How to Write Women

How can we write women characters better in this modern world of equality without losing a woman’s femininity? Benjamin tackles this question in his latest post. I found it extremely helpful, so I thought I’d share it with you. He’s covered other topics including ‘Villains’ and ‘Heroes’. Lots of great tips and insight into good storytelling. You can catch up on all his other ‘Storytelling’ posts on his blog-

https://benjaminfrog.com/

Benjamin T. Collier's Blog

The most common mistake I see male writers make when writing women is to write every woman the same. All women are written as stereotypical women who are good at cooking and cleaning and staying at home and not having an opinion. Then there’s other male writers who, trying not to seem sexist, go in the complete opposite direction and write all women as aggressive, leather-bound power bitches who are really good at fighting and making witty comebacks.

Neither approach works, because in either case the writer is painting all women the same. Now here’s the thing, some women are stereotypical, and some women are tomboys. And neither of them feel that they need to be anything different, because they don’t. That’s who they are. They’re individuals. Every woman is different. The problem comes when we write all women as being one way or another. It’s unrealistic because that’s not…

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Happy Valentines/Whatever Day

I wish all of you a very happy day today, be it Valentines Day, Love Day or Tuesday. I don’t for one moment profess to be an expert at any of the above (well, Tuesday I could handle, I guess), so I’m going to hand you over to the experts:

What Is Love?

For the Christ followers out there, here’re a few scripture verses from 1 Corinthians:  (not only for weddings!)

1 Corinthians 13:4-8a New International Version (NIV)

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

8 Love never fails.

Just a recap; this was written by Paul to the church at Corinth and is for all believers to remind them that Christ taught us to love one another. It’s a beautiful passage but it refers to the love of all people, not just romantic love. However, I still think it goes well with a couple starting a life together, don’t you?

 

For The Lovers

I’ve met this amazing speaker in person and had the privilege of taking a few of her classes at a writer’s conference. She’s a straight-talking Christian woman who doesn’t mince words. So if you’re looking for that little something extra today, well here’s Sheila’s award-winning book.

The Good Girls Guide To Great Sex book

http://tolovehonorandvacuum.com/
The Good Girl’s Guide To Great Sex

 

The Single Life

And, if you’re single and you’re wondering where that leaves you, here’s an honest post by a single guy on how he feels about being single in a church full of mostly couples.

The Single Christian blog post

https://benjaminfrog.wordpress.com/about/
Benjamin T. Collier/Author

 

Autistic Love 

If you landed on my blog looking for articles on Autism I have a super blog for you. Ben speaks about growing up on the autism spectrum and, yes -love in the autistic world.

Autistic Love blog post

 

So there you are, dear friends. I hope I found something for everyone. May the Lord bless you today and always.

‘Til next time, know you are loved by the One who created you.

Lynne

Switching Focus

My next blog was going to be about compiling a playlist to inspire you as you write your fantasy novel. Instead, I’m letting you, my fellow bloggers, know I’m switching my focus on this site. I’ll let you know how you can still read the playlist post later.

Switching Focus
New Path

#WritingFantasy  Will Carry On

I’ve completed the series of posts I wanted to share with you about Writing Fantasy and the steps I’ve taken on my own journey writing my first fantasy novel. I’m very excited to start the actual writing process this November for my second NaNoWriMo! If you’ve followed my posts over the past few months I hope you’ll join me in November as we fire out 50,000 words together.

My Outline, Setting, Characters, World Building and Premise are all going to be relocated to another blog I write on, White Rose Writers.

So What’s My New Focus? #AmWriting

As most of you know from reading my profile, as well as being a writing coach I’m also a Christian Life Coach and Certified Lay Pastoral Counselor with many years experience coaching and encouraging believers in their walk with God. This will be my main focus on this blog going forward.

I’ll be blogging about Your Sacred Path, Finding Your Life Purpose, Hearing God’s Voice, Choosing Careers and possibly sharing a few gardening tips along the way. I love to network so I’ll be giving you links whenever I can for you to explore further.

My newsletter will be about the books and courses I’ll be writing, plus I’ll let you know when I’m launching something new, and I’ll have giveaways and social media events exclusively for my blog readers. If you choose to continue following me here that would be lovely, if however, you’re interested in continuing to follow my posts on writing, head over to White Rose Writers and follow my posts there, along with branding and marketing tips from my social media partner, Kirstie Shanks.

Thank you for taking time out from your busy life to read and comment.

Till next time here, or at White Rose Writers, I hope you are blessed.

Lynne

Writing Fantasy || Casting Characters

 

So you’re ready to start the first draft of your novel – great! What if it’s so epic that a huge producer (as in hugely famous) wants to make it into a movie? That’s even more fantastic! Some of you reading this may have to do that one day. How awesome would that be? Have you already been daydreaming of who you’d cast in your movie? Let’s face it; most of us envision our stories on the screen even before we put fingers to keyboard.  This is actually very helpful when considering how your characters will respond to events in your story with their mannerisms, quirks and personalities. Here’s an exercise to get your producer juices flowing.

Writing Fantasy || Casting Characters
Your Novel on Screen

If Steven Spielberg called for advice on casting for your movie, who would be your first choice?

Is your story a swashbuckling adventure with a shot of rum humour? Maybe Jonny Depp is who you have in mind for your hero. Or do you see the dashingly romantic Orlando Bloom as your protagonist?

Are you writing a sci-fi novel? Do you see Leonard Nimoy as your strange wise man, or perhaps he fits the role of a High-Elf wizard in your fantasy novel?

Who would you just love to cast as your main Protagonist?

Who would be perfect in the role of your main Antagonist?

Your Protagonist’s Love Interest?

Your Protagonist’s Mentor?

Your Protagonist’s Sidekick?

Your Protagonist’s 4 Main Followers?

Your Antagonist’s Sidekick or Main Henchman?

Other Characters

Family Members

Boss/Teacher

Religious Leader

Governor/Political Leader

Town Clown

Others…

Pinterest For Role Call

By now most of you know how much I love to play around on Pinterest and create secret boards for what I’m working on. I create boards for my character roles, costume ideas, writing tips for the genre I’m currently writing in and so on. After my book is published, I make all the secret boards public to, hopefully, gain readers from my boards. (This a little sneaky tip I learned  about social media marketing from a lecturer at WriteCanada, the annual writer’s conference I attend in Toronto).

Do You Need To Fire A Famous Actor?

As you write each scene, ask yourself if the actor you’ve chosen fits the role you’ve cast them in. If the actor isn’t working for your character – cut them loose! Don’t feel too bad. I’m sure Brad Pitt can find employment elsewhere. I find this casting exercise very helpful and inspiring. There’s freedom in ‘hiring’ professionals to play around in your imagination. And it’s so much fun!

Resources

If you missed my other blogs on writing characters, you can catch up here:

Character Personalities

Character Races

Character Occupations

Character Names

Character Backstory

Till next time, I hope you are blessed.

Lynne

Writing Fantasy || Creative Elements

Apart from the actual storyline, our stories need to include other elements for them to hold our reader’s attention. Look for ways to incorporate some of the things you find interesting and entertaining when you read a novel or watch a movie. Your voice will come through in your own writing.

Choosing a writing genre
What Do You Read?

Creative Elements  #WritingTips

  • Humour
  • Romance
  • Relationships
  • Plot Twists
  • Fights
  • Chases

What Are 4 Of Your Favourite Books? Why? #AmReading

This is an exercise in finding Creative Elements for your novels. You’ll write best what you enjoy most because it will come easier. Your story will take on a life of its own as you write so let it flow naturally and don’t think about getting it perfect the first time. You’ll probably find that you automatically write the elements you’re attracted to and, if humour is one of your favourite elements, go ahead and laugh out loud. If anyone’s listening and asks you what you’re laughing about, tell them they’ll just have to wait for the launch date.

As you read through your first draft later, look for lapses in your storyline and see if you can add more of your favourite elements. Creative elements also serve to bridge the gaps between scenes and break up long dialogue. Have you ever noticed how some movies are good at throwing in humour right in the middle of a battle scene? One of my favourite franchises for this is the Avengers. Iron Man is always cracking me up right before he clobbers someone!

 

#WritingFantasy  #CreativeElements  #ShowDontTell

How do you write humour, for example, into fantasy? A favourite of mine is the movie Guardians of the Galaxy, where misunderstandings of the English Earth language stumps the character Drax through the entire movie, but the movie is packed with other elements such as adventure, romance, battle scenes and chases. And let’s not forget Groot! He doesn’t say much, but that’s half the humour. And we all loved the baby Groot dancing. Remember to show, don’t tell. The key to making your story memorable is to engage your audience. Be yourself and you’ll write with your own voice and use your own creative elements.

Resources

The Avengers movies

Guardians of the Galaxy movie

 

Till next time, I hope you are blessed.

Lynne

Writing Fantasy || Point of View

Who is going to tell your story? The answer to this question will play an important role in the tone of your entire novel. We listen to other people probably every day in one form or another; in personal conversations, a lecture at school, a boss, or characters on a TV show. Notice how the tone of their voice influences you. Are they interesting, funny, lively, friendly or quarrelsome? The characters telling the story have their own unique voice and, depending on that voice, will tell a scene in a specific way. Have you listened to your characters?

 

Writing Point of View
Point Of View

 

8 Points To Ponder For Point Of View   #WritingPov

 

  • Have you thought about what tense you’ll write in? Will your story read better in past tense or present tense?
  • Past Tense – “Suzie shopped at the mall”.
  • Present Tense – “Suzie is shopping at the mall”.
  • When you sit to write each scene, who do you hear talking in your mind?
  • First Person – “I love donuts”.
  • Second Person – “You love donuts”.
  • Third Person – “Suzie loves donuts”.
  • Omniscient (aka all-knowing) – “Suzie loves donuts but she doesn’t realize they’re laced with a powerful hallucinogenic”. Use this voice sparingly, as when none of the characters know something but your reader needs to know.

 

Choose Your Narrators   #AmWriting

Just like in a movie audition, test your characters’ voices to see which point of view sounds best for each scene. You may want to do several viewpoints throughout your story, but remember to not switch viewpoints in the middle of a scene or chapter unless you make a specific break in the narrative. It confuses the heck out of the reader. If you’re new to writing fantasy/fiction keep it simple and write one POV for each scene. You may feel like you want to write the entire story from one POV, but test other voices to see if you can spice things up, add some humour or simply add a different perspective to delight the reader.

Voice Test   #WritingPOV

Write a paragraph from the author’s POV. This means you just write out the paragraph as it happens, without emotion or opinion. Then write it out in all the voices of your chosen characters. Let them say what they feel and what they’re thinking.

  • Who sounds good for this particular scene?
  • Who has an emotional investment in what’s happening?
  • Who will it influence later in the story as your plot unfolds?
  • Who sees something no one else does?

Example:

  • “Suzie went to the mall again. I hope she’s not spending all her money. She still has two weeks before her next paycheck”.
  • “She went to the mall again. Who does she think she is, buying all those fancy expensive clothes? They look ridiculous on her anyway.”
  • “Suzie went to the mall this morning. She needed to choose a dress for her grandmother’s funeral”.

Do you see how each character changes the tone of the scene? What were they thinking and feeling? Ask them why. Draw the scene out from your chosen character’s point of view.

 

Resources

Back To The Future – where the twists are revealed by other people and by the main character.

Structuring Your Novel – K.M.Weiland

 

Till next time, I hope you are blessed.

Lynne

Writing Fantasy || Outlining 5 – Foreshadowing

Your characters have a backstory, a personal history that will shape their life in your novel. They have childhoods, education, loves, conflicts, careers. All of these must be present in your character building for you to see where you need to foreshadow an event. When the event happens, your reader should be able to look back and think, “Oh ya, I kinda saw that coming”, but still be blown away when it happens.

Writing Foreshadow
I Didn’t See That Coming!

Keeping Track of WhereYour Characters Have Been

One way to keep track of timeline in your novel is to use a paper calendar with large squares, create one online, or use sticky notes. If you have room, put these on your office wall. If something epic happens to Lucy on Friday, you need to leave a trail of breadcrumbs (metaphorically) or have Lucy experience something similar before the epic event. Put a few breadcrumbs in the days, months or years leading up to the event. This gets the reader anticipating something and committed to turning the page.

Examples of Foreshadowing   #WritingTips

In the story of The Two Towers, Frodo says he needs to know that Gollum will come back from the pitifully evil person he saw him becoming. This foreshadows Frodo later succumbing to the evil power of the ring.

So, it doesn’t matter that your protagonist was a ballerina as a child unless she’s a ballerina when we meet her in the story as an adult, or there was a traumatic dancing accident which will haunt her throughout her life and shape her future. The foreshadow leads to an event or a realization in her life later.

One of my favourite old movies is Whatever Happened To Baby Jane? A nasty crotchety old woman is just plain mean to everyone. You have to know there’s something in her past that made her change from the beautiful little girl she used to be. As the story progresses, we see her relationship with her sister whom she lives with and cares for. It’s in the dialogue and flashbacks that we learn what happened to Baby Jane.

By far one of the best movies of foreshadowing is Sixth Sense written by M. Night Shyamalan. The entire movie is leading the viewer creepily towards a shocking truth. I didn’t see it coming until near the end. I believed everything until then and was blown away by the ending. I had to go back and watch it again to get all the clues that were left like tiny breadcrumbs. Now THAT’s foreshadowing at its best!

Where do you need to add a breadcrumb of information that will have your reader saying, “Wow, I didn’t see that coming! Wait – yes I did!”

 

Resources:

The Two Towers

Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?

Sixth Sense

 

Till next time, I hope you are blessed.

Lynne