Monday, August 31, 2009

Freaking Out, Just a Little Bit

You all may know that I and several other bloggers are going to the ACFW conference in three weeks.

In preparation, I've been working on my pitch.

There's a little problem though.

I can write it fine, but when it comes to talking....my tongue messes up. When I'm nervous, I talk too fast, I talk too quiet, I use the wrong words or I *gasp* stutter over my syllables. Or worse, come off sounding as nervous as I am, maybe even arrogant. *cringe*

Have you ever verbally pitched someone? Does trying your pitch out on friends/family help? My hair feels like it may turn gray (I know the day is coming, blech). Any advice for this pitching newbie?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

No One's Perfect

We all have flaws, but our characters especially should have some, because what fun is there in reading about someone's perfect life? *grin*

Since our MC's have a defining virtue, should they also have a defining weakness? What if their weakness is what causes some of the main conflict in the story? What if the weakness is in direct opposition to the MC's virtue? The characters must have something to struggle against, a temptation or a sin, as well as an outer conflict.

What's your MC's biggest weakness? How does it define him or her? Does it propell the story? Do your characters ever fight the same kind of vices you do?




After reading the Seekerville post on Moral Premise, I signed up for Natasha Kern's ACFW conference class, Vice and Virtue. Wondering what she'll talk about is turning the wheels in my head and give me some blog fodder.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Winner and a Little Sniffle

Okay, the winner of Ted Dekker's book Saint is Eileen! Congrats, girl!

Keli Gwyn is the writer who just finaled in another contest, so congrats to her! But many of you picked Eileen or Jody because they finaled in the Genesis recently. Woohoo! Lots of finalists here. :-) I can't wait to see what happens in your lives.

On a different note, today is my eldest's first day of kindergarten. I don't know whether to laugh or cry. The years just slipped by and now he's school age and I'm so excited and sad it's not even funny.

Well, I guess you can laugh. Most of you have gone through this, right? LOL

I hope you all have a wonderful day!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Thank You for Awards, and a Contest!

Thank you T. Anne for the Humane Award!


And thank you Jill and Elana for the Kreativ Blogger Award!


Now, I'm supposed to list seven things about myself so here they are:
1. Eat chocolate every day
2. Have three different men I consider my dad
3. Married two days after high school
4. Can walk and read, can drive and read *wink*
5. Always have a book I'm reading
6. My tongue doesn't work when I'm nervous
7. I don't have any special talents (not saying I'm not special y'all. I mean there's no specific, physical thing I'm really good at. :-) Although I used to be able to play the piano by ear a little bit.)

Okay, now for a mini contest!!!

One of the bloggers on my followers list just finaled in a contest! Woohoo! If you can guess who she is, I'll enter you in a drawing to win a gently used copy of Ted Dekker's book Saint. You can guess up to three bloggers.

*****HINT***** This follower is on the very first page of followers, or is it the last? You just keep hitting next and she's on the last one.:-) *******

Have a great weekend! :-)

Friday, August 21, 2009

G'Me Some of That Sweet Fruit!

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, self-control."

After thinking about moral premise for a bit, I decided that it has much less to do with the theme of a story, and more to do with the characters. Now I haven't taken the class or read any books on this, just Kern's post, so this is my own interpretation.

Part of moral premise is the virtue that absolutely defines your characters. Now, in reality many people are a little blurry when it comes to their own morality. Not to say we don't feel strongly about certain, and often different, morals but what I'm saying is that few of us are guided by one specific trait.

I think our characters should be though, and this is one of the things that will drive the story.

In my opinion, a main character should have a defining virtue. Does she thirst for justice in everything? Is he gentle to all? The list above is a great tool to pick out a single virtue to absolutely define and drive your character.

So, what virtue defines your main character? Have you ever met someone who seemed to be the epitome of patience? Do you know someone who always seems to have a kind word? How can we use a single virtue to create a rounded character and influence every aspect of the MC's life?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A Solid Heroine

I recently rewatched the movie Red Eye and was struck by how much I liked the heroine (Rachel McAdams). In fact, she came to mind during my pastor's sermon on meekness.

He said meekness is strength and courage under control, coupled with kindness.

That's exactly how the heroine is in this movie. She's not brassy or opinionated in a loud way. She's not someone who would catch another's eye. She's understated, quiet, gentle.

And really, really awesome. Only we don't know just how strong and courageous she is until she's forced to act.

Do you like heroines like that? Or do you like the bold, saucy ones (and I like those too)? Who's your favorite character and/or actress? Why?

Monday, August 17, 2009

He Said, Said He

After a fellow blogger kindly critiqued a few chapters for me, I realized there was another thing for me to learn.

Dialogue tag subject order.

In other words, after the quotes, do I put John said, or is it said John? I googled it and couldn't find anything to help, picked up books on my shelf but had the hardest time finding dialogue tags in the novels I looked at. Despite my lack of findings, I agree with Eileen that the subject sounds better coming first.

But is there an industry rule about the order? What have you been taught about this?

Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Moral Premise

I heard about this on the Seekerville blog. Agent Natasha Kern posted on this fascinating subject.

Honestly, I hadn't considered the moral premise of my stories. Theme, yes. Values, yes. But not the moral premise.

This post is worth reading, though a little long. Also, The Moral Premise blog looks like an interesting place.

How do you treat morality in your stories? Is the moral fiber of your MC the driving force behind the character's decisions, and thus their story? Do you think theme and moral premise are the same? (Susan did an interesting post on this, though I couldn't find it in her archives. Maybe she can tell us.)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Play or "Die"

I've been tagged by Penny Lane! If I don't play I've been threatened with "Death", *wink* so here goes...

1. Do you have a "secret" author, genre, book, or magazine you read but rarely fess up to?(give an example) Okay, I'll admit it. I love Linda Howard's books, most of them at least. They're graphic and have language, but I love the deep emotional pull of her romances, and the cool suspense.

2. What genre of movies is your favorite? What about movies you wouldn't normally fess up to liking? I like romantic comedies. Normally, I wouldn't confess to liking Napoleon Dynamite...but I do! LOL

3. If you could have any job in the world, what would it be and why do you like it? I think we all know the answer to this! Heehee

4. If you could change something about your personality, what would it be? When confronted with an emotionally charged atmosphere I tend to freeze up and not know how to react. I guess I wish I'd get a backbone.

5. What character from any film matches your personality and traits most accurately? And why? I have no clue. Really. Are there any characters that are shy romantics with their head stuck in a book? That might be me. Then again, I'm pretty practical and scheduled with my kiddos.

6. If you had to go on any reality TV show which one would you choose? America's Next Top Model, 'cause I'm skinny and tall. Ha! That, American Idol and Top Chef are the only ones I really know about, and I can't cook at all, nor sing.

7. What is the worse outfit you have ever worn? Honestly, did you think you looked good at the time? I've never cared too much about clothes so if I wore a terrible outfit I probably didn't know it or didn't care. :-)

8. If you had to have one animal part attached to your body permanently (e.g. rabbit ears, a cat's tail, bird's wings) what would you choose? I would really love to have wings. When I was a little girl I daydreamed about flying a lot! Tried it too, but I never could. LOL

Now it's your turn! If you decide to play on your blog, let me know, otherwise I'd love to see your answers to one or more of these questions!

Thanks Pen Pen, for exposing all my secrets!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Soap Up!

Because you might get a little dirty... watching day-time soaps! LOL

A soap opera is the perfect example of how to hook a reader. Every day millions of women and men spend an hour of their day watching these. Maybe more. Five days a week.

What makes a soap so compelling?

1) Hooks, hooks, hooks
2) Conflict
3) Drama
4) All of the above is constant

Why do you think soap operas are so addictive? Have you ever watched one? What elements of a soap opera could you incorporate into your writing to make it stronger?

Sunday, August 9, 2009

What Color Are You?

Okay, not sure how this thingy is going to show up, but I took this awhile back on Kristen's blog and thought it was fun. I am Green, which (surprisingly) claims that the feeling of spring follows me (kind of a cool thought, lol). Newness, surprise, beginnings and growth. Apparently my fresh perspective gives others much to consider.

Ha. :-)

Take the quiz HERE.

What color are you, and what is it supposed to mean? Is the description close?

Friday, August 7, 2009

Empathetic vs Likable

Comments in a previous post got me thinking about the kinds of characters who pull us into a story.


They're not always likable.


You probably saw my comment, but the first guy who came to mind was Melvin Udall (aka Jack Nicholson) in the movie As Good As It Gets.


Not the kind of guy you want in your family, or even in your apartment building, but he was portrayed in such a way that the audience (moi) felt empathy for him. Who wouldn't feel bad for a guy who's trapped by his self-made limitations?


Not likable, but I rooted for him, as well as the other characters, and though it's been years I haven't forgotten them. Still not sure whether I like Melvin though.


Can you think of a character you didn't really like, but you rooted for anyway? Ever wrote one of those? And if the character is both likable and empathetic, does that make the story stronger?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Embracing Your Inner Drama Queen

I took four years of drama, shy soul that I am. And we talked a little about this at the Saturday writing meeting.

It works in writing. Really. Here's how.

Take the POV character in the scene you're in. Figure out this character's deepest emotion during the scene. Now think about yourself and when you've experienced this emotion.

Example: Heroine brings hero a sandwich but he doesn't notice her as anything but a friend.

Maybe this hasn't happened to you. Maybe you're a hottie and all guys notice you. :-) But think about rejection. Has there been a time in your life when you felt left out? Undervalued?

Rejected?

As you remember this moment in your life, take note of what happens with your heartbeat. Does your skin prickle? Does your mouth dry? Do you feel like running away or screaming?

Every character is different, make sure their responses fit their personality, but use your past to add life to their drama.

Feel what your character feels. Be that character, if only for a scene.

When people (or characters) do things you don't agree with, do you have trouble being empathetic or can you see themselves in their shoes? Ever hated a character so much that you just didn't want to feel what they do? How would you write the physical accompaniments to hatred?

Monday, August 3, 2009

Just Straight-up Say It

When it comes to writing an interesting character, I think the best ones are those who go verbal places we're afraid to. Sometimes they use subtext, sometimes speak the truth, straight-up.

Or maybe your characters break some rules you would never dare to even imagine breaking? Maybe they expose themselves, make themselves vulnerable to other characters? Or do they demand things we've learned to only wish for?

What's the wildest thing one of your characters has done? Would you do it?

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Writers are Some Crazy Peeps

I wanted to find a funny video but couldn't, which stinks.

Basically, writers do some crazy stuff. I've heard it before and I heard it again last Saturday. When you're at a conference, be POLITE.

We're all polite on here and I doubt any of us would do anything too weird... LOL.

Remember, no following an editor or agent in the bathroom. Ever. When I was at my one and only conference, I heard a woman talking through the stall door to a magazine editor. The editor was the one on the toilet. It made me cringe, and I was a relative newbie.

Then the authors told a story about an editor being followed to her room by a writer. Eek! No, no, no, no....

Have you ever witnessed bad manners at a conference? How about crazy behavior?