Be A Big Meanie!

I’m happy to report that Mystic Hero finally crossed the 60,000 word mark. That means the end of the first draft is in sight! Unlike the previous books in the series, Devlin’s story is a bit different.

IMG_2249He’s got issues. Big ones. And just like in real life – everything that can go wrong, does. We Scribes have mentioned a few times the importance of being mean. And I totally agree with that. The most satisfying tales always involve some emotional pain and the eventual triumph over that pain.

Normal people generally steer clear of conflict. And most people don’t enjoy watching others suffer. At least not in real life (and I know the glut of reality shows probably says otherwise), but I think the big exception is in entertainment. Movies, TV, books – they would all be booooring if there wasn’t some kind of challenge to conquer.

And really, in fiction, we have to be extra tough on our characters. One of the things I realized so far about Devlin’s journey is that I wasn’t being hard enough on him emotionally.

Sure, it was easy to throw bad guys his way. Since I write paranormal, they are often extra weird or super creepy. But I also realized that I was shying away from his substantial internal demons. And that is short-changing the reader. I know when I pick up a romance I want to go on an emotional ride with the hero and heroine.

How does one overcome this problem?

1. Don’t let your characters have what they want. At least not until the very end. Dangle the prize in front of them and take it away a few times. Again, think emotional stakes. What will they lose if they don’t change?

2. Make them earn the payoff in the end. This means, the character has to suffer. They have to doubt themselves, question their choices and reach a low point (or two or three) before they can transform.

3. Bring them to their darkest place and throw in their worst fear in for good measure. And I don’t mean lock them in a dark room. Not unless your hero or heroine has a phobia of the dark and the only way to save the day is to overcome that fear.

4. If you get stuck – ask yourself again – how can I make things worse for this character? Never better. At least not until the very end

One caution  – There’s a fine line between being too sappy or preachy (no one wants to read an ABC After School Special – at least I know I don’t!) and creating an emotionally satisfying and believable experience.

What are your tips for character “bashing”? And what books do a great job of torturing the poor hero and heroine?

Rub my belly!!
Rub my belly!!
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Don’t Skate Through Life!

So it’s Friday again. Yay! Too bad it’s raining like crazy here. Again. It may be good for the flowers but it’s starting to drive me batty!

Today at the 7 Scribes – another lesson on plotting and wisdom from Wayne Gretzky  A Hockey Lesson by Casey Wyatt.

I’m happy to report, I’m working on two books right now. Mystic Hero – Devlin Ward’s book and another paranormal romance – Lachlan’s Curse. I’ve been alternating between the two (like every other day). I’m not sure how long I’ll be able to do that. At some point, I’ll have to choose one for my full attention. Not sure which one it will be.

I leave you now, with my super adorable girl. How can I be expected to get any work done in the presence of so much cuteness? Have a wonderful day!

When to Say When!

Happy Friday everyone!

Over at the Scribes, I tackle plotting and knowing when it’s time to start writing – Stick a Fork in it and Call it Done!.

And, in other news, has anyone heard that Amazon is purchasing Goodreads?

While you ponder that tidbit, I leave you with the hamburger that defeated Scar:

The hamburger from Hell!
The hamburger from Hell!

You Want to Know What?

Hi everyone!

I’m over at the lovely Julia Barrett’s site today – answering the question – You want to know what?

Stop by and say “hi.” I’d love to hear from you!

Something Old and Something New

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! Don’t forget to visit me at the Scribes – I Heart Ebenezer Scrooge!

Since the holiday is fast approaching, I don’t have much to report this week. I’m excited to be on vacation all next week and I hope to make progress on Devil’s Advocate. I had worked on it way back in May and June, then stopped to write The Undead Space Initiative.

Now, I’m in the process of getting back into the groove and submerging myself in the story. I’m excited about this one because it’s based on the very first novel I ever attempted to write. The book was never fully completed and it’s bugged me that I never finished it.

Let’s face it. I had no idea what I was doing back then! It’s better if that story never sees the light of day. Yet, I couldn’t forget my heroine. Devil’s Advocate is my attempt to breathe new life into her.

I still have some decisions to make – first person POV or third? Urban fantasy or romance?

(Who am I kidding? Romance always sneaks into my books.)

Whatever I decide, I’m hopeful to add another manuscript to my completed pile!

Have a safe and wonderful holiday season! Leave me a note and let me know how you plan to spend the holidays!

Hits and Misses

Happy Black Friday everyone! Please be sure to stop by the Scribes and check out – You’ve Got a Friend in Me.

I mentioned a few weeks back that I’m participating in NaNo. I hit the 50,000 word goal on Day 20. I plan on finishing the novel by 11/30. That will make two completed novels in 2011 – The Undead Space Initiative and Redemption (book 2 of my Aethera series).

Sadly, I did not get to finish plotting The Devil’s Advocate or Mystic Storm (sequel to Mystic Ink). But, hey, there are so many hours in a day. And I’ve learned a lot about my writer self this year.

  • I’m not Nora Roberts or Dean Wesley Smith, capable of pumping out high volume, superior quality manuscripts nearly out of the gate. Plotting and characterization takes time (for me anyway). I have to be totally on-board with the characters and plot, otherwise, I can’t finish the book.
  • I can write a novel in a month. I did it twice. See above – I have to know what is going to happen in my books. I don’t need to know the how or even the why. Those details can come out when I write. I don’t have my million words in yet. But I’m working on it.
  • If there is a zombie apocalypse, I won’t survive long-term. I like modern conveniences way too much.
  • I love Twitter. A lot.  See my post here – Twitterpated.
  • Oh, and the big one, I can sell a book!

    A new day is dawning

I won’t be kicking back anytime soon.  I have a busy 2012 coming up, including promo at other blogs, working on edits for Redemption, writing other books, and I’ll be CT RWA’s new Media Director.  Busy, busy.

How’s your 2011 going? What are you looking forward to in 2012?

Happy Halloweenie!

Happy Friday everyone. Please be sure to visit the Scribes today. Julia Rachel Barrett  (one of my favorite people) is my guest today! She’s sharing how she became a writer and the cover of her new ghost story In the Flesh.

Autumn is one of my favorite times of the year. Being a native New Englander, I love the change in seasons and watching the leaves turn to lovely shades of yellow, orange, and red. Granted, Fall has been more muted this year due to all the wild weather, but I’ve still been enjoying it.

This past weekend, my family attended a pumpkin carving party at a friend’s house. We had a blast! The kids, my hubby and friends carved awesome designs. We ate pizza, cupcakes, and cozied up on the couch watching  The Nightmare Before Christmas.

We had the inevitable debate – is it a Halloween movie or a Christmas movie?

Halloween is that one last holiday before the crazy “holiday” season begins. Before the madness…

And then November arrives.  For writers – November is NaNo WriMo. I participated in 2010. The book I wrote was Mystic Ink.

Little did I know last year that I was writing the first book I would sell. Ironically, because I sold the book and I have edits due, I don’t know if I can participate in NaNo this year. I’m still preparing, but I’m hesitant to commit.

I am the Pumpkin King

Who’d a thunk it? (Besides Susannah Hardy – who knew from the start that I’d sell Mystic Ink!)

Life is pretty funny.

How has your life changed since Autumn 2010?  Feel free to share, the good, the bad, the mundane.

And is “Nightmare” a Christmas movie or a Halloween flick?

Evil Plotting

Yay! Another Friday. Don’t forget to check out my post over at the Scribes – I’m late, I’m late…for what exactly? and meet the Naggy Bunny.

Another week has come and gone. And I’m sad to say, not much plotting has happened for Devil’s Advocate.

I spent most of the week helping my fellow writers. I’ve been honored to read their works in progress and provide my feedback. I’ve read some sci-fi, paranormal romance, middle grade adventure and contemporary. I have such talented friends!!

I’ve received feedback on The Undead Space Initiative. So far, no one has told me the story is bad. I’ve gotten mostly high marks, which is always nice. Still, I’m not resting on my laurels. There will be edits. I’m not sure what form they will take yet.

I’ve been mostly reflective this week. Thinking about my new characters. What do they want? How will they achieve their goals?What happens next (my favorite question to answer).  Not all that different from talking to my sons (what do you want to do with your life?).

Just thinking about the word “plotting” brings to mind a different word – scheming. When you think about it, as a writer, you really are contriving an entire story out of thin air – creating a whole new world that didn’t previously exist. Totally cool and frightening at the same time. And once the story is published, then that world is shared with your readers. They bring their own expectations and realities. Your world isn’t only in your head anymore.

It’s a big responsibility, which is why I spend more time on plotting, character creation, etc. than I do writing. I’ve learned the hard way that planning ahead works best for me. In a few weeks NaNo WriMo will begin and I plan to be prepared (like a good Boy Scout mother).

It’s hard to believe Fall is almost here. I’ll leave you with a photograph I took last October at Old Sturbridge Village in Massachusetts. If you live in the area and you’ve never been – plan a trip. Right now.

Here comes Autumn