Monday, March 26, 2012

Who Wants To Be Called Minor?

I don’t know about you, but I’d be seriously displeased if someone called me a minor character. I mean they’re people too ya know, with thoughts, goals, and lives, that are in their own way, just as interesting as those of the main characters. When I plot my minor characters I try to put time and effort into them also, exploring their strengths and weaknesses, feelings and thoughts. That way, when I sit down to write their part in the story I know them well enough to ask myself the question, “would so and so really say or do that”? I’ve also found that in deepening my minor characters, I’ve discovered things about my main characters as well. Talk about killing two birds (or characters as the case may be) with one stone. One of my favorite ways to do this is to fill out a character sheet for several of my minor characters-- those with more than one or two scenes in the story. I’ve developed this character sheet using various sources and although it isn’t quite as detailed as the sheet I use for my main characters, it does hit the highlights.
Here is it below. Enjoy!

Book’s Title –
Name –
Hair color-
Eye color-  
Scent –
Favorite phrases-  
Quirks –
Clothing –
Jewelry/Accessories –
Favorite Food-
Greatest desire –
Talents/Strengths -
Personality type (serious, fun loving, shy, etc.)-
Background and Current Circumstances
One paragraph description of character’s upbringing and family –
Parents names and relationship with them -  
Siblings names and relationship with them-
Hometown –
Best Friend-
Love Life –
Enemies –
What role does this character play in the story? –

As Always, Happy Writing!

P. S. The t-shirt above says "Minor Character" on the front and "But Still Important" on the back. Pretty cute huh??? I came across these on the web from Zazzle (dot) com.

Your Turn – Do you fill out character sheets for your minor characters? Have you ever written a minor character that surprised you in some way?

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Mighty Ten – Part Two

Two weeks ago I shared with you my personal favorite top ten books on writing. Today, I thought I’d share with you my favorite top ten websites for writers. Many of these are blogs by well-known authors, literary agencies, etc; which I check often. They have a wealth of information on a ton of topics ranging from query letters to what an agent looks for in a client.
These are in no particular order. Enjoy!
3 –
4 -
7 – 
8 -
9 –

And last but not least.

I read most of these blogs and websites on a regular basis and have learned so much from the information they have to offer. I hope you find them helpful as well!
Happy Writing!

Your Turn – What are your favorite websites on writing? Do you follow any of the above?

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Exciting News!!

I’m taking a break from my Mighty Ten series to share some news I’ve been bursting with over the past few weeks.
The story begins at the 2011 ACFW conference. While there, I had the opportunity to sit at the table of Rachel Kent from Books and Such Literary Agency, during one of the lunches.  Although I did not get the opportunity to pitch to her, she did say it was alright if I queried. So query I did, and then tried to forget about that, plus the other queries, and turn my attention to a new writing project. Notice, I said I “tried”. J I still, of course, hoped that I would check my email in the future and see something from one of the agents or editors that I had submitted to.
Then about a month ago I was checking my email and suddenly my gaze snagged on something from Rachel Kent. My heart immediately went to my throat as I opened it, expecting a form rejection. Instead she wrote that she would like to see the full manuscript. Wow, was I surprised!! I sent her the full novel and tried not to check my email a gazillion times a day.
A week or so after that, another email appeared. Again I opened it, again expecting a rejection. She couldn’t possibly like my book, I thought. I happen to be one of those writers who immediately becomes attached to a new project thinking it’s ten times better than the previous one.  
Upon opening it, the news it contained had me jumping up and down screaming. She wanted to have a phone call with me to discuss the book and representation. Needless to say, I didn’t get much sleep that night.
We had the call a week later, and she gave me the news I’d been waiting to hear for a loooong time. She liked my work and wanted to offer to represent me! She also emailed me changes to work through on the novel, as well as proposals to fill out, so I was very very busy for a while.
I signed the contract a week ago and still am floating on cloud nine. I am very blessed and excited to work with Rachel, who is as professional and easy to talk to on the phone as she is on her blog posts. Check out this link if you’d like to read one of her recent posts about what she looks for in a client.
This post is meant to encourage all writers that are waiting for the same results and to let you know that in God’s timing everything is possible. God has given me the ability to write five novels and I hope with this new adventure He will give me the opportunity to share them with potential readers and continue to write additional ones for His glory.
Thank you all so much for letting me share this with you! I know all you writers will understand just how excited I am!
Happy Writing!

Do you have an exciting story to share about getting an agent.  I'd love to hear it!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Mighty Ten - Part One

Recently, I met with a writer friend to chat about various aspects of writing. I don’t know about you but I LOVE the opportunity to chat with other writing fanatics in person instead of just by email. J While we were emailing before getting together, my friend mentioned she needed a book on editing. So I looked through my stash of writing books and made a list of a few I thought she might benefit from. Although I’ve mentioned several of these before, I thought a complete list might be helpful for some of you who maybe haven’t heard of all the great resources that are available.

 Today, I thought I’d share my list with you! So without further ado, the top ten writing books that have a permanent place on this author’s bookshelf.

1)      The Idiot’s Guide to Writing Christian Fiction - Ron Benrey
2)      The Complete Handbook of Novel Writing - by the editors of Writers Digest
3)      Self-Editing For Fiction Writers: How To Edit Yourself Into Print – Renni Brown and Dave King
4)      Deep and Wide: Advanced Fiction Techniques for taking your Characters deeper and your     Plots wider: Susan May Warren
5)      Kiss and Tell: Secrets to Writing A Great Romance – Susan May Warren
6)      Writing the Breakout Novel – Donald Maass
7)      Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook – Donald Maass
8)      On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft – Stephen King
9)      Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life – Anne Lamott
10)  Plot and Structure: Techniques And Exercises For Crafting A Plot That Grips Readers From Start To Finish – James Scott Bell
There you have it! My favorite books on writing. I’ve read and reread all of these, and will continue to do so, always learning something new from each reread. In fact, I’m currently working through Susan May Warren’s Kiss and Tell, as I prepare to plot my next novel. Usually, I try to read a new book on craft or reread an old one before I start a new project, or begin editing (Self-Editing For Fiction Writers is a great one to peruse before edits, by the way.) This helps to keep my mind fresh and always churning with ideas on how to improve on craft.
Tune in next week for part two of the mighty ten, my top ten favorite blogs and websites for writers!
Happy Writing!
Your Turn – What’s your all-time favorite book about writing? Any books on my list you haven’t read but would like to?