Ask a male author about your male character traits or thoughts.

Amazon links to my stories: Autumn Breeze, A More Perfect Union, Double Happiness, The Wolves of Sherwood Forest, Neanderthals and the Garden of Eden can be found down the right side of the blog.

Sunday, September 27, 2015


Pope Francis carried a briefcase on his trip. He kept a toothbrush, novel and other things in it. I couldn’t find out the name of this novel but I do know his favorite sitting-on-the-beach summer read (as if he had the time) is Late Have I Loved Thee by Ethel Mannin. Ethel was a non-Catholic anarchist (some say atheist).

We do not have to write inspirational novels to inspire. Whether we tell or show (better to show) our hero and heroine practicing the golden rule we are doing what readers want. They want their heroes to be good or struggle to become good. The reader identifies best with characters she could aspire to be, in some small way.

Many writers pen a hero or heroine subconsciously acting in a loving way. Because love attracts love. Love tears down barriers to that happily-ever-after.

In my WIP (work in progress), Seven Boyfriends, I show the heroine inviting an elderly man with walker into her lobby and out of sweltering heat, for a cool glass of water. Waving his cane at her, he refused, “I’m fine.” This little side step from the plot came out of my subconscious mind. Showing off the hero or heroine’s good qualities should be second nature to us and is certainly a sign of not only a good writer but of a good story. To me, being capable of love, includes an attitude to thy brothers and sisters, i.e. every person. Sure, the story and character arcs should carry this preferably hidden subtlety throughout the book.

Is your hero heroic?

Here's a 14:31 minute piece on 60 Minutes about the Pope.

Below are some things about this Pope that will forever impress me. They might not impress my more conservative friends, but that's okay because I respect and love you:
The Pope asked for our prayers and for those who didn't believe or could not pray to send good wishes.
Francis tied climate change to the deaths of the poor and insisted we act because that is a tenant of Christianity.
When asked about gays he said who is he to judge.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Bobby Fischer

At our RWASD meeting, Lisa Cron, author of Wired for Story, made an excellent presentation. One of her points is the subject of this post along with a personal remembrance that ties it into a neat bow.

The hero or heroine's misbeliefs can change over the arc of the story or scene. If the author writes well enough, we root for this change or changes.

Not many of you know that I'm a U.S. chess master. I knew Bobby Fischer. We analyzed games together along with a group of his friends. Yes, he had friends, and always had time from his rigorous ascent to the World Championship to kibitz. He was witty but never veered far from the point, chess, our chess and how we could improve.

A young Bobby's mom was the subject of constant surveillance by J. Edgar Hoover's overly zealous FBI during the McCarthy and blacklist era. A young Bobby internalized this justified paranoia and with no father and desperately wanting to both love and run from his mom—his mind cracked under the strain, IMO.

The movie, Pawn Sacrifice, simplified the story and stayed on point. I want to present a lighter side of Bobby, the side I knew. I abhor his anti-Semitism but find his cold war instincts compelling. Bobby was Jewish but when you see his backstory and understand his need to be loved by someone Jewish (his mom) the U.S. government harassed (and perhaps rightly, I don't know) you may at least understand him a little better. If you see these signs of abandonment in a child try to find a way to help. All Bobby knew well was chess, even though his IQ was a 210. This genius made it easy for him to quickly jump to conclusions without missing any proofs along the way. Unfortunately, chess is a closed system and the world is not.

Here's the great Bob Hope versus Bobby Fischer, 1972:

Can you write a character like this? Would you want to?

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Ex's and Oh's

We all agree that if your heart isn’t into it, don’t write it, whether it be prose or poetry (or song). Sometimes our creative energy is low. In that case, there’s nothing wrong with working on an idea, which in my case is a sequel based on another artist’s/writer’s work ,as long as you don’t publish it without permission or you are collaborating.

Hit songs are like well-written novels because their emotional content is well drawn. Has to be. In 3 minutes you must get your points across, starting with emotion, then story. Because nobody follows a flat character no matter how compelling the plot.

Rarely, hit songs can be reprieved as a sequel. That’s why the following creativity challenge I gave myself is probably just an exercise.

The original number 1 hit starts this way:
Call Me Maybe

By Carly Rae Jepsen

I threw a wish in the well
Don't ask me I'll never tell
I looked at you as it fell
And now you're in my way
I'd trade my soul for a wish
Pennies and dimes for a kiss
I wasn't looking for this
But now you're in my way

Your stare was holding…

Here’s the beginning of my offered sequel:

Kiss Me Maybe

I know I asked for your love
I promised I’d never tell
But your friends knew I fell
Then you threw your heart away
I'd trade my soul for a wish
I’d settle for a kiss
I’d wake up your soul with this
But you threw your heart away…[if you’d like to see the whole song, write me.]

So Carly can call me maybe, no definitely. Call Me Maybe was written about and for a new adult or teenage girl looking for love with a certain guy and not knowing how to go about it. You might not be a listener/reader for this song/story but it was huge. Kiss Me Maybe is written about the same girl who doesn’t quite get what she asked for when with the same guy.

I use songs to inspire scenes or themes in my stories.

Here’s a fun song called Ex’s and Oh’s, which has already found a home in my WIP, Seven Boyfriends. Ex’s and Oh’s was recently released and will (I bet) rise quickly on the alternative and pop charts. Nice to have your cake and eat it too and Elle King (the artist) does just that with her boys. Ever notice titles with double entendres? No, it’s not a reference to the start of the football season. Ex’s and Oh’s can be about hugs and kisses just as much as ex-boyfriends and oh so good experiences! I think the ladies in this blog’s audience will enjoy Elle’s take on eye-candy. I think the ones who ain’t no ladies will enjoy it even more.
Ex’s and Oh’s by Elle King, 2015:

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Latin From Manhattan

I’m starting phase two of my blog. The first phase is being collated, edited and will be released as a book, The Art of Writing Male Characters.

I may not have exhausted my male POV ideas but will start mixing up this blog with more general topics about writing.

A Latin From Manhattan (adding charm to your plot)

All habits are pleasurable or you wouldn’t do them. Some are harmful. Some are great for you.

One insidious habit for a writer is block. This is usually self-inflicted. The longer you wait to start writing again the less likely you will. Why? Because, to simplify the science, a habit is formed after 21 repetitions of anything. Once a habit is formed, it is painful to break it. Call it withdrawal if you like.

Because of my daughter’s wedding and caring for my elderly parents, I made every excuse not to write.

I’d love to hear your ideas on breaking the non-writing habit. I’ll make some suggestions.

1. Write out a list for every day and then follow it.
2. Find a critique or writing partner that is willing to prod you, persistently.
3. Find that missing pride, that belief in yourself.
4. Remember the parable of the talents and realize you are not going about the Lord’s work or if you are an atheist, you are not contributing to your fellow man.
5. Even if, at present, hardly anybody reads your stuff, someday they will, if you have something to contribute.
6. If you have nothing to contribute to literature, than look within to find your true talents and don’t waste a moment more. Start giving back.
7. Giving back will improve your self-worth and image, which influences your health. You’ll be a better person to be around.
8. Use your heart and mind and if you are creative, enjoy and celebrate your inner powers.

Now, if I could only start writing again.

LATIN FROM MANHATTAN is a fictional dance studio and nightclub in NYC that I had to work into Autumn Breeze. Why do this? The art of writing in general is to give more, enrich the story, keeping pace in mind. In this case, the hero knew the heroine to be a dedicated dancer. He claimed not to know how to dance, so that someday he might surprise her when they could ease off saving the world. Isn’t that little subterfuge in the hero’s mind a good hook? If any critiquer had told me that the dance scene didn’t advance the plot (and no one did) I would have politely listened and then not change a thing. Why, I’m an artist. I’m a writer. I believe in my talents to tell a story and entertain.

So I'll present a song that makes no sense logically, is put into a movie to showcase the actors but is unforgettable and part of our culture. Latin From Manhattan, sung by Al Jolson and danced by his wife, Ruby Keeler in the movie, Go Into Your Dance, 1935.


 Do you sense the joy in the writing of this scene and isn't that enough to wake up your muse?