Tag Archive | Character Names

They Seem So Real!

I’m suffering from a chapped nose. No, I don’t have a cold. Yes, I sometimes have allergies, but that’s not the reason either.

I just finished writing a difficult chapter. I can usually knock out a chapter a day, but this one took three. Along with half a box of tissues.

I tell myself all the time that I’m not crazy. Maybe that in itself is a little nuts. Then, I’m reminded of one of my favorite movie scenes from “Romancing the Stone.” Author, Joan Wilder, is hunting for tissues. Sobbing over what she’s written.

When I first saw that film over thirty years ago, I wasn’t a writer. At least, not an author of novels. But now that I am, I get it! When my characters hurt, I hurt. Thus, the tears.

I’ll never forget the first time someone told me that my characters seemed real. Probably one of the best compliments I’ve ever received. They’re certainly real to me. Otherwise, why would I cry for them? Why would I care so much?

I recently had a great conversation with a reader who’s on Book 3 of my Southern Secrets Saga. She talked to me about things that were happening in the story and asked a few questions. But mostly, we talked about the characters and how much we love them. I felt like we were discussing long-time mutual friends. At one point, she apologized for going on so long about the books. Oh, my goodness! There definitely had been no need for that, and I told her so. It was fun! I doubt she realized how she’d made my day.

I’m glad the imaginary people I bring to life feel real. I’m afraid that if they weren’t relatable, the story would fall flat. A reader should be able to walk hand in hand with the characters and experience what they’re going through. Good and bad. Emotion is healthy. I just wish I could spare my nose!

Desires cover 850

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Our Favorite Things

How many of you collect things?

I’ve often wondered what it is that prompts us to latch onto certain things.

I’ve known people who collect trading cards, figurines, Disney items, etc.  My brother will tell you about how our mother threw away his baseball cards when he was a kid. Those cards from the 60’s would probably be worth a fortune now! I guess that anything will increase in value the longer you keep it. Just wander through an antique mall and you’ll see all kinds of memories that will cost you a great deal to own again.

My collection is something I can’t bring myself to part with and will one day be passed on to my son. I assume he’ll probably turn around and sell it, but it won’t matter to me any longer. I’ll be long gone.

When I was in the first grade I was given my first Liddle Kiddle doll. Liddle Riddle Riding Hood. And believe it or not, all these years later she’s still wearing her original removable plastic shoes. And these things are tiny! The doll herself is only 3 1/2″ tall. She came with a bendable wolf. A fluffy little guy with wires inside.

Liddle Riddle Riding Hood

Liddle Riddle Riding Hood

Eventually I added more dolls to my collection. More storybook Kiddles, followed by a variety of other kinds. Jewelry Kiddles that were barely an inch tall and came inside rings and necklaces, Skediddle Kiddles that had little walkers that snapped into their backs to make them walk, Lucky Locket Kiddles that came inside framed ‘lockets,’ and others that came inside pretend soda bottles. There were Kiddles that were dressed like animals, and even holiday Kiddles. I could go on and on, but don’t want you yawning. Unless you’re a fellow Kiddle Kollector, you won’t understand my passion for these tiny, plastic dolls.

Every time I look at them, I’m reminded of wonderful times with my friends. Playing, collecting, and eventually talking them out of theirs! For a while I had my dolls displayed on a “Kiddle Land” that I made out of a piece of 6×6 plywood. I covered it in fake grass and rock pathways. It had a paper mache mountain, a beautiful castle made out of rocks that I pasted onto a cardboard box, a lake complete with plastic ducks, and multiple fake trees. It was pretty cool! But eventually, dust overcame it, and I had to disassemble it. Now I have some of my favorites displayed in a wooden frame on my wall.

Memories make us who we are, and I think there will always be that little girl inside of me who inspires the things I do as well as what I write. These dolls make me happy, and maybe someday they’ll make someone else happy, too.

I’ve often dreamed that I find more of them in some remote place. eBay has a bunch, and I’ve made my share of eBay purchases. But there’s something really thrilling about finding one where I’d least expect it. Like finding hidden treasure! But, what’s a treasure to me is probably a piece of junk to someone else. A silly little plastic doll with very little value. Well–that person doesn’t understand the value of a memory. Or I should say, the value of my memories. We’re all different. That same person might find value in a rock. And that’s okay. At one time, someone made a fortune selling ‘pet rocks!’

I’d love to hear about what you collect. And if you’re a fellow Kiddle Kollector, be sure to drop me a line! We’re a rare breed!!

Liddle Kiddles

Liddle Kiddles

I Just Have to Write!

For those who hate writing in any form, it’s hard to explain why I “have to” write. Sometimes I don’t understand it myself. It’s like an itch that must be scratched.

While brainstorming with a fellow writer last week, I asked her what I should do. Start a sequel to a book that I completed or write the story that has been haunting me and won’t leave my head?

She strongly suggested the head-haunting story. Since the sequel I’m considering is bare bones, and the other story has meat on it, what she told me made sense. She said that she learned a long time ago to jump on a story while it’s present in your mind and you’re passionate about it. Otherwise, it might trickle away and you’ll forget what it was that fired you up.

So, my sequel will wait and I intend to start the new manuscript today. It will be something very different from my other books. This one will be a contemporary love story written solely from my heroine’s point of view. And it will have a very unexpected twist. That’s all I’m saying. 🙂

For me, sitting down to write is like opening a gift at Christmas. I don’t know what’s inside, but I’m confident it will be something I like. And even though the wrapping paper is pretty, I don’t hesitate tearing into it. It’s not a drudgery. It’s an exciting gift!

I hope I never lose this passion. And I also hope that I can inspire other writers to follow their dreams and put their thoughts and feelings on paper–or laptop these days.

So, here I go…

WRITE ON!!

Never know what's inside the package...

Never know what’s inside the package…

 

What Inspires You?

From the time we’re old enough to realize that we have opinions, likes and dislikes, and a voice of our own, we find that we are motivated and inspired by different things.

When I was little, my parents inspired me. I knew that if I behaved, my days would have a positive outcome. On the other hand, if I was a brat, (which I’m told I frequently was), I was often sent to my room. I believe I used to get spankings, but don’t remember them. Though I do recall a time that Dad simply threatened one, and I immediately shaped up. For the most part–brat though I may have been–my childhood was wonderful. I have many happy memories and still retain a number of my childhood friends.

My mother encouraged my creativity, and my father tried to keep me grounded. “Every artist needs a real job.” I don’t know how many times I heard that. I believe there can be a happy balance between the two. I worked hard to get where I am today and am grateful that I can pursue my dreams.

So what inspires me now? Memories. Every experience, every sound, smell, and  taste. Every broken heart and first kiss. Every gentle touch, and every slap of the hand. Pain and pleasure both. They are all a part of me and me alone. And with every character I write, a part of me comes through. There are things I’ve experienced that I wish I never had but that make a story more intriguing. Had I not gone through them, I doubt I could have written them with such emotion.

Each day starts a new inspiration. Pay attention to it. See with fresh eyes every detail of the world surrounding you. Listen to the sounds you take for granted. Hear their depth. Feel with not only your fingers, but also with your heart. And savor every taste and smell–even the bad ones.  I thank God for this beautiful world we live in and for all my life’s experiences. I hope that my writing will pass it on to others.

WRITE ON!!

No...not a brat...

No…not a brat…

To Capitalize, or not to capitalize?

Rules, rules, and more rules…

Why can’t we just write and not worry about them?

Well, in today’s market, with so much competition, I highly suggest that you polish your manuscript to a shine before submitting it to an agent or publisher. So, that being said, it’s important to understand grammatical rules.

I will say right now, that I’m still learning them. This goes right along with everything else I keep learning. You think you know it all, them BAM!, you find out you’re still doing something wrong.

So, today, I’d like to talk about capitalization. I’ve mastered the “mom, dad, father, mother” rule. That one is pretty easy. Here are some examples: “I love my mom.” (not capitalized). On the other hand, “Hey, Mom, I love you!” (capitalized). The difference is that in the second sentence I’m using “Mom” as her name or identity. Here is another example. “Have you seen your dad lately?” (general, not capitalized). “Have you seen Dad lately?” (by removing ‘your’ and making the sentence more specific, the word now needs to be capitalized).

It gets a little more complicated when you start writing stories about kings and queens. I’ve recently discovered this and had to do some research. But again it goes back to the “in general” or “specific” rule. It’s easy when you put king or queen with a name following. Such as “I’m off to see King Richard.” If you simply write, “I’m off to see the king,” the capital letter goes away.

I’m certain that I’ll still make mistakes, and all I can say to that is: “Thank God for editors!” It’s their job to find all those little nit-picky things that your readers will be happy to point out when they review your book. You’ve probably read books with typos that jump out at you, and halt your reading. They happen, but you should always try to keep them to a minimum. And if you self-publish, this is more crucial than ever. Before sending your work for publication, hire a reputable editor. It will be worth the money, and save you from embarrassment.

So now, I’m off to write about Prince Sebastian!

WRITE ON!!!

And they lived happily ever after...

And they lived happily ever after…

A Writer’s Acronym

Now that my most recent work in progress, “From the Ashes of Atlanta,” is complete, it seems that my mind is searching for new twists on creative thoughts.

Normally, while falling asleep at night, I think of my next scene, or perhaps my characters discover their dialog in the depths of my brain. Scary, huh?

Well, last night, my mind took a different direction. And yes, my husband thinks I’m slightly bonkers.

I’ve always loved acronyms, and some can be quite clever. So, here are my thoughts on what it means to WRITE:

What Readers Itch To Experience

Whatever Really Ignites The Editor

Watch Repetitive Ideas That Explode

Women’s Reactions Inadvertently Tell Everything

I had fun with this! If you come up with some of your own, please share them. And, thank goodness I’ve got them written down now. Maybe I’ll sleep tonight. 🙂

I’m still on that long, winding road to publication and the adventure couldn’t be more exciting. Well, that’s not exactly true. When I get my publishing deal, you will witness excitement like no other. I hope that you will continue to follow my blog and share your experiences with me.

Most importantly…

WRITE ON!

Civil War

 

Need a Tissue?

Yesterday was a two tissue day.

Some days I’ve gone through an entire box.

No, I don’t have a cold, or allergies, I’m an emotional writer. Is it good to cry over your own manuscript? And I’m not saying that I’m crying because it’s so bad that I want to burn it…I’m crying because I’m so caught up in the emotions of my characters that I’m feeling their pain.

So, I want to know, do any of you cry while you write?

How many of you remember the great scene from “Romancing the Stone” where Joan Wilder is hunting through her house for a tissue? She has just finished her manuscript, and is sobbing over the typewriter. I’ve always loved that movie, and now that I’m a writer, I appreciate it even more.

I’ve often been asked how it is that I can feel for fictitious characters. I think it’s because they become very real to me. They become a part of my days as I plan out their lives. It’s like molding clay into a new piece of art, or brushing color onto a canvas. We breathe life into our characters, so in many ways, they’re very real.

The good thing is that the more real they are to me, the more they’ll come to life on the page for my readers.

So, to all of you emotional readers and writers, keep a box of tissues handy, and go on and cry. It’s good for the soul.

WRITE ON!!

 

Grandpa dried my tears with flowers.

Grandpa dried my tears with flowers.