Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Interviewing Your Characters

Sandra here, enjoying a lovely walk on the beach of Unpubbed Island. Walking helps me plot a story. I discover my best ideas while walking.

However, all the ideas in the world aren't going to make the story come alive.
Characters are the key.
Haven't you heard editors say they want character driven stories?

I started a new wip and had great ideas for the plot. The setting is in Sedona which is one of the most beautiful places in the world with all the red rock spires and canyons. In spite of an exciting and action filled beginning, I couldn't get moving past chapter two.

The heroine lives on a large piece of land bordering the wilderness area. A flashflood threatens a hiker with a small child (the hero and his nephew). She gets them out of harms way and takes them to her cabin which is now isolated because of washed out roads.

For a youtube peek of a flashflood watch this before and after video.

Here's the blurb for that story:

Geri does not want to leave her grandmother's isolated ranch, so she can't fall in love with the man she rescued from a flashflood, especially when that man works for a relief organization that chases global disasters.

I took the first chapter to a friend who said "nice outline".
First clue.
Then she started asking me questions.
Second clue.
The questions made me realize I didn't really know my characters.
Third clue.

I know the Seekers have done great posts on characters already so pulled up

I also reviewed some of the other super articles. You can find them listed to the right of this article under labels-scroll down to the word characters.

Now with all of this motivation to get to know my characters, I remembered my friend Laura Schnebly Campbell has great tips for interviewing your characters.

The logical next step: I began interviewing my characters.

First question. Why doesn't Geri want to leave the ranch? I had an idea, but as my friend pointed out. Not strong enough. So what would make a strong motive?

Next question: Why was the hero (Mark) hiking and in harm's way of a flashflood? Tourists hike in Sedona so that seemed obvious to me, but then again, what goal and motivation would put him there and cause what conflict? The flood was an exciting start and obvious conflict, but after he is out of harm's way, then what?

By the time I filled out Cheryl's list, Myra's spreadsheet and asked the questions Laurie had, I really had a handle on those characters. And the best part was, after getting to know them so well, the writing now flows. Now I can hint at these little facts I know about them so that it ups the goal, motivation, conflict elements in each scene.

Geri has promised her grandmother she will protect the land her ancestors homesteaded years ago. There are Native American ruins on the land and tour guides trespass with tourists looking for the "famed vortex" Geri knows this because she dated a man whose true interest in her was to obtain the land so he could exploit the tourists.

Now let's look at what this information does to my wip.

First version:

“You might as well follow me. That water washed out the road. You’ll be staying awhile.”

He paused. “You’re kidding, right?”

“Wish I was.”

The man grunted.

She studied the frustration in his expression and also noted the L.L. Bean type clothes, the boots that had no wear and tear. “Hope you like rustic.”

“What I’d like is to be home,” he muttered.

“And that is…?”

“The Bay Area.”

She frowned. The bay? What bay?

“You know, San Francisco area.”

“Oh. Sure.” Like how was she supposed to know that? It’s not like she ever traveled anywhere. She’d lived her whole life on her grandmother’s ranch near Sedona. She’d never ventured out of the area. Hadn’t ever wanted to. Hadn’t ever needed to. Until now.

After interviewing Geri I added these parts.

“You might as well follow me. That water washed out the road. You’ll be staying awhile.”

He paused. “You’re kidding, right?”

“Wish I was.” Like she needed another expense. She barely had enough to pay the taxes coming up. Looked like she was going to have to trek into town and look for a job.

The man grunted.

She studied the frustration in his expression and also noted the L.L. Bean type clothes, the boots that had no wear and tear. “Hope you like rustic.”

“What I’d like is to be home,” he muttered.

“And that is…?”

“The Bay Area.”

She frowned. The bay? What bay?

“You know, San Francisco area.”

“Oh. Sure.” Like how was she supposed to know that? It’s not like she ever traveled anywhere. She’d lived her whole life in Northern Arizona. With the exception of the four years at Northern Arizona University, she'd spent most of it on her grandmother’s ranch near Sedona.

Do you see how those two snippets of information deepens Geri's character? Now we know some of her background and we know she needs money for taxes and it was wiped out in the flood. After interviewing Geri, I discovered she is educated even though she lives in primitive conditions. So that makes me want to know why she lives there. And how do you find primitive conditons near Sedona, a big tourist area?

I'm still interviewing Mark. He works for a disaster relief program similar to Samaritan'sPurse and brought his nephew on a much needed vacation. His recently widowed sister is having financial difficulties and lives in an undesirable part of San Francisco. Overprotective Mark is looking for a place he can buy for his sister to raise her son.

So if you have any ideas to play around with let me know.

Also, share with us ways you discover your characters. Do you have a form with their long range goal, short range goal, character flaw, relationship barrier?

My goal is to finish this and enter it into the Genesis contest. The deadline is March 31st. If you're an ACFW member, I'm offering the contest entry fee for a prize. So let me know in your comment that you'd like to be entered. Be sure and add your email address. Winner will be notified and announced on weekend edition.

That brings me back to my hut on Unpubbed Island.

Good thing I love it since I've been here awhile.

The food is great and walks on the beach are very inspiring.

Let's see. We always start with coffee. Tina got us into that habit. smile Of course, my fav--Chocolate Velvet. There's hot chocolate and tea. And coconut milk for something different.

For breakfast I talked Captain Jack out of his recipe for omelets so help yourself. There's platters of chopped onions, peppers, mushrooms, spinach, artichokes, sausage, ham, bacon bits, cheese etc. so make your own.

There are bowls of fresh homemade salsa too. And if you're getting here later in the day, we'll add guacamole and chips for an afternoon snack.

Thanks for joining us today.


  1. Sandra,

    My first question to you would be: what is the sister's reaction to big brother's overprotection? Does she appreciate it or feel smothered?

    If she appreciates it, then that's great, but no internal conflict. If she's independent and feels smothered and resents him trying to order her around (esp. if he's older and been doing it all her life) then maybe on this vacation he needed to think through- or plot- how to get her to do what he wants. What if the brother-sister got into a big fight just before he left with nephew? What if instead of helping sister as is his attention, his ordering her around causes her more strain which upsets him?

    Just thoughts to ponder. I may be way off base, so ignore them if you want.


  2. Dianna, no, lay it on her!!!


    Sandra and I have worked together for years, she only SEEMS sweet.

    The woman is tough as nails. She taught kindergarten, you know. Oh my word, nothing gets by Sandra.

    (but hide the permanent markers, 'kay???)

    I'm loving the CV coffee with coconut milk. SO TROPICAL!!! YUM!!!

    I've got to think on this because kids are coming. I worked late this morning, so I'll come back, Sandra, but I love that you gave her more depth with college.

    Of course I'm going to ask for more yet, so be prepared.

    Imagine her childhood, what happened to make her a protectorate of the land, her relationship with the aunt, her willingness to hide caused by...


    Is she really a hermit or just stubborn and independent and doesn't like people??? 'Cause I know a lot of folks like that, only most of them are OLD...

    So why is she doing this so young?

    (Too much trauma will make steam come out my ears... Too little makes me groan... It's SO hard to please me, isn't it dear one???)

    Love you, kid. Back later.

    And breakfast with the Captain???

    Oh... My... Stars....

    I'm SO in.


  3. Dianna, Great question and thanks for the help.

    Sis hates that he is so overprotective and that is why she encouraged him to go on this trip. She does want to leave San Francisco and Sedona is not close to airports so brother won't be popping in that often.

    The overprotectiveness is going to be a problem with the heroine too. She's very independent and resourceful.

    I like the idea that he's upset because his helpfulness causes strain. That is so oldest child.

  4. Ruthy, You would put coconut milk in your coffee. Yuk. I like to cook rice and red beans in my coconut milk. yum

    And PUHLEASE, you didn't have to make a comment about the permanent marker. I am doing better. Promise.

    And all the tough as nails stuff?
    I learned from Ruthy. HA.

    She was raised by her maternal granny. At a very young age her mother died in a tragic accident while traveling abroad. Her father left her with Granny and never came back.

    Growing up with Granny who was a free spirit herself, Geri loves to roam free, speak her mind, and do things on her own.

    She hates shopping so clothes are very utilitarian. Hated school because other kids made fun of her. Loved her teachers though, especially one who taught her to value her independence and unique spirit.

    Also interested her in archeology since the area is full of ruins, she went on many field trips to study them.

    Okay, Ruthy girl. I'm ready for more. Anyone else feel free to jump in.

  5. Good morning, Sandra! Love walking barefoot along the shore, chatting about the process of discovering our characters.

    The inciting incident like your flashflood are fun to write. They bring our heroes and heroines together with a bang, but usually that conflict is short term.

    To get that story-length conflict between them is tougher. I start by figuring out their goals. What do they want and why? That requires me to know their back story. For me, digging into their pasts is when the fun begins. Those tough experiences shape who they are now and make me care. Once I care, they become real to me. That helps me write their stories.

    The thing that makes them strong is also their weakness or flaw. In my wip my heroine is very caring but that caring nature also gets her into trouble.

    I'll play with your story. :-) Geri's past sets them up for strong romantic conflict. She's not going to trust a man's interest in her.

    Mark must have a desk job instead of traveling to the disaster areas since his boots are shiny new. So he's a greenhorn in the wilderness.
    And she's the expert. Lots of potential for conflict and fun.

    A couple questions--he's looking for property for his sister, but wouldn't land near Sedona be expensive? How does he have that kind of money? Why does he want his sister and nephew to live far from him? What will keep him there? We know she won't leave that land.

    None of this is easy, is it? Making up people, giving them pain and eventually happiness is a whole lot of work!


  6. Good questions Janet.

    I thought about a desk job, but it seemed so cliche and boring. But then he would be a fish out of water which is grounds for humor.

    And I was thinking that the sister loving the land and ending up caretaking while Geri heads off with Mark on his worldly ventures. She sees value in helping people.

    That of course is after lots of conflict and dark moments.

    So flaws- Mark's flaw is he's over protective to the point of smothering. It works for him on his job helping people. But family find it tough and so will Geri.

    Geri's flaw. She doesn't trust men because of father deserting her and past boyfriends trying to use her for the land. Hence, when she discovers Mark is there to look for land, she doesn't trust him.

  7. Good morning, Sandra! Ahh, beach walking. Good for the soul, not to mention walking barefoot on the beach smooths off the rough skin to make feet pedicure pretty : )

    Don't you just love the spa effect??

    I used to muddle through my plot not realizing the strength (or lack of)of my GMC until the end of multiple drafts.

    Last year, I stumbled on a new concept...do a quick skeletal version of the story-about 10 to 15 pages. Then go back and write the 5 Ws and an H in the margins to locate spots where I either need to develope more or save the trait/idea/emotion for a different book.

    Amazingly helpful! Makes me dig deep into the characters to find out the important stuff.

    Ooo, just a quick dollop of coconut milk in my coffee. Gotta love it. Egg white only omelette, please. Waistline has a way to go before I can slip into the springtime capris : )

  8. Hi Sandra,

    This is a timely post for me because I'm trying to get proposals together for two new WIPs. I'm definately going to have to fill out character sheets for one.

    Maybe your heroine stays on the land because of her promise to her grandmother but deep down inside it's because she knows the struggle her grandparents went through to own/maintain the land? For the hero, maybe he did have a desk job but the death of his brother in law prompted him to leave his old life trapping behind and do something that helps mankind, this is why he's in trendy clothes and didn't know much about the area to get trapped in the flood? Just ideas.....

    May I take a moment and say: I purchased a book with a LOVELY cover yesterday in the Walmart in Victoria, TX. It's by a new author, Ruth Logan Herne...anyone here heard of her???? : )


    PS I'll pass on the contest because I don't really have anything ready. Good luck to the other posters.

  9. Sandra, I think this is just what I needed today. To be reminded that I need to get to know my characters better, because then the plot will flow better.

    As for your hero, maybe there's a deeper reason that he is so protective of his sister. Maybe she was mugged on her way home one day and he's afraid something is going to happen to her and his nephew won't have a mother. And maybe all his overprotectiveness annoys the heroine. Maybe she had a controlling father and she thinks the hero is going to be like him. Just a thought.

  10. Hi everyone!

    Capt Jack so early - ARRRRRRrrrrr. :)

    Works for me! Especially on this cold drizzle of a day.

    What subjects interested her especially in school as a young person? Did she gravitate to this or that? Did she have natural aptitude for ___? Perhaps that might be food for thought.

    These posts are so helpful. It's making me realize I need to do just a little more on May... (let's see, revision 287 or so?!)

    But that's what is making it fabulous

    I think it was in Scene & Structure - write at least 5 outcomes for a conflict, then choose the most unexpected one. Don't know if that would work for you here but tossing it out.

    In a Writer's Digest interview seems like Jerry Jenkins/Stephen King talked about being surprised at some of the things they wrote and the outcomes. Makes me wonder if they did/do something like that.

    I think there quote something like "No one was as surprised as I was that _______..." or some such.

    I never read Cujo (or saw the movie - just not a horror gal) but King said he was surprised when he wrote that the little boy died.

    That has stuck with me for some reason. I've had a few of those myself.

    After reading these posts today, it's making me realize the reason I'm not happy yet with the words on paper about the ending is that I'm still a bit fuzzy.

    Though I like that in a sweater, not so great for my WIP now is it?!

    It's amazing how much I'm learning from being privvy to the process y'all are using here. Thank you.

    And speaking of food... for thought or otherwise...

    Having just returned from a trip to TX, I'm definitely in a salsa mood. I see there's extra cilantro. WONDERFUL!!!!

  11. Sandra, loved hearing a little snippet about your characters and how you're getting to know them better.

    Gotta run to work, but I'll think about them all day!

    Gimme a cup of that Chocolate Velvet stuff for the road. It sounds yummy!

  12. WOW, Sandra, are you making me think this morning, and boy, does it hurt!! :)

    Interviewing your characters is an awesome idea -- I've never tried it, but I would like to. I always get so amazed at the various means of delving into one's characters because I am such a seat-of-the-pants writer, that it extends even to my characters, unfortunately. They don't usually come alive for me UNTIL I am actually writing them on the page. Makes me wonder just how deep they could be if I actually did it the right way and plotted/interviewed/delved into their personalities/motivations/goals ahead of time!

    I had to smile at what K.C. SAID: "In a Writer's Digest interview seems like Jerry Jenkins/Stephen King talked about being surprised at some of the things they wrote and the outcomes."

    Gosh, I have to say that's been my experience with both plots and characters, which now that I think of it, is pretty scary and makes me long to be a plotter at times instead! :)

    Fascinating post and premise, Sandra, and I can't wait to see what you do with it!


  13. Hi Sandra:

    I love the Sedona area. I’d live there if my wife would let me. I see God everywhere I look in that landscape.

    I’d love to read your book.

    As a philosopher, the first thing I though of in your story was that the heroine is of Native American heritage. I see her as a Hopi, an outsider in a Navajo world as a child, who now has strong Christian beliefs. I see the hero as an Anglo who has converted to Native American spiritual beliefs. The hero is also an amateur anthropologist, thus his interest in going to third world disaster areas where he also gets to sturdy the local population and their origins. This respect for other peoples makes him an ideal relief worker.

    The hero wants his sister and nephew to live there because he believes the area is a vortex of healing power. (It’s Sedona, of course this is true).

    The conflict here is having the heroine, as a native American, supporting western Christian views, while the hero, an Anglo, supports traditional native American spiritual beliefs.

    In all this there are problems of identity and authenticity. Also there is the question of whether our beliefs make us who we are or whether who we are make us believe the way we do. I like deep inner conflicts with universal human implications.(Especially when they are funny).

    I too am very interested in interviewing characters.

    Here are my suggestions on conducting an interview:

    Ask the character what questions she wants you to ask her. You’ll get a whole different set of questions than you would have asked.

    Ask another writer to supply you with questions. Don’t ask you own on the first interview.

    Ask your character to interview you. You can learn a lot about a person by what questions they ask and don’t ask that they should have asked.

    Listen to the silence. Notice what questions were not asked by all parties concerned. Why were they not asked? Sometimes what a suspect does not say speaks louder than anything he could have said.

    I’ll leave you with some native wisdom:

    The Early Bird gets the Early Worm.

    Proverbs speak with many echoes.


  14. Hi Audra, Yes, the sand is good for the feet.

    Your idea is similar to what we did at a ya retreat with my local scbwi group. They had us print our whole manuscript single space and the smallest font possible. Then highlighted with different colors the conflict, emotion, action, etc.

    Then spread the whole thing on the floor. Boy that visual really shows the holes in the story.

    Thanks for sharing your idea. Sounds easier. And helpful before writing rather than after.

  15. Hi Rose, Thanks for the great ideas. I like that the hero was stuffy in the office. Not that all office workers are stuffy mind you. But it would add another dimension.

    Hmmmm, Seems we do know of a Ruthy with a debut book out. You'll love it. Great characters btw Ruthy's great at character development.

  16. Oh Melanie, I think that's a great idea for the sis. Not that I want anyone to be mugged, but it would make the hero really want her out of the area.

    And the plot really does flow better. The more you know your characters, the more you can work goals and conflicts.

  17. KC, I love the premise from Scene and Structure to think up five outcomes and pick the most unexpected.

    Donald Maas suggests something similar by thinking of what the character is most afraid of and then plop them in the middle of it.

    I did that in a manuscript that is sitting on an editor's desk btw. The hero nearly drowned as a child so is deathly afraid of water. He goes on a steamboat cruise because his dying father wants to get close to him. And furthermore a huge storm comes up and he must face danger that involves possible drowning.

    Hmmm, now that I'm talking, I better think of what Geri and Mark are deathly afraid of. That will definitely add conflict.

  18. Thanks Pammer, Have a great day at work. Enjoy that coffee. Its the best.

    Jules, Got you thinking already. Hmmm. I try doing seat of the pants, but I get so stuck. I found that knowing my character more really helped me.

    But I do have characters come up with unexpected behavior. Then I know I'm really writing well if I actually believe they are alive. Or I'm crazy. LOL

  19. Hi Vince,

    I actually had Geri being part Navajo when I started. I would have to write her half Navajo because not being Navajo, that gives me an out if I accidently put anglo characteristics.

    But I do like the premise for Mark that he in interested in anthropology. That would give him something to share with Geri.

    btw- I doubt Geri would study archeology/anthropolgy is she were Native American.

    But in other ways it could work. hmmm. You gave me some good food for thought.

    What are your characters doing? Are you working on a novel? Seems to me you've mentioned that in earlier posts.

  20. A ROSE by any other name would never smell, be or act as sweet!!!


    Big hugs and kisses coming your way from Western NY!!! Thank you for buying my book, chica!!!

    This is me grinning ear to ear.


    I hope you LOVE it and feel free to SHARE THAT LOVE WITH THE WORLD, HONEY-GIRL.

    Yes, I'm THAT brazen. And then some!

    Thanks, sweetie. I've been receiving Ruthy-book sightings from across the country and no one has slammed me YET...

    They probably all understand just how sensitive I am.

    Like Connealy.


    Sorry. I'm a little over the top.

    Calmer now.

    And reading all these great comments about Sandra's characters.

    And I brought cupcakes, fresh and delicious. Yellow. Dark chocolate frosting.


    With a little help from Duncan Hines on the cake because DH makes a GREAT cake mix. No lie.

  21. Ruthy, love the cupcakes. yummm

    Ruthy sightings. Hmmmm better get to the store. I like to put Seeker books out front.

  22. Okay, coconut milk is terrible in coffee.

    Stick to International Delight..

    Oh my stars, what was I thinking????

    Geri's reasons for being on her own...

    Something happened to hold her there, and guilt is a great thing for that. Responsibility for something that either happened or could happen and misplaced guilt weighs her down because ingrained guilt is what keeps therapists in business and Oprah on TV.

    I think it's got to be more than the burial ground unless the burial ground has personal connection. Too holistic makes for a thin conflict. And makes me want to slap her. Too 60's/70's. Gag.

    (Sandra will smack me off-blog, you all understand that, right? But she'll be polite in public so I'm having LOTS OF FUN at her expense).

    What did she see/miss/do/want that develops her?

    Daddy left her.

    That's traumatic.

    And Mom died. We've got kind of a Beaches thing there, so I would probably make the kid the anti of the aunt...

    If aunt was of the land, Geri wouldn't be but she's stuck there and has to adapt. Her life is all about adapting because her family dynamic disappeared with Mom and Dad.

    If aunt loved the sacred ground, Geri would wonder what the big deal was.

    But then she'd feel Guilty and Responsible because she really didn't care but knew she SHOULD care, and while she didn't necessarily feel she belonged with auntie, she knows she doesn't really belong ANYWHERE because didn't her mother die and leave her and her father just plain left her?

    Sometimes going with the opposite of what you expect takes that layer deeper... Science: Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.

    So that plagues her within and without, internal and external. The poor girl doesn't know if she's coming or going and WHY THE HECK IS MARK SO DOGGONE GOOD LOOKING ANYWAY?????

    Thinking out loud here.

    Very loud. ;)

  23. Sandra:

    What about the newphew? Is he to play any significant role in the story? Readers like children involvement in stories, don't they?

    What is Geri's response to being around children? Is there something in her background (painful loss of a sibling, etc.) that makes her avoid children? Is it part of her isolation syndrome?

    Just random thoughts.

    As for "tough as nails" Ruthis, seems to me that the tough old bird sure knows how to stroke a gal and share ideas.


  24. Uh, Ruthie, how do you like the new spelling of your name?

  25. Ahhhhhhhhh Ruthy, Getting the digs in about the 60's and 70's. I can't help it. I love that era. So much angst. I can hardly wait until it is historical.

    Yeek. Its almost there.

    And just wait girlfriend. I'll be nice in public, but gloves are off.

    But I like the guilt trip thingy. Would give her true angst. I'll have to think on that.

    This sure is fun. I'm getting great ideas.

  26. Helen, you are so right on. I do need to bring the nephew into the picture. DUH!.

    so how about it folks. Any ideas here.

    btw Ruthinator doesn't care what we call her as long as we call her to dinner. LOL

  27. lovely photos!
    I let my characters talk to me when the are ready

  28. Hey foks, Let's hear how you've interviewed some of your characters. Need any help? Lots of good advice here in Seekerville.

  29. Hi Lee, Do you ask them questions or just let them ramble? What characters are you working on now?

  30. i so enjoyed reading this posting...have a fabulous day.


  31. Sandra, what fun today!!! Love brainstorming, but I don't have much time.

    Here's the skinny (isn't that a 1940's word?):

    The hero is rich. Made it maybe in Silicon Valley. Now doing ministry because of new found religion. Doesn't relate to his nephew but felt he should help the poor kid out. So he's not doing a good job in the uncle role, which the heroine picks up on.

    Did she lose a child? She's lost mama and daddy, plus grandma (isn't it grandma and not aunt?). I'd like to have grandma buried on the property and have Indian blood so the heroine is part Native American. Plus the heroine may have lost hubby and baby. Or perhaps there wasn't a hubby but a lover who left her. She's not interested in men. Period!

    But wait, if hero is rich, then maybe her lover had money. She got pregnant, and they were going to marry but his family convinced him to leave her. Perhaps they were opposed to her being NA. She did something foolish...what? Something involving the rugged land. Did she go into the desert and her car broke down. No water. She walked for miles and for some reason miscarried. (Am I getting too carried away?)

    She feels an instant connection with the young boy, which might irritate the hero at first. The child brings joy to her heart and her home. Of course, the hero brings a nice warm feeling as well, which she tries to deny. He's got to have some good points. Maybe he can work with wood. Has done it as a hobby back in the Bay Area. Now he helps shore up her house that needs some major rework.

    What's the ending? Another flood and the boy has wandered off? Hero and heroine search for him in the storm? Maybe the boy wants to stay on the land and the hero knows it's time to leave.

    If you didn't have the sister...if she had passed away, the uncle could take his nephew on a vacation to Sedona. He and the boy need to get back to SF, but both of them want to stay with the heroine. In the end they become a happy family, living in the hills.

    Okay, I'm done! But I'll stop by later to see the other ideas. Fun post. Thanks, Sandra.

  32. Anonymous (that always tickles my funny bone. You might be my next heroine)

    Thanks for joining us.

  33. Debby, Your mind is scary. Love it. No wonder you come up with such great stories.

    We definitely need another flood. Great excitement and dark moment material.

    I can hardly wait until Thursday when I get my copies of KILLER HEADLINE sent to me.

  34. Wow, with all these new ideas floating around, I can see I have major rewrites. Guess I won't make it for the Genesis after all. sigh.

    But I do love rewriting and as Pam said yesterday, its like putting together a giant jigsaw puzzle.

    However, there must be others out there with a completed manuscript who would love to win the entry fee.

  35. I guess we have something in common Sandra. I'm a teacher too. High School though. I'm afraid the 5 year olds terrify me. I wouldn't have enough energy to keep up with them, and the high schoolers get my off-the-wall, sarcastic sense of humor.

  36. Dianna, The high school students would terrify me. smile. My hubby taught high school and he felt the same way as you. Little ones still terrify him. LOL

    Teaching is a great job for the creative spirit. There is never one day the same as another.

  37. Late to reading again. Between a new job, the start of baseball season, and homework, I'm getting to things much later these days. Besides, I have three new Seeker books nestled atop my TBR pile. (And my back is still hurting from having had to sleep on the sidewalk in the cold to be the first to pick up Ruthy's new book.)

    This may be off the wall, but them I've never been to Arizona, so I don't know it well. And, this may have been mentioned, but can the heroine fea drowning. I know there are flashfloods, but is northern Arizona essentially a dry area. Could helping the hero have been a challenge to begin to with?


  38. Hi Sandra:

    After reading all the comments posted today, I think you have a very strong concept for a novel. Please give us updates as time goes by. You could have such beautiful cover art for that story. So many people are Southwest fans.

    I have the first draft done on my book and I am doing character interviews myself right now before I do the first revisions.

    I love the joy of creation but revisions, I do not love.

    Blessed are the writers who like to revise, for they shall be called authors.

    I really enjoyed your post. Thanks.


  39. Hi Walt, Afraid I couldn't stay up as late as you. And you're on Eastern time too. sigh

    Hang in there. Sounds like life is giving you great material for your characters. Lot's of diversity. And fun.

  40. Thanks Vince for your encouraging words.

    Hopefully you can get out to Arizona and see the beautiful scenery.

    Best wishes on your rewrites. Think of it as a game. Or puzzle like Pam mentioned.

  41. Hi Sandra

    Thank you for an interesting blog.

    I've had great fun interviewing my characters to learn more about them.

    Here's something I like doing which helps to bring my characters to life when I interview them. When tapping out each character's responses to your questions, use a font that you feel represents that character e.g. try Rockwell Extra Bold for Mark and Mistral for Geri.

    Have fun!

    Please enter me in the contest for the Genesis entry fee.

    Thank you

    Ruth Ann Dell
    ruthanndell (at) mweb (dot) co (dot) za

  42. Sandra, thanks for the plug of my character chart.

    Great article!


  43. Sandra, I'm sorry I missed your post the other day!

    Excellent post! I love to write a first person inteview of each of my main characters. I start when they're young. It's all very helpful!