I love when I pick up a book by a favorite author and as I open to the first page I see the return of one or more of my favorite characters. Some authors bring characters back in every book and I feel that lets you get to know those characters even better than just seeing them in one book and they are gone. It also eliminates the time spent on a book learning about and meeting new main characters when starting a book. There is the danger of people picking up a newer book without having read anything before and not knowing all of the history, but I feel if the story is told sufficiently then they will understand the current story whether they have the background or not, although the background will only enhance some of the references made in subsequent books.
Now, you might be thinking, that would be boring, to keep reading about the same characters in book after book.
But it also isn’t all the same. The author has the opportunity to introduce any number of supporting characters, which can be returning or new to keep a story fresh and exciting.
I have taken this approach with my first two novels, The Eleventh Hour and Double Time.
I returned my main character, Tad; his family; and those close to him for the second novel. I liked being able to continue the story of his life and bring new adventures to a character with whom I enjoyed working and getting to know throughout the first novel.
I plan to base by third novel on Tad as well, continuing to develop different aspects of his character and to delve even deeper into his life and past. I hope readers will enjoy the journey as much as I will.
What are your thoughts? Do you like returning characters or do you like a book to be all new?
Check out the adventures of Tad in:
The Eleventh Hour
Writing can often be a solitary job; most people write books by themselves, unless you have a co-author. Despite this, it is still beneficial to surround yourself with other writers.
One way to do this is through critique groups. I am a member of a critique group that is celebrating our 10-year anniversary this year. We meet every two weeks, more or less when schedules allow. We offer feedback, comments and beneficial critiques to one another’s stories. But we do more than critique. We brainstorm ideas for one another, provide support, laugh a lot, and have become good friends.
Being a part of such a group is helpful in staying motivated to write, knowing there is someone out there waiting to read your next chapter. It also helps to have other views provide feedback and point out things you may not have seen or thought about.
Where do you find such a group? Look for local writing organizations or groups online. Critique groups often meet in bookstores so check their bulletin boards for any meeting notifications. Or simply talk to other writers and see if they are members of such groups.
I highly recommend you give it a try. You’ll get so much more out of it than you will ever expect.
Let me know what you think about critique groups. Are you a member of one? How did you get started?
Where do you get your ideas for your covers? Do you make them yourself or have others create them?
I like to create my own covers. For my first novel, “The Eleventh Hour,” I took photos of one of my friend’s daughters who had red hair. It went great with the main character in that novel. We had a good time laughing and taking pictures. Then it was time to find the other elements to go on the cover, which I found through non-copywrited photos online. The only problem was they weren’t very large files, but I made them work. After blending it all together and creating several versions, I got input from a lot of friends and members of my critique group on which one they liked best.
Now, I’m starting the process again as all I have left on my next novel, “Double Time,” is the cover. I hope to take some pictures tonight, then get it all put together before the end of the weekend.
Where do you get your inspiration for covers?
Check out the Eleventh Hour:
Where do you get your ideas? Do you read the newspaper? Watch the news? People watch? I’ve heard numerous sources of inspiration people find for their writing. Ideas can come from almost anywhere in fact.
Now I’ve never dreamed a novel, although I’ve heard people who claimed they have, but I do find endless sources of ideas.
Interesting events are all around us. We just need to keep our eyes open and watch for them. I’ve found it works the same as it does for photography. It’s all about finding the interesting angle or unique point of view. Did you see the man walking down the street with his cane? Where was he going? Where was he coming from? Was he on the run from someone or on his way to commit a crime? Let your imagine run wild. You never know where it may lead you.
I love to people watch. Malls are great places for this, as are airports. Really anywhere will do as long as there are a lot of people around. My friends and I used to make up stories to go with the people as they passed by. Most of them probably wouldn’t make a good novel, but you never know what might spark another idea that is going to be the next best seller. So keep your eyes open, and most importantly keep a notebook handy to jot down those ideas as they come to you. One thing is for sure… no matter how confident you are you will remember it, you won’t. Keep those creative ideas flowing and keep on writing.
Do you have a unique story on where you once got a great idea? I’d love to hear about it. E-mail me at email@example.com.
Do you listen to music while you write? I’ve met people who have to have music on, maybe even a specific artist, in order to write, while others have to have silence.
For me, it kind of depends on my mood. I often write with some music on for background noise. The type of music depends on what I’m writing. A serious or background scene calls for something slower, while an action scene calls for something more fast-paced. Is the character joyful? Then “happy” music is a must.
The key for me is to have the music low enough it is just background noise and I don’t get distracted by singing along with my favorite songs. I’d hate to end up with a verse of a song in the middle of my story.
Of course, I don’t always write with music. Sometimes quiet is more conducive to getting my creative juices flowing. Other times, I enjoy the sounds of nature, the birds singing and crickets chirping.
What do you like to listen to while you write?
Thank you to one reader for my latest review on Amazon of “The Eleventh Hour.”
This person wrote: “The Eleventh Hour had me hooked in the first few pages. A man tries to reunite a young girl with her parents who have driven off from a rest stop without her. When law enforcement seem to be less than interested in returning the girl to her parents, the man realizes that sinister forces are keeping her from finding her family. The cross-country chase that ensues is fast-paced and, at the same time touching. This book is well written and I enjoyed it immensely.”
I continue to receive great feedback from those I talk to. It’s wonderful to hear people say they couldn’t put it down.
If you’re looking for a good book to read, check out my novel on Amazon or Barnes and Noble.
Here are the links:
As I begin to write another novel, I am once again realizing the value of staying organized and making sure all of my characters and scenes are flushed out. I wanted to share with you one iPad ap I found that has been a tremendous help to me.
I had looked at several writing aps, but none of them really did what I had envisioned, then I found the ap A Novel Idea. It has been great so far.
You can put in your characters and it provides the form for the character sketch including such things as height, hair color, habits, traits, conflicts, motivation, skills and more. Things I hadn’t even thought about in fact. So far I have been able to create as many characters as I have wanted, so I don’t know if there is a limit.
In addition to fleshing out characters, you also can put together scenes, including location and setting, as well as take notes for a book.
You also can great a file for each novel, including setting, tone, location, genre and more. Then you can link scenes or characters to the corresponding book or books.
It has been a great organizational tool for me and I’m not losing those little scraps of paper anymore that said what hair color my newest character had.