Welcome to my little bit of cyber-space. It is my prayer that all who enter here may be richly blessed by the God of all grace. All praise to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

First winner of DiAnn Mills' book and one more chance to win!

Thanks to all who left a blog comment last week. The winner of DiAnn's copy of Awaken My Heart is Kathleen Morphy. DiAnn is contacting her for her mailing info.

For all the rest of you, you still have a chance to win my ARC copy of the same book (this is an advanced copy authors send out to reviewers, etc.) on March 1st if you leave a comment any time this month, so what are you waiting for? Hope to hear from you soon.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Guest Blogger--DiAnn Mills

I'm happy to post the following guest blog by DiAnn Mills, the wonderful author of 16 novels and 14 novellas. As I mentioned in my last blog, DiAnn has graciously provided this interesting article on memorable characters and will be moderating this blog for the next three days (February 11-13) and making comments and answering questions on this topic. Then on Thursday morning I will draw a name from all those who comment about her article and DiAnn will mail the winner an autographed copy of her latest novel, Awaken My Heart, so be sure to leave your email addy for contact information. You will also be entered in my February drawing (see last post) so you'll have two chances to win a copy of this book. Now, on with the show...

Memorable Characters that Rival Scarlett and Rhett by DiAnn Mills
Sit back and close your eyes. Who are your favorite book or movie characters? Are they Scarlett and Rhett? Perhaps Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia? Sam and Frodo? Ahab and the whale? The Lone Ranger and Tonto? The list goes on and on. Why are these characters unforgettable? What about them causes us to laugh and cry and wonder if they are all right?
The key is that the writer defined the characters with believable traits and clear motivation. We care about those characters. We live our lives vicariously through them. To many readers, their favorite characters must be real people because they live in their hearts and minds.
How does a writer create memorable characters? She establishes wants and needs that lay the foundation for critical motivation. If I asked you to take a moment and write down all of the things you wanted, the items might fill a book. But if I asked you to compile a list of what you needed, the project becomes a little more difficult. We don’t always know what we need, but finding out becomes a process of soul searching and experiencing life. But when needed items become goals, we are motivated to go after those things vital to our survival.
Character sketches provide great help to laying the foundation for our characters. They force us to think—brainstorm about what motivates the character. And there’s that word again: motivation.
The roots of motivation are unmet needs. How these needs are fulfilled depends on the character’s integrity, established over time through life experiences, inherited factors, and environment. No wonder we humans are flawed characters! No protagonist is perfect. No antagonist or villain is completely evil. But some characters have more flaws than others, and out of those flaws come weaknesses and room for character growth. Out of the admirable traits come our heroes and heroines, who have the stuff that gives us hope and help us to believe again in the goodness of mankind.
All of us have a need for relationships, significance, and security. These critical needs are supposed to be filled by God, but we, as flawed “characters,” look for fulfillment in other areas, and those areas become our weaknesses. Examine your character’s struggle. Does he/she have a need for sex, for material goods, power, work, education, or the arts? How are those weaknesses manifested? Does your character seek to satisfy his basic needs in ways that honor God? In short, what motivates the character?
My suggestion is to study your character from every angle to determine the underlying factors shoving them out of bed each morning. Interview them. Live with them. Go to dinner with them. Place them in settings that are unlike the previous scenes. Would you take a vacation with them? How a character reacts and responds to the events surrounding him determines who he is. Steer away from predictable behavior but stay within the perimeter of the traits you have assigned.
The next time you are reading a dynamic novel or watching a movie that has you sitting on the edge of your chair, take the time to discover the characters’ motivations. This article has just touched on the volumes of information about writing memorable characters. I hope I’ve given you inspiration to discover the techniques behind the scenes.
Scarlett and Rhett are unforgettable. Now you know why! Here is my question for you. Who are your favorite book or movie characters and why? I look forward to your response.
Check out my website at http://www.diannmills.com/ and sign up for my newsletter!

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Book Contest Winner and Book Review--Awaken My Heart

I am happy to announce that Cherie J is the winner of the book Protecting Amy by Susan Page Davis. The book will be sent to her as soon as she sends me her mailing info. Hers is the third name I drew because the first name did not leave an email address. The second winner did leave an addy but when I sent her an email, it came back as undeliverable. If you want to be entered into the book drawing each month it is one of the rules that you have to leave a valid email addy so I can contact you. The other is that you cannot win two months in a row, so cherie j is the only one ineligible for this month's drawing which will be for DiAnn Mills' newest novel, Awaken My Heart. In fact, you will have two chances to win this book--one is for my ARC copy in the regular monthly drawing and the other will be sent by DiAnn to someone who posts here to her guest blog during the days of February 11-13. So come and post often during that time. DiAnn has a great lesson for us on memorable characters and will be answering your questions and commenting on your responses during that time. Read on for a review of this book.

DiAnn Mills is one of my favorite authors, and I have read many of her books (16 novels and 14 novellas and one non-fiction title). I have to say that Awaken My Heart is one of my favorites! The heroine, Marianne Phillips, is the daughter of a wealthy rancher in Texas in the early 19th century who wants to destroy the village of the mestizos who control neighboring land and take it for himself. The hero, Armando Garcia, is the leader of this group. You will enjoy and marvel at how DiAnn can bring them together against what seem to be unsurmountable odds. As always, DiAnn paints pictures with words so you see the breath-taking scenery and feel the passion of the characters and join them on their journeys. This is a book you won't want to miss, so leave a post any time in February to win my copy and during Feb. 11-13 to win an autographed copy from DiAnn herself. And if you don't win, I hope you will hurry out and buy a copy for yourself and one to give to a friend. You'll be glad you did!