Saturday, January 27, 2007

The Craft Of Writing

The Craft of Writing

Some fans of our blog has asked if we would address some craft issues. And since I have just finished a book I volunteered.

I write very strong characters. Characters that seem to make an impact on my fans as every letter I get mentions how much they love the characters, how much they were drawn into their lives and how much they think about them long after the story is over.

In order for your writing to strike a chord with your readers you characters need to be real so that your reader can identify with them.

I like to compare my characters to onions. You keep peeling away the external layers to find another layer as you use deep POV to reveal their internal conflicts.


Characteristic: a distinguishing trait, quality, or property
Characterization: to describe the character….external layers
Character: distinctive quality…the complex of mental and ethical traits marking a person

Character is what rises to the top when put under extreme pressure.To make your Hero real he must have an internal conflict to resolve before he can act on the external conflict which leads to the HEA.

In other words give you hero an insecurity which leads to an inner battle.

From Rising Wind by Cindy Holby August 2007

“My brother seems to think there is something between us…”
His gut clenched.
“Is there?” She seemed anxious. As if his answer were very important to her. As important as it was to him.
What could he say? Was there? He certainly wanted there to be. He wanted it more than anything he ever wanted in his life. But wanting something and having something was two different things. That was a lesson he learned long ago and one not ever to be forgotten.
He fingers curled around the bars of the window and hers did the same and he could not resist the urge to run his thumb over her hand where it fisted at the palm.
“I have nothing to offer ye lass.” He looked from her hand to her face. “Nothing at all.”
“I didn’t ask you about your prospects Connor,” she said with a slight smile.
“Tis simple enough. I have none.” He returned it with one of his own.
“Answer my question. Is there something between us?”
She was kneeling in the dirt in the middle of the wilderness while he was in a cell about to be lashed. It wasn’t exactly the kind of life she was suited for.
Did he want her? Every part of his being screamed out for her. But what kind of life could he offer her? A cabin in the wilderness? Every day a chance that they could be killed or captured by the Shawnee? And if they did make it through that part there was the risks of every day life. Of childbirth. Of illness. Of accidents.
There was the alternative. They could live in Williamsburg. Or one of the other towns. But how would they live? How would he support her? He had no skills beyond that of a woodsman and the natural ability with horses that he inherited from his father. Could they live on a stable hands pay?
No. She was meant for better things than he could offer her. And yet she sat in the dirt waiting for his answer looking so lovely that it made his heart ache.
“Tis nothing between us,” he said and turned away from the window.

More next week!


  1. Anonymous10:56 AM EST

    I suppose it depends on each writer's way of doing things, but I don't think of character creation as writer's craft. My characters jump out of my head fully formed and armed for battle, just like Athena from the head of Zeus. They take off running and all I can do is try to keep up, recording everything they do. I don't do any of it on purpose. It just happens.

    The challenge for me is keeping those characters in their places once they get here. That's where the craft part comes into play for me. The villain wants to be the hero, threatening to overthrow the main plot with his secondary plot thread. The minor characters all clamor for the spotlight, totally throwing off POV. It's crazy! It's 'Chair and Bullwhip' for me, at that point. I've been learning which POV I can handle (3rd Person Limited) and which I can't. I could give birth more easily through my nose than pull off Omniscient Point of View, I think.

  2. You know what they say about great minds, Cindy!

    I've been known to compare my books to onion- peeling, too!

    Best wishes,

    Rowena Cherry

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