Character Quiz #1

Having trouble defining a character? Try this quiz and see what you learn. Go with instinct – don’t think too hard. Your subconscious knows this already.

  1. If you character had to choose between love and duty, which would they choose?
  2. What makes your character really angry?
  3. If you character was with a loved one and danger approached, what would they do? Run? Hide? Protect?
  4. If your character got bad news, who would they tell first?
  5. What time of day is your character’s favorite? Why?

Your characters should be a mix of positive traits and negative ones. A character that is all good or all evil is not interesting or believable. The reader wants someone they can identify with.

Writing Advice #1

“If you’re struggling with writing a character, write 20 things that the reader will never know about your character. These will naturally bleed into your writing and provide a richness even though you don’t share the detail.”

–Barbara Poelle

Writing Challenge

As some of you might know, I’m working on a book right now and it’s kind of tough. I could use some support. Would any of you be interested in a writing challenge? Sort of a support group to see how many words we get, or pages edited, or dialogue or something? I’m just throwing this out there, but I’d love to hear your thoughts. I’m currently working on a mystery and fantasy short story, if that helps.


Rewriting is hard

I’m in the process of rewriting my book and it’s HARD! I wrote it last November during NaNoWriMo and whenever I got stuck I just skipped ahead. But I waited too long between writing and editing and now I don’t remember! I do have a tentative title – The Second Murderer.

But I keep finding all kinds of things that need work. I need a subplot, for one thing. And since it’s a mystery, I need some suspects. I didn’t even really have a bad guy when I finished, so at least I’ve gotten that far! I just had a crime and a victim. But it’s getting there.

Now if I can just concentrate long enough to finish, I’ll be doing great.

List: Wishes edition


I thought it would be fun to do a little Wish list – things I wish that books would do more of, less of, etc.

  • I WISH – for books that have a diverse POV. Publishing is doing much better in offering POC and LGBT characters in the supporting roles, but we always need to do better.
  • I WISH – for Neurodiversity. Not mental illness as the latest trend, but simply as a part of a character, like body type. Just a fact that doesn’t solely define them, but is a part of the whole.
  • I WISH – for economic diversity. I’m tired of reading about middle class people with middle class problems. How about the working poor, the disenfranchised? Their problems are totally different.
  • I WISH – for fully developed love stories. No more insta-love! Real chemistry! It’s hard to write, but the payoff is worth it.
  • I WISH – for truly unexpected endings. Ones where I don’t see it coming.

Now for my writing wish list!

  • I WISH for my characters to come alive. I want 3 – D, compelling dynamic characters who entice my readers.
  • I WISH – my mental illness didn’t keep me from working every day.
  • I WISH – I could actually make some money from writing. Of course, nothing is finished yet, but I know how hard it is to actually earn a profit.
  • I WISH – I had space to work. We’re all on top of each other right now, with one great computer and 5 people queued up for it.
  • I WISH – my book was done!

What about you? Readers and writers, what are you wishing for? Let me know here.

What Makes the Bad Guy Bad

I’m starting my rewrites in my new book, and I’m faced with the major problem that I don’t know a thing about my bad guy. I’ve finally figured out who he is, but I don’t know WHO he IS, if you get my meaning. I don’t really know how to make him real.

And face it, if you don’t have a believable bad guy, you don’t have much of a story. Because the bad guy is just as important as your main character. If he doesn’t have any motivation, if he doesn’t seem real, then the reader won’t care what he does and the main character’s struggle won’t be engaging.

That brings me to my question – who is the scariest villain you can think of? What makes  him or her scary? Give me a hand and tell me what you think.

Spring Reading

I’ve been reading several books but haven’t finished any in a couple of days. I’m listening to Goose Girl by Shannon Hale, which is a reread.  The recording is a full cast production, and I’m enjoying it. That makes it a little more fun, I think.  I’m also reading Mayflower by Nathaniel Philbrick. I took it to the doctor’s with me today and got quite a bit read, but I’m still only about halfway through. If you haven’t tried this author, I recommend him. I’ve also read his book In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex, which is a movie now starring Chris Hemsworth. I’ve added the movie to my Watch List, but I haven’t seen it yet.

I’m also trying to get back into writing. I worked on my short story and submitted it to another contest, so wish me luck there. If I don’t hear anything back there, I’ll post it here so you can all read it. What I really need to do is get back to my book, but I can’t seem to make myself get started.

My writer’s group invited YA author Jennifer A. Nielsen to speak. She wrote the False Prince trilogy and A Night Divided, which is getting a lot of buzz lately. (It’s also only $2.99 right now for Kindle.) Anyway, she did a Q&A afterward. I asked her about rewriting, if she had any tips to make it easier, since that’s where I’m stuck right now. Her advice was that most writers neglect this step and quit revising before they should. She said her trick for making it less painful was to look for one specific thing on each rewrite, like dialogue, or description, or POV. That way it doesn’t get overwhelming and take forever. I liked that so much that I’m going to try it with my thriller.

Hope you are all enjoying spring (or autumn, as the case may be). We’re still very sad over Spooky’s loss over here, but we know we did the right thing. Take care and happy reading!