Saturday, February 27, 2010

Feature and Guest Blogger!

I’m next week’s feature blogger on the Heartsong Connection and the guest blogger on EditCafe on Monday! I’d love for some of my friends, readers, and students to stop by and leave a comment.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Characterization in Fiction!

As an instructor for Long Ridge and judge for the Writer’s Digest fiction competitions, I consistently see a wide range of stories. Most of them are good—or at least have the potential for being good. However, only a few are excellent. My Long Ridge students know that when I make recommendations, it doesn’t mean I don’t like their work. In fact, it’s the opposite. I want them to take their good stories and make them even better.

When people ask me what I consider the single most important thing to work on in fiction, I generally say characterization. Here’s an article I wrote about this subject: Writing Fictional Characters to Hook the Readers.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Super Bowl Weekend!

Most years, I don’t care who wins the Super Bowl, but since I can only enjoy a game if I have someone to root for, I randomly pick a team. This year, the opposite is happening. I like both teams!

The Indianapolis Colts are a fabulous team with Peyton Manning as quarterback. I admire this man because he does his job, does it well, and seems to avoid drama in his personal life. Another reason I like the Colts is that even though Tony Dungy is gone, it’s still the team he built. And Tony Dungy, in my opinion, is everything a professional football coach should be—a student of the game, someone who cares about doing his job well, a good citizen of the community, and a man of faith.

I like the New Orleans Saint because it runs in my blood. My family is from Saints Country—South Mississippi and parts of Louisiana. Even when the Saints never won a game, people from that area still loved their football team, and Archie Manning was king. Now, years after Katrina, many people are rooting for them because they’re the team with heart, and they need something like this after all they’ve been through. I saw on the news yesterday that crime is down in New Orleans since the Saints won the play-off game!

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve spent some time thinking about which team to root for during the Super Bowl, and after much back-and-forth flipping, I’ve decided on the Saints. But it’s safe to say that if the Colts win, I won’t be devastated.

We’ll be here at home, yelling at the TV, wearing our game clothes (T-shirts in our team’s colors), and eating foods we avoid at any other time. Check out my delicious and crowd-pleasing recipes: Party Dip Recipes – Easy, Delicious and Versatile and Quick and Simple Snack Ideas for Large Groups. If you’re watching the Super Bowl with your kids, check out my Super Bowl Party Ideas for Kids and Families.