Friday, July 19, 2013

Wise words.

Therese Patrick
Romance writers are generous and loving and kind. Don't believe me? Listen to these wonderful words by Therese Patrick to me, when I was despairing that I couldn't write for 8 hours at a time.

Write for 8 hours on end? Good grief! 4 - tops. I'm not into turning my mind and body over to a muse for half of my consciousness each day. Writers need to be living life in order to write about it. 8 hours of butt in chair every day is not living life, it's avoiding the stories that are developing and evolving all around us.

Stories come from people. 4 hours of being out in the world where people are walking and talking - then 4 hours of butt in chair... Or 4 hours of reading followed by 4 hours of writing.

You can't write about life if you are not living life or reading about life. Find your own personal balance then celebrate that! The words will live there.

Learn more about Therese over at her great blog, Author Marketing 101. 

Co-founder of  Author Marketing 101 with C. Morgan Kennedy.  AM101 is FREE marketing advice and actionable tips for authors. We present workshops and our AM101 Guide & Journal will be published in the fall of 2013!  Our 7 Primary Points can be applied to Artists and Small Business owners who are looking to stand out from the crowd in the internet cloud.  Change the words that apply to authors and books to your title and product and have fun online.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Blast from the Past.

Note: I am currently at the Romance Writers of America National Conference. While I'm gone, I'm reposting some of my older blog entries. This one is about how writers figure out their characters.

Every writer finds ways to make her characters three-dimensional and interesting. We fill out character sheets, brainstorm via longhand in cheap (or expensive, depending on your personality) notebooks, post pictures of what we think they look like - the list goes on and on.

Archetypes or stock characters are fantastic starting places. Often people get quite upset about these ideas, claiming that using them leads to one-dimensional characters or stereotyping. In the hands of a writer who isn't paying attention, yes. That can happen. I really like the way Christopher Vogler puts it in The Writer's Journey:

Looking at the flexible character functions rather than rigid character types, can liberate your storytelling. It explains how a character in a story can manifest the qualities of more than one archetype.

Every good story reflects the total human story, the universal human condition of being born into the world, growing, learning, struggling to become an individual, and dying. Stories can be read as metaphors for the general human situation, with characters who embody universal...qualities, comprehensible to the group as well as the individual. (pgs. 30-33)
Here are just a few archetype systems that writers I know use.

Joseph Campbell
Joseph Campbell's breakdowns which includes categories such as Hero, Mentor, Threshold Guardian, Herald, Shapeshifter, Shadow, and Trickster.

Visconti-Sforza Tarot.

The Tarot- Which has the advantage of very pretty art in addition to helping figure out character traits.

Astrological signs (a perennial favorite)

Gods and Goddesses of various pantheons (I have a weakness for the Greeks, but I've found inspiration in other religions, too)

I'll be getting into these ideas into great depth in later posts. Let me know if you want me to go into the whole Jung/Joseph Campbell origins of modern thought on archetypes. It's fascinating and I love it, but I can be long winded about it.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Blast from the Past.

For the next several days, I will be at the Romance Writers of America National Conference. While I'm gone, I'm going to revisit some of my earlier blog posts. Woohoo!

From June 29, 2010, here is the post, Writers Helping Each Other:

My good friend Nancy Crampton Brophy writes incredibly witty and fast paced romantic suspense.  We help each other with plotting, character growth, and brainstorming. Our friends Darla Luke, Su Lute, Cassiel Knight, and Jessie Smith call ourselves the Hooligans, and we support each other as much as we can.

Last Friday, Nancy and I had lunch. She shared with me a technique she'd found by listening to the conference tapes from a previous RWA Conference.

Renee Ryan had presented a workshop on layering. For those not obsessed with writing, that's the process of taking your draft and adding all those things that make a book memorable. Nancy really like the recording, emailed Renee, and got her notes from the workshop. Then she shared them with me.

Here is Renee Ryan's layering process:

  1. Finish your first draft. This can be a draft of a scene, a chapter, or even your whole book.
  2. Layer in movement - character movement, the world around them.
  3. Layer in the five senses
  4. Layer in the setting - after all, the environment is a character in and of itself
  5. Layer in the emotion
  6. Layer in the dialog
  7. Layer in the backstory
  8. Layer in the sexual tension
  9. (and I added this one) Layer in the theme
I've been trying this for the last few days, and I am thrilled! Breaking down the process this way has really helped my revisions, especially after all the cutting I've done. 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Goddess Fish Blog Tour: Halo Legacy series

Legacy Reborn by Genie Gabriel   

Check this out!
Genie will be awarding nine $9 Amazon GCs -- eight will be awarded to randomly drawn commenters during the tour, and one will be awarded to a randomly drawn host.


Once more dressed in jeans and her well-worn cowboy boots, with a jacket thrown on to ward off the chill evening air, Phoenix walked. Against a backdrop of blue-green mountain peaks and the lightly wooded hillsides closer to the farm, the hens were settling in their coop, with only an occasional soft clucking.

 Inside the boldly painted red barn, horses whickered in their stalls. She breathed deeply of the scents of horse and hay as she ambled through the dusty structure, then opened the side door and walked into the llama's pasture. The male immediately approached her and nuzzled her cheek as she slung her arm around him.

"I love you too, Romeo." She closed her eyes and relaxed against the animal's woolly neck. 

However, her relaxation ended abruptly when the animal stiffened and emitted a shrill cry. Following the animal's gaze, Phoenix saw CJ standing on the other side of the corral with his arms folded on the top board. 

"Will your llama spit in my face?" 

 "It's alright, Romeo." Phoenix patted the llama, then walked slowly toward the man who had occupied too much of her thoughts lately. "What brings you out this way?" 

 "You left the Governor's presentation right after you talked to Mitch. I wanted to be sure you were okay." 

All the memories she had been trying to walk off slammed into Phoenix once more. "What is okay? I'm not sure I've ever been okay or ever will be. How can I find normal or happy when I don't think I've experienced those things?" 

"You come up your own version of what makes you happy." "A woman is dead because of me. How can I ever be happy knowing that?" 

 "Mitch said Swaggerty was waiting for Charlene. If it hadn't been that night, he would have killed her another way. Phoenix let that statement sink in. One part of her brain knew that was true. So why did she cling to the blame for Charlene's death? Maybe she was afraid to move forward.

About Genie:

I'm an optimist whose rose-colored glasses have bent frames and cracked lenses. When life kicks me in the teeth, I find miracles and lessons I refused to learn an easier way. In fact, I live with a small herd of miracles in the furry forms of dogs, who are constantly trying to teach me to forgive, to play more, and to love without limits. I write about people who find courage and integrity in the darkest times of their lives, who rescue stray dogs and kittens, who find a person they would willingly give their lives for, and who make their little corners of the world a better place. People have remarked my stories "aren't what they expected." With rose-colored glasses firmly in place, I take that as a compliment. I invite you to share a piece of my world in the pages of a book, and hope you find some surprises, some tears, some laughter, and always a happy ending.

NOTE: All nine books in the Halo Legacy Series will be $0.99 the day of the tour!


Thank you for visiting!

Linda Mercury
My page at Amazon:
Dracula's Secret
Dracula's Desires
Dracula Unleashed
Predator and Prey