the plot – or anything for that matter – it was just a lovely peek into a behind the scenes romance.

And so it got cut.

The story as a whole became tighter. Tane’s desperation became something real to me – not only to protect Brennid, but to keep Demia at his side. Which helps make later actions when he allows Brennid to misbehave make sense as it also brings him closer to Demia.

So write the scenes and then cut them – but know them. They’re just as real as your main character.

I’m going to paraphrase (hopefully well and hopefully correctly) the amazing Suzanne Brockmann: Pretend all your characters are standing on a line together. In this scene/chapter/book whoever has the spotlight on him takes a step forward and then another and so on. Everyone on that line steps forward as well. We may not know what they are doing or where they are, but time is consistent (something you won’t hear a fantasy writer admit to all the time) and no one is standing around waiting for the hero to invite them back onto the page.

If you ever get a chance to hear Suzanne speak about managing Secondary and Tertiary characters in a series RUN, don’t walk, to sign up for it (or buy the tape). She changed the way I think about timing, involvement, activity and focus.

Here’s one more way to think about it: We all have that friend. You know the one. She’s off living her life and only calls when she needs something. But the most annoying thing about her is she assumes that while she’s having a full life, she assumes you’re waiting around to hear about her “adventures” and have nothing at all interesting to share. She’s that person that asks you “How are you?” but means “Ask me how I am?”

Don’t be that friend to your Secondary Characters.
Now, Go Write

Villains and Anti-Heroes

March 17, 2008 at 6:34 am | Posted in character, hero, Jessica, writing | 2 Comments

I have been kicking around RWA for a few years and am so proud to say that I have learned so much during this period of time. The more I learn, I realize there is more and more that I really don’t know, which, for me, is a challenge I find both vexing and exciting.  

When I have those A-HA! and WELL, DUH! moments, I feel such pride for making such strides to those points of recognition.  

I can only speak to my experiences in romance writing circles, and in that context I think I can safely say that we all share a common vernacular. GMC, POV, Hero’s Journey, etc. Having been around writers during these years I developed a basic understanding of what these things are, but it wasn’t until I stumbled across some pretty stellar examples where I felt like I truly got it

 When I wrote my first book I had not yet found RWA or any mentors in the writing world and point-of-view was not something I grasped. I sheepishly realized how flawed my first book was when mentors and friends explained the basics of POV to me. However, it wasn’t until I read the three stories found in Lori Foster’s Fallen Angels book that I visually understood point of view. I highly recommend these stories as great and clear examples of how to handle POV.  

I had a similar A-HA! moment when I heard our upcoming April Honorary Heartlette, Eileen Rendahl, speak on the Chick Lit Hero’s Journey. I felt like I got it in a much better and different way after hearing Eileen speak and reading her books.  

So what do either of these examples have to do with villains or anti-heroes? I have learned that having a concrete example is one of the best learning tools for me. And the most excellent example of the villain or anti-hero I have yet to come across was in the Spike TV series The Kill Point

If you have not yet seen it, I don’t want to play spoiler, but the series stars Donnie Wahlberg as the cop who catches the call when John Leguizamo’s character and a group of his men rob a bank and things go horribly wrong.

It’s a crime drama, so naturally his show pits right against wrong. We see the side of the law . . . in this case we see Donnie Wahlberg as the level-headed hero. We count on him to diffuse the situation, save the day, restore order. We see him having to navigate the demands of work and family, the egos of his bosses, the tangled net of bureaucracy, the intrusive weight of the FBI . . . even the power and influence of the most successful in-town business owner. We sympathize with the competence and integrity of our hero, secure in the knowledge our hero will defeat the bad guys in spite of the additional obstacles he faces.

But just how wrong are these bad guys? John Leguizamo (called Mr. Wolf), as the captain of the crew, is the head ‘bad guy’, thus starring as the villain in this show. We know that robbing banks is bad and in that way he broke the law and deserves to be punished. But as the audience learns why – what his goals, motivation, and conflicts are – sympathies start to turn. At least mine did.

His backstory revealed injustice, grief, courage, and responsibility. His own struggles with right and wrong made sense to me. His being constantly kicked while down, yet still getting up and fighting back was something I found . . . heroic.

I found myself rooting for Mr. Wolf. I wanted him to get away with the heist, with all that money, to disappear and find his happily ever after. I wanted people to forgive him his transgressions and to heal his hurts. His character was so compelling, drawn in such an effective way, I couldn’t help but want him to win. For me, this was a stunning visual example not just on how to create a villain, but how to draw and layer all characters and their complexities.

In his book, The Writer’s Journey, Christopher Vogler says that villains are the heroes of their own stories. In The Kill Point, the characters have been created in such a way where the lines between hero and villain blur . . . to the point where the villain truly could be the hero of not only his own story, but the entire story. Only the obvious points of the law clearly delineate the difference.

When I see such stunning working examples of writing, I sit back and say — “Oh, how I wish I could write that!” So I keep my eyes open for learning opportunities and I keep practicing and persevering.

May you have lots of your own A-HA and WELL, DUH moments . . . may you find them in pleasantly unexpected places . . . and may you keep writing!


The Banes and Boons of Research

February 11, 2008 at 8:59 am | Posted in character, Jessica, research, writing | Leave a comment

When Bria posed this week’s topic I wasn’t quite sure how I was going to address it. How do you research story ideas? They just live in your head, don’t they?

As I started to think about what I wanted to write, two opposing ideas began to emerge, each reflective of the two parts that dominate my professional life.

In my academic life, the academic side of my brain loves to do research. Absolutely loves it. When I was in college, the only computers on campus were refrigerator-sized mainframes. The card catalog actually still had cards in it, the Reader’s Guide helped you find the journals you needed (if you could handle the indexes that got you to that point), and microfiche was the latest and greatest technology. In hindsight, I can’t fathom how I ever found any scholarly resources to complete my college research projects. And it hasn’t been that long ago.

Fast-forward to today’s academic library and the world has been transformed. Online library catalogs, electronic databases, and Internet searching make academic research the kind of adventure it should be – endless possibilities found in link after cyber link. My problem on the academic side is that I find SO much research, the actual volume of reading, evaluating and synthesizing of sources makes the writing of it nearly impossible. When does the fact-finding part of the mission actually stop?

As opposed to my fiction writing, where the ideas live so vividly in my imagination and the characters actively beg for their stories to be told . . . so I just write what’s already living in my head. I tend to feel my way through writing my books and have not had to conduct much factual research thus far.

However, all that’s about to change. I get tons of story ideas in reading trade papers, magazines, news articles, or talking to colleagues. And through my colleagues I have started to hatch two new book ideas that I want to develop further. Both of them delve into things I know nothing about. I can address one of those issues by taking a few books out of my library . . . for starters. Who knows what will happen and where it will lead when a concept in one of those books links to another then another and another . . .

The second idea is going to really stretch my comfort zone and push me into launching an undercover operation as something I’ve never been – a bride. Scary stuff, if you ask me. The research for this one has already taken me to one bridal expo and what I’ve learned is that I (a) need to better channel my inner-award-winning-actress (who has, thus far, only existed in my head), (b) need a better cover story and (c) need to set up fake contact information. Wedding planning is intense and the vultures are thirsty, as I am starting to learn. It was a good thing to attend for one other important reason – my day at the bridal expo had a real machine gun affect on my plot. Having the experience let me see that my plot has more holes than Swiss cheese.

As a posted a few weeks ago, Bria, Meg, and I are part of the planning committee for a conference. It has been a great adventure and I have learned a great deal both professionally and personally. One outcome that has surprised me a bit – I’ve learned that my former boundaries have become a bit blurred. In the past, where I may have hesitated asking someone I don’t know if they’d be willing to pitch in and help out, I now have few qualms wading in with the ask. In order to get the job done, I’ve learned to beg, borrow, and steal – well, not literally, but in a metaphoric sense. Those boundaries begin to fade when the fine line between success and failure starts losing its obvious demarcation.

And as I look to the writing projects I am tacking this year, I kinda’ feel the same way. In order to get the authentic information needed to write these stories, I need to challenge my comfort zone and kick the research up a notch to cross those previously well-established lines. Even if that means having to attend the annual bridezilla gown event at Filene’s Basement . . . a day of wild and shameless mania I once swore I would never attempt. I’m too fragile.

What are some of the things you’ve done in the name of story research? Please share – and keep writing!


How to use a hottie

February 8, 2008 at 12:17 pm | Posted in character, hero, Meg, television, writing | 3 Comments

Hottie. Cutie pie. Sweetheart. Sex personified.Whatever you call ‘em, we love ‘em. Men who make us smile, sigh, blush, catch our breath, quiver, melt, beg, laugh, flirt and want more. Men who inspire us to wake up early to shower and shave (our legs), put on makeup, wear sexy clothes, exercise and keep ourselves looking good. Men who cause us to toss our hair with that silly little giggle or bat our eyelashes. Men who might come between you and a good friend or break your heart into a million pieces.

Hollywood has an unrealistic percentage of them. There’s Patrick Dempsey on Grey’s Anatomy- he could cut open my brain anytime. Or Chad Michael Murray on One Tree Hill- how I’d get in trouble if I were his teacher! And let’s not forget Lost– I don’t think I’d be trying to get off the island if I were trapped with Jack, Sawyer and Locke (something about that man just melts my butter). And a few American Idol hopefuls have me actually tuning in this season. I love television!

And what about in my real world? There’s the teenager I met last week- the way he twirled his pencil mesmerized me. I couldn’t stop staring at his hands. Or the juvenile probation officer I worked with a decade ago whose humor and voice caressed my ears and made me crush on him before we even met. And an old childhood friend who always knows exactly what to say to elicit a blushing smile.

All of these hotties in my life (real and theatrical) get used in my writing. That adolescent’s hands will entice and tingle the virginal skin of my YA heroine. The PO inspired the hero in my first novel (one I just might drag out and dust off again). And the childhood friend’s comments made their way into the mouth of the hero in my second women’s fiction. And there’s no denying the resemblance between Patrick Dempsey and my last hero- the twinkling blue eyes and magnetizing smile.

Psychologist call this sublimation, or the act of transforming unwanted impulses into something less harmful. You see, I’ve been married over ten years to my own hottie. He’s sweet, smart, sexy, funny and lights my candle (lol- the clichés are getting thick aren’t they?). BUT, he’s nowhere in my writing. You’ll never find a hint of him in my characters. Why? My writing is fantasy. It’s the energy behind all those naughty thoughts I’ve ever had about other men put into something constructive and positive. I don’t think I need to explain my outlet for mischievous thoughts about my husband, do I? 😉

So your assignment this weekend, if you choose to accept it, is to find a hottie. Maybe it’s a complete person, or some quality of someone (in your real life or theatrical) and figure out what makes that person a hottie. Then use that in your writing. Juice up your hero- his voice, his looks, his mannerisms and behavior. Make him HOT!


What Makes a Hottie?

February 4, 2008 at 7:27 am | Posted in character, hero, Jessica, Tina Ferraro, writing, young adult | 5 Comments

In having Tina Ferraro with us this week, we thought it might be a fun topic to talk about hotties.

I’ve had this conversation with my guy-friends and girl-friends alike – what are the qualities you find attractive? And it’s almost always a chicken-and-the-egg kind of discussion . . . you notice someone because you find him attractive, but then you get to know him and are attracted to his other qualities, which then makes him even more physically appealing . . . and those other qualities are what keeps you attracted. Or you get to know him and you learn about all those un-redeeming qualities and, on second glance, you wonder what the heck ever attracted you to him in the first place.

Either way, would you have even given him the time of day without the initial hot little zing that the first glimpse sends shooting from your tummy to your toes?

I admit, I am a sucker for tall, dark, and handsome . . . devilishly, deeply brown eyes . . . a crooked smile . . . beautiful teeth . . . has a great set of hands . . . and is someone who looks good and is as comfortable when he’s dressed up as he is when he’s casual.

I have to say, though, I think hotties come in all shapes and sizes. A bald muscle-man is just as yummy as a lean, nerdy-intellectual-in-glasses. It’s all about how comfortable he is with himself and how he treats the girl in his life.

And how adorable is it when he has some sort of idiosyncratic habit – maybe he crinkles his eyebrows when he concentrates, or ducks his head when he’s embarrassed, or stuffs his hands in his pockets when he doesn’t know what to say. Maybe his voice drops to a softer, hushed, intimate tone when you’re alone together . . . something that speaks more about the way he feels about you than any words can relay.

I love a guy who is intelligent with a smart sense of humor. Someone who has opinions based on experience, not someone who spouts off just to hear himself talk.

But I’ve also learned it’s not all about the packaging. That he’s at his hottest if he’s well-mannered, holds the door for me, or offers to help me carry my bags. That he shows concern, looks out for me, gives me space, or is there for me when I need him most.

My favorite kind of hottie is the one who makes the best kind of friend.

So in the spirit of hottie week here at the Purple Hearts, what makes your hottie list?

Post a hottie comment to any of the blog posts this week to be eligible for our end-of-week drawing to win a copy of Tina Ferraro’s How to Hook a Hottie.

Thanks for visiting! Keep writing!

Hell has no fury like creating a heroine

November 16, 2007 at 10:32 am | Posted in character, heroines, Meg, writing | 2 Comments

I can create heroes with ease using general ideas of male beauty, sexy traits and redeemable negative qualities. Maybe this male ideal is based on an actor, a dream man or someone from my past (or present). Either way, I think heroes are not difficult to write.

As for heroines? Forget it. I struggle, I stick pens in my eye, and often I fail. Female protagonists have unique challenges that male ones don’t.

First, there’s the double standard in regular society that has to be fought. You know what I mean. Men who do anything to get ahead in business are viewed as determined. Women who apply the same activities? They are pushy and competitive bitches. Men who want to talk about their relationship issues? Sensitive. Women who ask “Can we talk?” Whiny and pains. Need I go on?

Next in the struggle to develop likable female characters is the catty issue. I will be the first to admit (and any woman who denies this out there is lying), all women have catty bitches hiding inside them (or have at one time or another). We judge. We get jealous. We compare ourselves to others. It’s not fun or nice, but we do it. Maybe we don’t vocalize our thoughts, but we have all looked at another woman at one point in our lives and hated her just because she had something we didn’t. I’ve done it. Not something I’m proud of, but hey, we’re all human.

So that being said, how do you create a female character that everyone will like? That someone won’t view as whiny, pathetic, bitchy or annoying? It’s not easy.

Take Sadie, the twenty-six-year old protagonist in my women’s fiction novel. Sadie has been through tragedy times three by the time we meet her in an airport on her way to the Caribbean. She hates flying, the plane’s delayed due to a hail storm and she’s about to lose her mind. Then she encounters a stranger, sex personified, in the gift shop and during their interaction something pushes her over the edge. She starts laughing. Hysterically. Tears streaming down her face. Inability to talk and potential hyperventilation. You get the picture. We’ve all been there, right? Hell, I do this on a regular basis when stress overcomes me. It’s either laugh or scream yourself into the funny farm.

Now, when I had two people read this chapter, I received two different reactions. The first reader felt Sadie’s reaction made her a caricature, immature and socially awkward. That she should be able to handle a conversation with an attractive man and what was her problem? The second reader understood that Sadie’s breakdown was due to her internal struggle and not a reflection of the presence of the hot hero. He could’ve been a ninety-year-old woman and Sadie still would’ve lost it.

So needless to say, the first reader didn’t like Sadie in the first three chapters. Second reader did (although she read the whole book to know Sadie’s evolution). And there’s the struggle. How do you create a female character that everyone will like? How do you balance a broken heart without creating a pathetic wimp, strength without coming across as a pushy bitch and humor and wit without being accused of being abrasive?

So I ask you, loyal readers of the blog, who are your favorite heroines and why do you love them? And to the men out there, is it easy for you to write a heroine and why (or why not)?


Kick Butt – The Internal Heroine

November 14, 2007 at 11:15 am | Posted in Bria, character, heroines, writing, young adult | Leave a comment

It isn’t until her girlish crush grows into loving him as a woman that my heroine realizes she can’t stay. Up until then, Faela’s been along for the ride – fighting back with little rebellions while secretly hoping the Brennid will fall in love with her.When he does, she sees that, with he’s flaws and betrayals, it just might not be worth it.  The most kick-butt thing my heroine does is leave.

What? She ran away? Doesn’t that make her passive?

No. She left him. And there is a world of difference. It seems like if the heroine isn’t steering the world around her, making everyone dance to her tune, saving the world from Armageddon, forcing the hero to her will, or trying to save Great-grandpa Joe’s independent newspaper – she must be passive.

I love to read about heroine’s who struggle to play within the rules of their society and win. Who know that it’s self that defines their world as much as actions.

If Elizabeth Bennett had grabbed the family carriage and rushed to London we would have all thrown the book down. But, for some reason now, we expect a heroine to play by in this worlds and today’s rules no matter when or where she is.

To me, that isn’t overcoming the odds, it’s stacking the deck.

Often, especially in literature, we choose to see things in the lowest, easiest common-denominator.

She left = running
Love = conquers all
People = good OR bad

Faela, if we jump to Tami Cowden’s site again, is a combination of Waif and Spunky Kid for most of the book (wait till you meet the new Faela in book 2!)

But, no matter how much of a metamorphous your characters go through, she’s still the same person. Every time Faela grows and her personality shifts a little, I ask myself “Is this true to her or am I creating an ideal for no defendable reason?”

Yes, I want her to overcome things. Yes, I want her to grow as a character. Yes, I want you to love her like I do. But I want it to be REAL.

Luckily, I write YA and for some reason teens haven’t lost this sense of inner-struggle as the ultimate prize yet. They still understand that being true to yourself or compromising who you are is THE defining issue in life.

Once again, let’s talk about Elizabeth Bennett – she doesn’t compromise her beliefs or self to marry Darcy to ‘save the family farm’ so to speak. Not until she sees her own flaws and his own goodness does she come to understand her own heart.

And so, I ask you – Who are your favorite heroines and what makes her worth loving? 

Tell me, I’m always looking for a new character to love!

Go Write

Look back and Laugh

October 31, 2007 at 9:07 am | Posted in Bria, character, creativity, dialogue, Fast Draft, format, hero, inspiration, self-editing, writing | 2 Comments

I’m away at a week long writer’s retreat and so this week’s blog is my top ten of my own posts – feels like cheating, except I’m looking over my own stuff, so it’s a good review for me, right?

1.        The Grand Gesture
I love this post. The childhood story really happened, I love to think about what makes a good hero and, best of all, Elizabeth Boyle commented – I mean, seriously.
Which brings me directly to #2

2.     Too Perfect
It takes a look at how having a perfect hero isn’t perfect, it’s annoying and a little weak. A quick shout out to Gary Chapman’s The Five Love Languages helps to look at creating a more realistic character – especially the hero or heroine.
Sticking with heros and men is #3

3.   Sexy is as Sexy Does
Let’s take a look at what’s attractive AND what isn’t.

4.     Where the HECK is my Blog
Yet another reference to my own quirky-luck and self competitiveness.

5.     Dialogue and Punctuation
A writer’s rant turned into a public resource. LSU linked to us as a resource for how to punctuate dialogue — I’m so glad it was helpful to people. The basics should be what slow your writing down.

6.     My Blog Crush
More of my quirky look at life – I took the idea of a new inspiration and turned it into, apparently, a running joke online. The poet really is very good and one of the places I go when I need to re-think how I’m using words.  Right now that place is Tamara Pierce – how does she squeeze those stories in 55K words?

7.     The World In My Head
Yes, I’m one of those people who can be alone in a crowded room creating my own world. Especially during Fast Draft time such as this post fell into.  I KNOW some of you are doing NaNoWrMo, so you must know how I feel forced to focus all my energy in that one story for 2 weeks straight. 20 pages a day, what was I thinking – Thanks Candy Havers!

8.     What I Can’t/Won’t Write
This post got a lot of attention from people commenting off the blog about my willingness to throw this idea out there. Thanks for supporting my stand with my own personal values.

9.     Story Serendipity
Thank goodness for it!  That’s all I have to say.

10. Formatting Your Baby
It caused controversy in the comments and the FlanTastic chat, but the info there was checked by two print editors so I’m standing by it.
Well, this was fun. Hopefully right now I’m at the retreat writing a masterpiece — or at least not embarrassing myself too badly. 

Let me know your thoughts — I always love to hear feedback, positive and negative (yes, I said negative screw the “constructive.”)

Go Write

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