Beauty: It’s All in the Lash
What makes the eyes so central to the makeup? I would suggest, that’s it’s all in the lashes. Such tiny, exquisite hairs that frame the eye. They can be muted with no makeup at all, or they can shine like the lenses they are to the eye. It’s like your main character. They can be less than stellar in their existence, or they can pack a punch. You want the later when it comes to fiction.
You want someone who will be noticed. Who can hold the world’s attention. Someone who draws us in. That makes us read on page after page. No shrinking violets, no overblown dragons. The trick is to get the reader to like the character or at least, be interested in what they have to say and do. Once they care, they’ll read on and judge the story through the protagonist’s gaze.
How do we do that? Time and effort. I used to think writing was easy. That it just came to you. And it does. But you have to work to make that little puff of magic into a story. You have to dig deeper and deeper to bring those characters to life. At first, they may look just fine. Fine doesn’t win readers though, they want superstar.
How do you manage when you don’t know the first thing about being the center of attention? You draw on the moments you were and make them bigger for the character. You make them the homecoming queen, the star quarterback. Or you bring the ordinary into the spotlight. What makes a character shine? Their connection to the reader.
Without a reader, there’d be no life brought to the story. The reader brings the actor to life on the page much like an actor brings the character to life on the stage or movie set. We need both to interact with the story, to find a foothold into that reality. It’s like an invisible projector springs to life inside us and plays what’s happening on that page before us.
Connecting with one another is hard a lot of times. We each have our own share of burdens. Our own, different loved ones. We may wish it were otherwise. That we all had more in common. The truth is, we’re never going to all be alike. But what we can do is to each find something within those characters to like, to find decent, or curious and so discover a way to tag along on their journey.
Yes, beauty is all in the lash. Like the focal point of the story is the character. He or she sees everything, hears everything, and embraces everything in their own way. No two of us are alike. It shouldn’t be that way for characters either if we want authenticity. We are who we are until we become something more. But that’s a character arc, something down the road maybe. Have a great week all and God bless!
Monday, I go see the neurolgist. It seems like it’s taken forever to get here. In other news, I’m continuing to submit short stories to markets. Mostly, set in my book’s world. I’m getting good feedback but so far, no acceptance. I’ve been drawing in the new details of my world and finalizing some bits. It’s been helpful to see some confusing things that didn’t add up in the other versions.
Some links around the webs you might find interesting:
- Charles French https://jenniefitzkee.com/2022/11/27/my-teacher-lightbulb-moment-part-2/ Once I had my Lightbulb Moment, my teaching world turned upside down. Children came first. What they were interested in, who they were as children/people mattered most. I needed to get to know them better.I started to use a tape recorder to “interview” children, as this not only helped me to get to know them, but also was a good tool for language development (and it was fun). Our curriculum at that time was France and learning about the old masters in art. Young children love to paint, and they were practicing being artists with real palettes. I was learning so much about them, why not have the children do an autobiography to accompany their work of art? And, why not have the children name their work of art, and call it a ‘masterpiece’? The result was so profound that we had an art show at school, and then moved the art show to our local post office for the community to enjoy. What a success, and what a wonderful experience for the children. Our art show has since become a yearly event in the community. I think this goes a long way to show what special teachers mean to our children.
- Smorgasboard Magazine https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2022/12/03/smorgasbord-christmas-book-fair-2022-new-book-on-the-shelves-childrens-the-christmas-bird-by-robbie-cheadle/ About the story. The Deanne family is having a difficult time financially. Mr. Deanne’s business has failed and there is no money for Christmas presents and other luxuries. The family’s undernourished dogs discover a bird’s nest on Christmas Day and attack and kill the chicks. All except one tiny ball of fluff with luminous bright eyes like drops of oil. The baby bird is in shock, but the four Deanne girls try to save it. Will the Christmas Bird survive? One of the early reviews for the book D.L. Finn 4.0 out of 5 stars I love how the family took in this tiny chick. Reviewed in the United States on November 21, 2022 The Deanne family was short on funds at Christmas time. They made the best of it until their hungry dogs found a bird’s nest and ate all but one baby chick. The family rescued the baby chick and set out to save it. I love the family’s selflessness as they put the bird’s needs above theirs. It was a good lesson that giving of yourself is much more important than material possessions. This heartwarming story is perfect for sharing with a child or for beginning readers
- Annette Rochelle Aben https://annetterochelleaben.wordpress.com/2022/12/04/angel-messages-dec-4-2022/#like-22673 Love these angel messages!
- Writers in the Storm https://writersinthestormblog.com/2022/12/creating-bonus-content-to-double-your-reader-engagement/ Book marketing and promotion can feel like a full-time job, and not one that’s always easy to excel at. That’s because effective promotion takes consistency and creativity, and it’s challenging to not only stay on schedule, but to continually come up with new ideas. So that’s why I’m a huge proponent of tapping into what you already know, which is your work, by creating bonus content and using it to bolster your book marketing efforts. Especially when you’re trying to be mindful of your budget if you’re taking the DIY route. Or when you’re looking for ways to support the work you hired a marketing team to do. Creating and using bonus content is a fabulous way to contribute to the success of a professional marketing campaign! And the reason I recommend bonus content so enthusiastically is because in many cases, authors already have everything they need to make this strategy work. So let’s dig into some ideas for promoting a book and enhancing reader engagement using bonus content!
- Roberta Writes https://roberta-writes.com/2022/12/06/roberta-writes-book-review-letting-go-the-defiant-sisters-duet-book-1-by-jacquie-biggar-bookreview-readingcommunity/ A coming-of-age novel about the pain of misconceptions and learning from them. When life gives you lemons… Izzy Mom is barely in the grave and the prodigal child is here to pick the bones clean. I don’t want her here. My sister’s defection is a wound that won’t heal, and her return simply rubs at the scabs covering my heart. I’ve managed just fine without her. She can go back to her fancy college and forget about us- that’s what she does best anyway. If only I didn’t need her help. Or miss her so much. Renee The day my dad committed suicide I ran. I’ve been running ever since. Going home is supposed to be the answer. Instead, it makes me question every thoughtless decision I’ve made.
- Myths of the Mirror https://mythsofthemirror.com/2022/12/06/november-book-reviews-part-two/ Wishing you all a wonderful winter as we head toward the solstice and the return of the light. I’m finishing off autumn with more books and reviews from November! I hope you find a few to enjoy over the holidays. To all my blogger friends in the southern hemisphere… have a wonderful start to your summer, and I hope you find some beach reads! November’s reviews (part two) include my 4 and 5-star reads of a romance/thriller mash-up, paranormal short stories, fantasy, and a children’s book.
- ACFlory https://acflory.wordpress.com/2022/12/07/i-hate-december/ I was going to say “I hate Christmas!” but that’s not completely true. It’s not so much that I hate Christmas, it’s that I hate the lead up to Christmas, especially this year. December in Australia is the first month of summer, and summer means bushfires and snakes [we’ve seen two already]. In normal years I would have spent most of spring mowing a little bit every day. We’re on 1.6 hectares, and that equates to a lot of grass. The alpacas do their best, but in spring they can’t eat the new grass fast enough, and once the grass sets seed they won’t touch it. So that’s in a normal year – a little bit of mowing spread out over a couple of months. This year has been different though. Australia is experiencing its third La Nina event in a row which has meant rain, rain and more rain. All that rain has triggered unprecedented floods all along the eastern seaboard with lives lost, crops lost and whole towns inundated. We don’t have to worry about floods here in Warrandyte as we’re on a ridge, but all that rain means the grass grows an inch over night. And it’s too wet to mow during the day, especially with a small, cordless lawnmower. In desperation, I paid for a guy to come in and whipper snipper1 the worst of it, but that’s left sheaths of grass drying on the ground. Exhibit A:
- Connie J Jasperson https://conniejjasperson.com/2022/12/07/pinning-down-the-themes-when-your-characters-have-agency-amwriting/ My writing mind has temporarily lost momentum in my current work. At this point, I’m unsure how to proceed with a pivotal chapter. This has me momentarily stalled on that book. Fortunately, Irene is editing the final draft of a book I finished during lockdown. She sends me one or two chapters with notes for final revisions each evening. That makes me happy—it’s been a while since I published a book. When I am stalled on a first draft, it helps to stop and consider the central themes. Theme is one of the elements that drive a plot. This novel’s central theme is redemption, which hasn’t changed. But this novel is in the first draft stage, and things have already shifted from what was initially plotted. And now I find that some of my characters aren’t as well-planned as I thought they were. This happens at some point in every first draft. I don’t know the themes of three important characters. I was under the impression that I was the only writer who took longer than a year to get my story together and then go back in for edits.
- Annette Rochelle Aben https://annetterochelleaben.wordpress.com/2022/12/08/angel-messages-dec-8-2022/
- Smorgasboard Blog Magazine https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2022/12/08/smorgasbord-christmas-book-fair-2022-childrensbooks-fantasy-jemima-pett-ya-travel-darlene-foster-bathtime-sue-wickstead/ About the book In north-west Mull, three guinea pig friends live in a remote castle. Tale no.1: Dylan’s life is in danger when he discovers something brewing in the hillside. Tale 2: Deirdre uses her initiative to find Dylan when he is washed into the sea. Tale 3: Dougall gets into trouble when he makes friends with a reindeer. Tale 4: Dylan is tempted by some mysterious lights. Fantasy adventures for age 8+ A review for the book Chris Graham5.0 out of 5 stars Delightful easy to read short stories. Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 8 May 2021 Having read the Princelings of the East Series, it was a delight to read about the earlier adventures of Dylan, Dougall and Deirdre on their Scottish Island. I wish there were more such tales to be had.
- Writers in the Storm https://writersinthestormblog.com/2022/12/writing-spies-honeypots-and-the-honey-trap/ Honeypots are spies trained to use sex for the purpose of wheedling information out of targets, luring targets to specific locations, and/or enticing targets into behavior that can be used to blackmail them. These professionals are highly skilled in the arts of seduction and pleasure, and they will perform literally any act the target desires. While many of them work directly for governments, like Holmes’s dates did during the Cold War, they are sometimes prostitutes working with a pimp who uses them to gather information in order to sell it to the highest bidder, or several bidders. Whether they are official government agents or freelancers, honeypots are one of the most effective tools of the espionage profession. Honeypot Myths One of the most common myths about honeypots in fiction is that of the Honeypot Assassin—the seductress who murders her mark in the name of espionage. It’s not that it never happens in real life, but it pretty much doesn’t happen on purpose. This goes back to the fact that most people aren’t black widow spiders. As a general rule, we humans like to keep our killing and our sex compartmentalized far away from each other. The seductive love-kitten personality and the assassin personality are fundamentally different from each other—a rather universal fact that even the Soviets recognized. For example, the assassin will likely balk at the simple act of surrendering their hair to a barber for a trim. Honeypots, on the other hand, must freely surrender their entire bodies to total strangers.
- Rosie Amber https://rosieamber.wordpress.com/2022/12/09/%f0%9f%93%9afeaturing-a-very-talented-witch-rosies-bookreview-of-paranormalromance-entwined-within-the-darkness-by-charley-black/ Patience is a talented witch who knows very little about her past. She shares a flat with her best friend Michael, a half-demon, and she works in a wonderful magical bookshop. On a night out, Patience and Michael go to a Vampire club. Passion and death threats result; Michael bonds with his vampire lover but locks the duo in a dangerous coma. Meanwhile, Patience and Lucius, an infamous witch-hunter, must join forces to save Michael and his mate. What I liked: I liked Patience’s witch skills and particularly the bookshop where she worked. I enjoyed the worlds created and the general plot. There were several secondary characters who were also well written and likeable. The first third of the story was very enjoyable. What I didn’t like so much: After the first third the story felt a little rushed, a lot more characters were introduced, but they weren’t as rounded as the initial ones. As the story progressed, I felt that Patience lost some of her original finesse as a talented witch while the sexual tug-of-war between her and Lucius became predictable. The ending was odd; I felt that the plot twist did not quite gel with the rest of the storyline.
- Chris the Story Reading Ape https://thestoryreadingapeblog.com/2022/12/09/a-quick-tip-for-getting-to-know-your-characters-and-your-plot-by-janice-hardy/ Several years ago I sat in on an RWA workshop on character building, led by romance author Susan Elizabeth Philips. I’ve attended her workshops before and she’s always been entertaining and informative. She gave a tip (and did an exercise) that I’ve tried before: This has never worked for me since my fantasy characters don’t usually have purses, but she added the phrase “or their backpack or pockets” to it. That broadened it some, and I realized that ultimately, what she was saying was:
- John Howell https://johnwhowell.com/2022/12/08/thursday-a-little-personal-twiggy-and-lucy-in-the-warm-again/ “What do you suppose happened out here?” “Looks like the trees have finally let go of their leaves.”