Is there just one story in your novel?

You may not have noticed it, but many of the characters in a novel have their own story to tell. After all, in real life, each person you meet does have his or her own story to tell. They are real people (or should be) and therefore they have their own life to talk about, so don’t leave their story out of your novel. Knowing about the secondary characters will give your novel a real life and make it more enjoyable and more interesting to your readers. It shouldn’t be a major storyline – you don’t want to detract from your major storyline, you only want add to your novel. And secondary characters and storylines are important.

You can pre-order my latest novel, SING ME NO SAD SONGS, from my publisher, http://www.booklocker.com And when you do order your copy, I will spotlight YOU on my blogpost under Spotlight on YOU to give my readers a little info about you and your book.

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Poem: What Can I Say?

What do I say when I couldn’t say goodbye?

When it’s over and done

When everything’s gone

What do I say?

When I lost you, the world really stopped.

You were here for a moment

Just a moment in time

Just a short story told, then too soon you were gone.

What do I say?

The only thing I know – I’ll see you again

When it’s my time to go  –

Whenever that may be.

Until then, what do I say?

NAMING YOUR CHARACTERS

How do you decide upon names for your book characters? Your childhood friends? Some favorite relative? A favorite celebrity? Whatever method you choose to name your characters, you need to remember one thing – the name should not only give your character a handle, it should reflect your character’s character, if you will. It’s not only a name, it should be a clue to the character’s personality, lifestyle, life-time dreams, etc. You wouldn’t want to name a slim woman with a terrific figure “Big Bertha” for instance. (Only using that as an example, you readers.) Neither would you want to name a little girl something like  Fiona or Esmerelda  – you want the name to reflect the person, to fit the character, to sort of describe the character before the reader finds out more about him/her throughout the story. Names such as those might tend to turn off your reader before he/she even gets to know the character.

I have been somewhat fortunate when naming some of my characters, I think. My heroine in NO SAD SONGS I named Alanna, which gives me the picture of a beautiful, talented person (which she is). The hero of that novel I named Jared. To me, this is a name that is strong, yet tender and compassionate, which he is.

I’d love to hear your discussion this subject if you’d care to share your thoughts with me and my readers..

 

Where did that come from?

In a recent blog I wrote about the fact that, instead of outlining a story, I jot down notes of things that COULD happen in the story. Imagine my surprise when, in the middle of a chapter, this extremely emotional event occurred –  something totally surprising and totally not oh my list of things that could happen. And it worked so well, it just blended in with the theme of my story.

It’s things like that which led me to my practice of not fully outlining a story. Events in life just happen without pre-planning, and other  events can be triggered.  So don’t be surprised if your story takes on a life of its own as you are writing it. Be aware of this and be alert to the possibility of it happening. Then just go with it and let your story progress.

Should writers outline

It’s been argued both ways, but basically the consensus of opinion is that you SHOULD outline your work before beginning. However, I HAVE NEVER LIKED TO OUTLINE my stories or novel manuscripts. My reasoning for this is that life doesn’t happen by outlines so why should the lives of my characters be outlined?

Having said that, guess what I have done for the novel I have just begun? If you guessed I’ve outlined it, you are partially right. When I first conceived the idea for my new story, I sat down with a sheet of notebook paper and headed it “Things that can happen”. Then I began to jot down ideas for things that COULD happen to my characters – just short notes to suggest things I might incorporate into my story. Nothing detailed, nothing necessarily leading from one step to the next to the next. Just suggestions as to what could happen to my characters.    And…it’s working like a charm. As I write my story, working through it without a step by step outline and letting the story unfold as life would happen, I can refer to my notes whenever one chapter ends and find suggestions for the next chapter of events.

So how’s that for dodging the bullet on the matter of whether or not to outline my story?  Works for me. You might try it yourself and see if it works for you. It definitely does save me time and still offers me a list of suggestions so that when I need to think of somewhere to go, there are many suggestions to pick from. And for some reason it’s easier to jot down suggestions before I start writing – ideas just come more freely when I’m not in the middle of my story.

I’d like to invite you to check out my newest published novel  – Sing Me  No Sad Songs – and you can pre-order your own copy from my publisher – http://www.booklocker.com

 

 

The value of revision

I have ALWAYS hated to revise/rewrite anything. ALWAYS! But recently, while getting a manuscript ready for my new publisher, I found a brand new value to rewriting. Not only did I thoroughly enjoy READING my story again (and believe it or not I DID really enjoy it) but I began to see where I could really improve the story. I also could see things that will help me improve my writing in future stories and manuscripts.

Because of the fact that I had saved the manuscript in odt format instead of Word, it caused innumerable problems when my publisher tried to format it. And that caused me problems as I tried…and tried…and tried to make corrections, etc. So, in all, I read and re-read the manuscript from beginning to end about a dozen times. And guess what. I ENJOYED READING IT EACH TIME.  I hope that’s an indication as to how well it should sell.

But the point I wanted to make is that from my experience with this, I discovered ways to improve my writing that I can carry over into the future and make my writing better from the beginning. And it is working. I am now working on a new novel and I’ve already noticed a difference in the way I express things, describe people, give characters motivation and reactions to situations, etc.

So don’t ever get tired of reading your own writings over and over again. You may be surprised to see how much you will learn from the experience.

You san pre-order my new novel from my publisher Booklocker.com. Just $18.95. Thank You, and ENJOY.

Who Finds Rob With Billy the Kid?

“Someone’s out there,“ I whispered to the others. “I heard a noise.”

Billy tossed me a gun. I recognized it as the one I had picked up in front of the Court House. Frank and George crawled into the corrals and covered themselves with hay. I rolled into a corner on the opposite side of the barn. Billy stood to one side of the doorway, his back pressed flat against the wall with his pistol pointed toward the doorway. Muffled footsteps sounded outside the barn and seemed to be moving slowly closer. My shallow breathing sounded like a tornado in my ears. I raised my head just enough to see the doorway where a pistol pointed inside. I saw Billy ready to take on the gunman.

“Well, come on in, Sheriff,” Billy said when Sheriff Brady stood just inside the barn. “I thought you was some desperado come to shoot it out with me. Come on in.” Billy holstered his gun, but Sheriff Brady kept his aimed at Billy.

“This isn’t a social call, Billy. I’ve got to take you in.”

Billy slapped his knee and laughed. “Sure, Sheriff. What for? Did you catch me spittin’ on the street?”

“Come on, Billy. I’ve got witnesses say you shot John Tunstall.”

Sheriff Brady took Billy’s gun, tied his hands behind his back, and led him out of the barn. When they were gone, Frank and George came out of their hiding places

I joined them in the middle of the barn.

“We gotta get him out,” George said. “Anyone got any ideas?”

 

Early the next morning we sneaked behind the general store. The jail cells were on the second floor of the building so we couldn’t reach Billy’s cell. Instead we took turns throwing rocks up toward the barred windows. Finally Billy looked out the window and grinned at us.

I picked up another rock, tied a note to it, and pitched it up toward Billy’s window. The note had only one word on it: privy. Billy read it and signaled to us that he understood.

The three of us made our way to the privy next to the Court House. We hid a gun wrapped in a newspaper under a loose plank in the floor and hid behind a large mesquite bush about two hundred yards away.

Three hours later we were still hiding when we heard voices near the privy. Frank peeked through the bush and saw Billy and a deputy coming across the street. Billy’s sense of humor had the deputy laughing as they got close to the privy. The deputy looked inside but didn’t see anything wrong. Billy went inside and shut the door. We got ready to jump the deputy and help Billy escape, but we didn’t have to. Billy dashed from the privy, pointed the gun at the deputy, and fired point blank. The deputy dropped to the ground, adding another victim to Billy’s legendary tally. I hadn’t stopped to think what Billy might do with the gun. I guess I just thought he’d wave it in the deputy’s face to scare him. When I saw him shoot the deputy, I almost lost my breakfast. George grabbed the keys from the deputy’s jeans and unlocked the handcuffs. He shoved the handcuffs at me. “Here’s a souvenir for you,” he said and laughed.

“Let’s get out of here,” Frank said and he grabbed my arm and dragged me through the underbrush toward the waiting horses.

READ THE SURPRISING CONCLUSION TO THIS STORY RIGHT HERE. Come on back and I’ll even start another short story.

Meanwhile, if you’re looking for a ghostwriter to help you put YOUR story into words, I’m your writer. I’m offering a fantastic trial rate to get you started and you can cancel at any time and owe nothing. Contact me at ozarkwriter@hotmail.com and let’s talk about getting YOUR story on paper.