You’ve got a flow going. The inciting incident is spot on and the pacing is running at a good clip. But that one character?

There is something you like about her otherwise you would have thrown her out a long time ago. But as you read through your manuscript with an objective eye, you notice she might as well be a fly on the wall without eyes. She’s already got a motivation towards her purpose but something’s missing.

Here are a few ideas:

  • What is she afraid of?
  • What flaws does she have?
  • Shape her background/history so we better understand what made her “tick” to life in the first place.
  • Show her personality through her actions and creative dialogue.
  • Give her some interests other than star gazing.
  • What are the quirky qualities that make her memorable?
  • Is she a relatable character that holds common ground with the human reader?
  • How does she handle struggle and crisis? (Shrugs don’t count)
  • Make your reader fight for your character’s right to be in the book! (Or, make your character fight to remain)

Keep your characters alive!

Here’s a link for more on the topic.

Authors love new readers

Reading about the 1920s

All are welcome.

Agility not required.

(Thank you, Pixabay, for the free cute monkey image. I made him pay for the book)

The Bees knees

Should we to go back a hundred years to the 1920s instead of our current and challenging 2020? If you see more photos posted from that era, you’ll know where my head is. My editor just informed me she will have my manuscript ready next week. So excited, but still a long way to go.

The longest drumroll

… waiting to see it in print.

(and fun with photoshop)

Nameless :(

When you long to be creative

but the words won’t flow to screen

your hands are Nervous Nellies

’cause they’re passed down through your genes

Just grab ahold of paper, glue

and make yourself a trophy

then mount it to a waiting wall

(but just don’t look to closely)

Name suggestions are appreciated!

Through our looking glasses

Amazing, the human brain.

Our eyes might be reading words

but our minds conjure vivid pictures.

Here’s to the books that pull us away from reality, plunk us into worlds and places we’ve never been, introduce us to people we’ve never met, and allow us to witness events we’ve never experienced.

Beat your drum slowly

Pastel on paper ©Carolyn Dennis-Willingham


Does everything change?

Love grows broader or thinner.

Hope blossoms or wains.

Despair peaks or evaporates.

Fear paralyzes or fades.

Does everything change?

No need to hurry.

Even change itself shifts its pace

But nuggets of moments tucked neatly,

a pocket filled of treasures preserved,


Let your breath travel

Venture to a road less traveled

mysteries wither, then unravel

a fate explained

a purpose gained

amidst the trodden gravel.

© Carolyn Dennis-Willingham

The Writers block

You know how, when you finish that memoir, novel, book of poetry, and all of a sudden, your realize it’s done? Over?

Maybe your writing is in the hands of an editor. Maybe your work is already published (Hooray!). But now?

Perhaps you’re all-too familiar with this phenomenon called writer’s block. Maybe you feel the agony of it now because any new characters at your door aren’t knocking loud enough for you to hear.

You miss forming words into sentences and sentences into paragraphs and paragraphs into a manuscript. You long to taste new words on your tongue and massage them between your fingers. But they are out of reach. I’m included in this category of empty blockheads.

Perhaps, for novel writers, we should start with a real block. Each of the six sides holds the secrets to starting anew.

Side one: Think of a cool protagonist.

Side two: A badass antagonist.

Side three: The inciting incident. Is it dangerous? Emotional?

Side four: The setting. Dark? Beautiful?

Side five: Devise a plot around sides one through four.

Side six: There’s a theme in there somewhere. What is it?

Don’t know about you, but I’ll be tossing my block around for a while until it hits me in the head.