An unselfish wish made on the horn of a unicorn will come true. Our wish? To support the writing community by giving constructive tips and criticism through submissions. Check out the submissions tab for more information. We can survive the crucible of fire together.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Effigy

Today M.J. Fifield is joining us to remind you to read her book if you haven't already. (Seriously, if you haven't, you should. It's worth it.) And she's also been kind enough to give us a "What If?"...

I want to start off by thanking Liz for hosting me today. I appreciate the invite! Marketing is hard, and I am grateful for all the help I can get.

Now let’s move on to a truly oddball What If question. But first, some back story:

Effigy is populated with mythical creatures—in particular, unicorns and a pint-sized pegasus. They talk. (They can be more sarcastic that way…)

The pegasus, Faolan, is one of the more frequently remarked-upon characters in this novel. He’s prone to sarcasm and a tad on zealous side, truth be told. He’s a pegasus on a mission, and he won't let anything—or anyone—stand in his way. He will lie, cheat, and manipulate, all in the name of the deity he serves.

Many of characters in Effigy—both major and minor—interact with Faolan and struggle with his “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few” philosophies.

Which leads us to today’s What If question…

What if you woke up one day and talking unicorns weren't the craziest thing in your life? What if your life depended upon a borderline fanatical pegasus?

Effigy

The survival of a once-mighty kingdom rests in the hands of its young queen, Haleine Coileáin, as it slowly succumbs to an ancient evil fueled by her husband’s cruelty.

A sadistic man with a talent for torture and a taste for murder, he is determined to burn the land and all souls within. Haleine is determined to save her kingdom and, after a chance encounter, joins forces with the leader of the people’s rebellion. She gives him her support, soon followed by her heart.

Loving him is inadvertent but becomes as natural and necessary as breathing. She lies and steals on his behalf, doing anything she can to further their cause. She compromises beliefs held all her life, for what life will exist if evil prevails?

Her journey leads to a deceiving world of magic, monsters, and gods she never believed existed outside of myth. The deeper she goes, the more her soul is stripped away, but she continues on, desperate to see her quest complete. If she can bring her husband to ruin and save her people, any sacrifice is worth the price—even if it means her life.


About the Author:

Armed with a deep and lasting love of chocolate, purple pens, and medieval weaponry, M.J. Fifield is nothing if not a uniquely supplied insomniac. When she isn't writing, she’s on the hunt for oversized baked goods or shiny new daggers. A life-long New Englander, M.J. is currently giving life in Florida a try. Visit her online at mjfifeld.com.

Monday, June 29, 2015

The Book and the Blade

This is the first time I get to welcome someone to the blog who I know IRL. J.D. Fisher has given us a "What If?" to ponder...

What if we did just one act of kindness each day that did NOT benefit us but others - would the world be a different place?

The Book and the Blade

When two elves set out to investigate rumors of war near their homeland, their meticulous plans go awry, and they find themselves mysteriously chosen to fulfill an ancient prophecy that will affect the entire world. Unknown to the elves, an unforeseen enemy pursues them with lethal intent after discovering they are carrying items of great power. Read The Book and the Blade: Awakening and join them on their journey in a world full magic, dangerous foes, and an epic struggle between good and evil.

From the Author:

Some of the major influences and stories that inspired the idea of this book were from The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis and The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien. However, there is one person that really planted the idea, or the seed you could say, of fantasy fiction and this book in my mind and that was my brother Luke. Before he passed on in early January, 2004, we used to have a lot of late night chats. He would tell me his latest problems with girls and then after, if I were lucky, he'd share his ideas of a fantasy story he wanted to create. I was always amazed at how imaginative his mind was.  His ideas really helped me imagine and create the story for The Book and the Blade.



About the Author: 

J.D. Fisher is a teacher who lives in California, is married, and has two children. He enjoys family time, surfing, running, and fantasy movies and stories. Much of his inspiration for writing has come from some of the greatest stories created by C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien.

Websites:

Official - http://thebookandtheblade.com

Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/thebookandtheblade

Amazon (link for the most current edition of the book)
~Paperback - http://www.amazon.com/The-Book-Blade-J-D-Fisher/dp/1634181050
~Kindle - http://www.amazon.com/Book-Blade-J-D-Fisher-ebook/dp/B00TU7CHUK

Barnes & Noble (Paperback/Nook)
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-book-and-the-blade-j-d-fisher/1116766623?ean=9781634181051

Friday, June 26, 2015

About Those Words, a Contest, and New Moderators

In the course of this blog, our moderators have evolved, revolved, and devolved. After leaving this blog, they have continued their careers as successful writers, published their works, and improved their craft.

Unicorn Bell welcomes two new moderators to our writer’s critique site, both unique.

EJ Roberts caught my attention on Facebook. I grew to admire her fair posts about the books she’s read. She gives gentle reviews, without the snark I’ve seen in so many others. She is a professional reviewer, dedicated to books and authors.

Angela Kelly is an editor. She amazes me, ferreting out the wacko sentences, clunks, and storylines that have gone bye-bye. Her edits are kind (mostly) but she is not above letting her writers know when they are falling down the stairs like a defunct Slinky.

EJ and Angi start next month and, Boy Howdy, I Can Not Wait to see their posts

Contest! Contest!

If you have a manuscript laying around, unpublished, under no contract, give this contest a whirl.

2015 Weta Nichols Writing Contest, sponsored by the Ozark Romance Authors.

Louise Fury of The Bent Agency will judge Historical and Young Adult/Middle Grade
Candace Havens with Entangled Publishing will judge Contemporary and Paranormal/Sci-Fi

Submit the first chapter (up to 2,500 words) of your unpublished novel to win prizes and a chance to be read by one of the agents or editors serving as our final judges.

Contest is open to both published and unpublished authors, but the piece submitted must be unpublished (traditional, self-pub, or e-pub) and not under contract to be published.

Entries are open genre and not required to contain romantic tones. Categories in which entries may be judged are:

·       Historical
·       Contemporary
·       Paranormal/Sci-Fi
·       Young Adult/Middle Grade.

See all the details Here.

Deadline is July 15.



Wednesday, June 24, 2015

It's all about those Words, Part II

It happens. The Lightbulb. Inspiration results in your B.I.C. and the story pours out of your brain and into words.

You’ve completed the hardest part of writing your novel, the first draft. At least until someone asks what your book is about. Then it’s like your mouth is stuffed with ten wads of chewing gum.

But that’s another story.

Second draft means it’s time to kill, slash, and mutilate and clean up the mess you've made along the way.

Let’s start with words. Too many strangle your story. It’s like a pernicious vine that wraps around a bush or tree. Soon nothing is left of the original beauty.

1. Eliminate the obvious or the Duh factor. 

Examples:

His eyeglasses perched there on the end of his nose like an afterthought. 
She turned back around to face the other away from him. “I don’t care about you Phil. Not now. Not ever.”
Cassidy looked at Phil as he flipped through the cards.

2. Haven’t we been here before? Writers tend to repeat themselves. Especially when they want the reader to get it.

What was wrong with her? Why didn’t she take the ribbon now rather than wait? She could palm it, put it in her hand, and move away. Easy. She looked at Phil as he moved toward the cashier to block the woman’s view of Cassidy. No way would she notice. Not with Phil engaging the clerk in conversation at her desk. Now was the time to quit dithering and choose.
What was wrong with her? Why didn’t she take the ribbon now rather than wait? She could palm it, put it in her hand, and move away. Easy. She looked at Phil as he moved toward the cashier to blocked the woman’s view of Cassidy. No way would she notice. Not with Phil engaginged the clerk in conversation at her desk. Now was the time to quit dithering and choose.

Smothering and Other Ings. An inflection—such as -s or -es—adds a plural element to a noun. Place an -s or -ed to a verb and it creates tense.

The use of –ing is different. It makes it progressive, gives the word another syllable, and tends to weaken the verb.

Example:
Walking down the baking asphalt lead to Cassidy grumbling about the rising heat causing more delays for the group.
Re-write:
Cassidy grumbled about the hot asphalt and delayed the group even further.
Although there is nothing wrong with the occasional –ing, search your manuscripts and delete whenever possible.

Remember, the first draft is always a mess. Editing the wordy vines will breathe life into your story.

For a look at my first draft for this post *shiver*,

Monday, June 22, 2015

It’s all about those Words.


The tune by Meghan Trainor sticks in my mind. Catchy, unique, with a definite hook. Kinda like a good novel.

This week, it’s all about those words. The ones that make up a good read. From B.I.C. to editing. And a challenge to any courageous enough to take me on.

Today, it’s about routines, Squirrels, and discussions.


Stephen King not only writes good books but also gives back to the writing community, a behavior common in our profession. On Writing and his top twenty rules for writers is the best example.

The first ten:

1. First write for yourself, and then worry about the audience. “When you write a story, you’re telling yourself the story. When you rewrite, your main job is taking out all the things that are not the story.”

2. Don’t use passive voice. “Timid writers like passive verbs for the same reason that timid lovers like passive partners. The passive voice is safe.”

3. Avoid adverbs. “The adverb is not your friend.”

4. Avoid adverbs, especially after “he said” and “she said.”

5. But don’t obsess over perfect grammar. “The object of fiction isn’t grammatical correctness but to make the reader welcome and then tell a story.”

6. The magic is in you. “I’m convinced that fear is at the root of most bad writing.”

7. Read, read, read. ”If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write.”

8. Don’t worry about making other people happy. “If you intend to write as truthfully as you can, your days as a member of polite society are numbered, anyway.”

9. Turn off the TV. “TV—while working out or anywhere else—really is about the last thing an aspiring writer needs.”

10. You have three months. “The first draft of a book—even a long one—should take no more than three months, the length of a season.”

Note the last tip. Say you are shooting for a 90 K novel. That’s a thousand words every day. It’s possible.

It IS possible.

And now, my first challenge of the week. Pick a day. Tell me when you are starting and write a thousand words a day for ninety days. No excuses. Just do it.

I pick Saturday, June 27. I do declare that I will write at least one thousand words a day, thirty thousand in one month.


What about you? Are you ready to lift your chin, grit your teeth, and take this challenge? 
Well? Are you?


For the rest of the twenty tips,

Friday, June 19, 2015

Dear Aspiring Author


NOTE: Several aspiring authors who have found my blog have asked me how I got published and what they need to do. I always tell them the same things, so this one is for all aspiring writers looking for some insight.


Dear Aspiring Author,

You’ve been writing your book for months, even years, and you’ve just finished your manuscript. Now what?

Now you have a lot of work ahead of you. Don’t let that discourage you though, because at the end of it, you’ll have a book to be proud of, a lot more knowledge, thicker skin, and hopefully a published book.

When you write “THE END” at the bottom of your manuscript, let it sit for a few weeks so you can edit it with fresh eyes. Every book has been edited probably a dozen times or more. No book, not even yours, is exempt from editing. Learning to edit properly takes time and practice. You can take editing classes and read books.

Here are some of the editing posts I’ve done that could help you:

After you’ve edited your book to the point where you can’t possible fix it anymore and are even sick of it, give it to someone else to read such as a teacher, family member, friend, or another writer. If you join the blogging group Insecure Writer’s Support Group and their Facebook critique group, you’ll find generous people willing to help.

Once you get feedback from a couple of people and make changes (the key is to not take anything they say personally and to be open to what they say), it’s time to learn how to write a query letter and synopsis to send to agents/editors. When you accomplish these necessary evils, research which agents/editors are best for your book and send out your material with crossed fingers.

You can find agents and editors in these books:
Writers Market
Guide to Literary Agents

Helpful Links:
Most writers get rejections and a ton of them. It’s really a badge of honor. Kathryn Stockett who wrote “The Help” was rejected 60 times and C.S. Lewis received 800 rejections before he sold a single piece of writing. You could land an agent your first try or you may be another C.S. Lewis. So if you get rejections, don’t take it personally. Send your material to the next one on your list and don’t stop.


While you’re sending out queries (heck, even when you’re writing your first book), build a following. At the same time, work on publishing flash fiction, articles, and poetry to get publishing credentials.

Helpful Links:

And of course, start writing your next book. Maybe your first book won’t make it but the second or third one you write will. If you decide to self-publish, go for it! But research like crazy to know what you’ll need to do to not only self-publish but market your book.

The most important thing to do while you do all of this (editing, submitting, and writing) is to believe that you’ll get published one day. Some of us have our days sooner than others but I believe all of us will eventually have our day. Your belief and determination will be fuel on your journey to publication.

Fuel up and shoot for the stars!


XOXO,

Chrys Fey






Author of Hurricane Crimes, 30 Seconds, Ghost of Death, and Witch of Death. Blogger. Reader. Auntie. Vegetarian. Cat Lover.

Find Me:


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Dear Young Writer


NOTE: A young writer recently asked me if it was possible for him to get published, this one is for him.


Dear Young Writer,

You may feel that because you’re so young that your dream of becoming a published author is as big as the Milky Way and so far out of your reach that you’d have to cross a galaxy to achieve it. I am here to tell you that you can hold that dream in the palm of your hand, that it is possible.

How do I know this? Because I was once you and I have met my dream of being an author.

Don’t think about your age or the score of people also hoping to publish their books. Instead, focus on writing and learning your craft. Write while you wait for the bus. Write in class after you get all of your work done. Write at home. Write before bed. Write everywhere, all the time.

Image from Flickr.

And read. Read books in the genres you enjoy the most. Read books with the same topics as what you’re writing about. Read books about writing. This last one is especially important, because if you study and take notes about the craft of writing, editing and publishing, you’ll have an easier time with all of them.

When I was young and struggling, on the cusp of depression, I would tell myself this: “The universe would not have given me these story ideas if I wasn’t meant to publish them.”

And I believe the same for all writers. I believe the same for you.

So when you feel that publishing is impossible say to yourself, “I would not have these story ideas if I wasn’t meant to publish them.” And believe it with all your might. Feel it in the marrow of your bones.

YOU WILL BE A PUBLISHED AUTHOR.

IT IS POSSIBLE!

XOXO,

Chrys Fey


QUESTION: How old were you when you started writing? 

I was twelve but I became a serious writer at seventeen.


Have a writing-related question? Leave a comment and I may turn it into a post right here!





Author of Hurricane Crimes, 30 Seconds, Ghost of Death, and Witch of Death. Blogger. Reader. Auntie. Vegetarian. Cat Lover.

Find Me:


Monday, June 15, 2015

Dear Degree-less Writer

Dear Chrys,

Do you need a degree in English Literature to get published?


Dear Degree-less Writer,

First, I’m going to say that any degree can help a writer. For example, a degree in Criminal Justice could be valuable for a mystery writer. And a degree in English Literature can teach you a lot about literature and even influence your style.

A degree in English Literature is something nice to add to your bio as well as your resume when you query, but publishers don’t look at this as make-or-break. Granted, some might check to see if you have one, but it’s not a requirement. There are countless authors out there who are published and don’t have a degree.

For some reason, many writers just starting out (with nothing more than a dream) believe they need a degree to get published or to get noticed by a publisher. This is false.

I do not have a degree of any kind. As a matter of fact, I don’t have a traditional high school diploma. I have a GED. But guess what? I’m published!

I don't believe you need a degree to be an author. Your writing will speak for itself. A writer could write positively beautifully and not have a high school diploma, while another could write horrendously bad and have a degree. If you have the talent then it won’t matter if you have a degree or not.
Image from Pixabay.

What Degree-less Writers Can Do:

1. Practice.

Write as much as you can and re-write if needed. Re-writing a story is a great learning opportunity.

2. Read

Look for books on the writing craft and study them. Pay attention to what these authors are telling you, take note, and try it for yourself. You may agree or disagree. That’s all part of learning.

3. Challenge Yourself

I created a 30 Day Writing Challenge. Check it out, it may inspire you.

4. Read

Yes, I listed this twice. On top of reading books on the craft, you should be reading in your genre and even outside your genre. Not just for pleasure, but to learn how the authors you enjoy get you to relate to their characters, how they describe scenes, etc. Even read blog posts about writing. There is so much information out there just waiting for you to find it.

5. Beta Read

Beta reading for others and having others beta read for you are two ways to learn a lot about writing and editing.

6. Workshops

Taking classes and workshops can also help. I’ve never done either of these. Yet. But I know they can aid a writer greatly.


So, remember, you can get published without a degree. But if you want a degree because literature is your passion then by all means...go for it!


XOXO,
Chrys Fey


QUESTIONS: What do you do to learn about writing/editing? Do you have a degree? Do you believe having a degree is the only way to get published traditionally? 


Have a writing-related question? Leave a comment and I may turn it into a post right here!




Author of Hurricane Crimes, 30 Seconds, Ghost of Death, and Witch of Death. Blogger. Reader. Auntie. Vegetarian. Cat Lover.

Find Me:


Friday, June 12, 2015

Books and Cookies: Book Review for THIRTEEN REASONS WHY

I chose this next book because of its personal significance to me and the astounding message of the book.

A few months ago, a 6th grader at my son's school committed suicide. This young boy came from an affluent family, had successful parents, and appeared to "have it all." The death of this boy who should have had many, many years ahead of him and a life filled with possibilities, rocked our small North Carolina town. It led me to question how well I know what's going on in my children's minds. How well do I really know them?


When I won a Giveaway for a free signed copy of Jay Asher's THIRTEEN REASONS WHY shortly after this tragedy struck my area, I knew I needed to read this book. If for nothing else but to see what could possibly go through a child's mind to make them want to commit suicide. Even though this is a work of fiction, Mr. Asher opened a gateway of thinking and analyzing for every teen that reads this book. Even for every parent that reads this book. How well do you know what's going on in your child's life?

THIRTEEN REASONS WHY is a novel about a teenage girl who commits suicide, and we learn about the 13 reasons why she chose to do it in these cassette tapes she leaves behind to the people who "influenced" her decision. The receiver is supposed to listen to the tape, follow the map of her life, and then pass the tapes on to the next person on the list. The story is told through the eyes of the MC, Clay, who is one of the recipients of the cassette tapes. It's a brilliant way to tell a story. Truly. The creative effort to capture this girl's story on the cassette tape is so unique. And we as the reader are learning right along with Clay as he listens and processes the reasons Hannah Baker committed suicide.

This book was a page-turner for me. Mostly because I kept waiting for that moment—the one that would make it perfectly clear why Hannah Baker decided to kill herself. But that moment never came. At first, I thought her reasons were shallow, but then I realized something. It is never about one significant event or one defining moment, but rather, it's a culmination of things that make a person feel as if they have no way out. It's so sad to think about that, and in the story, it was heart-wrenching to know that this vibrant, once-happy girl could spiral so far down as to feel that she had no other option but to kill herself.

I know you're probably thinking this sounds like a depressing read. And in some ways, maybe it is. But it's also enlightening. And for a teen, I think it can maybe even change the way they view others around them, especially those that may be considered an "outcast" or those who are experiencing challenges.

For my review, I give this novel 4 stars. I recommend it to anyone who likes YA Contemporary novels that deal with heavy issues. But warning: Some of the content may not be appropriate for young teens or those adults who like super clean reads.

And on a lighter note...

It's time for cookies!


These scrum-dilly-umptious cookies are called Earthquake Cookies. I've made these before and they're super easy to make and taste delicious! Just make sure you have a box of Devil's Food cake mix on hand. You can find the recipe HERE.

Happy Baking and Reading!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Books and Cookies: Book Review for THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE

Well, my kids are officially out of school now, and after throwing a pool party to celebrate the end of school, we are definitely ready for summer vacation! I figured I'd let my kids have a few days of "free for all" before I crack the whip and put them on a schedule. We'll see...

So, I do have another book review for you today! I'm super excited about this one because this is a book I read recently and immediately fell in love with. It's true. I think I might have a crush on this book. And the author. :)


For starters, I loved the title: THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE. Doesn't it just sound pretty? And then the writing was beautiful and literary and oftentimes poetic. The book deals with death and grief, love and friendship, and all the quirkiness that makes families unique.

In this YA Contemporary novel, the MC, Lennie Walker, is an extremely likable character with a strong voice. Still reeling from the death of her sister, Lennie struggles to come to terms with what her life means now that her older sister is gone. She has to redefine herself and discover an inner strength she didn't know she possessed without her sister. But along her journey of self-discovery, she leaves trails of notes, poems, and memories of her and her sister that are found on scraps of paper, coffee cups, sheet music, etc. *Warning* Plan to have a box of tissues by your side, because the notes she scatters throughout her town are emotional and heart-breaking and truly raw.

Then there are those moments of light-heartedness and humor. And those moments where we as the reader fall in love at the same time she does. And of course, in order for her to grow, she must make choices that betray who she once was. And who she wants to be.

In the end, she's torn between "a boy who will help her remember and a boy who can make her forget."

It truly is a wonderful read, but be prepared to experience every emotion as you read this book. Be prepared to experience Lennie's highs as well as Lennie's lows. Trust me, you won't be disappointed!

As for my review, I give this book 5 stars. Enough said.

Now for some cookies...


My husband loves Snickerdoodles, and while this isn't the recipe I use to make these cookies, this looks like a good one. If you love Snickerdoodles, you can find the recipe HERE.

Happy Baking and Reading!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Books and Cookies: Book Review for REMAKE

Are you excited for the approach of summer? Tomorrow is my kids' last day of school, and while I'm looking forward to a little less of a routine and sleeping in past 7:00, I'm also a little nervous about keeping FIVE boys entertained. Wish me luck! (I'm gonna need it...)

If you're like me, then you probably have a whole stack of books that you're looking forward to reading this summer. Or perhaps you're looking for a few good books to add to your TBR list. Maybe you'll find what you're looking for in one of my book reviews this week.

I've been reading a lot of Young Adult books lately because that's the genre I write, so if you enjoy reading YA, you'll probably like some of these books I'll spotlight this week. This first one is REMAKE by Ilima Todd.


Set in a futuristic dystopian society where children are raised in batches instead of families, this novel delves into the idea of what it would be like to live without a family. And it's interesting to see the distinct difference between the Rebels who still live in families as opposed to the children, also known as Batchers, who are raised without parents and have limitless freedoms and no consequences.

Batchers are given hormone suppressants so everyone looks the same and there are no differences between male and female. At the age of seventeen, the Batchers get to experience a Remake where they choose their gender and what they want to look like. This novel brings about the question of gender and what makes us male versus female. It's a very interesting take on the whole idea of gender and what it would be like if we could choose our own gender.

As for my review, I loved this book. I'm a sucker for a dystopian setting in general, but I loved that it was a clean read with probing questions, a sweet romance, and an intriguing plot that made it difficult to put the book down. And the best part? It's the first book in a series so I know I'll get to see those characters again. Hurry up, Ilima, I'm waiting over here! :)

All in all, I'd give this book 4 1/2 stars! And I'd recommend it to anyone who likes dystopian settings like MATCHED by Ally Condie or UGLIES by Scott Westerfeld.

Now for some cookies...


Don't these Peanut Butter Cup Cookies look scrumptious? You can find the recipe HERE.

Happy Baking and Reading!

Friday, June 5, 2015

The hardest questions




Finally, there’s these, which will really make you (and me!) think:


  1. What isn’t being seen?
  2. What’s the most important question?
  3. What’s dangerous in this world?
  4. What problem (external conflict) does the external situation present? How can the protagonist eventually resolve that conflict?
  5. List three obstacles that stand in the way of the protagonist resolving this conflict.
  6. How will the protagonist grow because of confronting these obstacles?
  7. What do you want to happen at the end of this book?
  8. What will have to happen to the protagonist against his/her will to make your ending come about?


My answers:

  1. This is another tough one for me, since it’s pretty obvious what’s going on. The end of the world is coming and things are going to bad, worse than they are, which is already bad. But. What I’ve discovered thus far is that sometimes secondary characters surprise you, and by digging into their motives, you can see things from a new and interesting perspective. I’ve got two characters like that and I’m still learning about them.
  2. Ah, the most important question. For which I have no answer – yet!
  3. Everything is dangerous in my world. The whole world has gone to hell and leaving the sanctuary of the designated safe towns (DSAs for designated safe areas in my story) would be extremely unsafe – not to say there’s any guarantee inside a DSA. After all, it is the apocalypse…
  4. The apocalypse presents the main issue of survival. When the world ends, how does the government function? Can it? And how does everyone who’s left mange without the convenience of electricity, the local grocery store, heat, not to mention all the unpleasant people left who don’t care about getting along or working together. The problem is Seth can’t resolve the apocalypse or make it go away, he and everyone else are going to have to try to survive it.
  5. I do have some obstacles in mind for Seth but I’m not going to reveal them since that would be a total spoiler. But this is an easy question for me. I can always think up bad things to do to my characters.
  6. I’ve designed these obstacles to be growing experiences for Seth. I mean really, everything that happens has to change him, and hopefully those changes will enable him to survive.
  7. That’s another one I won’t answer so not to spoil things. But I do have an answer!
  8. Bloody Hell. Back to a tough one again. I have to admit, I often have a hard time with this question. One thing I do know, Seth is going to have to make some hard choices if he wants to live, the kind where something bad will happen no matter how he chooses.


Now it’s your turn and feel free to share as much or as little as you like.



Wednesday, June 3, 2015

The harder questions…




 As promised, I’ve got more questions to make you think about what you’re writing. This is all stuff I found elsewhere, either in books, on people’s blogs, or websites. They all make me think about what exactly I’m writing, and who my characters are. But, some of them are hard…


  1. Does this character like himself/herself?
  2. What if anything would he or she change about their life?
  3. Strongest/weakest character traits
  4. How can the flip side of the strong points be weaknesses and vise versa?
  5. Talents?
  6. How is the character ordinary or extraordinary?
  7. How is the situation ordinary or extraordinary? 


As you can see these are harder questions, making you think more about your character than their name age, appearance, and basic back-story.

My answers:

  1. Hmm, this is hard. I don’t think Seth likes himself, or maybe I should say he doesn’t think highly of himself.
  2. Seth wishes his sister never died and he could’ve lived happily with the family he used to have.
  3. Seth isn’t spontaneous. He thinks things through. And even though he’s in the ALT Ed program at school, he’s smarter than average, as evidenced by the tree house he built out of salvaged material. Seth’s weakness is that he feels weak, trapped first by his family situation and now by the absence of normality.
  4. Maybe Seth thinks too much sometimes, I’m not sure. This is another tough question. Some character strengths and weakness can easily be reversed, others, not so much.
  5. He’s good at figuring things out, solving problems, and even though he’s afraid sometimes, he plows through.
  6. I think Seth is ordinary, after all, there’s lots of kids who have crappy home lives and attend the ALT Ed program.
  7. I’m hoping that the situation (the apocalypse), which is extraordinary, will also make Seth extraordinary. We’ll see.


Now it’s your turn. Feel free to share in the comments!