Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Characters That Breathe with Noelle Marchand


 
I have always considered writing a book akin to creating a living, breathing world out of ink, paper, and imagination. The “living” comes from a setting that is well researched and developed. The “breathing”? That comes from the characters.

What kind of characters breathe? The logical answer would be all of them. After all, all humans, animals, fish, even plants need air so technically all characters breathe but that’s the boring part everyone says to leave out, right? Not exactly, my friend. Throw logic aside for a moment. In fact, just go ahead and chuck it out the window because you won’t need it for the rest of this post. Good. Now we’ll ask the question again.

What kind of characters breathe? The ones that live. They are the ones that jump off the page, grab you by the heart, make you laugh with them and cry for them. A discerning reader, editor or reviewer may not always notice when a characters is breathing because they are too busy being swept away by the story. However, they can usually tell when one isn’t. I am always pleased when readers remarks about how real my characters seemed to them. I’ve even had other writers ask me how I manage to create characters that seem so believable. In essence, they are asking, why do your characters breathe?

I think it’s because my perspective on characters is so simple. You see, the characters in my books seem real because they are real—to me. I assume that since I am creating a living, breathing world out of my imagination the character is already there living and breathing.
Rather than creating a character out of thin air by brainstorming their goals, motivation, quirks, weaknesses, appearance, etc; I discover who my character already is. Suddenly, the pressure is off of me to create and on them to reveal everything they need me to know and even what they don’t want me to know.
 


Now you can ask the questions that will help you get to know them. Such as:


  •   The basics: What is your name? How old are you? What do you look like? Where are you from? Why are you here? Where do you want to go in life? Why aren’t you already there? Do you have a family? What are they like? 


  •    The nitty-gritty: What are you hiding? What is your problem—spiritually, emotionally and/or physically? What would cause you the most pain? What makes you laugh?

  •    My favorites: What do you need in a husband or wife? What kind of chemistry do you share with the hero/heroine?

Don’t worry. I’m not going to tell you they will answer you. In fact, I really don’t recommend conversing with your characters. That’s a line between fantasy and reality that even I won’t cross. Still, you should listen and watch for their answers. A name may seem just right or all wrong for them. Imagining an interaction between your hero and heroine may show you their chemistry. Intuition may tell you there is something they are trying to hide.

It isn’t always easy to discover things about your characters when you allow them to be “real people”. Sometimes you have to be like an archeologist and dig for what you really want. At first glance, the heroine of my latest release A Texas-made Match didn’t seem to have any internal conflict at all. She was just a happy go-lucky gal with a tendency to get into mischief. I thought to myself, no way. Everyone has problems. Not only must she be hiding something, but it must be a huge something that she has gotten extremely adept at covering up. I eventually discovered her guilty secret and her entire personality took on new depth.

Perhaps you’re thinking, I know all of that already. Maybe I didn’t figure it out my characters that way but they are fully formed in my mind. They just aren’t breathing on paper. Have no fear. It’s never too late for resuscitation. I leave you with this last bit of advice. 



Make them B.R.E.A.T.H.E.!

Body language— It’s like a fingerprint. Each character has a unique repository of gestures. No movement should be wasted or unnecessary. What’s the difference between characters played by John Wayne and Fred Astaire? When a take-no-prisoners cowboy like the characters John Wayne often played had something to say he would spread his feet about shoulder length apart, plant his fist on his slim hips and stare down at you through one squinted eye before he punched you square in the jaw. In the same situation, Fred Astaire’s often smart-alecky but smooth characters would lean against the nearest solid object, cross one leg in front of the other and give you a verbal slap with a twinkle in his eye. Now, that we all know I watch too many classic movies, let’s move on to R.

Reveal—Display the many facets of their personalities by exposing them to different stimuli. If your hero is a tough guy on the job, show his vulnerability when it comes to his a kid or pet or women. Suddenly, you’ve added another dimension. He’s both strong and caring. Don’t stop there. How can you show that he’s intelligent, moody, funny, etc?

Explain—Only explain what is absolutely necessary about your character and maybe even not that. Don’t be afraid to hide a little of their history or their motivations. There is nothing more intriguing than a little bit of mystery. Be sure to give little hints along the way so it when things are revealed it doesn’t seem to come from left feel. Think of it as leaving a breadcrumb trail to the feast.

Action—Be the director while your character is the actor. You have a script (plot) and so do they. They know their lines most of the time. They know how they want to behave. Coach them through it, call the shots, but don’t be afraid to let them improvise.

Test—Put your characters to the test. If they have a fear, use it against them. Let something go wrong—maybe even really wrong. It allows readers to identify with them because we all have fears and make mistakes. It’s only by going through trials that characters (and people) overcome them.

Hear—Just like your characters have a unique way of moving, they have a unique way of speaking. Some people never say what they really mean. Others are blunt. Everything may be a joke or a sign that the world is going to end. Don’t fall into the trap of being one-dimensional here. Very few people communicate only one way all the time. Be purposeful about why a character communicates a certain way to a certain person at a certain time.

Evolution—Your character should be noticeably different by the end of your story whether in attitude, spirituality, motivation or mindset. It is a gradual but steady progression of refusing, considering, deciding, trying, failing or faltering, then finally succeeding to change.




 Today Noelle is generously giving away a copy of A Texas-Made Match, to one commenter. Tell us what you think about her B.R.E.A.T.H.E technique. Winner announced in the weekend edition.





A Texas-Made Match

For Ellie O'Brien, finding the perfect partner is easy—as long as it's for other people. Now the townsfolk of Peppin want to return the favor. But how could Lawson Williams be the right choice? The handsome ranch foreman was her childhood friend, but he's the man Ellie deems least likely to court a tomboy with a guilty secret.

Lawson can't help enjoying the town's efforts to push him together with Ellie, though marriage isn't in his plans. Yet Ellie's become a warm, spirited woman who could chase away the clouds of his past. And with a whole town on their side, they could claim a love as big and bold as Texas itself….





Noelle Marchand's love of literature began as a child when she would spend hours reading beneath the covers long after she was supposed to be asleep. Over the years, God began prompting her to write by placing ideas for stories in her head. Eventually, those stories became like “fire shut up in her bones” leading her to complete her first novel by her sixteenth birthday. Now, at the age of twenty-four, that fire of inspiration continues to burn.

Noelle is a Houston-native who graduated from Houston Baptist University  May 2012. She received bachelors degree in Mass Communication with a focus in journalism and Speech Communication.






(P.S. Noelle has a delightful interview from her first book,Unlawfully Wedded Bride, that you can watch here. It really gives you a feel for Noelle's sweet nature. -Tina Radcliffe)



79 comments :

  1. That's a lot to take in at once. I'm going to have to print it off and study it.

    Am I first here?

    Guess I'll put on the coffee pot and the kettle.

    No sweets for me, though. I started Weight Watchers today -- again. Hoping to lose 15 pounds by July.

    Marilyn

    ReplyDelete
  2. WELCOME NOELLE!!!

    You know I just found a Weight Watchers near my new home. This must be confirmation I need to join!!!

    Okay. DIET DONUTS TODAY.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Overheard at a family gathering....Do you know what (insert character's name) is doing?....no, what's happening with her? Etc. and I'm sitting and chuckling because I recognize these are well loved fiction characters, but they've forgotten that.
    Way to go Noelle. Cheering you on, Tina and Marilyn

    mitziUNDERSCOREwanhamATyahooDOTcom

    ReplyDelete
  4. TRUE CONFESSIONS!!

    Noelle, are you the youngest author to ever sign a contract with LI?

    How did you balance writing with college??

    ReplyDelete
  5. Welcome Noelle!! (LOVE your name, by the way) ~ Thank you for this helpful post today, and CONGRATS on your writing career (at such a young age--Wow!).

    TINA!! DIET DONUTS?!? Ummmm...think I'll pass on that one, LOL. Although my husband has often told me I've never met a donut I didn't like (which is true *sigh*). Hugs, Patti Jo :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Welcome to Seekerville Noelle! It's so good to meet you, and thanks for sharing with us.

    I'm saving your suggestions. I think I test my characters BUT I don't go after what they fear the most. That's gold.

    Marilyn, I stepped on the scale this morning and decided I need to do something. I've thrown almonds in my purse in case I get hungry at work. I really need to lose 15 pounds also...so you've challenged me. :)

    Noelle, thanks again for stopping by today.

    Jackie L.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Love,love, love your post and advice, Noelle.

    Good luck with your book. It has a lovely cover!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Noelle, I love your take on creating characters. I've heard similiar advice but never stated so simply and easy to incorporate.

    I'm sharing this post with several newbie writer friends.

    I'd love to win a copy of your book. :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Yeah! Noelle, I have copied your post and checked off what I have included to make my characters come to life. Whew. Most of what you recommend is on my list.

    Put me on the list for Noelle's book. I follow Noelle on FB just because she is so sweet, even if she is younger than my daughter and I still think of myself as being in my twenties!

    Peace, Julie

    ReplyDelete
  10. Noelle,

    This is a printable post! Thank you for sharing this lesson with Seekerville today. I have enjoyed your books and I can see how you've used this information to your advantage.

    I'll take some coffee with Irish Cream creamer in it, but no diet doughnut. I mean, what is that??? ;)

    Piper

    ReplyDelete
  11. Noelle--what a fabulous post! I love the questions you ask to figure out your characters! This post is definitely a keeper for me. My characters can always use a bit more breathing. :)

    I'd love to figure out how to lose some of the 15 pounds I gained last year. Sigh. The mid-life gain has struck. Exercise and more sleep are my first steps. Oh, and cutting back on sugar. Sigh. Gone are the days when I could eat whatever I want. :)

    Thank goodness for cyber-food here!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Noelle!!!!! Welcome to Seekerville!

    Great post and definitely print worthy. I noticed something about me in first drafts, I do not like writing cardboard characters and struggle a bit having them come alive on the page. I'm going to use your method and hope to change that fact.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Noelle, what great advice! I'm printing this to test my characters by.

    I'm thinking some of these characteristics will be in the first draft and some can be layered in later.

    I'm looking to loose 10 pounds. It sounds like April should be LooseWeightbo.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Noelle, so glad to have you today.

    Characters that breathe...love it!

    I have some characters that need resuscitation this morning. :)

    ReplyDelete
  15. Noelle,
    What a fabulous acronym! Love the premise of this! Beautiful cover to your book too!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Hi, Noelle! Really, REALLY insightful post--thanks for being with us today! The B-R-E-A-T-H-E acronym is perfect

    Um, diet donuts, Tina? The only diet donut I ever herd of is the one you don't eat!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Well, bummer, Myra. I was hoping to create a new subgenre of donuts.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Good morning, Noelle!

    What a great post, and perfect timing as many of us are working on those first drafts we wrote during Speedbo last month.

    And what's all this talk about diet donuts??? We're talking virtual food here, so pass those maple frosted long johns and that box of Krispy Kremes this way!

    If you hand me the real thing, though, I'm going to stick to the three bite rule.... (three bites to satisfy the craving, and then put the rest away).

    ReplyDelete
  19. This is a perfect time for this post. Noelle, Seekerville has just completed Speedbo,our book in a month challenge.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Let your characters breathe. Just Breathe. (Kind of reminds me of a song)

    what would my characters be like if they came to life in reality?

    That could be kind of scary. They're friends in my head.

    But they might not even like me in real time.

    Hmmm

    But it is something to consider and it is important to make your characters come alive not just in your mind but in the mind and heart if your readers.

    Thanks for the great post, Noelle

    ReplyDelete
  21. Important lesson, Tina P. Make sure that as we are creating characters we keep telling them that they like us. Or this could end ugly.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Noelle, great post!!! I just printed it off and now I'm going to use it. Thanks for coming to Seekerville today.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Thank you Noelle. You're so young to be so accomplished. I can totally relate to your post. I've never had to ask my characters anything. They just come and take over. My problem is defining them on the page like they live in my mind.

    Tina, will you explain the prize rules. I'd feel greedy asking to compete for another book when I won two last month. Also, how do the critiques work? Do I wait to be invited or send it to the hostess or what?

    Sorry to sound so dense, but unlike Noelle, I'm old and forget.

    Jan, I love your dieting tip. Three bites and put it away. We can handle that much temptation.

    Elaine

    ReplyDelete
  24. Those are wonderful tips! I need to study them too. I'll confess to not really planning my characters out. I think one thing I need to be more purposeful about are my characters gestures. They're not usually character-specific, but I think that they should be. Thanks, Noelle, and congrats on your new release!

    ReplyDelete
  25. When Noelle arrives we must wrangle her first sale story out of her.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Elaine! There is a tab that says Legal.

    It explains it all there.

    Legal

    We pick winners randomly, so ask and you might receive. Also, we have discovered a few things along the way:

    We pick winners from those who say they want their name in.

    We don't contact you to tell you that you won. You contact us. Unless we have extra time.

    All critiques are sent thru the seekerville email address as an attachment.

    And we are often late or forgetful due to deadlines. That's called the price you pay for free lol.

    ReplyDelete
  27. I agree, Jessica. Not about you, but about me. My characters pick me. So I am probably the one who needs CPR.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Was I clear, Elaine? If you want the giveaway just say so. Not being greedy. Being smart.

    If everyone else already read the book and you are the only one who asks for it then it is probably yours. Cat dish theory of winnerology.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Hi Noelle, I loved reading comments today and your post about B.R.E.A.T.H.E., wonderful -glad you shared. I think this way about the books I read that have characters I want to get to know better...
    I have this book of yours in my TBR stack, better get it closer to the top.
    Paula O

    ReplyDelete
  30. Tina, thanks for the rules. No wonder I didn't remember. I've never read the Legal tab. Like trying to put something together without reading the instructions. Something else I've done.

    Yes, I'd like to get Noelle's book. Put my name in the cat dish.

    ReplyDelete
  31. I love your point about John Wayne and Fred Astaire. So true and tells a lot about a character.

    Your book sounds great.
    Please put my name in the hat.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Love this post -- and the acronym. Such a clear way to put together important writing facts. The Body Language one has me all excited because I hadn't thought of that but it is a great way to convey personality without having to spell it out. Great way to show without telling. Love it!

    ReplyDelete
  33. Oh, Kav! You are now a member of the Show Don't Tell Club.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Congratulations on your book release, Noelle! Welcome to Seekerville! Great advice for fleshing out characters. Taking notes now :-)

    ReplyDelete
  35. Noelle, your post actually breathed when you used John Wayne and Fred Astaire as your examples. They literally stepped off the page and made me want to quit getting ready for work this morning (when I first read this) and dig out some old movies to watch because you encapsulated their innate gestures/characteristics so perfectly! Spot On! Loved it.

    I've been playing with making gestures reveal my characters personalities. Not sure I've got it down completely, but it sure is fun.

    No donuts for me, thank you. I was a good little girl this morning and had fruit. (dipped in Nutella, of course. hee, hee, hee. But hey, it's a nut butter and good for you, right?! Right!)

    Put me in the cat dish, too, please. I loved Noelle's first two books, but hadn't snagged this one yet. Looks like a lot of fun!

    ReplyDelete
  36. Hi Noelle!

    Thank you for the wonderful advice today!...And aren't you pretty? I love that picture of you at the bottom of today's post.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Hi Noelle,

    Thank you for this amazing post. You are so wise for your age.
    If only I'd known when I was 22 that I wanted to be a writer. (Well, I knew as a teen, but forgot!)

    I listened to your interview which was wonderful. You speak so well on camera! I'd love to hear more about your first sale and your writing journey.

    Oh, and I'd love to win your book!

    Cheers,
    Sue
    sbmason at sympatico dot ca

    ReplyDelete
  38. If only we could all plan our paths so nicely, Susan.

    I was still writing at 22 but it was mostly grocery lists and homework for nursing school.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Any other publishing / writing goals in the works or on the back burner, Noelle?

    ReplyDelete
  40. Well let's not let all this good food go to waste.

    Noelle, must have internet problems.

    The buffet is ready for lunch.

    And since our guest is late, let's go ahead and give away another copy of her book from Seekerville to one commenter.

    Tell us if you were over the hill or under the hill when you first started seriously seeking publication? Or has this been going on up and down the hill???

    ReplyDelete
  41. Lordy, Tina, I was and still am under-the-hill and always will be! lol

    Now, I dreamed of a writing career ever since I was a mole-hill, but I was in my late twenties before I realized that normal everyday people can be writers too.

    Back before the internet let us peek into others lives, I imagine that there were a lot of writers who didn't think they had what it took be be a "real" writer.

    Hope that makes sense!

    ReplyDelete
  42. I SO want a donut...

    I wonder what I have here in the house that I could turn into a donut...

    No canned biscuits... oooooh, frozen biscuits would work...

    Bye y'all!

    ReplyDelete
  43. Noelle, thanks so much for this great post! I love your BREATHE ideas!

    BTW, Tina, I DO think she must be the youngest LI author. :)

    ReplyDelete
  44. p.s. LAUGHING at Pam Hillman's comment: I dreamed of a writing career ever since I was a mole-hill. ~ LOVE it, Pam!! Made me smile. ~ Hugs, Patti Jo ;)

    * * Just baked a pan of fudge brownies (no peach cobbler today, LOL). Enjoy! ~ PJ

    ReplyDelete
  45. Patti Jo. YOU KNEW. I needed chocolate today and you sensed it.


    THANK YOU!!!

    ReplyDelete
  46. Instant Homemade Donut Tiangles

    Mircrowave frozen biscuits for 30-40 seconds (no time to wait for them to defrost. Pshaw!)

    Quarter

    Deep-fry and roll in sugar and cinnamon

    Quick, easy, and will make my men smile when they get home! :)

    Do not mention donuts around a Southern Belle raised in an I-Want-It-Now society.

    PS. When Darin was in the band, they sold frozen biscuits to raise money. I had about 2 cases of the things! Now I know what to do with all those biscuits.

    ReplyDelete
  47. WOW ... this is an EXCEPTIONAL blog!!! Absolutely LOVED it in every way -- the way you wrote it, your acronym points, your humor -- WONDERFUL JOB, Noelle.

    Oh, and by the way -- WELCOME TO SEEKERVILLE!!

    LOVED the line: "You see, the characters in my books seem real because they are real—to me."

    Oh, AMEN to that!! They ARE flesh and blood to me in my mind, and I breathe and sigh right along with them in everything they do, so this blog is a great insight into how to do that.

    And characters that "breathe"??? I am sooooo there, so it sounds like I need to read your book, sweetie!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  48. Wow,Pammy. When in doubt ask a Southern girl. THANKYOU!!

    ReplyDelete
  49. Great post, Noelle. Congratulations on the new book. I'm still working on the WIP, so will check to see if my characters are breathing as soon as I write The End, but in the meantime, will work in giving them breath during this last few thousand words!

    ReplyDelete
  50. i love Seekerville because of all the people i get introduced to. hi Noelle. I love the B.R.E.A.T.H.E. thing. Will have to print out and post by my laptop for memory purposes.

    So cool that you're published already. My husband's daughter wants to be a writer (she's sixteen now). I think I'll shoot her a link to this because it will probably inspire her even more to keep with her writing.

    would enjoy being in the running for a book. (although i do feel selfish because i won some books during Speedbo... it's just so hard to pass up an opportunity for new author exposure)

    ReplyDelete
  51. Great blog, Noelle! Love the BREATHE part. Excellent.

    My characters often hide secrets and won't reveal them until I've written about a third of the book. Then they start to open up about an important incident or two that have bearing on the story.

    If only they'd be more forthcoming right from the start! :)

    ReplyDelete
  52. DebH, never fear about putting your name in the cat dish too often. Although you may get a little cat hair, you'll never get too many books because there's no such thing as too many books. I have millions stashed around my house...on my nightstand, in bookshelves, in baskets, on my coffee table, on my desk...

    You get the picture. Cluttered with books, but that's good, IMHO!

    ReplyDelete
  53. Reaching for one of Patti Jo's fudge brownies!

    Thank you, dear friend. Like Tina, I need chocolate today. :)

    ReplyDelete
  54. I totally got lost in literary land and thought this was going up tomorrow. :( Sorry for being late to my own party! Please, ignore my red face. Prepare yourself. I'm going to try to catch up by responding in chronological order.

    Fist I'll answer a few general questions that seemed to pop up.

    1) I am not sure if I am the youngest writer to ever sign with LIH. That's a great question. I should ask my editor.

    2) It wasn't always pretty being a college student and a aspiring writer/published author. I gave up a few extra curricular activities to make time for writing.

    PLAYGROUND MONITOR, thanks for being an early bird. I hope what I said will be helpful. :)

    TINA RADCLIFF, thank you so much for allowing me to be here!

    MARIANNE BARKMAN: I LOVE that conversation. Something similar happens to me at times but my family usually reminds me pretty quickly that my characters are fiction. Spoil Sports.

    CAT MOM, You are so welcome. Thank you for stopping by!

    JACKIE, I'm glad I could be helpful. Yeah, you've got to find out those weaknesses so you can hit them where it hurts. Did that sound too vindictive? lol. :)

    ROSE & BRIDGET, Y'all are too sweet! Thank you!

    JULIE HILTON STEELE, thank you for following me on Facebook! It's great to see you here too.

    PIPER HUGELY, how cool to see that you and a few others are going to print it out and save it. That means a lot!

    ReplyDelete
  55. Radcliffe with an e. :) My husband insists. LOL.

    ReplyDelete
  56. My first sale story is pretty dreamy. lol. No, kidding. Here's what happened:

    I was an unagented author with an unpublished manuscript so I researched and created a list of publishers that accepted unsolicited historical Christian romance. I’d read enough LIH to know that my work might be a good fit for the LIH line so I sent the query and synopsis to Harlequin first. After about nine months of making it from slush pile to slush pile, I was getting pretty antsy.One night I allowed myself to really envision the possibility that I’d sell a book. I’d been too nervous to even hope that might happen until that point. The
    very next morning the editor called! It felt really surreal. My dream had come to life. :)

    Round two...

    JEANNE T, thank you! I'm so glad you enjoyed it.

    CHRISTINA!!! Hello, friend! Lovely. Let me know how it goes.

    DONNA, I'm all for layering! I do it all the time. Sometimes I just need to get something on paper first then I add details (like body language) a little later.

    PAM HILLMAN, Yay! Glad I could help!

    PEPPER & MYRA JOHNSON, So glad y'all enjoyed the acronym! It was fun to come up with. I was sitting here going H. What works for H? Ah ha! lol.

    JAN DREXLER & TINA RADCLIFFE, I was totally lurking during SPEEDBO. I admire y'all so much for doing that! What a cool contest. Maybe I'll join in next time.

    TINA PINSON, LOL! Our characters better like us or at least show a little appreciation for having been created. ;)

    CARA LYNN JAMES, may I just say, that I love your books? I really do.

    ELAINE MANDERS, in a way those are my favorite kind of characters. I love it when they come to me pretty much fully-formed. It makes my day. Thank you for you kind words! :)

    JESSICA NELSON, it's great to "see you" again! Gestures can add so much to the character. I hope you have fun implementing them. Thanks for you good wishes on my release.

    ReplyDelete
  57. My writing journey:
    I’ve always enjoyed storytelling and writing. When I was fifteen I wrote what could either have been a short romantic story or the first chapter of a novel. My sister encouraged me to keep going on the story and see where it might take me. I finished my first novel a few months later.

    I wrote my second novel as a teen with a definite eye toward publication then stopped writing for about two years to focus on my new career as a college student.
    However, I realized that I missed doing what I loved most and cut out some of my extracurricular activities to revise, edit and send my second novel to Love Inspired
    Historical. It was about nine or ten months from the time I sent off the proposal to the day I got the call from my current editor.

    Round three...

    PAULA O, great to see you hear. I hope you enjoy my book.

    CONNIE QUEEN, thanks for not condemning my rather obvious classic movie obsession. ;) I'm glad the examples helped.

    KAV, body language can be a lot of fun to play with. People watching can give some great inspiration for it.

    BRANDI BODDIE, thank you kindly!

    CLARI DEES, thank you! John & Fred are sure coming in handy. I'm glad I included them. Keep practicing that body language. It gets better/more natural the more you use it. :)

    ANNIE RAINS, aww thank you so much. That's sweet of you to say. One of my photography friends did a whole photo shoot for me when my first book came out.

    SUSAN ANNE MASON, Thank you! If I'm wise it's only because I read a lot of good books and ask for plenty of directions from the Lord. I'm so glad you enjoyed the video! A videographer friend of mine shot it for me. I know, I have very talented and giving friends. :)

    PAM HILLMAN, the internet and computers have definitely changed the writing world. I'm still an old-fashioned gal. A lot of time I'll write with just a pen and note then transcribe later.

    MISSY TIPINS, I'm definitely going to have to ask my editor about the age thing now. Y'all are making me really curious.

    JULIE LESSMAN, you just made my day! So many of my writing heroes are on this blog and you are definitely one of them. I'm glad we agree on characters. It means I'm on the right track. ;)

    LYNDEE H, woohoo! You can do it. You're so close to finishing. It's all downhill from here. :)

    ReplyDelete
  58. Tina Radcliffe with an E asked what I'm working on now. ;) (Am I the only one suddenly thinking about Anne of Green Gables. Just kidding, Tina. My finger must have slipped. I spelled it right later in the post.)

    I see I also misspelled PIPER HUGULEY. Sorry ladies! Speed Finger over here isn't always accurate when there's a rush.

    Anyways, The past few months have been a time of preparation and planning for me so I have a lot in the works. I’m waiting to hear back about a proposal I sent out for an antebellum romance concerning abolitionism. Meanwhile, I’m working on a proposal for a series that will follow up on the matchmaking that starts in A Texas-Made Match. I also have a proposal for a story set in the 1930s on reserve for when I can get back to work on it.

    Round 4...

    Wait, am I done? Did I catch up? Woohoo! PRAISE THE LORD AND PASS THE DONUTS!

    ReplyDelete
  59. Noelle, your post is printed and in my notebook already. I plan to make a checklist from it to be sure my characters are breathing to the best of their ability. I guess that's the long way of saying your BREATHE post was a delight to read.

    Thanks for sharing -- wishing you all the best with your writing!

    Nancy C

    ReplyDelete
  60. Nancy C, awesome!!! You are so welcome. I hope it's helpful to you. :)

    ReplyDelete
  61. Noelle,

    Don't even sweat the last name spelling. It has been like that all of my life! I have been seriously contemplating a pen name that is easier to spell.

    However, in a recent chat about pen names that I participated in, I was told that the unique quality of an author's name was more important in order to be the first one to pop up on Google. Nothing more unique than what I have, so I may have to keep it....

    Love the story of how you were discovered--the old-fashioned way!

    Piper

    ReplyDelete
  62. Piper, thanks for being so sweet about it. I've been there. People often misspell my name "Noel" which is actually the masculine version of it. Lol. Hmm, that actually might be some great advice about pen names. I've always wondered what the process might be like for choosing one. I'm glad I stuck with my real name, though. It's hard enough for me to choose a name for my characters. I tend to be pretty picky about them. :)

    ReplyDelete
  63. Such good ideas, Noelle! I like "Let something go wrong." Yes, that will be interesting!

    Enjoyed your journey to publication story.

    I'd love to win your book!

    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  64. Sherida, I'm so glad you enjoyed my post! I hope it was helpful to you. Best wishes on the giveaway! :)

    ReplyDelete
  65. I've enjoyed getting to know you through your post, Noelle. I love to just free-write the answers to a list of questions for my characters. We may not admit to having conversations with them but admitting that our characters can answer questions...

    Does anyone else have a problem getting characters to change their opinions when we ask politely?

    ReplyDelete
  66. Debra, that very thing happened to me with a proposal I was working on. I'm sure it will sound crazy when I say it but that's never stopped me before so I'll go right ahead. I paired two characters together who had been in one of my previous work. I must have started their story about ten times before I finally gave into what I'd instinctively known but ignored the whole time. This new pair, this hero and heroine were NOT right for each other. I started over with a new heroine who I think will work out much better.

    ReplyDelete
  67. Great blog, Noelle. Thanks for being on Seekerville. Sorry to be so slow checking in.

    ReplyDelete
  68. Mary, thank you! No problem. So was I. :)

    ReplyDelete
  69. Loved reading about 'Breathe'ing, great article.

    wfnren(at)aol(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  70. Hi Noelle! Great to have you in Seekerville! Your post is definitely print worthy!

    Congratulations on your debut! I love writing for and reading Love Inspired Historicals! Your story sounds romantic and fun!

    Janet

    ReplyDelete
  71. Wendy, thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it.

    Janet, it's great to be here! Thank you! This is my third novel with LIH but my debut will always be special to me.

    ReplyDelete
  72. If anyone can figure out where to buy Diet Donuts - I'm in.

    The B.R.E.A.T.H.E technique sounds like it's very well thought out.

    ReplyDelete
  73. As a pantster writer this technique has so much potential for me. Thanks for sharing
    Cindy Huff

    ReplyDelete
  74. I like your BREATHEing technique, Noelle! There's always a new take on "what we've heard before" but maybe haven't fully put into action in our WIP's- thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  75. Noelle,

    You're a HUSKY? Me too, but long, long ago in the dark ages!!! PAWSOME!!!

    Thanks for this wonderful post. Excellent info to print and reference time and again.

    Thanks Tina for inviting her.

    Congratulations Noelle on your various successes. Way to go!

    Alrighty, off to the races. Take care and keep writing!!

    ReplyDelete
  76. This so helpful I can't believe how simple the concept is. I received some great feedback from an agent that wants my book, but I have to revise some aspects of my characters. I didn't know where to start and now I do. THANK YOU! Please pray that I finally get to live my dreams of being published.

    ReplyDelete
  77. I would love to win,Enter me!!!
    Thanks for the giveaway and God Bless!!!
    Sarah Richmond
    sarahrichmond[dot]12[at]gmail[dot]com
    N.C.

    ReplyDelete
  78. Good detailed explanation of BREATHE.

    I think it's funny when you guys mention the cat dish and putting names in it. It might need to be a big one if there are lots of comments. I have cats. And books everywhere too.

    ReplyDelete