WisRWA Calendar

Apr 05
2019
WisRWA 2019 Write Touch Conference
Mark your calendars for the 2019 Write Touch Conference April 5-7, 2019 at the Milwaukee Hyatt in beautiful downtown Milwaukee. The conference will feature Maya Rodale as keynote speaker, and Lisa Cron as one of the headliners.

Registration is now open. Click the events tab for more information.

Meeting Times

Dec 17
2018
Milwaukee
6 PM at 2321 W Cumberland Court, Mequon, WI

Holiday Party

See the calendar tab for more details.
Jan 12
2019
Chippewa Falls
10-12:30 at Deb's Cafe, 1120 122nd St, Chippewa Falls, WI

Deep Point of View

See the calendar tab for more details.

WisRWA Newsletter



Character Development

Fleshing Out Characters: Using an Unusual Resource

Astrology researchI generally have a good handle on my characters before I begin their stories. But there comes a point during my writing and/or plotting that I’m looking for details about the character, something to help me focus their personalities or flesh them out. That’s when I turn to  Linda Goodman’s Sun Signs and Love Signs.

Yes, they are astrological signs books. But, this article is not about creating characters based on their astrological signs. I simply find Linda Goodman’s descriptions inspiring. Often times, I even get physical features from her writings.

EXAMPLE: Linda describes Librans as being “full of curves, rather than angles.” Or they have a “bright lilting laugh” and “that Venus smile has enough candle power to transfigure even plain or downright homely features—literally, not figuratively.”

Descriptions like that inspire me. How about if you got a plain-Jane heroine? Now you have an idea how to make her beautiful.

Pisces she describes as having eyes that are “liquid, heavy-lidded, and full of strange lights” and “you’ll usually find more dimples than wrinkles.”

She writes that Scorpios have “husky voices” and Aquarians have a “marked nobility of profile”.

LOOKING FOR SOME CHARACTER TRAITS?

How’s this for a common romantic hero whatever his zodiac sign? “Don’t expect this man to bare his soul when he first meets you. Cancerians never confide in strangers, and there are certain things even their best friends don’t know.” Sound like a mysterious hero to you?

Check out a few more.

There’s an “inner core that belongs only to him.” “Love is not a strictly physical relationship with this man. He hears more, sees more, and feels more through his senses than others do. This man uses the word “if” like a smoke screen. “If I loved you, we could….” Your heroine will have to learn to “blot out the word if.” I don’t know about you, but I think I just fell in love with this guy.

Anybody got a character who goes around patching things up between others? Check out a Libra for details.

Is your heroine strong and independent? Might she have a secret regret that she wasn’t born a man? Don’t let that secret desire fool you. This girl has a slow seductive walk. She looks “seductive in jeans, jodpurs or baseball shoes. And she’s the one with the husky voice.”

BLEND CLASHING PERSONALITY TYPES?

Zodiac symbols

Take a lesson from the Scorpion female who “can’t excuse weakness in a man.” She looks for “ambition and courage.” She “wants a mate who can dominate her and make her proud.” Pit her against a Pisces male sign who never “recognizes that the tide is at its flood even when it sloshes over [his] feet” and you’ve got trouble. It isn’t that he’s weak. “He may just linger too long on a fading, silver star, and miss the bright sunlight of success.” Yet, Goodman’s Love Signs book lists these two signs as a successful mating.

Why? The powerful attraction of opposites. They’re both generous to a fault, but he with everyone and she with only family and friends. She talks everything out. He’s not about to reveal anything until he’s got it all worked out.

Even though it will be hard for these two to be completely honest with each other, they will quickly guess each other’s games then pretend they haven’t guessed. Leaving something unspoken adds a mystical quality to their lovemaking.

NEED A PLOT POINT?

Surprise. The scorpion may come on strong, believing she can swallow this poor little fish…but whether in a contest of wills or one of surprise, the fish will spring the last surprise. Could this be a black moment?

Above all, these two characters are “infinitely aware of each other,” even when onlookers would swear the two didn’t notice each other. I consider that infinitely aware part the key to a sensual romance.

This is just a sample of how I use Linda Goodman’s Sun Signs and Love Signs to inspire me in my creation of characters I hope my readers will fall in love with.

Now, I encourage you to go forth and search out your own odd resources for fleshing out your characters.

Headshot of Barbara RaffinBy Barbara Raffin

Blessed with a vivid imagination, award-winning author Barbara Raffin creates stories and adventures where she can explore her love of words and the human psyche. Whether a romantic romp or gothic-flavored suspense, her books have one common denominator: characters who are wounded, passionate, and searching for love. Her current work is a contemporary/contemporary suspense series about the St. John Siblings and their friends.

 

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Roxanne Rustand Visits Wausau Area

Roxanne RustandUSA Today Bestselling Author Roxanne Rustand led a discussion on the Creative Process in Wausau on Saturday June 10th at the Jefferson Street Inn.

During Roxanne’s interactive talk she spoke about what she does in the process of creating new characters and their romance and Happily Ever After. Sparking a lively discussion, she shared several worksheets, such as:

  • Kathy Jacobson’s “Conflict Grid,” which explores many different ways for the the hero and heroine to come into conflict: their long range and short range goals, external and romantic conflicts, conflicts of personality and archetype, the emotional danger which each character faces if he/she gives up the old way of thinking and doing and finally the epiphany that frees them from the past.
  • “Turning Points in Novels, ” which pinpoints what constitutes a turning point, such as:
    • the character has an Epiphany,
    • something very important is revealed,
    • A serious event that happens to characters and causes changes,
    • or a subtle emotional moment that sparks a big reaction,
    • or a small thought-provoking event with a big consequence
    • finally an action or event that shows that the protagonist is evolving.
  • Brainstorming Conflict Chart which asks questions, such as:
    • What things can happen to make the external conflicts worse?
    • Romance conflicts–What steps make things better or worse for the hero and heroine relationship in each scene?
    • How can I add more emotion, more romance in each scene?
    • How can I focus on and develop the stages of attraction in each scene?
  • How to Map the Locales in a series of books

One take away was when “getting to know your characters,” ask them the hard questions. Roxanne got this from a Jill Barnett workshop:

If your character is not coming to you, or you cannot nail the right emotional moment,

Pick a subject from below and write for at least 5 minutes (by timer) and up to 20 minutes.

Use one of the following topics in context with your character:

Pain
Dreams
Anger
Family
Love
Marriage
Birth
Death
Childhood
Hate
The Past
The Future
Needs
Heartache
Shame

Roxanne: “This is one of my favorite ways to find the information that I’m either writing all around or have forgotten in the mad balancing act of plotting and characterization and scene planning and everything else we juggle.”

We thoroughly enjoyed our morning with Roxanne and took away many great tips to help enhance our writing.

AP_CoteUSA Today Bestseller, Lyn Cote is an RWA Honor Roll member and the author of over 35 books. You can find out more about her by visiting her website.

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Historical Reenactment – a Great Way to Create Interesting Characters

Molly Maka Historical Reenactment and Romance WritingWisRWA member Molly Maka, self-proclaimed 1940s girl, writer of historical romance, and a veteran of historical reenactment, will be presenting her secrets to the Milwaukee area on Saturday, June 18.

As a ten-year veteran of historical reenacting of various time periods, Molly brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to her presentation on how historical reenacting can enhance your writing. She will demonstrate how, through reenacting, you too can create identifiable and relatable characters based in a historical context, and establish and capture the nuances of the time period of your characters’ worlds. And she’ll explain how getting involved in historical reenacting can help you get in touch with the past.

We caught up with Molly before she started pin curling her hair for the next Stars and Stripes Honor Flight to ask her a few questions leading up to her presentation.

WisRWA: How did you get involved in historical reenactment?

Molly: Believe it or not I always had a penchant for dressing historically. I remember one year I asked my grandmother if she had any of her 1940s clothes because I wanted to be a 40s girl for Halloween. That might have been the first time. Another year I dressed as a colonial girl off to a ball. When I saw the gorgeous Elizabethan court dresses at the Bristol Renaissance Faire the summer after I graduated high school, I knew I had to get involved. In 2006, my dream was realized when I joined the cast of the Guilde of St. George. From there I learned about other time periods people could reenact and my involvement in different eras sort of evolved from there.

WisRWA: What time period(s) do you favor, if any?

Molly: I have several that I tend to favor. Let me put it back to you: Which one do you all think is my favorite and why? Go ahead and answer in the comments. I’ll give a prize on Saturday to a randomly selected commenter. And, of course, I’ll reveal the answer.

WisRWA: When you are at an historical reenactment, do you find yourself trying out things you’d like to write about?

Molly: That’s tough because, even if I don’t plan to write about something, I still look for opportunities to try new things in a historical context, if only for the experience of trying it out. You never know when you can use something. My biggest bucket list item right now is to learn how to drive a World War II-era Army jeep. And I’ve had plenty of interesting adventures I’m still planning to write about. I’ll be talking about some of the best ones on Saturday.

WisRWA: What is your favorite outfit/accessory?

Molly: Right now I would have to say it’s a toss-up between my post war aluminum and lucite box purse and an adorable vintage navy blue dress with navy and red polka dot accents. It fits like it was made for me. Who knows, I might just have both of them with me on Saturday.

WisRWA: Can you tell us the coolest experience you’ve had doing historical reenactments.

Molly: Absolutely. I’ve got some great stories. Of course, you’ll just have to wait until Saturday to hear them. 🙂

Many thanks to Molly for sharing a little bit about herself and her passion. We’re so looking forward to her presentation: The Historical Reenactor Who Writes: How Touching the Past Can Enhance Your Story. Please join us in Mayfair Mall Community Room (Lower Level) on Saturday, June 18th at 9 AM. We hope to see you there!

Photo Credit:  Claire Noonan Photography

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