The Editing Dead End

The Editing Dead EndWell I know I’ve been MIA for a bit, life is unexpected and full of… well life. I have been editing my new book Prophecy Ink, and I have to say it’s fun and frustrating all at the same time. I hope everyone had a fantastic holiday and New Year.

I have taken the editing for Prophecy as far as I can on my own and with Microsoft word’s ‘help’ (that’s a loose term it’s limited)

I feel as if I hit a dead end. I know there is work needed to it so what to do?  I started looking at editing programs as a live human one is still way outside my budget. After months of research and thinking it over I decided on Grammarly. Now I’m not being paid to talk about it, and this is not a product review in any ‘professional’ sense.

It is the program I’ve decided to use and therefore I will show some of its features, benefits and cool things I’ve encountered so far. It is a big program. I will focus on one or two things at a time. For now, I’ll explain what it is.

Grammarly is a live program that you download to your computer. It can run in windows, which will check online documents like blog posts and emails. It can also be run in word documents or on the Grammarly site itself.  In a word document, it appears as a tab when you click “enable Grammarly.”

The free version is a bit limited but still extraordinarily helpful for blogs, emails and word documents.  It offers the following:  Contextual spelling, Grammar and Punctuation.

I hesitated and tried out the “free” version for months before paying for the full version. It is pricey.  With the full or “premium” version you have access to all things shown in the tab below.

grammerly what it does

As you edit, those little red numbers drop. If while writing you make a mistake it lets you know by highlighting. This far, I have found the program to be easy to navigate and user-friendly.

I’m excited to use this program to polish my manuscript further and will break it down and show just how much it goes beyond what is built into the usual “word processing” program such as Microsoft office.

My advice about The Editing Dead End.
If you feel stuck and know it’s not perfect yet, search for programs that might suit you. Or if your budget allows, find an editor or copy editor to take a crack at your work. Turn that dead end into another fruitful path to take. 


Copyright © 2018 All rights reserved



Too Much To Do…

Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about the story writing process. There is so much more to it than just writing the story. There’s plot structure, the story arch, characters, character development, sub plots, side stories, foreshadows, and so much more.

There’s plot structure, the story arch, characters, character development, sub plots, side stories, foreshadows, settings, story flow and so much more.

Then there is the editing and revision portion. This part seems to be ongoing for me. With this, there are options too. Self-editing, friends editing, professional editing and computer program assisted editing.

Following the editing, there is the ‘getting your book’ published phase. Once again there are options. First, is finding a literary agent by querying them with a query letter and synopsis. Second is vanity press/indie publishing and third is self-publishing.

It all seems rather daunting when summarized and that’s because it is. It is a big task and hard to do. Of course, there will be those that seem to ‘luck’ out and get published with minimal effort and those that struggle and give up after years of rejection.

When I look at this process I always have the grand scope of it in my mind, however, I only focus on the task or ‘stage’ at hand. Right now I’m re-writing and revising my book. It’s a big task but a necessary one. I know the next step will be putting it out there again to literary agents.

This will require me to rewrite my query and synopsis completely. A task I know is coming up and is in my mind but not my focus at the moment.

Once I have the rewrite done I will move on to the next phase and that’s using a computer program to assist with grammar and structure revision.

After that, I have plans to look into a professional editor to assist with the polishing of the book, the query, and synopsis. That’s not soon so I think about it but not too much. One thing at a time for me.

It can quickly become overwhelming if I think too far ahead to all that needs to be done. I get that ‘too much to do’ panic and it can bog me down or derail me fast. So I slow down, sit back and take stock of it all then get back to focusing on what needs to be done first.

My advice about thinking too much.
There is enough stress in life you don’t need to add the anxiety of over thinking the book writing/publishing process and adding to it. Be aware of it, and plan for it but put most of the focus on the task at hand.


I couldn’t find a way to work Edible into this blog so I’ll link one that already had it… Redundantly Redundant Redundancies 

Related posts

Read, revise and repeat. The shampoo process of editing.

Glance back to look forward

My Posts From The Start

Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved


Stories Classified

I have written a few novels, a couple Novella’s and a handful of short stories. It occurred to me that not everyone might know what that means. 

There are five classification of Stories. (Technically four, but I think Flash fiction deserves its own classification.)

The Novel, Novella, Novelette, Short Story and Flash fiction.

So what is the difference?

Flash fiction is 1000 words or under. Flash fiction technically fall under the category of short story as they are often called short-short stories. They usually focus on one singular incident or event and have three characters or less. Too many are hard to keep track of in such a short time. These stories tend to skip or give a brief synopsis of the ‘beginning’ of the story and jump right to the middle. Because of the compact ‘one bite’ nature of Flash fiction, they are somewhat difficult to write well. Flash fiction do not commonly have chapters as they are written to be read in a single sitting. 

A Short Story is Under 7,500 words. There is some debate on the actual number some say 1000-4000. The guidelines have varied over time. Short stories generally follow the classic story arc but tend to be less complicated than a novel and more complicated than Flash fiction. They focus on one main event, one plot and generally one setting.   Short stories are difficult to market for profit on their own and are often found published or presented as collections to increase their marketability.  Short stories most often do not have chapters. Instead they may have white space breaks as they are meant to be read in one sitting.

A novelette is 7,500 to 17,499 words.  Novelette’s are similar to a Short story in nearly every way, but with more room to improve on characters, prose and exposition. The word count of a novelette is more popular for writers and often focused in competitions and awards. These are often marketed on their own or can be found in small collections.  Like Short stories Novelettes do not typically have chapters and generally use white space breaks. (Not a rule) 

A Novella is 17,500 to 39,999 words. Like the smaller versions of a short story and a Novelette, Novella’s don’t always have chapters. There is no rule to have chapters or not, but a book less than 40,000 words is considered a ‘single sitting’ book. Novellas are more complicated in prose, characters and exposition. They remain simple and generally focus on one plot, few characters and limited settings.  A sub-plot or side story may occur however, it isn’t as common due to the restricted amount of words they would require. Novellas are found published on their own and in compilations.

A Novel is 40,000 words or more.  Novel’s focus more on a larger story arc involving multiple complicated characters, a grand lesson or journey, sub plots and arc’s. Novels often focus on a more intimate experience with the characters and story. They are broken down to chapters and meant to be read in multiple sittings. (Though I’ll admit to reading more than a few in one sitting.)

Basically, all categories of Stories are a challenge to write and wonderful to read. Believing any category is better than the other is a farce. They each have their own challenges and depending on the writer, one may be easier to conquer than the other. I’ve been dabbling in the various categories, I can manage (Barely) flash fiction, short story (Sort of), novella (Not bad) and Novels I have no problem with. For some reason I can’t seem to hit a story in the Novelette word count. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because I’m wordy and I do struggle to write short stories and flash fiction. 

My advice about the story classifications.
It’s good to expand and gain writing experience/practice. I recommend trying to write all classifications. Who knows maybe you’ll find a passion for something new. There are all kinds of WordPress challenges to participate in. There are contests etc. for each classification have fun and see what’s out there.


Other posts about word counts

It’s really very unnecessary

I’m ‘that’ kind of writer

Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved


Spring Editing Is In The Air

Spring is in the air and the birds have started chirping and singing. It’s a busy time of year. I eagerly await my tulips and daffodils. I discovered some plants that should have died over the winter, are still alive. I’m shocked and excited. Like hope for obtaining a literary agent, they stuck out the cold and brutal winter of rejections and survived.

My most recent query quest is almost at an end. There are only a handful left of queries to expire. I’ve begun work on the new revision of chapter one and I’m hoping to have it done soon. I’ll begin again with the queries as I continue with my new book.

The new book is coming along very well. I’m drawn in and working hard on the arcs and mini arcs. I know this one will need a lot of revision and revising once I’ve got the bones put together. But that is a long way away. For now it’s all about getting the story done and developing the characters and their interactions.

As I read blogs and other stories I see styles that I like and incorporate them into my writing. Learning as we go is key. It’s important to not only improve our own technique but to fine tune our own unique styles. I know my voicing is distinctly mine, because I wrote it and did not attempt to copy or mimic any other writer specifically. I wrote how I would want to read the story. This I think is key. To be true to myself.

While I am divided with projects at the moment, I’m loving the challenge and excitement a new story brings. I must be prudent with both stories and how I proceed. They are both very different I don’t want to mix character styles when editing and writing. With the thrill of a new season starting, I feel the energy of a new chapter of my adventure beginning.

So it’s time to get to work and do some spring editing on BiaAtlas’s first chapter and get it back out there with a fresh new feel.

My advice about writing.
Keep writing what you love and know. Write what you want to read, because if you do, someone else is bound to love it too.

PS the tulips in my image today are what I’m waiting for in my garden. That picture was taken two springs ago.


Other posts that are fun

It’s funny you said that…

Mood swings

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And the ugly

Ugly habits. I generally think of these as social habits, quirks and ticks. The kind that make someone ugly inside and out. Not like putting the empty milk container back or leaving the toilet roll empty for the next person to deal with. I mean the things that make someone seem just a little more rotten than the next. When I talk about ugly people I am not talking about physical looks but what’s inside. The hottest person can be hideous on the inside. (We all are if you take that literally, blood guts and organs. Blech)

Like good habits and bad, Ugly ones can give characters one more valuable layer to the complex network of attributes that make a person human. Everyone has an ugly habit to some degree. Whether they instigate, perpetuate or stand by and do or say nothing. Ugly habits can start simple and evolve quickly to a subconscious action.

Ugly habits

  • Gossip/spreading rumors
  • Snide looks of disapproval (Generally scoffing the quality/value of someones attire)
  • Selfishness
  • Self-serving behavior
  • Blaming others or setting others up
  • Sabotage
  • Put downs, insults and barbed comments
  • Grandstanding
  • Over-talking others (Speaking over someone stealing their moment or putting them in the background)
  • Talking down to others
  • Hiding or stealing small items to cause inconvenience
  • Eavesdropping

Creating ugly people is fun, they cause trouble, but in the background. They can inspire others to be like them and teach them the habits of tearing others down. Ugly people can spur change for the good two. One step too far and the protagonist will push back or beat the ugly at their own game. There always seems to be the one, the ringleader that inspires the others to be nasty or maybe they fly solo and make everyone miserable.

Holding her laptop bag in one hand and briefcase in the other Sasha approached the trio around Scott’s desk. They stopped talking, the guilty ‘we were just talking about you’ looks unmistakable. Scott gave her his customary once over and smiled in his cocky flirty manner. She didn’t blush, not this time.
“Good morning Scott, Dale, Amber.” Sasha nodded as she approached.
Dale bit his lips as if stifling a laugh. She never noticed the derision before, she had only noticed Scott’s flattering and distracting leer. She was too focused on the presentation this afternoon to be affected by it.
Amber smiled too brightly. “Don’t you have a meeting with Getty Shoes today?”
“I do and I need to go prepare.” Sasha furrowed her brow when Amber smirked and raised her eyebrow.
Shaking her head Sasha continued on to her office Sasha had to prepare and didn’t have time for Amber’s games today. The Getty account was potentially a big one and she was nervous. Amber had wanted this one and had been snippy that she didn’t put her on the team. Amber was the office easy and jumped into bed with anyone that could benefit her position. Or so the rumors went. Sasha hated rumors so ignored them, even if Ambers flirting was over the top more often than not.
With everything ready, Sasha double-checked everything as the department head, Alexander Mozar, entered.
“Mr. Mozar.” Sasha was surprised to see him. “How may I help you?”
He looked her over and lingered on her feet. “I don’t think you should present today.”
“What? Why not?” Sasha set her notes down absent-mindedly.
“An alternate design was brought to my attention, as was the suspicion that you were not taking this account seriously.”
Her mouth fell open. Alternate design? The pieces were moving into place.
“I don’t understand sir.”
“Do you own a pair of Getty shoes Sasha?”
“I… Ah…” She looked down at her feet. What did it matter? She thought back to earlier that week as she prepped the layouts. Amber had gushed over her Dahlia shoes she wore. They cost a mint even on sale and she rarely wore them. ‘Oh Sasha you should wear those next time you present, they make you look strong, powerful and sexy. A sure fire winning combo if you ask me.’ Then yesterday. ‘If I were you, I’d dress to impress tomorrow.’ All week had been small comments from her and from Scott. Small comments, subtle moves.
Without even thinking, she wore the Dahlia shoes. She was a pawn.
“Sasha, Dahlia is owned by Banes & Co. who are Getty’s biggest competitor. Do you have a change?” Checkmate. “No sir.” He shook his head slowly. “Scott and Amber will take over the presentation. Give them your notes and fill them in. They will present your idea and Scott’s. The client can decide. Waste not want not.” He opened the door and waived them in. “Next time Sasha do your research.”
Both Scott and Amber sported Getty brand shoes and smarmy little grins. Scott was too impressionable to be so sneaky. She underestimated Amber’s determination. A costly oversight. Sasha handed over the notes, gave them the rundown and left with her feelings hurt, fury bubbling and her head held high. The snickers behind her nearly shattered her fractured pride. She wanted nothing more than to stick her head underground like a cartoon ostrich.

Small or large the impact of devious ugly behavior can really muddle things up. I love adding the type of people that frustrate the reader just a little. “Ugh that person needs to go down!” so eventually when Sasha does indeed rise above, get her bearing and her backbone in place she can indeed take Amber Down. The “Yay!” moment will come eventually. Sasha’s a mess and has a long way to go yet.

The ugly’s make for great side stories and interactions. They are the impactful ones and the ones you want to strangle, but they usually aren’t the main villains of the story. Ugly not pure evil.

My advice about ugly people.
Write them like you want to punch the living daylights out of them. As if they are the most frustrating people on the planet because they always get their way. Until the eventually don’t. Give them lots of rope to hang themselves and have fun bringing them down. *Insert evil laugh of triumph*


Related posts

The good…

The bad…

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved


Negative or positive

Words are interesting as are their meanings. Yesterday out of the blue someone I’m familiar with but not friends with paid me a sincere compliment. I was flattered and it made me feel good about myself. It wasn’t flattery it was a complement. What’s the difference? I’m confused. That’s because flatter, flattered and flattery can be interpreted or used for both negative or positive.

Flatter / Flattered – (Verb) (Source:

  1. to try to please by complimentary remarks or attention.

Stuck in her routine Sasha entered the common office. Scott, the office heartthrob, was leaning casually against his desk as usual and chatting with an amiable group. As he did every day, he glanced at Sasha, looked her over from head to toe and back. The slight curl to his lips as he made eye contact then turned back to his conversation, made her insides flutter from the flattering appraisal.

Karl entered Sasha’s office and she nodded a greeting. “I brought you a coffee.” He held the paper takeout cup to her. “Just the way you like it. I was there and thought after the late presentation last night you might want one.”
“Thanks Karl.” She took the offered beverage. He always meant well, the new guy who quickly learned who was important and who acted important, and flattered appropriately.
“I was in awe yesterday, you really know how to work a room. And that layout, it wasn’t like anything I’ve seen. So edgy and unique. How did you do it?”
Sasha smiled, Karl was keen and honest about it. Had it been Jada she would have shooed her from her office and shut the door.

  1. to praise or compliment insincerely, effusively, or excessively:

“Sasha that layout was the best thing I’ve seen in months. And your presentation yesterday, wow you really knocked it out of the park.”
She narrowed her eyes at Jada, she only applied flattery when she wanted something.

  1. to represent favorably; gratify by falsification:

“Sasha I want this to showcase the lead actor as the best thing since sliced bread.”
“Even though he’s not and everyone in the world knows it?”
“Your job is to make him new again by design, flatter him and force the people want to believe he’s amazing. Whether he is or not doesn’t matter.”

  1. to show to advantage:

Sasha spent her weekend revamping her style, a flattering haircut and new suits and blouses that fit perfectly.

  1. to play upon the vanity or susceptibilities of; cajole, wheedle, or beguile:

“It was too easy.” Jada smirked. “I simply plied them with constant insincere compliments, favors and gifts and they signed the contract in under a week.”
“Or you could present good work and earn the contract like Sasha does.” Valery mumbled under her breath.

  1. to please or gratify by compliments or attentions:

“Oh Sash, I’m so jealous you look hot today.” Anne hugged her friend firmly. “Flattery will get you everywhere.” Sasha grinned.
“Seriously you look awesome, your new Yoga class is paying off and your hair, that cut is sexy on you.”
“Thanks Anne that means a lot coming from you.” Sasha meant it and her friend smiled.

  1. to feel satisfaction with (oneself), especially with reference to an accomplishment, act, or occasion:

Sasha smiled at the message in her email. She had done very well yesterday and was pleased with the outcome. “I so deserve this praise.”

Sometimes its good for banter between friends to illustrate their comfort with one another.

“You look like crap Sash.” Valery chuckled.
“Flatterer. I couldn’t sleep last night and coffee isn’t casting its magic strong enough.”

It is often assumed Flattery is negative, but it’s not always. Some people will misread this word as negative unless it is clearly supported by effective writing.

My advice about Flattery.
It’s a common practice to flatter or be flattered, negative or positive. Work flattery it in once and a while it’s fun. Just make sure the reader understands how you meant it.


An older but fun post: What happened to that guy?

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved


That escalated quickly

Arguments are fun to write, but need a little TLC. It’s easy to argue your my point of view but when writing it’s important to write with both sides in mind (or more if there are more opinions involved.) This daily prompt is similar to one on Sept 28th when I talked about disagree:  Make it blue.” –  “No. it stays green.” 

When I think argument, I don’t always think fight. Arguments are IMO a verbal banter of opposing opinions or desired results. Generally when I write an argument it’s either resolved or it is not and the subject will definitely come up again. Today I’m going to talk about the escalated argument. The one that does lead to a fight.

Arguing early in a story is tricky because the reader doesn’t know the characters yet and don’t have a loyalty to any particular side. I will use an early argument to establish personality, strengths or flaws in a character. An argument later in the story is fun because I can pull on emotions and the characters personalities in the conversation.

When I start an argument, I treat it like a mini story itself. It has these components.

Beginningthe opening to the argument, the discovery of the conflicting opinion/ideas Middleboth sides argue their points intelligently. This is not the time for the writer to prove a point.
End or Fight – Conclusion, either one side concedes or the subject is dropped and neither are satisfied. This is where a physical or emotional fight happens. This can lead to fantastic friction and drama.

Pen smirked at Cal as he came back from the bar, rejected and shrugging.
“She wasn’t interested.” Cal set his new drink down.
“Cal you just need to be more aggressive if you want to get laid. You’re too considerate of their feelings.”

“Pen, it’s not always about getting laid.” Cal set his drink down on the tall table he was leaning on.
“Suit yourself Convent Cal. I bet I can talk that little hot blonde into a restroom quickie.”
Cal lowered his tone. “Leave her alone. She’s not your type.”
Pen glanced at Cal’s clenched fists then sneered. “You don’t know her. What do you care if I bang a chick that turned you down?”
“Pick on someone more your speed. Her friend is amiable.”
“Amiable?” Pen laughed then leaned closer to Cal. “No I think I’ll take your blonde and show you how it’s done.”
Cal grabbed Pen’s arm. “Leave her alone.”
Pen jerked his arm free. “Or what? You’ll hit me? You’d risk our friendship over a useless piece of-”
“Leave her alone.” Cal warned lowering his chin. “She deserves better than your prowling, in fact no woman deserves how you treat them. You make me sick.”
Pen swung his fist barely clipping Cal’s chin. Cal’s counter punch connected with Pen’s jaw in a thick thud knocking him to the dirty sticky floor.
“Bastard.” Pen rubbed his jaw as he stood. He swung again at Cal and missed. His face went red from the laughter around him. “What’s your problem?”
“You treat women like trash Pen. You treat your friends like crap and I’ve had enough.”
“Fine have her, oh wait, you can’t because she snubbed your pathetic do-gooder ass. I’m outta here. Don’t call.” Pen staggered away and out of the bar, it was busy enough not too many people noticed the altercation.

That escalated quickly. If I have arguments they usually have a bigger purpose, I try to avoid controversy or topics that can alienate a reader unless I know that I can argue both sides and not start preaching my point of view.

My advice about Arguments.
Play around with them and use them to create tension or showcase your characters strengths and weaknesses.  I’ve written conflict and removed it if it throws off the story flow. Usually it helps.


These posts are very related to arguments: 

“Make it blue.” “No. It stays green.”

Bam! Pow! Kaboom!

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved

Are you inging too?

I was editing away and I realized that there are three sticky little letters that often find their way into my writing. So I thought it might be an issue, after some research and revision I fount that it is. adding ING to the end of words indicates that I’ve switched tense and can set the wrong tone or voice even.

When ing is in use, it is likely that the sentence is in past tense when I probably mean it to be present.

For example:

Sasha was walking to work.
Sasha walked to work.

I try to replace –ing with –ed. Walking becomes Walked. Not rocket science. This is not to say all –ing words are bad or unnecessary, if I mean to be talking in past tense, then I’ll leave them be unless I am writing too much in the past tense. I do try to avoid that.

Let’s see –ing in a bigger example or two: 

Sasha was walking to work when a man stepping in front of her stuck his foot out. Tripping she fell down scraping her knee and wrist. (26)

Eeep. I may have actually wrote that that way. Blech. Okay, tidy up time.

As Sasha walked to work, a man stepped in front of her. She tripped on his foot, scraping her knee and wrist. (22)

Well how about Cal? Let’s see what he’s up to with his –ings.

Cal was holding his breath and reaching for his gun. Popping the thumb brake and he started pulling the gun out from the holster. He had raised his gun up and was aiming it at the man in the shadows. (40)

Oooh repetition and ing all in one go. Do you think he has a gun? The reader isn’t dumb and ick to the ing’s. That was gross to read, way too choppy.

Cal held his breath as he reached for his gun. He popped the thumb break, pulled it out of the holster and aimed at the man in the shadows. (29)

 My advice about ing.
Take a good look at them and determine if they are they necessary? Probably not. Is it creating choppy reading or the wrong tense? Then get rid of them.


Other posts

Shut your cake hole

Copyright © Copyleft

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved

Covered up with paint and lies.

When I write depth into characters can be complicated and simple at the same time. Complicated because they need a history, a set structure of behaviors, actions and reactions. Simple because they are human and can be unpredictable when necessary. When I start out building the foundation for a character like Sasha, I have to have her backstory set out and ready to work from. She struggles to get a head and seems to fall short on the luck end of the scale. Something from her past haunts her and holds her back. Now her boss handed her a project laced with false promise and subtle threats, the content goes against her morals but she needs the money. I tend to start someone like this already low, have life toss her a few more blows before she is able to shake them and rise above. Sasha is the kind of person that hides what’s beneath, not well, but she tries. Her shame is in her self-perceived weakness of character, a failure as a woman who should be strong in the face of adversity. 

Sasha hung up the desk phone hard on her friend Anne and sat back in her chair. Anne and Valery weren’t giving in, they were going to drag her out to the bar tomorrow no matter what they had to do. She reached over and closed the ominous file that her boss gave her hours ago. She packed it in her briefcase with her laptop and sighed heavily. The project had to be illegal, everything about it felt wrong. The email she just read from her lawyer said the Smithson’s lawyer won the argument and they didn’t have to pay her back for the leaky roof they lied about nor the huge crack in the foundation they hid. Of course not, why should Sasha catch a break today? It was a long shot but the shady owners had left a lot of nasty surprises that they covered up with paint and lies.

She swallowed hard as her turbulent mind made her stomach jump and taught nerves cry to go home, the falling down shamble that it was, and crawl into bed and stay there for the next week. Valery would be popping by in a minute to make sure she wasn’t going to bail and run on their dinner plans tonight. Sasha closed her eyes, took a deep breath and composed herself. She slipped into an uncomfortable façade and smiled as her door opened. Best to play along, then they would leave her alone so she could cry later.

People in the real world behave this way, smile, fake it and let nobody know. People react differently to situations and not always the way I would. I try to pay attention to others and to how they handle things. Sometimes it goes against my sense of logic and that is what I need to write in to a character. Something that frustrates or annoys people. Because that is real. I can’t have everyone doing and reacting to things the same way. They can’t all agree and they can’t all get along. They can fake it, they can even show their displeasure, they key is consistency. Sasha isn’t likely to yell at her friends for being friends, she will suck it up and crawl into her misery shell later. Sasha is coming up to the anniversary of the day that reminds her of the worst day of her life. Her friends won’t let her wallow, and things are not looking up for her. The meanie I am will write her downfall and it’s going to be a hard fall. Don’t worry someone will help her through it all, support her while she gets back up and dusts off the crap I throw at her.

Some, not all people put on airs of one sort or another. A false face presented to the world. Not everyone pretends to be happy, some people pretend to be jerks, or unhappy or even sick. I mean come on all you have to do is look at co-workers, how many are genuinely happy to see the boss emerge from their cave of wonders to  judge your efforts on looking productive?

My advice about facades in characters.
They make people interesting so I recommend adding them to make a character feel real to the reader. Take some time to watch people, real live people in action. Pay more attention to them and even yourself.


Other posts

It’s a love hate sort of thing

Over used and oft abused.

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved

“Make it blue.” – “No. It stays green.”

Nothing spices up a good character interaction like a little disagreement. Conflict in the obvious can be instrumental. For example, the first sentence I wrote was a disagreement. “No Joe, I don’t believe in superheroes.”  In one sentence, I established a contrast in opinion between two people. The conversation goes on and is the introduction to the story and the speaker’s journey.

A well-done argument is not always easy to do. Especially if the subject matter is a personal point to be proven by the writer. To be convincing they will have to be able to see the other side of the argument. To be able to portray the conflict evenly. Perhaps they come to agreement, perhaps not. Realistically people are not as bending as you might think. The stodgy set in their ways true believer is not going to come around in one conversation. When I create a disagreement, it is like a mini story in its own. Whether it is resolved within the conversation or throughout the story doesn’t matter. It needs to have a reason and resolution. That doesn’t mean one side is vindicated, it could mean it results in a divide between friends or allies. It could lead to them becoming enemies or better friends. For every great conflict, one side is right and one side is wrong in the eyes of the beholder. It’s all about perspective.

Debating is a great way to get a good grasp on how to see things from the other side. If I want to pick a fight or argue intelligently, I take the time to research what I’m opposed to. I prepare to fight for what I’m against. It is interesting and fun.

Silly or serious. Good or bad, disagreements give characters depth, a glimpse into their personality.

There are subjects I don’t touch such as real politics (including war), religion and the judicial system. They are in the hot topic category and unless that is what my book is about, I don’t like to make them a point of heated contention between characters. This can alienate a reader if I’m one sided, if I can’t be objective I leave it be. I’m writing to entertain not bludgeon my readers with my opinions or beliefs.

I’ll start by listing the pros and cons of the subject matter so I can give both sides proper ammunition. I’m careful not to make it about personal tastes and more about beliefs.  Fighting over cream in coffee is petty and unless it is key to the story or character development, it’s not interesting.

Sasha tilted her head and cracked her neck. She worked for hours on this layout and green was the best option. It suited the product, the point and looked awesome. “I’m not changing it.”
“It should be blue.” Valery crossed her arms. “The soap is yellow; green just makes it look ill.”
Sasha put her hands on her hips met Valery’s eyes. “Soap can’t look ill.”
“Make it blue. I like blue better.”
“No. I like green it’s staying green.”
Valery tilted her head. “Do both, let the client decide.”
“No” Sasha shook her head. “It stays green end of story.”
“Fine, you’re on your own with this one Sasha. Good luck.” Valery stormed out of the office attempting to slam the door. It eased closed. The boss installed the hydraulic door closers after he got tired of the hot tempers of his staff. Sasha looked at the screen after her friend was gone. It looked fine in green.

That was a generic argument with little substance, reason or resolution. They are bickering like children who just want it their way. How about a little backup for Valery and a reason for Sasha.

Sasha tilted her head and cracked her neck. She worked for hours on this layout and green was the best option and she loved green. It’s what the client wanted, it suited the product, the point and looked awesome. “I’m not changing it.”
“The background should be blue.” Valery crossed her arms. “The soap is yellow, green just makes it look ill.”
Sasha put her hands on her hips met Valery’s eyes. “Soap cant look ill.”
“Blue is a contrasting colour. It will draw the focus to the product first then the words.”
“No. I like green. It’s staying green.” Sasha looked at the screen. The words were the first thing you noticed, that was what she intended.
“Sasha, I love the style, layout and the font is perfect, but the attention is the soap, not the slogan. One change, just the colour.” Valery tilted her head. “Do both, let the client decide.”
“No, it’s staying green end of story.”
“It will be the end of the account fi you can’t be flexible. Do both.”
“I like the green, I like that the slogan comes first. That was the point they are rebranding not selling the same thing over again.”
“They are selling the same old thing. Your job is to make it more noticeable, fresh and new even though it’s not. Green is what they did before, that is just a darker shade of the same thing that didn’t work.”
It was a risk to use blue, the client asked for green; Sasha was giving them what they wanted. “It stays green.”
“Fine have it your way. You’re on your own with this one Sasha. Good luck.” Valery stormed out of the office attempting to slam the door. It eased closed. The boss installed the hydraulic door closers after he got tired of the hot tempers of his staff.
Sasha looked at the screen after her friend was gone and reached for the mouse. “What would it look like in blue?”

The point of this conflict was to open Sasha’s eyes to being flexible and taking chances. Her character development grows fast from here. By taking a risk and going against the grain, she finds her flair and confidence for thinking outside the box. Her friend Valery always saw Sasha’s potential so pushed her.

Conflict doesn’t have to be controversial or in your face yelling. It can be subtle too.

Cal clenched his jaw as he watched Gael count the cash and tuck it into the little black folder.
Gael stood grabbed his jacket and turned to Cal. “You’re turn next week.”
“Next week.” Cal shook Gaels hand and smiled as he walked away. Turning back to the table he slipped ten dollars into the folder to cover the tip. “Cheap bastard.” Cal nuttered as he left.

This could be left as is, or it could come up later as crappy karma for Gael or even good karma for Cal. They might end up in a heated argument and Cal might toss this thrifty selfishness as ammunition for something greater. Bottom line Gael is cheap and thoughtless for the server who worked hard. Cal being the too honest detective, couldn’t just leave it be. Subtle tension or conflict of interest is my favorite way of building up to a fall out or fight.

My advice about conflict
Subtle or explosive it should have an impact and a point to the story or characters.


Oops! What did I just say?

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