"Wherever men have lived there is a story to be told." Henry David Thoreau

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Judging the WILLA

I'm excited to have been asked to be a judge for the 2008 WILLA Literary Awards. The WILLA, named in honor of author Willa Cather, is a nationally recognized annual award given to writers for books set in the American West with a woman/girl as the main character. Women Writing the West, a non-profit association of writers, underwrites and presents the award. The categories are contemporary fiction, historical fiction, original softcover fiction, creative nonfiction, scholarly nonfiction, poetry, and children's/young adult fiction and nonfiction. I'll be judging the original softcover category. Can't wait.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Inner Conflict

I've been working on a new book idea and when I'm not immersed in research, I'm developing the characters. My writers group has been discussing Donald Maass's "Writing the Breakout Novel" and the workbook that goes along with it. The questions in the workbook make you dig to really get into your character and make them multidimensional. We're presently working on the chapter about inner conflict. When you have to come up with answers on the spot for your group, it makes you realize that you need to go home and do some more homework. The point Maass makes is that inner "turmoil" isn't enough. Your character has to be pulled in opposite directions to be truly conflicted. I think if you've got a story idea that doesn't seem to be working, this book will help you find out why.