Wednesday, February 17, 2016

2/17/16 The character versus the author

Some people compare my character, Sam Darling, with me. That's because she and I share many similar traits. However, I think she's much nicer than I am. When my friends say, "In book three you...," I have to remind them that it's Samantha and not I who did such and such.

When I began the first book (begun in 1995, published in 2012) I didn't have any experience in writing books. I'd written shorter works all my life, but never a book-length project. So I did what most new writers do—I made everything too autobiographical. So I did a lot of editing on that first book and I changed a lot. There are now 6 Darling sibs instead of 9. (Nine sibs in my family.) Sam's first name was changed from Jan to Sam. (JD are my initials and I didn't want the character to have the same initials as I.) There were more things I edited as well.

What Sam and I do share are a natural curiosity about everything. And I do mean everything. I ask questions all the time, and have done that since I was very small. And I honestly don't mean to be intrusive, I am just overly curious. The big difference is that I would never look in someone's medicine cabinet or search through drawers without permission. Sam would do it without blinking.

She and I share an inability to tell a lie very well. I choose not to lie, and that has caused problems in my life. She blushes when she lies. However in the later books she's become quite good at it.

Sam is not a good housekeeper. Me either.

Sam holds a grudge. I don't. (In fact, she's a professional at it.)

She's a smart-ass. And I have to confess that I am too.

She's in love with love. Me: Guilty as charged.

She doesn't have a lot of close friends outside her family. Me either. I've always had a ton of sibs in my life, and very few close friends. When I've lived away from Quincy, I developed more friends because I didn't have my sibs close by.

That's all I can think of off the cuff.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

2/13/16 I answered a friend's question

My friend, Kimberly Shursen, asked people about how they get their ideas. She also asked other questions, but that's the one that stuck with me. By the way, she's a wonderful thriller writer and I suggest you check out her books on Amazon or else on her website

Anyway, my response on her blog was so long that I thought it would make a blog entry on my site. So here it is:

I really enjoyed your post, Kimberly, and also enjoy your thrillers immensely. As you know, I write different types of books. Mine are called cozy mysteries. I am working on number six right now. Where do I get my ideas? From people. From conversations I've overheard. From questions I've asked. One whole book was totally conceived on the patio of a Panera Bread Company when a friend said, "Wouldn't it be funny if...?" And we went off on a riff that gave life to one of my favorite works. (Note: That book is Can You Picture This?) I write mostly at Panera and that's because I'm an extrovert and get energy from people. At home I have a hard time writing even though I have a great office.

So in the summer I'm on the patio there and in the winter I'm ensconced in booth number 2, from 8 to 11 AM. I call them my office hours.

My characters tell me the plot. When I start I have a general idea, like right now--my book Who's the Rogue? started when I was in a play at our community theatre and noticed there were some dark areas and also that the basement was a little scary at times. I thought, "What if a murder would happen there? How would that be able to happen?" I didn't want to make it the stereotypical theater murder where a sandbag falls on someone's head or a real gun is substituted for the fake one. So I came up with another idea. Then a friend asked me if I'd use his name in a book. And voila'! Wes Friday is the Broadway star brought to my hometown to star in a show. And so it goes....

Wow. Sorry this is so long, Kimberly. Your questions inspired me. I'm going to copy and paste it to my blog. :)

So, do you have any questions for me about writing? Either my writing or writing in general? I'm certainly not the foremost expert on writing, but I do know a thing or two.