Wednesday, May 7, 2014

IWSG: Twirling Mustaches and Piles O' Podcasts

IWSG Clicky for Linky
1st Wednesday of the month is Insecure Writers Support Group. It’s a blog hop where you post about the joys and difficulties of being a writer.

I'm a goofball and I posted my IWSG post last Wednesday. Calender reading skills, I no has them. So you get a two-fer this month!

I recently attended a workshop on plotting hosted by the Capital City Writers. Our instructor, Louise Knott Ahern was fantastic. During the workshop, I had a realization as to why my story has ground to a halt. Even though my main characters have back-story and wounds, I still don't have a strong sense of what motivates them and their exterior goals are pretty murky, especially for my hero.

I've been twiddling my thumbs about what to do about it. Then the other night, I found the Helping Writers Become Authors blog. She has 241 free podcasts on writing. Seriously, it's awesome. You can read her articles and then also listen to the podcast at the bottom of the post, which is a great way for me to learn and retain the info. I'm working on the character building section right now and learning a ton about story craft. I feel like I'm getting a writing degree, except I'm a cheapskate and its free. Huzzah!

Conor's mother needs a wax.
Back to my epiphanies... my hero is a problem. He has a partially fleshed-out backstory, no external goals and he's such a goody-goody that no amount of hair-pulling, lip-biting sex appeal can rescue me from a case of the yawns when I try to write his perspective. He needs grit.

Also having an issue with my hero's hyper-critical mother. She's so two-dimensional and awful that every-time I write her into a scene she might as well be tying folks to the railroad tracks whilst twisting her evil mustache.

So, with all of this learnin' I'm getting, it's become clear that I cannot get ahead until I figure my characters out. This puts me in a bind. I gave myself until the end of the summer to finish it and I'm only halfway through. So do I rewrite the first twelve chapters to give me a better sense of where the story should go or do I race for the finish line while writing my hero as a bit of a different person than he was before?


  1. Excellent. Deepen those characters. When I'm writing, I watch my character's play out a scene as if in a movie. I'm not sure if everyone does this, but in my case I just record the events as fast as possible. Motivation was a big one for me and your right it's all in the backstory and fleshing all the actors out. :-)

    Anna from Shout with Emaginette

    1. I think of my story that way too! You're not alone.

  2. Try asking yourself what the underlying themes are. That should help you to give the male lead a goal and make him more interesting by giving him a take on them.

  3. I'm glad you go so much out of the workshop. I say go either direction. It's all good. Writing the draft and revising both need to happen, so follow your instincts and just keep working on that baby. If only I'd take my own advice - as my novel collects dust.

    Cheers, Christina.

    1. My instincts say I should scratch my belly button and re-watch all 9 seasons of Supernatural while I mainline frozen coke and chocolate fudge cake. I think I should avoid my instincts :)

  4. I hope you don't mind that I am now one of the new stalkers to your blog. I just finished reading the last couple of posts and couldn't stop laughing. As a reader of romance stories I love, love, love a great romance novel. If you are looking for a villain to your love story the meddling mother would be it. This guy needs to stand up and be a man and lovingly put his mother in her place especially if he really wants the girl. Give it a revision but only concentrate any rewriting on the male character. As a reader of romance stories I want to fall in love with the guy in the story too so when working on the rewrite or revision look at his character as a man that will make the readers want to fall in love with him too.

    1. Yay new stalker! I'm glad I made you laugh. It's hard to beat the puppy kissing joy of a romance ending. However, in the case of my story, the meddling mother was not a villain. Just an obstacle. I wrote her so cartoony I would roll my eyes as I re-read it. Writing a romance hero is hard. Especially since I'm not any good at writing alpha males.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  5. I'm all fired up from attending the DFWcon writing conference last weekend, so bear with me - haha! One class I went to was led by Donald Maass and it was great. It was all about creating memorable characters. One exercise he gave us, that you might try for your hero is to make a list of your hero's 3 main traits... then choose an opposite trait to showcase.

    He gave an example of a guy who is super logical, like Spock. Except... he has this odd habit of flipping a coin to make decisions. That's not logical, right? So the reader wonders why he does this, but the writer doesn't explain until at least 2/3 through the story, and when the reason comes out, it can be really fulfilling. In this case, he made the reason be that his daughter died in a freak accident, and it made no sense, and shook up his whole idea of the world being a logical place. So the character copes with his lack of control in life by leaving little decisions up to the flip of a coin.

    Anyway, just something to play with.

    Thanks for the links to that writing podcast. I will definitely check that out! In the meantime, happy writing to you and thank you for dropping by my blog via IWSG :D

    1. Hi Tui! Thanks for coming to my blog. I just bought the Positive Trait and Negative Trait Thesauri. They have you do pretty much the same thing. You build your character with a combo of positive and negative traits that gel with each other or conflict. It's so very helpful. I learned some things about my heroine I didn't know as I combed through the books.

      Happy writing backatcha!


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