Getting Personal with Our Readers

It’s one thing to endow imaginary characters with hopes and dreams and Dark Moments and Wounds, Lies and Fears. It’s something else all together to go mucking around in my oh-so real hopes and dreams … and hurts.

If we want to write real characters who make our readers laugh out loud or cry as they turn the pages of our books, they we have to delve into our hearts and remember the events and the people who made us laugh out loud and cry behind closed doors — or in public.

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Finding Balance with Writing & Life: Regaining Balance After a Deadline

I rang in the New Year with three major deadlines on my plate–one contracted book deadline, one day job deadline, and taxes for two businesses.

After many late nights and early mornings, two out of three of my deadlines have been met.

I’m so thankful for these deadlines because they represent pieces of a dream—business owner and published author.

Regaining balance after a deadline is essential for stability in the other areas of my life. For the past 12 weeks, I’ve been running on adrenaline, doing what was necessary to get by. Now that I’ve submitted my novel, I have a bit more breathing room. I have time to do those things I’ve been putting off like cleaning my bedroom, refinishing a dresser, painting my dining room.

Whether you’re completing a writing deadline or another type, here are three tips to help you regain balance:

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Rachel Hauck

Extreme Book Makeover: Widen your plot to keep your middle from sagging!

Do you feel like the tension in your story has started to sag?

That you are simply rehashing old plot problems? It can be a challenge in Act 2 to keep the reader caring, the story filled with enough tension to keep the pages turning.

I watched Saving Mr. Banks this weekend. Wanted to love it. But it had a few problems. The main character (Pamela) suffered from a fatal case of unlike ability, even with her backstory – and got redeemed too late. But that’s another topic. Bigger was the issue that, aside from Walt Disney wanting to keep a promise to his daughter (the stakes of the story), we simply stopped caring about the character, mostly due to her obsessive need to get the story right.

Thankfully, the story tension is resuscitated by the backstory, and the fear of young Pamela losing her father.

In other words, Peripheral Plotting saved the day.

If your story seems to be going in circles, or worse, dying…this trick just might give it the life it needs to hang on.

Peripheral Plotting is the technique of pulling in ancillary elements and using them to create more tension in your plot. Ideally, it will push your character along their journey, creating more sympathy for your character – and even motivation for their next choices.

How does Peripheral Plotting work?

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Cat Got Your Tongue?

I was recently sent a link to a blog post with a request to read through it. As I did, I felt eerily like I was reading someone else’s blog. It sounded suspiciously like the individual had taken on the persona of someone else in my community.

I don’t think this was a ploy to steal someone else’s work. Oh no. It was much more serious than that. This writer was actually being a literary impersonator. They were writing in another person’s voice, other than their own.

I pondered their reasoning for quite some time and the more I wondered about it, I couldn’t help but ask, “What’s the matter? Cat got your tongue?” That’s the only viable explanation I could find for someone not using their own unique—and God given—literary voice.

I know there are many reasons why this happens. Most of those reasons are completely unfounded so I’d like to uproot them for you here, sort of my way of snatching your tongue back from Prissy the feline thief:

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