Wednesday, August 31, 2011

What Does a Look Say?

Open-eyed . . .

droopy-lidded . . .

or squinting eyes . . .

What do these eyes say? A writer knows how a character looks at someone has a ton of context around it loaded with feelings. 

If a character looks away there's a reason. It can mean that the character isn't certain about what he/she is saying.

If a character gazes at another who is talking that could mean they're listening and depending upon the context of the story they may or may not believe what is being said.

And if the character who is talking looks directly at the person with whom they are talking, this could be a sign of certainty.

Sometimes an author feels challenged describing how a character sees. They are hemmed in with descriptions such as  look, gaze, stare, glimpse, glanced, and etc., but remember it's the context of what is happening to the character within the confines of the story that reflects the intent of your character. 

Your character may be open-eyed, droopy-lidded, or have squinting-eyes, but it's the feelings behind those eyes that tell the tale.

What are your main character's eyes like? What is the context of his/her gaze?


Monday, August 29, 2011

Last Week's Winner and This Week's Book

Wow! I had a lot of comments last week so there's a lot of names in this week's drawing. The winner of . . .

is . . . What a minute. The name I drew out isn't a follower of my blog. So sad. :/ Let me try again.

Okay this time we have a winner.

Christina Dymock!!!!!

Congratulations! I'll be in touch.

The book I'm giving away this week is . . .

This book is about a legendary scepter that has a looming prophecy of the Holy One. Anyone who enjoys a great adventure will enjoy this book. I know I did. :)

If you're interested become a follower of my blog and leave a comment sometime during this week and your name will go into the drawing. 

Wednesday I have another post about the body language your characters. 

Have a great Monday!


Friday, August 26, 2011

Interview with a One-year-old.

Because I posted Thursday I wasn't going to post today, but I came across this and it's the perfect Feel-good Friday clip. 

Enjoy! And have a great weekend.


Thursday, August 25, 2011

A Writers' Platform-Building Campaign

So I'm going to try something I've never done before and that's join in a huge blog happening with hundreds of other writers. I'm excited. This is the chance to meet other writers who blog and are trying to build their platforms, make new friends, and have a good time.

To learn all about it go to Rach Writes, read the rules and come join the fun.

Come on. Take the plunge with the rest of us.


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Are Eyes Really the Window of a Character's Soul?

There's steely eyes, knowing eyes, mocking eyes, piercing eyes, glowing eyes, bedroom eyes, and etc. 


Eyes are simply organs of sight. How in the world can they be windows of a character's soul and reflect feelings?

While the eye itself actually reveals nothing, it's the context around it that does and I contend the spirit and soul of a character is seen in his/her eyes. This can be revealed in many ways such as how they use their eyes. To look, glance, gaze, or even stare has meaning.

Look . . .
To look deliberately at a person acknowledges that we see them. In body language we are saying that we know they are there. 

For instance, Bob looked across the room and saw the woman who had broken his heart two years ago. She hugged the baby in her arms more tightly as she walked toward him.

Glance . . .
This happens quickly. Could be a glance between lovers, a quick look as a character walks by someone, or in a stressful situation, a character glances when he/she doesn't want to give too much away to other characters.

Ronny stole a quick glance at the man who held everyone in the room at gunpoint.

Gaze . . .
A gaze is more than a look and not quite as strong as a stare.

She gazed into his bedroom eyes and felt the familiar sizzle  spiraled deep inside her heart.

Stare . . .
This is great for getting your point across whether it's romance, suspense, or even comedy, a stare says a lot.

He stared at me like he'd never seen me before. As I came closer, he pointed behind me. I glanced back to find a long piece of toilet paper stuck to my shoe.

A stare can be used in many ways: to make a villain more menacing, to show disapproval, to convey tender feelings, or even to show fear. A good, long, hard stare can be used to convey many things.

Because the eyes are so important to our characters, we'll continue this discussion next week and talk about where characters look as they speak and what it means. You might be surprised.

So is your main character looking, glancing, gazing or staring in a scene today?


Monday, August 22, 2011

Last Week's Winner and This Week's Book

We'll get right to business today. The winner of

Is . . .

Carol Kilgore!!!

Congratulations. I'll be in touch.

So this week's book to giveaway is

Sorry for the fuzzy picture, but I wanted it large enough for you to see.

This is an awesome, gem of a book that gives inspiring acts to do that will make you appreciate life and feel good about yourself and those around you.

If you want to win this book become a follower of my blog and leave a comment sometime this week. 

Easy peasy!


Friday, August 19, 2011

Moments that Matter Most

It's Feel-good Friday!!! Yay!

Like many writers with a deadline on the horizon, sometimes I forget what matters most.

Here's a short clip that helped to remind me.

Have a great weekend!


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Movement is the Message - Part II Body Languarge for Your Characters

Last Wednesday I promised that we'd spend time on what some body movements mean for your characters.

Did you know while you speak your head moves a number of times?

It's true. In language, pitch change is a signal that you're finished. Think about how you ask a question such as: Are you finished? Or would you like more? Most often your voice goes higher with the last word of a question, which signals who you're talking with that it's their turn to answer. Along with the voice raising, the head usually raises as well. Try adding that movement to a tag at the end of dialogue.

What about hand gestures?

Many people can't seem to talk without moving their hands, which is a wonderful character trait. Did you know that hands tend to also move up with the pitch of voice when a question is asked? So gestures of the hands that you thought meant nothing, actually do have meaning.

And what about eyelids?

Did you know that eyes become wider at the end of a question? Yep. Just watch next time someone asks you a question. It may happen with the blink of an eye, but most often it's true.

Now just as the voice, head, hands and eyelids raise at the end of a question, they also lower at the end of a statement. Cool, huh?

But when a speaker continues to keep talking the head, voice, eyes, and hands are usually unchanged.

This is good to know as you give traits to the characters in your novel. Also keep in mind that your characters movements are also tied to their emotions.If you have an unfeeling character keep his voice monotone, his head, hands, and eyelids constant.

If your character is bubbly have them talk with their hands, head, and eyes.

Of course, there is a lot more about body movement I haven't covered, but I hope I've given you something to think about as you give your characters more depth.

What is a gesture you tend to give your characters? What was the most quirky trait you've given a character you loved?


Monday, August 15, 2011

Last Week's Winner and This Week's Book

No, this isn't a repeat of last week. Each week for a while I'll announce last week's book winner and this week's book to give away.

The winner of Chocolate Roses
by Joan Sowards is . . .

Carolyn V!

Congratulations! I'll be in touch.

Now this week's book give away is

Summer in Paris by Michele Ashman Bell.

I picked this book because it takes place at Bear Lake where I had a wonderful family reunion last weekend. I know summer is almost over, but this is a good novel for the dog days of summer.

Here's the back cover blurb:

"I declared bankruptcy this morning. We've lost everything." Kenzie's father took a breath and continued. "We have thirty days to auction off our belongings and move out of the house."

Kenzie's mouth dropped open with disbelief. "Bankrupt," she whispered. That one word had the power to reduce her life from chauffeurs and credit cards to nothing.

"While we sort this out," her father continued, "we've made arrangements for you to stay with your aunt and uncle in Paris."

Paris. That wouldn't be so bad.

But wait . . . her uncle didn't live in Europe. He lived in Idaho.

This is a fun YA book that appeals to young and old alike. 

You know the drill: become a follower and leave a comment. For more information, the giveaway rules are over there in my right sidebar.

Good luck!


Friday, August 12, 2011

Butterflies and Feel-good Friday

I love butterflies. When I received an email that had the link to The Butterfly Circus video, I was intrigued, but thought I didn't have time to watch a ten minute video, still I knew this person sent me good stuff, so I took a chance and watched it.

Okay, by the end of the clip, I wanted more because I knew the story wasn't over so I went to youtube and found the second part. 

The second part is also ten minutes, but it is well worth your time. If you like feel-good endings you have to see this. Trust me, you'll love it.

Have a Feel-good Friday!!!


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Your Main Character's Posture

Have you ever thought about the posture of your characters? You might want to.
Psychiatrists know that body language and spoken language depend on each other. Spoken language cannot give the full meaning of what a person says. To truly understand someone we must not only listen to what they say, but take note of their physical presence.

As writers we need our characters to speak not only with dialogue but with their bodies. For instance, what does a character say who slouches with bad posture? What is he/she saying if their posture is good?

Bad posture . . .
Bad posture can be a sign of depression and low self-esteem. When I was twelve, I grew to the height I have now, 5'9". Plus, my womanly curves filled out as well. Because I was one of the tallest girls in my seventh grade class and because of my new shape I became very self conscious. I didn't want to stand out and as a result I slouched. My mother was forever telling me to stand up straight.(FYI: I no longer slouch and no, the picture is not of me, but it could have been.) If you have a character who is shy and suffers from low self-esteem you might want to give him/her poor posture.

Good posture . . .
Good posture can be a sign of a someone who is self-assured, confident, and proud of who they are. Imagine a young woman not afraid to be taller than boys her age, nor self conscious of her changing body. It would not be hard to see this young woman as a heroine. 

However, sometimes a character can have poor posture at the beginning of the book and by the end have great posture because he/she has learned something during the course of the story, which adds a subtle layer.

What kind of posture does your MC have? And what does it say about him/her?

Next Wednesday we'll talk about messages in movement.


Monday, August 8, 2011

Last Week's Winner and This Week's Book

The winner of Just Hand Over the Chocolate and No One Will Get Hurt by Karen Scalef Linamen is . . .

Helen Ginger!!!

I hope you enjoy the book.

This week's book to give away is . . .

Chocolate Roses by Joan Sowards. I loved this book!!! It's a parody on Jane Eyre. I did a review for this novel in August 2010.

For some reason when checking my previous blog posting the font is very small (every since my blog was revamped I've had this problem--note to self, email the designer to fix this). So let me give you the back cover blurb:

Janie Rose Whitaker's world revolved around her chocolate shop until Roger Wentworth and his young daughter moved into the apartment across from Janie's. Anyone would think Roger fit the mold of the "perfect" guy, but soon Janie discovers secrets that could keep them apart forever. Though she resists getting involved in Roger's complicated life, they are drawn further into a bittersweet relationship.

You will laugh, cry, and crave chocolate as you read this LDS parody of the classic novel Jane Eyre.

To add your name to the book drawing: become a follower of my blog and leave at least one comment this week. I'll announce the winner next Monday.

All this talk about chocolate has me craving some myself. You, too? Here, have a virtual chocolate strawberry on me. :)


Friday, August 5, 2011

A Yorkie That's a Hero

Photo from NPR
As you may know, I have a Yorkie named Lizzie. She's been ill for several months. I've had to take her to the vet once a week for treatments. She's my little buddy, so when I heard this story about a heroic Yorkie it really touched me, and I wanted to share it with you. 

See this cutie in the Army hat? Her name was Smoky and she was a hero in World War II. There's even a monument in Cleveland honoring this four-pound canine. Here's her story . . .

Bill Wynne, who served as part of an Army squadron on the Philippine Island of Luzon during WWII, bought her for six dollars from a buddy who found her on the battlefield. 

Wynne says she was a smart little dog and learned tricks and commands quickly. Wynne's Army group was helping to restore a Japanese airfield for American planes to use. But stringing communication wire was a real problem. They didn't have telephone poles so they needed to lay the wire underneath the airstrip. BUT it would take them at least three days and if they dug a trench they would be sitting ducks for enemy planes. 

However, there was a drainage pipe under the strip. So they came up with the idea of tying a string to Smoky's collar and having her walk through the pipe. Wynne said, "You couldn't get a dog in a thousand to go through a dark tunnel like that when they'd never seen [it] before. But she was well-trained . . . and did it because I asked her and she trusted me." For a more of the story click here 

I love to read stories with heroic animals. Those lovable critters add depth and make the story more appealing.

What is your favorite story that has an animal as one of the characters? Have you written a story where you've included a beloved animal? 

I found this old WWII song about a dog. It's pretty cool.


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Body Language of Your Characters

Have you ever wondered what your main character's body language says to the other characters in your book . . . or even to your readers? 

Does her body say that she's available? Does his body say he is lonely? Do their bodies reveal that they are negative? Easy to beat? Or manipulators?

I've often been fascinated with not only what a person says, but in the way they say it. Common gestures such as lifting an eyebrow for disbelief, clasping arms for protection, a shrug for indifference, or tapping fingers for impatience are just a few nonverbal movements our characters make to show how they feel. 

But can we go deeper? Are there gestures that can reveal our characters deepest thoughts and feelings? 

Of course.

I thought it would be fun for the next few Wednesdays to delve into these unconscious movements that may help layer our characters with more language: verbal and body. 

We'll discuss this further next Wednesday, but I'm curious, do you think body language and spoken language are dependent on each other? If so why, and how do you use them in your writing? 


Monday, August 1, 2011

Sharing the Love of Books

Short posting today. I attended my niece's wedding over the weekend. I'll share some of the pictures and fun moments later on in the week. 

For a while I'm going share my love of books with you and once a week giveaway a book. Here's all you have to do:

1) become a follower of my blog

2) leave a comment at least once during the week.

If you do those two things your name will go into the hat for that week's book drawing. I'll announce the winner on the following Monday. (This week's winner will be announced August 8th.)

I thought I'd start off with this little gem, Just Hand Over the Chocolate and No One Will Get Hurt by Karen Scalf Linamen. I love chocolate. Whenever I travel, have a stressful day, or when I just need a boast, I reach for chocolate. If you have the same need this is the book for you! 

Here's part of the back cover blurb:

Does chocolate call your name when you feel stressed, overwhelmed, or a little down? If it does, then you need Karen Linaman's fifteen low-calorie ways to lift your spirits and pull you out of the dumps.

Wielding wit and wisdom, the author of Pillow Talk and Happily Ever After has created an outrageously funny "joy enhancement" manual for women. Combining humorous observations with road-tested insights and solutions, she offers up a delightful look at women's emotional, physical, and spiritual health.
(I had to take the italics off of some of the above text or it was gibberish. I chalk it up to Internet gremlins.)

When do you reach for chocolate? When you're stressed? Or just for fun? AND what's your favorite chocolate bar? 



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