Wednesday, March 13, 2013

KEEPING IT “REEL” … Or A “NOVEL” Approach To Putting A Movie in Your Reader's Mind (& Giveaway!!)

“Rhett, Rhett... Rhett, if you go, where shall I go?
What shall I do?”
“Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn.”
(Buy movie from Amazon here)

Nooooooooo!!! Somebody pass me a Kleenex, please, because as long as I live, I will never forget the impact of that final scene from Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind. There I sat at the age of sixteen in a darkened St. Louis movie house dressed as a nun (don’t ask), and I still remember the glaze of tears on Scarlett’s face as she rushes down those burgundy stairs. Even now I can close my eyes and see and feel it all—the gloom of the foyer, Rhett opening the stained-glass wood door, that thick and swirling fog, and Scarlett’s frantic plea as she clutches the knob—“where shall I go, what shall I do?”

Mmm … the very question every writer asks at what time or another! Just where can we go and what can we do to draw our readers into our stories, wringing every delicious drop of emotion from their minds and bodies with mere words on the page. I’m glad you asked! The answer? (Slow smile here.) By keeping it “reel,” of course.

Ah, movies! As visual creatures, we see it all—frame after frame, action after action, nuance after nuance—and consequently, we experience the pain, the loss and the angst Scarlett feels when Rhett walks out that door. Yes, “Frankly, my dear …” dialogue is important, but in a novel, words cannot stand alone—they are supported by a community of actions, expressions, and sensory stimulus that embeds that line or story into our brain. Just like those flat pages of still cartoon caricatures transform into a living, breathing story when fanned through, so are those details from the mind’s eye to a novel you may write.

So … when I decided to write this post, I sat down to really think about just why some readers have likened my books to watching a movie where they see every second, every frame, every emotion in their minds. To be honest, I had no clue except for the fact that when I write, I personally see and hear everything played out in my mind like a movie as well—the stutters, the pauses, the flicker of a nerve in my hero’s cheek. Usually I write the scene in my mind first while on the treadmill (which is downstairs, away from my family, thank God!), actually speaking the dialogue with inflection—be it anger, tease, embarrassment, whatever. I keep a pad and paper handy to scratch lines down that later will provide a powerful emotional trigger for when I actually write the scene.

For instance, I have written entire scenes around one or two lines that conveyed a “reel” picture of a character’s actions to me, literally “reeling” me into “movie mind,” such as in my second novel, A Passion Redeemed. Before I ever wrote one line in that book, several sentences popped into my brain one day when I was on the treadmill and instantly a movie scene played in my mind, which, ironically, ended up being the original last scene of the book. I saw Charity bounding into the kitchen, teasing her mother about how her father had brought another eligible bachelor home for her. Pushing through the swinging kitchen door, she quips:

      “Well, he did it, Mother. Brought another prospect home for his pitiful daughter.”

     “Two,” he said, his tone casual as he rose from the table. His tall frame unfolded to fill the kitchen, obliterating anything in her vision but him. “He brought two.”

Those two lines molded and shaped not only my ending, but my mood and motivation for the rest of the book—getting those two characters to that point in the kitchen. Why? Because “movie mind” is powerful!

 So ... since I’m a 1-2-3 type of gal, I thought about how I go about this “movie mind” process, and following are the steps I came up with, of which I may do all or just one or two, depending on my mood. Keep in mind that these are just suggestions of what I do—so use or lose as you see fit.


1.) When I submit a proposal, I always (at least since my second series) write a very detailed synopsis that both my editor and agent claim reads like a mini-novel, including bits of dialogue that later will become my “emotional triggers” for a particular scene. I always use these dialogue snippets in the book because they inspire my passion since they are products of my “movie mind” mode of brainstorming, which is always more dramatic and natural.

2.)    I usually write a scene in my head first, immediately writing down any dialogue or actions that spring to mind, which I will then use as emotional triggers later on when I actually write the book.

3.)    I write the beginning of the scene, then read it out loud to visualize each word or phrase so I can see the expressions and actions in my mind to motivate me further.

4.)    I close my eyes again (I do this a lot, which sometimes qualifies as sleeping) and “feel” the scene in mind’s eye … the quirk of a lip, the rise and fall of a chest, subtle expanse in the whites of a character’s eyes. This helps me to authenticate the words or actions of my characters. For instance, would a gruff and no-nonsense hero like Mitch Dennehy pause or beat around the bush? Would my shy and quiet heroine arch a brow like Scarlett O’Hara? I think not!

5.)    When necessary, I replicate what I see in my mind by capturing the emotion in a mirror, which helps me to determine if the action/or facial response is appropriate or just flat-out stupid.

6.)    Finally, in the revision stage, I read the scene out loud to see if the actions/facial and body responses ring true to the character, the scene, and the plot.


In my humble opinion, without beats—those little snippets of action woven into dialogue—the “movie” in your reader’s mind is greatly reduced. So for me, “beats” are the number one way I pull a reader into a scene, putting him or her smack dab in the characters’ shoes, mind, and emotions, hopefully just like in a movie where he or she will see every flicker of an eyelash, every muscle convulsing in the throat.

Here’s a clip from A Hope Undaunted where there’s romantic tension between the hero Luke McGee and the heroine Katie O’Connor because of his veiled reference to a kiss he forced on her earlier in the book. I am showing it two ways—first without beats and then once again with beats. In the first example, the veiled tease that I wanted is not evident, but I do think it is in the second example, with the appropriate beats, so I hope you do too.

     Katie frowned at the thick stack of bacon on Luke’s burger compared to the two measly pieces on each of hers. “You must have a pound of bacon on that sandwich. For pity’s sake, what’d you do, bribe her?”
     “Bribe her? No, Katydid,” Luke said, “because unlike you, some women actually enjoy doing what I ask.”
     “Ask maybe, but force? Do they enjoy that?”
     “Sometimes,” he said.

           Katie’s gaze flitted from the thick stack of bacon on Luke’s burger to the two measly pieces on each of hers. She frowned. “You must have a pound of bacon on that sandwich. For pity’s sake, what’d you do, bribe her?”
           Luke lifted the mammoth burger to his lips, pausing to give Katie a weighted gaze. “Bribe her? No, Katydid, because unlike you, some women actually enjoy doing what I ask.”
          “Ask maybe, but force? Do they enjoy that?”
          He bit into his sandwich and chewed slowly, a smile surfacing at the edges of his lips. “Sometimes,” he said, heating her with a shuttered look while he took a slow swig of his drink.
           Katie’s cheeks flamed hot, and she itched to slap that smug smile off his handsome face. Instead, she whirled around to face Betty. “So, how are the ribs?”

        2.)    LET THE CHARACTER’S VOICE CONVEY A MOOD, CHARACTER TRAIT, OR EMOTION: Okay, I’m going to ruffle some feathers here, but I like to add adverbs or phrases to my speaker attributions to help convey a mood or feeling of the character. I know, I know, writing experts say you should avoid “ly” adverbs and I almost always agree when it comes to adding them to verbs because I think there are enough powerful verbs out there to evoke a mood on their own without resorting to the help of an adverb. BUT … when it comes to conveying the mood of a character’s voice, we are SO limited with “he said, she said,” that I’m of the opinion a writer can and should occasionally (or maybe I should say “sparingly”) utilize adverbs for speaker attributions in order to best convey a mood/response.

For instance, in this clip below from my upcoming release Love at Any Cost, I underlined the adverbs or phrases I used to show you what I mean—words such as “softly, quietly, husky chuckle, voice quivered, whispered, paused, gulped, barely audible, and quite a few ellipses to indicate pauses or hesitation. Call me crazy, but to me, the addition of these components helps to create, in my mind at least, the emotional pull of this tentative conversation between Caitlyn McClare and the brother-in-law to whom she was once engaged.  

     “So, Mrs. McClare . . . ,” he said softly, elbows clasped on parted knees. “Must be important to spend time with me under the stars past your bedtime.”
     She peeked up, the words stuck in her throat as she pinched the blanket close.
     His husky chuckle warmed her cheeks more than the fire. "Come on, Cait,” he said, “you’ve never been afraid of me a day in your life, so what is it? What do you want?”
     She drew in a deep swallow of air, her stomach a whirl from the import of her request . . . and from his presence. “I . . . need your . . . support,” she said quietly.
     “You already have that, Cait, you know that.”
      She swallowed hard. “On the Board.” Her voice quivered like her body beneath the blanket.
      Silent for several moments, he finally sat back to assess her with hands braced behind his neck, studying her through pensive eyes. “What do you want, Cait?” he whispered.
     She forged on, absently picking at the nubby edge of the blanket. “Well, you see, the Vigilance Committee . . .She paused, avoiding his gaze. “Or I should say I . . . have drafted a proposal for the Board of Supervisors regarding the Barbary Coast, but I didn’t want to present it to the Vigilance Committee until I . . .” Chancing a glance, she was encouraged by the smile hovering on his lips, giving her the distinct impression he enjoyed the fact that she needed him. Emboldened, she lifted her chin. “Well, it’s an important initiative, you see, and I don’t want to go in blind, presenting a mere piece of paper, so I was hoping to . . .” She nervously clamped the blanket to her chin. “Gird it with some . . . clout,” she said, her voice barely audible for the silent gulp in her throat.
     “You want my vote,” he said simply, effectively releasing the breath she’d been holding.
     The blanket slid to her shoulders. “Oh, Logan, I realize this is highly improper, with you being an influential member of the board, but . . .” She stared at him openly, honestly, without the least bit of guile. “Cleaning up the Coast means everything to me, outside of my family, and I was just hoping ... well, praying, really . . . that you might . . .
      He was watching her with such affection that she caught her breath, suddenly aware that in his own way, this man loved her and would do anything for her and her family. The thought stunned and energized her all at the same time, and with the barest hint of a smile, she stated her plea. “Present my plan to the Board,” she said in a rush, right before the air left her lungs in a whoosh of relief.

      3.)    USE POWERFUL WORDS THAT CONVEY A PARTICULAR MOOD: Powerful verbs are the perfect way to put the reader into the “front seat of the car” such as those I’ve underlined below in this clip from A Passion Redeemed when the hero Mitch Dennehy gets into his car after realizing he’s falling for the heroine Charity O’Connor, whom he considers to be pure poison.

           He reached in his jacket and flung a wad of bills on the bar. “To the devil with my future. It might as well burn with the past.”          
          Wheeling around, he bludgeoned his way through the crowd, riling customers on his way out. Outside, the bitter cold assailed him, tinged with the smells of burning peat and the slight whiff of horses. The faint sound of laughter and singing drifted from the various pubs tucked along the cobblestone road. His anger swelled.
           He hurled his car door open and pitched the bottle on the passenger seat. Mumbling under his breath, he rounded the vehicle to rotate the crank, gyrating the lever with such ferocity that it rattled unmercifully. The engine growled to life, its vicious roar rivaling the angst in his gut. He got in the car and slammed the door, slapping the headlights on with a grunt. With a hard swipe of the steering wheel, he jerked the car away from the curve and exhaled a loud breath.
           It was happening again. He was finally past the pain of one sister and now it was beginning with the other.
           He gunned the vehicle down Lower Abbey Street, nearly hitting a pedestrian who probably wouldn’t have felt a thing, given the near-empty bottle in his hand. Mitch gritted his teeth. That’s what women did to you—drove you to the bottom of a bottle where you drowned in your own liquid travail. He yanked his tie off, loosening his shirt to let the frigid air cool the heat of his anger. Thoughts of Charity suddenly surfaced, and a heat of another kind surged through his body. He swore out loud, the coarse sound foreign to his ears. He turned the corner on a squeal. The bottle careened across the seat and slammed into his leg.
           He’d been without a woman way too long. Once, his appetite had been voracious. But Faith had changed all that. Her sincerity, her purity, her honesty. She had ruined him for other women. Since she’d left, he’d had no inclination, no interest. No desire.
           Until now.

POWER WORDS: Likewise, powerful words that convey the mood of your scene are critical to “movie mind,” which is why I live and die by the one website I use more than any other—the OneLook Reverse Dictionary. Trust me—this one link is worth the price of this blog today! I am on this thesaurus-style website literally ALL DAY LONG because it is the best I have found for powerful words that help to appropriately convey a mood, such as the depressed mood I needed in this clip from A Passion Denied. In this scene Marcy O’Connor is mourning the loss of her husband, a man so angry at her, he hasn’t slept at home in over a month and barely speaks to her except to keep up appearances with the children. I have underlined all the depressing words/phrases that help convey her mood.

        Marcy stood at Mrs. Gerson’s kitchen window, in bleak harmony with the rivulets of water that slithered down the pane. It was a slow and steady rain, endless weeping from a gray and dismal sky, and Marcy felt a kinship with it. It showed no signs of letting up, much like the grief in her heart over the loss of her husband. A silent mourning over a spouse who was still very much alive, but whose love was as cold and dead as any corpse.

For me, a bonafide drama queen, internal monologue has to be dramatic. Yes, you want to convey the character’s thoughts to your reader, but since internal monologue is not as fun and fast as dialogue, we cannot afford to ramble on in a ho-hum stream of consciousness lest we lose the reader. So to bring “movie mind” to internal monologue, I like to give it extra punch with powerful words, powerful beats, dramatic thoughts, and occasional bursts of short lines for added drama. I tried to do that in this clip from A Heart Revealed, where Charity O’Connor’s husband Mitch Dennehy has shut her out of his heart, his bed, and his life.

         With a wild pumping of her pulse, she flung the door wide and chased after him, following him down the stairs as she pleaded her case. “Mitch, please, don’t do this,” she cried.
         But he did. And when he slammed the study door and bolted her out, she felt as if she were suffocating, the air bleeding from her lungs in the rawest of pain. She staggered back to their room, barely able to catch her breath. Cold comprehension stabbed anew, wounding her with painful revelation. She was alone and despised by her husband, a woman whose very existence depended on his love. Like oxygen to her body and hope to her soul.
         And now it was gone.
         Pain slashed through her like jagged pieces of glass, and she collapsed on their bed in unfathomable grief. His words droned in her brain, piercing anew and haunting her mind. She had feared his silence, thinking nothing could be worse.
         But she had been wrong.
         His words had gashed into the soft and tender flesh of all that she was, all she had been—a little girl, rejected and abused, fearing the absence of a man’s love. And now it was here—as cold and empty as the look in Mitch’s eyes—she was alone. A chill shivered through her and she keened on the bed with hurt so stabbing, she thought she would die. His love had been shut off, and a gaping hole had opened wide, leaving her empty and exposed to the whisperings of death.    
          He will never love you again.    
         Your marriage is a lie.    
         Your life is over.    
        “Nooooooo!” Her hoarse whisper echoed in the room, drowning out the lies. And then in a violent beat of her heart, she jerked her knees to her chest and cocooned into the safety of God, her arms clinging to his love with head bent and heart sheltered. “Oh, God, forgive me and save me . . . from myself and from my sin. I need you—and only you—to be the lover of my soul. Fill my emptiness with your Spirit and love so I may be all you’ve called me to be.”
         And with a final shiver of her body, she let it all go—Mitch’s anger, his silence, and the loss of his love, placing it where she knew it belonged—at the foot of God’s throne. And in that one simple transfer of will, sorrow seeped from her eyes as a wellspring of hope, weighting her pillow, but lifting her soul. Moonlight streamed across her bed like the grace of God, and finally she closed her eyes to take her rest.
         A woman broken in a bed of sorrow, yes . . . but whole in the hand of God.

Okay, that’s how I try to create “movie mind” for my readers, so tell me how YOU do it or just leave a comment to be entered in a drawing for winner’s choice of any of my books including my upcoming release Love at Any Cost.


ST. PATRICK'S 3-DAY SALE!! My Irish love story A Light in the Window will be on sale for $ .99 for THREE DAYS ONLY, MARCH 15, 16, and 17, so take advantage! Here are the links:  Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

A Hope Undaunted, book 1 in my "Winds of Change" series and listed on Booklist's Top Ten Inspirational Fiction list for 2010 is currently available for FREE DOWNLOAD on Amazon, Barnes and Noble or CBD.

WEDNESDAY, 3/13 is the LAST day to leave a comment at Tamera Kraft's "Word Sharpeners" blog for my article entitled "The Good, the Bad, and the Really Ugly: Memories of a Published Writer" and giveaway of choice of my books. Here's the link :

MARCH 10-17, 2013: Check out my celebrity pics for Marcy and Patrick and Sam in A Light in the Window at Relz Reviewz where you’ll find a Character Spotlight on Marcy and Patrick PLUS a giveaway of choice of my books. After you choose which book you want, BE SURE TO SCROLL DOWN TO LEAVE A COMMENT!! Here's the link and hope to see you there:


Mary Connealy said...

Great post, Julie. To me action, visual action, is what makes a book read like a movie.
I remember reading Jurassic Park and I could just SEE it. I knew it would be a movie, though I couldn't imagine how they'd make it work. But it was such a visual book.
Tom Clancy's books read like that. And conversely sometimes you read a book and it's wonderful but you can't quite see it on the big screen, you can't see it move.

Mary Connealy said...

HA! I'm first! Weird, that never happens. I like it!!!

Connie Queen said...

You make me want to hurry and start editing my book. Add beats. Stronger verbs.

It's funny because I've said the westerns I write I can't picture as a movies, just books. Two of my contempories though I don't see as books, but movies. Seeing them as movies, I picture the scenes just like what you talk about.

I've always assumed this was because there are few western romance movies.

Marianne Barkman said...

THIS is what is missing in many novels...that sense of movement! Looking forward to your next one, Julie. i loved A Light in the Window, though i was surprised!

Carla Olson Gade said...

Wonderful tips for bringing our novels to "reel" life! You gave us some excellent examples, too. I'm with you on the occasional use of adverbs. Sometimes their is just no other way. I'm also comforted by the fact that you muse on your treadmill. My musing is a little less active. I've been known to crawl in bed and pull the covers over my head and start playing those novel movies in my head. Then I get up and write. Sad, but true.

Carol Moncado said...

Julie - I did read this and will comment tomorrow, but I'm not coherent enough right now ;).

End of SpeedBo Day 12:
Today: 6688
Total: 63040

I also read aloud a proposal, tweaked it, and got it sent off. I wanted to hit 7K for the day, but I'm tired ;). I do have a few notes on where the rest of this sucker is going [Mary Connealy style] and hope to hit "the end" of the first draft by Thursday afternoon :).

And since my ankle still hurts... :D

Vince said...

Hi Julie:

I started reading this post at midnight. I had to use Chrome as IE would not go below the GWTW poster. I even went to the other site as directed. Now it’s after 3 am. So I’m taking tomorrow morning off. Sometimes there are snow days, and sometimes there are Julie days.

I believe it is not what the reader ‘sees’ in a novel. It’s not all about action or special effects. It’s what the camera can see with the right director behind it. Think of the landscape scene from the plane in “Out of Africa” – landscape as breathless beauty.

Do you have scenes that the camera can capture with full emotion or stunning beauty? Is the best story movement outside of the heads of the characters? Is the conflict visual? I think it is not writing pre se but rather staging that makes a screenplay.

I hope this makes sense in the morning or should I say ‘mid-afternoon’. ☺☻☺


Cindy W. said...

Wonderful post Julie. I had to skim it this morning as I have to get ready for work, but I will be back tonight to chew on the content for awhile.

Have a blessed day!

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.

countrybear52 AT yahoo DOT com

Jenny Blake said...

Julie how did I know when I see Gone with the Wind it would be you!

news of MRI nothing serious no tears but it did show inflammation (I guess I am glad it showed something to explain the pain) am on panadol and an anti Inflammitory drug for 4 weeks if still not much progress we are looking at a steroid shot in the wrist. I am praying for improvement! I found by removing the metal stay in the supports I can wear them and they feel ok. was told I can use it more but to be careful she said no lifting 110 kg weights or head stands (said I cant do a head stand anyway and I just laughed at the weight!) Its good to know the damage isn't to bad and by using it a little will not make it worse.

end of update back to normal programming.

Jenny Blake said...

PS Happy birthday Audra hope you have a great day today

Mary Curry said...

Julie, I LOVE this wondrous peek into your writing process. So illuminating.

And so long. :)
Sadly I only made it halfway through and now I have to leave for work. I'll have to finish it when I get home, but that's something to look forward to.

I have the strongest urge to wear green velvet to work. ;)

pol said...

Hello Julie, always like to see your enthusiasm for GWTW when you post. I can see you on the treadmill waving arms talking through your story you will write. too cool.
Many personalities in Seekerville and I enjoy the way they pop out through comments here.
looks like many are busy as little bees today, I will be following as the month progresses..
Reels and Realy, novel way to look at this month of SpeedBo....
Paula O,

Piper Huguley said...


Thanks for this keeper post. So informative. I don't know about anyone else, but I struggle with beats. I used to take acting class a long, long time ago, but I think beats in acting means something different than in writing, so thank you for the example here!


Bridgett Henson said...

Julie, A keeper post this morning. I'm always on the lookout for ways to provoke more emotional responses from my readers.

Vince, I had the same problem with IE.

Linnette R Mullin said...

Julie! Just checking in for now. I'll have to come back and read this later as I have a quiet house at the moment and am writing!!!

Total Word Count thus far stands at 5,521 ~ 2,966 of which belongs to my WIP ~ "Loving Tiffany". I wish it were higher, but trying to find these quiet moments with a family of six who keep getting sick on me isn't easy.

I'll be back...

Melanie Dickerson said...

Awesome, Julie!!!
I am such a movie buff. I LOVE movies!!! Last night we (my lovely daughters and I) watched Nanny McPhee. I love that last scene, where the former scullery maid is walking down the aisle, and she looks at Nanny McPhee and says, "I never did get to find out what happened at the end of that story." And with Colin Firth's beautiful self waiting for her at the altar, Nanny McPhee says, "My dear, you ARE the end of the story." And then the snow swirls around her and forms a beautiful wedding dress and glowing veil ... sigh!

Anyway, yes! I love the visuals! I love to put in just enough vivid detail so that my readers can SEE the scene! But I usually have to add those in the second and third round of self editing, since I tend to rush through the story. I especially hate taking the time to add beats to dialogue. The dialogue is just so much more FUN!

Thanks, Julie! You are always a breath of fresh air, and the Lord knows I needed one this morning!

Lisa Jordan said...

Julie, I LOVE this post, especially this line:
Powerful verbs are the perfect way to put the reader into the “front seat of the car”

Such truth!

My scenes play out like movies in my head too. And I try to write my characters as I hear them. I love using action beats to show deeper characterization too.

Jeanne T said...

Julie, what a great post! I love your suggestions for evoking emotion. I am always on the lookout for ways to improve in this area of my writing.

I am learning that I have to "see" a scene before I can write it. Since I'm spending more time on the treadmill, I'll have to give your technique a try. :)

I'm so glad you shared this today.

AUDRA! It's your birthday?! Well happy birthday from one Colorado gal to another!!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Oh, Julie, I love books that inspire me to "see" them in 3-D. To Kill a Mockingbird... A Member of the Wedding... The Yearling... A Day No Pigs Would Die....

I can remember and re-feel my emotions for each of these books, and so many others. The emotional punch and the imagination grabbing scenery are what "reel" me.

Just amazing. I love when my emotional investment in a book brings me a multi-faceted experience reading it.

Unforgettable characters....

Broad expanses or tightly tucked rooms....

And longing for the book to last forever.


Smiling in upstate!!!

Kav said...

Thanks for the peek into your writer's mind, Julie. I'm all about having my emotions engaged as a reader -- that's what makes it movie-like for me. Like I'm living it right along with the heroine. And you definitely achieve that in your books -- sometimes too well. I'm usually an emotional wreck by 'the end'. LOL -- very therapeutic.

And like Vince, Explorer isn't playing nice with Seekerville this morning. I had to jump over to Chrome...and even so the sidebar is jumping around like crazy. It must be feeding off your energy!

Julie Lessman said...

GOOD MORNING, ALL ... I think ...

Went to bed last night with the blog in ship-shape and woke up this morning with all the spacing awry. BUT ... I was able to respace, so hopefully it's fixed and easier to read now.

Either way, this calls for donuts to assuage any upset, so I've got any kind your heart desires -- white cake with chocolate and white icing (my faves!!), long Johns, crullers, bear claws, glazed, maple, braided, filled, etc. Plus LOTS of cinnamon hazelnut coffee, K-cups and teas, so dig in!!


Julie Lessman said...

Hey, MARE ... WOW!! I do believe this is the first time you've been first, so an extra donut to you!!

Oh, DUH ... I never even thought of action, but you are SOOOOO right and demerits for me!! You are the Queen of Action, so it only makes sense you would think of that -- THANK YOU!!

Oh, CONNIE ... I was worried about that!! I woke up this morning and thought ... this post is not exactly Speed-Bo friendly, now is it?? So just bookmark it and come back in April, okay?? :|

LOL, MARIANNE ... you were "surprised" you loved it??? ;) Gee, you're a tough audience, girl!! Hopefully you meant I surprised you despite the fact you knew who Marcy would end up with, right?? I hope ?? ;)


Julie Lessman said...

CARLA, thank you!! And, LOL about crawling in bed with the covers over your head -- you are SO cute!! Although I'm sure to burn a few more calories than you in the process, but I'll bet your brain is burning calories with all that brainstorming!! Whatever works, right???

CAROL!!! You are "Mary Connealy" and "Ruthy Logan Herne" amazing as far as cranking books out, girlfriend!! Once you get the call, you are going to be smoking!!

VINCE!!! I am SO sorry you had a problem, my friend. This particular post seems to be rife with bugaboos, so I come against them in Jesus' name right now!!

Thank you for checking out the other two blogs -- I really appreciate that because both are great blogs run by really cool gals.

A "Julie Day"??? Mmmm ... I guess that means my blogs are SOOO long that it takes a full day to read and digest them, eh?? Believe it or not, I planned to write a short blog for Speedbo so everyone could get back to to work quickly, but God knows "short" is not in my vocabulary except with shortcake. :|

Okay ... this may well be the first time that I'm having trouble following your genius thought process. Of course, I've only had a half a cup of coffee, so that may be why, but you're saying staging is the key? Well, staging certainly helps in selling a home, so maybe you have something here. Take a mediocre house and doll it up with staging, and you may just hook a buyer. Mmmm ... food for thought ... along with the donuts!!


Julie Lessman said...

CINDY ... You can skim my blogs, my friend, but don't EVER tell me you skim my books or I will cry ... Thanks for stopping by and blessings right back at you, plus a win!!

JENNY!!! No handstands???? Nooooooooo!! Seriously, SO glad it's nothing terribly serious and sounds like time (and care) will do the trick, so PRAISE GOD!!!

LOL, MARY ... my first crack about being too long, so thanks for getting it over with early, my friend!! ;) And green velvet??? As in honor of St. Pat's Day, I hope??
Do let us know what you ended up wearing, okay?? Have a great day and And GOOD LUCK in the contest!


Julie Lessman said...

Hey, PAULA, thanks for coming by, sweetie, and I sure hope it nets you a win! And, yes, we have LOTS of wonderful and quirky personalities here in Seekerville, which helps to cover all the bases as far as writing experiences and tips, eh?? GOOD LUCK in the contest, my friend. :)

PIPER ... SO glad I could shed a little light on beats. I absolutely LOVE them and maybe that's a post for a future blog, so THANKS for the idea!!

BRIDGETT ... Oh, boo ... SO sorry you had trouble with IE!! If you knew the antics I go through to make sure that doesn't happen, you wouldn't believe it. Oh, well ... I'm glad you got through, with Chrome, I presume??


Jan Drexler said...

Hi, Julie!

Here I've been thinking I was weird to write with my eyes closed, but now I feel like I'm part of the in crowd. When I close my eyes, I can see the scene play out in my mind - and I'm so thankful I took that typing class in high school! Touch typing is the only way to go.

And like Connie Queen, now I'm itching to start editing...but many, many more words need to be added before the end of the month. So I'll file this post and read it again then.

Thanks, Julie. You're the best :)

Myra Johnson said...

As always, a super-duper post brimming with wonderful examples! Thanks, Julie!

I don't go to the lengths you do (no pre-writing on the treadmill or testing expressions in the mirror), but I do "see" my scenes unfolding like a movie in my head. I imagine each character's visceral and emotional reactions, their body language, their movements across the "stage."

Sometimes I worry about adding in too many beats, but those actions and reactions show so much more than the simple "she said."

Linnette R Mullin said...

Yes! Another 1,252 words!!! Woo-hoo! That's 4,218 for "Loving Tiffany"!

Marianne Barkman said...

oops...that is what comes from not proof reading my comment, Julie. Of course, i meant i was surprised at the ending. Not surprised i loved your novel. They are amazing! and YOU ROCK.


May the K9 Spy (and KC Frantzen) said...

I literally said, "OH WOWWWWwwwww..." when opening the OneLook Reverse Dictionary.

WOW WOW WOW. Thank-you-so-much!!

Great information here, and thanks for doing all the work to underline and point out EXACTLY what you were trying to teach.

Another printer-offer, right here! Excellent Julie! Have a PAWSOME day! :)

Julie Lessman said...

Hey, MEL, you don't like beats??? That may well be one of the few things we don't have in common because I LOVE beats -- to me they are as natural as breathing!! But you must do them pretty darn well with all the awards and nominations behind your name, young lady, a beat lover or not! I have never seen Nanny McPhee, so I'm guessing I should???

LISA ... YES, you gotta love those strong verbs, don't you, though?? And beats are the KEY to deeper characterization in my opinion, so I totally agree with you!!

JEANNE ... DO give the treadmill technique a try, my friend, because it is golden for me!!



May the K9 Spy (and KC Frantzen) said...


Excellent about staging... Just excellent...

So much to do on the WIP... Better go get to it!

Thanks one and all!

Julie Lessman said...

Hey, RUTHY ... I can still see To Kill a Mockingbird too -- powerful movie!!

KAV, LOL!!! "An emotional wreck"??? Then my work here is done ... ;) Thus the throwing of books across the room, and I'll just bet you were one who did so or at least thought about it, weren't you??? That's okay -- I forgive you if you forgive me ... :)

Oh, man, the sidebar is jumping too?? LOL ... "feeding off my energy," my foot ... more like feeding off my technological illiteracy!!


Julie Lessman said...

LINNETTE ... 5,521 is nothing to sneeze at, girl, and it's WAY more than I've written this week due to wedding-planning luncheons, Seeker blogs and other important things taking precedence, so you go, girl!!

JAN SAID: "Touch typing is the only way to go." LOL, you got that right, girlfriend, so GOOD FOR YOU in closing your eyes -- that's the best way to unleash movie mind!!

MYRA SAID: "Sometimes I worry about adding in too many beats, but those actions and reactions show so much more than the simple "she said."

Oh man, Myra, you got that right!! And I adore your books, my friend, so I can safely assure you that you do beats absolutely perfectly!!


Julie Lessman said...

WHOO-HOO, LINNETTE!!! Don't stop now ..., sweetie!!

WHEW, MARIANNE ... I was hoping that was the case ... ;)

KC ... YES!!! Isn't that thesaurus to die for??? I absolutely LOVE IT!! And you're welcome about the underlines, WHICH I had to go in and add AGAIN because Blogger messed me up yesterday. Sigh.


Myra Johnson said...

Jenny, so glad your MRI didn't show anything serious!

But definitely no headstands, okay?

Playground Monitor said...

I had to download Firefox so I could see today's post. Haven't had a problem with IE before. *shrugs* Gotta love technology.

I can see now I need to go "beat up" my characters. LOL!


Missy Tippens said...

Wow, what an info packed post! Thanks for sharing, Julie! I used to see my books more as movie scenes unfolding. I haven't done that as much lately and recently realized I need to work more to do that again. It sure does help when writing the scene!

Forgot to come back yesterday and give Speedbo word count: 2707 words. Hope today is as productive!

Nancy Kimball said...

I think something is wrong with me because my favorite moment in GWTW is when Rhett says to Scarlett:

"That's what's wrong with you. You should be kissed. And often. And by someone who knows how."

EPIC! So true on the beats Julie. The example with and without was super helpful. In my first MS, this was ALWAYS the action beat in a particular scene that got the "like a movie" comments from crit partners.

Jonathan crouched behind his shield, sword extended and ready. He dipped his chin and took a deep breath, summoning his focus. Somewhere in the stables a horse whinnied, breaking the hush that had fallen over the training ground. The soft whip of shifting sand said Rooster adjusted his stance.The stick flashed through Jonathan and Rooster’s locked stares.

You know how when movies go "tight" on something, it's important? Like someone's mouth or face before a kiss, or some article in a crime scene the detective is either missing completely or picking up with a pen and dropping into a plastic bag? I like to think of those as the "action beats" if I were reading that movie and it gives me clues on how often to hyper-focus the reader on something and what that thing should be to achieve the pacing and emotional tone I want them to have. And it takes FOREVER when I'm in that layer of editing to do this and you are so right, word choice is king!

Debby Giusti said...

Julie, you are The Beat Queen! Although that sounds weird. Still you do it so well.

I'm a sparse writer. Sometimes I'll read one of your scenes to prime my well. Don't know how you do it. You see each frame of action and nail it on the page.

Great blog. Worth keeping...perhaps forever.

Debby Giusti said...

I couldn't access the blog on IE today either. Chrome allowed me to see it all.

Hope others are finding their way to Seekerville.

Don't forget we're also giving away a Kindle Fire HD and 24 books on Barbara Vey's Beyond Her Book blog today. Visit us there but then return to Seekerville. Please! :)

Lyndee H said...

Great post, Julie. It has me fighting with myself to keep from polishing the WIP when I'm in the middle of Speedbo, lol. Will print to read again in April.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Hey, did I see Captain Jack over at Barbara Vey's blog?????



And yes, IE doesn't have a love affair going with Rhett and Scarlett it appears.

But in Firefox and Chrome it came through fine.

I love my Google Chrome. I really do. And they pay me NOTHING to say that.

Although they should.

Hey, I just made ten-minute trifle for the Yankee Belle Cafe tomorrow...

I must go eat it!!! I'll share, 'kay????


Pepper said...

HOW MANY "LOVES" can I brand on this post!!!!!!
I always see my scenes as movies, but Jules, you've written such a clear aspect of how to take the 'movie in my head' and apply it to the page. Oooh!!!!
Flesh, clothes, and jewelry to the bones of the scene. WOW!!! YES!

Debra E. Marvin said...

Yes I want to go home and write now, too.
I've learned that what I'm seeing in my head isn't always getting on to the paper. Thank God for critique partners, eh?

Can Julie really be the Drama Queen, Kissing Queen and the Beats Queen?
that's a lot of hats, er, tiaras to wear? :) but she manages!

This is a good time for sneaking in an invite to come over to the Inkwell Inspirations blog and ask you all to tell me what book you like that you 'wish your wrote'!

Happy Wednesday!

Julie Lessman said...

MARILYN ... sooooo sorry about the IE glitch. I actually just went in and deleted all pix and reinserted, so can you let me know if you can view it on IE now?

But THANK YOU, MARILYN, for downloading Firefox just for me -- you deserve to win, my friend, so GOOD LUCK!! Firefox is actually all I use and I love it, so hopefully you will too!

MISSY ... GREAT word count, my friend, and 2,707 more words than I wrote, so you go, girl ...

NANCY SAID: ""That's what's wrong with you. You should be kissed. And often. And by someone who knows how."

LOL ... Just one of the MANY reasons I love you, Nance!! ;)

And EXCELLENT example, my friend -- I was practically shoving the popcorn in my mouth ... ;)

Ohhhh, and GREAT POINT on the camera going in "tight"!!!


Julie Lessman said...

LOL, DEBBY -- "The Beat Queen"!!! Well, now THAT'S a new one on me. :) I've been called the Kissing Queen, the Drama Queen and the Queen of Anality, but never the Beat Queen, but I'll take it because I doooo love those little boogers!! :)

DEBBY ALSO SAID: "Sometimes I'll read one of your scenes to prime my well."

Are you kidding me??? Really and truly??? I consider the absolute SUPREME compliment coming from one of the writers I admire most, Deb, so BLESS YOU for making my day!! You made it yesterday when I received your latest book in the mail (cannot WAIT!!), so thank you again, my sweet friend!

Oh, and FORGIVE ME for not getting over to Barbara Vey's blog yet, but I will. Between IE and Blogger, I've been a wee bit busy ... :|


Julie Lessman said...

LYNDEE ... yeah, I know, I've been bad today, posting this blog during Speedbo. Don't know WHAT I was thinking when I planned this. Well, I suppose the answer is I WASN'T thinking ... which is not all that unusual, unfortunately. :|

RUTHY ... did you say "Ten-mInute Trifle"???? I LOOOOOOOVE trifle, so I will be over ...

LOL, PEP ... see? This is only one of the many, MANY reasons I love you, kiddo ... you have SOOO much passion and drama!!! Love how you phrased the line: "Flesh, clothes, and jewelry to the bones of the scene." You are sooooo a writer, my friend!! :)


Ganise C. said...

Julie wrote : '… when it comes to conveying the mood of a character’s voice, we are SO limited with “he said, she said,” that I’m of the opinion a writer can and should occasionally (or maybe I should say “sparingly”) utilize adverbs for speaker attributions in order to best convey a mood/response.'

Ganise says : Have you been reading my mind? Just finished this book last friday (I think) and I was getting tired of how much the author kept using 'he said... she said'. So I REALLY like what you do in yours, Julie- it's one of the reasons why reading your books is like watching a movie. :)

Thank you for this post and please include me in the giveaway too. (And while you're at it, mind saying a quick prayer for me Jules? Day didn't start ok.)

Playground Monitor said...

Blogger is still not playing nice with IE. It's a Google vs. Microsoft thing. *sigh*

With all this talk about beats, I'm hearing Sonny & Cher in my head. "And the beat goes on, and the beat goes on."


Julie Lessman said...

DEB SAID: "I've learned that what I'm seeing in my head isn't always getting on to the paper."

LOL ... that must have hurt you in school, my friend!!

You also said: "Can Julie really be the Drama Queen, Kissing Queen and the Beats Queen?"

And the Ambiance Queen, the Lip Gloss Queen and the Queen of Quirk, but then a CDQ is ALWAYS used to being called names, trust me!! :)

YES, YES, YES ... DO check out Deb's wonderful blog on the books you wish you had written!! Here's the link:



Julie Lessman said...

Hey, GANISE, you bet I'll say one for you right now, PLUS write a sticky to continue to pray during the day, so hang in there, my sweet friend -- God WILL work all things out for your good!!

MARILYN, thanks for checking for me. And MAJOR BUMMER on that, but such is life in the blogging world, I guess. :(


Ganise C. said...

:) Thanks Julie. I'll keep on praying for you too.

Carol Moncado said...

Oo Ooo Ooooo

This has nothing to do with Julie's post [except I know she'll be happy for me :D].

The PERFECT final piece to the wrap up of the SpeedBo MS just fell into place.

Who wants to dance with me?

/grabs Ruthy and twirls her around in a Snoopy dance/

Nancy Kimball said...

haha, thanks, Julie. =) I also only use Firefox. Just love it.

Virginia Carmichael Munoz said...

Ok, I finally got in!!

There's something wrong with blogger. I switched to Mozilla and got it figured out.

SO glad I did!!! Julie, love all of this, and book marked that reverse dictionary. Maybe it will keep me from waving my hands in the air and making faces while I write. When I can't find the right word I get a little... flustered.

Julie Lessman said...


WHOO-HOO, CAROL, YOU ARE ON A ROLL, GIRLFRIEND!!! Dancing with you, darlin'!!

NANCY ... me too, although I did download Google Chrome just in case. :)

YAY, VIRIGINA!! Thank you for going to the trouble of switching to Mozilla -- that's ALL I use!! And, YES, that REVERSE DICTIONARY is THE BEST!!


Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Julie, As always you are so inspiring. I love to think of my story as a movie. In fact, taking screenwriting classes really improved my writing-I think anyway.

And you started my day with Rhett, Rhett, sigh. Love it. Love you.

Lyndee H said...

Julie, I wasn't complaining. Makes me excited to get to The End so I can get busy with the wisdom you so kindly shared!

Amada Chavez said...

LOL! Love the way you do it and I have been dying to read Love at any cost! :)


Amber Perry said...

Wonderful, post!

"Great balls of fire! *hiccup* It's Rhett!"

Oh man, from one HUGE Gone With the Wind fan to another, I must say that your books really do read like movies. One of the biggest things you mentioned, for me anyway, was the "beats". I think those make a MAJOR impact and like you said, really make the movie...I mean the book. ;) LOL

Thanks again for a great post!

Julie Lessman said...

LOL, SANDRA ... yeah, I'd say Rhett's a great way to start any day, isn't he?? I'm guessing screenplay writing has enriched your books, my friend, because I absolutely LOVE them!!

LYNDEE ... oh, girl, I know you weren't complaining, you sweet thing, but I do feel a wee bit bad that I didn't post on something more Speedbo friendly!! :|


Tina Pinson said...

That was reel inspiring, Julie.

I do close my eyes and think through the facial expressions and surroundings of a scene, I have yet to stand in the mirror and make faces at myself. But I just may have to go get myself a mirror so I can.

Then I can primp and tell everyone it's for my story.


I like the idea of using the power words and try to use that in my scenes. Still working on those stronger verbs and better beats, it is a process that's for certain.

Tina Radcliffe said...

Look! We have words.

Okay. I am printing this sucker out. This is an online class for goodness sake.

I normally pay 25 bucks for this jam packed amount of information!!!

Tina Radcliffe said...

Did I mention we are up to 106 SPEEDBO PARTICIPANTS.

No applying Julie's information until you meet today's goal Speedboers.

Tina Radcliffe said...

When you take a break go get some WWII Cooking and Speedbo Wisdom the Yankee Belle with Julie Hilto Steele.

Julie Hilton Steele saves time the WWII way

Tina Radcliffe said...

And while your printer is printing off all these pages of Julie Lessman's Workshop-(careful, printer may overheat-do not let cat sleep on printer while this job is printing)...go over to Barbara Vey's Beyond Her Book Blog and say hi.

Comments get you a chance for 24 Seeker books, and / or a Kindle Fire.

Anniversary Party at Beyond Her Book

Then you must come right back-and comment here.

Tell us what everyone at Barbara's party was wearing.

Jenny Blake said...

Myra I haven't been able to do a head stand since I was a kid! It was the lifting of weights that got me! figure I dream of being a weightlifter is on hold for awhile! Just knowing the issue is a help even if I dont understand the technical stuff.

Eva Maria Hamilton said...

Julie, as always, great post!
I have to ask, although you don't have to answer, how long are your synopses? :)
And thanks for that website, I'll have to play around with it!

Linnette R Mullin said...

Thanks, Julie! :D And I'm determined to read this post. I'm entering my running crazy time so it may be tonight, it may be tomorrow, but I'll be back! :D

Helen Gray said...

Hmm, what's up???

All that would come up last night was the title and picture. No text at all.

This morning was the same.

Now I come back to check and, kaboom, the whole thing is there.

Was the article hiding behind the picture?

Thanks, Julie, for the tips.

In case anyone needs it, here's a fresh pot of coffee for Speedbo participants.


Julie Lessman said...

AMADA!!! Trust me, girl, I can't wait for you to read LAAC either 'cause I'm anxious to see what my reader friends think of my new style!! ;)

TINA PINSON SAID: " I have yet to stand in the mirror and make faces at myself."

LOL ... then I'm afraid you can't realllllllly call yourself a writer yet, Tina, 'cause everyone knows writers are crazy!! ;)

AMBER SAID: ""Great balls of fire! *hiccup* It's Rhett!"

LOL!!! SEE??? Right there you put me smack dab in that movie all over again with your "hiccup," you smart, little thing you!! ;) Thanks for coming by, my friend, and GOOD LUCK in the contest!!


Julie Lessman said...

Thanks, TINA ... AND MEGA THANKS to Mary Connealy who fixed this blog so it would show up on IE!! Although I sure hated to take all my book covers out, but at least we still have Scarlett and Rhett ... :|

106 Speedboers???? YAY!!! And I echo what Tina said -- no application of this blog till AFTER Speedbo!!

Heading over to Julie H.S. next ...


Julie Lessman said...

EVA MARIA ... you are going to LOVE that website, trust me, or as Woody Allen said to Diane Keaton in Annie Hall -- LURVE that website!!

My synopses are generally about seven pages long, which is a little bit more than the average, I think, but it really plots the whole thing out for me and gets me excited about the book too. :)

LINNETTE ... well, at least when you read it, it will have the formatting back in along with one picture!! :|

HELEN ... it's the Internet Explorer bugaboo, I'm afraid, and Mary Connealy is the one who fixed it, so my hat is off to her for taking the time AND to you for coming back several times to try and try again!! You deserve to win for tenacity, my friend!!


Unknown said...

Love to read your book on Ireland, especially sense I have a Irish heritage & I was born on March 17th.Thanks for sharing!

Unknown said...

Thanks for sharing,excited about your Irish book, especially sense I have Irish heritage & was born on March 17th! Thanks Rose Blackard

Carrie Fancett Pagels said...

Reel great post, Julie!!! I write i a similar fashion. I think of it as writing "in character" like I'm in a movie or really living it. This post is a "keeper" with great tips! Thanks for that website link--cool!


Virginia said...

loved how you wrote about how you write!!!!!!! I can see you on that treadmill and see you go into that zone...I LOVE IT!!!!!!

Julie Lessman said...

ROSE!!! WOW ... Happy Birthday a few days early, you sweet thing!!

And guess what?? If you haven't read any of my books before, be sure to download A Hope Undaunted FREE right now as a birthday gift from me at the links given at the end of this post, okay? And I do hope you will take advantage of the 99 cent deal on A Light in the Window too!!

Thanks for coming by and the top of the mornin' to you, girl, on Sunday!!


Julie Lessman said...

CARRIE ... doesn't surprise me we write alike ... we have a lot in common, you poor thing!! :) And you are going to LOVE that website, I promise!!

VIRGINIA ... oh, I sure HOPE you can't see me on my treadmill, girl, because it sure isn't a pretty picture ... ;)


Becky Tidberg said...

I've been playing mental movies since high school English!! And what a surprise to see Rhett and Scarlett - I just finished video taping a scene for the high school show I'm directing where my characters played those two famous lovers :)

Cara Lynn James said...

Julie, as soon as I saw the picture of Scarlett and Rhett I knew this was your blog! And I was right.

I love how you see your scenes and how real they are.

CatMom said...

WOW, Julie---powerful post today, and tons of helpful info. (thanks!). A definite Keeper for me.

I've got to tell you this, because I thought of YOU last night while eating out with my husband and son *smile*. We were in Atlanta at Mary Mac's Tea Room (WONDERFUL place with real Southern cookin'!) and on the wall between the restroom door hangs a LOVELY "portrait" of Scarlett O'Hara. It's one I hadn't seen before, and I wanted to take a picture of it (next time I eat there I will be sure and do that!) but my husband was ready to head out so our son could get back to his campus house and do his schoolwork (he's a Ga. Tech student). But I kept thinking about that picture all night--SO beautiful! ~ Thanks again for this post, dahlin' Julie. *wink* Hugs, Patti Jo p.s. Enjoy the Georgia Peach Cobbler AND Cinnamon Rolls I brought home from Mary Mac's - - YUM!!

Jamie Adams said...

Great post, Julie. Thanks for sharing. I have not had a chance to write today and people all around me are talking loudly. Sigh

Carrie Fancett Pagels said...

THANKS JULIE!!! That is high praise, lol! Now if I can remember that website next time I am looking for words. I keep a big Rodale thesaurus next to me but I'd like to try out that site.

Julie Lessman said...

OMIGOSH, BECKY ... you're directing a high school show about Scarlett & Rhett??? Are you a student or a teacher and OH BOY, would I love to come to that!! What state do you live in???

LOL, CARA ... yeah, that's a dead giveaway, isn't it, though?? ;)

Thanks, PATTI JO, and ohhhhh man, am I jealous, girlfriend, eating at Mary Mac's!! But BLESS YOU for bringing peach cobbler (my fave!!) and cinnamon rolls -- you rock!! By the way, PLEASE tell me you plan to go to ACFW Indy because I would dearly love to meet you and give you a hug -- you are a gem, my friend!!


Julie Lessman said...

LOL, JAMIE ... sorry for laughing, but you sound SOOO much like me, girl, that I have a solution for you -- EAR PLUGS!! When I worked at Maritz Travel Company as a travel writer, our offices were in separate cubes, so you could hear everything going on in the department. Since I can't write with noise -- only absolute quiet -- I would just would pop in ear plugs and away I would go!! I use them at night when my hubby snores AND during the day when he's on a speakerphone business call and forgets to close is door. MAGIC!! But you HAVE to get the good ones. :) I use Flents from Wal-Mart -- little cream foam rubber can-shaped plugs. :)

CARRIE!! I think I was the one who talked you into getting Rodale's since THAT used to be THE thesaurus I used ... but that was before I found this website. Trust me ... you will NOT forget it if you use it once or twice!!


DebH said...

IE didnt work all day. No alt available either so Ive been eager to get home to read Julies post.

I thought I was the only one who talked to myself as multiple characters while hashing out stories or scenes. Im normal!!!!

Great info/example post. Thanks!

Jamie Adams said...

I'll have to look for Flents next time I go to Walmart! I've tried ear plugs in the past but they didn't work well. If these do the trick, you're a life saver! Thanks!

Donna said...

What a great lesson! Thank you, Julie. I think this is great information to keep in mind during Speedbo. That Reverse Dictionary gets my creativity flowing.

Any time I can say a book made me, cry, not want it to end or read like a movie, it goes into my favorites stack. And all of yours I have read does all three of these!

Debra E. Marvin said...

Phew. I just checked in over at the Algonquin Hotel. A little overwhelming for an introvert like me but easy to sneak in and out without small talk. WHO CAN HEAR ANYTHING OVER THAT CROWD?

Julie and Debby and Piper, thanks for stopping in over the Inkwell.
I see a direct link between 'reel' scenes and the novels we choose as favorites.

Ban the 'talking head' !!! aka the way I write my rough draft.

Susan Anne Mason said...

Hi Julie,

Wonderful post as usual! I love the idea of playing the scene like a movie. Must try that - but not on the treadmill! I'd probably fall off!

I think that website is going to be a godsend for me. Thank you!

And I agree, I love beats! And I do like adding -ly to 'he said, she said'. Not all the time, but when it's important!

My son had a headache free day today for the first time in two months!!! Dare I hope. In any case, we are just celebrating having a pain free day.

sbmason at sympatico dot ca

Playground Monitor said...

Quitting time and I'm headed home! TGIHD (Thank God It's Hump Day)! I love my Rodale's Synonym Finder but I'll check out the thesaurus site. You can just never have too many different words.


Playground Monitor said...

Oh... and I definitely need to check out your Ireland books. Just yesterday I booked my airfare to Ireland and the UK for September. I am soooooooooooooooooo excited!


Julie Lessman said...

LOL, DEB ... "Normal"??? Keep in mind that you're comparing yourself to me, my friend, so "normal" isn't exactly accurate. ;) And Internet Explorer was dealing me fits most of the day till Mary Connealy came to the rescue, so thanks for checking back -- you deserve a win, so GOOD LUCK!!

JAMIE ... I just double-checked and they are FLENT'S brand. You have to really pinch them to a point and tuck them in tight before they work, but they reallllly help me, so I hope they help you!

DONNA ... oh, girl, you are going to LOVE that Reverse Dictionary, trust me, salivation and all!! And thank you SO much for your kind words, my friend -- MUCH appreciated!! Good luck in the contest. :)


Vince said...

Hi Julie:

Good morning.

First: your blog on “Wordsharpners” should be required reading for any creative fiction writing class. There is so much good advice it could shave a few years off a new writer’s wait to be published! Better yet, every time I thought the blog was over and you had said all one could say on the topic, there was another section! Amazing.

Second: your cowgirl photo on that blog has to be the cutest author picture I’ve ever seen. Everyone should be sure and take a peek. I’m not kidding.

Third: your new newsletter is state-of-the-art! Anyone thinking of doing a newsletter should study yours.

Fourth: I think your model for Marcy, as a young girl, as in the Irish story, is too glamorous. I see Marcy at Sophie in Mamma Mia! That’s why I like novels. Characters look just like I want them to look like!

There was a question about ‘staging’. Well, it’s like this: what makes a great ‘reading experience’ does not necessarily make the best ‘viewing experience’ -- and vice versa. To do one well is most often to lesson the effect of the other. Both are best at different things. So it is not a choice of words but an author POV difference that makes the big difference. It is no slight on a book to say it would not make a good movie.

I suggest for the movies to pick a story that is best told in visual terms. Then stage that story to maximize its visual potential. Think of a visual arc. It took many years for writers to figure out that tv was not radio with pictures. TV was a very different medium with different rules and potentials.

Movies and actors cost money, too. Think ‘biggest bang for the buck’ in visual impact when writing for the big screen. You don’t worry about that in writing a novel.

All I wanted to say was, if you are writing your novel so that it will make the best screenplay, you are most likely not going to write nearly as good a novel as you could have.

Think: "Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's"

A little religion never hurt.


P.S. Did I mention that your cowgirl picture is adorable?

Julie Lessman said...

DEB ... soooo glad some folks headed over there and I hope even more check it out at the link I posted in my comment to you above, so EVERYBODY, CHECK IT OUT!!

SUE ... I am SO thrilled you're son is pain-free for today, but honestly, I'd like to see him pain-free all the time, as I'm sure you would too. I am putting him on my prayer hit list, okay -- right next to his mama who's been on there for a while now ... :)

MARILYN, YOU LITTLE BRAT YOU!!! Ireland??? Really and truly??? I am sooooo jealous (of the U.K. too, two places I would LOVE to go!). Are you going to Dublin? Because half of my first two books takes place there, so YES, you should check them out!! If you do read my books, start with book 1 A Passion Most Pure because this is really a family saga that needs to be read in order due to a number of big surprises, okay? And OH ... you are soooo gonna thank me for that link, girl!! Rodale used to be my writer's Bible, but this website makes it almost obsolete!!


Callie Barrett said...

I came to read this post earlier today but it wasn't working, and I had almost forgotten to come back and read it until now, so I hope I'm not too late!!
I love reading books and often see them in my mind as a movie, so I guess that makes me a good reader for your books, since they seem to be written that way, Mrs. Lessman! Thanks for hosting a giveaway too :)

Julie Lessman said...

YAY, CALLIE ... thanks for your diligence, my friend, because we were having Internet Explorer issues this morning, but you are now in the draw for a signed book. And you deserve to win for coming back!! Good luck in the contest, sweetie. :)


Julie Lessman said...

VINCE!!! LOL ... yeah, I do tend to go on and on, don't I?? Even with teaching, so I guess I wouldn't be good in a high school where there is a time limit to classes. :)

Aw, thanks for your kind words about the blog and my cowgirl pic. The credit goes to my hubby for that, although it was my idea (I come up with most of the crazy ideas and he executes them beautifully, I might add).

Oh, and the newsletters??? You are ABSOLUTELY correct that they are state of the art because my hubby is THE BEST at design and I honestly haven't seen any that I like as well.

Oh, I LOVE Sophie in Mama Mia and I can SO see her as Marcy!! The model I chose isn't great, I know, but I just couldn't find anybody I liked, so I settled, something I don't do often.

Thank you for clarifying the staging comment. LOVE your comment below:

"All I wanted to say was, if you are writing your novel so that it will make the best screenplay, you are most likely not going to write nearly as good a novel as you could have. Think: "Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's"
A little religion never hurt.

AMEN, a little religion definitely never hurt and I now understand your point. I have read screenplays and did not find them appealing at all, so any novel written that way wouldn't appeal to me either, so I totally agree. I usually do agree ... when I finally understand your very cerebral thinking. :)


Pam said...

Julie, I really enjoy these behind the scenes glimpses of how your mind works to write the wonderful books I love to read. I'm looking forward to your new series.


Julie Hilton Steele said...

I am late to the game, Julie the Passionate, but I love this post!

I need remember the visual because I am such an auditory learner I tend to forget it!

Peace, Julie the Peaceful

Mary Curry said...

Julie, Julie, Julie!!!!

The green velvet was in honor of Scarlett!

Alas, I went with tweed slacks.

Jackie said...

What a great post. I'm going to try this before I write my next scene.

Thanks, Julie.

Jackie L.

DebH said...

I'll take your kind of normal any day. And did you really say that the Connealy came to the rescue with the IE issues? yay Mary!!! and here she wants us to think she's tech unsavvy...

it is so very frustrating when IE stuff crops up, because it delays my daily Seeker fix that I sneak in on breaks and lunch time *sigh* today was a bummer.

now my toddler is telling me to close the 'puter - it's "hold you me" time...

Melody said...

You had me at...Rhett!

jenniferadavids said...

Great post Julie! I do nearly all of these things. In fact, when I have an idea for a story, it plays in my head like a movie preview. I'm so glad I'm not the only one who speaks dialogue out loud to check the rhythm :) I'm having an especially fun time right now since my hero in my current WIP is a Brit. ;) And thanks for the link to the OneLook Reverse Dictionary. I'll be checking that out. Blessings to you!

Julie Lessman said...

PAM ... LOL ... "how my mind works!! A truly scary thing, my friend, but as long as I have FABULOUS reader friends like you cheering me, on, this crazy mind will continue to write!! GOOD LUCK in the contest, sweetie. :)

JULIE THE PEACEFUL!!! I just LOVE it when you call me Julie the Passionate because, alas, it's true in too many ways to count, which makes me LONG to be around sweet, calm people like YOU!! Your blog in Yankee Belle was WONDERFUL today and I did as you said ... I went forth and ate chocolate so now I'm Julie the CDQ!! ;)

MARY!!! DUH ... I cannot believe that didn't click with me!! DOUBLE DUH!! The minute I read your explanation up above, I immediately thought of Carol Burnett in that Scarlett scene where she comes down the steps with the green drapes on, but forgot to take out the rod, which stuck out at her shoulders!! FUNNY, FUNNY clip if you've never seen it before. I bet you could find it on Youtube. :) But I have to say -- tweed slacks sound very nice. :)


Julie Lessman said...

THANKS, JACKIE!! Now if somebody from your family walks in while your eyes are closed and you're speaking dialogue, do NOT blame me!! ;)

DEB H ... YES, our very own Mary Connealy saved the day, so don't let her fool you -- "savvy" is her middle name!! ;) And IE just drives me CRAZY!! It reallllly hates me, but maybe that's 'cause I have a Mac. I read where there's no love lost between Macs and IE.

DEB ALSO SAID: "Now my toddler is telling me to close the 'puter - it's "hold you me" time..."

That is just flat-out adorable!! But I'll warn you -- it only gets worse. My 25-year-old daughter does the same thing. :|


Julie Lessman said...

LOL, MELODY ... my kind of gal!! But I knew that. ;) Here's to a win, my friend!!

JENNIFER ... oooo, it would realllly be fun to speak dialogue out loud for a Brit!! Sometimes in my Irish series, I'll toss in a brogue, but I try not to overdo it because I even get on my nerves. :) Oh, and you are going to LOVE that thesaurus link!!

Julie, said...

It is always interesting to read your articles and the comments. I would love to win. Thanks!
Maxie mac262(at)me(dot)com

Jackie Smith said...

Julie, all your posts, books are amazing...just like you!!!

Told all my friends with Kindles about the 99cent deal....oh, I loved that book and am anxiously awaiting LAAC! Count me in!
Jackie Smith

Julie Lessman said...

Hey, MAXIE, good girl ... now you're entered in another contest!! Here's hoping your persistence pays off, my friend. :)

JACKIE!! Only two more weeks till Love at Any Cost and I am sooooo anxious to hear what you think since it's a lot lighter and funnier than my previous books. So here's hoping I pull your name from the hat ... or Randomizer does, eh?


Chill N said...

Marvelous post. Simply marvelous. Did I mention the post is marvelous?

Print. Put in "Seekers and Keepers" binder. Read. Re-read. Encourage others to read.

The trick for me is to remember the reader can't see the movie I see ... so I have to 'show' them.

So many comments. Will read those in the a.m.

Thank you, Julie. Marvelous post :-)

Nancy C

Playground Monitor said...

Ireland. Really and truly. 5 nights, starting in Dublin, then Killarney, Blarney and Waterford. We'll take the ferry to Wales and spend a night in Cardiff. Then we'll head to London via the Roman ruins in Bath and Stonehenge. We'll have 2 nights in London before hopping on the jet and flying back home.

I am SO excited! I really thought my "big trip" days were over after my divorce. This just isn't a trip to do alone, and I'm not quite brave enough to take potluck on a roommate or rich enough to do it a tour as a single traveler. A bunch of writer friends put this together and when they asked me I said, "Oh heck yes!" This year would have been my 40th wedding anniversary and the ex had talked about going to Hawaii. Well, this is my UN-anniversary present to myself -- a reward for being brave enough to do the right thing and for coming through the rain and darkness of the last couple years without resorting to alcohol, drugs or murder (though the last one really tempted me a couple times *grin*).

Now I write!


Julie Lessman said...

Aw, NANCY, THANK YOU!!! Appreciate your kind words and just you swinging by to check it out and leave a comment. You deserve a win, my friend, so GOOD LUCK!!

OH, MARILYN -- I am SO thrilled for you, girl!! And, WOW, Ireland/U.K. is sooooo much better than Hawaii, I mean really!! LOVE the "UN-anniversary present" to yourself, my friend -- GOOD FOR YOU!! I gotta feeling you're going to have the trip of a lifetime, so TAKE PICTURES AND SHARE, OKAY???

P.S. I still think you're a brat, but one who deserves this trip. :)


Olivia said...

You know we often think book to movie rather than the movie as a vehicle for writing a book! As soon as a put the toddler sleeping on my arm in bed I am going to visualize a movie as I read to do Julie's blog justice. This will also help me as a ponder outlining.

Julie Lessman said...

OLIVIA!!! Good for you, young lady -- I think you will be amazed at what you come up with!! And I want you to let me know if it's anything good, okay??

Hugs and GOOD LUCK!!

travelingstacey said...

Hey Julie! I'm glad I stopped by to read your post...great insight and tips. I love the way you explained about using the verbs/adverbs. The thing I struggle with is communicating what I'm picturing onto the page. It's so hard to verbalize it sometimes!
I've also really enjoyed reading your recent blog good!
Blessings to you~Stacey

Audra Harders said...

Julie, do you have any idea how much paper it took to print out your post??? You always offer such great words of wisdom. Yes, I have movie mind. All my heavy sighs revolve around moments caught on film ready to be ruminated over in my imagination.

Excellent post, sweets! Right on each point!

Marissa said...

You know, I probably should read Gone With the Wind since you talk about it so much!! :)

I am highly anticipating the new series!! Can't wait!


Linnette R Mullin said...

I'm back! And I LOVE this!!! Oh, Julie! You make me feel so much more confident as a writer. I love how you know which rules to break and aren't afraid to do it. My writing method is a very rough version of yours. I say very rough because yours is more practiced with more flaws worked out. :D

Thank you, thank you, thank you for this:
"For instance, in this clip below from my upcoming release Love at Any Cost, I underlined the adverbs or phrases I used to show you what I mean—words such as “softly, quietly, husky chuckle, voice quivered, whispered, paused, gulped, barely audible, and quite a few ellipses to indicate pauses or hesitation. Call me crazy, but to me, the addition of these components helps to create, in my mind at least, the emotional pull of this tentative conversation between Caitlyn McClare and the brother-in-law to whom she was once engaged."

Now I can write this way without guilt knowing my dear, esteemed Julie Lessman does it! :D

I love reel writing! I don't think I could write without it.

Julie Lessman said...

Oh, STACEY, I sooooo know what you mean, my friend!! That is why the OneLook Reverse Dictionary link I gave you in this blog will be a GODSEND to you!! Be sure to make a favorite because it WILL be in no time!! And thanks for reading my other posts, girl -- I'm nothing if not honest with my writing journey, so take advantage!!

LOL, AUDRA, you little brat!! Oh, wait -- I can't call you that on your birthday, but oh WAIT ... your birthday was yesterday, right??? Hope it was the BEST EVER, followed by the BEST EVER year in writing, my sweet friend!


Julie Lessman said...

MARISSA!!! Oh, girl, you shouldn't have told me you haven't read GWTW!! That is like telling the Pope you've never gone to mass!!! ;) Not that I'm comparing myself to the Pope, mind you ... But seriously, GWTW is one of the few romance novels to ever win the Pulitzer Prize, so you really should read it. Uh, especially since it catapulted my romance-writing career, right???!! ;)

LINNETTE SAID: "I love how you know which rules to break and aren't afraid to do it."

LOL ... Believe it or not, I am NOT much of a rule-breaker, but when it comes to writing, I write from my heart and have found that I tend to butt heads with the powers-to-be in writing. Fortunately, I got published before I realized it!! But I always think of what a sensation e.e. cummings made with his lower-case poetry, and it reminds me that sometimes "different" isn't wrong, just creative. :) SO glad I could assuage your guilt, my friend! ;) Write on ...


Gail Kittleson said...

Julie, I loved your examples of strong words and verbs. Going to use this for my writing class next week --and I'm going to go back through my WIP to tweak a few (hundred) areas....


Gail Kittleson

Julie Lessman said...

LOL, GAIL ... "a few hundred"??? You are too cute, my friend, and I'm blessed you think this piece is worthy of your writing class next week, so YAY!!

GOOD LUCK in the contest and happy editing!


Natalie Monk said...

Oh my goodness! I thought I'd left a comment yesterday and now I don't know if it's blogger malfunctioning or my brain. LOL!

I've always wondered how you did it, Julie! I've had scenes come to me this way (closed eyes, movie-like sequence) and they always seemed to be the most fun to write. I never connected it to "watching" the scene first, then writing it. Gong to have to do that more often!

Great post! Bookmarking it! :)

Olivia said...

Although I am new to a writing commitment. The encouragement is boundless! Appearances may be deceiving...I am really the toddler's grandma who is helping out a harried mother! So the encouragement is soon appreciated from my "mature" perspective. I am now envisioning my one sentence summar as a movie trailer!

Julie Lessman said...

LOL, NATALIE ... definitely Blogger, girlfriend, not you!! :) And, YES, you ARE going to have to "do that more often" because movie mind is where it's at!! ;) Thanks for coming back, sweetie, and GOOD LUCK in the contest!

OLIVIA!!! All the better, darlin', because I didn't start writing till I was in my mid-50s, which is when we have WAY more time to write, eh?? So get going and spill your heart on the page ... and don't forget to try "movie mind," okay?


Sarah said...

I would love to win,Enter me!!!
Thanks for the giveaway and God Bless!!!
Sarah Richmond

Lady DragonKeeper said...

If I was a writer ... ;)

Amazing post --when I have tried to write fiction, that's one of my problems --not enough action!

OMGoodness, *Ms.* Julie!!! The excerpt you had in your newsletter for "Love at Any Cost"? I cannot wait for April! Did you rewrite that pool table scene or is it a different one? 'Cause I think I remember a scene you posted on your journal jots or a blog interview in which two characters kissed in the same setting ... ;)

Julie Lessman said...

LOL, SARAH, you're entered, girl, so be sure to check the Weekend Edition of Seekerville to see if you won, okay? And GOOD LUCK!!

Eeeek!! Only two weeks till Love at Any Cost releases!!

Thanks for coming by, Sarah, and HAPPY READING!!


Julie Lessman said...

LDK!!! No, that's ANOTHER pool-table scene, sweetie, two of three in the book, but yes, I did post the first one in Journal Jots a while back, but it's been edited a wee bit, so hopefully it will be a little new for you when you read LAAC. :)

Now, Jenn ... you HAVE to let me know what you think if you like the book, okay? This is SUCH a departure for me from the O'Connor books (LAAC is shorter, lighter, funnier, less complicated, less passionate, both spiritually and romantically and not as much drama and angst) that I need my good reader friends to tell me what they honestly think, okay?

So HAPPY READING and only TWO WEEKS till LAAC release!!

GOOD LUCK in the contest, sweetie!


Linnette R Mullin said...

Thanks, dear Julie! :)

Nise' said...

Gone With The Wind was the first "grown-up" movie that my friend and I were allowed to go to alone. We were maybe 13, we did not know it was a two reel film with an intermission. We left after the first reel and thought what a stupid way to end a movie! LOL We were quickly set straight and saw the entire movie at a another time. We had to read the book in high school and it has become one of my favorites of all time!

Julie Lessman said...

ROTFLOL, NISE'!!! Oh, girl, you made my day with that laugh, THANK YOU!! YEAH, Scarlett with her fist raised in the air would not be enough motivation for me to dress up like a nun to go see that movie, THAT'S for darn sure ... ;)

Good luck in the contest ... I'm getting ready to draw a name RIGHT NOW ...


Cindy Regnier said...

Awesome Julie. Wish I could write it like you do! I like books way better than movies (except maybe for Gone With the Wind). Maybe thats why I love Julie's books!

Julie Lessman said...

Aw, CINDY, thanks SO much for your kind words!! And I'm more partial to books, too, over movies, which is why I guess we are both writers, eh??

Thanks so much for coming by and here's to a HAPPY ST. PAT'S WEEKEND!!


Janet Kerr said...

This is an amazing post Julie.
great for editing!

Julie Lessman said...

Thanks, JANET!! Appreciate you coming by, sweetie.