For the past six months, I
wavered on which direction to take for my next writing project.
Then I signed up for a
five-day writers’ seminar in Honolulu, which took place on July 19-23, 2014 at The Makiki Community Library. The seminar guru/sensei, William
Bernhardt, is the bestselling author of numerous books, including the Ben
Kincaid legal-thriller series. His Red Sneakers Writers Book Series, five
compact books in print and ebook format, go hand-in-hand with his seminars.
Once I committed to
attending a seminar for five days, I had to write a novel to present to the group for feedback and
critique. I made the decision to continue my Pepper Bibeau mystery series with
a fourth novel. I purchased Mr. Bernhardt’s Red Sneaker ebook series for kindle, and read each of the five books. Then I used the information from the first one, Story Structure:
The Key to Successful Fiction, to outline my manuscript.
See book link
to Amazon below
The five weeks preceding the seminar included
writing, researching, writing, eating, writing, and sleeping. It was my very own, intense
NaNoWriMo - all day - every day! My finished first draft contained 68K words, and was ready for
critique. During the five-day seminar, I received suggestions, ideas, and
direction from Mr. Bernhardt and the other seminar-ians (not theologists!) on ways to improve the
Moving forward, I will use the
information from the other books in the series as a road map to complete and
edit the novel.
Are you planning to start/continue/finish
your novel this year? What is your process?
Decision-making isn’t a
problem for me, but sticking to a decision sometimes is.
Last November, for NaNoWriMo,
I decided to switch horses and write about a new protagonist. The fifty
thousand words required to be “A Winner” flowed onto the page at regular
intervals. Then I had second thoughts about abandoning my original protagonist
and her storyline.
It took several months to
work through my indecision (okay, decision-making sometimes is an issue for
me!) I finally came to the conclusion that I wanted to continue the story line
of my original protagonist. I set up my own nanowrimo for thirty days between
June and July. I am now over thirty thousand words into this novel. I’ve had to
make at least a hundred decisions already concerning plot, characters, and
Each day more decisions are
required, but I have my fingers crossed that the major decision to write the
novel I’m working on now is my final decision.
Are most of your decisions
flat-out carved in stone, or are you often swayed to change your mind?
Dialogue can be fun to write, like putting
words into your characters mouth. I try to have my characters lay out the scene
through dialogue whenever possible. It doesn’t always work in the first draft
but when done right, it brings life to the scene. Another purpose of dialogue is to give
insight into a character without committing the dreaded act of “telling.” In the
following excerpt from my novel, FOR
EVERY ACTION, no words describe the detective’s effectiveness, yet certain
of the character’s attributes stand out.
As a reader, would you have confidence in the detective’s ability to handle his job?
The man wore a sports jacket of navy-flecked tweed,
slightly frayed around the cuffs. Fine dust coated the tops of his shoes and he
wore no hat. He removed a small notepad from an inner pocket of his jacket
before glancing around the room.
“How may I help you?” Mr. Jaedelle asked.
“Sergeant Robertson, detective with the Homicide
Division,” the man said, offering a business card. “I’m looking for a . . .” He
stopped to consult his notepad. “I’m looking for Miss Bibeau. I understand she
“I’m Pepper Bibeau.” I stepped toward him with my hand
After a slight hesitation, the detective reached over
and gave me a firm handshake. But before he could say anything further, Gloria
walked out of her office.
“Why are you here, detective?” she asked. “This law
office doesn’t handle homicides.”
“I understand your concern, ma’am.” The detective
removed a wallet from his inside breast pocket and displayed his Chicago police
Gloria made a show of examining the badge, then gave him
a disapproving frown. He waited for her to step back before continuing.
“Unfortunately, it’s necessary for me to discuss
details of a case with Miss Bibeau.”
Here are some links to other articles/book that deal with the use
of dialogue to illustrate character traits: