Character Tools: #Preptober, Day 5

Let's talk about tools. Equipment. Maybe even weapons. What kinds of stuff does your character carry around on a daily basis? Think about Harriet the Spy: she's got a whole mess of spy gear, all clamped onto a belt. She carries her notebook and a pen, obviously, along with a flashlight, a yo-yo (to make adults think she's just playing, and not spying on them), and a special outfit she wears on Continue Reading...

Character Speech: #Preptober, Day 4

Today, let's talk about how your character talks. Speech is important. It not only expresses what a character is thinking, but it also gives you insight into what this character is really like, based on their word choices, regional dialect and rhythms. Beginning writers often make all of their characters sound the same. Why? Because they're all just variations on the writer who created Continue Reading...

Character Style: #Preptober, Day 3

Character Style. What is it, and why should we care? A character's style is all about how they carry themselves in the world. How they dress, how they speak, and how they act. Let's start off with the easy stuff: What kinds of clothes do they wear? Are they minimalists, wearing the same t-shirt and jeans everyday, or do they like to get fancy, experiment with fashion, wear something new Continue Reading...

Character Details: Scars, #Preptober Day 2

Welcome to day 2 of Preptober! Let's talk about scars that can help distinguish your character. What kinds of scars or physical characteristics make your character unique? These could be recent wounds like skinned hands and knees from playing in the street or broken bones, or older wounds that linger – like a broken leg that never set properly and causes your character to limp. Maybe your Continue Reading...

Character Basics: #Preptober Day 1

Welcome to Preptober! It's day 1, so let's talk character basics. Here's a quick sketch of my main character, Ara Brown, who will appear in my #NaNoWriMo novel this year, The Reluctant Ninja. Name & AKAs: Ara Brown, aka The Littlest Ninja Age: 13 Gender: Female Height: 5'2" Weight: I actually hate describing my characters in terms of this number, so I will stick with a Continue Reading...

Let’s get preppy! #Preptober is coming

If you've been reading my blog for a while now, you already know what a big fan of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) I am. But what you may not know is that... I've never actually used the month of October for intensive preparation before I attempt to write my novels. As a reformed Pantser (and current Plotser), I usually end up writing up a very hastily scrawled outline on October Continue Reading...

18 Before 2018

Summer's almost over, and the last quarter of the year is coming up quick. Which means it's time to do a little bit of assessment and see where I'm headed with my yearly goals. Lucky for me, Lisa Jacobs has challenged us all to "18 Before 2018" – write up a list of 18 goals to accomplish before 2018. These can be big, small, or a combination of both. I did a bit of brainstorming, and here's Continue Reading...

Meet me at the San Diego Festival of Books!

Guess what? I'm going to be tabling at the first-ever San Diego Festival of Books! The Festival runs from 10 AM to 6 PM on Saturday, August 26. I'll be at the San Diego Writers and Editors Guild table from 10 AM to 12:30 PM, along with fellow member-authors Marcia Buompensiero, Larry Carleton, Barb Huntington, Edward Lopatin and Penn Wallace. Come on out, take a look around, and Continue Reading...

July handwriting challenge round-up

I've been participating in some fun Instagram challenges lately, so it's time to share my pix! Here's a quick round-up of some of my posts from the month of July: [caption id="attachment_17531" align="aligncenter" width="599"] New bio photo[/caption]   [gallery type="square" link="none" size="medium" Continue Reading...

Return of the ninja!

First, there was Ninjas of the 512. Then, there was Confessions of a 3-Day Novelist. Now, six years later, it's happening again... The ninja is back! A new YA saga is coming this Labor Day weekend (September 2-4, 2017). Are you ready? Sign up for my new mailing list to get updates on brand new characters and the gang's secret hideout! #mc_embed_signup{background:#fff; Continue Reading...