Casting Characters

Published February 10, 2016 by Lorraine Nelson - Author

The following is a post I received from someone at some time during the past few years. I’m usually pretty good at giving credit where it’s due, but in this case, all I can tell you is that this post was not written by me. It’s not my intention to plagiarize or step on anyone’s toes, but this is such a good article and I wanted to share it with you. In reality, I probably couldn’t explain it any better. :) So, if you are the original author of this post, please contact me or take credit in the comments. In the meantime, I’m going to share. :)

Casting Your Characters
Most people think that an exciting and well-developed plot is what makes a script good, but even the most intriguing plot won’t hold someone’s attention if the action is performed by flat, unoriginal characters.

Flat Characters vs. Original Characters
Flat character: Joe is 20 years old. He likes football and eats a lot of bacon.
Original Character: Tucker Wallace is the coolest nerd on Earth. This month, he’s been on the cover of Popular Science, Time, People, Cosmo, and GQ. He’s been a guest on Oprah, hosted Saturday Night Live, and has been offered a job at, literally, every pharmaceutical company in the world. One magazine deemed him the “most sought-after bachelor in the world,” while another claimed that his “discovery will change life as we know it forever.” While spending hours upon hours in a makeshift laboratory in his parents’ basement as a boy, leaning over test tubes, pushing up his glasses, and wiping the sweat from his forehead, Tucker never thought his efforts would come to this. Never did he think he would be sitting where he is right now, under the bright lights in front of another live studio audience explaining how he feels now that he discovered the Fountain of Youth. What Tucker won’t tell the person interviewing him is that he is terrified. Terrified of being in the spotlight and even more terrified about some unexpected side-effects starting to appear in his patients.”

Which movie would you rather watch? The one about Joe or the one about Tucker?
Not only are characters with hidden depths and secrets more fun to read about, they’re also more fun to write about. Though you’ll end up writing about a bunch of different people in your script, all of them will fall into one of three categories: the protagonist, the supporting characters, and the antagonist.

The Protagonist

The protagonist has the starring role in your script. In most scripts, the protagonist is on a journey to get what he or she wants more than anything else in the world. Your protagonist could be after fame, revenge, or something much more elusive, like overcoming poverty or cancer.

The Supporting Characters

Supporting characters have an important role in your protagonist’s life. Some may be around for the protagonist’s entire journey, some for only part. Supporting characters can be friends, close relatives, or love interests—you name it. These characters also have dreams of their own, and their adventures will add even more excitement to your script.

The Physical Antagonist

A physical antagonist is a living, breathing character in a script that is standing in the way of the protagonist achieving his or her goal. This does not mean that all physical antagonists are evil monsters. Some antagonists stand in the way simply through jealousy, or misunderstanding, or by having a set of goals that conflicts with the protagonist’s. If Gavin is your protagonist and he wants to take Kim to the dance, but Chet asked her first, this doesn’t mean Chet is a “bad guy.” He’s just another guy who likes the same girl. Then again, there are those antagonists that are just plain evil. It’s up to you to decide who’s going to stand in your protagonist’s way, and how he or she is going to do it.

The Abstract Antagonist

Though a lot of antagonists are living, breathing beings, some are not. Some protagonists face off against illness, grief, or the powers of a corrupt government. We like to call these kinds of antagonists abstract antagonists because they don’t take actual physical form. If your script’s antagonist is not a living person/animal/entity, you have an abstract antagonist. It may be easier to think of it this way: if your protagonist cannot physically kick your antagonist in the knee, he or she is probably abstract.

Physical Antagonist

A racist or intolerant character

A character who is working to make sure your protagonist lives a poverty-stricken life

A character who is forcing your character to struggle against nature (e.g. someone who has left your character stranded in Antarctica)

A character whose religious beliefs oppress your protagonist

A government official such as a dictator who has it in for your protagonist

Your protagonist’s evil boss

A character whose sole mission is to make sure your protagonist becomes ill (e.g. through poisoning or exposure to a deadly disease)

Abstract Antagonist

Racism/intolerance in a community or in general

Poverty or the economy in a community or in general

Nature as an entity (e.g. a natural disaster or an extreme climate)

A religion or all religions

A corrupt government

A corporation/company

Disease/illness in general

It’s a great idea for you, the author, to try and get to know your characters before you begin writing. We asked a team of scientists, mathematicians, and creative writing gurus from around the world, “What’s the easiest way for writers to get to know their characters?” Hands down, the experts all agreed the single best way is to fill out a Character Questionnaire for all your characters.

Character Questionnaire
In your notebook, answer the questions in this questionnaire about your characters.
Section One: Core Character QuestionsComplete Section One for every character in your book. If you have an abstract antagonist, try to answer as many questions as you can from this section for them then move on to Section Four.
Section Two: Questions for Your Supporting CharactersComplete Section Two just for your supporting characters.
Section Three: Questions for a Physical AntagonistComplete Section Three if you have a physical antagonist. OR Section Four: Questions for an Abstract Antagonist. Complete Section Four if you have an abstract antagonist.
Section One: Complete this section for all your characters!
1. Name:
2. Age:
3. Height:
4. Eye color:
5. Physical appearance:
6. Strange or unique physical attributes:
7. Favorite clothing style/outfit:
8. Where does he or she live? What is it like there?
9. Defining gestures/movements (i.e., curling his or her lip when he or she speaks, always keeping his or her eyes on the ground, etc.):
10. Things about his or her appearance he or she would most like to change:
11. Speaking style (fast, talkative, monotone, etc.):
12. Pet peeves:
13. Fondest memory:
14. Hobbies/interests:
15. Special skills/abilities:
16. Insecurities:
17. Quirks/eccentricities:
18. Temperament (easygoing, easily angered, etc.):
19. Negative traits:
20. Things that upset him or her:
21. Things that embarrass him or her:
22. Things this character really cares about:
23. Any phobias?
24. Things that make him or her happy:
25. Family (describe):
26. Deepest, darkest secret:
27. Reason he or she kept this secret for so long:
28. Other people’s opinions of this character (What do people like about this character? What do they dislike about this character?):
29. Favorite bands/songs/type of music:
30. Favorite movies:
31. Favorite TV shows:
32. Favorite foods:
33. Favorite sports/sports teams:
34. Political views:
35. Religion/philosophy:
36. Dream vacation:
37. Description of his or her house:
48. Description of his or her bedroom:
39. Any pets?
40. Best thing that has ever happened to this character:
41. Worst thing that has ever happened to this character:
42. Superstitions:
43. Three words to describe this character:
44. If a song played every time this character walked into the room, what song would it be?

Section Two: Supporting Character Questions
1. Relationship to the protagonist:
2. Character’s favorite thing about the protagonist:
3. Similarities to protagonist:
4. Differences from protagonist:

Section Three: Antagonist Questions
1. Why is he or she facing off against the protagonist?
2. Any likable traits?
3. Weaknesses:

Section Four: Abstract Antagonist
1. What is your abstract antagonist? Is it a disease like cancer, a social ill like poverty, or something larger than life, like grief?
2. How is this antagonist affecting the protagonist?
3. Do other characters notice? How does this antagonist affect the other people in your script?

So there you have it. If you want well-rounded, believable characters, get to know them before you start writing. It will make telling the story a whole lot easier as well. And, until next time, Happy Writing! :)

Editing…A Blessing or a Chore?

Published February 2, 2016 by Lorraine Nelson - Author

My first opportunity to work with an editor was a real eye opener.

Lori Graham and Susan Yates of The Wild Rose Press worked with me on two manuscripts. Susan had Zakia and the Cowboy and Lori had Love on the Rocks, and wow, did I learn a lot from those two ladies. Unfortunately, my books didn’t meet their qualifications for publishing, but it was a terrific learning experience for me.

POV, yep, point of view…my characters were all over the place, back and forth so much that a reader couldn’t possibly grasp any depth or insight into the main characters. That was my biggest mistake and I learned how to overcome the need to bounce around between the characters. (Something some of my favorite authors do, btw.) Anyway, POV changes, also called head hopping, can be distracting to a reader. It’s important to remain in one character’s POV for an entire scene or at least 750 words. (So I’ve been told.)

I write in third person point of view as explained in this excerpt taken from the following site. http://www.learner.org/interactives/literature/read/pov2.html.
“In the 3rd person POV the narrator does not participate in the action of the story as one of the characters, but lets us know exactly how the characters feel. We learn about the characters through this outside voice.”

If you are in the hero’s POV, you don’t know what the other person is thinking, seeing, feeling, etc. You can assume, but you don’t know

Example of abrupt POV switch. We are in his POV to start.

“Come, let’s go,” he commanded as, taking her hand, he almost pulled her across the room. If he didn’t get her out of there, now, they’d never make it to his dinner party.

Blushing, she managed to mumble a quick ‘thank you’ before being ushered out the door and into the waiting vehicle. What was it about this man that had her running hot one minute, with just a look, and stone cold the next with his abrupt change of stature or voice?

And another thing I learned the hard way…floating body parts. lol

“His eyes roamed the room.” Yes, we know what the author means, but eyes do not jump out and roam the room at will. Better to say: His gaze roamed the room.

“Her hand reached for the kettle.” Has her hand become unattached? No, and again, we know what the author is saying although the picture these words paint is kind of eerie. Better to say: She reached for the kettle.

Suffice it to say, sometimes keeping it simple is better. Always remember, an editor is there to make your work stronger, more sale-able. I approach edits with joy as the end product is one I feel proud to release. If you have questions or comments, please list them in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer.

In the meantime, happy reading and writing! :)Guarding Flint

Oh, I almost forgot, Guarding Flint is still on sale at the preorder price of $2.99 for a limited time.

Just click on the cover or the link below and you’re there.

myBook.to/GFlint

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

99 Cent Sale!!!

Published January 29, 2016 by Lorraine Nelson - Author

Blessed Homecoming is one of my favorite novels. Classified as an inspirational, contemporary, romantic suspense, ergo…a clean read with plenty of action. :)

A friend of mine, Denise Ellyson, challenged me to write a story to enter in a Harlequin Love Inspired Suspense contest. It wasn’t accepted due to a birthing scene, Blessed Homecoming_200x300but that’s okay. Even the most devout Christian knows there is nudity involved in giving birth. As it was pertinent to the story and the situation in which the main characters found themselves in, I left the scene in.

Blurb:

Wendy Danforth is preparing to be a single mom, her ex-husband in jail for spousal abuse. She returns home to Riverton, New Brunswick, only to be caught off guard by the handyman in residence. Attraction hits, swift and piercing, but she quells her unruly emotions. With one bad relationship behind her, she’s in no hurry to get involved in another. Besides, at almost nine months pregnant, she wasn’t exactly looking her best.

Jake Roberts, hired to renovate the Danforths’ house, took one look at his employer’s daughter and wanted to run far and fast. He hadn’t been around a pregnant woman in three long years, not since his wife and unborn son died in an auto accident. But when her ex-husband escapes custody, he steps up to protect Wendy and her unborn child.

Excerpt:

Jake found it hard to believe what he’d overheard, what that sweet, caring woman had endured at the hands of a man who had vowed to cherish and protect her. He’d been heading down to retrieve a package of wood screws when he heard Wendy crying and didn’t want to interrupt. He didn’t want to eavesdrop either, but her pain-wracked voice kept him an unwilling captive as she relayed events.

Broken bones, cracked ribs, dislocated shoulder and bruising over seventy-five per cent of her body. Then to heal and find out she was pregnant! Why would she be so happy about having that man’s baby? Surely, she couldn’t still love him after all that.

Hearing her speak of her faith in the midst of all that suffering struck a rusty chord inside his gut. Somehow, deep down, her quiet acceptance and determination spoke to him in ways that expensive therapy had not. She was a survivor, he’d give her that, but if her friend hadn’t found her—no, he wouldn’t go there. He couldn’t. Divine intervention, she’d called it. He called it lucky.

She’d come home to heal and build a new life for herself and the baby. Surrounded by family and friends, she’d never have to fear for her life again. Although he’d barely known her twenty-four hours and had a definite aversion to getting involved in her problems, he’d do what he could to help her adjust to living in a small town again. If the gossips wanted to pair them off, so be it. He’d been through worse—much worse.

He sat on the step with his head in his hands, undecided whether to let her know he’d overheard or pretend ignorance. How could he ignore the pain she’d suffered? More surprisingly, he realized he wanted to be there for her, to prove that not every man was prone to acts of violence. Although, like her father, he’d had some thoughts on what he’d like to do to her ex if he ever had the chance.

She took the matter out of his hands when she sat a couple steps below him and, placing a hand on his knee, asked, “How much did you hear?”

His head jerked up and he searched her eyes, expecting to see anger and disgust at his audacity, but there was none. “Pretty much all of it. I’m sorry, Wendy. I didn’t intend to eavesdrop, but I didn’t want to barge in on you either.”

“Are you all right?”

“You’re asking me? After all you’ve suffered, I should be asking you that question.”

“My suffering ended the day he was found guilty. All that’s left now is the sentencing in two weeks’ time and I don’t need to be there for that.”

“But you’re expecting his child. How is that not suffering, considering what he put you through?”

“Every life is a gift from God. I don’t always understand His methods, but at least I have one good thing resulting from a failed marriage.”

“Did you love him that much?”

“At first, yes, very much. He was the man I’d always dreamed about, kind, caring and it didn’t hurt that he was gorgeous to boot.” She smiled at the memory, then sobered. “The love died a slow death when the abuse started. He always made me feel like it was my fault, until the day I ended up in the hospital with a broken arm and didn’t go back. I realized then my dreams of a happy ever after were never going to happen.”

“What did you do? Where did you go?”

“A social worker at the hospital made a couple of calls and arranged a bed in a shelter for abused women. My arm being broken meant I couldn’t work for a couple weeks, but when I returned, I found out from my boss, Emma, that he’d been haunting the place, waiting for me to show up. She’d had to call the police on a couple of occasions.

She became my best friend. Emma encouraged me to lay charges and file a restraining order against him, which I did. I also filed for divorce. He didn’t show up in court, didn’t contest it, so the judge granted the petition based on the abuse.”

“I would think so,” he huffed in agreement.

“I saw Clyde around from time to time after that, and he never made any effort to approach me, for which I was thankful. But the night before the divorce became final, he showed up after I got home from work. The rest, as they say, is history.”

“Can you really put it all behind you that easily?”

“Believe me, Jake, it hasn’t been easy. Easy started yesterday when Mama met me at the bus stop with her arms wide open. Until then, I’d hoped, but wasn’t at all certain of my welcome, circumstances being what they are.”

He placed a hand over hers where it still rested on his knee. “For what it’s worth, I’m glad you’re here. You are one remarkably strong lady and I’m honored to be your friend.”

“My faith is what’s strong. I had to believe the Lord has a purpose for me in this life. That’s when I decided it was time to come home. I’d been away too long.” She gently disentangled her hand and rose to her feet, slightly wobbly at first, causing him to reach out and grab her upper arms to steady her. “Thank you.”

***

I hope you enjoyed this teaser excerpt. It always brings tears to my eyes when I read it. There is no excuse for abuse, but it takes a lot of strength to survive, even thrive, after an event so horrible.

Blessed Homecoming is on sale today and tomorrow. Well worth the read at 99 cents.

Just click the Amazon link and it’ll take you where you need to be to purchase this novel. And thank you for your support. Love to all!

myBook.to/BH

And if you prefer a print book, it costs more, but then you have a copy to hold.

myBook.to/BH-pt

P.S. This book was originally published by the now defunct Breathless Press. When they went under and I got my rights back, I lost my reviews. If you have a moment, please consider leaving a review for Blessed Homecoming on Amazon or Goodreads. Thank you so much. :)

New Release! Guarding Flint

Published January 29, 2016 by Lorraine Nelson - Author

New Release!!! It’s that time again. LOL

Guarding Flint, Wyoming Secrets Book 1, is my 31st title and is now available on Amazon. Just click the link at the end of this post and it will take you to the Amazon nearest you. Gotta love those international links. :) Guarding Flint

Guarding Flint is a contemporary novel of romantic suspense. It’s also a clean read for those of you who don’t appreciate the bedroom door being open. :)

Blurb:

Ella Delaney is a small town girl with a big heart, except when it concerns Flint Harrington. She’s working a case when her sons’ long absent father winds up in the middle of her stakeout.

Flint reconnects with Ella during his working vacation in Thayne, Wyoming, hoping for a long overdue reconciliation. But shots fired at him coupled with his daughter’s kidnapping has Ella investigating him instead.

Can they work out their troubled past while surviving present dangers? Or the better question…after the way Flint left years ago without a word, can he count on Ella’s help?

Excerpt:

Chapter One

“No!” Ella Delaney spoke under her breath as a car drove up to the building she had under surveillance. The old manufacturing plant had been redone and now encompassed several office suites, but as it was after hours, the amount of activity she’d seen as she drove by was unusual. This car was a late model Ford Fusion, a family car, different from the splashy vehicles that had arrived earlier.

“Don’t get out. Go away,” she pleaded silently to no avail. Instinct told her something was about to go down, but she hadn’t a clue what, so she’d called for back up and stayed out of sight.

The man braked to a stop in front of the main entrance. He turned off the engine. Her heart launched into her throat as he opened the driver’s door. Could he be part of the organization that leased this building? The man stepped onto the asphalt parking lot and closed the door. She saw the glint of a gun barrel from an upstairs window at the same time as she recognized the man by the car…Flint Harrington. He hadn’t changed much, except for the fancy suit he wore.

Everything seemed to happen in slow motion. Her stomach knotted in fear for him. Then adrenalin kicked in and she ran. The distance between them seemed farther with every step. “Get down!” she hollered. She was upon him in moments and knocked him to the ground. Bullets peppered the pavement around them, but they were relatively safe behind the shelter of his vehicle. “We have to get out of here.” She slipped sideways to let him up, suddenly conscious of the fact that she had landed on top of him. He used to like having me in that position. She gave her head a mental shake and moved into a low crouch. “Keep your head down unless you want it blown off.”

“What the hell is going on?” he asked in a harsh voice.

“Later.” Ella shot a quick glance at the window. “He’s reloading. Now’s our chance.” She opened the driver’s door and crawled across the seat, careful to keep her head low, but when she turned, he was still on his knees outside. “Flint, come on.”

His head jerked up when he heard his name and a brief moment later, she saw recognition dawn on his handsome face. He nodded once and climbed in behind the wheel. “Where to?”

“Anywhere. Just go. Get us out of here.” She dialed her partner as Flint reversed and, with tires squealing, took off. She ducked as bullets sprayed the passenger side of the car.

“Bursey.”

“Fred, where are you?”

“Enroute to your location. ETA two minutes,” he answered.

She straightened up in her seat. “I hope you brought back-up. Those guys are armed and shooting at anyone who goes near. I just rescued a civilian from their parking lot.”

“Good God! Are you all right?” he asked.

“I’m fine and so is the civilian.”

He mumbled something in response. She didn’t quite catch it, but she knew what he was thinking. She wished Fred wouldn’t come off as being so protective just because she was a female. She’d been on the job long enough to prove herself and then some.

“Signing off. We’ll park around the corner of Seventh and Douglas and wait for you.” She disconnected the call and clipped her phone back into its holster.

Flint braked to a stop in front of a derelict building on the corner of Seventh and Douglas.

“You were eavesdropping,” she accused.

He turned toward her, a frown marring his features. “Hardly eavesdropping when you’re sitting right beside me. I couldn’t help but overhear. So what’s going on?”

Business, Delaney. Stick to business and forget about those blue, blue eyes and that hunky body. “Why were you at that building?”

He settled back in his seat, his gaze roaming over her from head to toe. “It’s not polite to answer a question with a question,” he replied.

His avid perusal made Ella glad she was sitting down. Her body tingled with awareness from the top of her head to the tips of her toes. If she’d been standing, she was certain her legs wouldn’t hold her; such was his effect on her…still. “So sue me. Now answer the question.” She showed him her badge.

He appeared suitably impressed, his eyebrows rose in surprise as he nodded. “I didn’t know you’d entered law enforcement. And to answer your question, I was there to check on an order.”

How could you know? You left without a word and didn’t bother to keep in touch. “What kind of order?” Several vehicles pulled into the lot across the road. “Never mind. Later. Stay put.” She exited the car and joined her comrades.

“Who’s your friend,” Fred asked.

“Flint Harrington. What’s the plan?” she asked, nodding at her colleagues to acknowledge their presence.

“Harrington? What’s he doing in town?” Fred’s forehead creased as he squinted his eyes against the sunlight and tried to see through the tinted glass on Flint’s car.

“Delivering an order, but we’ll get to that later.”

“All right. You said they’re shooting? From where?” Fred asked.

“The shooter was at an upstairs window in front. As soon as Flint got out of his car, he opened fire.” She shuddered at the realization that he could’ve been shot. Hell, they both could’ve ended up bleeding out on the asphalt.

“And you ran to his rescue at the risk of getting yourself killed? You just might have saved one of the organization’s men. Did you think of that?” Fred lectured, his stance one of outrage.

“Momentarily, yes, but if he was part of their organization, why would they shoot at him?” she asked, trying to keep calm in the face of his questioning. “Now, what’s the plan?” she asked, effectively changing the subject.

“How did you get so close without them seeing you?” Fred asked.

“I saw too many cars in the parking lot of a vacant building, so I parked and went in from the east side. There aren’t any windows on that wall and I was able to hide behind a dumpster and watch as several shady-looking characters arrived, most carrying packages of some sort. It didn’t look good and I wasn’t going to tackle that crew alone, so I called for back-up. From what I’ve observed, the east side is still our best approach.”

“Then let’s go.” He turned to the other officers present. “Ella and I will go first, then count to ten and send two more. Repeat. Any questions?” Fred asked.

Everyone shook their heads, ready to follow at ten paces.

“Keep alert,” he said.

Fred took the lead, as usual, even though it had been her stakeout. She couldn’t blame him though. He’d protected her from the time they were little kids and living in foster care. She’d needed him then. Now…not so much, but he was the big brother she’d never had and she didn’t want to hurt his feelings by protesting too much.

Halfway to the building, she heard engines start around front. Tires squealed and she could smell the burnt rubber as they took off. “I don’t like this.”

“Neither do I,” Fred said as they kept moving forward.

An explosion rent the air and they dived for cover behind an abandoned vehicle, debris falling all around them as if it was dark rain.

“What in the blazes was that?” she asked, brushing a burning ember off her shoulder.

“They bombed the place. You okay?” Fred asked as he looked her over and brushed away more of the ash that had landed on her.

“I’m fine. You?” she asked as she took stock of the officers following. It looked as if no one had gotten hurt in the blast. Fred didn’t have time to answer as a second explosion, much nearer, had them running for a safer spot.

She hit speed dial for emergency as she ran. This was an older section of Thayne, Wyoming, and these buildings would burn like matchsticks.

“911. What is the nature of your emergency?” asked the dispatcher.

“This is Officer Ella Delaney. There’s been a bombing at the old cheese factory on Douglas. Send emergency crews.”

“Right away, Officer Delaney. Was anyone hurt?”

“I don’t think so. Better send the paramedics just in case.”

“I’m on it.”

Ella stopped beside Fred and the other officers at a safe distance from the blaze and looked back at the carnage. Several smaller explosions added to the flames as they watched. The entire building was a blazing inferno. She heard sirens in the distance. “It’s a good thing we didn’t try to rush the place. We would’ve been blown to kingdom come.”

“Or shot down on sight.”

“Yeah. Do you think Flint was a decoy? If they suspected we were onto them, they might’ve arranged that little scenario to draw us out into the open.”

“Maybe, or it could be that he was targeted because of his involvement with them,” Fred said, watching her closely.

Did Fred suspect she still had feelings for the man after all the time that had elapsed since Flint had been gone? “You mean they didn’t trust him for some reason?”

“Could be just about anything.”

“Then we’d better get back and take his statement,” she said, hoping Flint had a viable answer for being on the scene. The fire trucks arrived and the firefighters went to work on controlling the blaze. They assigned a few men to crowd control and, as there was nothing else they could do to help, they walked back to their vehicles.

Flint’s car was gone.

 ***

That’s it for now, folks. Enjoy!

myBook.to/GFlint

Characters…Choosing names to Suit

Published January 26, 2016 by Lorraine Nelson - Author

Do you struggle with naming your characters? Believe it or not, I don’t. A name is sometimes the first thing that strikes me…as in Zakia and the Cowboy.

I worked at a call center in town until my health got the best of me. One night, while I was answering phones, a caller named Zakia came on the line. The name stuck in my head long after the call ended and I found myself jotting quick notes to go with the name.

Zakia, exotic name, needs a hero with simple name, ergo, Luke.

ZATC_SM

Now Available in Print!!!

Zakia, long blond hair, emerald green eyes, 5’8″ tall

Zakia, banker’s daughter, wealthy family, used to socializing, partying, and having attention

Zakia, interests include, cooking, baking, gardening, and charity work

Zakia and Luke, married young, divorced young

Luke, third generation rancher in Alberta

Luke, collar length blond hair, sapphire blue eyes, 6’4″

Luke, rancher, thinks Zakia left him because she got bored with ranch life, when in truth she hated competing with the ranch for his attention.

All of this I jotted down between calls that same night and Zakia and the Cowboy was born. I now had a NanoWriMo project for November.

Only I couldn’t wait. :)

Nano was only about a week away but the characters kept talking to me (Yep, they really did!) until I sat down and began writing their story. At first, it was just hand-written pages between calls at work, but when I sat down to type up my notes, the story kept unfolding. It was getting really good and by the time Nano officially started on November 1st, I was 13042 words into Zakia and Luke’s story, and I now knew that it would be a romantic suspense as the villain had also popped in to speak his mind. lol I really had a lot of fun writing this story.

2009 was my first Nano and I was determined to write 50,000 words, which was required to finish Nano through the Harlequin forum. (I didn’t realize there was an official Nano site at that time).

Here’s how it went:

National Novel Writing Month, 2009!

Zakia & The Cowboy: Started with 13042 Words
Nov 1 – 4791…17833
2 – 3990…21823
3 – 2995…24818
4 – 4778…29596
5 – 3523…33119
6 – 0
7 – 3060…36179
8 – 1618…37797
9 – 3217…41014
10 – 1135…42149
11 – 4340…46489
12 – 3134…49623
13 – 3693…53316
14 – 3620…56936

(NaNo words: 43894)

I finished Zakia and the Cowboy, edited it, and sent it off to my critique partners. As we were only halfway through November and I already had the outline and beginning of another story, Daydreams & Night Scenes, I decided to finish it.

In this story, I needed a name for the heroine that could double as a man’s name. She became Miranda, Randi to her friends. The hero is a rich playboy and I decided on Alexander, a strong name that the hero has to live up to by the end of the book. :)

This novel is, as yet, unpublished, but I just submitted it to a publisher. If they don’t offer a contract, I’ll self-publish it as planned.

Daydreams & Night Scenes: Started with 12604 Words
15 – 0…12604
16 – 1477…14081
17 – 4968…19049
18 – 2517…21566
19 – 3581…25147
20 – 1459…26606
21 – 573…27179
22 – 5163…32342
23 – 3256…35598
24 – 4402…40000
25 – 5110…45110
26 – 3265…48375
27 – 1726…50101

(NaNo words: 37497)

Urgh! This story was finished and I still had 3 days left. I was on a roll! Went searching my files for another story not finished (I always have a few. lol) and found Once in This Lifetime.

Her Unlikely Bodyguard_200x300Jemma Leigh is the name of the heroine in this story. Why? Because it popped into my head at the right time. :) It was a distinctly feminine name for a strong woman, proving that a woman could be both. Theodore, her Teddy Bear from high school, had graduated and joined the army. Years later, Jemma Leigh and Ted are both back in their hometown and second chances just might be possible as they reunite and he appoints himself her bodyguard against the stalker who’s threatened her.

I later changed the title to Her Unlikely Bodyguard as Danielle Steel, one of my favorite authors, has a book out titled Once in This Lifetime. :)

Once In This Lifetime: Started with 18169 Words
27 – 1433…19602
28 – 6068…25670
29 – 6374…32044
30 – 5418…37462

(NaNo words: 19293)

I’d finished two novels and got well over halfway through the 3rd in 30 days. (28 really as I had two 0 word days) My end total was 100,684 words. Needless to say, I was impressed. I never thought I had that many words in me, but my poor fingers. lol I’d really put my 30 wpm typing speed to the test.

I’ve never managed to write that much in one month since, (Marketing and Promo take its toll) but it sure gave me a jump start in the publishing world. I submitted Zakia and the Cowboy to various publishers and suffered through 14 rejections until it was picked up by Evernight Publishing. They’ve been an excellent company to work with. By then I was writing the sequel, Covert Mission: Undercover Cop. I now have 7 books in the Thunder Creek Ranch series and #8, A Cowboy’s Drive, is in the works. I hope to finish the series this year with book #10, A Manning Christmas.

I hope this post has helped you in some way. If you have any questions, I’d be happy to answer them. Just post in the comment section. In the meantime, happy reading and writing to all of you. :)

 

Inspiration…Where does it come From?

Published January 19, 2016 by Lorraine Nelson - Author

The single most often asked question of me as an author is, “Where do you get your inspiration?” I usually just give a flippant, “Anywhere and everywhere. Life. Look around you.” But in all honesty, the first book I wrote for adults, Love on the Rocks, came about while I was doing typing tests to get the flexibility back in my hand after my thumb had been amputated. The Hopewell Rocks tourist attraction is only about a half hour drive from where I live and I’d been there many times over the years. I’d never heard of a romance being located there – and believe me, I’ve read plenty.

Love on the Rocks_hiresI ran across a typing test involving beaches and I immediately thought of The Rocks at Hopewell Cape. As I painstakingly retyped the copy with a sore hand, an idea sprang to mind and I quickly shifted gears. I can do this. I can write a novel about The Rocks. Seven weeks later, my thumb still wasn’t co-operating fully, but I had finished and edited a 63,000 word novel.

Boy, was I impressed! Up until that point, I had written poetry, short stories, and books for children, but never had I taken on a project of such magnitude. As my mom would say, “I was feeling my oats that day.” :)

Everybody that read that book encouraged me to submit it. So I did, and suffered through rejection after rejection. I kept reading posts about how a writer learns something new with every book they write. So, I set my ‘baby’ aside and started on another. Surely, I had another story in me.

Daydreams & Night Scenes was the next novel I wrote and, although it has not yet been published, it’s on my to-do-list for editing and publishing.

A few years ago, I studied and registered to be a foster parent. I got thinking of that one day. Quite often, foster homes are situated next to more affluent homes, as mine was, although I had a ranch style bungalow that I loved. What if a poor foster child fell in love with the neighborhood rich boy? But he never noticed her, until…they attended a business conference at a swanky hotel years later.

Yep, that was the start of my idea for the new novel. By then I’d learned about GMC (goal, motivation, and conflict) and did up a GMC sheet for my story. For me, but maybe not for all authors, a GMC Sheet includes:

Setting: Jot down the location and anything else that puts a firm picture in mind. City? Country? Ranch? Farm?

Heroine: Who is she? What does she work at? What does she drive? Where is she from? What does she look like? What is her goal? Her motivation? What conflict will arise that might keep her from getting it? Does she have any flaws? How does she need to grow or what does she need to overcome in order to reach her goal?

Hero: Same as for heroine. We need our readers to love the main characters, so give it your best shot.

Plot: What makes your story unique? Develop the plot here.

Sub-plot(s): If any, list them.

Black Moment: That point of no return when the main character(s) think all is lost.

Resolution: How will you fix it? What is going to tie it all together and give them their happy-ever-after?

Tag line or Log Line: (for marketing purposes.) Have you thought of one?

Writing is a lot of work and has a continual learning curve. It’s research, writing, more research, more writing, and when the story is finished and you think you’re done, then comes the editing. And the submissions. And the rejections. Make sure you have broad shoulders if this is the career path you’ve chosen. Remember, you can’t please everybody.

Happy Writing!

Guarding Flint now Available for Pre-order!!!

Published January 16, 2016 by Lorraine Nelson - Author

Yes, you read it right. :) Guarding Flint

Guarding Flint, Book 1 in my new Wyoming Secrets western series, is releasing on January 29th, but I’m happy to announce that it is now available for pre-order.

Blurb:

Ella Delaney is a small town girl with a big heart, except when it concerns Flint Harrington. Tough as nails city cop Ella is working a case when her son’s long absent father winds up in the middle of her stakeout.

Flint reconnects with Ella during his working vacation in Thayne, Wyoming, hoping for a long overdue reconciliation. But shots fired at him coupled with his daughter’s kidnapping has Ella investigating him instead.

Can they work out their troubled past while surviving present dangers? Or the better question…after the way Flint left years ago without a word, can he count on Ella’s help?

Sound interesting? Order it by clicking here.

Thank you for your support.

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