Monday, May 9, 2022

The Great Semi-Colon Debate...

 Semicolons. You love them or hate them? In between? Don't understand them? Think they're over-rated?

Well, let's take a look at the semicolon and figure out why some people think it's a big, bad scary.

Semicolon definition: a punctuation mark (;) indicating a pause, typically between two main clauses, that is more pronounced than that indicated by a comma.

The proper use of a semicolon, is to help sentence structure. It is literally the opportunity to end your sentence, but choosing to go on. If you think your sentence could potentially become a run-on, the semicolon could swoop in and save the day.

I use them, more often than not. Some people think it is an outdated punctuation, that it doesn't need to be used at all. But think about it. There are a lot of great authors, even now, who use semicolons. Next time you pick up a book, keep an eye out for them.

So why are they scary? Most writers don't know how to use them properly. And yes, there is that chance that you could screw up one of the best written sentences of your life; but I doubt it.

See what I did there? Gotcha. That pause where the semicolon is, it could have been a period. It could have been a comma. It broke up the really long sentence I was aiming for and it worked.

When you have a sentence structure that can be stopped with a period, done, over, no more words, but you have just a little more to say, drop in the semicolon and impress your editor. Just remember, the words that follow your semicolon should be able to stand alone as its own sentence. Yes, it is a bit of an afterthought, but it should be just as concrete as a normal sentence.

I hope this little bit of information is helpful. If you still have an adversity about using semicolons, that's okay. They're not for everyone. It is part of a writing style, you do have to get used to them. And like everything else, don't overuse them and frustrate your editor and readers.

Leave me your thoughts on this underrated, often misunderstood, little punctuation mark. I'd love to hear what you think.

Thursday, May 5, 2022

Relatable Characters...

 Hey everyone! Dropping back in here to say hi, how's it going and whatcha working on?

My title today is relatable characters. I had written a blog post about it back in the day, but when I look at it now, yeah, lots of ramblings going on there. What can I say. I'm a pantser in everything I write!

So let's talk about relatable characters and how they get into and out of trouble in your stories.

People read to escape. They watch TV, play video games, watch movies, all to escape their problems in the real world. Yet, they still want to be able to relate to what they're watching or listening to at the moment.

I'm going to take a moment here to talk about the new Reacher series on Amazon Prime. No, I'm not getting paid for this promotion.

That show kicks ass. In a LOT of different ways. First of all, Alan Ritchson plays a much better Reacher character than Tom Cruise ever could. 

First of all, Tom is kinda short, he's not as muscular. Tom's portrayal of Reacher is more of an intellectual, than physical.

Alan, on the other hand, seems more believable to me as Reacher. He's got the build, the expression, the attitude all down pat. If I had never watched either actor's portrayal before, and then watched them side by side, I would connect more with Alan's portrayal. Hands down.

Why? Because I can see him having more strength than "boys his age", as the character's mother put it. I believe his military skills more than I would Tom's portrayal. I can relate to Alan's portrayal easier than Tom's.

People want that connection. They look for it in all their escapes.

How do you make your characters relatable? What troubles do they get into that they have to get out of in a way that would be relatable to your readers? And no cheating, because your readers will know. A lot of the time, they're looking for solutions as well, and it makes them think; if your character can get out of trouble in a logical way, so can they.

You have to connect your characters with readers on multiple levels. Emotional, physical, intellectual. Your reader wants to believe that this fictional character, the one that's entertaining them, could also teach them a few things about life. How to look at it, how to solve some of the problems. Even if it's a Sci-Fi or Fantasy story, people get through tough times in a lot of different ways.

So I ask again, how do you make your characters relatable? What tips and tricks can you offer up to help other authors to create these soon-to-be memorable characters?

Watch people. See how they act, react, and interact.

Think about how you would get yourself out of a fictional jam.

How open minded are your characters? Why?

Introverted vs extroverted; how do your characters cope?

Finally, don't be gun-shy over the stigma of mental illness. As much as is happening in this world today, stop making it more of a hush topic and get messages out there to your readers that it's okay to get help.

These are all just my thoughts and suggestions. Leave me a comment below and tell me how you make relatable characters!

Friday, April 22, 2022

Friday: Writing Journey: Past & Present...

Hey everyone! Welcome back, to you as well as me.

I've been thinking about my writing journey a lot these days. I've been on Twitter more and I still see tweets about things I wrote about back in 2016 or so. There's always a time for a lot of the topics that have been written about, to re-emerge.

One of my topics from way back when was on cliché fantasy names. You know, the tongue-twister ones that leave you skipping over the name, making up your own nickname, or just frustrating the hell out of you enough that you stop reading the book.

Yup, those names.

My old post about it is here.

I can pretty much agree with that old post. I'd like to add some new ideas as well, though, regarding how to find good names.

First, Seventh Sanctum dot com still has great resources for names with lots of generators for just about anything. Fantasy, dark fantasy, vampire names, spell names, pirate names. You get the idea. Just head over there and expect to spend some quality time!

Second, using Google to find old Norse names, German names, any foreign country, really. One of the best things is you can find names from other cultures and their meaning. Lots of authors like to use names with meaning. Who doesn't?

Third, and final, is still my tried and true. I use the English to Latin generator on Google to find some good names with meanings.

Now, remember, with all of these options available to you, there's nothing like your good ol' noggin'. If you find something really close to what you want, but still doesn't set right, change it until it does. I can't tell you how much I love to name characters! Creating them is awesome as well. I just love character creation. I know, I know, I'm repeating myself. It's just so fun!!

Well, that's it for me today. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and may your words flow like a river!

Friday, April 15, 2022

Moving Kicks The Stuffing Out Of You...

 I know. It's been months! Months, I tell you!

We were on a time crunch to move, as our landlord had sold the place we were living in; which meant a mad scramble to find a place.

Now, I'm not going to get into the politics aspect of this all, but with the way things are changing these days, it literally took us eight months to find a place.

Eight. Months.


Prices are high, people are moving from other states and driving up those prices. Not to mention taking away an available rentals from people already in the area.

We went to a property management place and were told that due to my hubs not having a job (long story) and me not having a credit score of at least 600 ... well, we were a risk! Insert eyeroll here.

We finally found a place the same day my husband got a new job. So, boom, boom, boom! Everything was set.

Took us almost the entire month to move, as I had made the brilliant decision to not rent a U-Haul.

I know, I know. Hindsight and all of that. Because I ended up with the worst sinus infection of my life and had to leave the moving of the household to hubs, sister in law and brother in law. Not to mention, it was really difficult for my mom, going back and forth.

We're settling in and I'm currently organizing my whole life as well as the whole house. We've had enough of being renters and we're going to work on getting our own home or even a piece of land to build on.

I have missed two really good IWSG posts. I've been keeping up on some writing stuff on Twitter, but that is about it, sadly.

I hope you are all doing well and have an amazing weekend! I hope to see and hear from you all soon!

Monday, January 24, 2022

Motivation Monday: Writing Blues...

 I've been AWOL since NaNoWriMo, and I wish I could say it was due to being terribly caught up in my writing endeavors.

Sadly, not.

Life throws me a lot of different curveballs since I began caring for my elderly parent. Naturally, that flows into my writing time, crafting time, whatever time. So I typically go off and do whatever I can to wind down and destress, which is my gaming, my go-to for escape.

When it gets like this, I get a little down because I can hear my voice in my head telling me I need to be doing something other than sitting around playing World of Warcraft or Conan Exiles. But, what can you do?

Getting motivated seems like a monumental task, sometimes. Right around NaNoWriMo, my characters were screaming in my head, my stories were overpowering my senses and my muse was smacking the backside of my head, like Gibbs. I just jumped right back into it, sat down and got busy. A wonderful feeling, to be sure, but not my modus operandi.

Blogging helps a lot more than I realize. Reading helps a lot as well. I've decided to start reading classic literature that I was never able to, before, or didn't have access to, before. My first choice out of the box is "The Count of Monte Cristo".

Definitely an inspiring piece, one that gets the creative writing juices flowing. For now, I will have to settle with blogging every so often, so if I am ever absent, these days, at least you know why.

What are your go-to's when life gets in the way of writing? How do you motivate yourself to get back on track? Writing or reading, or both? I'd love to hear your comments. You know where to leave them!