“A woman who writes has power, and a woman with power is feared.” _Gloria Anzaldu’a
WHAT DO YOU LOOK FOR WHEN PICKING OUT A BOOK? I am an avid reader of the works of Stephen King. I’m not quite sure what the fascination is and how I get wrapped up. He makes me think in ways I haven’t done before. It’s not so much the beginning of his books, rather it’s the way that I just get drawn into the story. I have been opening myself up to different writers and different styles of writing. I enjoy the change of pace after reading one of King’s novels.
What are the top five books that changed your life and why? I absolutely loved King’s book Cell. When I was younger, every time I would bring home straight A’s on my report card my mother would buy me a book. Even as a small child I loved to read. I guess the first book I remember reading would be The Black Stallion. That’s where my love of horses came from. When I had my first daughter I got absolutely swept up in The Twilight books. I would sit and read one within two days. When my daughter started going to school she would bring home the Junie B. Jones books. The funny thing is, she is reading them to her child now.
WHILE I AM WRITING MY FIRST DRAFT…I am asking myself, am I creating positive curiosity (the feeling of anticipation or expectation) or negative curiosity (that worrying feeling).
Let’s take the very first page of my story:
Many people pass through Grant Township. It’s more than just the spectacular view of the lake that is nestled on the east side of the upper-peninsula’s Keweenaw Peninsula. The lake lies at the bottom of mountains that may not reach 2000 ft. in altitude, but yet are still considered mountains. It’s filled with water that glistens from Lake Superior’s waters. Things aren’t always as they seem to be or as perfect as people would like to appear to be. Behind every door is a story or a lie someone is trying desperately to hide. Time passes and memories fade, but some things are too hard to let go of. Times change, thoughts change, way of life changes for some, but people don’t change. A version of their true self always remains. Grant Township is populated with less than eight hundred people. As families pass by one another they know each other by name and of any hardships they may have endured over the years. They had to work hard for their privacy in Grant Township, few of them did. Secrets had a way of revealing themselves. The railroad used to pass through Grant Township and over the years as the railroad expanded so did the routes the trains would take. The tracks would remain as well as the old train depot. The train depot would transform into the local diner and the tracks would become over run with new vegetation growth. Being on of the smaller townships the forests were full and plush and with the demise of the factory the town would open their lands to the logging industry, acting as a saving grace to many. A sheriff who held the respect and admiration of many would leave behind a legacy for his son and pass down the reins, not many are sure he is capable of holding. As the seasons change so do the reins of power. A town of little excitement would soon erupt into devastation and expose A Small Town’s Façade.
I tried to draw you in with where you are (setting/scenery) and then in the last paragraph I wanted to give you an idea that things wouldn’t quite be what you would expect. That there is more to this town than things appear to be.
OF COARSE I’M ASKING IF I CAPTURED YOU WITH THIS INTRODUCTION?
What do you do on that very first page to draw your readers in? How do you get your readers to invest in your story/stories?
I forget sometimes that I need to open myself up and reveal that, I too, am human. I get wrapped up in my writing that I forget that people need to see the true me at times.
Although I am quiet and sometimes you forget me, I am still here. I feel, I breath, I cry, I sing, and I laugh too. I hear and see what’s going on around me. I too have felt heartache and I too have been through trauma. I too can love.
Recently being diagnosed with a rare nerve disease, pain consumes me. There are days when I can’t write or post. My house gets neglected. Thankful to being a perfectionist my house doesn’t show my neglect for a day or two.
Medication prevents me from remembering names, places, or even what I am talking about at times. Writing provides some solace. I enjoy the fiction world where everything can be as grand as I wish it to be. I can go and meet new people and see that somewhere I’m not alone.
Beginning my blogging website and watching it slightly grow has provided me with a community of a vast array of individuals that I can learn from and implement their teachings and stories into my life and my writing.
Over time, you too will learn more about me and see that I too, am a human.
“Writing is an isolating activity and the best writing is done when you are completely alone.”
DO YOU EVER FELL THIS WAY?
I will admit, it is easier to write when there are no distractions. Often, when I think of isolated writing, I think of a cabin off in the woods.
THINK ABOUT IT, A CABIN, A NICE ROARING FIRE. WHO WOULDN’T LIKE THIS?
Then there is the other side of this myth:
Writing should not be isolating. Some of our best writing can happen when we have the support of friends and family, even fellow writers, who actually understand the struggle.
EVERYTHING CAN CHANGE!
When we get stuck, ask for help! When there is a creative breakthrough, celebrate with us! When we wonder if our idea will work, brainstorm with us! Give us the motivation we need to see our writing to the end!
Has there been a book where support like this would have helped you publish sooner?
WRITING WITHOUT PRONOUNS TO DESCRIBE MY VILLAiN….DO WHAT?!
At times, depending on the story, giving away whether the villain of the story is a he/she gives away the opportunity of figuring out who actually did it.
Be mindful of not forgetting that our readers should be able to identify and attach their own meaning to the trials of our characters. At times, diving into the mind of revenge, we forget that we don’t want our readers to have knowledge of our characters gender. (Again, in some instances.)
We want our readers to focus on our BRILLIANT plot!
Best selling author Dan Brown, believes in writing our villain first, before the hero, because the villain is the one who drives our hero to be heroic. He continues by saying that the best villains are connected to the hero. They aid in the hero’s character development. Every villain believes that they are the hero of their own story. We have to make the reader understand what exactly has driven our villain to do what they have done. Our favorite villains possess the qualities that we love to hate!
DID YOU, WHILE WRITING YOUR FIRST BOOK, STRUGGLE WITH NOT EXPOSING THE GENDER OF YOUR VILLIAN? WE WANT TO KNOW!
What book/story that you are the author of, have you updated the most with changes that AREN’T spelling errors nor punctuation errors?
I personally, am writing my first book. I find that I can’t help myself from changing things. Instead of writing all the way through and waiting for that second draft, I find that I am correcting spelling, grammer, the scenes, characters, conversations, etc.
How Many of You…have found you do the same things?
What Tips….can you share with others like myself?
What Book…that you are the author of, did you find you were correcting constantly before you finished the first draft?
Do you use a character sketch sheet when you are trying to build your characters or do your characters develop as you write your story?
For some of us developing the most compelling characters for our story isn’t as easy as it may be for others. They don’t quite come to life until we put them in the story we have created.
Writer’s Digest first suggest:
Picking a point of view allows the readers access to your character’s inner lives (emotions, thoughts, sensory experience).
The way to share a unique character’s world view and the events he/she experiences in the world (philosophy, observation, opinion)
Psyche Guides suggests:
The best approach towards creating engaging characters is by ensuring that they are believable, complex and flawed. (Of coarse we all know this.)
Typically it includes drawing on personal observations, giving the main character conflicting, conscious and unconscious goal, and developing an interesting backstory.
Most influential books of this genre is Aspects of the Novel (1927) by the English author E. M. Foster. He believed that the most engaging characters move us emotionally. They feel real and surprise us as we turn the pages. He goes on to describe complex characters as “Round”. Ex. Madam Bovary and characters written by Jane Austen. Madam Bovary is the romantic heroine from Gustave Flaubert’s novel. He said that “Flat” characters have only two or three very pronounced character traits, that can only be summarised by a single sentence. He believed that they are only capable of moving us in a way through humor. When they are confined to secondary roles, they support our main story without distracting our readers.
To Foster, our most compelling and main characters should have the complexity of being human. They should surprise us and transform before our eyes in unbelievable ways.
I can only encourage you to compare what these sites and Foster have to say to your characters.
How do you develop your character? Share your techniques with us.
“Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world. _ Albert Einstein
I finally got past the first arc in my book and all of a sudden a creative epiphany struck.
WHAT IF….My story is solid and the work I’ve put in thus far is clearly on the right track, but imagination struck. What if my idea of a slight plot change would work better? Chapter would have to be changed!!!!
CURRENT PLOT…Child is kidnapped and murdered by someone who used to live in the town. A man who is riddled with a mental disease.
NEW PLOT TWIST….The single mother of this rebellious child has had enough and comes to her wits end and talks to the elders of the town. The elders arrange for her to be kidnapped and somewhat scared straight..ALL TO BE FIGURED OUT THROUGH MORE THOUGHT BY ME… Unknowingly, the child is killed and her murder now hangs on the mother and the elders. WILL….the sheriff link all of the events of the past in the town and the kidnapping/murder of this child together, unraveling the towns secrets and possibly his own?
Not quite sure which path to travel. DO I..unravel both scenarios, or leave the new idea for a possible new book?
“So the writer who breeds more words than he needs, is making a chore for the reader who reads.” _Dr. Suess