Friday, January 16, 2009


January brings a renewed look at the balance in our lives. Do we exercise more, eat healthy food, or splurge on chocolate? A rededication to spend quality time with family even with the endless demands on our time of work and chores. The financial situation has forced me to reevaluate my spending so I borrow more from the library and prioritize which of my favorite authors latest release I can buy. A new year….a new balance.

As a writer there is even more to juggle. Do I engage my muse and write or promote the latest release? And during the writing process, it’s all about finding the magic formula that sells. The perfect combination of plot, character, narrative, dialogue, and setting detail. And it changes with every story.

Currently I have an imbalance in my writing. I don’t show enough of my character growth. I tend to skip ahead to the end. Some is a personal reaction to the amount of angst I’ve read in recent books. They cover a day or two and spend too much (in my opinion) time in the heroines inner thoughts. I get bored and start skipping pages. Not something I want my readers to do…but I’ve gone too far the other way and not included enough growth. I haven’t found that perfect balance, yet.

As a reader, how much time do you like experience with the characters – a day, week, month, or year?


Emma Lai said...

As a reader, the amount of time I spend with a character depends on the situation, but personally I like to see the character develop over time and determine their personality through their actions. A little inner dialogue is nice sometimes, but I'm with you, too much time and I'm skipping pages. Good luck with finding your balance!

Viola Estrella said...

Hi Beth,
Good question. It's difficult to find that balance. In my reading, I like to know what's going on inside the characters head as long as it's a reaction to what's going on in the story. How does the heroine feel or how does her body react when the hero tries to push her buttons...when he gets too close...or when he avoids her? And vice versa for the hero. In my writing, I attempt to make the characters as real as possible, which includes giving them emotional responses to what's happening around them. I love to get into deep POV! But, again, finding the balance is always at the forefront of my mind. It's tough!


Helen Hardt said...

Hi Beth, I have the same problem with character growth. Like you, I've found myself skipping pages in others' work for the same reason. As a writer, I tend to want to get right into the grit of a character with deep POV, and I sometimes neglect development. If any of you out in blog land know of a great resource on characterization, let me know!


Susan Macatee said...

Hi, Beth! I'm with you. I don't like the story I'm reading to slow down. I like to read action packed romance. LOL. When I read a story that doesn't have a lot of action, I start to get bored and want something to happen. And I have a tendency to skip ahead in my own writing. My editors always want me to add more of the day to day happenings between my characters, so now, before submitting, I try to go back and fill in first. But with different editors, I find I'm not always giving them what they want. Just have to keep revising, I guess until I find the right balance.

Beth Caudill said...

Emma - Yeah, everything is relative and finding that balance is one of the many hard parts for us authors.

Viola - hmm, maybe that's a clue: To mix the emotion with reactions to the ongoing action. Keep them tied together.

Helen - I've taken a lot of online workshops. Haven't found one on character that jumps out but there are quite a few out there. A lot of RWA chapters offer classes through out the year so you should be able to find something that might interest you.

Susan - yeah, I don't want to know how often they go 'potty' but I also don't like the books where there are 6 - 8 end of the world events in a single day. That isn't realistic and you never have any downtime. Some contemplation is good.

Mary Ricksen said...

You will get there, some stories are just harder than others. But it's in you I know it. Step back for a while and read it from the beginning, sometimes that will give you the push you need. The best of your stories is still inside of you and it will come to you.

Linda LaRoque said...

Hi Beth,
I think with inner dialogue you need to be giving the reader vital information that reveal the hero/heroine's hidden emotions, secrets, fears, and desires. Like you, I skip alot of information in reading, especially in over done sex scenes.

Beth Caudill said...

Mary - oh yeah, tons of stories inside. It's just like I'm pulling teeth when I decide to work on one and write it down. I need something that will take thoughts and have them appear on the page in perfect manuscript format. :)

Linda - Yeah, I'm kinda tired of skipping scenes. I've started waiting on buying books in a series now. The first book is great and then the second and third ones go downhill. I start skipping pages and really don't care. So sad because they start out great. I wonder if this is a result of that publishing push to have everything now, now, now instead of when the novel is ready.