Happy Birthday, Chick!

Today was my grandfather Chick’s birthday, and mine is in four days. It’s a great way to take the edge off whatever milestone you’re hitting: share the weekend with someone who’s sixty years older. He put great store in education, broadly defined. He considered himself a dumb jock—he played football, basketball, and baseball in highContinue reading “Happy Birthday, Chick!”

Last Week at the Movies

I do from time to time catch a current TV show* or a movie that’s in theaters now, and over winter break I gorged. There are plenty of full-on reviews and summaries around the Web; here I’d like to highlight some interesting moments in the banquet. Up in the Air. George Clooney plays a manContinue reading “Last Week at the Movies”

Personality Types: Enneagrams

In a previous post, I talked about discovering a character’s goal, motivation, and conflict as part of the work I do to write. In addition to motivation, I spend some time on their personality more generally: goals are something like “the perfect gift for Mother” and personality is whether this would be adventure or stressContinue reading “Personality Types: Enneagrams”

The Trouble with Thrillers

I’m batting ideas about for something to work on for National Novel Writing Month, which has been an interesting chance for me to see my method in action—it’s been a while since I started a new project, and I’ve learned a lot about things like plotting and characterization since the last time I started fromContinue reading “The Trouble with Thrillers”

Fun with Character Names

You can get some heavy thinking on how to name the characters in your book. This kind of attention might be warranted for the main characters, but depending on the story there could be quite a cast list, and an author could let herself get bogged down trying to name everyone who needs one. FacebookContinue reading “Fun with Character Names”

Great Aunt Hazel

The creation of my characters happens in fits and starts. The protagonists have conversations or I see snatches of action that illustrate what’s grabbing me about the story. Eventually these moments accumulate so I have an impression of their overall motivations. Like the first square in an afghan, once that color and pattern is established,Continue reading “Great Aunt Hazel”