Friday, March 6, 2015

Friday Frenzy

Wow. Thank you all for the great responses to last week's drawing!. Some of you really shared your heart about forgiveness and I know both I and Debbie Lynn appreciated your stories and your honesty. Unfortunately there can be only one winner of Debbie Lynne's new book, Sword of Forgiveness, and that winner is Jackie McNutt. !! Congratulations Jackie! and thank you all for entering. I encourage you to get a copy for yourself. I know you'll enjoy it!  Buy from Amazon

Celebrate with me, I'm a grandma again!!  Please welcome little Jack into the world! This is my son's
first child. There were some serious complications and they ended up doing a C-section but all is well, Thank God!

There's nothing like being a Grandma. If you're married and wondering whether you should have kids, might I suggest just having them so you can have grandkids later on? LOL  Anyway, I'm planning on driving to the hospital today to meet the little fellow.

Writing News

I finished the first draft of The Reckoning and have given myself permission to take a week or two off from working on it. I've found that it really helps to take a step back, ponder the story, mull over
it, or not even think of it at all, before I jump back in to phase 2, which is intensive edits. During this phase, I enhance the storyline and characters. It's similar to a painter who first primes a canvas, then paints on the underpainting, which is like a sketch showing outlines and shadows of what's to come. That's my first draft. In my 2nd draft I add color to my painting, filling in details, enhancing dialogue, choosing better descriptive words, correcting mistakes, deepening characters, and adding depth to my subplots. This is one of my favorite phases!

For all you writers out there, if you want to bump your writing up to the next level, if you want to get that manuscript you've been endlessly working on all shined up and ready for publication, you may be interested in an intensive writing retreat I'll be teaching this summer. Three days and four nights of one-on-one instruction with myself and best-selling author and teacher C.S. Lakin in a gorgeous cabin perched alongside Lake Tahoe!   For more information and to fill out an application click HERE.   Spaces are limited so if you're interested, don't delay!

Friday Writing Tip

In the last tip I gave you, I mentioned creating three major qualities or quirks for each of your characters, things that make them unique and leave a certain impression in the reader's mind. Today I want to talk about the protagonist, that's the hero or heroine of the story. In a Romance, you really have two protagonists.
I like to keep instruction simple. I don't now about you but some writing instruction books are far too complicated and detailed. There's no way I can remember everything I need to know while I'm writing. So, although I could write a chapter on the protagonist, here are the major things you need to do.

The Protagonist must:

have an immediate goal
have a long term goal
Be likeable. She must have traits that make you warm up to her. She's kind to animals or children or she goes out of her way for someone, or she has suffered situations that make her sympathetic
Have flaws people can relate to
Be instantly thrown into a disaster OR become aware of trouble brewing on the horizon

And here's the kicker. All of these things must be introduced in the first chapter, at the very least in the first few chapters. You want your reader to immediately connect with your heroine or else all is lost.

Here's an example from my book The Ransom.

Juliana's immediate goal is to arrive home safely because in the opening scene she is in a very dangerous section of town at night all by herself.  (Already the reader is pulling for her.)

Juliana's long term goal is to run the family shipping business in secret and keep her family from poverty. (Again, a very worthy goal that makes the reader pull for her. Try to make this goal one that is crucial to her happiness and her very life. The higher the stakes, the more  you will hook your reader)

Likeable qualities and situations
Though her father has been abusive, Juliana cares for him and spends the night at his bedside while he is sick.
Juliana spends hours of her time and some of her much-needed money to help orphans
Juliana recently lost her mother
Juliana is not pretentious and doesn't care for lavish parties and balls or pretense
Juliana is kind to the hired help.

Juliana is a worrier. She has trouble trusting God. She thinks she has to be good to obtain His approval and blessing.  (Who can't relate to that?)

Trouble Brewing:  If Juliana can't find a way to keep Captain Nichols away, he will discover that she is running her dying father's shipping business and her family will be tossed onto the streets.


  1. Friday 6th,
    "Morning, MaryLu."
    First and foremost .... Congratulations to Grandma MaryLu .... on the birth of grandson Jack !!! And to Josh and Jess (I think her name is) ... the happy new parents !!! Welcome and blessings to Jack !!!
    Also -- congratulations to Jackie M, on winning Debbie Lynn's newest novel.
    Yes, MaryLu ... I totally agree that taking a couple of weeks off (at least) would be ideal, about right now. Enjoy that new little grandson, along with Andrea !!!
    Thanks for sharing your news.
    Take care, and, God Bless, In Him, Brenda

  2. Joy!! Joy!! Joy!! Another grandchild - congrats, MaryLu, you are indeed blessed!! I'm so happy that Mom and baby are doing well - I'm praying for both!! What is Jack's weight?? Jack - hmm, think I've heard that name a few times on your blog and Facebook, LOL!!

    I'm thrilled that you've finished the first draft of "The Reckoning" and anxiously await it's release. We'd best enjoy it - you may decide to quit writing in favor of spending time with your grandchildren, now that you have two, LOL, (however, I hope not)!! I know you are "over the moon" re: the blessings God has bestowed in sending Andrea and Jack!!

    Thanks for the writing tips!! Would love to be able to hear you teach at the retreat!!

    My love, prayers and hugs are "winging" their way - via the net - to you and baby Jack!!

    Shared post!!

  3. Congrats Jackie on the win and Congrats MaryLu on the new addition!!! HE IS SO CUTE!!!! I am so thankful everything went okay and I pray that his mama heals after her c-section and that he grows into a strong and healthy little boy!

    Have fun! :)

  4. Being a grandma/Grammy is the best! That retreat sounds awesome. I pray you fill all the spots.....with some very lucky people. Hugs!

  5. Aww your grandson is so handsome! Congratulations to you and your family! I cannot wait to be a grandma, spoiling my grandbabies. My beautiful daughter is getting married in July so being a grandma is on the horizon! Hehe

    I cannot wait to read your next masterpiece! :)

    I loved, loved Debbie's book Sword of Forgiveness! It's an awesome book! Another talented writer!

  6. Thank you all so much for your prayers and congratulations!!! They mean the world to me! Regina, I hope you get to experience being a grandma soon! And congrats to your daughter!