Justine: Five Guys at a Wedding

SXC manYesterday, Nancy posted some ideas for ways to spark the creative juices. One of them included Immersion, in which you involve yourself with the world around you, observing people doing their thing in their natural habitat.

I had an opportunity to do that a few weekends ago when I attended my cousin’s wedding. At the reception, my sister and I were seated at a table filled almost entirely with (young…very young) men. We were definitely the oldest “chicks” at what was clearly the “young person’s” table (I don’t think my cousin knew what to do with my sister and I, so she stuck us there).

In any case, it became very obvious to me and my sister, a voracious reader, that Continue reading

Michaeline: Shapeshifters, part one

Something so odd about this picture -- not a woman, not a cheetah . . . needs some tweaking. I've got to get Kitty's cheetah side working with her woman side to form a whole character. Fernand Khnopff, via Wikimedia Commons

Something so odd about this picture — not a woman, not a cheetah . . . needs some tweaking. I’ve got to get Kitty’s cheetah side working with her woman side to form a whole character. Fernand Khnopff, via Wikimedia Commons

Have you ever gotten half way through a first draft and realized that one of your main characters is a cardboard cutout? A two-dimensional stereotype?

When our minds are first blocking out story, it’s sometimes easier to use stereotypes as a rough tool. The Bad Girl with a Heart of Gold, the Uncommunicative Alpha Hero, the Evil Genius in her Lair . . . . But there comes a point where you are ready to focus on some of the details, and these fuzzy pom-pom characters aren’t sharp enough to shape your plot.

I’m at that point with . . . well, to be honest, all of my characters. But this month, I’m going to concentrate on Kitty Van Texel, the antagonist to what looks like my main plot.

She’s a were-cheetah, which sounds super-cool, and it also sounds like a very specific type of the general archetype of “shapeshifter.” But looking a little deeper, she still needs more definition. What exactly is a shapeshifter? Where do they get their powers?

Off the top of my head, I can think of three types of shapeshifter. Continue reading

Elizabeth: Uh oh, My Stereotype is Showing

women-openA few weeks ago I blogged about warming up the romance in my story here. One of the things that came out of that discussion, besides some great suggestions for enhancing the chemistry between my characters, was the realisation that I had fallen into some stereotypically thinking.

I had been envisioning Abigail as the typical gently bred young lady of the Regency who knew little if anything about men or sex before she married, especially since she had no mother around to advise her. On the flip side, I saw Michael as the traditional experienced Regency gentleman who had sown more than a few wild oats during his transition to adulthood (while hopefully remaining disease-free). Continue reading