Monday, December 20, 2010

We Interrupt This Blog To Bring You An Important Message

Sorry folks, but I'm going to have to put the Top 10 Extravaganza on hold for a couple weeks. I had unexpected surgery on my ankle last week and recovery hasn't been going as well as I'd hoped.

So, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! I'll be back the second week of next year with a couple more lists and a giveaway! See you then and I wish you all a happy holiday season!

Friday, December 17, 2010

10 Things I've Learned About Character Development

Today's Top 10 list is about character development because if you don't have compelling, real don't have anything.

So, let's get started.

10 Things I've Learned About Character Development

1. No character, no matter how major or minor, is complete without a few flaws.
2. People are varied, characters should be too.
3. A stagnant character is a boring character.
4. If a character is sympathetic in spite of major flaws, the combination can be truly compelling.
5. Little details are every bit as important as big ones.
6. Villains are strongest when they are the hero of their own story.
7. Cardboard characters belong in the trash, fill them out or throw them away.
8. People have little things--sayings, movements, twitches--that are unique to them. Characters should too.
9. Don't be afraid to make your characters suffer. It's your job.
10. Worksheets of character details can be amazingly helpful in keeping track and staying true to the character you've created.

That's it! Hope you find it helpful. Another list to come on Monday. :)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

10 Things I've Learned About Starting

Okay! On to list number two. Let's start at the very beginning. It seems a very good place to start. :)

Top 10 Things I've Learned About Starting

1. There is no wrong place to start
2. Most of the time, the first scene you write, won't end up being the first scene in the book.
3. Every writer has their own method to prepare. Find yours and get to work.
4. Don't stop and rework the beginning, come back to it later.
5. If you do stop, you're likely to get stuck in the dreaded first chapter rut. Move past it and skip ahead. Allow your story to gather some momentum.
6. On a first draft, no momentum is bad momentum.
7. Most problems can be fixed with revisions.
8. Set a writing schedule and stick to it.
9. Motivators (chocolate, positive feedback, your fave t.v. shows, etc.) are there for a reason. Use them to keep you going.
10. Beginnings can suck, but if you keep going you'll eventually hit your stride.

As a person who truly struggles with beginnings, you may notice a theme here... just do it. Starting a new project tomorrow, or next week, or next year won't make it any easier.

Friday's list will be on character development. Stop on by.

Monday, December 13, 2010

10 Things I've Learned About Writing

It's mid-December now, which means I'm closing in on the 2 year mark for this blog. *cue streamers, confetti and mariachi band*

In honor of this occasion, I'm doing a few top ten lists of things I've learned in the last two years. Today, we're starting with the basics of writing. So, here it is, today's top ten list.

10 Things I've Learned About Writing

1. Commas are not willy-nilly objects.
2. There is a correct time and place for a semi-colon...whether I like it or not.
3. A little well-balanced white space is a beautiful thing.
4. Starting with the MC waking up is not a new and original concept.
5. Four words to live by: Arrive Late/Leave Early
6. Main characters should not be boring, whiny or ridiculous.
7. Readers are smart, don't underestimate them.
8. If one of your viewpoint characters is so minor they're more background than anything else--you may have a problem.
9. Just because half the world thinks writing about vampires and werewolves is a fantastic idea, it doesn't mean you have to.
10. Write what interests you and you can make it interesting. If you aren't intrigued by an idea, your audience won't be either.

More Top 10 Lists to come, stay tuned. :)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Ready For The Run

I spent last weekend in Las Vegas. My little sister participated in the Las Vegas 1/2 marathon. It was incredible. They closed down the strip and there were nearly 30,000 runners.

Some of them looked determined, ready for the long haul. Others were talking to themselves, trying to remember it would be worth it, trying to just limp through the last 1/4 mile.

It really struck me how much the road to publishing is like a marathon. For a very few writers, it's a short 5K and everything seems to fall into place. For others, it's 13.1 miles for the half marathon and they feel like giving up more than once. For even more, it's the 26.2 mile full marathon. They feel like they can't handle it. They'll never get there. At times, it might even feel like deciding to try for that finish line was the worst decision they've ever made.

But you should see the look of triumph on their faces when they cross that finish line, and they realize that every step was worth it.

I can't wait to get there. Can you?