Saturday, February 7, 2015

I'm back -- with a note, an update on my career, a suggestion to readers, and a writer's tip

Hello everyone.

It’s been a long time since I’ve written in my blog, but I hope you understand. When I lost Scott, I piece of my heart went with him. Those who knew him remember his light wit, how he kept everyone laughing. So a large part of laughter slipped out of my life, my kids lives, and my grandsons’ lives. The great thing is our memories keep Scott alive in our hearts, so when we’re sitting around the table playing a card game or dominoes someone will say something like Scott would have said it, and we all crack up laughing. At first memories brought tears, loads and loads of them. But now I think it’s safe to say smiles and laughter flow as memories flash through our minds. He will always be with us…in our hearts. The Lord has him now and I’m sure people around him are most likely laughing. Enough about why I stepped away for a while.

I am back. I got some wonderful news from Ramona Tucker, my publisher at Oak Tara Publishing. Remember how last year Oak Tara and Barbour were joining together in an endeavor to release some of Oak Tara’s authors in a collection of some of their novels? They have now planned my release for May 1, 2015. At this point most Wal-Mart’s and Costco’s across America, and a few other chain stores, will be carrying Bayou Secrets, a collection of Deborah Lynne novels. This book will include Crime in The Big Easy, Be Not Afraid, and Testimony of Innocence. I was so excited when I received the news that I posted the link given me, which was only a mock-up copy of the book, so I could see it. The finished copy, however, will be released through Amazon with an option to pre-order, as well as being available at the above named stores. As soon as I have my copy and the details, I’ll pass them along to you.

A few months back, I returned to writing full time and I am about finished with a manuscript to send to Oak Tara. It’s not the 4th book in The Samantha Cain Series as was scheduled—my fault, not my publisher’s. That will be the next manuscript I’ll finish writing. It touches a tender part in my heart, for my husband was with me when I visited the country most of it will be taking place in. For my own sake, I had to set it aside a little longer than I had planned. So don’t give up on Against Her Will. It will be completed sometime this year.

I also plan to work on the young adult fiction series I’d mentioned to my publisher in 2013. My niece keeps asking about the book, the series, which helps keep me on track. It will happen this year!! I realize how important good wholesome fiction is for the young people as well as we adults. I feel when I write my manuscripts, they need to be entertaining, as well as believable, and in the end give the reader hope. My ideas come from The Lord, and then I write the story for the genre labeled inspirational fiction, where my stories are fiction but my God is real.

While I’ve been on sabbatical, I have been reading and studying ways to improve my writing. In the past I’ve shared writing tips in my blog. I’d like to do that today as well…for you writer’s who read my blog. For you readers who like what I write and are looking for another author to read, I’d like to suggest Dani Pettrey. She has a series that takes place in Alaska, wonderful entertaining fiction that comes to life in your head while reading. Great stories…stories that keep you on the edge of your seat. You will truly enjoy the read: #1 Submerged, #2 Shattered, and #3 Stranded. Book 4 is scheduled out this year. I can’t wait.
I took a month of classes taught by Ane Mulligan, an inspirational author. She taught this through ACFW online courses. The title of her course was Lies & Motivation. In this class she taught how important it was to know your characters inside and out…not just their physical traits. This deepens your characters and helps them to be more believable to the reader. It also helps you write your story easier.

I don’t know about you, but my characters take over my story as I write. I’m a “by the seat of my pants” writer, however, sometimes I will make an outline. Sometimes I write this OL before I start my story, but usually if I write an OL, I write it when I’ve gotten about half way through the manuscript and start to slow down. The outline helps me keep going and lets me know the direction my book plans to take. Again, my characters still have the final say.

Back to the class Ane Mulligan taught.

After teaching the course, she cut it down to a few words. These I’d like to share with you. They should help you deepen your characters and help bring your story to life.

Ane designs her characters with 5 critical elements:
1.     Dark wound of the past
2.     The Lie he believes
3.     The greatest fear
4.     The secret desire
5.     What can they do in the end they couldn’t do in the beginning?

Once you ask yourself these things about your characters and know the answer, like her, you’ll know what your story is about and where it is going…you’ll also  know your characters inside and out.

The Dark Wound – That would be something from your character’s past that hero/heroine will deal with and be healed from in this story. (secondary character’s that also have a dark wound can be book 2 in a series, if you write series).

The lie he/she believes – The dark wound forms the lie in the head and heart. This is the lie the protagonist believes about him/herself, or God, or others. The more detailed the better. And Ane states, the more personal the better. (ex – If the protagonist’ dark wound is his/her parents traumatic divorce, then the lie he/she believes is that marriage doesn’t work, love is painful and not worth the effort.  To make it more personal, more distressing, let he/she be told that when he/she was born the family fell apart. One kid too many. He/she believes they aren’t wanted.)

The greatest fear – the lie becomes the fear. He/she fears he’ll never be wanted. Never be loved. Whatever he/she touches will be destroyed. The more specific you are about the lie the more wounding the fear will be. Our fears come from the lies we believe…same with your characters.

Your story is about overcoming the fear, replacing the lie with truth and healing the dark wound.

What makes the protagonist face these issues? What gives him the courage?

The Secret Desire  - This secret desire is always about overcoming the fear. The desire cannot be separate from the woundàlieàfear equation.

It tells the hero (still using above ex.), “I am worth knowing. I can love and be loved. I won’t destroy someone by being in their life. Maybe love is worth pursuing.”

What can your hero/heroine do in the end that they couldn’t do in the beginning?  Could be (using above ex) he/she forgives his/her parents, fall in love, trust that someone loves him/her.  The answer comes from the healing the wound, embracing the truth and conquering fear!

Ane says this becomes her story spine to which the plot and all other aspects will connect. If the plot or story lines are not ultimately about healing the protagonist and getting them to a grand epiphany, then you need to readjust where you’re story is going.

The scenes in the middle of the book are about confronting the lie, facing the fear, and eventually winning – defeating the lie…overcoming the lie.

Stories are about a slice of life where the protagonist is launched on a specific journey by external events that reach the internal fears and dreams.
The above information was a summary of the class Ane taught, summary written by her as well. I found if very helpful. I hope you do as well.

It’s nice to be back to writing. I still love my life and am blessed by God to be able to pursue my career. Although I miss my husband dearly, life goes on. I am blessed to have such a supporting and loving family…and a fantastic career. Thank You Lord!!
Take care and God bless you all. I look forward to one day getting to meet you face-to-face.

Deborah Lynne