Friday, February 17, 2012

11 questions and a Writers Platform Campaign

I was intrigued by the Writers Platform Building Campaign and after reading the information posted there, I immediately signed up. I was thrilled today to be tagged by Jennifer Fishetto in an eleven questions posts. The challenge is to answer eleven questions and in return ask eleven questions to eleven other bloggers.
Jennifer’s questions were:
1. What is the one thing you wish you knew how to do but don't? Fix the carburetor on my motorcycle.

2. If you could instantly know a foreign language (one you don't already know), which would it be?
This is a tough one as French and Italian sound so lovely to me but for practicality reasons, I think Russian would be beneficial.

3. What is your first birthday memory? Opening a lovely box sent to me in the mail. My first ever package and inside was a real Malibu Barbie.  My daughter played with her as a child and we still have her tucked away to this day.

4. If you could go back to age 21 (assuming you're legal, lol), knowing what you know now, would you?
I think there would be some sort of catch-22 to this scenario.  I fully believe there would be an irony; I would know exactly what I need to do in a situation but a karmic curveball would come out of left field. However, that could make for a very interesting story.

5. If you went to your prom, was it everything you hoped? And if you didn't, do you regret it? My senior prom was not fun for me at all.  I had been very ill most of that year and the effect did not leave me with a ravishing appearance. 

6. Would you rather: perfect health, complete wealth, or never aging?  All of these are very tempting but once again my practical and analytical nature prompts me to consider the pros and cons of each choice. The Picture of Dorian Grey immediately flashed into my mind as I considered never ageing and we all know what happened to him. If you don’t, I recommend the old movie with Hurd Hatfield and George Sanders. Complete wealth actually scares me. I have been blessed with improved health as I got older, (I am hoping that includes being lean and fit), so I will choose health.

7. What is your favorite TV show from childhood?
I grew up with 3 channels and we watched what my parents chose.  I was also to busy Doing Stuff to watch much tv, but I did enjoy the Little Rascal reruns which came on when I returned home from school.  I was allowed to watch Charlie’s Angels and Chips occasionally as well. The afterschool specials series were helpful with the messages they portrayed in pretty much making me believe I would never live to adulthood if I did some of those things.

8. Which is the best book you've read in the past year?
Madame Tussaud by:  Michelle Moran , is one of my favorites from last year but I have read  to many to list.
9. Which is your favorite book of all time? Again, this is a hard one. I have so many favorites that it would be hard to choose.  So, I’ll just choose the Complete Works of Anna Katherine Green.  She was the precursor to Agatha Christie.  Her books are public domain by the way, and available on Project Gutenberg.

10. Which kitchen appliance could you not live without (not including the basics, fridge, stove, and sink)?
The microwave is naturally my choice. I don’t think I actually need a stove at this point, except for my son to sit his dirty dishes on.

11. If you had to choose, would you rather use an outhouse or have no electricity, forever? This could all be solved with the use of a generator but since that was not an option, I guess the outhouse. I am used to rustic camping and I don’t live where there would be snow to battle to open the door.

Now here are my eleven questions:
1.            If you could live the life of any historical character or person from 1900 or earlier, who would that be?
2.            Why did you choose that person?
3.            What is the one thing in life you want to accomplish?
4.            What tv show do you wish would be remade or produced?
5.            What was the last book you read?
6.            What is your favorite old (black and white) movie?
7.            If you could invent one thing to benefit humanity, what would that be?
8.            If you could grant someone you know a wish right now, what would that be?
9.            What classroom memory do you have from elementary school?
10.          Describe your favorite fruit without naming it.
11.          Name a song that makes you feel happy whenever you hear it.

And I am tagging the following 11 bloggers:
7.  Jess at Write,Skate, Dream (Love the Skating Reference!)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Welcome to Writer Wednesday Blog Hop!

This time we have things a little different...we have three hosts for the blog hop today, so that means more the awesome-ness for you writers out there. And we have Bugs Bunny (my favorite!) hopping with us today...

And make sure you grab a button (no html code for it yet, just save it as an image and you should be able to upload it to your blog that way).

Here's the rules!

2) Follow at least three other blogs (if you post your link early, make sure you come back and check out the other blogs)

3) Let the person you followed know that you are following their blog

4) (Optional...sort of): Tweet about the blog hop! (Use hashtag #WWBH and #WW when you do!) - Thank you to all of you who have featured this hop on your site!! I really appreciate it!

And all you do is link up below! You can link up your writing site, your blog, your twitter account, or your facebook page. We're flexible, and I know my other awesome hoppers are too. We're a cool bunch. 

Monday, February 13, 2012

Character Creation Part 1

     The most logical, but often times over looked step in creating a character is the knowledge of their biography. I read somewhere once that J.K. Rowling had boxes of notes regarding the Harry Potter books. I am sure she must have felt like Harry and others were  members of her family by the end of the series.
     Is your character right handed, do they have allergies, or do they have a secret phobia? There is not a perfect person in the world to my knowledge, so why would we want to read about perfect characters?  One of my first stories revolved around two sisters in their 40’s. They had no problems. No. Problems. Both had wonderful husbands, nice cars, careers they loved, children with no problems, and I loved them!
     I loved them for a very short while. They were far too perfect. Neither would be caught taking the trash out in a printed tshirt unless it was for a local college sports team with perfect makeup and hair. I do not know a soul like this.  I suppose I could have made that drive for perfection a flaw but frankly, perfection was too hard to write.  Once I dug into their biographies though, interesting details began to emerge and the story became much more interesting. I will just say it turned out one had a penchant for renaissance fairs and costumes, only she began to prefer to dress that way everyday. Some women do love a wimple. 
      My goal as a writer is to provide my readers with a world in which to escape, whether it is a small southern town in 1935 or with reluctant soldier in the civil war.   As a reader, my favorite books involve characters that invoke a sense of kinship, amazement or wonder.  Two characters that have stood out in my mind over the years are two southern sisters, Mary Alice and Patricia Ann written by the late Anne George.
      There are 8 books in this series and reading each one made me feel as if I was visiting the fun side of my family.  Though these are cozy mysteries, they have moments of humor and  Anne George had a masterful way of “showing" the reader the characters details.

This is a literal interpretation from a part of one scene.
       Patricia Ann has just removed cookies from the oven and is slightly smarting over Mary Alice’s  previous remark regarding the state of her hair. Mary Alice is eating a hot cookie and she happens to be wearing a garish tshirt with a pelican on it.

This interpretation does not interest me as a reader. The only emotion evoked is the stated emotion of “still smarting” .  
  This is the scene from the actual book:
I scooped up a hot cookie and handed it to her. Burn, baby,burn.
Mary Alice blew on the cookie. A couple of crumbs fell on her turquoise T-shirt, which declared “Tough Old Bird” and which had a pelican with a yellow beak peeking around the words. Given the expanse and jiggle of Mary Alice’s chest, that bird was having a rough flight. 
Anne George: Murder on a Girl's Night Out 

That one paragraph stands out in that chapter to me. I highly recommend these books to read if you love descriptive characters and laughing out loud! 

I am posting links to some sites that I have found helpful.  Mix and Match them and ask some of your own questions. People watching will also be helpful to add mannerisms and quirks in a descriptive manner.  Character worksheets are must for me. In 2011, I completed NaNoWriMo and had a character named Alma. Well, sometimes she was Alma and sometimes Anna. I had not done worksheet on her so you can only imagine how interesting she was, especially if I her creator could not remember her name!

Jenny Meyer Hoff: Character Worksheets Tara K. Harper's Writer's Workshop and different worksheet sets from The Writer's Craft. 

I also recommend the inspiring and insightful Characterization series written by Larry Brooks at

In the next post I will share with you some of the things I discover about the main character from my current WIP.  What is a trait o that emerged from one of your character's biographies? 

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