A Prepublished Novel in the Process of Revisions and Rewrites

Sunday, April 26, 2009

More on imagery and branding characters...

Imagery can do so much for a story. It drops the reader into a scene by using the senses vividly, but it can also ‘brand’ your characters so that at any given time the reader knows who is on stage. How you may ask?

Characters in a story, like people in everyday life, have quirks, personality stamps, and habits that individualize them. It may be a phrase, dialect; something that character does routinely, a scent, the way they dress. You name it but individualizing your characters is a priority. Imagine if all the characters dressed the same, talked in the same dialect, etc. How boring would that be?

Some character traits from my novel, Curse of the Marhime.

Niko Ionesciu: He is the Hero and has a persistent habit of brushing his straight overly-long hair out of his face. His voice is a low, sexy timbre with a tiny hint of Eastern Europe accent. He is confident and definitely Alpha material. He has a boyish smile and a small scar on his upper lip that only proves to make him more desirable.

Pita Sedgwick: Heroine of the story. She is from the Northwest, American, and a wee bit naïve. She balks and gets nervous in the presence of handsome men. She tends to nervously ramble. Average height, light golden brown hair, nice figure-not overly thin or curvaceous. Pita is a bit more on the reserved side but will step up to aggression when pressed into a corner.

Tomas Stepes: Dark, brooding, Alpha male, Romanian with heavy accent but sensitive to Pita’s needs and protective. Tomas is Niko’s right hand within the pack. He has a habit of missing humor due to translation.

The purpose of individualizing characters is also to avoid dialogue tags in overabundance. If your reader can recognize a character by the way he/she talks, or mannerisms they use then dialogue tags can be cut to a bare minimum.

Another great way to break up tedious dialogue runs is to use ‘Beats’ also known as ‘side actions’ to show the reader what is going on within the scene while this great conversation is going on. Let the reader see what the characters are doing while they are talking.

Let me explain. The hero may be putting together a wall unit, while the heroine is handing him the parts he needs. All this detail helps to make the read real, draw the reader into your scene.

Perhaps the conversation is heated. The hero paces the room, while the heroine slams the dishes into a sink full of water then has to wipe up the mess. All this not only gives the reader the action but also indicates the mood of the scene.

Below is a short excerpt of Curse of the Marhime depicting Pita and Niko’s first meeting. Notice the imagery, actions, and dialogue contained within.

After two stopovers and one plane change, Pita
settled in for the next leg of the journey. She’d
finished her novel long ago and had stopped in one of
the airport shops in Toronto and picked up a couple
of magazines and another book.
Some passengers looked familiar, but many
faces were different now. Her seatmates, the elderly
couple, seemed to be gone or at least not seated
anywhere near her. This plane was a little smaller
and had only two seats on either side of the aisle, the
one next to her remained empty.
Absently, she fingered through one of the
magazines when someone plopped down beside her.
She glanced up into a face whose smile was so
infectious and openly shy, that she instantly found
herself returning the smile. “Hi.”
His hair was dark-blond and longish, not quite
shoulder length. Little crinkles formed at the
corners of his eyes when he smiled, and he had a
dimple on his chin. She had an urge to reach out and
touch a finger to that dimple. God, he is so cute. A
flush of heat exploded in her as her eyes locked onto
his hazel ones.
“Hello,” she said in return and tightened her
grip on the magazine. She wanted to reach up and
push his wayward hair out of his ruggedly handsome
face. And to make matters worse she wanted to kiss
that adorable lopsided smile right off his face. Oh my
god, get a grip. What is wrong with me?

“Don’t let me interrupt you.” He glanced down at
the magazine in her lap. “You were reading.”
Something seemed familiar about him, but she
couldn’t put a finger on it. Pita detected a slight
Eastern European accent. She blushed and
concentrated on closing the magazine in her lap to
regain her composure. Her reaction to him bordered
on odd, and she couldn’t even find the correct words
to describe it. Something tugged deep within her,
some primal response to this man. Bigger than lust.
It unhinged her.
“No, you’re not, interrupting, I mean… I was
just flipping through it waiting for takeoff for
the…um…the umpteenth time,” she smiled again,
hoping to conceal how he unnerved her.
“You’re American?”
“Yes. I’m from Montana.” Pita answered. Why is
it I turn into an idiot around good-looking men? Get
a grip. “My name is Pita.” She extended a hand to
He took it, and Pita felt an odd vibration, a rush
of…power? A surge shot straight up her arm that
washed into her torso. It was the strangest
sensation, not in any way painful, just odd. They
stared at each other for long seconds before he
answered. “I’m Nikolae Ionesciu, very nice to meet
you. Please, call me Niko.” Again, that shy
disarming smile. He had a small scar on his upper
lip but it only added to his good looks.
Pita blushed again and looked down into her
lap, so he wouldn’t notice. The jolt she felt from the
brief touch was compelling. It vibrated through her
arm like the aftershock of an electrical current. He’d
felt it too, she’d seen it in his eyes. She picked the
magazine off her lap and slipped it in the slot on the
seat in front of her for something to do. No denying
she was attracted to him, but the strange sensation
that passed between them had nothing to do with it.
She knew—no felt instinctively— without a doubt,
this was something entirely different.
“Where are you from? Your accent…” Pita
considered a moment. “Slavic? Perhaps somewhere
near Romania?” She guessed. “My best friend was
born there. Her parents have a similar accent.”
“I was born in Hungary but grew up in Northern
Romania just over the border between the two
countries.” He explained. “I travel between the
United States and Romania often these days.”
“That explains your almost perfect English.”
Pita grinned. She loved the husky timbre of his
voice. Its slightly raspy baritone caressed her
senses—soft, sensuous.
The stewardess passed by, advising everyone to
buckle their seatbelts, that the plane would be
taxiing for take off in a moment.
Pita busied herself with the seatbelt and locked
the little tray in place. Niko bent to place his
backpack under the seat in front of him then buckled
himself in. He pushed back the hair that had fallen
into his face when he’d bent down. Pita wondered
what it would be like to feel that hand touch her
face, her neck, slide down her...
Oh God, what is the matter with me?
The plane lurched forward and began its taxi to
the runway. She relaxed into the seat and waited for
the usual rush when the plane sped up and then left
the ground. Better to concentrate on that than what
she’d been thinking a moment ago.
“Here we go.” He commented.
“Hmmmm…” she responded glad that of all the
seats in the plane his was beside her. The plane
picked up momentum and lifted off the runway and
into the night.

I invite your comments. I hope this post is helpful and maybe even entices you to read my book. *grin*


Monday, April 20, 2009

A Winner announced and more on imagery and characterization through imagery.

Imagery is a wonderful subject in writing and so much is accomplished when taking one's time to paint a picture through the perfect combination of words. Don't you agree?

I'd like to explore using imagery to further 'show' your character's personalities and individualities. Ways of branding them so the reader knows exactly whose POV we are in without being told 'so and so' said this or constantly naming characters to 'remind' the reader who is doing what.

But before we go too far into this discussion, I'd like to announce the winner of a free .pdf copy of Curse of the Marhime from the April Blog Event, A Tisket, A Tasket, put Romance in your Basket.

And the winner is...


Congratulations, Luanne:)
Please email me at www.gothscribegirl@aol.com for your free copy of Curse of the Marhime at your convenience.

Thank you all for your wonderful comments on the subject of imagery in writing. I hope you will enjoy this next discussion, as well, and I look forward to hearing more of your comments.

Stay tuned. I will continue the above mentioned topic in my next post:)


Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Art of Creating wonderful Imagery through use of the Senses.

Welcome to my portion of the April Blog Event: A Tisket, A Tasket, Put Romance in your Basket. If you just dropped in and have no clue what is going on you can backtrack to the beginning by visiting Silver James' blog and following the links from there. This way you'll be in the running for so many more great prizes:) I've included the blog event's details at the bottom of this post as well.


Since Easter is behind us and Spring is in full swing, I thought I'd like to talk about the importance of imagery in writing. What does one have to do with the other? Well, I can't talk about the beauty of the season without painting a picture with imagery using the senses can I?

The idea of imagery is to pull the reader into your story. Creating and stimulating sensory responses so the reader can actually see, smell, taste, hear, touch--in essence, make the reader feel part of the scene.

I love to use imagery every chance I get in writing. I want to pull the reader into my scenes. The whole purpose of reading is to escape 'real life' if not for just a little while. To do this effectively you need to choose the perfect words and descriptives to paint your scenes. I'll tell you how I attempt to accomplish this in my own writing.

Below, I'd like to begin with a couple of examples. The first a simple description of a scene and the second, a more detailed sensory-stimulated painting of the same scene.

Example 1:

Colorful flowers were pretty along the tudor mansion's walkway. In back, the roses and gardenias smelled nice. We sat on a bench and rested in the shade.

Example 2:

Purple pansies, red and white tulips, sunny daffodils and forsynthia burst a riot of color along the two-story English tudor mansion's walkways. As we strolled around back, the heady scent of roses and gardenia perfumed the air, and we soon found ourselves surrounded by statuary and gurgling fountains beneath a canopy of century-old oaks. We settled down on a garden bench and rested in the coolness of the shaded sanctuary.

For all intent purposes, doesn't example two take you into that garden? Can you not see the Tudor mansion, smell the roses and gardenia, see the yellows and lush greens of the daffodills, forsynthia, and aged oaks, feel the coolness of the shaded bench? Doesn't the imagery of this scene almost melt stress away and help you to forget reality for a minute?

This is what writing is all about, at least in my mind. When I read a book, I want to be carried away, experience what the characters are experiencing. If they are in an Italian restaurant, I want to see the Chianti bottles dripping with colorful candlewax, feel the warm, cozy romance of candlelit tables, and smell the garlic and tomatoes. I want to here the scraping of cutlery against stonewear and the low rumble of conversation with the clink of glassware.

If you are depicting a couple walking on a beach at sunset, you want to describe the palette of colors splayed across the horizon as the sun sets. The violets and grays of twilight moving in. The sound of the surf crashing or rolling onto the beach. The feel of the warm sand between the toes of bare feet.

See what I mean? All this works to enhance the experienc of the reader as he/she ventures through your story.

A great way to practice this is to go outside, sit quietly, and just listen. Try to describe your surroundings in the most vivid words you can. Next time you're in a restaurant, try to jot down your sensory observations, or in a forest taking a walk, describe the scuttle and scurry of small animals startle as you pass by, the birds darting about above, the whisper of the wind through the leaves. All this will help to create the perfect sensory and imagery in your scenes.

Please pipe in on this subject. If you are a reader tell us what you like most when you are caught up in your favorite authors work. I'd love to hear from you. And one lucky person will win a Spring gift bag filled with goodies(my contribution to the April Blog Event Grand Prize).

As promised contest blurb and all pertinent information below.

To enter to win prizes from the authors donating treasures to the grand prize (see each day's post for what an author is donating to the grand prize), find the four Easter eggs in the A TISKET A TISKET, PUT ROMANCE IN YOUR BASKET blog event.
You will be searching for the pictured egg. Just visit all of the authors' websites, locate the 4 eggs, make a list of their locations by pasting the urls to the website pages in an e-mail, then send the entry to happyendings2007@aol.com by midnight CST on May 1st, 2009. The winner will be randomly drawn and announced May 2nd at Skhye Moncrief's Blog. Tip #1, subscribe to Skhye's Blog to learn if you're the winner! And don't worry. If you start in on the blog event late, just head back to Silver James' blog on April 1st to begin your website search for the Easter eggs. Don't miss the fun!

And one more chance to win. I will personally choose a winner from all of you commentors on Sunday, April 19th. I will be giving away a copy Curse of the Marhime in .pdf format to one lucky person. Hope you love to die for Alpha males:) Because I know you will love Niko. Good luck!

The next leg of this journey is tomorrow at Phyllis Campbell's blog so don't forget to drop in and hang with her for the rest of this bloghopping tour and so many more chances at great prizes.

Thanks for dropping in. I hope you've enjoyed you visit:)


Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter!

Hope your Easter Sunday is full of bunnies, colorful eggs, lots of chocolate, and sunshine. This is such a beautiful time of year. Being from the Northeast I loved Springtime when everything was new and fresh. Warm sunshine, the trees laced with brilliant greens of new growth, crocus, forsyntia, cherry blossoms, tulips, and so many beautiful flowers smiling their colorburst faces. The birdsong and all the activity of nesting going on.

I would venture outside and breathe a heady breath of clean fresh air and smile, face turned upward allowing the sun to caress winter-pale skin. How great is that?

Now, LOL, I have spring/summer all year round except on occasion when a strong front ventures all the way south. I'm spoiled but nothing ever could take the place of the great Northeast and the change of seasons deep within my heart.

I truly miss it, but I opt to stay in my tropical paradise to avoid the long hard winters, even though, those too hold a certain beauty of their own. And Christmas is quite weird down here in Florida. Down here over twenty years and still yearn for the traditional white Christmas. Though, I have to say putting up the outdoor decorations is a lot more comfortable down here:)

Well, just wanted to drop in and wish you all a wonderful holiday weekend and remind you to keep your eyes open for the April Blog event which I am hosting on April 16th. If you haven't already been actively following the event, please scroll down to, I believe, my post on March 30th for all pertinant information and for bunnie's sake get caught up! Lots of wonderful prizes to be had.


Sunday, April 5, 2009

High Tea and My First Book Signing:)

I have successfully completed my very first booksigning! Let me just say that I was beside myself all week. I don't like crowds, and I don't like to think about public speaking. Don't get me wrong. I am very much a people person but when it comes to making 'appearances' to promote myself. Yikes! That scares the heck out of me. I'd rather be in my own little space writing my heart out all by myself.

Okay all that aside, I took myself by the proverbially sandle straps and got myself to the Serenity Tea Room in West Palm Beach on time and had a wonderfully relaxing afternoon amongst my peer authors, friends, family, and walkin customers.

What a wonderfully quaint place! I have some personal pictures to share with you later because I have not gotten them downloaded as yet, but here are some a friend has taken.

This is the beautiful little cottage that houses the tea house. This picture is not the most current. It came off the Serenity webpage but I will share an updated one as soon as I get them. The cottage trellis in front it completely covered in bougainvillea and the front is surrounded by various flowers and plants now. When you pass through the arch of the trellis you are enclosed in a little garden terrace.

The Serenity Tea House serves the traditional British High Tea. Complete with a three course meal. The fair consists of a wonderful brothy soup, scones, cucumber and tomato sandwiches, as well, coddled cream served with lemon and strawberry preserves, and the traditional tiny desserts. The ambiance is so relaxing.

Below are the signing authors as well as members of the Florida Romance Writers(my RWA chapter), family, and friends. I am seated in the toward the back of the first group picture behind the rose centerpiece to the left.

As you will notice the first two photos are either end of the room I was seated in and the below picture is taken in one of the adjoining rooms. Assorted fresh flowers, knick knacks, period pieces from hats to antique wedding gowns, furniture, lighting, so much imagery it's truly hard to describe. All I can tell you is it turned out to be the perfect afternoon.

I'm quite sure you are wondering how the signing went. Fantastic! I went with a small number of books and came back with only two. It seems my debut author signing proved to be a wonderful success:) All the authors report the same result. I will definitely look forward to doing this again.

In closing, I would like to thank Mary Ricksen for all the work she did in making this signing the success it was. She did a terrific job and and deserves a standing ovation along with lots of hugs. I know for a fact there were times she probably wanted to pull her hair out:) I hope to do more promotional events with my good friends:
Mary Ricksen,
Jianne Carlo,
Mona Risk,
Patrice Wilton, and
Traci Hall.