Friday, September 24, 2010

Always Writing!

I'd really prefer to stay home in my pajamas today and write...but... I need to shower, get dressed, and head to work (selling Berninas today!).

However, I am always writing. In my head.

Right now, I'm considering the advice of two agents. One said my m.c. was "too babyish" and the other said the "tone was too adult." Okay. Let's take one at a time.

Main character too babyish: This feels like a whack upside the head (in a good? way, maybe?) because I *thought* I utilized techniques to show Thia as a strong character who makes bad (naive) choices. So, as I approach another revision, my eyes will be wide open to places where she came across "too babyish" because that was never my intent. I kept a notebook next to me while writing, and I used it to employ concepts from Donald Maass' book "The Fire in Fiction." But now, as I flip through the character pages, I have pages detailing Seth (the brother), Josh (one antagonist), Janie (the best friend), and Mike (the main antagonist); actually, there are several pages devoted to Mike.  Maybe I did let parts of Thia's character fall through the cracks. I'm going to go back through Maass' book and use his character building concepts solely on my m.c. during this revision.

So, while I'm at work today selling Bernina sewing machines, I'm going to be running through the ms in my head thinking of ways her character may have fallen short. I'm always writing!

I even dream about my characters and plot lines. ha.

How about you? Are you always writing? Where's the "strangest" place you've worked on your ms? What's the best character building tip you have to share?


  1. Well, I just did an an entire post on crafting characters. But I think the best question for your characters is "What is their deepest fear?"

    I write anywhere, in the bathroom whle kids are taking a bath... in the car... wherever.

    I'm finding not everyone connects with the MCs which is why finding the right agent can be so hard. I've had betas who connected fine, and others who had trouble relating. It's really weird. I think you should go with what feels right and keep looking for the right agent who "gets" your MC.

  2. I like how you used real character examples. I write in my head while lap swimming or walking.

  3. Oh YES! PK! I totally agree with you about doing what I feel is right for my mc. HOWEVER. I promised myself early on in this "process" that if I was rejected on a full ms by an agent, I would keep my eyes open and at least consider the feedback. I didn't want to be someone who thought, "My writing is great. The agent is wrong." Which... certainly could be true! ha. But, I want to at least review my ms and consider her feedback. If I find something that could be improved, I will improve it. If I like it the way it is - I will certainly leave it. But I don't want to be blinded by my own pride.

    clp3333 - thanks for your comment! It made me visualize a swimmer ('cause I'm always writing in my head - ha) ... anyway ... a swimmer who is so busy thinking that he accidentally rams his head in the side of the pool. Could that happen? That would be embarrassing. If anyone was around to see it.

  4. Hi, I actually popped in for the blogging experiment. Glad I did too. I think the strangest place I've written...well in the spa lounge whilst waiting for an appointment. Good luck with the querying process!! ;)

  5. Sorry for the conflicting feedback. That is so frustrating. And yes, I work on my writing everywhere. You never know when an idea is going to hit.

  6. Yes. I actually ran from the dinner table the other night because I just HAD to write something down. :-)

  7. Conflicting critiques are frustrating! Good luck with those revisions.
    I write everywhere (be it on actual paper or in my head). I have a tendency to get lost with my characters.

    Good post!

  8. LOL...I always have a notebook (or 3) handy....I've had occassions where I couldn't reach them while driving, so I wrote on the only thing handy...a napkin with a highlighter. Highlighters are easy to write with while you drive because you can write big and not worry about having problems reading it later...(I'm not advocating writing while driving, I'm just saying if you have to write down a couple words while driving a highlighter is a good tool...)

  9. I'm a new follower and love this post. I can relate to you with the agent quest. I recently received a response from an agent who said, "I really enjoyed the premise, but I had a hard time connecting to the story." For those of us who don't mind going back over their work, I'm just not sure where to go with this.

    Donald Maass has been helping me, too, through the Breakout Novel Workbook. Keep at it, I say!

  10. Making notes to identify the elements you need to show about your character is good advice.

  11. I never stop thinking about my stories and characters. My poor husband puts up with a lot :)

  12. As I write poetry mainly about my life sxpereiences there are always thoughts in my mind on how to assemble it in a poem, I have learnt so much about the writing of books and the advice is invaluable should I ever want to write a book. A most pleasurable blog to read.

    Have a lovely week-end.

  13. Hey Margo! Great post. Confusing to have two diff opinions on the same MC, isn't it? I'm glad you were able to pick it out after they mentioned it.

    I learned my character building from Margie Lawson who is a devoted fan of Donald Maass. I wouldn't mind adding all of his books to my shelves!

    I give my MCs real fiery emotions that will make him/her reach out and throttle my readers. I hope it's as I think I do.

    Come and visit me!