Top Ten Tuesday

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday theme, as per The Broke and the Bookish, is “Ten Characters We’d Name Our Children or Pets After”. Since, I won’t be having any more children, mine would be pets, most likely dogs.

  1. Atticus after Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.
  2. Diggory from The Magician’s Nephew by C. S. Lewis
  3. Tumnus from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis; one of my favorite minor characters.
  4. Ky. This character is a very complex character in a book I am currently reading: Unblemished by Sara Ella, and he is fast becoming one of my favorites. His full name is Kyaphus, but most people call him Ky.
  5. Sam after Sam Gamgee in The Lord of the Rings trilogy because he is the ultimate faithful friend.
  6. Einstein after the best dog character EVER, Einstein from The Watchers by Dean Koontz.
  7. Cooper from Long Way Gone by Charles Martin.
  8. Rand from The Journey of the Heart Series by Colleen Coble.
  9. Cade from Breaker’s Reef by Terri Blackstock
  10. Jake from Fire and Water by Betsy Graziani Fasbinder

Who’s on your list?

One-Day Super Saturday Writers’ Conference

A writers’ conference is a great place to learn more about writing techniques and marketing and publishing opportunities and possibilities.  It is also a great place to meet other writers and make connections and form bonds, which is a wonderful thing since writing is a lonely business.  You can make lifelong friends who can help and encourage you and you can do the same for them as you walk your writing journey.  I attended this event last year, and cannot wait to attend this Saturday.  If you are anywhere near Lancaster County, I invite you to come and see what this one-day conference has to offer, and if you like, I can meet you face-to-face if you let me know you are coming so we can connect.


For a bargain of excellence and price, no writer, whether beginning or advanced, within driving radius will want to miss Lancaster Christian Writers’ Super Saturday 2015!! to be held April 11th, 2015, from 8:30am.-4:30pm at Lancaster Bible College, 901 Eden Road, Lancaster, PA 17601.

This one-day writers conference offers a full slate of workshops taught by top industry professionals in both fiction and non-fiction fields. An early registration price of $50 is due by Wednesday, April 8, and includes soup/sandwich buffet lunch (think Panini!) and LCW membership. Registrations after April 9 and walk-ins day of the conference are $60.

A fiction track will be taught by award-winning novelists Dina Sleiman and Kelly Long along with children’s author Brenda Hendricks. Non-fiction faculty include TV/radio speaker, marketing expert, award-winning author of 19 books Karen Whiting, professional memoir and ghostwriter Shawn Smucker, journalist/social media experts Lisa Bartelt and Alison McLennan.

Keynoting the opening session will be linguist, missionary, and author Grace Fabian. Workshops cover such topics as: 

Market Yourself Now! Learn Tools to Develop Press Kit, Bio, Website, and Other PR Products.

Writing Blockbuster Scenes: How To Keep Readers Flipping Pages and Asking For More.

 Transformed Manuscripts: Repackaging Your Ideas (Sold or Rejected) to Expand Marketability.

 The Unfortunate Truth in Fiction: Addressing Hard Issues Without Pulling Down Your Story.

 A Story To Tell: Surefire Do’s and Don’ts to Write a Gripping True Life Story or Memoir.

 Myers-Briggs for Your Protagonist: Applying Personality Types to Create Characters with Distinctive Qualities, Motivations, and Voices.

 Let’s Ride the Seesaw: Recruiting Your Inner Child to Communicate with Young Readers.

 100% Guaranteed (Oh, Yeah?) Secret to Blogging Success Beyond Your Wildest Dreams!

A conference bookstore will offer a wide variety of writer resources and faculty titles. Conference attendees can get personal consultations with faculty on a first-come, first-serve basis. Lancaster Christian Writers welcomes writers of all churches and denominations, all levels and genres. Monthly meetings offer opportunities for manuscript critique, networking with other writers, workshops and guest authors.

Character Questionnaires

As I mentioned before, I am not participating in NaNoWriMo this year.  However, I am working on a story.  Well, actually I am working on the pre-writing of a story.  I have learned the value of an outline and the “Character Questionnaire”.  Since characters are what attract your readers and keep them reading, along with a good plot line, it is important to create rich, memorable characters, and the best way to do that is by knowing your characters inside and out.  That is the purpose of a “Character Questionnaire”.

A Character Questionnaire asks questions about your character(s).  I intend to fill out a Character Questionnaire for each of my protagonist, my antagonist, and a few other characters that I feel I need to know well because they will be doing quite a bit of interacting with the protagonist.

You can find lots of character questionnaires online, simply by googling “Character Questionnaire”.  There is even a NaNoWriMo character questionnaire at  There are 46 questions on this character questionnaire.

The character questionnaire that I am using comes from an E-book that I got free from K.M. Weiland at  It’s very in-depth and it’s really helping me to flesh out my character, to the point where she is becoming real to me, so I know I’ll be able to write her well.  Not only do I have to know what she looks like physically, I have to know what her idiosyncrasies are, what cheers her up or annoys her, what are her hopes and dreams, does she have a secret, where and when was she born, and so much more.  (I used “her” and “she” because the character I am working on is a female.

I am enjoying creating my character with the help of a character questionnaire.

How about you?  Do you use a Character Questionnaire to help you create your characters?

Did You Know that Your Characters are Important in Determining Setting?

At the last Writers’ Group meeting, the author who writes under the names of “Shelly Bates” and “Shelley Adina” taught: People interact with their settings.  Therefore knowing your characters helps to determine their “world”/setting.   You should ask yourself: “What do I need to support my character’s growth?”  The culture of your location impacts sports, social life, what defines “in” and “out”.   You need to know about your character’s home because home reveals something about him/her as well as a lack in him/her and his/her society.  Otherwise, there’s no reason to leave. You need to determine your “Adventure World”:  Where does the story happen?   Setting can reflect internal qualities of the character.  Setting can reflect change in the character.  Setting can foreshadow change. Setting can create the challenge to change the character. Setting and interactions with it are filtered through the lenses of the character’s senses and knowledge. Your character influences your readers’ perception.  Details are filtered through the character’s senses and experiences.  This gives your readers the same sensations and experiences.  Add details as the character notices them. “The fantastic becomes normal when your character takes it for granted.” Use setting to highlight conflict, secondary characters, dialog.  Setting is one way to establish mood.  You can use weather, objects, light or shadows or darkness, and space. One great idea she mentioned, especially if you want to use a real place or simply model a made up place after a real place, it can be very helpful to have a photo of the place to refer to as you write.