Balancing Characters

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I’m making soup, tonight. Pumpkin soup with some other veg, turmeric and cayenne. I’ve made this soup several times over the past two months because I like it of an evening and it’s healthy. Why am I waffling about soup? Because the other day I changed my recipe – I left out parsnip and it changed the balance of flavours in a way I didn’t like. So today I’ve added it back in, with a bit more for good measure 😀

I think writing a story is about balance. We can add too much internal thought, or too little internal thought, and the flavour of the story will change. We can add a dollop of spice, or too much spice, and the flavour will change. So the questions must be asked: What kind of story is it? And do we want the story to fit genre, or not?

We need a balance of characters to represent different aspects of the story. Maybe we have a character who always sees the humour in a situation and maybe we need a pessimist to balance out the humours. Maybe we have someone who thinks they know it all only to find out they don’t, and someone who thinks they know nothing when, in fact, they know more than they think they do.  Maybe we have a protagonist and antagonist, but do our other characters balance each other? Each character should bring a different flavour to the story, and, depending on how strong we want that flavour to be, we can enhance that quality or dilute it a little.

So, with balancing characters in mind, let’s play a game of word association. I’ll begin by putting a characteristic down, and let’s see where we go in the comments!

My word: ‘Know-it-all’

What comes into your mind? Or if you want to change characteristic, write a new one and we can all say what comes into our heads. This is a useful tool for adding depth to characters, too:)

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Navigating NaNoWriMo for Noobs by Evangeline Gold

Maybe you’ve heard of the wild ride that is National Novel Writing Month—a self-challenge for writers to pen a minimum of 1667 words a day in order to complete a 50k draft in 30 days. Maybe like me, you heard of it on and off and never actually thought about participating for one reason or another.

This year I decided to tackle it.

Continue reading

Self-Publish vs Traditional Publishing from an unpublished Author’s POV by Elle Silver

I was going to think of a great blog post about the creative writing process but I fear that if I don’t talk about this I am going to go nuts thinking about it. I have never published any of my work and I am seriously conflicted about Self-Publishing. Continue reading

How to Get Laid by Francisco Cordoba

One day when I was in college, my English professor informed me that my writing was atrocious.

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Unless I figured out a way to get laid, I would fail his class. This seemed somewhat harsh, but dedicated young student that I was, I determined to make Prof. Smith proud.

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Continue reading

Author Newsletters by Sha Renée

Recently I published my first newsletter as an author. I used Mad Mimi which was pretty user friendly once I got the hang of it. I had always wondered if authors actually need a newsletter, especially if we’ve already got a blog set up. Someone explained that when you write a blog post, your followers get a message letting them know you posted. They will need to go and click on your link to read your post.

With a newsletter, they’ll get an e-mail from you, and once they open it, BAM, there’s your message with everything you want to tell them. Of course they can choose to skip the email, but the important thing is it eleminates a step.  I like to look at it like this: Option 1 – the mailman comes to my door and tells me that Macy’s is having a sale on dresses. Maybe he even shows me a photo.  But I’m in the middle of preparing dinner which means I have to stop and go to Macy’s to look at the dresses. In option 2, the mailman comes to my door with 3 dresses from Macy’s. I can pick one right then and there. Tada!

Creating my newsletter was hard work, but it was also kind of fun. I included fun fall facts, tree trivia and some interesting information about fall foods which supposedly increase penile blood flow (someone get back to me with the results).

NEW COVERWhile I love promoting my book and the upcoming release of Forbidden Kisses, I wanted to include something extra in my newsletter – exclusive content which isn’t available anywhere else.
After all, if you’ve read my blog posts or visited my social media sites, you already know I have a kick-ass military romance which is available now for pre-order. So I wanted to include information you may not already know.

I’ve decided that 4 to 6 issues per year is frequent enough for my newsletters to go out. I have subscriptions to a number of online newsletters, but I find it annoying that some of the subscriptions send daily issues. Sometimes I get more than 1 issue per day from the same organization. That’s too frequent for me.

There is a feature I’ve seen increasingly on blogs and e-mail subscriptions and it’s a big pet peeve for me. And while I don’t judge those who include this feature… okay, yes I do… a little, I can’t see myself including it in my blog or my newsletter.

Imagine if you’ve been seeing an amazing guy or girl and things are getting serious. Today they’ve invited you to come over. Let’s say they have a 1-hour lunch break today instead of 30 minutes and they’ve asked you to stop and pick up some condoms on your way over. You make your purchase, get to the door and ring the bell. They answer immediately, completely nude, but instead of making the most of those 60 minutes, they shove their new pet hamster in your face as soon as you step in the door. “Hey check out my hamster. Look what he can do. Feel how soft his fur is. Look how he eats his carrot.” What the heck! That’s not what you came for.  This is how I feel when I visit a site that has a big pop-up message in my face BOOM – as soon as I log on. Can you at least give me a chance to view the information I came for first?

I was working on something recently that gave me the option to include a pop-up message that would appear to my viewers, and if so, how soon did I want the message to appear. The choices were 1 second, 3 seconds… are you kidding me? Why would I ambush them with an offer which may not even be relevent to the information I’m providing? Let them at least have the opportunity to get what they came for – what I invited them for.

You can include a pop-up message if you want to, but please give me a chance to come in and get settled.

Anyway, my newsletter doesn’t have pop-up boxes BOOM – as soon as you open it. You won’t get an issue on a daily basis. I have quarterly issues. And hopefully you’ll find the content entertaining and interesting, like excerpts I haven’t shared anywhere else and the complete Forbidden Kisses music playlist.  See for yourself!

From our table I watched Ethan’s performance. His eyes locked on mine as his song started. When he sang the first line in acapella, my heart laughed, danced and cried. The music started and the audience cheered. UB-40’s version of Can’t Help Falling In Love featured a slow reggae beat that everyone wanted to move to. I watched, transfixed as he sang to me. Me. He was singing to me. Was he saying he was in love with me?

Ethan was beautiful and so darn sexy as his hips rocked to the reggae beat. He sang and danced like he could feel the music. As if it flowed through his body the way it did mine. His eyes, his movements and his words seduced me.

Thanks for reading. I’m by no means an expert on creating newsletters, but I’d be happy to help you get started if you have questions.

Now that you’ve finished reading, feel free to take a look at these:

Subscribe to my newsletter

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Visit my Facebook Page

Visit my Amazon Page

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Happy NaNoWriMo!

For those not in the know, it’s National Novel Writing Month.

One month, 30 days, 50,ooo words… GO!

I really love NaNoWriMo. I’ve written several first drafts doing this, and actually won half the time I’ve done a WriMo. This year, I’m playing a bit of a NaNo Rebel.

I’ve not writing a novel, as much as a series of short stories for my newsletter.

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Because shame is for people without student loans!

Which kind of helps me feel more accomplished. Every day, I’ve writing one story, minimum, usually one and a half. So every single day I get that little thrill of not only hitting word goal, but also of finishing something. Not to mention, I’ll end up with about three years worth of material.

And it’s the little things that make live worth living.

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So little, so worth it…

I recommend NaNo for anyone looking to get into the habit of writing, for experienced authors who need a swift kick in the butt to get that draft written, and for people who just love a challenge.

Are there downsides to NaNo?

Does a bear poo in the woods?

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Charmin has told us that the answer to that question is YES.

Your draft will be messy and need extensive editing, but… for me, that’s any first draft. NaNo is basically how I normally write, but on a caffeine high. I bang out words until it’s done, then I refine. It’s just that once a year, a whole ton of people cheer me on.

And it feels good to know just how many people to see words on paper.

So yes, if you aren’t doing NaNo, I encourage you to give it a shot next year.

If you are doing NaNo, wanna do some word sprints?

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Kate Whitaker writes for fun and profit from the woods of the Olympic Peninsula. You can most likely find her sitting at her kitchen table yelling at kids as she tries to figure out a new way to kill made up monsters. She has a newsletter and a comic, and you can follow her on twitter.

Creating a Novel…This is the way I roll…

Do you ever wonder where an author creates, imagines, and unfolds the story that has to be told? Like a few of my author friends, I find myself jotting down notes on just about anything on hand. Even using grocery or restaurant receipts if I’ve changed purses and forgot to toss in my trusty notebook. Without pen and paper, I’ll never keep remember the one line that’s a must for my story.
A vast majority of my writing has been spent in the comfort of my oversized recliner. And thank goodness it’s big because I share the space with my precious apricot poodle named Macy. She happens to think she shares the space with me instead of the other way around. I couldn’t resist sharing her usual spot with her head sprawled out on my keyboard.
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Other favorite places to write include, my bed (especially in the mornings) or enjoying beautiful cool temperatures on the patio. Too many hours to count are spent at the dining room table with dozens of hummingbirds swarming the feeder. There’s something about those beautiful birds that help me relax so I can get through the pits of hell AKA writers block. (Notice the Sonic drink….keep reading and you’ll see they are everywhere!)
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…And for those moments the story takes off in my mind and I’m all to thankful when I’ve harbored my laptop deep inside a too-big of a purse while sitting at places such as Sonic. (Don’t judge me, LOL!) Several of the best scenes I’ve written came from sipping a Route 44 Coke Zero in the middle of cars zipping all around 🙂
And then there’s the junk food that help make it happen, LOL!!!
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For the most part creating characters, plots, and scenes are fun and exciting…but it can also be a pull your hair out/bang your head against the wall journey. Along the way of writing, editing, and re-writing, I found I needed a place to be serious. Where I can shut out the world, and focus with a do-not-disturb sign on hand. With the house still filled with kids, I didn’t have a room to spare to call mine. However I did have a place! Several years ago, we purchased an inexpensive armoire from Wal-Mart and placed it in our foyer for an old desktop. There’s a partial dividing wall separating the area from the living area. Since no one ever uses this space anymore, I decided to stake claim and call in my own. With a few small purchases to brand it the way I wanted, I now have my own writing cave. Yes, it’s tiny…but it’s mine! And I adore it.
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There’s a ton of dreamy writing spaces on Pinterest and I have some on my boards. Browse over and enjoy 🙂
And for Kathryn L. James, this is a sneak peek at how it’s done!
Happy reading and writing!
Until next time,
Kathryn L James (KJ)
Kathryn James lives in a southern small town with her husband and kids. Being a hopeless romantic, she loves to read and write about bad-boy sexy alpha males and a strong heroine. She weaves her characters along a roller coaster ride full of angst before they reach their HEA. The beach is one of her favorite places to relax and write. But most days, when she’s writing, you can find her snuggled under a blanket in a recliner with her sweet apricot poodle curled up beside her. She’s loves diet coke, and is certain it helped her stay awake pecking away on her laptop writing her debut novel Crazy Beautiful Lies and a short Crazy Beautiful Kiss in an anthology Story of a Kiss. She’s currently working on a wicked hot novel, Chasing Wicked. 
To connect with Kathryn:

How to Tick Off an Author . . . by Claire O’Sullivan

I love throwing caution to the wind, finding new ways to tick off a writer. For fun. My views are skewed, I admit. Have fun. Needle anyone (authors, editors, agents, publishers -well not too much. OK some). Pardon my blog. Or don’t. Continue reading