Marti Pieper

January greetings from warm, windy, but not-so-wintry Florida! Today, I have the privilege of sharing an interview with bestselling author and speaker Pam Farrel, a writer who also happens to be a friend. My husband and I have some fun memories of kayaking around Mission Bay in San Diego with the Farrels one sunny August afternoon. But I admired the Farrels first as writers and speakers who share heart-warming, life-changing truth. I know you’ll enjoy hearing from Pam today.

Welcome, sweet friend! It’s good to “see” you again. How many books do you have published? What are a few of your latest titles?

I write with my husband, Bill. We have 45 books published in English; many of these have been translated into 15+ languages.

Our latest titles:

Pam: 7 Simple Skills for Every Woman: Success in Keeping It All Together

Bill 7 Simple Skills for Every Man: Success in Relationships, Work, and Your Walk with God

Pam and Bill: Expanded, updated anniversary edition of best-selling Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti

Congratulations on all of these! You were last featured on the CAN blog in 2013. What are the chief lessons you’ve learned about the writing life since then?

Know your core message, then seek to get that message across through every channel and method available: books, blogs, social media, video, radio, podcasts, TV, courses, and curriculums—and even T-shirts, coffee, mugs and bumper stickers! In a world noisy with untruths, lies, and misinformation, we all should seek to give our full dedication and focused persistence in getting God’s message (the one entrusted to our voice) out to those who most need that message of hope and help from God. Be prepared to spend more time writing, speaking, and promoting the message than you ever did writing it originally. The book is only one small piece, a first step to a long journey of faithfulness to your message. Read More →

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www.gailgaymermartin.com

Welcome to the Christian Author Network blog from Gail Gaymer Martin. Today I will be talking about ways to improvement elements of writing fiction. My experience comes from seventeen years of published fiction writing, and my pleasure is to share my expertise with you.

Today I will talk about keeping your novel moving forward so that readers are caught up in the story and don’t want to put it down.

Five Steps to Write Forward-Moving Scenes

 A scene is part of a chapter in a novel. Some authors write only in chapters and therefore have far more chapters than a typical book. A new scenes are used mainly to change the POV character, move a character to a new setting, and showing the passing of time. Each scene will connect to the story in a logical way by providing pertinent information about character, a conflict or to add a red herring in a suspense or even add a twist to a story. No matter the purpose, the new scene must move the story forward in a significant way.

  1. Before writing a scene decide what will happen in this scene to move the story forward. What is going to happen of significance or what new information will be shown in this scene. Will a major decision be made or will new conflict begin or a continuing conflict end? Will the scene foreshadow an upcoming situation or event? If the scene will only allow the characters to get to know each other better or to introduce backstory, eliminate it. Characters can get to know each other better while something significant is happening and backstory can be included in small pieces throughout the novel on a need to know basis only.
  1. The next step is to ask what the characters need to be in this scene and what will each accomplish during the scene. In what way will the character’s needs or desires create conflict or add tension? Conflict does not have to be blatant but can be reflected in the POV character’s introspection or shown through the response or action of a POV or non-POV character.
  1. Select the best setting for this scene, the location and time of day or season of the year. The setting can add or detract from a scene, so chose one that will enhance the purpose of the scene and the needs of the characters. Too many scenes are set in a car while the characters are driving or at a table in a restaurant or kitchen as they talk about situations. Be creative and use locations, time of day, weather, and seasons to enhance the scene and its purpose.
  1. Each scene will provide pertinent information, action and conflict to move the story forward, and it will be either be a scene or sequel. Dwight Swain’s definition of a scene is to provide interest and move the story forward with its structure being: Goal — conflict — disaster. A sequel is defined as a transition unit that links two scenes and focuses on the main character’s reaction to the previous scene and provides him motivation for the scene to come. The function is: To translate disaster into a goal, To telescope reality, and To control tempo. Therefore ask yourself “what must happen in this scene,” and then decide what is the strongest way to start the scene and then, what is the most effective way to end it. A scene ending with a hook keeps the reader reading. Writing the scene’s opening sentence can trigger your creativity and help you devise interest immediately.
  1. Though many novels write their novels providing all elements of fiction, such as: description, action and reaction beats, dialogue and introspection, some authors begin their scenes by writing the dialogue first. This keeps the scene on track moving the story forward. Then the author returns to the opening and adds the action, description and introspection. Writing a scene this way can help you to understand how a story is layered and it gives you time to put yourself into the characters so that their actions and thoughts can show their emotion and their growth.

Whichever method you use, these five steps can help you write scenes that are strong in purpose, deepen characterization, show change and growth, reveal emotion, and hook readers.

(c) Gail Gaymer Martin 2017

 

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kathy-ide

Hi! I’m Kathy Ide. In addition to being a published author, I’m a full-time professional freelance editor. For CAN, I’m blogging about proofreading and editing tips for writers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Historical Post by Gail Gaymer Martin

Build a 3-Dimensional Hero Using Core Personalities – Part II

In Part 1, I explained Core Personalities and gave you the basic information needed to use these personalities to create fictional heroes and heroines. Today I will go more deeply into the subject of Core Personalities by adding more of the techniques novelists use to create characters.

After digesting the personalities of the four core types from Terrance Real’s book How Can I Get Through To You, you can see the opportunities to build some interesting characters and create dynamic conflicts. Consider plotting a thriller where two elitists are on opposing forces or plotting a romance with the one character being a feeler and the other an analyzer. Put two drivers together in a story built around a family dynasty. Conflict is brewing in any of those scenarios.

To add to the total character, you will take the basic core personality and add a past that will help the reader understand why one person is driven, why another lives with self-importance, and another can find a positive in the most negative situation. You are a mix of genetics and experience, and to help readers believe in your characters and find them compelling, you must develop them just as you have become who you are. Remember that your past (backstory) is made up of a multitude of elements: upbringing, family discipline, education, religious attitudes, health issues, birth order, family dysfunctions, successes and failures, location (south/west/north/east or rural/urban), and income.

As you build these core personalities, begin thinking how these characters will dress, their language and diction, their manner of responding and reacting to situations. You can see that each will be different.

The feeler will speak in a more flowing language using animation. The language could be more poetic, using alliteration and similes. He will emphasize the good, and avoid talking about the bad. A woman might dress more colorfully, with gussy jewelry and more ruffles. A man might take more chances in trying something new, fads or something outside the box.

The driver will speak in shorter, emphatic sentences. He doesn’t waste time. He wants to get to the nitty gritty of the topic. No flowery language for him. He is organized in both his speaking and in his apparel. He dresses for the situation, but clothes aren’t his concern. He focuses on getting things done and accomplishing his goal.

The analyzer will be thoughtful in his speech and will not waste words. He won’t speak until he’s thought the situation through, and come up with the best response. He will ask questions, dig deeper, and not be afraid to pry. He expects answers. He will dress conservatively. He wears basic appropriate clothing for the occasion and doesn’t take chances in style. He prefers tradition.

The elitist will use a large vocabulary and good grammar. He’ll speak clearly and decisively as if what he says is truth whether it is or not. He will stand back and observe rather than jump into a mundane conversation. He could be a name dropper both in style of clothing, and in who he knows. His apparel will be influenced by the situation. At a black tie dinner he will wear a designer tuxedo, but he’s not afraid to be his own person and make others think it is appropriate. They will sometimes follow his lead, thinking if he can do it maybe it’s the best way to dress. No matter what he wears, he will stand out in the crowd.

As you weigh these characters and their interactions, notice how conflicts can easily arise depending on their roles in your novel. Don’t always make the boss the elitist. An employee could outshine the owner and bully him, if he’s not confident in his role. You set the scenario. Although we often think of women as the feeler, try this attribute on a man. Don’t make him effeminate, but make him care and show he does. By working with core personalities, you can create some unexpected characters with compelling conflicts.

And finally remember that your characters will change from the beginning of the novel to the end. When two elitists battle face to face, it will cause one to change. Perhaps he realizes that his elitism is only a cover for what he thought he lacked in his past, and he walks away from the battle feeling he is a winner. The driver who falls in love with a feeler can learn that he’s destroying his chances for happiness by thinking success in his business is the most important thing in his life. He learns that loving and being loved is the ultimate happiness.

With these techniques, you will create dynamic believable characters!

 

 

 

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Historical Post by Gail Gaymer Martin

Build a 3-D Hero Using Core Personalities – Part 1

Today I will talk about using Core Personalities to help create a novel’s hero or main male character. This information can also be used for females, but since most popular authors are females, especially those who write romance which is the largest selling genre, we need to put our feet into a man’s shoes.

Whether you write suspense, romance, or adventure, any genre needs 3-D characters. Author Mark Mynheir presented a workshop once on characterization and suggested the use of the Myers Briggs personality test to help create dynamic characters by using the basic core personalities and then wrapping a backstory history around him. Here is a site where you can check out the basic eight personality types used in the Myers Briggs test.   http://www.personalitypage.com/html/info.html

But let’s begin by looking a four core personalities from Terrance Real’s book How Can I Get Through To You. He suggests in his book that people have four personalities: Feeler, Driver, Analyzer, and Elitist. Now we can take the eight personalities of Myers Briggs and find these personalities there as well, but for writing, these four will provide a good basis.

Feeler:
The feeler is a person who reacts and interacts through emotion and comes across as warm and friendly. He avoids confrontation and always tries to put the most positive twist on every situation. He prefers intimate groups rather than a crowd and rarely initiates conversation, especially with strangers. When in a larger group, he becomes more reticent and only expresses opinions that are non-aggressive. His emotions are often on his sleeve. His body language can be emotive. Think Oprah.

Driver:
The driver tends to be a Type A personality who is perceptive and therefore likes to control the situation. He is curious and enthusiastic while tending to pick up on the mood and style of the group he is in. He is verbal and quick-minded. His body action is animated. Some people might considered him overly-friendly, but he is naturally gregarious. He would be considered a non-conformist, willing to take chances if he sees the possibility of positive results. Think Bill O’Reilly.

Analyzer:
The analyzer is organized, logical, and stoic. He is careful in what he says, controlling himself mentally, physically and verbally. Though he is pleasant, he keeps his distance and appears to need no one besides himself. Emotions are not for the analyzer, but intellect is. He is very self-confident and is not at ease in lighthearted or frivolous situations. Think Barbara Walters and Martha Stewart.

Elitist:
The elitist is aloof and feels superior. Although he appears friendly, he has a strong sense of his own importance. He observes his surroundings yet is detached from the situation. He can be charismatic and easily stands out in a crowd by his bearing and manner. Think Simon Cowell and Hannibal Lector.

Think about how this information might be used in your novel to build a 3-D hero using core personalities. Part II will add some layers to the core and pose some thoughts on how to use the core personalities to create great conflict.

 

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