Thursday, July 12, 2007

Another Congratulations!

One of my critique partners, Pamela Bolton-Hollifield, has won the Royal Ascot contest! She just got the news tonight, and I am breaking it here for all of those stuck at home during the conference.

I am so excited for her, because she is such a wonderful person and truly deserves this. People, I am telling you, her story is one of the best ones going (think Kathryn Caskie and Teresa Medeiros meets Jane Austen). It is a lovely story with humor and emotions. I feel privledged to have read it. Hmm, yes, I guess I am bragging, but who wouldn't?

I am new to the whole contest scenario, but I am hearing that the Royal Ascot is a biggie and I am so proud of Pam for winning it! Let's all give her a huge congrats, because she really deserves it.


Sunday, July 8, 2007

The Passing of a Legend

I heard today about the passing of Kathleen E. Woodiwiss. Another legend has passed into history. I still have my first copy of her book, The Wolf and The Dove, on my book shelf, tightly pressed between others to keep the covers in place because I've read it so much that I've worn them off.

When I first started writing it was because of Kathleen Woodiwiss and LaVyrle Spencer. I wanted to write a romance that touched people in the same way their books touched my teenage soul. I loved the eloquence that they wrote with and the emotion they managed to instill in the written word. They gave me a deep love of romance that is still with me 23 years later.

Words can never say how much I admire someone like Ms. Woodiwiss, who managed to write for all of these years, and kept her fans reading until the end.

I extend my deepest sympathy to the entire Woodiwiss family.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

A Well Deserved Congratulations

A quick post to let everyone know that three of my critique partners moved on to the second round of the Molly contest.

I am so proud of these ladies, they have inspired me and helped me more than words can say, and I am so tickled for them. They all deserve to win, in my book.

So a big congratulations to Gillian Layne, Pam Bolton-Hollifield, and Marianne Harden! Way to go Ladies!

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Deep thoughts on Deep Thoughts

One of my critique partners asked a question yesterday that got me thinking. She wanted to know how you knew (as the author) when to put deep internal monologues into your story. I pondered, I questioned myself, and I hope I gave her a decent answer.

But then I got to wondering, How do you know when to go to deep thinking? Some of my favorite authors do this, and I wondered if any of you soon to be published authors do it. I am sure there is a different way for every writer, just as there are different writing styles.

My way: I get down the first draft and this ends up being more telling than showing. To me, the first draft is to tell me where I want the story to go. I will put a thinking segment in only if neccessary, to highlight how I want the scene to feel, and move on. When I am on the second draft, I switch my story to showing. I describe things, I put in the senses, and I go inside their heads. This was really hard for me at first. Remember, this is the first time I've stuck to one story line for longer than the next idea strikes me. I had to get to know these people I had invented. How to do it?

I love to scrapbook, and I play with my digital scrapbooking when stuck. Procrastination? Not really, it frees my mind and random thoughts come to me. As I was making a layout, I thought to myself, 'Scrapbooking would be something Mattie would have done.' Scrapbooking was really popular between 1880 to 1890, and my story is set in 1883. Mattie came from the East and I am sure she would have chronicled her trip West, and then the town she settled in. So I made a page done by Mattie. I found pictures of the models for my h/h, I made small diary entries for them, and I took quotes from my book. None of this will be in the book, of course, but it made them real to me. Two hours of playing, er I mean character development, and I KNEW these two characters.

When I went back to my WIP, their thoughts were so much clearer to me. I could see why Mattie would pick a fight with Cal for kissing her, I could see why Cal would get mad at her for doing so. I took out alot of unneccessary stuff (secondary characters that I was basically using for fillers) and started filling in the gaps with their thoughts. Mattie and Cal became real to me somehow through something I love to do. Of course, it doesn't hurt that they have to do what I say.

So, what about all of you, how do you get to know your characters? Do you do character worksheets? Or do you take a more unconventional approach, like me?