A Short Blog Break

    2942026934_17963107c0_oCourtesy: Marco Paköeningrat @ Creative Commons

Well, August is wrapping up, taking summer and my days of sleeping in, lazing around, and relaxing with it. Boohoo. On the other hand, the kids are going back to school this week, and while I love my kids and the family fun time that summer brings, it is SO time for them to go back to school.

Every year during summer, Ange and I take a blog break. This year, we’ve decided to schedule it at the tail end of things so we can gear up for fall and everything we’ve got going. We have a lot of cool stuff planned for the next six months, both for One Stop and in the book department, and we can’t wait to get started on them. But first, we’re taking a week off to recharge, so we can come back amped up and ready to dive back into writing and work.

So don’t be alarmed by the radio silence. It’s definitely temporary. We’ll be back on September 6th, blowing up your feeds with our regularly scheduled awesomeness ;).

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Emotional Wound Entry: Being Bullied

When you’re writing a character, it’s important to know why she is the way she is. Knowing her backstory is important to achieving this end, and one of the most impactful pieces of a character’s backstory is her emotional wound. This negative experience from the past is so intense that a character will go to great lengths to avoid experiencing that kind of pain and negative emotion again. As a result, certain behaviors, beliefs, and character traits will emerge.

bullyCharacters, like real people, are unique, and will respond to wounding events differently. The vast array of possible emotional wounds combined with each character’s personality gives you many options in terms of how your character will turn out. With the right amount of exploration, you should be able to come up with a character whose past appropriately affects her present, resulting in a realistic character that will ring true with readers. Understanding what wounds a protagonist bears will also help you plot out her arc, creating a compelling journey of change that will satisfy readers.

NOTE: We realize that sometimes a wound we profile may have personal meaning, stirring up the past for some of our readers. It is not our intent to create emotional turmoil. Please know that we research each wounding topic carefully to treat it with the utmost respect. 

BEING BULLIED

Examples:

  • demanding parents or relatives who push “for one’s own good”
  • siblings that have power or authority (older or larger, big personalities, etc.)
  • a classmate who takes aim
  • a group that packs up (a subset of classmates such as members of a sports team, for example)
  • a teacher or another person in a position of authority
  • co-workers who are threatened by one’s status or prowess
  • petty people who use whatever hold they can to take the power of others away
  • employers
  • well-connected or wealthy individuals used to getting what they want

Basic Needs Often Compromised By This Wound: physiological needs, safety and security, love and belonging, esteem and recognition, self-actualization

False Beliefs That May Be Embraced As a Result of This Wound:

  • I deserve this
  • I am defective
  • This pain will never end unless I end it
  • There are no good people in this world
  • The system (school, government, company policy, parental fairness, whichever applies) is a joke
  • Everyone hates me
  • If I died, no one would care or miss me
  • My life will never get better; happy ever after is for other people
  • I am a failure and will never succeed at anything
  • My dreams will never be more than that, dreams
  • If I let anyone get close they will only hurt me
  • To show I’m not weak I have to fight
  • To stop being hurt I have to hurt first

Positive Attributes That May Result: affectionate, alert, analytical, appreciative, cautious, cooperative, courageous, diplomatic, disciplined, efficient, empathetic, generous, honorable, humble, imaginative, independent, industrious, intelligent, introverted, just, kind, loyal, mature, nature-focused, nurturing, obedient, observant, organized, pensive, perceptive, persistent, private, proactive, proper, protective, resourceful, responsible, sentimental, socially aware, wise

Negative Traits That May Result: abrasive, addictive, antisocial, callous, confrontational, cowardly, cruel, cynical, defensive, dishonest, disrespectful, evasive, gullible, hostile, humorless, hypocritical, impulsive, inhibited, insecure, jealous, manipulative, morbid, needy, nervous, oversensitive, paranoid, perfectionist, rebellious, reckless, resentful, self-destructive, subservient, suspicious, temperamental, uncommunicative, vindictive, violent, withdrawn, workaholic, worrywart

Resulting Fears:

  • fear of relationships (trust issues)
  • fear of being alone
  • fear of being in the presence of the bully
  • fear of violence and pain
  • fears associated with the bullying (public speaking if one stutters and is bullied for it, a fear of enclosed spaces if one was locked in a closet as punishment or for entertainment, etc.)
  • fear of a location (school for example, if this is where the bullying takes place)
  • fear of being on display or ridiculed
  • fear of social media (if bullying is cyber)
  • fear of social events (or family events if bullying is within the family)

Possible Habits That May Emerge:

  • being late (as a result of it being difficult to get up and face the day ahead)
  • avoiding social events, especially those tied to a common location for bullying (e.g. office parties if the workplace is involved)
  • finding a safe place to be alone during lunch hours and idle periods
  • not making eye contact or engaging others in conversation
  • agreeing in hopes the situation won’t escalate or devolve into a humiliating situation
  • pretending one is fine (even lying) to loved ones so they don’t worry
  • pulling back from relationships to avoid letting people in and then being hurt
  • overreacting and sensitivity; feeling deeply wounded even by the smallest slight when it involves someone one trusts
  • laughing off slights or smaller humiliations in hopes of nipping the situation in the bud
  • befriending animals or seeking out solace in nature
  • daydreaming and escapism (books, TV, movies, video games)
  • self-medicating
  • surrounding oneself with positive quotes, reminding oneself that nothing is permanent, trying to boost oneself up to find the strength to face everyday situations
  • being meticulous with one’s appearance to try and fit in
  • watching others to see how they behave and trying to emulate them to somehow change and avoid the bullying loop
  • journalling to get one’s feelings out
  • crying
  • self-mutilation (cutting and other self-destructive behaviors)
  • thoughts of suicide and recklessness, almost to tempt fate
  • difficulty eating and sleeping; not taking care of oneself
  • snapping or lashing out at others who are “weaker,” even bullying others in turn for release

TIP: If you need help understanding the impact of these factors, please read our introductory post on the Emotional Wound Thesaurus. For our current list of Emotional Wound Entries, go here.

For other Descriptive Thesaurus Collections, go here.

Image: wokandapix @ pixabay

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The One Stop For Writers® Library Is Evolving

Hi everyone! I haven’t posted an update regarding One Stop For Writers® for some time, so thought I’d do one now. For those of you who don’t know about this little adventure, One Stop For Writers is a one-of-a-kind online library created by Becca, Lee Powell of Scrivener, and me, where we’re doing our best to answer the question, How can we make life easier for writers?

Thesaurus Collection ListHard to believe, but we’re heading towards the end of our first year, and it’s been a great ride so far. We have eleven massive descriptive thesaurus collections, (which will become 13 in coming months), a generator that’s a writer’s dream, templates & worksheets, story maps which lead writers through 6-stage plot structure for 3 different types of character arcs, tutorials…and so much more.

AFGM_One Stop ExampleSoon we will also have scene mapping and timeline tools, a world building tool, and a whole new batch of writing lessons that will really help writers deepen their craft.

Full disclosure: I love working with Lee and Becca, because they work hard, have brilliantly creative minds, and are always on point when it comes to what writers need most. And what’s one of the biggest needs we all have? More time. I mean, do you ever have enough time to write? I don’t. So every precious moment we do get to sit down with our story is really best spent actually writing, right?

My ProjectsTo that end, we’ve made some site changes to create better organization, revamping One Stop so that each of our wordsmiths has a special corner of the library to call their own.

My Workspace is a creativity center where writers can create, save, and collect worksheets, notes, story maps, and bookmarked thesaurus entries to be assigned to individual Projects.  These projects act like virtual folders, a perfect storage space for brainstorming materials that go with a novel, short story, or other WIP. Having it all in one place saves you a treasure hunt every time you sit down to write. Like I said, it’s about making sure writers are spending their time writing, not tracking things down. 🙂

For those of you using One Stop, you know we’ve created some pretty neat resources, perhaps things you have wanted to see for a long time, but they just didn’t exist. Well, guess what? More is coming. In fact, something really big is coming. But, it will take time to build and so it’s too soon to spill the beans. (Oh, but I want to, though!)

Fear Worksheet OS

If you’ve poked around the site or gone on to subscribe, thank you!

We hope you are enjoying the library as much as we are. If you haven’t been by yet, stop in sometime. Registration is free, and allows you a partial access so you can see our resources and tools for yourself.

To stay in the loop regarding One Stop For Writers, we recommend signing up for our occasional newsletter. And don’t worry, there’s no spam mail from us–that’s not how we roll. But we do use it though to provide screenshots of new features and walk you through what’s new.

Sadly summer is coming to an end soon, but hopefully everyone was able to recharge their creative well. I’ve enjoyed the break, but I’m also looking forward to diving back into my own projects. After all, writers write–it’s what we do. 🙂

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Posted in One Stop For Writers, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Creating Mood In A Scene Using Light and Shadow

What’s one of the first things a person does to set the mood at home for a romantic evening? She turns down the lights. This simple adjustment is a big step toward creating a calm, receptive atmosphere. Just as the amount and quality of lighting will influence the way people feel in real life, we can adjust the mood for both characters and readers in our stories by playing with light and shadow.

Most everyone has familiar places that they’ve visited in daylight. But enter that same place at night and it becomes unfamiliar, with a totally different feel. By changing the amount and quality of light in a given place, you can shift the mood without changing the setting. For example, consider an example from a classic, L. M. Montgomery’s description of Birch Path, a recurring location in her Anne of Green Gables series:

AGG1        It was a little narrow, twisting path, winding down over a long hill straight through Mr. Bell’s woods, where the light came down sifted through so many emerald screens that it was as flawless as the heart of a diamond.

One can easily envision this scene under the trees. The green-tinged sunlight gives the scene a lighthearted, cheerful feel, and though the season isn’t mentioned, late spring or summer is inferred, simply by referencing the light.

But the same path traveled later in the day by a character in another frame of mind can look and feel vastly different. Here is Birch Path again, traveled by a more mature Anne in the third book of the series:

   AGG2     Anne felt lonelier than ever as she walked home, going by way of the Birch Path and Willowmere. She had not walked that way for many moons. It was a darkly-purple bloomy night. The air was heavy with blossom fragrance—almost too heavy.

The darkly-purple light, combined with Anne’s loneliness and the cloying odors, give the scene a heavy, melancholy feel that wasn’t there before.

(Do keep in mind this example is sourced from a classic, and when writing for a modern audience, we’d need to be careful about wandering too far down the flowery language path–pun intentional!)

Because light and shadow lies within the realm of universal symbolism, people tend to respond to light in a feral way: well-lit areas are deemed safer, putting us at ease, while darker spots have more weight and feel heavier both on the body and the spirit. When setting the mood for a scene, carefully consider the lighting. How much light is there? Where does it come from? Is it hard or soft, comforting or blinding? Is it constant and totally revealing, or does it allow for shadows and hidden places? Questions like these will serve as a guide for how to light a scene in order to set the desired mood.

Keep in mind however that light and shadow may represent something entirely different if one has taken the time to set up personal symbolism. Light itself may represent pain, exposure, risk, or danger to a character who lives safely below ground, or by the necessity of survival, is only able to come out at night. One needs only to look at vampire, werewolf, and demon fiction to see this played out within a story.

TIP: Should you adapt the universal symbolism of light and shadow to something personal which fits the personality of your point of view character or the reality of the world upon which the story is built, make sure to set this up so the meaning is always clear to readers.

Want more ideas on how to set the mood? Save this checklist to Pinterest.

The Setting Thesaurus_Mood Building
Becca and I have a love affair with powerful description, the kind that does so much more than paints a picture for readers. Creating Mood is only one of ways setting can make your scenes rich and more meaningful.

If you’d like to find out how to also use it to characterize the story’s cast, reveal critical backstory naturally and effectively, steer the plot, reinforce emotion, provide tension & conflict, poke at your protagonist’s emotional woundsand gosh, SO MUCH MORE, we hope you’ll check out our new Urban Setting and Rural Setting Thesaurus books.  🙂

The Setting Thesaurus Duo

Happy writing!

A & B

And, if you’d like more information on creating mood, visit Jami Gold’s terrific blog. 🙂

 

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Posted in Characters, Description, Emotion, Mood and Atmosphere, Setting, Setting Thesaurus Guides, Show Don't Tell, Uncategorized, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 11 Comments

Emotional Wounds Entry: Rejection By One’s Peers

When you’re writing a character, it’s important to know why she is the way she is. Knowing her backstory is important to achieving this end, and one of the most impactful pieces of a character’s backstory is her emotional wound. This negative experience from the past is so intense that a character will go to great lengths to avoid experiencing that kind of pain and negative emotion again. As a result, certain behaviors, beliefs, and character traits will emerge.

Characters, like real people, are unique, and will respond to wounding events differently. The vast array of possible emotional wounds combined with each character’s personality gives you many options in terms of how your character will turn out. With the right amount of exploration, you should be able to come up with a character whose past appropriately affects her present, resulting in a realistic character that will ring true with readers. Understanding what wounds a protagonist bears will also help you plot out her arc, creating a compelling journey of change that will satisfy readers.

NOTE: We realize that sometimes a wound we profile may have personal meaning, stirring up the past for some of our readers. It is not our intent to create emotional turmoil. Please know that we research each wounding topic carefully to treat it with the utmost respect. 

puzzle-piece-1251618_1920

Courtesy: Pixabay

Examples: Being rejected by one’s peers for an unfair reason, such as 

  • one’s race
  • one’s religion
  • one’s sexual orientation or gender identity
  • living in the wrong neighborhood
  • being poor or homeless
  • having a parent or caregiver who is despised in some way (for being in jail, being a known philanderer, being a con artist, etc.)
  • being compared to a notorious sibling
  • embracing beliefs that go against the popular norm
  • a physical disfigurement that sets one apart (being an albino, missing limbs, having severe acne or extreme birthmarks, being morbidly obese, etc.)
  • physically resembling a disreputable figure (Hitler, Charles Manson, a known sex offender, etc.)
  • a publicly humiliating event from one’s past (wetting one’s pants, being publicly targeted by bullies, etc.)
  • perceived weakness
  • social awkwardness
  • mental deficiency
  • being considered substandard in intelligence, athletic prowess, social graces, or some other random factor
  • liking things that are considered weird, taboo, or juvenile

Basic Needs Often Compromised By This Wound: physiological needs, safety and security, love and belonging, esteem and recognition, self-actualization

False Beliefs That May Be Embraced As a Result of This Wound:

  • I’ll never find love or acceptance.
  • No one will ever be able to get past X to see the real me.
  • I don’t need anyone else to get by.
  • I’m happier on my own.
  • Maybe they’re all right about me.
  • Getting back at them will balance the scales.
  • This is as good as things are going to get.
  • If I prove my worth in some way, they’ll accept me.
  • I’m worthless.
  • I’m ugly/stupid/etc.

Positive Attributes That May Result: cautious, cooperative, courteous, creative, disciplined, discreet, empathetic, focused, funny, generous, independent, industrious, kind, loyal, merciful, nurturing, observant, pensive, persistent, private, quirky, resourceful, simple, studious, supportive

Negative Traits That May Result: antisocial, apathetic, callous, compulsive, cowardly, cruel, dishonest, evasive, frivolous, hostile, humorless, inhibited, insecure, irrational, jealous, macho, manipulative, needy, nervous, oversensitive, perfectionist, pessimistic, rebellious, resentful, self-destructive, subservient, timid, uncommunicative, vindictive, volatile, weak-willed, withdrawn, worrywart

Resulting Fears:

  • fear of rejection
  • fear of opening up/being vulnerable to others
  • fear of people discovering a secret one has been hiding
  • fear of getting close to others
  • fear of the kind of person one was rejected by (women, jocks, popular girls, etc.)

Possible Habits That May Emerge: 

  • Withdrawing from others
  • Seeking out other disenfranchised people and groups
  • Allowing oneself to be mistreated so one can be part of a group
  • Giving up the habits, hobbies, or beliefs that one is being persecuted for embracing
  • Hiding the thing that causes one to be mistreated
  • An inability to trust others
  • Suspicion of anyone who reaches out
  • Distancing oneself from friends who might be contributing to one’s social alienation
  • Belittling oneself to make others laugh and gain temporary acceptance
  • Losing one’s identity in an effort to become what is acceptable to others
  • Giving in to peer pressure
  • Self-medicating or cutting
  • Becoming depressed or overly anxious
  • Becoming physically aggressive
  • Becoming emotionally volatile
  • Pursuing tasks that one believes will result in acceptance by one’s peers
  • Choosing isolating activities that allow one to be alone
  • Throwing oneself into work, school, or other activities where one feels safe or secure
  • Low self-esteem
  • Difficulty trusting others

TIP: If you need help understanding the impact of these factors, please read our introductory post on the Emotional Wound Thesaurus. For our current list of Emotional Wound Entries, go here.

For other Descriptive Thesaurus Collections, go here.

Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments

The Most Neglected Resource for Reviews: YouTube

As authors, we’re constantly looking for more and better ways to gain visibility for our books. This is why I was so excited when Andy Peloquin contacted us about a review possibility that I didn’t know existed. Because it might be news for you, too, I’ve asked him to our blog today to give us the particulars.

For most authors, the majority of our time is spent trying to find ways to sell more books. Author interviews, promo blitzes, and Facebook Party takeovers—there are so many ways to get the word out. But we all know that when it comes to gaining new readers and getting them to buy our books, one of the most important factors is the reviews.

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Courtesy: Thad Zajdowicz @ Creative Commons

Book reviews are key because they tell readers and potential buyers what to expect. They’re the unofficial rating that serves as the thumbs up or down. Because of their importance, there are literally THOUSANDS of book review websites, directories, and blogs out there—many of which are flooded with requests from authors. Reviewers often can’t keep up with all the requests they receive, so they’re stuck choosing only books that grab their interest, meaning other books (possibly YOUR book) are going to be sent to the “hopefully sometime in the future” or the “I just don’t have time” piles.

But I’m here to tell you about a review resource that few authors know exists: YouTube. Here are some stats you might not know:

  • 1 billion people use YouTube
  • There are 4 billion video views on YouTube per day7584894382_66a177ebce_m
  • 6 billion hours of video are watched every month
  • 300 new hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute
  • People will spend an average of 40 minutes on YouTube

But here’s the real kicker: less than 9% of small businesses (yes, authors fall into that mix) use this platform for marketing. Which is sad, since YouTube has a great marketing tool for authors that most aren’t aware of in the form of Book Reviewers.

YouTube book reviewers aren’t as common as book bloggers or review websites; the reason for this is that it’s hard to make book reviews interesting when they’re being filmed on video, so it takes a special type of person to do this well. There are a handful of YouTube channels dedicated specifically to book reviews, and while they receive plenty of requests, they get nowhere near as many as the more popular review sites. This means your book has a much higher chance of getting accepted for review.

How do you pick a book review channel? The best option is to visit the channels (see the list at the end of this post) and scroll through each reviewer’s videos to see if they read books like yours; this will narrow down your options to the most likely candidates. You also should check out their submission guidelines to make sure they accept your type of book. You can submit to as many review sites as possible, but if your time is limited and you only want to try the higher profile channels, check out their subscription stats and number of views; this data is often listed on the About page.

How should you submit your books for review? Each channel has its own guidelines on the kinds of books they accept, how to submit, etc. For example, Mercy at Mercy’s Bookish Musings asks you to simply email her with your book details. You can do this for Ariel Bissett, too, but only if your book is traditionally published.

To find out how to submit and what is/isn’t accepted for a given reviewer, simply visit that YouTube channel’s About page. There, you’ll find the submission email address and other necessary information—similar to the way you’d submit to any website or book blog.

What if your book is accepted? How can you capitalize on a good YouTube review? You can tell the world about it. Link to it on all your social media sites, blog about the review, embed it on your personal bookstore page, post it on your Goodreads author profile or Amazon Author Central page—there are so many ways to let existing and potential buyers know that your book has been well received. And the good news is that nearly every site is compatible with YouTube, so the process is fairly simple.

Where do I find these channels? I’m so glad you asked! Here’s a sample listing of book review channels that can be found on YouTube:

  1. https://www.youtube.com/user/MercysBookishMusings/about
  2. https://www.youtube.com/c/arielbissett/about
  3. https://www.youtube.com/c/bazpierce/about
  4. https://www.youtube.com/user/abookutopia/about
  5. https://www.youtube.com/c/hailsheartsnyc/about
  6. https://www.youtube.com/user/booksbetterthanfood/about
  7. https://www.youtube.com/c/booksandquills/about
  8. https://www.youtube.com/user/missloopylouful/about
  9. https://www.youtube.com/c/peruseproject/about
  10. https://www.youtube.com/c/jessethereader/about
  11. https://www.youtube.com/c/polandbananasbooks/about (likes Throne of Glass–ergo, dark fantasy)
  12. https://www.youtube.com/c/jeanmbt/about
  13. https://www.youtube.com/c/impressionblendofficial/about
  14. https://www.youtube.com/c/chapterstackss/about
  15. https://www.youtube.com/c/ashleybbooks/about
  16. https://www.youtube.com/c/pimpbookreviews/about
  17. https://www.youtube.com/c/lovingdembooks/about
  18. https://www.youtube.com/c/thereadables/about
  19. https://www.youtube.com/c/unboundbookreviews/feed
  20. https://www.youtube.com/user/bookwormstalk/about

These are just 20 of the channels that do reviews, but there are many more (I’ve found close to 50). You can find them for yourself by searching for “Book Reviews” on YouTube, or drop me a line at andy.peloquin@gmail.com and I’d be happy to send over the rest of my list. Best of luck!

00-headshotAndy Peloquin–a third culture kid to the core–has loved to read since before he could remember. Sherlock Holmes, the Phantom of the Opera, and Father Brown are just a few of the books that ensnared his imagination as a child. When he discovered science fiction and fantasy through the pages of writers like Edgar Rice Burroughs, J.R.R Tolkien, and Orson Scott Card, he was immediately hooked and hasn’t looked back since. Reading—and now writing—is his favorite escape, and it provides him an outlet for his innate creativity. He is an artist; words are his palette.

His website is a second home for him, a place where he can post his thoughts and feelings–along with reviews of books he finds laying around the internet. He can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.

Posted in Uncategorized | 16 Comments

Emotional Wound Entry: Being So Beautiful It’s All People See

When you’re writing a character, it’s important to know why she is the way she is. Knowing her backstory is important to achieving this end, and one of the most impactful pieces of a character’s backstory is her emotional wound. This negative experience from the past is so intense that a character will go to great lengths to avoid experiencing that kind of pain and negative emotion again. As a result, certain behaviors, beliefs, and character traits will emerge.

beauty1Characters, like real people, are unique, and will respond to wounding events differently. The vast array of possible emotional wounds combined with each character’s personality gives you many options in terms of how your character will turn out. With the right amount of exploration, you should be able to come up with a character whose past appropriately affects her present, resulting in a realistic character that will ring true with readers. Understanding what wounds a protagonist bears will also help you plot out her arc, creating a compelling journey of change that will satisfy readers.

Being So Beautiful It’s All People See

NOTE: We realize that sometimes a wound we profile may have personal meaning, stirring up the past for some of our readers. It is not our intent to create emotional turmoil. Please know that we research each wounding topic carefully to treat it with the utmost respect. 

Basic Needs Often Compromised By This Wound: safety and security, love and belonging, esteem and recognition, self-actualization

False Beliefs That May Be Embraced As a Result of This Wound:

  • my only worth is in my looks
  • I will never be respected for my hard work, brains, or skills
  • people only want to be close because of how I look and what my beauty can do for them
  • no one really cares what I think or believe in
  • everyone believes my life is wonderful no matter what I tell them
  • being beautiful is what matters; without it I am nothing
  • no one knows (or cares) who I really am
  • I can only be what others want me to be, not live for myself
  • I must choose a career in the beauty industry because it’s expected
  • Many of my (same-sex) friends secretly hate me
  • I can’t have deep friendships with members of the opposite sex because I am only a sex object to them
  • I have to keep personal pain/hardships to myself because people will just believe I’m attention-seeking or narcissistic

Positive Attributes That May Result: cautious, charming, courteous, cooperative, disciplined, easygoing, extroverted, flirtatious, friendly, generous, gentle. honorable, idealistic, introverted, loyal, kind, mature, obedient, organized, perceptive, persuasive, playful, private, proactive, protective, sensual, sophisticated, uninhibited, unselfish, whimsical

Negative Traits That May Result: abrasive, addictive, catty, childish, cocky, cynical, defensive, dishonest, extravagant, flaky, frivolous, gossipy, haughty, hypocritical, impatient, impulsive, inhibited, insecure, jealous, judgemental, lazy, macho, manipulative, materialistic, melodramatic, pretentious, promiscuous, rebellious, reckless, self-destructive, self-indulgent, spoiled, subservient, temperamental, vain, withdrawn, workaholic

Resulting Fears:

  • fear of stalking, violence, and sexual assault (especially women)
  • fear of being taken advantage of
  • fear of being trapped by one’s own beauty (life choices, career, opportunities)
  • fear of aging or losing one’s beauty
  • fear of illness and disease
  • trust issues–fear of trusting the wrong person
  • fear of retribution or sabotage via a jealous peer

Possible Habits That May Emerge:

  • meticulous health and beauty regimes
  • dieting and working out
  • questioning and second guessing one’s choices (a deep need for approval or fitting in)
  • people-pleasing
  • avoiding close relationships (over doubt as to if they are “real” or not)
  • not complaining because people will react with a lack of empathy
  • seeking out activities where beauty doesn’t matter (working at an animal shelter, getting out in nature, sport activities, volunteering for a specific cause)
  • acting the way people expect to make life easier
  • being very safety conscious; avoiding dangerous places
  • working hard to be likeable to negate “primal” resentful feelings with the same-sex
  • fighting or hiding low self-esteem issues behind smiles/forced confidence
  • keeping secrets, rarely divulging one’s deepest feelings and desires
  • depression and engaging in behavior to cope with it (medicating, withdrawing from relationships, choosing to be alone, cutting in areas that won’t been seen, etc.)

TIP: If you need help understanding the impact of these factors, please read our introductory post on the Emotional Wound Thesaurus. For our current list of Emotional Wound Entries, go here.

For other Descriptive Thesaurus Collections, go here.

Image: Alexas_fotos @ Pixabay

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Critiques 4 U!

Can you believe it’s August already?? Some of you, I know, are getting ready for the new school year while some of us in the north have a little more summer left. I admit that after living in Florida most of my life, it’s a little weird to not go back to school until September. Not that I’m complaining; my family and I put together a summer bucket list, and we’ve been having a blast doing things like going to a chocolate factory,

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visiting the grandparents in Alabama,

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and picking our own berries.

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I’m not sure we’re going to finish everything in the next few weeks, but we’ll do our best. My kids made up most of the list, and for some reason, critiques didn’t make the cut. But they’re on my own personal list, so

It’s Critiques 4 U Time! 

~~CONTEST IS CLOSED~~

If you’re working on a first page and would like some objective feedback, please leave a comment that includes: 

1) your email address. Some of you have expressed concern about making your email address public; if you’re sure that the email address associated with your WordPress account is correct, you don’t have to include it here. But if you do win and I’m unable to contact you through that email address, I’ll have to choose an alternate winner.

2) your story’s genre (no erotica, please)

ONLY ENTRIES THAT FOLLOW THESE INSTRUCTIONS WILL BE CONSIDERED

Three commenters’ names will be randomly drawn and posted tomorrow. If you win, you can email me your first page and I’ll offer my feedback. Best of luck!

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Emotional Wound Thesaurus Entry: Growing up with a Sibling’s Chronic or Complicated Illness

When you’re writing a character, it’s important to know why she is the way she is. Knowing her backstory is important to achieving this end, and one of the most impactful pieces of a character’s backstory is her emotional wound. This negative experience from the past is so intense that a character will go to great lengths to avoid experiencing that kind of pain and negative emotion again. As a result, certain behaviors, beliefs, and character traits will emerge.

Characters, like real people, are unique, and will respond to wounding events differently. The vast array of possible emotional wounds combined with each character’s personality gives you many options in terms of how your character will turn out. With the right amount of exploration, you should be able to come up with a character whose past appropriately affects her present, resulting in a realistic character that will ring true with readers. Understanding what wounds a protagonist bears will also help you plot out her arc, creating a compelling journey of change that will satisfy readers.

NOTE: We realize that sometimes a wound we profile may have personal meaning, stirring up the past for some of our readers. It is not our intent to create emotional turmoil. Please know that we research each wounding topic carefully to treat it with the utmost respect. 

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Courtesy: Pixabay

Examples: Getting through childhood can be difficult enough when life isn’t overly complicated. But having a sibling with chronic, long-term, or complex medical or emotional issues that require a lot of financial and physical attention from caregivers can have an impact on other children in the family. Some examples of these issues include

  • a traumatic brain injury
  • an undiagnosed illness
  • a failing organ in need of a transplant
  • congenital heart problems
  • seizure disorders
  • cancer
  • AIDS
  • cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, and other long-term illnesses
  • life-threatening eating disorders
  • mental retardation
  • a physical disfigurement (loss of a limb, visible scarring, skin disorders, abnormal growths, etc.)
  • blindness, deafness, or muteness
  • mental disorders (OCD, depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder)
  • developmental disorders (autism spectrum, down syndrome, tourette syndrome, etc.)

Basic Needs Often Compromised By This Wound: safety and security, love and belonging, esteem and recognition, self-actualization

False Beliefs That May Be Embraced As a Result of This Wound:

  • Someone (oneself, the sick child, a parent) must have done something wrong and is being punished.
  • It would have been better if he/she had never been born.
  • My parents love him/her more than me.
  • It doesn’t matter what I do; he/she will always be more important than me.
  • This (losing one’s home, parents divorcing, being unable to do something one loves) is all his/her fault.
  • I’m a horrible person for feeling anger/resentment/frustration about the situation.
  • It should have been me.

Positive Attributes That May Result: adaptable, appreciative, calm, curious, diplomatic, easygoing, empathetic, generous, gentle, honorable, idealistic, independent, kind, loyal, mature, nurturing, passionate, patient, pensive, philosophical, protective, responsible, sentimental, socially aware, supportive, tolerant

Negative Traits That May Result: apathetic, callous, catty, childish, cynical, dishonest, disloyal, frivolous, grumpy, humorless, impatient, insecure, manipulative, martyr, melodramatic, morbid, needy, nervous, oversensitive, perfectionist, pessimistic, rebellious, reckless, resentful, self-destructive, selfish, spoiled, subservient, temperamental, uncooperative, ungrateful, vindictive, volatile, withdrawn

Resulting Fears:

  • The same thing is going to happen to me.
  • My sibling is going to die.
  • My life is going to be like this forever.
  • I’ll never be able to do what I want to do.
  • My parents will never love me as much as him/her.

Possible Habits That May Emerge: 

  • Avoiding the sibling when in public
  • Acting out as a way of getting a parent’s attention
  • Overachieving as a means of earning a parent’s love
  • Becoming independent out of necessity
  • Maturing early emotionally
  • Taking on adult responsibilities to care for one’s sibling
  • Empathizing with others who are ill
  • Engaging in social activism to raise awareness for the sibling’s illness
  • Becoming overly subservient so as not to overburden one’s parents
  • Hiding one’s true feelings because one feels guilty (about being angry, impatient, etc.)
  • Getting upset over little things
  • Distancing oneself from the family unit
  • Becoming anxious about oneself or a parent falling ill, too
  • Exhibiting hypochondriac tendencies (in an effort to get attention or out of the fear of oneself getting sick)
  • Rebelling against authority; becoming defiant
  • Difficulties at school
  • Difficulties focusing and concentrating
  • Acting out whenever the sibling’s circumstances interfere with one’s plans (when one has to stay with a relative, when a party or playdate has to be cancelled, etc.)
  • Shyness
  • Blaming all of one’s misfortunes on the sibling’s illness
  • Looking to others for love and affection
  • Self-medicating

TIP: If you need help understanding the impact of these factors, please read our introductory post on the Emotional Wound Thesaurus. For our current list of Emotional Wound Entries, go here.

For other Descriptive Thesaurus Collections, go here.

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What’s One Of The Best Ways To Reach Your Readers?

Hi Everyone!

I know, it’s summer and you guys are all taking a bit of a break, enjoying family, friends, sunshine and possibly the occasional adult beverage. That’s awesome!  🙂

dominosBut, while you’re on this writing hiatus, it’s also a great time to think a bit about things that there’s never enough time for…like how to better reach readers and sell more books!

One of the best things you can do to boost your success is market to your exact reading audience

AND, one of the really terrific ways to do THIS is to determine who your influencers are (the people who already have great relationships with your readers) and build a relationship with them.

That’s why I’m over at Jane Friedman’s blog today, discussing How to Find and Reach Influencers to Help Promote Your Book. So stop in and find out what an influencer is, what you can learn from them, and how to reach out to then and build a genuine relationship that will benefit you both.

(Please feel free to pass the link on to any other authors you know who might also need help reaching their readers, too!)

Cast Your Vote & Choose The Final Entries Emotional Wound Thesaurus Entries

sad2As I mentioned in the last post, we’re going to retire the Emotional Wounds Thesaurus soon on the blog so that in a month or two, we can begin turning it into a book. Now the word “retired” caused a bit of panic, so let me be clear that the entries will remain here on the blog for the foreseeable future–you’ll have access to them. We just won’t be “adding” to the entries each week here on the blog, make sense? All new entries we write will be added to One Stop For Writers first, and then turned into a book.

So, hopefully that eases some concern. 🙂

We do want to put up a few last entries before we retire the thesaurus, and thought it would be fun to have you vote on which ones we do. So based on all the terrific suggestions the last few days, Becca and I have narrowed it down to 10 choices:

  1. Being bullied
  2. Being the victim of a toxic relationship
  3. Being rejected by one’s peers
  4. Unrequited love
  5. Growing up with a sibling with a complicated medical condition/chronic illness
  6. Growing up with parents who fought constantly
  7. Losing one of the five senses
  8. Growing up with a parent who is a pariah (is reviled in the community)
  9. Being so beautiful it’s all people see
  10. Living with mental illness

So, give us your top 3 choices in the comments (by number please), and starting this Saturday, we’ll profile the ones with the most votes!

Voting is closed! Thanks everyone–we have tallied the votes, so watch for the next 4 entries! 🙂

Don’t worry, many of the other wounds you’ve asked about will also be covered, both at One Stop For Writers and eventually the Emotional Wounds book. 😉

Image1: Public Domain Pictures @ Pixabay
Image 2 via Adam McGuire @ Pixabay

 

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Posted in Character Wound, Marketing, One Stop For Writers, Promotion, Publishing and Self Publishing, The Business of Writing, Uncategorized | 32 Comments