Creating Characters: Visual Brainstorming (Part 1)

I am busy at work on my second book and in the midst of what I consider one of the most fun things about writing: creating characters.

I love being able to think about someone in my mind and bring them to life on the page. I love daydreaming about their past, present and future.

This time around I am trying a different approach to characterization: visual brainstorming, which is basically using images and objects to generate ideas.

My first task was to purchase a whiteboard to hang in my office. I purchased one through officemax.com. So far, I’ve used it to “draw” (and I use that term loosely) out the goal, motivation and conflict that are driving my character’s actions. 

See below: I call it my GMC Bulls-eye. More on that in future blog post, as I’m still refining this technique.

Dominique's Brain on a Wall

I never thought I’d say this, but I LOVE MY WHITEBOARD! It’s a great place to quickly jot down ideas and thoughts about my characters.  It was worth every penny.

Note: The “I Like Pie” in the corner was Lil’ Angel’s addition. Derek does NOT like pie. He likes hot fudge sundaes. And smart women with long, sexy legs. And …well…you have to wait for the book…because I don’t even know what else he likes yet! 🙂

Next up, I’m going to scour my house for objects that represent the story I’m trying to tell and my characters who are living and breathing every moment of it. I will share those items (or at least pictures of them) with you in an upcoming blog post. 

In the meantime, save paper and go buy a whiteboard. If you don’t use it for characterization — it’s great for grocery and to-do lists!

MLUV:) Be blessed.

Dominique

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100+ Book Challenge — Book 1: Allison Brennan “Fear No Evil”

FEAR NO EVIL

When his kidnapped 18-year-old sister Lucy will be killed live on the Internet in 48-hours, forensic psychiatrist Dillon Kincaid must get into the mind of a psychopath to figure out his next move, while also convincing renegade FBI Agent and computer expert Kate Donovan to help.

Daphne du Maurier Award Winner: Best Mainstream Mystery/Suspense
RT Book Reviews: Top Pick

Source: Allison Brennan.com

“Fear No Evil” is the first book I read for the 2011 100+ Book Challenge over at myoverstuffbookshelf.

Yes, I know I said I was going to purchase every book I read this year. But I won this one from Brennan’s facebook page in December. I promise I’ll buy the next one!

It took me awhile to read “Fear No Evil”, not because of the book itself, but just finding the time.  I haven’t read romantic suspense in awhile, but I really enjoyed it. I would read it for a while, put it down for a few days, and pick it up again, and I found that it was easy to get right back into the story. I didn’t need to re-read chapters or passages to remember where I was.

I find that now that I’m a “serious” writer — one side of my brain is tuned to reading for pleasure — and the other side is analyzing. And yes, most times both sides of my brain are duking it out in the middle.

For “Fear No Evil”, I decided I would focus that side of my brain on dialogue. I think writing effective and engaging dialogue is one of the most difficult tasks of the fiction writer. I know I struggled with it in my first book, and I’m sure it will continue to be a fun challenge.

Brennan handles it well and for the most part, I was able to keep track of who was saying what — and when.

Dialogue is important because when it’s done right, you can learn so much about a character. In real life, you can tell what’s on a person’s heart by what comes out of their mouth. The same holds true for your characters!

MLUV:) Be blessed.

Dominique

Time Management for Writers

One of the things I’ve struggled with in the past is time management. As I readied my manuscript for submission to agents, I began to realize how critical it is that I manage my time well if I want to be successful.

Quite frankly, it could make or break my career.

It is my belief that the publishing world today requires that a writer be prolific. We must write and produce quality content daily.

And as I begin to navigate all the channels that a writer could potentially tap into to further their career — I find that it is not only overwhelming — but extremely exciting.

We must produce content for our:

– book(s)
– blog(s)
– responses to blogs we like
– twitter
– facebook
– fan mail responses (for those lucky enough to have fans!!)

And I’m sure I’m leaving out tons more.

So, how do you do all of the above and be successful at it?

B-A-L-A-N-C-E.

Yes, but how?

Since I’m totally new at this, I don’t have the answers. I’m searching Google (over 17 million sites on this topic) and other blogs for tips and tricks just like you.

Feel free to share if you have any. I’ll do the same.

MLUV:) Be blessed.

Dominique

The “Call”

Today is one of the best days of my life….because….(cue: drumroll)….I got “The Call” from an agent –and best of all– it’s the agent I wanted! He LOVED my story — and–he already has publishers in mind to send it too. Yay!!!!

I got the call at 1:03 p.m. today and it’s almost 10 p.m. and I’m still riding the high. Wow…this is a huge step in my dream towards publication. He is extremely picky and I feel honored that he chose me and my story! Plus he really liked the other story ideas I’m working on.

All the long nites into wee mornings, tears, and extra weight were worth it!

Hold on folks….I think this is going to be a WILD ride! One I’m praying never ends!

MLUV:) Be blessed.

Dominique

100+ Reading Challenge for 2011

I was reading some of my twitter posts (@romance_gal) this morning, one of which included a review of Sweet Success by Susan Mallery over at myoverstuffedbookshelf. And as I was reading the reviews and poking around, I discovered the 100+ Book Reading Challenge for 2011. I immediately signed up and am really looking forward to it.

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to read, and as a writer, it’s even more important that I continue to support others who bust their humps on this craft. This challenge was just the kick I needed, and I am so glad you are allowed to read books of different genres.

I’m going to take it one step further and pledge to purchase NEW books for this challenge, rather than going to Half-Price Books or the library. When I am published, I know I will be counting on new retail sales of my books to keep me in the game. And trust me, as a single mom, I know how difficult it is to reach into pockets and pull out cash on a new author — and I will be thankful for every penny I receive.

At any rate, I’m looking forward to continuing to overstuff MY bookshelf this year, care of The 100+ Book Reading Challenge! Just another reason why I’m looking forward to 2011!!

MLUV:) Be blessed.

Dominique

The Write Stuff Contest

You know, contests are a great way to get feedback on your writing. I’ve entered a few and finaled in one. That was an amazing experience.

I’m thinking about entering The Write Stuff Contest for unpublished novels. We’ll see how things work out. An agent has requested the full manuscript of my latest novel, so I’m pretty excited. Hopefully, I won’t be “unpublished” for too much longer.

It’s going to be a very long weekend of re-editing the last few chapters of my latest book…then I will let it go (finally) and start the next one.

So I am readying my ammo (pizza, soda and popcorn), plus plenty of Christmas music to keep me bubbly whilst in the trenches of the written word.

And in-between – I must find time to trim the Christmas tree that’s been in my living room since Sunday!

Keeping busy means less time thinking about broken hearts, am I right?

MLUV:) Be blessed.

Dominique

Believeland — Cleveland ROCKS!!

It’s a big night in my hometown of Cleveland, Ohio. The Player Who Left is Back. The Welcome Mat Is Out and its COLD AS STEEL. Read this article before the big game tonight, and have some tissue handy.

As for me, I’ll be watching the drama unfold on television tonight, while making Christmas cookies! YUM!

MLUV:) Be blessed.

Dominique