Showing posts from June, 2016

Guest Post: Lori MacLaughlin on Creating Unforgettable Characters

Hey everyone! Today we have a guest post--Lori MacLaughlin, who is here to tell us about her book, Trouble By Any Other Name!

Creating Unforgettable Characters
Thanks so much, Michelle, for hosting me!!
Fantasy is my favorite genre. I love to get lost in imaginary worlds of sword and sorcery or in familiar worlds with supernatural twists. No matter how great the action is, though, or how amazing the world-building, the story won't hold my interest if the characters are flat and uninspiring.
I need to care about them. I want them to be quirky and flawed and relatable — in other words: human. Life is messy and so are relationships. No one is perfect, and no character should be either.
How do writers create an unforgettable character? How do they find that magical combination of qualities that resonates with so many?
I've read a lot of articles on the craft of creating characters. They all talk about inventing backstories and finding the characters' motivations, going deeper …

How Death Records Can Help Your Family tree

I appointed myself the family historian a few years ago and I've been searching records online in hopes of building a decent family shrub, at least, if not a tree.

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned how actual historical records could potentially inspire a historical fiction. In that same post, I talked a little about my Talbot ancestors. 
They are my paternal grandmother's mother's family and they've always interested me because they're my first ancestors on American soil. My great-grandmother, Annie, was born in New Jersey in 1894--my first American-born ancestor--while my other three great-grandparents on the Irish side of my family were all born, raised, and immigrated from Ireland. 
I knew Annie Talbot had a rough childhood. Her parents both died when she was very young and she'd been sent back to Ireland to be raised by her grandmother, then she came back to the United States in 1912; this is stuff I've heard through family stories that I was able to…

22 Books Read

I am now halfway through my reading challenge goal for the year--just in time for the halfway point of the year :-)

Here's what I've read since March, when I finished book 11:

12. Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert. Non-fiction/Inspirational/Art/Writing. 4 stars.

13. Never Let Me Go by Kazoo Ishiguro. Fiction/Science Fiction/Dystopian/Literary. 3 stars.

14. The Edge of Lost by Kristina McMorris. Fiction/Historical Fiction/Mystery/Twentieth Century/Ireland/New York/Alcatraz. 4 stars.

15. Because of Miss Bridgerton by Julia Quinn. Fiction/Historical Romance/Georgian/England. 2 stars.

16. Fall of Poppies: Stories of Love and the Great War by Heather Webb, Hazel Gaynor, Beatriz Williams, Jennifer Robson, Jessica Brockmole, Kate Kerrigan, Evangeline Holland, Lauren Willig, Marci Jefferson. Fiction/Historical Fiction/Anthology/Short Stories/Romance/World War I. 4 stars.

17. The Duchess War by Courtney Milan. Fiction/Historical Romance/Victorian/ England. 4 s…

When Research Actually Matters

So...some of you may know that the project I'm working on right now, which I'm sorry to say I've been slightly cryptic about, takes place in the 1890s in England (so far) and partially involves one of my main characters getting herself into the London theater scene.

She finds work at The Gaiety Theatre. So I'm finally writing a scene where Victoria and her friend go see a show at The Gaiety. It's January 1894, so A Gaiety Girl is the show that was running at the time.

So I start describing this building:


that building is the New Gaiety Theatre--it was built in 1910, years after when my story takes place.


So then I was searching around (God bless Google) for descriptions of the interior of the theatre and came across a few pages and articles that mentioned the old Gaiety Theatre--the one Victoria would have seen in 1894--was kind of down the block and across from that newer Gaiety. Also, this page had a floor plan, newspaper article links, photos, …

IWSG: More Writing, Less Internet

This is my IWSG post for June. The Insecure Writer's Support Group posts every first Wednesday of the month, airing our writing insecurities to the world. Founded by Alex J. Cavanagh, our co-hosts for June are: Murees Dupe,Alexia Chamberlynn,Chemist Ken, and Heather Gardner!

I have been unusually balanced with the writing of the current project draft I'm working on. I don't know if it's the project itself or a new maturation on the writing scale, but I'm not gnashing my teeth over the actual writing.

I am writing, deciding I like or hate something, then deleting it if I don't like it and writing something else in its place. I've had only one minor qualm about a transition and in general, feel much less inclined to complain or share a ton about the writing process this time around.

...Which might be why a writing buddy was like, "I have no idea what you're doing exactly."


But this relatively peaceful writing time has also left me not want…