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Friday, April 22, 2011

What Makes a Good Page Turner?

Now that I am writing, it's funny how much I'm thinking about being a reader as well.  I often wonder what it is that I like to read. What keeps me turning pages?  That is of course the goal as an author is to keep your reader's interest throughout your story.

Well for me that has, and I imagine always will be, action and emotional scenes.  Once I'm emotionally invested in a story, all an author has to do is keep me moving through the background knowledge quickly enough so that I can get to the next action/emotional scene.  As a reader, my favorite thing is to let my imagination go and find myself sitting next to the characters in those scene.

I discovered an interesting thing the other day while I was writing.  The parts of my book that I write with ease are the action and emotional scenes (like 1,300 words in an hour) and I struggle with the background and "storytelling" aspects (like 500 words in an evening).  The funny thing is that I have my whole story outlined.  My characters and plot all have a history that I know, so it's not for lack of knowledge.  It's almost like I get bored the same way I do when I read.  All I want is to do is to get back to the next action/emotional scene.

I'm not really sure how to overcome this other than to just push through and keep those parts of my story as concise as possible.  If I'm bored as the author writing those parts, then I can only assume that my readers will be bored as well. 

There is a catch 22 though.  There is information that my readers need to know that can't always be part of a more exciting scene.  I have found that my main character's inner monologue has been the device I've used most often. Personally, I find her intriguing and by getting in to her head I hope to give my readers a reason to keep going.  I don't was them to get too bogged down by what I find to be boring, but necessary, to write.  I hope they will keep turning pages to find that next exciting scene.

Write well!


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Why do you have to be so perfect? Oh right, I created you.

I am nearly half way through my book (word count wise anyway) and I have spent the mass majority of it writing about Lizabeth's relationship with Gabriel.  I have really enjoyed writing Gabriel's character, probably a little too much.

In all honesty I have now created my "perfect" mate in Gabriel.  He's protective, intelligent and completely devoted to Lizabeth.  Which are all the characteristics any girl could ask for in a mate.  As I've said in earlier posts there is a lot if me in Lizabeth therefore, when I write Lizabeth's emotions about Gabriel they are true to life (mine).

Unfortunately (well for me anyway), the story calls for Lizabeth to view Gabriel as her brother.  She cares deeply for him, but not in a romantic way, which is killing me.

I'm to the point in the story now where I have to write about Lizabeth's love interest.  The first couple of times I had to do this I found it very difficult.  I did such a good job making Gabriel my perfect male character that I couldn't write about Christian, in a romantic way, convincingly.

After some talks with an author friend, some soul searching and just writing through it I knew that the story required Lizabeth to fall in love with Christian.  It was the pivotal to the story.

Digging down into my emotions, there seems to be a lot of that while writing this book, (still working on making that a peacful process) I found what I needed to use to make Lizabeth's emotions for Christian believeable.  I can't wait to watch their relationship blossom in front of me as hers and Gabriel's did.

Write well,


Saturday, April 9, 2011

Music as my Muse (ok not exactly, but I like alliteration)

I am continually surprised by what a journey this whole novel writing thing is turning into.  For one thing, I am reaffirming things about myself that I already knew and coming face to face with things that I may or may not like.

Let's tackle the reaffirming things I already know about myself first.  I am female, but not your traditional female I'd say.  I've never been a really emotional girl.  I like to stuff my emotions down like so many guys I know.  Maybe that's why I get along when them better.  I've always been a fighter not a lover. 

So, here I am writing a book that's very dependent upon the emotional relationships that Lizabeth has with the male characters in her story (hmm, figuring anything out yet).  As the narrator of the story she has a lot of me in her, so as I write about these two male characters I'm constantly pulling on relationships I've had in the past.  (rough at times for this emotionless girl)  Not to mention when I write about the male characters I have to jump in their heads too thinking about some relationships in the opposite.  Ug!  

Now, don't get me wrong I have not had a horrible, catastrophic life. The opposite in fact, I think I've weathered the storm of adolescence and early adulthood quite well, but of course everyone has had those relationships in their life that they know they messed up or those that you wish could have at least been given a shot.  Since I like to bury my emotions drudging all this up in order to write is not something that I enjoy doing.

Now comes the music part.  I have found, blessedly, that music allows me to travel through these more emotional parts of my book more comfortably.  Is it because I can put myself in the singer's shoes or because I feel like my experiences are validated through their lyrics?  I don't know the answer, but I am thrilled that Saving Abel and The Script have my back.  Thanks guys! (now play DTE this summer)

Write well!


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

So did you name your characters that way on purpose?

Ok, so I need to start this post with the fact that my mom is an intelligent, well read woman.  (Now hopefully she won't kill me when I tell this story.)

As an eager author I am thrilled to have anyone read my work, especially those who's opinions matter most.  So, when my mom agreed to read the first couple chapters of Blood Rivalry I was thrilled.

It seemed to take her awhile to to get back to me.  So long in fact that I was getting nervous that she didn't like it.  Finally on one trip to the ice cream parlor with my kids, she said that she had read the first 2 chapters.  She said that it was interesting and that she thought it was well written.  (Now, I figured this was high praise from her since paranormal romance novels are not her cup of tea).  The next comment however caught me off guard. 
     She said, "so, did you name your characters that way on purpose?"

Now, I tried not to laugh out loud because I know that she still views me as her little girl.  I can only imagine her trying to think of me as a well read, intelligent adult now working to be an author. 
     I replied, "of course," and went on to briefly explain my thoughts.      

If you've already read Blood Rivalry and understand the naming of Gabriel and Christian there's no need to continue reading this post.  If however you need further explanation behind the naming of my characters, then please read on.

Originally Gabriel was named Michael after the Archangel, but the more I wrote the more I thought he was not like Michael.  The Archangel Michael is the leader of God's army and Gabriel is not really a fighter, therefore that name just didn't fit him.  Upon further thinking and investigating, I realized that the Archangel Gabriel is the angel that ushers the human race into the next life after the Apocalypse.  What an "ah ha" moment as a writer.  My character Gabriel ushers Lizabeth into her next life after Thomas's death.  Ta da, Gabriel was renamed.

Christian was a lot easier to name from the beginning and his name never changed from the second I wrote it.  Christian is obviously derived from Christ.  In my book Christian sees himself as needing to save Lizabeth from Gabriel.  Although Lizabeth doesn't really need to be saved from Gabriel she welcomes his attention for other reasons.  Christian is the "savior" figure in the book, so he is named accordingly.

So, yes mom, to answer your question I did name my characters that way on purpose.  I hope that this helps clear up any future confusion on the matter! Love you!

Write Well,


Sunday, April 3, 2011

My First Writing Workshop

I was fortunate enough to take a few of the middle pages of chapter two to a creative writing group at the local Public Library last week.  I have to admit that I was a bit nervous since this was the first time "strangers" would be reading any parts of Blood Rivalry.  Thankfully a family member, who happens to be a writer as well, agreed to go with me.

We walked into the room of about 12 other people and were instantly intrigued.  The groups was an eclectic mix of age and writing styles. I was very excited about the possibility of getting some great constructive criticism from some experienced writers.  Then, we found out that our pieces would be read aloud so that we (the authors) could hear what they sounded like.  That completely freaked me out.  I can't really tell you why, it was just not something I expected I guess.

The first volunteer's writing was a short newspaper like article about an older couple's disagreement about the amount of collectibles in their home.  It was very cute and well suited for its audience.  There were a multitude of other writings that we covered in the 2 hour workshop from bathroom themed poems, to a pirate adventure story.  I looked up at the clock realizing that we were about to finish and I hadn't offered up my piece for critique yet.

The group facilitator said that we had time for one more piece and I jumped.  "I'll go," I said as I handed out my pages.  My stomach was in knots, but I knew that it was now or never.  I had to take this leap of faith.  When the reader read the pages out loud I was pleased with the way they sounded.

The reaction from the group was positive as well.  I got a lot of good edits including a few pronoun and tense fixes that I missed when I read it myself.  I'm beginning to see that that is going to be the hardest part for me.  Content consistency isn't a problem so far (I have the whole story outlined in my head and to some extent on paper) but punctuation for dialogue and tense shifts are tricky.  I think that's because it's my first draft and I"m trying just to get all my words out.  That should be easier to deal with in later drafts I imagine.

I also came to a good conclusion at this first workshop.  I have written 5 chapters and haven't used the word "vampire".  It's now a personal goal to keep it out of the book.  I'm not sure why it's so important to me.  I guess it's that I figure I tell the story well enough that I don't need to be explicit.  When I put that thought to the group I was answered with, "Well, when you get this book published you won't have to use the word vampire because the cover art will show that for you."  Oh my God, he said WHEN I get this book published.  I just about died!  That one comment made my year.

Write well,


The Beginning of Blood Rivalry

I've been writing Blood Rivalry for about 3 years.  It's been a start and stop process.  Since having 2 kids, my life is quite busy.  I started it while my husband was working on his master's thesis.  I had a lot of time on my hands when the kids had gone to bed because he was busy.

It's been a fantastic journey so far. I find that as I write the characters really have begun to take to take on a life of their own.  They are constantly "talking" to me throughout the day and I can't wait until I can get the time to write at night.

Recently, I decided that I needed to chronicle the whole writing process.  Because this is my first novel, I am learning a lot as I go.  I never have been much of a journal writer, but for some strange reason I feel the need to keep a log of the process.  Hopefully it will prove to be an interesting read!