Monthly Archives: April 2013

Sue Harrison’s “Writing the Third Dimension” – part 4: Fatal Flaw

Welcome! Over the next many months we invite you to return here, specifically on the fourth Thursday of each month for the newest installment of Sue Harrison‘s teaching: Writing The Third Dimension. You can read all the segments by clicking on the page title WRITING THE THIRD DIMENSION, found under Writers’ Helps & Workshops on the drop-down menu. Please feel free to ask questions and leave comments for Sue. Now for the topic for month four:

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“Writing the Third Dimension” – part 4: Fatal Flaw

When I was in college, I overheard a young woman say to a friend, “Well, I can be friends with a girl who is smart, and I can be friends with a girl who is beautiful, but I just can’t stand a girl who’s beautiful and smart.”

 

That’s a very good summary of how your readers are going to feel about your main character if he or she is too perfect. We know our own vulnerabilities only too well. When we meet someone who is too talented, too beautiful, or too smart, all that perfection eats away at our self-esteem. So, unless you’re writing a spoof, please give your characters vulnerabilities. Your readers need to identify with the main character. Character flaws pull your reader into your novel, make that reader stick with you through 400 or more pages of story, and – best of all – inspire your readers to buy your next book. Perfection just doesn’t cut it!

 

If you’ve read any of the TWILIGHT series, you know that the main character Bella is a total klutz. She’s also not aware of her own beauty and not very popular. Those flaws help make Bella a very loveable character. I have to admit that nothing makes me ‘forgive’ a gorgeous Hollywood starlet more readily for her beauty than her sincere lament about her squinty eyes or crooked teeth.

 

Let’s face it. We all tend to romanticize life. In mid-winter we dream of life on the beach – warm sun, snacks and cold drinks in the cooler, family time… But in real life, beach days also include ants, sunburn, and sand – all over our hands, in our food, and in our bathing suits. Even the most romantic of readers want their novels to include a bit of sand in the beach scene and, more importantly, imperfection in their main characters.

 

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One caution – be careful with character flaws. Don’t make them so terrible that your reader turns away in disgust. For example, it’s probably not a good idea for your protagonist to be mean to children or dogs.

 

We all have character flaws. I, alas, like Bella, am a klutz. I also have a tendency to talk too much when I’m nervous. The main character in my current WIP (work in progress) is drop-dead gorgeous, except that her face is plastered with freckles. She’s also made some very unwise life choices. Are you working on a novel or short story? What’s your character’s flaw? Let’s share some ideas by composing a list.

 

What character flaws have you used within your writing, noticed in your reading, or put up with in real life?

Any questions for me?  Please feel free to ask!

 

Blessings and Happy Writing!

 

Sue

 

*Writing the Third Dimension, copyright, 2010 Sue Harrison*

 

Sue HarrisonBestselling author, Sue Harrison, has written two Alaska trilogies: The Ivory Carver Trilogy and The Storyteller Trilogy, and a middle readers’ book SISU. Prior to the publication of her novels, Harrison was employed at Lake Superior State University as a writer and acting director of the Public Relations Department and as an adjunct instructor in creative writing and advanced creative writing. For more information, click here. To inquire about booking Sue for workshops or speaking engagements this year, click here.

Thanks for joining us! Please feel free to leave your questions and comments. We invite you come back May 23, 2013, for part 5.

Book Review: Unglued Devotional: 60 Days of Imperfect Progress – by Lysa TerKeurst

Unglued Devotional by Lysa TerKeurst
Book: UNGLUED Devotional: 60 Days of Imperfect Progress
Author: Lysa TerKeurst
Publisher: Zondervan
Date: December 18, 2012
Genre: Christian devotional
Pages: 208; paperback
Price: $12.99
My rating: An excellent, inspirational book of encouragement and comfort for women
 

I received this book from BookSneeze in exchange for an honest review.

Lysa TerKeurst is a bestselling author of fifteen books and a national speaker. She is also the president of Proverbs 31 Ministries (www.proverbs31.org), helping women learn to live lives centered on God in the midst of whatever life brings.

This devotional was written for the purpose of being a companion book to her bestselling book Unglued, which I have not read. As someone who knows what it is to become unglued, I thoroughly enjoyed each daily devotional. Lysa TerKeurst writes from a woman’s heart to a woman’s heart in such an understanding way. In doing so, she draws attention to God while He uses her words to minister to the reader.

Unglued Devotional: 60 Days of Imperfect Progress. If we are honest about it we all can testify to making imperfect progress. Lysa TerKeurst speaks from that place in easy conversational writing. She has put together a wonderful 60-day devotional that I wished could have been longer. It takes less than five minutes to read one day’s devotional, which begins with a scripture reading, followed by a Thought for the Day, and then a short reading usually consisting of a very suitable anecdote from her experience. Some are funny, some are painful to read because they are so familiar, all are encouraging and insightful. Each devotion ends in a very brief prayer that is an easy lead-in for the reader to continue on her own.

I like finding good devotionals. This is one of the best I have found. The author does not preach or talk above the reader, or talk down to the reader. She is honest, sincere, and transparent in her writing and addressed common issues in a way that made THIS reader stop and think.

If you are wanting to find a devotional that is real to your own life, easy to read, and suitable for those days when you have maybe five minutes to spare … try this one. Unglued Devotional: 60 Days of Imperfect Progress by Lysa TerKeurst is likely to stir your heart and encourage you in your walk with God and in your relationships with the people in your life.

You can find Unglued Devotional: 60 Days of Imperfect Progress listed on my BUY THE BOOK! page.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

 

 

 

Feeling blue, & Emily Dickinson’s poem “I started early”

I lost last week.

Do you ever experience those segments of time when the hours seem to simply float on to nowhere leaving you behind, alone?

Do you ever feel that you cannot even get motivated enough to be progressive, or to even care whether you are or not?

Last week got away from me. I hate when that happens. Blue isn’t just a beautiful colour.

BLUE

The up side is Spring is taking hold here now. The birds are singing and building nests, some already feeding their young. Buds are beginning to swell, although at my home on a higher landscape the snow is not completely gone. This week is expected to be rainy some days, so that will take the last of the snow away. Good, I say!

Now to the main topic of my post … Emily Elizabeth Dickinson (December 10, 1830 – May 15, 1886)

She was a melancholy person and became very reclusive. Are you familiar with any of Emily Dickinson’s poetry? I didn’t know much about her or her writing, but awhile ago I came across one of her poems and I liked it so much I thought perhaps you would enjoy it on You Tube. Please take your time and watch it/listen to it several times to take it all in. Check it out: Emily Dickinson’s I started early    

Y0u can read about her life here. It’s a very interesting article.

I used to write a lot of poetry, but haven’t written much the last many years except in an online challenge. For me, poetry seems to tap into a part of my being that nothing else can reach, and releases from my inner thought processes what nothing else seems able to do.

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How do you feel about poetry? Do you enjoy it? 

Which do you prefer – reading it or writing it? or do you enjoy equally reading and writing poetry?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

How many people have your name?

I have been trying to prepare a couple of posts that just won’t ‘take’, and I don’t know why. As a result, I didn’t have a post ready for yesterday, so I am writing a quick one for now. I’m hoping this one works.

I have a fun question for you today …

How common is your name; have you ever wondered?

Have you ever met someone who shares your name, and then you wondered how many other people have it, too? I have often pondered this same thing. Well, now you can find out.  At least, that is, you can find out – through an estimate based on the 2000 census – how many people have your name in the United States. On the website it says the 2010 census is not out yet, although the census is done every ten years. I have not found a site for the same thing in Canada.

Curious? Read on.

Recently, I came across an interesting website where you can type in your name and find out how many people in the United States answer to it, too. Click on How many of me to go to the website where I learned there are 103 people in the US with my name. There are other fun statistics there to check out if you want to take the time. 

If you give it a try, have fun with it. I’d be very interested in knowing what you find out.

How many people in the US have your name?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂