Monday, July 27, 2009

Writer's Conferences

I finished with summer theatre last week and am now turning my attention to the Greater Phila. Christian Writer's Conference, which is next week (see I'm teaching the First Timer's Orientation with my friend, novelist Joyce Magnin, and one of the workshops for the Teens Write Track.

Unfortunately, there's not a whole lot in Christian conferences for fantasy writers . . . but Jeff Gerke from Marcher Lord Press is going to be there and I'm totally jazzed about that. And I've heard a rumor that there will be a continuing track on fantasy and sci-fi writing at Mt. Hermon next year.

We fantasy writers MUST hang in there!

Janet mentioned she was coming to the Philly conference. Any other Fairies, Fantasy and Faith bloggees coming to the conference?

What other conferences are friendly to fantasy writers? Let's share information ~ maybe we can help each other get published. :)

Monday, July 20, 2009


Let's talk about ideas this week. Where do you get your ideas? Do pictures help or do ideas simply spring out of nowhere? I'll chime in later. Right now, I'm off to dress rehearsal for our local summer theatre children's show. I'm the music director and we're doing Alice Through the Looking Glass. Talk about a fantasy. HA!!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Secondary Characters

Every hero needs a side kick and friends. This week, let’s talk about secondary characters. What do your secondary characters need? How important are they to the story? How do you keep them from taking over? Do you like them more than the main character?

I have several secondary characters in my WIP that are important to the story line. I am the parent of a daughter who has autism and seizures. Because I deal with special needs on a daily basis, I’ve found that I always include a character with some kind of handicap. My other daughter reads my chapters and she’s grown to love the faun, who is friends with the heroine. The faun (his name is Anon) has Down’s – but, of course, I don’t call it that. Anon is “touched.” He adds a different dynamic to the story, even though he is quite secondary. And if not for him, the heroine would not be able to complete her task, although we don’t know that until almost the end.

Let’s talk about secondary characters.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Creating the Main Character

Okay, we’ve talked about God and villains. Now, let’s turn our attention to the main character – or protagonist.

What makes a good hero/heroine? They need to be someone the reader can sympathize or care about right away. How can you create interest right away? My friend, Joyce Magnin, says to put your hero up a tree and throw rocks at him.

What kind of characteristics should a protagonist have? A hidden magic ability? A gift already known? Luke Skywalker had the force. Wil Ohmsford from The Elfstones of Shannara had enough elven blood to bring the Elfstones to life. Frodo only had his hobbit sense. My heroine, Akeela, has something I call spirit-sight; she can see auras around living things.

My mentor has a list of questions she uses when beginning a new story. It has helped me develop and know my characters better. When you know your characters well, they become real. And when they become real to you, they’ll be real to the reader. When they are real to the reader, the reader will care about them. That keeps pages turning.

Your main character had needs. In the beginning of the story, what is the obvious need? Something the reader can identify right away. When you establish this, you create sympathy and the reader will want to see what happens next. You’ve hooked them. This is true no matter what genre you write.

But there also needs to be a hidden need, which the protagonist will realize by the end of the book. The reader should not know this right away.

To recap: how do we create a hero/heroine the reader will care about from the very beginning who is interesting, real and not stereotyped?