New! Characterization Worksheet

Hi everybody, I got several requests for another worksheet like my Synopsis worksheet, so I have put together a .pdf worksheet that combines all the lessons from my Characterization class. If you've already taken my Characterization class, this worksheet is exactly the same as the lessons you got, just without any feedback from me on your homework, naturally. :) This 35-page worksheet will help you develop your story characters. By the end of this worksheet, you will have: 1) a solid grasp of who your character is—and I’m not talking just favorite ice cream flavor 2) your character’s flaws and heroic qualities to make him/her truly sympathetic to the reader 3) the character’s unique qualities to make him/her stand out from all the other characters on the Barnes and Noble shelves. 4) your character’s desire and external goal (you’d be amazed at how this can change from your original ideas about your character as you dig deeper and discover who your character is!) 5)

NaNoWriMo tip: tactile stimulation

Sorry I've been AWOL, but I've been on deadline for several books, which takes up my blogging time! In honor of NaNoWriMo , I thought I'd post a few quick tips for writing while on NaNoWriMo that can help you achieve your goal of 50,000 words written on your novel this month. This is one of the best weapons in my arsenal: Tactile Stimulation This might not work for everyone, but of all the people who have tried it so far, it has worked for them all, so chances are, it'll work for you, too. Basically, when you stimulate your hands (or your body, really) with tactile, kinesthetic stimulation, it enables you to think creatively and focus on thinking creatively. When you're trying to write a novel in a month, you don't have time to sit and stare at the blinking cursor. Trust me, I've done that for HOURS. Hours of wasted time. I discovered that if I have something in my hands that doesn't require too much brain-power, I can suddenly focus on my

Picking an Agent

This is a compilation of a series of blog posts I wrote on picking an agent. Picking an agent #1—FINISH THE MANUSCRIPT Yes, I’m shouting. Before I go into some tips on how to pick an agent (and possibly receive an offer of representation), I want to point out this very important part of the submission process. For some people, this is a no-brainer, but I’m always amazed at people who’ve never heard this piece of advice. Before you query that agent (or editor, for that matter), finish the manuscript. There are TONS of writers who never finish that first manuscript, and agents know this. Therefore, if they are interested in your story, they are going to want to see the full, completed manuscript. For one, they want to know you finished it. For two, they want to know if you can sustain your brilliance in the first chapter throughout the rest of the book. Many novels sag in the middle because the writer loses steam. If that’s the case with your manuscript, it’s not ready to s

New blog by Abingdon Press fiction editor Barbara Scott!

Barbara Scott is Exclusive acquisitions editor for Abingdon Press fiction and she has just started a new blog! Check it out! The Roving Editor Exclusive acquisitions editor for Abingdon Press fiction. More than 30 years experience in newspaper, magazine, and book publishing. Mentor, teacher, editor, author, speaker. Lover of God, family, and friends.

What I’m bringing to the ACFW Conference

Captain's Log, Stardate 07.08.2010 The highlight of my year is always the ACFW conference in September. It’s my favorite conference for so many reasons, some of which are: 1) the friends I get to see there 2) the industry professionals I get to meet 3) the workshops 4) the nice hotel (I am SO not a “roughing it” girl. I need room service.) I’m terrible at forgetting what to bring every year, so this year I figured I’d make a list. And I also thought it might be a useful list for other people who might be going to conference, too (not just the ACFW conference, but any writer’s conference). So here goes, in no particular order: 1) business cards and/or bookmarks . For me, bookmarks are usually easier. 2) A one-sheet of my latest proposal. Dineen Miller did a great blog series on One-Sheets: , , , , and examples here: http://www.dineenmiller.

The One-Sentence Hook

We're doing one-sentence hooks at Seekerville today! Come learn how to write a one-sentence hook and get feedback on your own! Camy here! Today I thought I’d do a more interactive post and have you guys create a one-sentence hook for your story. This is actually a lesson from my Synopsis online class that I teach through my Story Sensei critique service, so forgive me if you’ve taken my class and this sounds vaguely familiar. :) An agent might use this one-sentence hook when she presents your story to an editor, or you can use this hook in your proposal, and an editor might use it when she presents it to the pub board. Actually, I would strongly suggest you have a one-sentence hook in your proposal, because even if your editor doesn’t use it in pub board, you may be asked to submit a one-sentence hook later, after the book is contracted, to give to the Marketing and Sales team. Click here to read the rest!

Interview with Steeple Hill Executive Editor Joan Marlow Golan

Today, Wednesday, May 5 ,   is hosting a special guest -- Steeple Hill Executive Editor JOAN MARLOW GOLAN .  We'll be posting an interview with her, plus she's agreed to pop in several times that day to answer questions.    Hope you can join us!  

How my online classes work

After I posted about my Synopsis writing class, I got a few questions about how my online class works. The below is for my Synopsis class, and for my other online classes, the format is essentially the same although I might post lessons a different number of days per week depending on the class. The class is entirely on my StorySenseiClass YahooGroups email loop. I email the lessons to the YahooGroup, and you have 1-3 days to do the homework in the lessons. You can turn in the lessons at any time during the class and I'll still give feedback on it, so no penalty for late homework! :) There is no set time the class meets--you work entirely on your own time, at your own pace during the time period of the class. The only thing is that once the class ends, I won't be able to give feedback on any homework since all the YahooGroup members are purged from the group to make way for the next class. I always try to give targeted, comprehensive feedback on your homework to help

Your Best Writing Time

Hey guys, I'm at Seekerville talking about a writer's best writing time: Camy here! As I write this, it’s late evening in California, because I’ve discovered my best writing time is usually in the evening and early morning hours. For years this really frustrated me because who in their right mind writes best at 2 a.m.? Especially when I had to get up at 8 a.m. to go to my biology job. (Pain and suffering ...) Why can’t I be like Ruthy who can get up at (Godforsaken) 4 in the morning to efficiently zip off a chapter before breakfast? Click here to chime in and let me know your best writing time!

Ten Ways To Create Character Empathy

This is a fantastic article by Brandilyn Collins. Several of her points are similar to what I read in one of my favorite writing books, Writing for Emotional Impact by Karl Iglesias . Ten Ways To Create Character Empathy

EMPOWERING CHARACTERS' EMOTIONS online course by Margie Lawson

Camy here: I STRONGLY recommend this course! Many of the manuscripts that I critique could use more emotional writing, and this course is the best of its kind in teaching how to write with more emotion, more emotional intensity, more psychologically resonating emotion. TAKE THIS COURSE! This course is designed for writers of ALL GENRES, published or unpublished. You'll work at your own pace, on your own level. EMPOWERING CHARACTERS' EMOTIONS (details below) Presenter: Margie Lawson Cost: $20.00 PASIC members, $30.00 non-members - payable by PayPal Deadline to Register: February 27, 2010 TO REGISTER, GO HERE: CLASS INFORMATION: Would you like to learn how to: Capture emotion on the page? Hook the reader by eliciting a visceral response? Analyze your scenes? Fix scenes that don't work? Increase micro-tension? Add psychological power to a good scene and make it stellar? This power-packed on-line class

Interview--My journey to publication

Lynda Schab interviewed me on my journey to publication! This was fun because she asked questions on topics I didn't think about when I first gave my writing journey story . Now, Camy shares her journey to publication: Fiction, non-fiction, or both? Fiction Genre: Romantic suspense and humorous contemporary romance How many books have you written? 9 How many of those have been published? 4 Years you've been writing: Longer than dirt. Okay, seriously, I started writing in Junior High or High School, but didn't start writing seriously until I got laid off from my biology job, which was in 2002 Click here to read the entire interview!

Proposals—basic structure

I'm over at Seekerville today in a long blog article about how to put together a fiction proposal! Camy here! I know that lots of you did NaNoWriMo in November, and as all of us start to prepare for writer’s conferences this year, I wanted to talk about putting together a fiction proposal for your manuscript. Not all proposals are set up the same way, but I’m going to go through the structure of a typical one. Click here to read the rest of the article!

2010 ACFW Genesis contest for unpublished writers

This is my fifth year coordinating the American Christian Fiction Writers Genesis contest for unpublished writers! We just went live yesterday! Deadline is 8 a.m. Pacific Standard Time on March 31st, so get your manuscripts polished so you can enter! Actually, enter by March 15th in case your entry gets lost in cyberspace, so we have time to find it. You must be an ACFW member to enter the contest, but you can join when you submit your entry fee! If you're thinking seriously about being published in Christian fiction, ACFW is a fantastic organization! Here's the website: ACFW Genesis contest

Q&A: Writing a scene with 2 characters who are not English speakers

Brenda asked: I have a quandary.  I have a scene in which two characters are speaking, both of whom are not English speakers, but of course, since it would be meaningless to have a page of dialogue the reader can't understand, it is written in English.  In this story's case, it's a historical, the speakers are Apaches.  Traditionally, historicals featuring a scene like this would write the dialogue in choppy, stilted English.  But this doesn't make sense to me.  The scene is in the POV of the Apache, and while I wasn't in that time period, I view it much the same as if you walked in on someone having a phone conversation with a friend in a rapid exchange of Spanish, French, German, what have you.  They are not stumbling over their words.   On the other hand, I'm not sure if I should assume the reader "gets" that these two Apaches would be speaking in their own native tongue.  And someone suggested to me to use the stilted English, which doesn't

Q&A: Unfamiliar settings

Joy asked: I thought to start my fiction (novel) while I'm on a holiday break. I'm conceptualizing some ideas and taking down notes for a chicklit story. I Love chicklit genre.But my dilemma is about the setting. Did it ever happen to you that you based a setting of your story in a place where you've never been before? The last time I was in the US was in 1999. A part from the fact that my memory is kinda rusty and needs fine tuning from time to time, I also didn't pay attention to take note of specific details about the stores, where to go, sights to see. I was just overwhelmed with my new environment and ofcourse homesickness. Currently, I'm based in Croatia ( Southeast EU), but as a background setting, I'd like to mention about the main character based in the US. Should I be very specific about the place in the US? If anything else, I've got friends from the US who can guide me through this. I don't know if I'm making sense here. But I

Q&A: Manuscript format

Jeris asked: I'm in the process of formatting my novel and need to know whether the entire manuscript is saved as one file or separate files within a folder. I started to save it as one file, but realized the header wouldn't be correct--"Chapter One" wouldn't work with the other chapters. Any advice is greatly appreciated. Also, are there any helps when using Word 2007? Camy here: Yes, your entire manuscript should be saved as one file. That will make it easier for an editor or agent if they want the electronic version of your manuscript. Some agents/editors actually prefer the electronic version, although some want the electronic version as just a supplement to the hard copy version, and they ask you to send both. Your header should simply be your name, the title of the manuscript, and the page number. Check out my manuscript formatting article for more info on that. Don't put the chapter number in the header. For Word 2007, I have found a lot

Seven of Nine – uniqueness in your characters

I'm over on Seekerville today melding two of my loves, Star Trek Voyager and writing. :) Camy here! I’m a HUGE Star Trek Voyager fan (I watch the reruns on SpikeTV). I really like the character Seven of Nine. For you non Star Trek fans, Seven is a human woman who was a Borg (mindless cyborg) for most of her life, but Captain Janeway rescued her from the Borg collective and is teaching her how to be an individual. Click here to read more about creating unique characters for your stories!

Q&A: Two characters

Roxo said... I was wondering lately if a two character book would seem boring. The story is about a girl who wanders in the forest with this boy. I have other characters but they appear sporadically even if they contribute to the way the story goes. Should I add someone with them just to make the plot less centered on just two characters? Camy here: I’m afraid there’s no really good answer for this. It all depends on how you envision the story. It’s good that you have other characters who appear sporadically, because they can serve to add more conflict and obstacles to the characters’ goals . If it were purely the two characters, I would say you definitely need more characters, if only to keep the conflict from becoming too much of the same kind of interactions. I’m not sure how far along you are on the manuscript, or if you’ve already plotted the entire thing out or if you’re discovering the story as it unfolds. If you’ve plotted it all out already, look and see if you actua

A good post for those who write humorous fiction

I love the Edittorrent blog, and Alicia Rasley posted this one that I thought was a really good post for those of us who incorporate humor in our fiction: I was reading Fearless Fourteen by Janet Evanovich, and I realized that one reason she's so popular with her readers is that she knows what's fun and spins it out to an enjoyable length. She doesn't just allude to it-- she exploits it. Click here to read the rest of the post