Monday, October 31, 2016

Writing about Green Bay, WI

Welcome to Green Bay, Wisconsin.  Never been to Wisconsin?  Neither had I...until we moved here, pretty much.

We lived in North Carolina for about eight years after we were married there.  I was sent an email from a headhunter, to see if I knew anyone who did data modeling.  My husband did and was ready to get more experience in the job.  So he went to Overland Park, KS, where he got a job doing just that.  We enjoyed KS, but when the company started laying off people, my husband knew he'd better find another job or he'd be unemployed.  Thus we moved to the Green Bay area of Wisconsin.

When he came up here for a job, he told me that this area was a lot like where I'd grown up, in Lancaster, PA.  It's very rural in places, and even when in the city, it feels more like a suburb than a city.  I don't think there's a particular part that's considered to be the center of 'downtown,' but the 'downtown' part isn't very large.

The city is divided by the Fox River, which is about 3/4 of a mile wide at some parts.  The lower Fox River runs from south to north, from the north end of Lake Winnebago in Oshkosh to the bay of Green Bay, which is part of Lake Michigan.  To get from the eastern part of the Green Bay area to the western part (where Lambeau Field and many of the shopping areas are located), one has to go over the Fox River, using one of five bridges in the area.

I live on the eastern side of the metropolitan area, so to go shopping, I have to go over one of those long bridges.  I'm not a fan of bridges, always worried about being shoved over the side by other cars.

As for shopping, we don't have many of the chain stores that the rest of the country has.  For example, there's no Bank of America or Chick Fil-et up here.  If a writer uses this area for a plot, make sure the business exists here, because, like I tell my mom, I don't think Wisconsin is in the United States.  LOL!

The culture here revolves around the Packers, cheese, and snow, pretty much.  On a Sunday in the fall and early winter, you won't see many people in the stores.  They're either in their homes watching the Packers play, or they have tickets to go the game on the west side of the river.  Also, if you want to travel on the streets during a home game, stay away from the west side for about 3 hours before the game and about 2 hours after the game.  During the game is the best time to go shopping, since you'll have the store to yourself, pretty much.

When we moved here, I figured I'd be in a social coma.  My Natalie series of books explain how I felt when I moved here--just like Natalie.  It's a 'small city' and everyone seems to be related.  They don't like newcomers, and it's really tough to break in.  It's also a very Catholic area, so if you're not Catholic, you're also considered to be an outsider.

Winters are a little tough, but if you're not afraid to drive in snow (I AM!), then you'll enjoy it.  They don't close schools unless the wind chill is below -25, or if the snow is so deep that it doesn't clear the bottom of the cars/buses.  Usually, they have 1-2 days off school a year because of cold/snow.  They do clear the roads fast, so it's rare to drive in deep snow.  Instead, the roads can be a little slippery until it melts.  The winters are very cloudy, so the sun doesn't melt the snow that much.

If you're writing about this area, the coldness of some of the people as well as the winters have to be considered for the plot.  It snows about an inch every day, piling up as ice crystals over time.  It's hard to shovel those ice crystals, so daily snow blowing or shoveling is a must.  Most people have snow blowers up here.

If you ever have a chance to visit the Green Bay area, I'd highly suggest it.  The summers are gorgeous and pleasant, and the air is clear.  Traffic isn't bad at all, any time of the year, and there are some things to do in the area.  It's a great place for a setting for a book, so go for it!

Have a great day!
Sweet Tale Books

Friday, October 28, 2016

Showing a Character's Interest

Let's say you're writing a romance and you want to show that one character is interested in another character.

Here are a few things you can include, to show that interest:





  • nonverbal flirtation
    • raised eyebrows
    • eye contact
    • hair flick
    • playing with accessories
    • leaning in
    • open body language
    • sideways glances
    • looking at lips or body parts
    • laughter
    • touch them (light touches)--hand on hair, back, hand, arm
    • step into their personal zone
  • show confidence
  • be funny
  • be open
  • be personal and share with them
  • smile
  • be happy
  • flattery
  • talk to the person
Have a great day!
SweetTale Books


------------------------------
References:
How do you guys show romantic interest?
How to display romantic interest?
Exposed: Subtle Moves Women Use to Show Romantic Interest
10 Signs of Flirting in Men and Women

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Writing help: Lay versus Lie

This is a biggie for me.  I never get lay versus lie right, no matter how much I try.  I've resorted to letting Microsoft Word figure it out for me.

Here's what I found on the subject, from my trusty 'English Grammar and Composition' book that I got when I was younger.

The verb lie means 'to rest' or 'to recline,' 'to remain in a lying position.'  It's principal parts are lie, lying, lay, (have) lain.  The verb lie never takes an object.

The verb lay means 'to put' or 'to place (something).'  Its principal parts are lay, laying, laid, (have) laid.  These forms may have objects (receivers of the action).

Infinitive      present participle     past          past participle
lie (to rest)            lying                lay              (have) lain
lay (to put)           laying               laid             (have) laid

Examples of lie, meaning 'to rest' or 'to recline.'

Occasionally I lie down.
The letter is lying on the desk.
Yesterday Bennett lay on the sand.
How long have you lain here?

Examples of lay, meaning 'to put' or 'to place (something)':

Lay the boards down.
I was laying the letter on the desk.
Yesterday Bennett laid these towels on the sand.
Have you laid your work aside?

I hope that helps.

Have a great day!
SweetTale Books

-----------------------------------------
Reference: 'English Grammar and Composition' by John Warriner, Mary Whitten, and Francis Griffith.  Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, New York, 1973.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

20 Ways to Make Your Character: Compassionate

Characters need to show compassion, whether they're the protagonist or the antagonist.  Compassion shows they're human.

According to dictionary.com, compassion is a deep sympathy and sorry for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.

So how do you show compassion in writing?  Here are 20 ways to show it:

  1. Listen
  2. Lighten the load
  3. Hugs and comfort
  4. Handshakes
  5. See yourself in them
  6. Open the door for someone
  7. Motivate others
  8. Say encouraging words
  9. Empathize 
  10. Volunteer for a greater purpose
  11. Demonstrate acceptance
  12. Be grateful
  13. Touch
  14. Show kindness
  15. Go the extra mile
  16. Respect privacy
  17. Nonverbal communication
  18. Feel for the person and cry with them if necessary
  19. Share with the person--food, money, etc.
  20. Help with medical attention and basic needs if possible
The point for all of this is to imagine that the compassionate truly feels for the person and tries to help them in any way possible, doing whatever it takes.

Here are some pictures to give you an idea of what it could mean:  Powerful examples of human compassion throughout times of great conflict (25 Photos)


Have a great day!
SweetTale Books


----------------------
References:
7 Ways to Show More Compassion to Others
10 Ways to Show Compassion
5 Small Ways to Show Compassion
Powerful examples of human compassion throughout times of great conflict (25 Photos)

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Meet the Waiter

This is part of my continuing series of how to have unusual and fun characters in a book.  Today we're looking at the waiter/waitress.

Now, you're probably thinking to yourself, eh...just wait staff.  Boring stuff.  They take your order, smile to get a great tip, and bring you your food.

I used to think that, too, until I realized that the wait staff can really make a scene.  I've had waiters who have been huge flirts, some who have been nasty, and some who seem to be bored with their jobs.  One in particular sticks out in my past.

We'd gone into a certain NC restaurant and ordered our meal.  At this restaurant they would give all customers a big loaf of fantastic bread.  I don't know if they still do, because we don't have that chain restaurant in this area.

Since we had three young children at that time, I pulled out my knife to get even pieces for the kids so they wouldn't fight.  The waiter came to our table and chewed me out because I NEVER should cut the bread but rip it, or I would destroy the heart of the bread or some other stupid comment.

Needless to say, we NEVER went back to that restaurant, even if we lived in another state.  I wasn't about to be yelled at again by a waiter.

So the next time you write about wait staff, give them personality.  It's someone the character will never forget.  That character can make the protagonist come out of their shell or make them cry.  Needless to say, supporting characters like the wait staff can propel the plot along without them even realizing it.

Have a great day!
SweetTale Books

Monday, October 24, 2016

Writing about Taos, New Mexico

Back in the beginning of October, 2013, my husband and I went to New Mexico for the balloon festival in Albuquerque.  Our kids were all in college at the time, so we were first-time empty nesters.

We saw the balloons in Albuquerque, stayed in Santa Fe, and drove up to Taos.  If you've never heard of the place, I'd recommend visiting there at some point, especially if you're a writer.

The area is filled with artists, so to me, the pace was a bit slower.  People seemed to slow down to appreciate life.  The 2010 census put the population of Taos at less than 6,000 people.  We were there during a festival, so it was a big crowded on the streets.

We looked at artwork, checked out local shops, and ate lunch in Taos.  It's located in the mountains, and the skiing is wonderful in the wintertime.

What was so cool was that this is the place for the Taos Hum.  From what I understand, some people hear a humming sound that no one can explain.

Regardless, if you want an ideal setting for a book, especially one that includes a small-ish town with artsy people who seem to have a calm and fun life, then look into Taos.  I thoroughly enjoyed our visit there.

Have a great day!
SweetTale Books


--------------------
Reference:
Taos.org
Taos, New Mexico

Friday, October 21, 2016

Showing a Character's Optimism

What is optimism?

According to dictionary.com,


optimism

[op-tuh-miz-uh m] 
 
noun
1.
a disposition or tendency to look on the more favorable side of events or conditions and to expect the most favorable outcome.
2.
the belief that good ultimately predominates over evil in the world.
3.
the belief that goodness pervades reality.
4.
the doctrine that the existing world is the best of all possible worlds.

So how do you show optimism in writing about a character?

Optimistic people have hope that good always will happen.  So, if your character is in a bad place, they have to see the light at the end of the tunnel, thinking happy thoughts all the time.

Other characters will probably be cynical toward the optimist, who always wears 'rose colored glasses' and only sees good in everything.  That will increase conflict in the story, which is a good thing for every plot.

Even so, highly effective leaders are optimistic.  It increases creativity and innovation.  Also, sales people who are optimistic sell more of their product.

Optimists do the following, according to Optimism: The Hidden Asset:

  • avoid negative environments
  • celebrate strengths
  • take care of spiritual and emotional well being
  • manage or ignore what can't be changed
  • learning to reframe (shift in perspective by looking for hidden positive in a negative situation)
  • adapt language and outlook
  • focus outside themselves
  • nurture a culture of optimism in others
  • cultivate spontaneity
  • consider the health benefits (optimism is linked to greater health)

For a character to be optimistic, they have to believe in themselves, be hopeful in every negative situation, and stay motivated.  It's all a mental attitude.


Have a great day!
SweetTale Books


-----------------------
Reference:
dictionary.com
Optimism
Optimism: Strengths of Will
How to Be Optimistic
Optimism: The Hidden Asset

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Writing help: Active versus Passive Voice

My mother was a teacher.  She was also really into psychology, to get her kids to perform.  One of her favorite methods was to use passive voice, because it didn't sound as bossy to the intended victim...um...student.  She'd also use this method at home.  So instead of telling us to 'take out the trash,' she'd say, 'the trash needs to be taken out.'  It sounded the same to us because if we didn't do what she wanted, she'd get angry.  I didn't want to be on the punishment end of her anger, even if she was trying to sound less bossy.

So what is passive voice?  When I was younger, the high school was selling old books from their library.  I bought one that's entitled 'English Grammar and Composition' by John Warriner, Mary Whitten, and Francis Griffith.  Even though Harcourt Brace Jovanovich published the thing in 1973, there's a wealth of information in this little book.  Here's some of the information, partially paraphrased.

When the sentence is in active voice, the structure is the subject performing the action.

When the sentence is in passive voice, the subject receives the action.

Here's an example:

She shot him.  Active.  She is the subject, shot is the verb, and him is the object.

He was shot by her.  Passive.  He is now the subject.  The verb is a verb phrase that includes a form of 'be' and the past participle of the verb.  In this case, it's 'was shot'.  'By her' can now be omitted and the sentence still makes sense.

If other helping verbs appear in the active sentence, they must also be included in the passive.  So, for example, 'Someone has yelled my name' is active.  The passive version would be 'My name has been yelled.'  'Has' is in both sentences.

The passive voice puts the emphasis on the person or thing receiving the action rather than the one performing it.  It is often used when the speaker doesn't want to say who did the action.  Even so, it can be overused.  A succession of passive sentences is considered weak and awkward and should be avoided.

Have a great day!
SweetTale Books

-----------------------------------------
Reference: 'English Grammar and Composition' by John Warriner, Mary Whitten, and Francis Griffith.  Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, New York, 1973.  Passive voice--pages 142-144

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

20 Ways to Make Your Character: Intimidated

We all love a good villain, but what makes a great villain?  I honestly think it's someone who doesn't have to raise their voice, doesn't pull out a gun, and just makes you believe they're going to do you harm by psychological intimidation.  I used some of these in my book, 'Voo Doo Love Me,' by Andie Alexander.  However, Kes got them all back...eventually.

What are some ways to psychologically intimidate someone?  Well I thought of 20...but I'm sure there are more.  Enjoy!


  1. Meet with the victim but bring along thugs
  2. Silence with an unfocused stare--it makes people uncomfortable
  3. Move into their personal space
  4. Stand over them
  5. Hands on hips makes the character look larger than they are
  6. Puff out chest and set jaw.
  7. Appear to be calm yet fearless
  8. Show power and confidence
  9. Start nice but turn on ferocity fast to throw them off balance.
  10. Hold personal information and silently threaten them with going to authorities
  11. Make the victim think the intimidator has unpredictable mental issues
  12. Make eye contact, and threaten with a smile
  13. Hurting or threatening an innocent to force an action from the victim
  14. Surprise attack
  15. Terrorism
  16. Stockholm syndrome
  17. Bullying and Humiliation
  18. Psychological projection (attributing bad behavior by attributing it to others)
  19. Never apologize for bad behavior
  20. Gaslighting (Ambient Abuse: Gaslight Effect and the Diabolical Personality--false information is deliberately presented to the victim to make them doubt themselves)


Here's something else that's very helpful, from Bullying

Bullies couldn't exist without victims, and they don't pick on just anyone; those singled out lack assertiveness and radiate fear long before they ever encounter a bully. No one likes a bully, but no one likes a victim either. Grown-up bullies wreak havoc in their relationships and in the workplace.


Have a great day!
SweetTale Books


-----------------------------------------
References:
Psychological manipulation
How to Intimidate People
What are some silent psychological intimidation tactics people use?
Throwing Others on the Defensive: Manipulation via Overt or Covert Intimidation
Psychological warfare
Bullying
Ambient Abuse: Gaslight Effect and the Diabolical Personality
Psychological projection

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Meet the Boss

If you've ever had a job, you've probably had a boss (unless you're self-employed).  The boss character has a few universal characteristics.  Here are a few that come to mind right away:


  • leader
  • confident
  • can be pushy
  • judges their workers
  • demands production
  • can be intimidating


But the boss can also be fun to write.  Since they're in a leadership position, if you make your boss unconventional, they can come across as quirky yet effective.  Just realize that no matter what the boss in your story is like, they're in control and the leader, with those attributes, or they probably wouldn't have gotten the job to begin with (unless they know someone).

Have a great day!
SweetTale Books

Monday, October 17, 2016

Writing about City Life

"You can take the girl out of the country, but you can't take the country out of the girl."  I'm not sure who originally wrote it, but it's been used a lot.  I just can't find the quoter.

Anyway, I grew up in the country.  My parents had about three acres of land in a very small town.  I decided to get a job in Washington, D.C., because 'I was tough' and could handle it.  Let me tell ya...it's not easy being a small town girl in a big city.

Here are a few things I found:


  • the city is dirty
  • people aren't as moral as in the country
  • the homeless can be intimidating
  • everything's more expensive
  • people aren't friendly
  • traffic is awful
  • public transportation
  • more amenities and shopping areas
  • hospitals and schools more abundant
  • higher crime
  • more people and strangers to worry about
  • no ownership for taking care of local problems
  • more jobs

I'm sure there are more.  Care to add some?

Have a great day!
SweetTale Books

-----------------------------------
References:
City Life: Essay on advantages and disadvantage of City Life

Friday, October 14, 2016

Showing a Character's Joy

When writing, how do you show joy?  The goal for every author is to make the reader feel a connection to the story, to make them feel like it's happening to them.  So the main point is to SHOW the emotion, instead of telling them how the character feels.  When we feel utter joy, certain things happen, and are easy to describe in a story.

Here are a few ideas of how to show this wonderful emotion:

  • smile
  • giggle/titter
  • suck in a deep breath
  • voice goes up
  • hugging themselves or others
  • eyes smiling
  • might cry
  • cheeks go up
  • heart feels full of love
  • weight off shoulders
  • cover mouth with hand to hide extreme happiness
  • lightheadedness
  • endorphins give head a rush
  • sit back and sigh
  • feel loved
  • might be at peace/calm
  • might be excited/ecstatic

Can you think of any other things that might happen?

Have a great day!
SweetTale Books

--------------------------------------------------
Reference:
Creating Emotion in the Reader

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Writing help: plural versus possessive nouns



Don't you just hate it when people put apostrophes in words that are just plural (and not plural possessive)?  When I see signs like the one above, I want to stop the car, get out, and give the writer a piece of my mind.  Some days, I feel like a grammar policewoman.

In order to save yourself from the wrath of people like me, here are a few things you can learn about simple plural versus possessive nouns.  I'm even going to include references so you can see for yourself how they're different.

Plural:  More than one -- doesn't include the apostrophe

  • Example:  Puppies for Sale
  • Example:  Kids in the street

Possessive:  The word is describing the next word -- needs the apostrophe

  • Example:  Kid's coat
  • Example:  Jane's purse

See how the first one means MORE than one.  

In the second one, the coat belongs to the kid.  'Kid's' describes the coat.  Same with the purse.  The purse is owned by Jane.  Jane describes the purse.

In the sign above, it means that the puppies describe the word 'for.'  It makes no sense!

Go look it up for yourself, if you don't believe me:

Here's a video, that might help, too:  Grammar: Plural or Possessive?



Have a great day!
SweetTale Books

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

20 Ways to Make Your Character: Die

For those of us who are mystery writers, we need to know how to kill someone off in a book.  For other novels, people die, and there has to be a way they died, to make it more believable.

Here are 20 possible ways to do that:


  1. Shot
  2. Knifed
  3. Run over by a car/hit by drunk driver
  4. Disease
  5. Heart attack
  6. Get hit over head with a blunt object
  7. Have a house fall on top of them
  8. Get smothered
  9. Get stuck in a silo full of falling grain
  10. Get in a fight
  11. Fall off a tractor and have it fall onto the person (that really happened to my grandpa)
  12. Break/snap neck/beheaded
  13. Poisoned
  14. Fire
  15. Wardrobe malfunction (yes, it can happen--did it in Death's Sidekick)
  16. Hanging
  17. Spontaneous combustion
  18. Parasite or flesh eating disease
  19. Falling/pushed off building
  20. Getting trampled in a crowd

Regardless, the death has to be tragic in some way.  If it's a humorous book, make the death odd.  If it's a mystery, make it an evil death in some way.

Have a great day!
SweetTale Books

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Meet the Couch Potato

I love being a couch potato some days.  I just get some good food, turn on the television, and sit on the couch, enjoying doing...nothing.  I don't even care what's on the television, but it's fun to do.  I get to escape everything I HAVE to do and get to do what I WANT to do--nothing.


What is a couch potato, exactly?  I'm glad you asked.  According to Merriam-Webster:



a couch potato is someone who spends a lot of time sitting and watching television.

According to the article 'WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO THE COUCH POTATO?' in the New Yorker, the term isn't used as much today.  The usage of it has fallen dramatically.  It's thought that the decline is due to more usage of laptops and smartphones instead of watching shows on television.

So when writing about a couch potato, it has to be boring, right?  How can a writer make a couch potato's life interesting?

I want you to watch this clip of one of my favorite couch potatoes (he's more of a 'chair potato' but it works):

Onslow from Keeping Up Appearances.  This is his favorite spot in the house.




Here's another one of Onslow, as a couch potato:





And this, Life Lessons from Onslow.  He knows a lot of things, and learns them from television.




He's a couch potato that we love.  Couch Potatoes seem to have opinions on everything and can be rather well-read.  They're great supporting characters for a book, and can impart hilarious additions to the plot.

The couch potato needs to return!


Have a great day!
SweetTale Books

----------------------------------------------
Reference:
WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO THE COUCH POTATO?

Monday, October 10, 2016

Writing about Small Towns

Most people love small towns.  I grew up in one, with about 300 people in the town, total.  It was about 20 minutes from 'civilization,' and out in the country.  People lived there either because they were too poor to live in town, had family or work obligations that required them to be in that area, or they really wanted to live out in the country, away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Here are a few things I've noticed about small towns, versus suburbs or cities:


  • Neighbors talk more
  • They're friendlier
  • Gossip runs rampant
  • Very little traffic
  • Neighbors know your business more than you want them to
  • The neighbors become lifelong friends, even if you move away
  • Kids in the neighborhood grow up together and consider the neighbor kids like more siblings


After thinking about the town I grew up in, I went to the Internet to see what others had to add.  Here's what I added, because it's also true:

  • They're quiet
  • Many emotions are bubbling under the surface, giving rise to genuine conflict
  • Everything seems personal
  • Fierce protectiveness of the townspeople
  • Harbor secrets
  • Everyone knows everyone
  • Newcomers are always newcomers (this is very true) and have to prove themselves
  • Easy to write about, and readers understand
  • They're isolated
  • Limited setting for writing
  • Family and being connected is everything
  • Local celebrities--the village idiot, the town floosie, the busybody, the alcoholic, etc.
  • Familiar activities:  bake sales, PTO, church community events, and even different cultural activities
  • The history of the place can play a big part of the town
  • It has personality

If you're writing about small towns and think they're boring, here are a few things people do in small towns:  40 Things People Who Live In Small Towns Do

If you don't want to use a town in existence, do like I do--make a fake town, city, or even an island.  Here's an article to do just that:  How to Create Your Own Fake Town

Have a great day!
SweetTale Books


---------------------------------------
References:
Writing A Novel: The Appeal Of The Small Town Setting
40 Things People Who Live In Small Towns Do
The Excitement of a Small Town Setting
Guest post: Writing the Small Town by Lea Ryan
How to Create Your Own Fake Town
Reference for Writers: Settings and World Building

Friday, October 7, 2016

Showing the Disgust Feeling in Writing

My characters get disgusted at the strangest thing.  Do yours?  I mean, really...is "Sausage, shrimp, hot dog rolls, pickles, baked beans, and sauerkraut" in a casserole that bad?  (That's from A Heapin' Helping of Three Cross Faith by Eryn Grace).  Would that make you wrinkle your lip in disgust?  

When I'm disgusted, I also put my teeth together, open my lips, and wrinkle my nose.  I don't know if others do that, but it seems to show disgust to me.  Kind of like this (from Disgust):



So how do you convey disgust without making a reader confused?  Here are some ideas from the references below.  Have your character display:


  • a curled upper lip or a tight frown
  • narrow or partially closed eyes
  • head shake (side-to-side as in 'no')
  • sticking out their tongue as if going to vomit
  • wrinkle or draw up the nose
  • sneer or snarl
In addition, your character could mention their disgust by using one of the following words:
  • ugh
  • ewww
  • ick
  • yuck
  • blech
  • bleh

Can you think of any more?

Have a great day!
SweetTale Books


Reference:
How to Show (Not Tell) an Emotion–A to D
Dictionary of Interjections
Disgust

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Is Your Character Alive?

This is a strange thing to discuss, but I've had conversations with various people about how people behave.

I want you to consider two ideas.  First, is your character alive, or are they boring and waiting to die?
And second, do you consider your character to be a living entity?

Believe it or not, these two things are related.

A friend of mine lives in a town (much like where I now live) where the locals stay to themselves, never do anything fun, and basically are waiting to die.  They might do a few things, but they rarely travel, rarely enjoy any new situation, and don't take risks.  Those characters are boring with a capital B.  Make them take risks.  Give them life.

To take this further, a writer has to bring the character to life for the reader to keep reading.  To do this, that character has to live in the writer's head.  They take risks there and talk to the writer.

I've had more than one conversation with other writers about characters taking over their thoughts.  The character has conversations with the writer in the weirdest places, like the grocery store, etc.  Is the writer crazy?  Nope.  That's normal.  That's how a writer gets to know the character--how they think and how they live.  The character comes alive like that.

I've thought of characters coming together from various books of mine, in a conference in my head.  Those characters had a lot to say to each other.  It was hilarious!  Some of them even clashed, wanting to take charge.

So does your character live in its environment and in your head?

Have a great day!
SweetTale Books

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

20 Ways to Make Your Character: Have Inner Conflict in a Romance

Last week, I discussed outer conflict in writing.  Now I want to look at inner conflict.  From last week, here were the differences:

From dictionary.com, outer conflict is defined as:



external conflict






noun
1.
struggle between a literary or dramatic character and an outside force such as nature or another character, which drives the dramatic action of the plot:
external conflict between Macbeth and Macduff.
2.
struggle between a person and an outside force:
external conflict between parents and children.


And, to contrast, the inner conflict is defined as:

internal conflict



Examples




noun
1.
psychological struggle within the mind of a literary or dramatic character, the resolution of which creates the plot's suspense:
Hamlet's inaction is caused by internal conflict.
2.
mental struggle arising from opposing demands or impulses.


This week, we want to look at internal conflicts.  What type of inner conflict would a character have?

Here are a 20 ideas.  I've used some of these ideas in my books, but have added a few others that I may use in future books.


  1. Past abuse making them fearful or tougher
  2. Being cheated on in the past making them untrusting
  3. Addiction of some type--alcohol, drugs, food, or any of the seven deadly sins
  4. Strict parents
  5. Was kidnapped as a child
  6. Thinks they're damaged goods/ugly
  7. Everyone dies around them
  8. Running from a murderer, worrying that everyone is out to get them
  9. Life has to be controlled or they can't cope
  10. Everything they do is to help one other person
  11. Feeling like a nobody
  12. Harboring a secret
  13. Feel guilty about a past issue
  14. Embarrassing family member
  15. Worried about job security/doubts ability in job
  16. Feels like an outcast in society or community
  17. Abandoned by family
  18. Harassed on social media to the point that they're afraid for their life
  19. Battling a mental illness
  20. Trying to be something they're not


Have any more to add?

Have a great day!
SweetTale Books

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Meet the Criminal

I have a few criminals in my books.  For example, in All the Better to Love You With, Mandy Hood (Red Riding Hood) is arrested for stealing her grandma's car so she could visit her other grandma.  She's pulled over by Sheriff Brad Wolfe and put in jail.

I had to do a bit of research on what happens in jail for this book, and a few others where I had the main character go in jail (I have a few of them).  But the character changes once they're in jail.  They feel like a failure, that all hope is lost.  Their lives change and they become more humble.

The character is in jail for a reason.  Sometimes, it's to get information for their job (undercover).  Sometimes, it's because they did something wrong.  And sometimes, they're standing up for what they believe is right.

Whatever your criminal does, make them feel like they've lost all hope.  They're stuck in jail for a reason, and they're now at the mercy of law enforcement and the other inmates.  The code inside the jail is different than outside, too.  From what I understand, there are social classes and other issues that normal people don't encounter.

Am I missing anything?

Have a great day!
SweetTale Books

Monday, October 3, 2016

Writing about the Homeless

I follow a guy on Twitter who's homeless.  He and his dog live in his car.  I truly feel for the guy, wishing I could help him out.  I retweet his posts, hoping someone can help him out.  He lives in CA.  If you can help, let me know.  He needs a job and a place to live, for starters.

I also saw a guy on a street corner asking for money.  He's a vet, homeless, broke, and stranded, according to his cardboard sign.  He also had his dog with him.  People were pulling over and giving this poor guy money.

I've written quite a few books on the homeless and the hopeless.  I have one book out by Eryn Grace that's no longer for sale (the company went under and I never got my rights back).  A rich girl was sent with her company to a homeless shelter, to know what it was like to be homeless.  I had to do a bit of research for that one, because I can't even imagine what it's like.  But one thing I did realize...it can happen to anyone at any time.

Another book I wrote was called 'Better Watch Out' by Kyra Myles.  In this one, a fire destroys the family home and the teenager has to figure out how to help her family.  They end up in a homeless shelter, but there is hope for them, after an alien approaches her with a job.

In yet another book, entitled 'Ruled a Suicide,' a homeless mother with a young daughter is on the streets of Phoenix.  She sees a dead body and has to do something about it.

I wish I could help the homeless.  Yes, there are some that abuse the system, but I believe in the good nature of people and think that most of them are actually homeless.  I'd love to give them hope.  I do what I can by donating clothes and food when I can.  Because you never know when it can happen to you or to a loved one.

The homeless are interesting characters, too.  They try to hide any infirmity, any weakness, or they'll be in trouble with other homeless, or with authorities.  I found that when I wrote Ruled a Suicide.  If other homeless think you have money, you're in trouble.  If the authorities see a child on the streets, you're in trouble.  Being homeless is tough, at best.

Am I missing anything?

Have a great day!
SweetTale Books