Category Archives: education

A study of charachter

I like writing characters that are both strong and vulnerable. I like the juxtaposition of frailty and strength within the human psyche. A super strong main character (MC) can fight the battle and kick serious ass, then afterwards fall down and cry – not broken, but nearly. That makes them feel more real to me, more human (even if they aren’t completely).

We all know one of my fav’s is Gwin. As a vampire she had both qualities in spades… along with a little psycho. Since becoming human, she’s lost some of her psycho and straddled that line between strength and fragility. She wants desperately to be loved and cared for, but she has a momentous need to be seen as the tough, invincible bass ass that she is. I tried to show this in her history in Blood Pact (The prequels – out in September). Where she comes from and why she has these two conflicting characteristics are, hopefully, evident.

As much as I love to see this in a strong female role, I love it even more when the guys have it. The man is supposed to be all strength… maybe the females are supposed to be all vulnerable. But, crossing these lines is intriguing. I’m working on a new story line about a psychic demon-hunting detective and her male handler. These two MCs have the strength/vulnerability paradigm in spades. Pepper is a hardened ex-prostitute that has been trained to use her abilities to find and fight supernatural bad guys (a.k.a. demons). She is 95% bad ass. She’ll kill you and take your name afterward… but that extra 5% is ready to crumble at the tender touch of a compassionate lover. Her handler Brad is the son of a high ranking official in “The Company,” which is the organization they work for that is committed to keeping the earth dimension free of baddies – or are they? Brad is a softy… well 80% lovable and gentle… but he’s got some strength in the other 20% and that strength keeps him from going all gooey around Pepper. He learns quickly to put up his walls, because even though he loves her, he knows she’ll break his heart. Yes, I’m having a lot of fun with these two and hope you’ll be seeing them by year end! (Watch for the Adventures of Pepper Chance!)

I’ve seen a lot of this in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series by J.R. Ward. She writes the biggest, hard-hitting, dangerous vampires that melt to nothing with horrible insecurity in the face of their women (shellans in BDB-speak). It’s inspiring, truly! If you haven’t read any this series – oh, you really should!! Here’s the link to Amazon (Dark Lover is the first book):

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_1_9?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=j.+r.+ward+black+dagger+brotherhood+series&sprefix=J.+R.+War%2Cstripbooks%2C312

I mention J.R. Ward’s books because one of the best ways to learn about writing is to study the work of writers that you admire. I think I’ve learned a lot about foiling these characteristics from this book series. I also enjoyed reading them – some of them twice! My favorite MC from this series is Quinn. He has a lot of contradictory characteristics. His bravery and strength is commendable, yet he finds it impossible to show his true feelings to the point of making his life miserable. It isn’t until he finally allows himself that vulnerability that he finds he can have his HEA (Happy-ever-after). So – redemption through frailty, yet he never loses his strength (and bad-assidness) for a minute. That makes him so interesting to me.

I’m having fun with these ever shifting paradigms! Now back to work…

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Gotta get a job, man!

I know this is a writing blog, but I think today’s topic is somewhat relevant. I started this blog to track my progression as a writer, so this is basically a status update… and maybe a venting session all rolled into one.

I’m trying to get a RL job. Don’t want to, but being broke isn’t helping my writing. That’s what it’s boiling down to. As much as I love having full time hours devoted to writing, I can’t do enough of the other stuff to promote the writing because my income from writing is still next to nil. So, I’m job seeking and it’s a bitch.

The hoops that must be jumped through are crazy. I haven’t done a real job search since 2000. Yeah, 14 years later and everything is different. First, hunting for open positions is all online. I used to just pick up the Sunday paper. Forget going out to different companies… they’ll just shake their head and tell you to go online. So, then you go online, and you can’t just drop a resume/cover letter. Nope… you have to complete THEIR application as well. Then, HOPE you get a call or email. I feel more confident at the interview stage, but it is all so nerve racking.

Ultimately, this is a necessary evil, but today I’m just over it all. I’m going to get a coffee and write some more!

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What I’m Learning… Part 2

If you’ve been following my blog for any length of time, you probably know that it took me a long time to get to this Part 2!!  But, I did it! I wrote part 1 while I was still in school. Now that I’ve graduated, here is part 2…

If you’ve been following my blog for any length of time, you also know I’ve been going to school at SNHU for my Masters in English and Creative Writing.  I’ve finally finished the degree!! WOOT!! April 1!

So, that means I’m finished learning right?!? HA! I don’t think so. I’m still writing and learning every day. I’m very thankful for the prescribed degree plan that led me through the education I needed and wanted. But, every day, I want to learn something more. Maybe that’s the best lesson that I could get?

In any event. My overall education at SNHU taught me a lot about details, editing, patience, persistence. I’ve learned that it takes a lot to get things just write. The balance of descriptions and dialogue are crucial. Finishing projects is paramount. Most important, I’ve learned that I better not give up on my dreams and believing in myself.

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Livin’ on the Edge!

Okay folks – So, here’s the latest update on my writing journey!  I’ve been unemployed since January and I’ve been a bit off kilter trying to figure all of this out. I wanted to write full time SOOO BAD and now that I have the opportunity, I’m still not spending enough time writing.  I’m writing a lot more than before, but still not enough. I think it’s just that things haven’t been going as planned and I’m having difficulty keeping a schedule.

I was sick for about 3 weeks in February/March. It really through me off. I spent the entire time doing nothing and feeling like crap. Even when I started feeling better, I was a little depressed and didn’t want to get back to doing anything. So, it took a while to get moving again. I felt a little bit worthless, like I’d let myself down. Every day that went by was a little worse. Eventually, I had too much crap in my head and my characters started demanding that I get busy! I also thought a lot about the fact that while I was still working, all I wanted to do was write, and then when I found myself in the middle of the opportunity, I choked. I wasn’t writing.

So, now the last couple of weeks, I’ve been back to writing. I haven’t been forcing myself to do anything particular, but I’m getting some stuff done. I’m making sure that I put in a few hours every day, no matter what.  Usually, I write from 1 pm to 3 pm without fail. Then, sometimes I start earlier or I write later.  Sometimes, I write until dinner time and then I might come back in and write a little more after dinner.  I’m feeling a lot better about what I’m doing.

AND I’ve graduated!!! I now have a Master of Arts degree in English and Creative Writing! Woot!! That means no more homework – more time for writing!

I may have to go back to the real world of work soon – have to pay the bills – but until then, I’m taking advantage of the time. I’m writing almost every day! Hopefully, there will be a lot more of my work out there. I think that’s the next step in my journey. I’m just focusing on getting things done and out there!

Thanks to everyone still watching my journey!

 

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Tattoo that line?!

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Top 10 List

Photo by Visualphotos.com

Photo by Visualphotos.com

So, I’ve been working from home for the past two weeks, and I really like it! I’ve discovered a few things about myself and my habits that are developing, some good and some bad. Of course I wish it paid more – LOL! However, I like being able to do my own thing, and in that light…. I created my own Top 10 List – of…

Why I like working from home:

#10. No traffic jams on the commute.

#9. Totally avoided the Polar Vortex

#8. I can crank my music as loud as I want

#7. I can check and post on FaceBook and Twitter any time I want

#6. THE coolest boss in the world!

#5. There’s plenty of coffee!

#4. Obviously…. I get to set my own schedule, which means staying up late and sleeping until 10 am

#3. Longest lunches in the world!

#2. Sex breaks

And finally, the number 1 thing I like about working from home… One word:

SLIPPERS!

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Meaning in Words

I believe it is important to write things that are meaningful, that people can relate to and understand on an emotional level.  I don’t think I am or rather I consider whether I’m doing just that in what I’m writing now. I’m focusing a lot on the “fun” aspects and what might be considered “cool” by my readers. But does it still mean more?

I started out at some point wanting to tell a story of those feelings one has that seem dripped in meaning and purpose – the “end all” emotions of the young, the naïve “I love this person with my whole being and there can never be anyone else for me” – that first deep love that we all desperately seek, and refuse to let go of when we have it. But, a more adult life altering theme of adaptation and survival of the heart emerged. The intensity of emotion in Summer Blood became the acclimatization of adulthood in Fire Blood (yeah me!)

My questions now become where the rest of the story is going and what is my emotional message. It feels like my plans for the next two novels have been slightly derailed by the cool and the fun. I’m not entirely sure what emotional depth I can add.

That leads to the other novel I’m writing for my Thesis in my Masters program. Where are these emotional questions in Discordia? Have I lost my initial themes – the good versus evil and the question of how we know which is which and how does a coming of age story deal with these topics? I think I must spend some time assessing the emotions as well as what’s happening in the story. The themes are intended to be subtle within the story; however, if they are too subtle, they’ll be missed.

I’ll be tackling this issue as I finish up my thesis and move further into my writing career. It’s important because readers need that extra depth in order to relate to the story and to the characters. It may be cool and fun, fast paced and exciting, but it won’t stick if there isn’t that emotional connection that we all look for.

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