MBM: 6 Reasons Why Genre Matters by Tricia Pease

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What’s Missing From Your Romance? (fictional or real)

Have you read a book or watched a movie where the romance seemed forced or unwarranted?

It’s happened to me many times and happened again just last night as I watched a Nicholas Sparks’ movie. The guy had all the right qualities: good-looking, funny, sweet, smart, tall, and rich. The girl was beautiful, talented, witty, and intelligent.

And I couldn’t believe he’d fallen for her.

Seriously. I stared at the screen thinking, “Dude, you can do better than her!” Which was sad because the story had all the right elements.

Except one.

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Are You (s)Mothering Your Characters?

I just finished a scene for Liberty in my Citizens of Logan Pond trilogy. The scene ended with an emotional moment. I was tired and walked away before I’d completely polished it off, figuring I’d do that this morning. But this morning, I realized what I wanted to do and where I thought it needed  polishing:

I wanted to go in and comfort my main character.

She just lost someone important to her, and she was hurting badly. I wanted to come up with something in that moment to ease her pain. Either a memory. A person. A sudden burst of hope for the future.

In short, I was mothering her. She was hurting. I wanted to swoop in and put a band-aid on it. As soon as I realized what I was about to do, I stopped. And then I realized how often I do this with my characters.

Here’s how it happens for me:

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MBM: Finding the Line Between Moral and Moralistic, by Braden Bell

2762121Our last March Book Madness guest is my friend, Braden Bell, author of the Middle School Magic series.

My poor family has been down and out this week with the stomach flu this week. (Shoot me now.) But on the bright side, I was able to catch up on a bunch of reading. One of the novels I finished was Braden’s recent release, Luminescence. It was SO SO GOOD! His writing style (and trilogy) reminds me a lot of Rick Riordan, so check out the links below and get them.

I’ll be doing a full review of Luminescence as part of his blog tour next week, but I just had to give him a pre-shout out and say thanks for taking time to share his thoughts on finding that fine balance between being moral and moralistic in our writing.

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MBM: Constructing Context Clues by Charissa Stastny

This is the last week of March Book Madness. (If you’ve missed any posts, you can catch the schedule and explanation at the bottom.)

Today my friend, Charissa Stastny, is here talking about how language can be both a barrier and a bridge to communication. Char is so sweet, and very supportive and helpful in the writing community. Check out her blog for great ideas. She wrote an awesome post last year for March Book Madness about weeding our words. (See the link below this post).

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Charissa Stastny

In real life, words can take on so many meanings. Think of text messages that are used for a large part of communication. When one of my daughters was having a long distance relationship with a boy for a few months, they texted like crazy. They also fought about a lot of those texts.

I wondered why this was, and realized that words don’t convey emotion perfectly as we like to assume they do. They’re easily misunderstood when taken out of context.

Words are the basic building blocks of communication. When they are constructed carefully, they bridge the gap between us and others, welcoming them into our creative worlds. But when tossed around haphazardly, they can become piles of worthless rubble that hinder others from understanding us.

In order to be understood by others, we must also make sure we are not misunderstood.

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MBM: Using a Moral Theme To Make Your Novel Stand Out, by Christopher Rosche

Welcome to the eighth day of March Book Madness. (Schedule and explanation at the bottom of this post.)

Today my friend and fellow writing group buddy is here talking about morality in our stories. Chris wrote an awesome post for March Book Madness last year (link at the bottom), and I’m so excited he agreed to contribute again this year.

So here is Chris, discussing the Moral of the Tale: How a compelling moral theme can make your novel stand above the burgeoning slush pile.

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Christopher Rosche:

As a writer, do you ever worry about the competition?

You probably should.

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MBM: Developing Plot and Characters Together — by Tricia Pease

Welcome to the fourth day of March Book Madness. (If you’ve missed any days, make sure to catch up. The schedule is at the bottom of this post.) 

Today, Tricia Pease is here talking about how plot and characters can be developed together. Tricia is my niece, and I love her (and her family) to pieces. She’s been an avid reader and writer since she was young, and she’s currently working on two novels. I’m so excited to have another writer in the family, and I’m thrilled she agreed to come back to March Book Madness!

(See her previous post at the end of this one.)

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Tricia Pease:

When starting your book, what came to you first, the hero or the villain?

Maybe it was the plot or the setting?

I have two stories I’m working on, and for one it was the hero and the other it was the plot. But once I had the initial idea, I couldn’t move forward without developing both the story and the characters.

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