Vision Boards

There are certain steps in starting out a new project that I now realize are not optional. They provide fuel that keeps me going, even activating my subconscious. One of the most important of these steps is to make desktop wallpapers for my devices—my own take on a vision board. I learn so much about the characters, plots, and worlds this way.

Craig does not approve, but is trying *so* hard not to judge.

Take this picture of Craig, for instance. He’s a four-armed, Lyrian “space-Sasquatch” (don’t tell him I called him that, but it’s true—in the world of The Department of Homeworld Security, he and his mate, Barbara, are responsible for a lot of “Bigfoot” sightings). Craig was a pivotal character in Entry Visa, so I included him in my vision board while I was working on that story. Continue reading “Vision Boards”

New Growth


No, not the movie 🙂 I’m talking about the beginnings of an idea. The seed of a story. That moment when you realize you may have some ephemeral thing that maybejust maybeyou can transform into words on a page.

Because once you have your characters, you need a grand adventure for them to go on.

New Growth

Ideas come and go all the time. When one takes root and I can’t seem to shake it, I know I have the beginning of a plot. Continue reading “Inception”

Fictional Relationships

There’s another type of conflict that I consider important enough to get it’s own sub-category within internal and external conflict when I’m thinking through my writing, and that’s relationship conflict. With any of the Romance genres, this is especially important to establish and work through. Honestly, I think it’s just as important with any character-driven story.


Nothing holds our attention quite like relationship dynamics. As humans, we depend on each other. Without relationships, life as we know it Continue reading “Fictional Relationships”

Writing Conflict

We’ve talked about writing sympathetic characters, writing three-dimensional characters, and giving our characters pasts. All of these things are meant to create characters that readers can truly connect to in one way or another. Writing conflict is what activates the connection we’ve established.


If a character sits around doing nothing, there is no story. If they get up and do some things, but those things don’t have a meaningful impact on their lives, the story is boring. As writers, it’s our job to make lovable, relatable characters…and then torment them.

This gig is definitely not for everyone.

Writing conflict can be Continue reading “Writing Conflict”

A Past Beyond the Page

Last week, we talked about fleshing out characters by thinking of how they’d react in everyday situations that might not come up in the story. Another important factor in building characters that resonate with readers is working through their back story.


Where did the character go to school? Did they have lots of friends? Or were they more of a bookworm than a social butterfly? Do they have siblings? A close-knit family? Did they have pets?

There are so many details that writers can think about in creating a character’s past. Continue reading “A Past Beyond the Page”

Writing Three Dimensional Characters

We’re delving deeper into characters this week with a look at…delving deeper into characters 🙂 No matter how many sympathetic choices you show a character making, readers can’t really connect to a character if there’s nothing of substance to connect with.

Why the one silver nail? Even if it doesn’t impact the story, we might gain some key insight into her character while thinking about it.

As readers, we say that characters are sometimes flat or shallow. Usually, in those cases, I find that the story doesn’t give us enough information about them. If the heroine always does the right thing, but we have no idea why, the story rings hollow. Similarly, if the hero makes a crucial mistake, but we don’t see a deep-seated motivation behind his choice, we can get disgruntled and even confused. They become caricatures instead of characters.

I want my characters to feel like living, breathing people to my readers. The best way for that to happen is for them to feel like living, breathing people to me. Continue reading “Writing Three Dimensional Characters”