Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Meeting Thursday!

The September meeting of the Mid-Willamette Valley chapter of the Romance Writers of America will be held Thursday, September 1st, from 7-9 p.m. at the Salem, Oregon Central library.


We will have an optional critique group gathering from 6-7 p.m.  Feel free to bring a few pages of work you'd like to have critiqued, and we'll see how many excerpts we can fit in to the hour.  This is our first time trying this, so come with ideas and suggestions and we'll give it a whirl.


Our meeting speaker will be GENENE VALLEAU, who will share the techniques of storyboarding, spreadsheeting and pre-planning that she's using to craft a nine-book story arc.



BTW, it is okay to bring food and drink into the library, as long as we clean up afterward.  I'd advise against that garlic-and-limberger casserole you have your heart set on, but sandwiches, salads, etc., are fine, chocolate is always in good taste among romance writers, and I'll have a big thermos of hot water along if you want to bring tea/coffee/instant soup.

Our business meeting will include planning for next year's meetings and online workshops, an update on our website and banking improvements, and more (I don't actually have any more, but if you've got anything to discuss, feel free).


I hope to see you there!


Remember:  nonmembers may attend two meetings as guests for free before they must join our chapter and RWA National; former members may attend one meeting for free before re-joining.  So come on in and say hi.


Email if you'd like directions to the meeting place.

Characters-They're around us every day.

Current Project:Logger in Petticoats
Status: 500 words

As I blundered through the messy files inside my head to conjure up the heroine in Logger in Petticoats, I keep going back to my youngest daughter's best friend. Her parent's are 6' and 6'5". She is a tall(6'2"), not stocky but sturdy, girl who loves volleyball and basketball. But she isn't aggressive. A trait she and my daughter had in common. They were both good volleyball players but they played the game for the joy of it not the competition which of course drove the coaches nuts.

I've based my heroine on this girl because as a teenager she was awkward due to her size and she was blonde... Sometimes she would say and do the goofiest things and then slap her head and say, "Doh!" She laughs at her own clumsiness and has a HUGE heart. Those are the traits I've built into my heroine, also the nationality- Norwegian.

The heroine's family is going to be based on neighbors we had when the kids were growing up. They were third generation Norwegians from North Dakota. Over the years of living next to them and our kids hanging out with Olaf learning about horses, I've learned a few Norwegian words. ;) And the bond that they form in their families. This will be one of the conflicts for my heroine when it comes to the black moment. Can she leave her family and the close knit community of the logging camp?

How about you? Do you use people from your life in your stories? If so who?

Monday, August 29, 2011

Weekly Progress Check-In




This is the Mid-Willamette Valley RWA's weekly check-in.  Every Monday we encourage members and visitors to let us know how their writing is going.


Today is Monday, August 29, 2011.

Are you on track to reach your goals?

There are 124 days left in 2011.

Weekly Calculations:
If you write 1 page per day, you can write 31000 more words by the end of the year.
If you write 2 pages per day, you can write 62000 more words by the end of the year.
If you write 3 pages per day, you can write 93000 more words by the end of the year.
If you write 4 pages per day, you can write 124000 more words by the end of the year.
If you write 5 pages per day, you can write 155000 more words by the end of the year.

So how are you doing?  If you have gotten off track, this is the week you can regain your momentum.  Tell us how you're doing, and set a fresh goal for the upcoming week.  A page a day is a book in a year.  You can do it!

PRIZES:  The best prize is reaching your personal goal and finishing your book.  But if you need an extra little incentive, remember:  any chapter member who reaches her personal goal by the end of the year receives a prize at the year-end party.  Non-members can win, too.  Non-members who show up for at least 20 weekly check-ins will have their names entered in a drawing for a gift card from Powells, the world's largest independent bookstore.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

It's Time to Break the Hero Mold!

Current Project: Proposals
Status: Making progress

Today I'm on my soapbox.
Two of My Heroes

Heroes; gotta love 'em! But riddle me this: How come it's okay to have a heroine who is (ahem) an armful (EX: Bet Me by Jenny Cruisie), but our heroes must be tall and buff?

Remember little David who slew Goliath using brains over brawn? There's proof that not all heroes have to be tall and buff. David's been admired for thousands of years.

My husband accuses us romance writers of writing heroes men can't easily relate to, because they're all too physically perfect.  I have to admit, I think he has a point. Character makes a true hero.

What do you think?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Quote of the Day



A few more quotes about characters to hopefully spark your own imagination:


"I don't want to say I hear voices; well, actually I do hear voices, but I don't think it's supernatural. I think it's just that when characters are given enough texture and backbone, then lo and behold, they stand on their own." --Anne Tyler 

"Each morning my characters greet me with misty faces willing, though chilled, to muster for another day's progress through the dazzling quicksand the marsh of blank paper." --John Updike 

"My characters surprise me constantly. My characters are like my friends - I can give them advice, but they don't have to take it. If your characters are real, then they surprise you, just like real people." --Laurell K. Hamilton 

"And when I'm writing, I write a lot anyway. I might write pages and pages of conversation between characters that don't necessarily end up in the book, or in the story I'm working on, because they're simply my way of getting to know the characters." --Norton Juster 

"The most unrealistic thing I've ever read in comics is when some group of characters calls themselves the Brotherhood of Evil or the Masters of Evil. I don't believe any character believes their goals to be truly evil." --Len Wein 

"This is a work of fiction. All the characters in it, human and otherwise, are imaginary, excepting only certain of the fairy folk, whom it might be unwise to offend by casting doubts on their existence. Or lack thereof." --Neil Gaiman 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Inexpressible*

As with just about everything else when it comes to writing, there isn't one right way to create a character. (I can't tell you how often I've wished that entire sentence weren't true.) Heck, I don't think I've ever used the same technique twice myself. Well, with one exception.

Music. 

For some reason, when I really start getting into the heads of my characters—when they truly become real to me—I start seeing them in my head when I listen to music. Not every song, mind, but I suspect I unconsciously search for songs that fit. When I've found enough songs for a decent playlist, say 20 to 30, I feel like I've found the emotional key to my story and my characters.

Sometimes I'll listen to the playlist while I'm writing, but not always. Sometimes it's enough to listen to a few songs before I start writing, just to evoke the mood I'm seeking. I'll listen in the car to spark ideas for upcoming scenes. Or I'll listen late at night before going to bed, to let new ideas germinate overnight.

I don't look for songs that tell the exact story I want to write. It's enough if a phrase or line of melody resonates strongly. Several of the songs on my current playlist are instrumental only. That doesn't always happen, but this time—oh, this time—so many of the songs I've chosen are jazz and they make me see and feel the magic and how the various characters feel about using it. Having so many instrumental songs also makes it a bit easier to listen to the playlist while writing.

If you're curious, here are the songs on my current character playlist (the order is random). I wish I could provide the actual songs for you, but I've found links to listen to (most of) them online.

Pick Up the PiecesAvenue Blue Feat.Jeff Golub
Ever ReturningBernward Koch
Song for OlabiBliss
TrinidadBoney James
Caribbean DreamBryan Savage
Spontaneous CombustionFishbelly Black
Nothing But YouKim Ferron
Harlem NocturneKofi
MadridMarc Antoine
Give It AwayZero 7
Head Over FeetAlanis Morissette
Chain of FoolsThe Commitments
Just My LuckKim Richey
KraftyNew Order
Zombie JamboreeRockapella
In Too DeepGenesis
You Tell Me That I'm Falling DownLinda Ronstadt
Reference PointAcoustic Alchemy
Running on FaithEric Clapton (unplugged)
ForeplayFourplay
Breathe In, Breathe Out, Move OnJimmy Buffett
FeverMichael Buble
Regrets (Duo Avec Jean-Louis Murat)Mylene Farmer
UnboundRobbie Robertson
King of Wishful ThinkingGo West

So, that's it. As you can see, it's a bit of an eclectic mix. I'm sure it says as much about me as it does about my characters. But the right music makes my characters and my story come alive for me. How about you? Do you use music when you create your characters or when you write? I'm all ears. :-)

Catch you on the flip side...

* Title from: "After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music." — Aldous Huxley

Monday, August 22, 2011

Weekly Progress Check-In




This is the Mid-Willamette Valley RWA's weekly check-in.  Every Monday we encourage members and visitors to let us know how their writing is going.


Today is Monday, August 22, 2011.

Are you on track to reach your goals?

There are 131 days left in 2011.

Weekly Calculations:
If you write 1 page per day, you can write 32750 more words by the end of the year.
If you write 2 pages per day, you can write 65500 more words by the end of the year.
If you write 3 pages per day, you can write 98250 more words by the end of the year.
If you write 4 pages per day, you can write 131000 more words by the end of the year.
If you write 5 pages per day, you can write 163750 more words by the end of the year.

So how are you doing?  If you have gotten off track, this is the week you can regain your momentum.  Tell us how you're doing, and set a fresh goal for the upcoming week.  A page a day is a book in a year.  You can do it!

PRIZES:  The best prize is reaching your personal goal and finishing your book.  But if you need an extra little incentive, remember:  any chapter member who reaches her personal goal by the end of the year receives a prize at the year-end party.  Non-members can win, too.  Non-members who show up for at least 20 weekly check-ins will have their names entered in a drawing for a gift card from Powells, the world's largest independent bookstore.

Friday, August 19, 2011

All that is random

Current Project: Sharks
Status: middle of chapter 3

I love writing series characters. The first series I wrote was my Lakota/Pinkerton series. This series started with Dakota's Bride and was not planned. In fact my editor wanted the next story to revolve around Jacob St. John, but alas Jacob's story was the last one, Forever His.

The next set of books I wrote was semi-planned. I developed the characters of three brothers and each one eventually had their own book. This was my Highland series, Highland Honor, Highland Magic and Highland Song.

The character development in my regency series was more thoroughly researched. There are 12 sisters/cousins in four families. Each heroine has their flower, their stone, their horoscope and the name of their very own hero. Once again with the writing of Allura and the introduction of all the heroines, it has been noted often that the story the readers wants most is that of the youngest sibling/cousin. Unfortunately, I have only finished the first three stories of which only two are published. I think Aidan may have to wait a very long time to find out what will become of her.

I think readers become involved in the characters and if the book/books are well written they want to learn more about the characters they have invested so much time with. What do you think?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

WRITING SERIES CHARACTERS

Current Project: LEGACY series
Status: Just finished book #2 and the cover
Posted by: Genene Valleau

I'm celebrating because I finished the edits of the second story in my series as well as the cover this past weekend. Hooray! However, because this is part of a series, it's not really "The End" but the beginning. More to come for these characters. :)


Which brings me to my topic: writing series characters.


I know other authors have carried one or two main characters through a number of books. Don't know if I could stretch and pace one character's growth for five or ten or more books.


Other series consist of secondary characters who get their own story after the wrap-up of a first or second story, with previous main characters stepping back to minor roles or just mentioned. My first three books were like this. Paty has done series like this, as has Chris and other authors.


However, the series I'm working on has overlapping events and characters from previous stories continue to grow and evolve as the family saga continues. This is new to me and it's been interesting to track major events and how those events affect each member of the family.

(At our meeting on September 1, I'll share some of the ways I've tracked the progress of this series, including storyboards, a character notebook, and massive databases.)


For instance, their home town blowing up triggers the sister and her maybe-husband to make a commitment to their relationship. The same event pushes the oldest brother to propose to a woman he has been dating only a short time. Another brother becomes involved with the reporter who returns to town after leaving in whispered shame years ago.


Throughout the series, there will be secrets revealed that will put different family members in conflict with each other, and crises that will bring them closer together.


It has been intriguing to explore how each event affects each character differently, bringing different memories or issues or changing the direction of their lives. It was a good way to get to know my characters better--put them in a crisis situation and see how they react.


I'm always interested in how other writers dig down through the emotional layers of their characters. Do you interview your characters, or think about what they would carry in their purse or pocket, or dump them into a crisis and watch them react as you get to know them? I'd love to hear your process.



Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Current Project: editing and formatting For a Sister's Love
Status: Hope to finish and get it up on Kindle this week.

I was part of a blog series on western historical novels that was read by Sue Grimshaw and she now wants us to do something like it for her blog Random Romance. But the group came up with the idea of showing what historical westerns are all about by interviewing our characters.

They didn't want all marshals or outlaws so we had to let them know what characters we would interview. I'm, of course, going to interview Wren and Himiin from Spirit of the Mountain. Because I do believe Himiin will be the only spirit interviewed.;)

But I need some help. What could be some questions the interviewer asks him that would show the genre-historical paranormal?

And Wren as a Nez Perce maiden, do have some questions you think would work for her?

I also have to come up with an interviewer other than myself. I'm thinking a National Park guide who comes upon them near Wallowa Lake would be a good interviewer. What do you think?

I'll let you know when my post runs.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Weekly Progress Check-In




This is the Mid-Willamette Valley RWA's weekly check-in.  Every Monday we encourage members and visitors to let us know how their writing is going.


Today is Monday, August 15, 2011.

Are you on track to reach your goals?

There are 138 days left in 2011.

Weekly Calculations:
If you write 1 page per day, you can write 34500 more words by the end of the year.
If you write 2 pages per day, you can write 69000 more words by the end of the year.
If you write 3 pages per day, you can write 103500 more words by the end of the year.
If you write 4 pages per day, you can write 138000 more words by the end of the year.
If you write 5 pages per day, you can write 172500 more words by the end of the year.

So how are you doing?  If you have gotten off track, this is the week you can regain your momentum.  Tell us how you're doing, and set a fresh goal for the upcoming week.  A page a day is a book in a year.  You can do it!

PRIZES:  The best prize is reaching your personal goal and finishing your book.  But if you need an extra little incentive, remember:  any chapter member who reaches her personal goal by the end of the year receives a prize at the year-end party.  Non-members can win, too.  Non-members who show up for at least 20 weekly check-ins will have their names entered in a drawing for a gift card from Powells, the world's largest independent bookstore.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

WRITING ANIMAL CHARACTERS

Current Project: Proposals
Status: Moving Along Again (at last)
Okay, I admit it; I’m a sucker for animals. Growing up in suburbia, we always had pets: dogs, cats, a cottontail rabbit, parakeets, guppies, horned toads, turtles, a duck, ground squirrels, coconut crabs, and for one glorious day, a turkey named Jim that my father won in a contest.


I was the kid who read all the books in the school library that were written from the animal’s point of view, the ones that described the life of a beaver or an owlet from birth to independence (and sometimes on to parenthood.) As a young teen, I wanted to be a wildlife biologist. And the first book I wrote was a non-fiction children’s book about osprey (fish hawks.)

Not surprisingly, animal characters appear in my stories. If you haven’t written an animal character who is more than a walk-on, give the idea some careful consideration. Statistically speaking, most readers own or have owned pets. Pets and their owners are easy for readers to relate to, care about and to root for.  


Writing animal characters is more than a gimmick. Remember the Lassie books? Or The Cat Who… mysteries? The books Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen and The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein have been on the bestseller lists for ages. In both books, animals are major characters. In the second book, Enzo is the narrator.

In my books, most animals are true secondary characters who serve important roles: mentor, foil, mirror, scene antagonist, catalyst, ally, family, window into hero/heroine/villain’s character. My animal characters’ actions affect the plot as well as the tone of a story (often providing comic relief.)

A word of caution: do your research, and remember that animal characters have instincts as well as GMCs. If your animal’s behavior is atypical for the species/breed, you’d better have a convincing explanation woven into your story. Do you write animal characters? Do you like to read about them?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Quotes of the Day


Some authors' thoughts on creating characters:


"When writing a novel a writer should create living people; people not characters. A character is a caricature." --Ernest Hemingway 

"Every human being has hundreds of separate people living under his skin. The talent of a writer is his ability to give them their separate names, identities, personalities and have them relate to other characters living with him." --Mel Brooks 

"All characters come from people I know, but after the initial inspiration, I tend to modify the characters so they fit with the story." --Nicholas Sparks 

"If there is any secret to my success, I think it's that my characters are very real to me. I feel everything they feel, and therefore I think my readers care about them." --Sidney Sheldon 

"When the characters are really alive before their author, the latter does nothing but follow them in their action, in their words, in the situations which they suggest to him. --Luigi Pirandello 

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

The Villain of the Piece

Late again, I see. Bad poster, no biscuit!

So, um, characters... We all love to talk about our Heros and Heroines. Thinking about what makes them tick--and what makes them run screaming for the hills--is part of the fun of writing, at least for me. Hopefully they come alive for us in ways that make it to the page and into readers' hearts.

But I'd like to talk about another character. One that doesn't get quite as much attention in these kind of discussions. The Villain. I know a lot of stories don't have or need villains, but I'd like to talk about stories that do. There's nothing more disappointing than a story with a bad guy (or girl or...thing) who is supposed to be truly evil, but that never really fleshes him/her/it out. The Hero and Heroine are well rounded, with strengths and weakness, goals and motivations -- all nicely done up with a bow. But the poor Villain never takes the stage to show us what he's made of -- why, he might as well be Snidely Whiplash for all the dimension he possesses.


Wait. That's almost an insult to Snidely (who's now sulking over there in the corner), because even Snidely might be considered "just a guy with a weird fetish." 1

All joking aside, I've often wished writers would give as much thought to their Villain as they do to the "good" characters. A Villain who is one dimensional, who only exists to put roadblocks in the path of the Hero/Heroine is a disappointing Villain, indeed.

The best quote (paraphrased) I've ever heard (and wish I could remember the source) in regards to Villain character creation is: "A Villain doesn't think he's a villain -- to him, he's the hero of the story."

The stories I write all tend to have villains of one kind or another. None of them are completely evil. Each one of them believes his/her actions are justified. They all believe they're the real heros of the story.

And you know what? I let them.

Have any favorite Villains you'd like to share?

1http://bullwinkle.toonzone.net/snidely.htm

Monday, August 08, 2011

Weekly Progress Check-In



This is the Mid-Willamette Valley RWA's weekly check-in.  Every Monday we encourage members and visitors to let us know how their writing is going.

Today is Monday, August 8, 2011.

Are you on track to reach your goals?

There are 145 days left in 2011.

Weekly Calculations:
If you write 1 page per day, you can write 36250 more words by the end of the year.
If you write 2 pages per day, you can write 72500 more words by the end of the year.
If you write 3 pages per day, you can write 108750 more words by the end of the year.
If you write 4 pages per day, you can write 145000 more words by the end of the year.
If you write 5 pages per day, you can write 181250 more words by the end of the year.

So how are you doing?  If you have gotten off track, this is the week you can regain your momentum.  Tell us how you're doing, and set a fresh goal for the upcoming week.  A page a day is a book in a year.  You can do it!

PRIZES:  The best prize is reaching your personal goal and finishing your book.  But if you need an extra little incentive, remember:  any chapter member who reaches her personal goal by the end of the year receives a prize at the year-end party.  Non-members can win, too.  Non-members who show up for at least 20 weekly check-ins will have their names entered in a drawing for a gift card from Powells, the world's largest independent bookstore.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Mind Styles characterization

Current Project: Sharks
Status: Not as far as I want it to be

When I was an art major at OSU back in the ... one of my assignments in my freshman year drawing class was to watch people in the student union and sketch them. Well that always brought a lot of unwanted attention. I kind of like the sit there, watch and take mental notes about the people in the area. A little reclusive but fitting my personal style much better than drawing them and having them want to see the results.

Later when I was teaching I attended a workshop at the beginning of the school year. It's intent was to help us better understand our students. In my case it helped me visualize and write my characters so I understood their motives. A win - win situation for me.

The work shop you ask, maybe not, was titled Mind Styles. Simplifying the theories and the details, here are 4 personality types. According to the originator of this concept most of us are a combination of the two types. I have found that in utilizing these mind styles in the characterization of my hero and heroine I can create minor conflicts between them just in the way they think and act.

The 4 basic types are: Concrete, Sequential, Abstract, and Random.
So to make this quick, a person could be Concrete Sequential. Some of his priorities would be Orderly, Persistent, Direct, Product oriented.

Or Abstract Random in which case the priorities would be Emotional Sensitive, Sociable, and Bright and colorful.

Or we could have Concrete Random, some priorities would be Independent, Intensely curious, Investigative, andRisk taker.

And last we have Abstract Sequential priorities for this mind style would be, Logic, Intellectual, Analytical and Scholarly.

Since this workshop I have always referred to the Mind Styles theory in the development of my characters.

Without taking the test that goes along with this what do you think your combination of mind styles is? I was tested. My results were not what my friends thought I would be.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

CHARACTERS WHO WRITE THEMSELVES

Current Project: LEGACY series
Status: Almost finished with edits for second book
Posted by: Genene Valleau

My series started as one book in 2004 about a young woman with seven brothers who were a little too interested in policing her love life. By the time I was three-quarters finished with the first story, the brothers were demanding--as brothers sometimes do--their own stories. And since eight didn't seem like a good number for a series, I decided their widowed adoptive mother should have her own story to round out the series.


One thing I appreciate with a series of books is once the basic setting is done and relationships between the characters are established, the writing comes fairly easily. That doesn't mean I don't have to put fingers to keyboard to get the words down. However, the characters are like family. I know their basic personalities and how they will react to situations, and they reveal secrets of their pasts and emotions perhaps even they didn't know they carried inside as their stories unfold.


In other words, the characters pretty much write themselves.


For other writers, though this may seem unfair, I've also had characters who revealed themselves one grudging trait at at time. How do your characters come together? Do they spring fully formed from your mind or take time to develop? Which ones became your favorites--the ones that flowed into the story or those you had to dig deep to find?


Meeting Today

Reminder:  The Mid-Willamette Valley chapter of the Romance Writers of America is holding their August meeting on Thursday, August 4th, from 7-9 p.m. in Salem, Oregon.


Our discussion topic will be news from RWA National in New York.


Guests are welcome to attend.  If you are new to our chapter, you may attend two meetings (for free!) before joining.  If you are a former member, you may attend one meeting as a guest before re-joining the chapter.


Email us at mwvrwa  @  gmail.com (remove spaces) for directions.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Out of my Element

Current Project: Still in limbo
Status: All company leaves this weekend!

This past weekend I participated in a book festival at Portland's Pioneer Square. It was an excellent place to watch people and interact with some interesting characters.

Donna Kiehle and I were at the table under the Jan's Paperback Books sign. We had half a dozen people come up and ask us ab out our publishing company... And one gentleman who had wild hair, his collar folded under on one side, his shirt buttoned crooked, and his fly was half open with his shirt tail sticking out. (I'm not a pervert, I was taking in his whole appearance as he reflected an interesting secondary character) Anyway, he was trying to pitch his epic, deeply emotional, action packed, epic hand-written 492 notebook pages. There are pieces of him that may end up in a book some day. ;)

There was a young man with a sign "Turn 2 God" He stood on a corner shouting. And a robust black man stood up at the speaking platform over the square, banged a plastic bottle like an anvil and preached.

Shortly after the preaching a passel of bridesmaids and groomsmen along with a bride and groom entered the square and posed for photos.

An Englishman also stopped by and chatted with Marie Friend who was next to us. He was a bit taken back when Marie first thought he was an Aussie. This started them off on an interesting chat of their favorite English actors. The man was in khaki shorts, had one of those "fishing" hats that look like safari hats. A backpack and boots. He looked like he'd just walked out of the bush so I understand why she might have thought him Aussie.

Even the couple with rowdy kids and the older man on the MAX I rode to the zoo left an impression that could pop up sometime in writing.

All of these interesting people are stored away in my brain to perhaps come out in little snippets in my secondary and perhaps even my main characters in some future book.

So you file away people. places, or incidents everywhere you go?

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Character Back-story Inspiration

So, I'm laying in bed next to my baby boy in the wee hours of the morning, listening to his soft breathing, feeling frustrated because the blog I've been trying to post with his cute newborn picture will not post, no matter what I try. When all of a sudden, the backstory for both my main character in Ghost Girl and the 'super-evil bad guy' pops into my head. At 4:30am. When I am supposed to be sleeping because husband dearest and I have a fun day of letterboxing with the kidlets planned. What's a writer to do, but get up and quickly jot down some notes before the stroke of inspiration fades like the misty webs of dreams that vanish with first light? And, of course, write a quick emergency blog post to replace the one I really want to post.
I recently discovered the History International channel. Love it, love it, love it. There are so many good, educational shows. As a writer, it has been fueling the creative juices for several weeks. There's been an idea I've had for several weeks that I got from a couple of the shows, and I've been trying to figure out how to weave it into Ghost Girl without completely changing the course of the book. Lack of sleep and frustration completed the weaving this morning. At the moment (5:25am), I am so hyped because this idea feels right. It rings true, like other plot ideas I've had and then later seen in print in newly released books. I haven't seen this idea in any other book anywhere, which gets me really excited. It opens up entirely new dimensions for my characters, new motivations and conflicts that I haven't seen anywhere else (not that I've read every book in the known universe, but I've never heard of this idea used elsewhere).
So, having jotted down the new inspiration and plot points, I'm going to attempt to grab another sixty minutes of shut-eye before it's time to get up and make breakfast for the family. And tonight, bwa-ha-ha, I'm going to have so much fun torturing my characters with my newfound knowledge.
Where do you get inspiration for your charcters? Is it from real-life people? Another book? Movie? Educational materials? And how do you take that inspiration and mold it into a living, breathing person that connects with your readers?

Character Flaws





Most recent read: Cursor's Fury by Jim Butcher
Current read: Captain's Fury by Jim Butcher
Planned next read: First Lord's Fury by Jim Butcher
We went to a lavendar festival last weekend. The air was heavy with the scent of the flowers and drowsy droning of honey bees. There was lavendar ice cream available, along with lotions, soaps and other items made with lavendar.
I've been doing a lot of thinking about the importance of character flaws during the past couple of weeks. The books I've most enjoyed reading have characters with flaws that breathe life into them, enhancing the overall reading experience. Flaws round out our favorite characters, causing us as readers to connect and care about their outcome. Take Boromir. He is driven to gather power, power that will enable Minas Tirith to withstand the might of Mordor. In his quest to obtain that power, he doesn't realize at first that ultimately he wants to hold the power for himself. But in the end, he protects those that his lust for power nearly caused him to betray.
I've decided that my characters in Ghost Girl, while possessing character flaws, could have more flaws. So I'm rewriting the characters so they are even more 'less than perfect' than what they already are. Giving them eccentricities, personality quirks and bad habits that make them stand up from the written page, making them more interesting. It's much more fun to read about a character whose addiction for chocolate causes them to brave dangerous situations in their quest to satisfy a late night craving.
Oh, and the answer to Visions of Pink and Blue? Blue!

Monday, August 01, 2011

Weekly Progress Check-In




This is the Mid-Willamette Valley RWA's weekly check-in.  Every Monday we encourage members and visitors to let us know how their writing is going.


Today is Monday, August 1, 2011.

Are you on track to reach your goals?

There are 152 days left in 2011.

Weekly Calculations:
If you write 1 page per day, you can write 38000 more words by the end of the year.
If you write 2 pages per day, you can write 76000 more words by the end of the year.
If you write 3 pages per day, you can write 114000 more words by the end of the year.
If you write 4 pages per day, you can write 152000 more words by the end of the year.
If you write 5 pages per day, you can write 190000 more words by the end of the year.

So how are you doing?  If you have gotten off track, this is the week you can regain your momentum.  Tell us how you're doing, and set a fresh goal for the upcoming week.  A page a day is a book in a year.  You can do it!

PRIZES:  The best prize is reaching your personal goal and finishing your book.  But if you need an extra little incentive, remember:  any chapter member who reaches her personal goal by the end of the year receives a prize at the year-end party.  Non-members can win, too.  Non-members who show up for at least 20 weekly check-ins will have their names entered in a drawing for a gift card from Powells, the world's largest independent bookstore.