Tag Archives: Goals

Character is Where It’s At!

I once did an event with an author many years ago. A student asked about plot and I said, “Your character makes decisions and choices. And those choices move the plot forward.”

“Not always,” my co-teacher said. “Not in a plot driven novel.”

I had read this person’s work and while I found it okay, I wasn’t grabbed by the characters. They weren’t interesting. They were flat and, even in exciting moments, I could close the novel because I just didn’t care.

Like in real life, I want to know the people of books so if they fail or lose something or go through a hard event, I am rooting for them. If they get that kiss or lose that boy or find their mother or lose the kingdom, I want to laugh or weep for them.

Knowing your characters helps you be able to write a well-rounded character. Even if all the details don’t show up on the page.

Here are a few things to ponder.

  • Why is this the right character for this novel?
  • Make your antagonist the lead of the book. What happens to the story?
  • How are your main character and the antagonist the same?
  • What are the most important things (people) to your main character?
  • To the antagonist?
  • Morally, how is your main character different than other people in the novel?
  • How are they the same?
  • Every character should have a truth. What are the truths of your characters?
  • Every character should have a want. What are the wants of the characters in your book?
  • How is your character’s wants pro or con to her moral fiber?
  • Finding out you are more like your mother than you had hoped may be a negative for you. Who is your character similar to? How does this help or hinder who she is?
  • If you have to write a song for your character, using the tune to Imagine Dragon’s THUNDER, what would the words be?
  • Everyone has secrets. I have secrets no one knows unless they were somehow involved in specific incidents in my life. What are your MC’s secrets? How does this motivate her? Change her? Influence her decision making?
  • Your character has to leave, now. What does she take with her?
  • Zombies are coming. Your character cannot get her invalid father out of the house and must run for her life. What does she tell him before she closes the door?
  • What minor details (favorite color, favorite treat, favorite shirt etc) does your character show in your book already?
  • If your character had ten adjectives to describe herself what would she say?
  • What would you say?

Answer these questions–and make up your own and share them–for all the major players in your writing. And if you like these kinds of questions, let me know and I’ll come up with a few more.

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Three Thing Thursday

LoriAnne:

For the first time in a year, I’m not in a writing class. And it’s weird.  My writing group is sort of on hiatus since last semester ended. So there isn’t anyone I feel accountable to. I don’t report a wordcount to anyone, or turn in a revised chapter. I’m forced to examine if I’m going to write every day, on my own, without the points tied to grade, like a carrot dangling in front of me. Do I do what I say I love to do?

I’m happy to say yes, I am writing, and enjoying it. I’m having fun watching my characters unfold and surprise me. It’s not as often as I should be writing.  It’s several times a week, but not daily.  I’ve decided to set some personal goals in this season of goal setting — one short-term daily goal, one mid-range goal, and one long-term goal.

1.       Writing is like exercise – it’s better to do even a little bit every day, than to do nothing and atrophy, or try to do a huge marathon session in one day and have a stiff brain and wear yourself out. Just 100 words keeps your creativity muscles toned and ready whenever an idea presents itself. I always feel better about the day ahead of me if I’ve written in the early morning. I’m not looking at writing as a chore anymore, but something I do because there are moments of fun for me. Those moments are coming more often than they used to, so I keep plugging away. My only problem is do I write or do I exercise? Writing is winning hands down – literally. My hands are down on the keyboard instead of on a yoga mat.

2.       My mid-range goal is getting my writing group back together. We miss each other, and I enjoy their stories, and their insights on my story. A once-a-month meeting should not be that hard. Hope they are reading this. I’ll be sending an email today, girls 🙂

3.       Set a long-term goal, like attending a conference, and sign up where possible to meet with an editor or agent. I’ve signed up early and pushed myself out of my comfort zone to do more than sit and enjoy the speakers. This way I can make progress towards my goal of getting published. When you sign up for a workshop or writing conference, plan to have something critiqued, then let your daily writing work towards writing your piece a little every day.

What strategies are you using to set your writing goals this year? See you at the conferences!

Carol:

Last night, Ann Dee Ellis, Kyra Leigh and Kristyn Crow traveled to my class to speak about writing. Each girl has a book coming out this year and they all read from their work. AMAZING!

Carol Again:

Don’t forget Friday’s party!

Go here to register: http://www.wifyr.com/events/

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Filed under Ann Dee, Exercises, First Line, three thing thursday

Frozen Friday

Just a moment to say what I would have said on Monday if I hadn’t had a daughter in the hospital.

This new year?

I have so many hopes for what’s to come.

Last year was so hard.

We started the year off losing our sweet and amazing Debbie and ended the year losing hilarious and wonderful Rick. Before and after those terrible days, more people we loved left this earth life and moved on. It’s been a long, hard time.

Today, though, I’ve been thinking how I’ve already fallen behind with my goals.

But each day is new, right?

Each day I can stretch and reach and hope.

That’s how I hope to treat each moment in this joyous new year.

Ann Dee, Kyra and I hope you have a perfect 2017. Sure, there’s going to be hard times. But there’s going to be a new moment, a new chance, and always we’ll have the opportunity to write for the love of words and kids and ourselves.

Happy weekend!

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My Monday List

  1. Go to the doctor for blood work. See if the nurse can collapse another vein.
  2. Find mates to the gabillion socks that are lonely and waiting on my sofa. Hmmm. That sounds a little like me. Lonely and waiting on my sofa.
  3. Watch this again. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nblf7Yw4jys   Hey, BTW, just want you to notice what my favorite singer/songwriter says about phones.
  4. Make copies of pages for the Stephen Fraser Workshop    http://www.wifyr.com/two-days-with-stephen-fraser/  There are still spots left if you want to just sit in and listen and observe.
  5. Pick a book to work on with Ann Dee from our three fantastic ideas. At least think about what we should do over the next week or two. Take a few notes. Dream up a character. Maybe?
  6. Gather tax stuff. I’m even going to make an appointment to see my tax guy THIS MONTH. THIS WEEK. TODAY, I will call and make an appointment with my great tax guy.
  7. Gather ex-husband stuff for lawyer (you don’t want to know). Or maybe, if you are anything like me, you DO want to know.
  8. Do twitter-ish stuff. One of my New Year’s goals is to learn how to use Twitter. I’m gonna do it! Have made one twit this morning. Will make another soon. Are two twits a day enough to make a twitter?
  9. Go to dinner with my youngest daughter.
  10. Buy fruits and vegetables and maybe make bread.
  11. Write toward my goal of 6,000 new words this week.
  12. Check in with my dear heart Debbie Nance. You can purchase her book here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1523265965/ref=cm_sw_r_fa_dp_oRLPwb1P7ZK2Z  My book arrives on Friday.

What are you gonna do?

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Today is the Beginning of Summer

For me, I mean. School’s out. I just have to submit grades.

And, as with any beginning, I have my goals.

The biggest goal of all is to enjoy.

Enjoy.

I’ve never allowed myself to just live.

 

And I haven’t had the best of times the last few months. I’ve let this influence me. The sadness. The heartbreak.

Before me now is five months–with WIFYR (www.wifyr.com) stuffed in the middle–of enjoying being with Carolina. Taking a trip with a few of my girls. Polishing and organizing. Visiting Rick. Catching up with people I haven’t seen in a while. And writing.

How I love writing. And hate it, too.

And how I love rewriting.

How I love sexy new projects.

I’ve got all that before me.

Plus, guess what? I even jogged today. Not very far. And real slow. R-E-A-L slow. So slowly that Carolina walked beside me and said “Mom. ” And I was like, “Run. A. Head. Pl. Ease.”

I have second hand smoker’s lungs (thanks southern family o’ mine) and so I can’t breathe easily. Is this why I’ve had the cough now for years? (This better not be serious–but the allergy pills didn’t help. The asthma stuff didn’t help. The cough medicine didn’t help.)

 

What’s before you?

Is it dark?

Can you find light in that darkness?

Is it joy?

Does it include children? Lovers? Books? Friends? Food? Serving? Being served?

 

Perhaps is should include all of that.

And a good dog.

 

 

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Filed under CLW, Depression

Kyra Leigh, Queen Bee!

I haven’t been posting and I’m sorry. I got swamped with work, my pretend boyfriend going back to Florida, writing, new roommates, and a buncha other stuff.
But I will do better.

Isn’t that something we always say? That we’ll do better? I guess the only way to do that is to actually try. So I will try. Trytrytry.

It’s March and I have blue hair and there was a big snowstorm and I still can’t get inspired. Although, my  new roommate gave me an oldschool typewriter for my writing days that I’m doing with my favorite friend. The typewriter is gorgeous and amazing and I think it actually works. Just needs some tweaking. Now I can say that I’m almost a real writer.

I  know it’s already the four days into March, but I have some goals I would really like to accomplish this month.

One of those goals is to finish my novel. I’m about twenty thousand words in, and I sort of feel like it’s not very good. But all I can do is keep on writing!

How’s the writing for all you guys? Better than me, I hope!

One good thing I have to say is the WIFYR conference is just a few months away and I can’t wait! I think this will be one of the best years. So let’s get our novels finished and ready to submit and critique and all that other good jazz.

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Thank you and Three Thing Thursday

from Carol:

 

Thank you all for your kind words after Monday’s post.

 

from Brenda:

One of the much-published women in our critique group, the Wasatch Mountain Fiction Writers [WMFW], writes massive and highly-researched historicals.  She is amazing to me.  She writes every word of research by hand, often on legal-sized, yellow tablets.  She also writes her books out long hand before typing (or having them typed up).  Attempting to learn her secrets of organization, I asked her once how she finds specific bits of needed information as she composes her story.
“Oh, when I get to a point where I need a specific fact, it just pops into my head.”  She credited the having written it all by hand in the first place as the reason it “stuck”.
Tomorrow, Friday, Jan. 23, is supposed to “National Handwriting Day.”  I have seen this “day” credited to John Henry, for his bold (possibly myopic) signature.  And I’ve noted “National Writing Day,” as sponsored by the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), but listed as Oct. 20, and so recognized by the U. S. Senate, 2009 through at least 2012.
Personally, I liked my friend’s idea that writing “by hand” contributed to her retention of information.
Suppose we all try writing something by hand tomorrow?  Notice whether it helps cement ideas, facts, data in our minds.  Maybe that can work for us, too.
Let us know how you do, and what you learn.
from Cheryl:
There used to be something in my house called writing time.
There used to be something called reading time.
There used to be something known as showers.
There used to be something known as sleep.
A month ago, all of these things were replaced by a baby boy.
To say my life is unbalanced is an understatement. I’m either taking care of my son, my daughter, or sleeping in those rare moments when their naps coincide.
But I know it’s temporary. I know, because I’m still jotting down notes about how to fix sections of my novel. I’m still waking up with inspiration for new stories. I’m still managing to sneak in a few minutes here and there of reading, studying the newest and best of my genre.
I’m a mother, but I haven’t given up on being a writer. I’m behind on my writing, but I’m not done.
And neither are any of you. If you’re behind, it’s okay. We can do this.

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