If She Loves a Rag Doll, Is She Still Evil?

In My Soul to Keep, there is a character who is a murderous psychopath. She’s been purposely programmed to be that kind of person.  So how do you go about creating a story villain who’s truly evil but has some redeeming qualities? If she loves a rag doll, is she still evil? HOW Fortunately I had a mentor who knew how. How did he know? First, he’s smart. Second, he’s studied successful fiction and movies for a long time. What did he say to me that gave me a clue? He reminded me that a great story villain isn’t all villain all the time.. He also reminded me to look at the villains in books I’ve loved. For example, in Dean Koontz’s The Watchers there is a creature who had been created to be a destroyer, a murderer. He’s loathsome in appearance in and in deed. However, there’s a scene where the investigator-character discovers the monster’s lair. In the lair, the monstrous villain has treasured objects that include a collection of Disney branded toys and movies. It made this reader’s heart soften a touch toward the monster. And it made the monster more real, less one dimensional. WHAT I DID I […]

How I Found the Right Editor

It was more than luck. Creating a book takes a team. I spoke about how I chose my cover artist. How I found the right editor for My Soul to Keep was to search for the right one several months before I needed one. It took some work, some due diligence, and some patience. But it paid off. Which Type? The first step in my journey to find the right editor was to research the different types of editors. It can get confusing. When you search the internet there are folks who say there are four types, five types, nine types, and more! But for most freelancers, it boils down to four general types. Developmental editors who work with you on the structure and arc of the story. Copy editors examine your finished story for consistency, grammar, and flow. Line editors address the writing style, language, and content on a sentence level. Proofreaders are the nit-pickers who look for typos and misplaced words or punctuation. Each writer’s needs, every novel’s needs, are different. I had a mentor who had helped me with developing the story. But my weaknesses were grammar and consistency. So I needed a copy editor. But there […]

How I Found Amazing Mentors and You Can Too

In my previous post, I mentioned several mentors I’ve had. Each of my mentors has made significant contributions to strengthen my writing. But, someone asked, how do you find a mentor? It’s a good question. This is how I found amazing mentors and you can too. Know Yourself The first step in finding a mentor is assessing your own strengths and weaknesses. Are you solid with dialog but need help creating compelling characters? Do you have a weakness for long passages of description or backstory that slow your story’s pace? Are you great at beginnings but get bogged down in the middle? Be honest with yourself. Identify what you know and what you don’t know. If you don’t know how to even start, then you need to hit the books. Start learning the basics. That was where I started–with a correspondence course that taught me basic storytelling. How Much Do You Want It? It can be difficult to believe in yourself when you face the computer or the blank piece of paper. And your can-do attitude will take you a long way. Believe in yourself, in your ability to find the answers you need, and in your desire and ability […]