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First Among Favorites   8 comments

From all the characters you’ve created, which is your favorite and why?

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Wow, this could be a hard one simply because I’ve been writing since I was 12 and a lot of characters have been my “favorite” at one time or another. How to choose a favorite among favorites? That’s like asking the parent of a large brood of children to choose their favorite. You love them all and a good parent would love them equally. But some of them, you might like a little bit more than everyone else. You might want to spend time with them slightly more than you want to spend time with others. Or, if you’re like me, and you have had different best friends over the course of a lifetime, it’s a similar situation. I had a best friend when I was a child and we still know one another, though we aren’t really close friends now. I had a best friend in high school and into college and we are still Facebook friends and I will go out of my way to see her if we’re in the same geographic area, but we don’t talk every day. I had a best friend when I was in my 20s (she’s was the matron of honor at my wedding), but she moved away just prior to the Internet getting underway and I haven’t been able to track her down, so that friendship has withered. I have a best friend now and I’m married to him. I like spending time with him, but if I were to be honest I can think of some other people I’d rather spend more time with. His “best friend” status has to do with how long and how well we’ve known each other, not necessarily about shared interests. We share some, but not all. Trust me – when I start talking quilting or writing, his eye lids droop and I only pretend to want here about his technical endeavors.

So, clearly this “favorite” thing is complicated.

Who is my favorite character among the hundreds that have traipsed through my mind in my writing career and why?

It’s a tossup between Shane Delaney of Transformation Project and Peter of (the yet-unpublished) What If Wasn’t? Since readers can’t go out and get to know Peter (yet), I’m going to focus on Shane Delaney. These are two very different characters and I like them for different reasons. Shane gets the “favorite” label because he’s published, but it was a hard decision to make.

Why do I like Shane? He’s someone I could sit down with over coffee and interview and enjoy spending an evening getting to know. Not that he would talk to me or tell me his secrets, because Shane doesn’t do that. He’s dark and complex, which is also sometimes why I don’t want to write him. He’s a mercenary who was forced to work for the government, which in turn forced him to work as a mercenary, and he doesn’t like either of his two masters. He’s loyal, but he’ll cut his losses in a heartbeat if he needs to — and mourn later, if he has time. He’s got PTSD from the things he’s had to do that haunt him. He’s the ultimate realist who will make the pragmatic decisions no one around him wants to make. He’s the non-believer in a devout family, but he’s not angry at his family. He still loves them and (mostly) respects their beliefs, even though he has rejected them. He’s the serial monogamous in a family of faithful men. He’s totally male and yet he enjoys the female mind (and body, but this is largely a PG series). He’s 26 going on 96, but he wasn’t born mature. He is still a work in progress. He’s stubborn, but he can learn from his mistakes and the mistakes of others. He is tough and can take physical and emotional pain, but he has a breaking point and he came home to avoid shattering, only to have circumstances force him to keep going and resist shattering. Shane is brutally honest about his failings and does not indulge often in denial, though he does often tell those who want to help him that his inner life is none of their business.

A third factor in why I like Shane so much is that I don’t absolutely know where he is headed. I do know he’s coming to a crisis and that several of the big questions of his life will need to be answered … if he survives. I can’t see beyond that crisis, so I don’t know his outcome. The character has surprised me a few times, so I’m not at all certain what choices he’ll make.

As a discovery writer, I love when my character’s hijack their plot and take it in an interesting direction. Not all characters will do that and that’s okay, but when I have a character like Shane who is very much his own man — that’s golden, and that’s what makes him my favorite — for now.

Posted May 20, 2019 by aurorawatcherak in Blog Hop

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Low Maintenance Writer   1 comment

March 5, 2018 – Writing spaces and processes.  What’s one or two things you must have in order to sit down and write productively?


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Typing on LaptopI’m a pretty flexible writer. I can and do write pretty much anywhere I am and I’m not put off by noise or activity. I don’t require my laptop … I often take a notebook along when we hike, fish or camp so I can jot things down during breaks — although I do prefer using the laptop because it’s more efficient. I don’t mind layovers on trips (I do bring my laptop for this) because I will sit and write while I wait … and then probably write while I’m on the plane … or stuck in the airport. I just don’t have a lot of requirements when I write because writing just seems to be something I must do and my background as a reporter taught me to screen out everyone around me.

But there are a couple of things I prefer when I’m seeking to get into the zone where I can push out 5,000 words in a day.

Warmth. You probably are furrowing your brow at this, but remember where I live. It’s cold outside and the only reason it’s not just as cold inside is that we have heating devices and insulation. But sometimes the heat doesn’t work. Brad likes to use weekends and holidays to work on our heating system. Does it need working on? Maybe, maybe not, but he experiments with our system so that he can do a better job on other people’s systems. Consequently, sometimes, I find it’s dropped to 60 degrees in the bedroom – my most common writing spot – and at that point, I can no longer type, which means I am no longer productive at writing.

Hot beverage – okay, even when it’s “warm” in our house, it’s not really all that warm in our house — we’re fuel misers — so a thermos of hot coffee (decaf) or tea at my elbow is appreciated. Combine this with occasional servings of homemade bread toasted and slathered with butter and I might hit 6,000 words that day. I actually did 18,000 words on a three-day weekend in January.

Genre-appropriate music. I don’t always need this and it’s better if it doesn’t have lyrics, but I do sometimes use music to get into the writing zone. Celtic-flavored music works well for Daermad Cycle. Transportation Project doesn’t have a genre. It really depends on the character. More and more when I write from 95-year-old Jacob Delaney’s POV, I want fiddle music. Why? He likes fiddle music. I discovered the other day that he plays. Who knew? I love that about my characters.

Quiet Company. I enjoy having the dog in the room. She’s a yellow Lab with the most beautiful brown eyes that just say “You can do it, human!” Sometimes I ask her what she thinks of what I’m writing and she wags her tail to let me know I’m on the right track.

But as I said, I don’t get upset if there’s noise or any other distraction. My husband can wonder in and talk to me or watch television in the living room. Sometimes I’ll take the laptop downstairs and write while I’m watching television. The above are mostly nice-to-haves, not must-haves. Sometimes they are very useful and sometimes I don’t even notice if they’re not there.

Low-maintenance, I think they call that.

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Posted January 17, 2017 by aurorawatcherak in book promotion, Uncategorized

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