The Big Bad Bio

The Big Bad Bio

The Big Bad Bio

I’ve talked about Bio’s (Character Biographies) before in “Who’s who in the grand scheme of things”.  Now that I have a few books under my belt and I just finished my newest novel(Super excited) I wanted to talk about Bio’s again.  I’ve had some time to work out the kinks and hone the process.

I’ll start with my how.  Whether it’s a pad of paper, word document or my personal favorite a spreadsheet, I think it’s imperative to keep a Bio on EVERYONE in the story. Even if it’s the crotchety old neighbor who only shakes a fist at the protagonist and is in the story for all of one second.

Why?

Because, if I know what they look like, their quirks, age, DOB, family status, level of education, job status, pay rate etc. etc. then I can always make sure John, the Virgo barista has blond hair and brown eyes and doesn’t magically have green eyes and become the bartender who’s birthday is in January. Consistency is mega important and any reader who’s read a book and found something off… tends to never forget and never fully forgive, especially if they find two or heaven forbid more than two.

So what does a big bad bio of mine look like?  If I have a simple one page Bio, it will look like this:

BIO

I often don’t apply a year to the DOB because I don’t apply a year to my stories. This type of quick bio is good for quick references. If I want to go into more detail, I will create a full-page bio for each major and minor character.

Which details I put in are usually story driven. If I only ever have Jane wearing cut-off jeans and that’s important to the story I put that in her bio.

Here is a list of things I might have in the bio. Now if I have a lot, and I usually do I’ll have more than one page for the bio. I will either create an individual Bio page for each or I’ll group Bio Stats one page would be appearance another would be behavior and another might be education and employment.

Not all individual bio’s are equal. Obviously, the main characters will have much more detailed bio’s than Albert the hotdog vendor. Repeat or reoccurring characters get a little more TLC than Pauline the bitter angry bus driver who hits the brakes too hard at every stop.

Here is a list of what I might include

Name
Age
Weight
Height
Eye Color
Skin Color
Hair Color
Hair Style
Bad Habits
Good Habits

Ethnicity/Family origin
Religion
Birthdate or DOB
Education
Job
Tattoos
Scars
Quirks
Catch Phrases
Likes/Dislikes
Favorite Food
Hated Food
Type of music
Style of Clothes

The options are endless, ideally, they would be listed if there is a significant difference or if the character is minor and I might forget. Some of the things may never even be mentioned in the book. I’ll still give each character a full bio.  I’ll even give them a history or back-story. It’s important when I’m writing to be able to stay focused, and having to stop and go back pages or chapters to remind myself of one tiny detail is annoying and distracting.

My advice about Characters Bio’s.
There is no right or wrong way to create a Bio as long as you can read it and understand what’s what. They are very important and I think they can make things a lot easier if you decide to have a return visit from a minor or very, very minor character.

-Sheryl

Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved

 

 Focused

Advertisements

Distracted By Distraction

Time is always an issue for me. Finding it to write and really get into it. Somedays I can plug along and find the simple errors others I can dig in and really get to the meat of some problems.

I’m in the middle of BiaAtlas re-write and it’s going well. My word count is coming down slowly but steadily.

When I’m writing there are several things that can cause me to become distracted or lose focus. Not all of them are bad and often they can be a reminder to take a well needed or deserved break.

Other people – It’s important to remember there are real living people in the world 😉
Television
The weather
My own thoughts – yes this is a real problem sometimes
Other projects (I have a new storyline I’m in the beginning stages of plotting)
Sleepy or tired – sometimes it’s just hard to stay focused on anything.
Work – this one is a necessity… but still…
Cleaning or chores
Reading

There are other distractions that I don’t have time for and have suffered for it such as video games and Facebook. The bottom line is there will always be distractions and I don’t freak out about them. I’ve talked about this before but I think if I’m being distracted there might be a reason for it.

The funniest distraction is the distraction by distraction. When I’m distracted simply by thinking about being distracted.

When I sit and start to work on editing my book it can be overwhelming. I’ve been through it countless times, I’m probably missing things right in front of me because I’ve been through it countless times. I have a plan for that and I’ll dive into that plan in a later post once I’ve done enough research to explain it properly.

For now, it’s one objective at a time seek out and destroy superfluous text and simplify. I’m on the hunt for repetition of ideas, phrases, comments, actions, descriptions, and anything I’ve mentioned more than once.

I will keep at it and keep my self-inflicted symphony of distractions to a minimum while addressing the important ones, the ones that tell me I need a real break. After all, a distraction is only a distraction if we need to be distracted.

My advice about distractions
Don’t ignore that you’re being distracted and figure out why it’s happening. Maybe take a break or do something random to reset your attention. Distractions are not always a bad thing.

-Sheryl

Other posts

Squirrelly concentration at best

More is less, and vice versa.

My Posts From The Start

Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved

Symphony

The Unplanned Fork In The Road

Recently I started writing a new novel. The characters are solid, the story is deep and intriguing and the setting is fun and interesting.  I normally write with a general idea of where I want the story to go and let it take me there. This time I had a clear idea how I wanted to end it. So I set out to get to that ending.  I had a plan.

Each chapter is where and how I want it, the story and character are progressing perfectly then bam! It’s not. Suddenly where it’s going and where I want it to end up don’t line up anymore. I sat back and thought about it. Do I want the story to continue on the line it derailed along? Or do I want to backtrack or maneuver it back in line with the planned ending? I liked where the new angle was going but it couldn’t go where I originally wanted. if I went back and put it back on course then I couldn’t fit in the new angle I spontaneously created… Hmm.

I must have gone back and forth on this for days. It was weird, I could imagine both but neither at the same time. It wasn’t writers block, but a fork in the road of my novel.

As a result I set the story aside. I think about it and play it out in my head. I contemplated ideas, made notes and mulled and mulled until I could mull no more. Then it hit me.

Either I write two versions of the story or I forge a new fork in the road and take it a whole other direction. Whoa! What? Now I have three options. Great, just freaking great.

However the more I thought about a third open option the more excited I became. The what if’s started piling up and I realized something important.

I was limiting myself.

If I had veered off in the first place then the original plan might not be right anymore… It’s not wrong, it’s still good, but maybe it went stale with how I felt the story needed to go.

Now that I’ve decided to broaden my thoughts on the ending I’m not stuck staring at the only two options I limited myself to. Story writing for me is organic, it’s not set in stone before I begin. More often than not, I create as I go. I had an idea for this one that is exciting beyond belief to me, and I didn’t realize I’d painted myself into a corner by thinking the ending I wanted to get to was the only one.

My advice about unplanned forks in the road.
There is no right or wrong way to write a story, you can sit and let it happen as you type, you can plan rigorously each step of the way or you can work from a general outline. Whatever works for you is the way to approach. Don’t be afraid to try a different approach or go back to an old one. 

-Sheryl

Other posts

Desperately procrastinating

Phony-baloney disguised

Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved

Create

Link It And List It!

There is something I’ve been wanting to bring up about writing. It has nothing to do specifically with writing a manuscript, novel or book. But about how chapter stories are posted on blogs. How does a successful blogger keep readers coming back? I haven’t posted a chapter story on my blog yet, but have been thinking about it. So I’ve done some research, taken a blogging course from WordPress and done some digging through other bloggers’ stories to see what they’ve been doing to keep the readers returning.

I love reading serial and Chapter stories on blogs. There are some out there that have hit it on the nose as far as organization goes. I figure not everyone is aware of some simple tricks that can keep a reader reading and help them navigate your story with as little frustration as possible.(I wasn’t)

The following have been observed on a few blogs I follow and I think they are great ways to keep a story organized for your long-term followers and for new friends that stumble into your blog space.  (These are suggestions, not rules.)

Each Chapter would ideally get their own blog post. You can include a picture or just a standard title all the tricks you need to post and edit blogs can be found here:  http://learn.wordpress.com/

The blue arrow is pointing to the icon to click on to add content or a picture into the body of the post. The purple is what you select to add a featured image or the post’s image(What shows up in the feed or reader)

aa add picture

First, post a chapter or two of your story by creating separate posts.  Now you’re ready to make it easier for a reader to navigate your stories. This is very important if you have other posts in-between or if you don’t post regularly.

So in each chapter, you can do one or two things to make this easy. One add a “Start from the beginning” and link the first chapter or you can link(I will explain how in a moment) this to a Story Chapter Page (I will explain this shortly)

And/or at the end of each chapter, you can put a link to the next chapter of the story(See orange arrows below). This allows for continuous flow through your chapters so the reader doesn’t have to jump around. To add this one you have to wait until the next chapter is posted and physically go back to the previous chapter and add this to the body. (Note this link will appear as a pingback and you need to approve it in your comments)

aa story links.jpg

To Add links to the body of the post:  you can write the text and highlight it or you can create it during the link in the link options(C).

Red A – click this to open the URL-link creator
Red B – This is the URL that will link. This will fill in automatically when you select Red D
Red C – This is the link text. You can fill this in manually or if you highlighted text before clicking ‘link’ that highlighted text will become the clickable link on the page.

AAA ADD LINKS.jpg

To add a page link and not a post link copy and paste the URL into the URL line(Red B)  you can get this by opening the page and copying it from there. I found it easier to open the page in a private window or “incognito window”. Once I’ve added the link(which I would recommend testing) I like to make the link Bold and change the color to make it obvious. Many other bloggers do this to make them stand out. The default is an underline and light blue which doesn’t stand out when posted.  The bold option is shown below by the orange arrow and the option to change the color of the text is indicated by the blue arrow below.

aa colour

Okay so now we can add links to the post. How about creating a “Story Chapter Page”?  This is a page for the story with each chapter listed and links to each(That you can easily add with the link button now) So your reader can now come to this page to continue on where they left off instead of being adrift, lost in a sea of posts.

To add a new page to your blog. This will appear in your blog banner. From your main menu screen click “ADD” beside pages.

aa adding a page

This next example shows that a new page will come up for you to create a new page for your blog.

aa new page

Enter the title of your story and any information you want in the introduction
Then make a chapter list so you can add links to each chapter. This page is the page you will link to at the beginning of the story if you want to have a link to the chapter page as I mentioned above.

1 in yellow shows chapter one with a link (Bolded and color changed)
2 in yellow shows a chapter title highlighted and ready for a link to be added
3 in yellow is a chapter not yet posted. I’ve seen one blogger add “coming soon” to add anticipation for upcoming chapters.

aa chapter links on page.jpg

So now each post has a link to the Story Chapter Page dedicated to the story with a clickable linked list to each chapter. AND each chapter has a clickable link at the end of the chapter to bring the reader to the next chapter automatically(Done after the following post is posted by going back to the previous already posted blog and adding the “next chapter” link)

This isn’t necessary but I find it makes it a whole lot easier when you want to binge read a bloggers story easily without having to fish through their posts to find the next one.

Yes, this is extra work, but a happy reader is a repeat reader.

Here are some examples of Fantastic blogs that have agreed to let me use their pages as examples for how linking stories or chapters in a list on a separate blog page can help a reader. I couldn’t include everyone I love following, some said no and others don’t have the specific page-link formats I’m looking to use as examples. Because chapter stories are best started from the start these bloggers clued in and made it easy to find the start.

CLICK ON THE BOLDED NAME TO SEE THE PAGE EXAMPLE
(Don’t forget to look around they have some fantastic stories)

Lost Property – Serials Super fun stories, both short and long that are deep and captivating.  The link I have here goes to a list of short stories that are easy to navigate. I have been reading these stories and the chapter stories in the daily prompt and have enjoyed them immensely.

Devil Doll Musings – Short chapter, chapter stories that are imaginative and captivating. A little on the naughty side but a wild ride. Poke around on this website to see how fantastically it’s laid out. This link is to Rock Star a whirlwind romance worth reading. The chapters are listed in link form and it’s easy to follow. At the bottom, this blogger uses “continues HERE” to make it easy to keep reading.

WriteMeBad – Romantic and smutty stories that are so beautifully written they captivated me instantly. Each story has their own page and chapter listed from top to bottom. (First to last) I started you off with the link to the first story Jay & Dee that made me an instant fan.

All in all ,I enjoy the effort and creativity that I keep coming across on different pages. If you have a trick or technique you use that you want me to blog about(Relevant to writing advice please) Please either private message me or leave it in the comments below. I hope I didn’t miss anything. This was a fairly long post. (Sorry)

I don’t have a chapter story to try this on, but I did create a page using all the tips above to create a click-able link to every post I’ve posted (Minus award posts). I don’t expect anyone to actually use it but it’s there in case someone does. Oh and I’ll make sure to update it regularly. My Posts From The Start

My advice about creating chapter links in a post and separate Story Chapter Pages.
It’s never too late to go back and add them. Once you get the hang of it (I tested this on a non-published page) It’s actually easy. Tedious? Maybe but is it worth it? I think so. It would definitely be easier if done from the start.

-Sheryl

Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved

 Adrift
Organize

Holy Hyper Hyperboles

I love learning and writing. There is one aspect of writing that is more fun than a barrel full of monkeys. Using Hyperbole.

Hyperbole is to make a point using extreme exaggeration. It’s also a fun word to say.

hy·per·bo·le

If I were writing non-fiction I wouldn’t be using hyperbole. They are generally used in fiction and media. They can add humor and character to a story. However, as with all good things, moderation is key.

Like metaphors and simile’s, hyperboles are comparisons, however, they are ostentatious in nature even ridiculous. It’s not recommended to take them literally or one might find the scenario quite hilarious.

Using hyperboles in literature shows contrasts. One thing is described with an over-statement and the other is presented normally. This is a catchy technique used to keep the reader reading.  For example, “He’s as skinny as a toothpick.” The overstatement is the toothpick and the normal is him being skinny. “He is skinny.” Works just fine, but it’s more entertaining to add “as a toothpick.”

Bringing a boring section of the story to life with a hyperbole is fun.

Here are some examples

I’ve said it a thousand times.

I’m so hungry I could eat a cow.

I have a bazillion things to get done.

I have a ton of work to finish.

His breath was so bad it knocked me over.

I think those make it clear.

So how about an example? Okay since you insist.

Amber stood before the full-length mirror naked. She poked at her still flat tummy and pouted. “I’m going to get as fat as a whale.”

Dale looked her over from head to toe. “What do you mean going to?”

She laughed, grabbed a purple pillow and threw it at his head. “Jerk.”

“You could put some meat on, you’re nothing but skin and bones.” He tossed the pillow back.

“I swear Dale you’re dumb as a stump sometimes.” She squealed as he grabbed her by the waist and tickled her ribs. “Stop, stop I give in.” She laughed and fell back on the bed pulling him with her. “I’m glad you’re not boring and tease me.”

Dale leered at her breasts. “Oh, I’ll tease you all right.” His wicked grin made her try to get away unsuccessfully.

I probably wouldn’t put that much into one conversation, but that was kinda fun. I know I use hyperboles regularly. Not so often, it’s annoying but there are times when a character is flustered or excited and spouts one out. I don’t know if I use them in narrative… I might have to check that.

My advice about Hyperboles.
Why not use one to spice up a statement so boring it put the entire world to sleep.

-Sheryl

Other posts by me with the color purple in them

Something different, something fun

Little Angelic Villians

Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved

Purple

Individual Arcs

I’ve recently explained the main story arc and it’s components. I touched on the smaller arcs within the main story. I thought I’d go a bit further into the little bits that make a story juicy, that make the characters real and seemingly come to life.

The individual story arc.

Each character with purpose in a story should have their own story. The closer to the protagonist or antagonist the characters are; the better the story they should have. Or they should have more influence at least.

This doesn’t mean every character in a story needs a full on arc of their own, that would be dreadful to write (IMO) let alone read.

This can feel daunting to think about but I’ll try to explain how I go about keeping it from becoming overwhelming.

The Main:  Sasha
The Secondary Main : Cal
Sub Characters:
Valery
Anne
Scott
Amber
Dale
Mr. Clifton (Boss)
Baylor (Antagonist)
Mystery character yet to be revealed (Main antagonist)

Sasha and Cal will have the interactive story arc. They are the main characters. Side characters with major influence will get bigger parts to teh story and a much richer story arc. Others will likely just fall within other story arcs as influential but not instrumental.

Sasha

Beginning: Pushover/victim – Gets attacked at work by bully, gets attacked by Baylor
Middle: Baylor pursues her as does another antagonist – she learns to stand up and save herself
End: (This part is not up for discussion yet)

Sub Beginning: Resistant to romantic relationships due to bad experience
Sub Middle: Slowly gives into Cal’s advances 
Sub End: (Cant let you in on that just yet)

Cal 

Beginning: Homicide detective moved to new precinct in search of Baylor
Middle: Keeps Baylor’s recent interest(Sasha) from him, then loses her
End: (A secret)

Sub Beginning: Is interested in Sasha romantically
Sub Middle: pushes her to face her past and move on
Sub End: (Hmm… a secret)

Valery

Beginning: Sasha’s pushy best friend/ boss that nudges her into the dangerous situation
Middle: Provides nervous and worrisome reactions to illustrate the seriousness of Sasha’s situation
End: Helps give big clue to help Cal… (The rest is a secret)

Sub Beginning: party girl with no desire for steady relationship
Sub Middle: Finds a man that keeps her interest and listens to her rant about Sasha being in trouble.
Sub End: (Still a secret)

Scott 

Beginning: Tries to get Sasha to have sex with him constantly
Middle: Gives Sasha a weird vibe. Also picks up on the fact she’s in trouble and helps Valery. Goes off the deep end over Dale and Amber and also Sasha’s rejection.
End:  Causes trouble.

Sub Beginning: He’s up to something
Sub Middle: Jealousy eats him alive. He’s definitely up to something
Sub End: (A secret too)

Baylor

Beginning: Attacks Sasha
Middle: Keeps attacking until he gets her – but is kept from harming her and is forced to hand her over to his boss (who is worse)
End: (This is a secret for now) 

Sub Beginning: na
Sub Middle: na
Sub End: na

I didn’t go through them all, and I didn’t actually give much away.  For my own notes its all filled in but with A LOT more detail. with interactions listed, what they specifically do to influence the story etc.

Now Sometimes I don’t have a sub-plot for a character or they don’t have much impact so they don’t get a lot of face time. Or I haven’t figured out how or if they will impact the story. I have gone back and added situations and scenarios after the story is written. This list is a guideline and not set in stone for me. Sometimes an arc falls flat and needs to be removed or changed to make it work again. For me keeping this stuff straight is just cautionary, I already know what’s going to happen, and sometimes even that can change if I’m inspired. There are times when I have a character that has a purpose but I still need to work them in… if they can fit.  I like to think of my stories as malleable so my mind is always open to possibilities. I often sit and ruminate, playing out what will and will not work.

My advice about individual story arcs.
Super necessary, it is so much more fun to read a story that has the supporting and sub characters actually influencing and interacting in the main arc than for them to be the ‘cheer’ section or the background noise.

-Sheryl

Other posts I wrote

(Insert description here)

Sound and selfish advice

Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved
Ruminate

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.

-Sheryl

Other posts

It’s a love hate sort of thing

Over used and oft abused.

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved
Facade

“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.

-Sheryl

Oops! What did I just say?

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved
Disagree
Yellow

Shut your cake hole

Blabbermouths are common in the real world. To your face or behind your back. So why not put them in the story? I love a good jerk, the one that makes you grip the book a little harder and hope they get their comeuppance or feel bad for what they’ve done. Whether they know they are loudmouth squealer or not, doesn’t matter. That they stir the pot does. A proper bigmouth can change the game and save a floundering storyline.

Here is a little tid-bit of mine from a work in progress:

“Good morning Nell, Wendy.” Hank smiled and sat at the meeting room table.
“Oh good morning Hank.” Wendy gushed. She had no problem flirting with the unnaturally handsome Hank. “How was your weekend?”
As usual, Nell sat quietly since Wendy cut off any chance of casting Hank a greeting. Hank finished his tales of golf, beer and a spontaneous trip to the beach without a glance toward Nell. “How about yours Wendy?”
“Ah same ole, same ole.” She waived her hand. “Now Nell had quite the adventure.” Her sly tone was devastating.
There was zero chance Hank would drop the subject. Nell shot her a what-the-hell look. She knew better than to confide in her friend, but did it anyway.
“Oh really.” He slid his gaze to Nell. “Do tell, what could Nell possibly do that has her redder than your blouse Wendy?”
“She had a hot date.” Wendy ignored Nell’s kick to her leg. “Like really hot.” Wendy fanned herself.
Hank tilted his head staring at Nell. She was quiet, mousy and barely noticeable on a good day. All work and no play. Usually. “With whom?”
“Wendy.” Nell’s clenched teeth made her plea to shut up, louder than she meant. The last thing she wanted was Hank, of all people to laugh at her. “Please don’t.”
“Now I have to know.” Hank chuckled.
“She and Barry from accounting went to Point Garrison beach yesterday. Apparently it has an amazing view.” Wendy waggled her eyebrows.
Nell’s cheeks drained of all colour as he smiled broadly, understanding that he was the view.

My advice about Chatterboxes.
Use them. Make them make your story tantalizing or spice up a dull storyline. Someone spilling the proverbial beans can start a good conflict. I like to use it as an opportunity to let someone behave outside their comfort zone.

-Sheryl

 

Other posts of mine

Oops! What did I just say?

Eyes that carry worlds

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved

Cake

Over used and oft abused.

Ah, the word shiver. Over used and oft abused. This is on my personal list of filter words. One that is injected into a sentence to replace showing an emotion. I find it in plethora among the words of a romance, horror or mystery. Or just dumped in to lazy writing, like I’m guilty of. 😉

At first I used this word freely, it’s a great way to express an obvious feeling right? Well yes and no. People shiver for different reasons, it’s those reasons that suggest this blanket word can be stretched out or removed altogether.

Example 1.

Billy’s fingers gently brushed the back of her arm sending pleasant shivers across her body. (15)

Not a bad sentence really. A few unnecessary words. If I’m also worried about (word count) I would remove gently and pleasant, they are implied anyway. Three words doesn’t seem like much, but it adds up quickly.

Her skin tingled as Billy’s fingers brushed the back of her arm. (12)

Example 2.

Elouise shivered suddenly for no reason whatsoever. “Someone must have walked across my grave.” She muttered to herself. (18)

Meh, it could use a little trimming and rewording.

Elouise frowned and rubbed her arms. “Someone must have walked across my grave.” (13)

Example 3. (I still write like this.)

Tod had never felt so bone achingly cold in his life. He was shivering so hard his teeth chattered loudly. (20)

Now I know enough to rewrite it to this. FYI the word felt is a super filter word.

Tod wrapped his arms around his aching body, unable to stop his chattering teeth. (14)

Do I never use the word shiver? No, it’s a fun word that evokes a personal response. I do use it sparingly or try to anyway. Sometimes a plain ole shiver is just what the story needs, especially if there is no established reason for it.

My advice about overuse.
Overuse can happen with any word, shiver is just an example. Make a list of ‘important’ words you see too often in your writing and then see how often you actually use them. Then see if you can switch it up or swap it out, but don’t jeopardize the story or the flow if you can’t think of a way to change it.

-Sheryl

 

Other related Posts.

No “Filter Word” Parking Here

Show and tell

Tag! You’re it.

 

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved

Shiver

Obvious

Jeopardize