Tag Archives: Debbie Nance

Some Good News, A Good Quote, and Something Weird

 – by Debbie Nance

Good news: My tumor-marker-numbers are down so the chemo is working, though it makes me feel icky and tired.

Good news: I still have some hair and eyelashes and eyebrows.

Good news: I was given a free subscription to Ancestry.com and I’ve been finding sources to prove my relatives are mine. Very fun!

Good news: I’m going to have another birthday. We’re celebrating on Saturday. I’m getting older, but possibly wiser.

Good news: WIFYR is coming! And WIFYR T-shirts are available for purchase online.

Good news: A friend called and wanted more tickets for the Thursday Keynote event with James Dashner. This is going to be a great conference!

Good quote: “You have to finish things — that’s what you learn from, you learn by finishing things.” — Neil Gaiman

Something Weird: There is a goose in my front yard. Really. I can hear it honking. How strange is that?

I think you should write a scene that includes a goose, a birthday party, and someone looking for a relative. 

And definitely plan to come to WIFYR. 

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Happy Friday-Before-Memorial-Day! by Debbie Nance

Monday is Memorial Day. Our family has a tradition of visiting the nearby graves of deceased relatives. We usually take flowers and sometimes flags. We always take photos. Now that our children are older, they bring their children along, and we caravan together to meet at the cemeteries. Then we have lunch and retell stories of our loved ones. It is a great day of remembrance.

One of our aunts never married. She is getting older and picked out her own headstone. It has a design that includes musical notes and a softball and bat, showing two of her favorite hobbies. She had the stone placed on her plot a few years ago so when she passes, relatives will only have to have the death date added. Her headstone is near her parents so she sees her own memorial each year. I’d say that is a little quirky, but one thing for sure, she’s prepared.

Think about your latest WIP. What traditions does your MC have? What quirks does she/he have?

Write a scene that shows the uniqueness of your MC and then enjoy the holiday!

And remember there are only 24 days until WIFYR so sign up before it’s too late. Hope to see you there!

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Points of View and Encouragement – by Debbie Nance

“The reader, you see, has come to you as a storyteller seeking entertainment—and as I have pointed out in other posts, entertainment only occurs as you put the reader under stress in a safe manner and then negate the stress. So you create a protagonist, a character that acts as a surrogate for the reader, and you make that character likeable, someone that we admire, care about, and perhaps even envy a little. As we read a story, our subconscious mind is swept into the tale, and incidents that occur vividly in the tale affect our readers’ emotions. In effect, the reader “becomes” the protagonist on a subconscious level…” David Farland.

I like that quote and I think it is true. Readers relate to and can “become” the characters in the books they read. So what do you think is the best point of view for your writing? Do you change from book to book? Do you prefer reading books in one POV over another?

Rick Walton once told me that sometimes it is good to have a step of separation between the reader and the MC. I understood his point when the story you’re writing or reading is too close, too personal, for the reader to be comfortable. For instance, when something happens that the reader doesn’t want to feel as his/her own pain or embarrassment or fear.

First person POV is currently very popular in YA, but I read an article that says it rises and falls in popularity. 3rd person POV remains constant in popularity. Why do you think that is true?

Years ago when I began writing, I took a course that explained the difference between POVs and then said that 3rd person was the easiest and most natural way to write because it was like telling a story. However, when someone writes 3rd person POV really well the reader can forget that it isn’t written in 1st person.

Take a look at some of your favorite books. Are they in 1st or 3rd person POV? Are you surprised?

If you’ve hit a sticky spot in your ms, try writing that scene in a different point of view and see what you learn about your character.

Does it make a difference to take a step back and see what your MC is doing from an outside view or to take a step closer and see what the scene is like only from your MC point of view?

Which POV do you like better for your scene?

There is room for all kinds of books written in various POVs. Indeed, agent Stephen Fraser said (at a WIFYR conference) that there is a place for every book. I think he should know, and that encourages me.

I hope you’re coming to WIFYR this year. We all need encouragement and I hope to see you there!

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The Amazing Debbie Nance

Jump Start Your Creativity vs Waiting – by Debbie Nance

Do you have a hard time waiting?

I do.

And it seems like I’m always waiting for something.

Waiting for health test results.

Waiting for responses from submissions.

Waiting for a phone call, inspiration to strike, or more energy.

My grandpa used to say he was waiting for his ship to come in and then we’d all be rich. When I was young, I thought he was serious. I dreamed about an actual ship with tall white sails, though I wasn’t sure how my grandpa owned a ship like that or where it would dock in our little town. Grandpa’s ship never did come in, but he never seemed to mind. He and Grandma were happy together with what they had.

My mom used to say doing something, even if it was wrong, was better than doing nothing. You might guess she is a real go getter—still.

So what is your MC waiting for?

Think about a problem area of your book. Can you speed up the scene by having your MC do something instead of waiting for something to happen to him/her?

Making a character active rather than passive will surely strengthen your book. Give it a try now. Don’t wait.

Give your character a task or chore or a mission that must be done. Have him or her do something even if it’s wrong, and see if it will jump start your creativity.

P.S. WIFYR is coming in less than 40 days. If you haven’t signed up for a class, now is the time to act. Go to http://www.wifyr.com/ and check out all of the options for this year. It will be a great conference that you won’t want to miss!

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