Characterization – A Different Way of Thinking

I’ve taken some characterization classes and used the checklists from these to better develop my characters. I love the checklists.  The classes have been great.   They helped me better define and deepen my characters.  So I wasn’t sure what I would get out of a webinar on characterization that was something different.  Turns out it was a lot in terms of thinking slightly differently.checklist

A few highlights from the talk by author Jade Lee to think about:

  1. Using the Elements – air, water, fire, metal and earth.  Think about which

Contests – Love ‘Em or Won’t Touch ‘Em?

I‘ve seen lots of advice on contests. Some people won’t enter them.  Some think they’re great.  Others are in-between.  That’s where I fall too.  I think contests can be helpful but I also carefully consider what I think I get in return.   For that, I have a few guidelines.contest enter

To pay or not to pay.   Contests can be free or require a payment.  My rule of thumb is never to spend money on a contest unless I receive some sort of value back.  I’ve only entered a couple with payments… Continue reading

It’s Award Season – Time for a Quiz

It’s January, so it must be awards season.  I watched one such show and noted once again the connection to books.  Lots of biographies this year.  That made me wonder.  What films are based on mysteries?   After a bit of research, I recognized some but not all.  It seems like the trend of changing the name of the film from the name of the book died out at some point.  Likely since marketing both under the same name makes more sense.   Still there were enough that I thought would fill out a short quiz – and we haven’t done that… Continue reading

Digital Library Trends

libraryAs a writer, I think in terms of getting words on the page and telling the stories.  But I also realize that being aware of what’s going on in the business is important, especially since it seems to be changing so rapidly.   One area that has been discussed a lot by authors is how e-books fit into the library system.

Michael Kozlowski’s article Digital Library Trends for 2015 has some interesting information.  The report quotes a report by Library Journal that… Continue reading

Bored to Creativity

It’s the holidays and the end of the year.  For me, it’s the busiest time for my other work so I often feel stressed, tired and ready for the new year.  As I have in most years, I tend to think about what is working and not working – and what I need to change.  This year, I realized that my time for creative writing time was less since it has been so busy.  So I wondered if it was time constraints or that my creativity wasn’t as strong right now.  Where were my impulses that normally drive the writing?  Was… Continue reading

Guest Post with Author Linda Hall

It was my pleasure to provide a guest post on Linda Hall’s blog (lrhallbooks.blogspot.com) this summer about writing short stories. Today, she is on our blog and I thought it might be interesting to talk to her about how she developed her ideas for a summer full of guest posts by short story writers. Linda Hall Pic

How do you develop the blog themes? What made you choose short stories?

I love short stories, love reading them, love writing them. But let me back… Continue reading

What Can Jim Henson Teach Writers?

It might be hard to figure out what Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy might have to offer us as mystery writers. And that’s just what I thought as I was listening to Brian Jay Jones, author of the new Jim Henson biography at the 12th annual James River Writers Conference on October 18, 2014. But if you think about it, what other characters are so memorable and immediately recognizable? Jim Henson board v2

That related to the first point. Practice. This type of character takes a long time to find… Continue reading

Connecting with Character – An Unlikeable Victim

I am in the process of editing my novel and have just taken an online class about characters. I realized that as is normal in a cozy, I have a murder off-stage. It’s early so you don’t know much about the victim – and what you see is that he is very unlikeable. In thinking about this and asking the question, the instructor advised to find at least one aspect that makes this character a bit less one dimensional.

So, where to start? I used the character profile questions and soon found that he was a child only a… Continue reading

Smelling the Roses and Other Sensory Items

Margo and I chose the same topic this month discussing sensory details, but from slightly different perspectives.

valentine-red-rose-2I think we’ve all heard the old saying to “Stop and Smell the Roses.” It has its own meaning but we also have a memory of how a rose smells.  Our sense of smell is located in  the same part of our brain that effects emotions, memory, and creativity, so it is no wonder that most think that it is our strongest sense when it comes to memories.   When you hear that, do you recall… Continue reading

Inspiration: Do You Draw From Real Life Events?

I’ve been following Britt’s blog posts about the missing Dutch students in Panama. It is one of those compelling stories that draws us in.  Our blog webmistress, Linda, has posed a question to us about whether or how much we use real life events in our novels.  An interesting question.  How much is too much?  Are some things so sensitive we shouldn’t think about including them.

For my part, I find kinds of bits and pieces of things find their way into my novel and short stories.  Some are inspired by things I see or by things people do. … Continue reading