Tag Archives: writing

Reoccurring characters

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
Double Time

Thanks for your support

Thank you to everyone who has taken a few moments to purchase and download my latest novel, Double Time. If you haven’t checked it out yet, here is a brief excerpt from it:

A fire truck raced down the street in front of their house, its red lights flashing into Stephie’s room. She clung tighter.

“Come on.” He tried to pry her fingers off of his arms and she sniffled.

He hated to see her cry.

Tad picked her up and hugged her, whispering that everything would be alright in her ear. Soon her tears subsided. Together they gathered her school books and some clothes for the next day, putting them all in her overnight bag.

Tad carried her out to his car and buckled her in. Her small eyes were wide with fear. Sirens of any kind still scared her. With Stephie in the front seat beside him, Tad flipped on the lights and sped down the street to drop her off.

A few moments later Tad pulled up in front of the house; it was already engulfed in flames. The chief hadn’t exaggerated when he said it was going to be a total loss. Tad gazed into the flames. Both of the town’s fire trucks were spraying water onto the house, but it didn’t seem to be making much difference.

Tad weaved his way through the hoses and other officers and onlookers to the chief. It looked like the entire town was out. This was more excitement than they had seen in years. The last house fire was shortly before he and Stephie had moved to town.

“What happened?” Tad asked Police Chief Michaels as a firefighter rushed past, bumping into Tad. Tad glanced at the young kid; he didn’t look old enough to be out of school.

Not sure. The neighbors called in a report of hearing two gun shots around 11:45, and by the time officers arrived, the house was blazing.”

“I thought it was a missing person,” Tad said.

“Maybe. We don’t know where the couple is who lived there.”

Check it out today on Amazon or Barnes and Noble

If you missed it, check out The Eleventh Hour on Amazon or Barnes and Noble

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Critique groups offer more than just critiques

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?

Finding the end

Your book is going along great, you have fully developed characters, great action, there’s just one problem. The story just won’t end. I’m sure I’m not the only one to ever have had this problem.
Usually I even know how it’s going to end, I just can’t seem to get there.
You know the point. It occurs when you are about a chapter or two from your masterpiece ending, You write that chapter, then the next. Surely the end is within reach. But no. It is still a chapter or two – maybe more by now – away. So you write another chapter, sure to get there this time. Wrong again. You lean back, evaluate where you are and realize you’re still no closer.
There are a couple of things that have worked for me to get past this.
Often, I go ahead and write that last chapter. Sometimes it helps to have it in writing in front of you.
With the sequel to The Eleventh Hour, which will be coming out later this month, I finally had to sit down and just stay focused on the end. Every word had to be directed at helping wrap things up. I finally made it, about three chapters later, but it was ended.
After reading over those final moments, I did realize I had rushed it a bit and went back and filled in some gaps. Then it was complete.
For those struggling to reach the end, I suggest you stay completely focused on achieving that end. Don’t get sidetracked by other details or side stories. You can go back later and fill those in. Just get to that end.

Staying disciplined

Just like everything else in life, writing takes discipline. If you don’t have discipline, you won’t have any writing to show.
It’s easy to get distracted with the hectic lives we all lead, but just as any other job, you must set time aside to write, whether it’s work on a novel, jotting down a poem or two or writing a short story.
It’s important to find a time to write and stick to that schedule.
I prefer to write in the evenings. Most people I know like to write first thing in the morning, but I’ve never been much of a morning person. I guess it takes my brain a while to wake up and get functioning.
Of course, there are a couple of downsides to writing at night. If I start too late I get tired quickly, or if I get really into my story I will end up staying up into the early morning hours, then still have to get up for work.
Regardless of when you like to write, it’s important to set a time aside to do so. It’s also helpful to have a place set aside where you can keep your notes and writing materials so you have easy access to them and don’t have to get things out and put them away each time.
Make it as easy on yourself as possible.

Getting inspired

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 julieclements75@gmail.com.

Music while writing?

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?