Building Character

My son played soccer this weekend. Not really an uncommon event but it was interesting game. I was particularly interested in how the boys interacted.

One boy has a habit of stealing the ball away from his own team members. Not really a nice trait in a player but I don’t think he means it. His focus is totally on the ball and the other kids seem to let it slide.

Another child, a frequent goal scorer, I heard him mutter “too easy” when he scored his third goal of the match. Yeah, I agree, his reaction is slightly scary but I’m hoping he’ll grow out of it. He’s a really sweet kid.

My son is not a consistent player and is easily distracted. Yet yesterday he was on fire, his best game of the year, but unfortunately the last of the season. He scored! And his reaction – the biggest, brightest smile I’ve ever seen on his face. Plus two thumbs up!

What I’ve been thinking about is how differently the boys react. How far will the traits they have now change as they age? What type of partner will grow to love them?

I know, at age seven, I might be getting a bit ahead of myself, but when we develop characters to write about, the experiences of childhood affect how they react to situations too.

How far back into your characters past do you imagine when crafting your story?

Writing a historical requires research

Readers are clever people, they know what they like, and especially what they don’t. Some like danger and intrigue and some, like me, prefer things on the lighter side. I write what I most like to read: an escape from the present world and a good dose of hero and heroine attraction.

When I began reading historical romances, I had no idea what a barouche was. I did not know when gaslights were installed in London, and I knew nothing about King George III or his illness, other than what the writer told me. The more you read, however, the more you learn that sometimes works of fiction are not always correct and it should be.

The detail in a historical romance fascinates me but since I don’t live in England, and Australia doesn’t teach a great deal of English History, I have to find my own sources of information. All I can say is thank you, internet. So, in appreciation for the wonderful internet resources out there I am going to plug some of my favourite sources of information on the net.

Google books is brilliant.
It contains thousands of book titles and frequently, partial and full, PDF copies of older books (those out of copyright), from cover to cover. Each entry includes an ‘About this book’ page with basic bibliographic data like title, author, publication date, length and subject. You will be able to download, save and/or print a PDF version to read off-line.

For the historical romance writer, acquiring older works can be expensive and unless you live in the country you are writing about, copies can be hard to track down. With the internet at your fingers, you can find an answer to almost any question but be sure to double check your facts. You don’t want to make a mistake.

Homework for this edition:
Go to the Google books homepage, type in Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue, and click search books. You should get a list, now qualify that you only want to show Full View Only and your list will shrink. The top few books should mention the author Francis Grose and list different publication dates. Click on the one you would most like to view and you will get a “Read this book” page. Just follow the arrows and leaf through the pages. It’s that easy.

Getting it together

Learning new things take time. And developing strong, clear writing is no exception. The critique group I joined is a wonderful group of writers, funny, warm, and extremely talented. I have recieved so much encouragement for my work that I often blush. I hope if your part of a critique group that you recieve the same level of encouragement and give back in kind.

But writing isn’t just about the story. As I have come to understand, a writer must also learn how to market themselves and I hope you will enjoy the sneek peeks at my works in progress.

In the beginning …

In the beginning there was the idea that I could write a novel. It took me nine months to complete Chills, another month to type up because I wanted the whole writer experience (or what I thought it was) and hand wrote in notebooks. Foolish girl aren’t I.
Then came NaNoWriMo – and I thought why not. So I spent a month feverishly writing my next novel and let my butt really spread. Just kidding … although! Never mind. Thanks to NaNoWriMo I now know what I’m capable of. I wrote a 70k novel in a month. Knocking over a chapter each writing session was possible. Editing should be easy right! Yeah sure. No.

Editing my first novel was hard. I had forgotten a lot of what I had written. I seem to have forgotten all about the rules of punctuation too. A crash course in punctuation was needed. I’m a member of a nice friendly writing group and I have finally submitted some chapters for critique. I’m looking forward to hearing what they say…