Tag Archive | writing

What Do You Do When Your Character Disagrees With Your Story Line?

I’ve come to an impasse. After writing several chapters, I have come to know my main characters well. So well that when I sit down to write, I often simply record the story as they play it out. But now I’ve come to a point when my protagonist is about to reveal a key item from her past – a major motivator in the current situation – but the person she has turned out to be simply would not have been involved in that situation.

So my question: Do I change my story line to accommodate the character that has evolved, or do I scrap the character and rewrite someone to fit the story?

For now, I will move on to another project, but I would welcome suggestions.


#AmReading Summer 2014

I love to read. Always have, as long as they make glasses strong enough to correct my vision, I expect I always will. At the beginning of each summer I go on a book spree. I pick a book store, or book section of a store I frequent (Target is a favorite), and buy every single book I find interesting. Or at least the top 10 or so. I try to stay away from books I’ve heard much about, tend to allow the titles, cover graphics, and back blurbs draw me in.

Once I get my purchase home, I’m like a kid at Christmas – sorting the books by size, re-reading the jacket cover blurbs, prioritizing the order in which I will read the new stack. This is how I discovered Shelter Me, by Juliette Fay. The story was refreshing. Janie became a real person within the first few pages. A widow, a mother, and eventually a woman finding her next chapter – this was someone I could identify with. I was impressed with the way Juliette incorporated the children into the story. They were not simply there to fill space. They were part of Janie, infiltrated into every aspect of her life. Real. I enjoyed the story and was sorry when it ended.

Jump to a month ago, BookQuest 2014. My intention was slightly different this year.  In the midst of writing my own first novel, I am hungry to read more of what has inspired me thus far. Looking back at my favorites from last year, I searched for anything new from Amy Sue Nathan (The Glass Wives), Kimberley Freeman (Wildflower Hill), Juliette Fay (Shelter Me), Vanessa Diffenbaugh (The Language of Flowers), or Meg Waite Clayton (The Wednesday Sisters).

I was thrilled to find Deep Down True and The Shortest Way Home, both by Juliette Fay. So they are not brand new, better I find these late than never. Partially through Deep Down True, I have not been disappointed. I’m again impressed with the use of the children to bring the story to life. ‘Dana’ just wouldn’t be a real person if not fully developed as a mother. Another trend I notice in Juliette’s writing style is her use of plot twists. There are many instances I find myself holding my breath, expecting to have the rug pulled out from under the latest revealed truth. But the twist ends up being that there is no twist, face value is true. When so many novels these days appear to be written simply to incorporate as many plot twists as the author can squeeze in, whether they advance the story or not, I appreciate this straight forward style.  I look forward to diving into The Shortest Way Home as well, although I’m sure I’ll need a few extra days to let go of Dana and her crew once I reach the end of her story.

I have this crazy habit of extrapolating a particularly good book – allowing the characters to live on for a while after I finish the last page. Imagining what happened after the last word was written, was it really happily ever after, etc. Do you ever do this?

I have a question thought, for anyone else who may have read Deep Down True. There is one sentence in chapter 23 that is bugging me. Completely no big deal, but it keeps coming back to me. Dana and Tina are wrapping up a very uncomfortable phone conversation when Tina says, “The nurse is waiting. Bye.” …and the call ended. What nurse?? What did I miss? Any insight? Please clue me in!

What are you reading this summer? Do your reading tastes change with the season? Leave comments, let me know!



Writing My First Novel, Characters Come To Life

I am writing my first novel. Everything I read says your first novel is your throw away. That it will be no good but must be written to clear the way for future quality books.

If nine out of ten published authors say this is true, it likely is true. I am sure every new author thinks he or she will be the exception to that rule. But gosh, I hope I’m the exception to that rule!

I really like my story. I’ve had this story in my head for some time. I hope others will have the opportunity to read it and enjoy it, but most importantly, I need to write it. It simply won’t leave me alone until I do.

I’m early in the process of getting the first draft on paper, just recently hitting the milestone of the first 10,000 words, but have noticed a phenomenon that is just so much fun! When I sit down to write each day I usually have a particular scene in mind, some part of scenario or dialog already in my head. I begin writing with the purpose of bringing the story from the current point A to the next point B.

But as I am beginning to know my characters very well, they seem to be taking control, directing the story on their own. At times I feel as though I am simply following them around, transcribing their every action and word onto the paper. This is creating more work for me since I sometimes have to go back and adjust previous scenes and back stories to make the current events work, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

My characters seem to have come to life, and have grown into folks I really like, or really like to dislike! This is making this process so enjoyable, many days I just can’t wait to sit down to the keyboard to find out what happens next. Hopefully one day readers will feel the same way!

Four Tips for Writing Online

The World Wide Web has opened up many new opportunities for aspiring writers to see their by-line in print. A writer for years, but yet to be published, I decided to take advantage of this and experience the thrill of seeing my words online. Four primary lessons I have taken away from the experience are as follows:

1. Blogs – Perhaps the best-known vehicle for getting your thoughts recorded for all to see on the internet is by blogging. There are many sites that will allow you to start your own blog, will furnish stylish templates, provide hosting, statistics, and all needed support – for free. There are as many types of blogs as there are people with imaginations. Some dedicate their writing space to discuss their children, some focus on home repairs, or health concerns, or what they ate or wore to the park that day. Once you have a number of followers, you can easily offer space on your blog to advertisers – and get paid for it.

2. Content Contributors – A slightly less known opportunity is to sign up as a content contributor for one of many well-known sites. Most allow you to submit articles on the topic of your choice for publication. The compensation for your articles varies from site to site. Some offer a small monetary payment based on the number of views your article receives, some pay a small set dollar amount. Other sites do not pay but are valuable for the exposure you receive. If you aspire to become a published author in the ink and paper world, this is not a bad place to start building a name for yourself.

3. Social Media Regardless of where you write your words, no one will read them if they do not know they exist. Always thinking SEO and keywords when you title your article and write your introduction paragraph will give it a fighting chance of being found in a web search, but you must learn to market yourself on social media. This means using Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon,Tumblr, and the like to spread the word each time you publish something new. It is also important to be a good neighbor. This means finding and reading other folks writing on the subjects that interest you and leaving appropriate comments. These folks will typically return the favor, increasing your readership.

4. Reputation – Perhaps more than in person, your online reputation is everything. All anyone has to form an opinion of you by online is what he or she sees your name attached to. If you wish to be taken seriously as a writer, it is important that everything you write, every tweet you send or retweet, be something your readers would expect of you. Once you have lost a follower, they are unlikely to return.