Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Question Box : Creating Characters

When creating a main character, is it better to start with a good girl/guy with a drop of "bad", or a bad girl/guy with a drop of "good"?

I have been pondering this question for three days now. First, that is way too much energy for my little brain to expend. Second, I have been so stuck I actually asked my husband for his opinion.


I am going to tackle this to the best of my ability. If the answer is convoluted I apologize :0)
I am guessing my struggle with this question comes from none of my characters being all good or all bad. Each individual has the potential for both extremes. Therein come the fun in playing with them. Pushing their limits and watching what happens. Personally, it is more fun to push a good character over the edge than making an evil character good.

My logic-- simple human nature leans toward good. No one is pure good, or angelic, there is always a sliver of bad in the foreground, that keeps them human.

Pure evil, all bad is much more accepted. Think about it, if someone is too good we automatically assume a screw is loose. No one is without darkness.

However, there are characters that are truly embraced because they are the essence of evil. Is this because in the bad we want to find the good or the other way around?

Some of the most romantic tales are those portraying true love conquering pure evil. A strength of emotion between two people blurring all lines and erasing all fear and doubt.

Now, so I can say I honestly answered the question. Is it better to start with one or the other? I say neither is preferred. It is all gray to me.  

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Question Box : What are the most important attributes to remaining sane as a writer?

Remaining sane as a writer-- Wow, I am considered sane? Ummm…okay let me think about this. First you must have a sense of humor in regards to yourself and others. You cannot take yourself too seriously or you will crack before you even start to get any momentum.  Writing is as much about heartache and pain as it is about fulfillment and joy. You need to roll with the punches to get from one to the other, or you will burn out quickly.
You must have confidence in yourself and what you are doing.  If you do not have confidence in what you are writing, why would expect anyone else? Now there is a difference between confidence and arrogance. It is imperative that you know the difference. Confidence is pride in your work. You have done your best and want to share it with others because it is your heart and your love. Arrogance is sharing something because you believe it to be the best, and you are of the opinion that people will want to read it simply because it is superior in some regard.
Resilience is an absolute necessity. An artist’s life, whether you are a musician, writer, or painter, is a life filled with self doubt and rejection. It is the reality of a choice each of us makes.  Due to this you must be able to bounce back, rebound from disappointment, and start again. Not because you can, but because you must.
Another important attribute is the ability to be flexible, in your work, your choices and in your life in general. Life is not a straight line from beginning to end, and neither is writing. Things, ideas, and routes change, and you need to be able to change with them. This is imperative.  Being rigid has its rewards. However, rigid walls quickly turn into a box, closing off your muse and muting a plethora of possibilities. Flexibility is an asset, and should be used as such. The more flexible you are, the broader your horizons.

The Boy Scout motto is always be prepared. The muse will strike when least expected, and if you are not prepared brilliance can pass you by. Don’t think you can remember it all because you can’t.  So plan, prepare, and always be ready to hit the ground running.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Procrastination or Inspiration?

As a writer the easiest thing in the universe to do is procrastinate. 
You can find a billion reasons to not write.
Too tired, laundry is piling up, the bathroom needs to be cleaned, you need to go to the store, weeds need to be pulled, the fly buzzing around the room is too distracting, kids need me, too loud, too quiet, no inspiration. I have used them all.
Fortunately, I have broken out of the sticky web of procrastination. Not saying that I don’t fall back every now and again. However, I have realized that my procrastination will actually stall my creative flow. I am in essence putting my muse on mute. I have learned that if you keep it silent for too long, when you do turn the volume back up you will find nothing but silence.
I love people that tell you they are ‘working up to’ something. I have learned it is code for ‘I have no freaking idea what I am going to do’. But that’s okay. We have all been there, when the ideas and the flow seem just out of reach, so why waste time staring a blank screen? Why spend precious hours writing useless prattle? If the inspiration isn’t there, it just isn’t there…right?
See, here’s the thing… Staring at the blank screen, believe it or not, is not a waste of time. Writing gibberish does more than give you sore shoulders. These seemingly useless exercises can in fact amount to brilliance. How? Because you are doing it! You are focused on your task. You are allowing your mind to wander to all of those wonderful places where the kernels of inspiration collect. Given enough time and patience they will pop and you were soar!
I have said it a million times and I cannot stress it enough. The reason I do is because I don’t want anyone to miss out on the chance of brilliance! If you are going to write, than write! If you are going to write a song, write it! If you are going to conquer the world, get to work!
Someone once said that ‘Procrastination is the ruin of the brilliant man’. And while I am not going to go to that degree I will say that it is a slippery slope. So mind your balance and open the door for brilliance, it is waiting!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Ode to My BFF on Her Birthday

My BFF for the past eight years, and the rest of my mortal life’s name is Brenda. We met through work, which was odd in itself as I do not have the best track record with women in the workplace.  
That particular day, I was assisting my boss with some job interviews. Out of all the candidates, I was the most impressed with Brenda.  We thought alike and I saw something in her that told me she was different…special. That fateful meeting was the beginning of a wonderful and cherished friendship.
Brenda and work at the same company, but we are separated by job functions. We both have families and very busy lives. We can go for weeks without a word to each other but, eventually an ache appears, and we need a BFF fix. We pick up the phone schedule a long lunch and talk like we saw each other yesterday.
Every relationship requires attention, but sometimes you connect with someone on a deeper level. Brenda and I know each other better than we know ourselves. We keep each other focused, support the other no matter what, and love the other unconditionally.  We talk each other down, lift each other up and laugh until we cry as often as possible.
Recently, I sent her an email that began like this... “I am not sure if this is for me or for you. I feel like one or both of us need this so here goes…”
Any other friend would read that email and think I was losing it. My BFF knew what I was saying, doing, and accepted it. No questions, and no doubts.

We traded journal like emails everyday over two months.  It turns out that those two months were hell on both of us. We got through it together, as friends and I thank the heavens everyday that I have been so blessed to have her in my life.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

The Almighty Crush (Hooray For Eye Candy) !!

One of my favorite things in the editing phase is character analysis. Most people do this before they start writing and then forget about it once complete. I started it before, add to it during and review it in the editing stages to ensure the character I see in my mind is that character coming out on the page. One of those items that is so important for reader connecting and general depth are the silly inane things that make us unique as individuals. One of these is, of course, the crush.

Crushes are something teenage girls have on movie stars, the local football jock, or the boy she sits next to in history with the dreamy smile.  The almighty crush is something of legend and by the time we age and become adults the crush shouldn’t be a word in our vocab right? When we think of a crush, it is defined as unrequited feelings for another.   In the world of adults it takes on a different tone, I believe Ross Geller from Friends called it his top five. It is perfectly normal for all of us, single or committed to be attracted in one form or another to other people. We are in fact human. It is also healthy to share these ‘crushes’ with your partner as they probably have them as well.
So here is my question, who does my character have a crush on. Who makes her giggle or him smile wide and bright. It is not necessarily a sexual crush, there are all kinds of crushes. Personally I have several.

Physical – Their body makes your body…uh huh… you are happy to have the movie on mute is just to see the rippling abs.
Romantic -  Not necessarily hot bodies but definitely dreamy, these crushes are more romantic fantasy than physical hotness.
Intellectual – Their brains get you riled up and you are just in love with their brilliance!
Same Sex – Someone of the same gender that we just drool over because they are so amazing.

As we all have these types of admiration for people so should our characters. I
discovered that my heroine has an intellectual crush on Anderson Cooper. I have an intellectual crush on Seth McFarlane, Physical crush on Bruce Willis and Romantic crushes on Daniel Craig, and George Clooney. My Female crush is on Ellen DeGeneres, I am just so enamored by her spirit. If you look at my choices and think about them you can probably discover a lot about me.

So who are your crushes? Too many to name? Spread them around a bit, share with your characters and weave it into what makes them unique! This is also another way to make your characters relatable, grounded and more real. You think this might be a wasted detail but you never know how something so buried could pop up in the end.

*And yes, I did this topic just so I could look up fabulous pictures of hot guys!! LOL!