When Life Gets In The Way – And It Will

We are writers. No matter what we write, we are writing about life, about living, about the things that matter to us, about the pain and joy and music and poetry of living. We are writing about the insecurity and excitement of romance, a mystery that needs to be solved, a life decision that needs to be made, a loss that has been suffered, a battle or war that needs to be fought.

We write, and as we write, we incorporate and use every good and wonderful and easy thing that has happened to us, as well as every difficult and painful and dreadful thing that has happened to us in the past. All that we are, all that we have survived, is part of our characters and our plotlines and the landscapes of our writing. The feel of water from a cold shower can be interpreted and twisted into […]

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Of Success and Failure – Magical Words

Hi Y’all!

This month, next week in fact, I was supposed to have new book out. First book in a new series. Big dealio. Mucho excitement. I scheduled this date at several blogs to get the word out. I had PR ramping! Yes, as early as six months ago.

Annnnd it didn’t happen.

Why? Simply put, the book was not ready. BLOOD OF THE EARTH, the first in the Soulwood series, needed a serious—and I mean deeply serious—rewrite. It had bones. It had some good bones. But it wasn’t put together right.

I know, you are singing “The toe bone’s connected to the … ankle bone…” and you hate me right now. But bear with me.

I knew there were problems with the book but I could not see what was wrong. I was too close to it. This is why a writer, even an experienced writer, needs a developmental […]

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Character Development – Show Me – Jane and Beast — PART TWO

Yep, it’s Thursday! I’m baaaaaack!

And yes — Dark Heir is out and doing well.

If our main characters are to blossom, then they have to have a function and the weapons to accomplish the goal you, the writer, sets for them. Function: Jane is necessary to stem the vamp war with the European Vampires, a war she knows nothing of when the series starts. Weapons: She has the desire, developing skill sets and the family she is building to fight evil. When she realizes that her friends and godchildren are potentially threatened, she also has the desire to fight.

So if look at characterization from the standpoint of strengths and weaknesses, we can easily take a character—any character—and show them developing by simply letting the plot points challenge the character’s weaknesses.

Last week we looked at Jane Yellowrock’s traits, so this week let’s look at them again, […]

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Christina Henry — of Running and Writing

I’m pretty sure that if I didn’t run I wouldn’t be a professional writer. Strike that. I’m 100% sure that if I didn’t run I wouldn’t be a professional writer.

See, when I was 12 years I read The Lord of the Rings for the first time and I decided then and there that I would be a writer when I grew up. My dad gave me a notebook and I wrote my first “novel” in that notebook. As you might imagine, the story was just a teeny-weeny bit like The Lord of the Rings, except that it had a 12-year-old girl as the protagonist (surprising, no?).

I continued to write for fun, for myself, all through high school, although at that time I took up poetry instead of fiction because I was going through puberty and I had FEELINGS and I needed to FEEL my FEELINGS.

I went to […]

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Christina Henry–Plot and the Protag

I’ve written seven books in the BLACK WINGS series and one stand-alone novel (the forthcoming ALICE, August 2015) and I’m pretty sure I can’t tell you a single useful thing about how I plotted any of them. I know, this sounds a lot like what I said about writing character last week. The trouble is that I just don’t spend that much time thinking in a concrete way about the plots of my books. I don’t have a nice neat formal method.

This is what I do: I start writing the book. And then I see what happens next.

All my books begin with the protagonist, and I tend to let the protagonist dictate the action that follows. I don’t write an outline, summary or synopsis of any kind. I just let the book unfold as I write it chronologically.

I do have a general idea of where the book […]

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Christina Henry — Talking to Characters

I wish I had some really interesting, profound statement to make about the process of creating characters in fiction. I’ve read lots of well-written and well-considered pieces about finding out who your characters are and their motivations and how all those things can make your story better and more interesting.

I’d genuinely like to write one of those pieces for you. I’d like to tell you that I did this writing exercise or that I carefully craft each character and have background histories for all them even if all of that information doesn’t make it into the story.

Unfortunately, my writing process might kindly be termed “intuitive” and less kindly be called “half-assed”.

Take Madeline Black. The heroine of my BLACK WINGS series just appeared in my head one day. Well, I probably shouldn’t say “appeared”. That implies that I saw her, and I didn’t see her. I heard her. […]

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Sentence Structure — the Musical Soundtrack to our Writing

We talked a bit about sentence structure at one of the Cons this year, discussing how important it is to know the various ways to string words together. Sentence structure is one of the most important tools in the writer’s tool box. In fact, sentence structure is the background music to the movie of our book. It sets pace, rhythm, and voice. It also contributes to the character and narrative voice. It can’t be over emphasized. But it is almost always under emphasized.

Let me illustrate.

The info I (the writer) want to convey to the audience (the readers) in the opening of a short story is:

Jane Yellowrock has a Harley named Bitsa. Jane is riding Bitsa to a meeting withLeo Pellissier (her boss, a vampire, who bit her once). Jane is in a hurry, driving through NOLA past Jackson Square. It is raining and humid and the city […]

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