Monday, March 28, 2011

Liar Society Blog Tour


Today I have the privilege of welcoming Lisa and Laura Roecker, the authors of THE LIAR SOCIETY, as part of their Blog Tour of Awesome.


Lisa and Laura are two of my favorite, favorite bloggers. They are hilarious and super sweet and inclusive. When they sent me an ARC for their debut novel THE LIAR SOCIETY, I knew I was in for a treat.

I was not disappointed. THE LIAR SOCIETY was a very fun read. One of the things I appreciated most was the well thought out mystery. They kept me guessing right up to the end. I asked them to share a bit about how they managed to keep the mystery fresh and exciting.



KEEPING A MYSTERY MYSTERIOUS


A big part of our process when we're writing a mystery is outlining. We would be completely lost if we didn't have some kind of road map while we're drafting. For us, outlining and mysteries go hand in hand. We need to at least have a rough idea of where the story is going. For us that translates into a loose outline of the entire book and then a more detailed chapter outline for Act 1. After we wrote the first act we created an outline for Act 2. This worked really well for us because we had both structure and flexibility as we drafted.


Revising was an entirely different beast. After editing The Liar Society for the nine millionth time, we began to really, truly, whole-heartedly regret our choice to write mysteries in the first place. Keeping track of which clues went where and who we were supposed to suspect and when is enough to make our collective heads explode. Our number one goal while writing was obviously to keep the mystery fresh, but not completely out of left field.


At the end of the day, for us, the most important thing was to have fun with the book. Our hope is always that if we have fun writing, our readers will have fun reading. Hopefully our theory holds up!


If you want to enter The Liar Society Blog Tour of Awesome contest, and really, who wouldn't want to enter!?! There's a $100 Amazon gift card up for grabs! Just click here and enter the super secret password, BFFS, for an entry. Remember you can enter one time for each stop on our blog tour, so be sure to click here and see where else we're visiting this month to maximize your chances of winning.

Audi, Vide, Tace,

L&L


Thank you Lisa and Laura!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Empathy

I feel so sad for all the people affected by the tsunami in Japan. I hope the worst has passed and the people can start healing.

On that note, today I wanted to write a little about empathy.

Last Thursday, I was reading a book with my three-year-old son while his big sisters were at school. He stopped me, mid-sentence and said, "I wish [big sister] was a boy."

I asked him, "Why do you wish she was a boy?"

He replied, "Because it hurts her head when you brush her hair."

So sweet. He wasn't thinking of how cool it would be to have a big brother, he was worried about the pain his sister goes through every morning when we brush out her long tangley hair.

The conversation got me thinking about empathy.

I've read several books lately where I was unable to connect with the main characters. The authors tried to create sympathetic characters. The ingredients were there, (sad past, dismal looking future, and a lot of personality), but for some reason the characters didn't work for me.

Then I read I AM THE MESSENGER, by Markus Zusak. WOW. I was so invested in the main character. I felt his pain. I wanted him to find happiness. And because I was felt so much empathy for the main character I loved the book.

When I write a character I try to make her real. I try to make her likable. I want the reader to care about what happens to her. I don't always succeed.

I wish I could give you a checklist for "how to create characters that people care about," but the truth is I have no idea how to do it. For me, sometimes a character works, and sometimes he doesn't. Sometimes half of the readers love him and the other half don't. It's something I'm working hard to get right in my current WIP.

So, since I have no easy answers, I'll ask you.

How do you create characters people will care about?

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Being Honest

Some days I read something brilliant and feel like a hack.

Some days I read something awful and wonder HOW it ever got published.

Some days I write and I'm sure what I've written is fantastic.

Some days I read what I wrote the day before and think, "How did I think this was okay yesterday?"

Some days the words flow and I love writing.

Some days writing is hard. I force words to come. Those words suck.

Some days I wonder why I didn't choose a less frustrating obsession. Like cooking. If I put all the time I've devoted to writing into cooking I could be an awesome cook. Maybe. But I love to eat, and if I was an awesome cook I'd probably be a bit chubbier, so it might be a good thing that I chose writing.

Some days I don't write at all. I hold my baby. I read a book. I play blocks with my three-year-old. I watch American Idol. I might even do some laundry.

Some days I'm sure I'll never finish writing this stupid book.

But I'm sure I will... someday.