Weekend Workout: Handy Dandy Fallback Exercise

Weekend Workouts are exercises that I use on a regular basis when writing and in the classroom when teaching. *  *  * Because of my screenwriting background, I always think of writing in terms of scenes and sequences. I think it’s a very useful way to write because it breaks things down into manageable chunks. A “scene” is something that takes place at a certain place at a certain time. If you change locations or go forward or backward in time, it’s a new scene. If a character has an argument with her spouse in the kitchen, and then in the next paragraph she’s fuming in the car while she drives to work, it’s a new scene. A sequence can contain several scenes and involves a larger change in status quo. i.e. at the beginning of the sequence, the spy...

Weekend Workout: Make Your Characters Messy

One of my pet peeves as a reader (and movie goer) is characters that are too perfect. Who can relate to that? Humans are not perfect. We are messy. We carry a lot of baggage, have fears and secrets, do the right things for the wrong reason, the wrong things for the right reason. We sabotage ourselves, hurt the ones we love, and agonize over decisions. It doesn’t matter whether our characters are 16 year old vampires, robots, or train conductors (or all three). Whether you’re writing steampunk, a contemporary romance, or a future fantasy it’s your characters who bring the work to life. When we care about the characters, when we sympathize with their bad decisions, we care about the story. Good people can do “bad” things. And...

Weekend Workout: Unsticking the Stuck

At some point during a rewrite I always get stuck. Some momentous *thing* must happen, some important mystery revealed, some great payoff has to come for the set up and it’s got to be just right. It’s got to be satisfying. Having notes from the publisher and a deadline (woosh – there it goes!) does not mean the answers come any faster, but through my rewrite of The Ruins of Noe, I’ve developed a little trick and, so far, it’s worked every time. But it takes discipline. In the past, getting nervous about my story meant procrastinating to the page. Sometimes I’d end in a stuck place and resist coming back to it the next day. In the last few months, though, I have become much more disciplined with my writing routine. I write first thing in the morning (well,...

Booktrailers Are Us!

When I first decided to create a live action book trailer for my accidental novel Brigitta of the White Forest, it was at a time when book trailers were still pretty basic. Most were made by “panning” over still shots and overlaying words on the stills or inserting them as separate title cards. There are websites you can use to put these together with stock images and stock music. I just did a quick search and found these: SQUIDOO’s BOOK TRAILER TIPS and TOOLS How to Create Your Own Book Trailer for Free Because I come from a film background and love to direct, when I think of “trailers” I think in movie trailers. I knew right away that if I were going to do a book trailer it would be live action or not at all. Since the inception of...

I’m Baaaaaaaack! Highlights from Book Tour

Wow, it’s been over a month since I’ve blogged! I shall do the blogger walk of shame (it’s a kind of meandering skulk)… My intention was to “live blog” my book tour as it went along. Guess what? I discovered that I suck at live-blogging. Plus, who knew that a book tour could be so crazy-hectic? (Okay, the last week of the tour wasn’t crazy or hectic, but that California sunshine was awfully distracting) For those of you not following along on Brigitta’s FaceBook page (because really, what else do you have to do?), I’ve included a few highlights below. I participated in 26 events over the course of 27 days. The book tour was really about the release of the accidental novel (Brigitta of the White Forest) but I...

Yay Book Tour! Yay Book Trailer!

I am loopy from lack of sleep. Giddy for the excitement. And nervous about doing 26 events in 28 days!!! Yup. I have been working on this book tour for 6 months and recently it’s been pretty much a full time job. I knew it was going to be a lot of work, but it was honestly harder than I ever thought it would be. The novel may have been accidental, but this side of it has been serious planning all the way. I kick off my Imaginary Worlds Tour this Monday with a reading and book signing at University Books in Seattle, WA. The tour marks the launch of my “mainstream” edition of Brigitta of the White Forest (en theos prerss) For more Imaginary Worlds events, visit my Brigitta of the White Forest events page on facebook. I will also do my best to blog...