Wednesday, November 30, 2011

People Have Layers (Or What My Job Has Taught Me About Character Development)

For the last few holiday seasons I've worked at a book store. One of the things we do every year is a book drive for area children. Our goal is massive, around 400 books. In order to meet this goal, the store has a simple, but effective strategy. Ask EVERYONE. Even if they're frowning, even if they only bought a .50 newspaper, even if they're in a rush, even if they've said "no" to everything else you've asked them.

As a somewhat why person, this took some getting used to, but once I did, I noticed something fascinating. You never know who's going to say yes. Mr. Crankypants might just stop in the middle of his rant about rising costs, blink at you a few times and say "Sure." The sweet grandmother with the kind eyes might scowl at you and act offended you had the nerve to ask.

This is something I keep in mind when developing my characters, and writing my scenes. People have layers. There are all sorts of tiny things that affect them from moment to moment. What they show on their face or their body language might not be a true indicator of who they are or what they're thinking. They might be frowning because they can't remember a lyric to their favorite song, with no idea that they look angry. They might've just found out their kid got arrested while shopping for his expensive present.

So I try to make sure I have little moments like this in my book. Scenes where a character is thinking one thing but showing another, scenes where a character is completely misjudged or misinterpreted, because that's real, and I think it's always interesting to see the difference between the way a person is perceived, and the way they perceive themselves.

What about you, do you have any little tricks or reminders like this when you write?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Flash Fiction Friday

Just a quick post to say that my YA Contemporary Flash Fiction is this week's story post on agent Sarah LaPolla's literary blog Glass Cases! You can read it HERE if you're interested!

Also, if you haven't ever visited Glass Cases before, you really should. It's a great blog!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

NaNoWriMo Incentive and Inspiration

As we move into the second week of NaNoWriMo I thought I'd share a couple of great posts I've read recently that talk about persevering far better than I can.

The first comes from Chuck Wendig and his Terrible Minds blog. I like to think of it as incentive. You know, yes I can so finish my book!(Please note there is a fair bit of swearing in the post, so if that's not your thing, you've been warned.)

25 Reasons You Won't Finish That Story

Number 18 is one that is usually true for me.
18. Haven’t Answered Any Of The Critical Questions

Ask yourself: what is this about? Why am I writing this? Why will anyone care? Asking yourself some fundamental questions before you write — plus several others while you write — can help keep your nose to the grindstone and allow you to feel settled in both direction and purpose.

Also check out his list of those questions. He's got some really great ones.

The second is totally inspirational. It's about sticking with it when you've got that horrible feeling that you have completely failed at writing the book you wanted to write. It's a great guest post by Sara Zarr on Nova Ren Suma's blog:

What Inspires Sara Zarr

I bet you can't guess what it is. Failure. Yep. Go read why. If you've been feeling stuck, you'll be inspired to keep going, I swear.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Giveaway Winners!

The winner of DESTINED is:


The winner of THE WHITE ASSASSIN is:

Anita Saxena!

Be on the lookout for an email from me!

Thanks so much for entering. I will be having another giveaway soon!
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