Jill Weatherholt

Pursuing a Passion for Writing


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Working Through Distractions

007It was early on Saturday morning. As I worked on revisions, I heard all sorts of commotion coming from outside. The birds that typically sing a soft and cheery melody were sounding crazed. I’d never heard such racket.

As the noise became louder and more disruptive to my work, I went to the kitchen window to investigate.

This is what I saw.

Sharp-shinned Hawk

Sharp-shinned Hawk

I suppose he was ready for breakfast. I had to admit, he was a handsome distraction.

How do you work through distractions?

**I learned last Friday that I’ve advanced in the writing contest I mentioned a couple of weeks ago. In order to meet the July 15th deadline, I’ll be a little scarce on WordPress.


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The Anatomy of a Character Sketch

Francis Guenette - author photoI’m delighted to once again welcome Francis Guenette author of The Crater Lake Series – Disappearing in Plain Sight and The Light Never Lies  and Chasing Down the Night. Her novels are set on the shore of a Northern Vancouver Island lake, rich in rural life, family dynamics, and romance.

Settle in with one of Fran’s books and you’ll become one of the characters. Her natural storytelling ability and talent to bring the setting to life will immediately transport you to fictional Crater Lake.

Be sure to check out her blog. You’ll find pictures of her stunning lakeshore cabin, where she resides with her husband and finds inspiration for the series.

Please welcome Fran as she talks about the anatomy of a character sketch.

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When it comes to writing a novel, if I have any pearls of wisdom to drop that string of luminescent beauty would be looped over the neck of how writers get to know their characters. A writer’s relationship with the characters has to go as deep as any connection to family members or BFF’s.

Character sketches are the obvious entry point to this knowing and a physical description is a good place to begin. Not necessarily the most important aspect of the undertaking, but one must start somewhere.

A physical description will naturally branch out and run all over the map – age, work, friends, family, hobbies, affectations, disabilities, talents. Dig a bit deeper and a character’s internal and external motivations begin to emerge. What makes the person tick? What drives this particular character’s actions? What makes him laugh? What makes her cry? Where is anger rooted?

Creating character sketches comes early in my writing process and it’s an exercise in wild writing – a regular free-for-all. I let myself go as I imagine everything I can about a particular character. As creator, I need to know far more about my creations than any reader will ever be subjected to.

My daily walks become prime time for carrying out lengthy chats with all my characters. The first person the character interacts with is me. Later, when I’m sure I’m on solid ground with the relationships I have developed, I can begin to hear how they talk to one another. If I have brought the character sketch process to its logical conclusion, dialogue becomes an act of transcription.

Character sketches do not get laid to rest once I start writing the novel. Whenever I find that dialogue is not flowing or something a character is doing is not ringing true, I’m back to the drawing board of that sketch. There is obviously the need to strengthen the relationships if I’m going to hear unique voices, capture that slight waver, hesitation or tone that indicates so much.

My books, so far, have revolved around the same group of core characters. As it is in real life, characters must grow. A series is dead in the water if this doesn’t happen. With each new book, character sketches have to be fleshed out to adequately represent the ways in which the characters have changed. Izzy can’t sound the same in book four – happily married to Liam and surrounded by family – as she sounded in book one when she was reeling from Caleb’s death and struggling with loneliness and feelings of inadequacy and guilt. Of course, there are aspects of Izzy’s voice that never change – core personality traits, her wry sense of humour and quick wit. I cherish that continuity as I tune my ear to understanding who this woman is becoming.

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Thank you so much for sharing your technique of developing character sketches, Fran.

Her latest release can be purchased on the following sites:

Amazon.com

Nook Store

iTunes

Kobo

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CDN (book antiqua) Front Cover 6x9 JPEG Final ProofOne might be excused for assuming that an idyllic life unfolds for those who have chosen to live and work near the shores of Crater Lake. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Long-time resident, Izzy Montgomery juggles the stress of a new job with her burgeoning home life. Family dynamics go into overdrive when Alexander and Cynthia launch plans to build a home nearby and Liam’s sister, Fiona shows up to do an internship with the local doctor. Lisa-Marie and Justin are back for the summer and sparks fly. While crusty, old Reg keeps sawmill production booming, Beulah runs the organic bakery and plans the First Annual Caleb Jenkins Memorial Ball Tournament. Bethany discovers her own hidden talents working with young people at Micah Camp.

As a nine-year-old’s dreams reflect a dangerous reality, many encounter issues from the past.

This is a novel for all those who work at building family ties by strengthening the traditional and creating the new. Chasing Down the Night explores a wide-ranging emotional landscape while highlighting the many aspects of day-to-day, rural life. Tears and laughter are inevitable.


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002(2)The Love of a Mother
by Anonymous

A Mother’s love is something
that no on can explain,
It is made of deep devotion
and of sacrifice and pain

It is endless and unselfish
and enduring come what may
For nothing can destroy it
or take that love away

It is patient and forgiving
when all others are forsaking,
And it never fails or falters
even though the heart is breaking

It believes beyond believing
when the world around condemns,
And it glows with all the beauty
of the rarest, brightest gems011(1)

It is far beyond defining,
it defies all explanation,
And it still remains a secret
like the mysteries of creation

A many splendor miracle
man cannot understand
And another wondrous evidence
of God’s tender guiding hand.001(3)

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY TO THE MOST LOVING AND UNSELFISH PERSON I KNOW. I LOVE YOU, MOM!

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY WEEKEND TO EVERYONE!


125 Comments

Where’s Waldo?

Image courtesy of http://en.wikipedia.org

Image courtesy of http://en.wikipedia.org

Some of you have wondered what I’ve been up to these past couple of weeks. I received messages asking if I was on vacation…I wish. A few asked if I was attending a writer’s conference…again, I wish. Some thought I was just taking a break from blogging.

What was I doing? When I wasn’t at my day job, I was writing and writing, at a frantic pace. At the end of March, on a whim, I entered a contest offered by a publisher. Per the contest guidelines, I wrote a 100-word book blurb and submitted it along with the first page of my book. I never imagined I would advance to the next stage, but I did. This involved writing a three to five-page synopsis along with my first three chapters. The deadline was a little over two weeks. Sounds easy right? Well, it wasn’t.

My entry was my first NaNoWriMo project, written in 2010. In 30 days, I wrote over 57,000 words. It wasn’t a story, it was a hot mess. I never brought the story to its conclusion. It has remained on my hard drive all these years. In order to write the synopsis, I not only had to figure out how the story was going to end, but I needed a plot.

In a week, I finished the synopsis and a new story was born. In the time remaining, I wrote the three chapters. My entry is now in the hands of the publisher. I did the best that I could with the help of a special person, who many of you know. Thank you, L. Marie! Not only are you a terrific editor, but you’re a great encourager.

What have you been up to lately?

 


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An Unexpected Visitor

Image courtesy of morguefile.com

Image courtesy of morguefile.com

It was early in the morning, five o’clock, to be exact. I was in our bonus room, doing some work on my laptop, before heading off to my day job.

The house was still, Derek was sleeping. The silence suddenly interrupted, when I heard a very loud noise coming from a guest bathroom. It was a noise like nothing I’d ever heard.

When it stopped, I walked toward the bathroom and poked my head through the doorway, and then opened the linen closet…nothing. What in the world was that noise, I wondered. It reminded me of the sound effects from the movie, Jurassic Park. Later that day, when I mentioned it to Derek, he said it was probably something outside.

Two weeks later, as we watched Jeopardy, it happened…the noise. It was back. We both turned to each other, our eyes popping.

“That’s it! That’s the noise I heard that morning,” I shouted.

Again, Derek said, “It’s just something outside.”

I sprung to my feet, “No, it’s coming from that bathroom.”

We both walked toward the noise. Derek stood at one entrance, and I, at the other. Later, he told me the look on my face was indescribable, when I saw this.

Mystery solved

Mystery solved

It was “Fred” or Fred’s relative. Last summer, Fred, a cute Green Tree Frog, lived under our patio table umbrella, in silence.

Fred, hanging out last summer.

Fred, hanging out last summer.

He just hung with us while we enjoyed the summer evenings. That was all fine and good, but hanging out in our bathtub, that didn’t work for us.  By the sounds he made, it wasn’t working for him either.

After some chasing with a bucket, we transported him back to the patio.

Have you ever had an unexpected or surprise houseguest?

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