Do Your Characters Talk to You?


Writers sometimes get intimately involved with their characters. We will be addressing the topic of author-character communication.  The “experts” tell you that you must know your characters when writing. That’s true, but how do you interact with them and do you talk to them? (There are doctors that treat people like us). There are a number of character trait forms to help you in most writing books, and there is also the back of an envelope. To be successful with your story you need interesting characters the reader can relate to and get behind. The characters must be believable, do things that are “in-character”, and right for that particular character, even if outlandish. It is a very good idea to really know your characters, especially the hero or protagonist. You need to “get into that characters head and live and see things through his / her eyes. Next, your characters need to talk to you as well. Have a dialog with your main characters to help drive your story. (I wouldn’t mention this conversation to too many people—they might outfit you with a new white padded jacket).

Below is a series of questions for consideration when working with your characters. I hope they make you think and consider how well you know your characters before you try and write them into situations they have to get out of.

When you write your characters, do you have a character profile and use it?


Do you talk to your characters when writing?


How well do you know your characters before and when you write?


Do your characters talk to you and if so, how?


Do your characters lead you in the story or do you have the story pretty well established and they follow suit?


If you talk to your characters, do you talk to them out loud or just in your mind?


During the writing process, stories sometimes change, do your characters drive this or do you just get other ideas?


Do your characters change during the story or just solve the mystery?


How do you develop your characters? Do they evolve or do you have a plan for them?


Does setting play a part of your characters personality?


Are your characters real people to you when you write?


We want the reader to like our characters, at least the good guys, how do you do that?


Do you think about your story and the characters when doing other things and not writing?


Have you ever been out in public and looking at a place or see something you could use in your story and start to discuss it with your leading character? Do people look at you strangely if you do this?


If your characters talk to you, what do you talk about?


Have you ever had an argument with one of your characters?


Do you take medication for this?


Remember, your characters work for you and they don’t cost much in pay and benefits, so treat them nice.


Remember: There are meds for this condition and doctors who treat people like us.



How to Tell if Your Slip is Showing!



propic11_1_1This post by L.Leander, Author of Fearless Fiction

If you are a woman many of you have run into a problem with your slip showing below your hemline. Not only does it look unprofessional, when someone brings it to your attention

sundress-336590_640you are embarrassed. I’ve actually seen a woman standing near me whose half-slip fell right down to her feet. And then there’s the woman returning from the bathroom with her slip and skirt tucked into her pantyhose. Although it’s hard not to laugh you take pity on her and quickly tell her the problem (hey, it could have happened to you!).

Why am I writing a blog post about how to tell if your slip is showing? I am speaking of how it relates to writing. Your writing can slip if you are not careful. Slips of the tongue can make a sentence mean something entirely different than what you intended. Slips with characters names can throw your reader into confusion.

adult-18598_640Slips in the plot of the book can cause a reader to put the book down because he or she doesn’t like your writing style. If your location shifts and the reader has to make his way through the murky waters to find out what you mean, oops, another slip!

How to avoid your slip showing? Edit, edit, edit. Be sure you have read your book many times to catch problems. Have a group of proofreaders you trust give the book a read andtypewriter-801921_640 tell you of anything they catch and be open to changing it. It’ll only make the book better.

Since none of us want our slips to show, it’s only logical we pay very close attention to the plot, the protagonist, the location, and the overall feel of the book. Believe me, you’ll feel a lot better if your slip isn’t showing and you’ll gain readers because they like the professionalism and tune of the writing.

Make sure your slips fit!


My Books can be found on

Inzared, Queen of the Elephant Riders

Inzared, The Fortune Teller

13 Extreme Tips to Marketing an E-book

13 Extreme Tips to Publishing an E-book

Videos for both of the Inzared books can be found on You Tube

You can also find me here:

Amazon Author Page










Info dumps? 7 strategies to use

ccnancyjardineThis post is by Nancy Jardine.

Explaining what the reader needs to know in a novel, without major info dumping, is an acquired skill. At least, that’s my opinion and I’m sticking to it. When you’re the author of a series of novels the techniques needed are subtly different for each book—though exactly why it’s marketed as a series is also a key question to address, because the links throughout a series may be presented in different ways.

New Beltane cover front x 1760
Book 1

In my Celtic Fervour Series of Historical Romantic Adventures, the three published books are about the horrendous toll on members of a Celtic warrior clan when the Ancient Roman Army makes war on their territory in northern Roman Britain (north England). In AD 71, it’s  Lorcan, from the hillfort of Garrigill, who is my main male protagonist in Book 1.

Lorcan’s brother Brennus features in Books 2 & 3, his adventures being spread over a number of years as the Roman war machine continues to infiltrate northwards. In books 2 & 3, the resistance strategies of my battle-hardened Celts change to information gathering, i.e the life of a spy, till AD 84 when full scale battle happens yet again against the Romans. By AD 84 the location is now the far north of Britannia (North east Scotland).

2 & 3
Books 2 & 3

But as I write Book 4, beginning post battle in AD 84, my main female character is the 14 year old daughter of a third brother, Enya being of the next warrior generation. Most of the Garrigill characters of the first three books reappear in Book 4. Though they contribute in a more minor role, their history seems just as relevant, at times, for a brand new reader as that of my new generation of protagonists.

A large hold up in my writing of Book 4 is avoiding the tendency towards major info dumping because my publisher requests that each book should be able to be read by a brand new reader as a stand-alone novel.

So…This post is FULL of questions.

  • How much do information dumps matter in a series where each book is also designed to be a stand-alone story?
  • How does the reader get just the right amount of info for the background to the story to be clear?
  • At what point is the author’s urge to give information going to slow down the action of the story to the point of boredom for a new reader?
  • Can that perfect place be found where the reader has sufficient information for the progress of the action throughout the novel?
  • Is there just enough information to make a reader still ask themselves a question or two but they’re not in the dark about something important?
  • Is there sufficient information to avoid the reader from being confused when subsequent action occurs as a result of something that’s happened in a previous novel in the series?
  • A strategic smattering of necessary detail at key points in the novel works best for the reader but my question, and quandary is, how is this achieved when writing a series?

I’ve a few strategies that I’m using, and here’s 7 of them, but I’m sure you can probably add to the following:

  • Working the information into dialogue is a technique I favour— when it fits naturally into the story progress. Giving the reader necessary information but also having the characters moving the action forward at the same time is a great aim, though I find that it’s not always achievable without a bit of repetitive tweaking and re-editing to get it just perfect. The information given, I feel, has to really matter to the characters to make it be relevant.
  • I strive to make sure that the information is coming from the correct POV and feel that’s an important part of the task. My series is written in third person so I’m constantly checking to ensure that I’ve not jumped out of my character’s head and that an omniscient POV hasn’t sneaked in.
  • I’ve been constantly re-doing the beginning to make sure my story is starting at the right place—with immediate action rather than pages of info dumped narrative.
  • I’ve axed passages that haven’t moved the action of the story forward to the extent that my ‘dump’ file is almost greater than my manuscript!
  • Character Development is important for my new characters and yet my ‘earlier’ characters are also aging and their emotional reactions should reflect this.
  • I’m highly aware of different aspects of tension in the storyline— my new characters being themselves in new situations of terror, and yet moulded by the past horrific circumstances that the whole family found themselves in.
  • I need to ensure that any info dumping tells its own relevant story and adds depth; the cause and effect being relevant to the immediate situation.

What I want at the end of the day is …this

  • 12347222_s

Any tips you can add? Has info dumping been a problem for you? 

There are a number of sites giving similar ideas and go well beyond the ones I’ve mentioned. Here are a couple. (My own BLOG has other ones as well as some images of my main characters, if you’re interested in seeing what I imagine they look like. 😉 )

Meanwhile… enjoy your writing and happy weekend wishes to you. 

Nancy Jardine writes

CFS End Sept 2015historical romantic adventures (Celtic Fervour Series)



3 mysteriescontemporary mystery thrillers (Take Me Now, Monogamy Twist, Topaz Eyes-finalist for THE PEOPLE’S BOOK PRIZE 2014)



The_Taexali_Game_Cover_for_Kindle time-travel historical adventures for Teen/ YA readers (Rubidium Time Travel Series).   Twitter @nansjar  Facebook: and (for The Rubidium time Travel Novels.) email:

Amazon Author page for books and to view book trailer videos:

Most novels are available in print and ebook formats from Amazon, Barnes and Noble; NOOK; KOBO; W. H.;; Smashwords; TESCO Blinkboxbooks; and various other ebook stores.



23 and Me-Genealogy and Memoirs by Cher’ley

This post by Cher’ley Grogg

An 80-year-old couple was having problems remembering things, so they decided to go to their doctor, to get checked out to make sure nothing was wrong with them. When they arrived at the doctors, they explained to the doctor about the problems they were having with their memory. After checking the couple out, the doctor tells them that they were physically okay but might want to start writing things down and make notes to help them remember things. The couple thanked the doctor and left. Later that night while watching TV, the old man got up from his chair, and his wife asks, “Where are you going?” He replies, “To the kitchen.” She asks, “Will you get me a bowl of ice cream?” He replies, “Sure.” She then asks him, “Don’t you think you should write it down so you can remember it?” He says, “No, I can remember that.” She then says, “Well, I also would like some strawberries on top. You had better write that down cause I know you’ll forget that.” He says, “I can remember that you want a bowl of ice cream with strawberries.” She replies, “Well, I also would like whip cream on top. I know you will forget that so you better write it down.” With irritation in his voice, he says, “I don’t need to write that down, I can remember that.” He then fumes into the kitchen. After about 20 minutes, he returns from the kitchen and hands her a plate of bacon and eggs. She stares at the plate for a moment and says, “You forgot my toast.”

As we age, we contemplate more and more about our ancestors, and maybe even writing a Memoir. I love doing family history that maybe will make its way to a memoir someday.

How far back can you trace your family tree? I started doing genealogy about 20 years ago I worked hard at it for about six years and accumulated loads of information about my ancestors. Not long ago, I kept seeing these advertisements on TV about 23 and Me. My ears always perk up when I hear the words family tree or genealogy. So they were showing people who had connected to long lost relatives, and also people who would find out exactly where their ancestors came from and what percentage of each nationality you are. Ancestry really interested me. All I had to do was pay $108.00 and send in a DNA sample. So I did.

I am:

99.1 % European Mostly British & Irish, some Scandinavian (Viking)—A little French & German,

             And bit of Iberian (Spain, Portugal)

     9 % American Indian



 Viking female using the drop spindle

Growing up I was told I was mostly English and Indian, I guess I’m a little more English than Indian. I know I am a sub-tribe of the Shawnee. With names in my family like Dicken and Baker (English), Baker is also an Ohio Indian Surname (many English sounding names are also American Indian), Swan is Indian, Kibble is Scottish, Thress is German, Jakobson is Norwegian, Founds is Cornish from the “lost” medieval villages and hamlets and they spoke the Celtic language. I found a few tidbits here and there that were interesting. I love doing the research, but I don’t have much time to devote to it.

.two weathered stones standing at an angle on a grassy hill, with a third doughnut-shaped stone between themMên-an-Tol is an ancient lith site in Cornwall



She looks like my Great-grandma, except my Grandma didn’t like to wear glasses.

Miniature portrait of Charles Dickens (aged 18) by Mrs Janet BarrowCharles Dickens at 18.

This page has links to Memoir Books to read: Types of Memoirs and Examples

Here are some types of Memoirs: 

  • Family legacy
  • Intersection with history or politics
  • Nostalgia
  • War
  • Public or Celebrity Life
  • Charity or Service
  • Personal Struggle or Witness
  • Social or Cultural Struggle or Witness
  • Advice Based on Experience
  • Coming of Age
  • Rags to Riches
  • Spiritual Journey
  • Travel
  • A Second Coming of Age
  • Romance

I don’t believe we have any Memoirs Writers, but if you were going to write a Memoir, which one would it be? I think mine would be Nostalgia.


If anyone is going to do 23 and me, please let me know. If you use my name and number, I get credit. Thanks. And yes, I thought it was worth the money.

Cher’ley’s Books are listed below and on sale at Amazon and local bookstores. And she has a new one that is freshly published with 11 other authors. 

Stamp Out Murder”.
 The Secret in Grandma’s Trunk” This is an especially good book for your Tween Children and Grandchildren
The JourneyBack 3The Journey Back-One Joy at a Time and the B&W Edition of The Journey Back
Boys Will Be Boys   The Joys and Terrors of Raising Boys-An Anthology
 Cowboys, Creatures, and Calico 
Fans of Cher'ley Grogg,AuthorAnd please join me on my Facebook Fanpage, that’s managed by one of my most faithful fans: Cindy Ferrell
Here’s a link to Cher’ley’s WEBSITE

Writing Resources by Erin Farwell

IMG_3021_1I read a freelance writing blog recently where the author discussed his favorite writing books. There were classics such as Shrunk and White’s The Elements of Style and Steven King’s On Writing. He also listed Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code. He stated that this was a mediocre book that became an international bestseller so it was important to study it to understand the dynamics of a poorly written but DaVinciCodegreat book.

Few of the comments that came after this list discussed other great writing books. Most defended The Da Vinci Code as the best book ever, though there were a few dissenters who agreed with the blogger. I fall into this second camp as the book contained too many “If only he’d known what was coming, he never would have…” to meet my definition of a great read. I don’t like author intrusion in my fiction.

While I found the discussion humorous, I was pleased that some people were able to move past it to add to the list of great writing books. There are a few that I hadn’t heard of and added some of them to my to-read list. Specifically, I want to read It Was the Best of Sentences, It Was the Worst of Sentences: A Writer’s Guide to Crafting Killer Sentences by 8462257June Casagrande. I love the title and it was passionately recommended by two or three commenters. If anyone who is reading this blog has read the book, I’d love to hear your opinion of it.

One of my favorite writing resources was not on anyone’s list, so I threw it into the mix and am sharing it now. Flip Dictionary by Barbara Ann Kipfer, Ph.D. is a combination dictionary and thesaurus that goes beyond the basics. The synonym lists for many words are more extensive and uses more current and slang language than a traditional thesaurus. But what makes this my go-to book when I am stuck or need something fast is the lists.

Writing about a mountain climber? There is a full list of mountain ranges and where they are located. Tired of using the same word for green, car, or fabric? There are lists for them. There are lists for types of saws, murders, illnesses, psychiatric diseases, phobias, Roman gods and goddesses, hammers, legal terms, and so much more. When I want to be spe51x82SQantL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_cific about a tool, color, disease, or pretty much anything, its in the book. Yes, I could find this information on the internet, but not with the same ease or organization. The Flip Dictionary is comprehensive and I love having this information at my fingertips. When writing fiction, this book helps me add relevant and unique details or descriptions to my work, which makes it one of my best resources. Plus it’s fun just reading some of the lists. Phobias is a favorite of mine.

While I am a big fan of Shrunk and White’s and Steven King’s books, my list also includes Flip Dictionary. What are your must-have writing books?

Learn more about me at:

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