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Saturday, May 30, 2009

Characterization . . . should be this real!

As writers, all our characters should be this alive:

She's addicting, isn't she?

We watched this video over and over in my office. Whether the viewers had kids or not, found her annoying or adorable, or even liked chatter or not; everyone was mesmerized.

When characters hit the page, writers often flatten them out -- cardboard imitations.

Watch the video again. Note each movement. Notice how she attempts to engage those around her. Take in the reaction of her father, and the voice in the background that I assume is mom.

This little girl's chatter should be burned into your mind. This is true 3-D, and as authors, each writer has the job of bring characters to life. Great published authors employ this level of development in each book. It's what keeps readers continually coming back for more.

Watch again. What mannerisms can you draw from her behavior? Her father's?

Ever been to the mall? For more than shopping? Take a seat in the food court and observe human behavior. See if you can determine who is happy, sad, angry, rushed? How did you know? What were the clues? Facial expressions? Dragging their child through the mall at break-neck speed? Set of the shoulders, mouth, jawline? Listen for voice inflections? Pick a group of teenagers, then an older married couple, or a young couple with little ones in tow. What is differences in conversation? Voice inflection? Happiness level?

These are all attributes that writers can bring to the table when serving up the perfect character.

Don't short-change the reader's hunger for meaty characters.

Remember the chatter and let your characters come to 3-D life.

Thanks for dropping by my back porch.
Until then.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Upcoming Speaking Engagement

Saturday, June 20th at 10:30am, I'll be speaking at the June meeting for NTRWA (North Texas Romance Writers Association). The meeting is held at the La Hacinda in Grapevine.

This is blurb I sent for the newsletter:

I will discuss how and where to expend promotional money and effort. In addition, I will explore advertising areas from branding to blogging; from websites to words (keywords for web advertising, that is); from signings to speaking engagements and how to make the moments away from the writing add up to the most successful promotion possible.

Several months ago I discovered in talking to new members of this group that the whole concept of promotion seemed overwhelming. The wheres and whys of how to advertise 'oneself' seemed daunting. To that end, I spoke with a few on NTRWA's executive board and suggested this topic for a seminar. (I kinda thought they'd ask some of our multi-published and brilliant authors to speak on this topic). Oops, I was wrong. The powers that be asked me. I'm not multi-published unless one considers the articles I've published, and brilliant is beyond me on the best of my days, however, I do believe this is a worthy conversation for all writers so I've decided to offer my tree of knowledge, such as it is.

Luckily for me, my husband has researched loads of promotional information; I do know some additional brilliant people who are willing to share their learned expertise; and I've managed a few different endeavors for promotion. All together, I'm excited about the knowledge I've gained and the opportunity to share.

One of my critique partners has agreed to digital record the event, so hopefully I'll find a way to upload and share a few spurts of it here.

On a side note . . . who's found a way to get rid of pesky gnats? I've tried the vinegar water solution and even added a bit of dish washing soap to capture them, but the experience only met with limited success. Someone out there knows the gnat cure.
Do share!

Drop by my porch again soon. The oldest kid is moved home (back from college again) and I have great pics and funny stories to share.

Until next time

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