Self-Myths in Character Building

cropped-ramonagravitar.jpgYesterday, I wrote about self-myths and the “I’m not” sentences we sometimes blithely—and other times insightfully—use to describe ourselves.

I joked that I’m not good at math. My neighbor, a pediatrics ICU nurse, uses algebra all the time at her job. She likes numbers, and I’m glad she does. You want someone who enjoys algebra calculating your meds. Someone who is not me. Continue reading “Self-Myths in Character Building”

The Merry Month of Self-Myths

cropped-ramonagravitar.jpgI attended a food truck party this past weekend, an event to support the local arts alliance where I participate in open mics, enjoy exhibits and classes and, this summer, will offer a multi-week course on novel writing.

The party was a smashing success. Despite the drippy skies, we arrived (late) to a parking lot full of students, art patrons, and locals patiently standing in loooong lines to the food trucks. The atmosphere was upbeat. A musician sang. Dogs wagged their tails. Children played around the tents. Even the lights of the firetruck closing off the street seemed festive. It was as much a community block party as it was a fundraiser. Continue reading “The Merry Month of Self-Myths”

What Do You Want?

cropped-ramonagravitar.jpgOnce a month, I attend a Writing as Healing class at a local hospital. Writing as Healing is a journaling course and part of a popular Wellness program. The growth of Wellness courses, and the philosophy of Wellness in general, is an acknowledgment that, alongside the technical parts in medicine, an approach to patient care should include guidance for a positive approach to living. Continue reading “What Do You Want?”

You Can Tell a Lot about a Person

cropped-ramonagravitar.jpgLife is a never ending quest. That quest means different things to different people, and some of us have more than one quest. I’m one of those people.

I am constantly on the search for three things: blog post topics, writing prompts, and character studies.

(What, you thought this was going to be about the meaning of life or something? I’m a writer, not a philosopher.) Continue reading “You Can Tell a Lot about a Person”

The Deletion Graveyard

RamonaGravitarI had to get rid of a character this week. His name was Mark Rowonowski, and he was a detective with the Delaware State Police.

Rowonowski was bald–shaved head kind of bald–and he had a scar on the bridge of his nose that ran down toward his left eye. The scar had not come from police work, and he never discussed how he got it. People asked, but he made it clear he wasn’t going to talk about it. Continue reading “The Deletion Graveyard”

Who wants what? A character exercise

RamonaGravitarWhat does your character want? This is one of those helpful—or irritating—questions writers are asked at workshops or by editors. The question is meant to make you, the author, dig deeply into your character’s soul to discover what drives him/her to do all the crazy things they do in their fictional world.

You created this character, so answering “What does he/she want?” should be a snap, right?

Ha ha.

Continue reading “Who wants what? A character exercise”

How to Write People in Love – a Practical List

RamonaGravitarIn Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!, Laurey and Curly musically list all the don’ts necessary to keep their neighbors in the wide open spaces from “suspecting things” about the cowboy and the farm girl.

“Things” means love, of course.

Continue reading “How to Write People in Love – a Practical List”

How To Test a Character’s Character

What is character? According to Merriam-Webster online, one definition of character is: the complex of mental and ethical traits marking and often individualizing a person, group, or nation <the character of the American people>

In fiction, as in real life, character is demonstrated by actions and choices. In my ongoing pretend novel, Bad Sale, a man’s character is put to task when he is tricked by a childhood friend into performing an almost illegal act. His instinct is to be law-abiding and honest, but just as strong is his instinct to help his troubled friend. Continue reading “How To Test a Character’s Character”

Let’s Talk about Take Aways

The past couple of weeks, folks in my writing world have been on the go, go, go.

I went away to Cape Henlopen State Park for a poetry & prose writers retreat. Mystery writing friends went to a “police academy” for writers, and the city of Cleveland was overrun with crime authors for the Bouchercon conference.  More pals from the great state of Texas met for a weekend and, according to one source, met in a place called the Stagecoach Inn to solve the world’s problem. Oh, and write a bit, too, of course.

Continue reading “Let’s Talk about Take Aways”

Pick a Biopic

Over the weekend, I read a news blurb about a planned biopic on the life of Joe Paterno. The rumored star of the rumored biopic was Al Pacino.

I don’t have much of a dog in this film fight. Even before the Jerry Sandusky scandal, I could not have been persuaded to willingly watch a movie about JoePa. Why? Three reasons.

First, I’m not a football fan, so a movie about a legendary coach seems like a yawn to me. From what I understand, Paterno had the same job, in the same town, for a zillion years. Sure, he won a lot of games, so he probably gave a lot of inspirational speeches and got carried around on a lot of shoulders, but where’s the drama? Where’s the challenge when you win and win and win? Continue reading “Pick a Biopic”