Monday, November 2, 2009

How to Make Your Characters Breathe

By Lee Emory
2010 FCWC faculty member

I will be teaching two workshops at the 2010 FCWC:

Connecting to Your Characters

Learn to make your characters stand up on the page and breathe. Following my suggestions you will learn to create a real person on paper BEFORE you begin writing your story. This will be a character/s with traits you can relate to or it won’t work with your readers and you will not believe in them either.

Using History to Create Stories Today

You can take any era of history and tailor it into a contemporary story. We’ll discuss some examples in class and have fun with it. If there’s still time, I’ll give you a dose of my talk on “Solid Writing versus Chopped Liver.” Warning, this talk may contain common sense. Anybody remember what that is?

What’s sparks your interest? Florida history? Biblical history? Victorian Era history? Western history? Napoleonic history? Medieval history? U.S. history? Roman history? The list is almost endless, as are the stories we can create from that list.

How to prepare for Appointments with Lee

  • Bring yourself. (Don’t be a no-show if you’ve signed up.)
  • Be yourself.
  • Bring copy of your first chapter page hook (one page only).
  • Do not ask Lee to take home your proposal or manuscript.
  • Learn to state the premise of your story in less than 50 words.**See below for a tip from Robin Perini regarding the story question. This helps you pin down your story premise briefly and concisely.
  • Do not ramble and keep to the subject of your manuscript.
  • Answer her questions as clearly and concisely as you can.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask her questions.
  • Stop shaking. Lee is human.
**The Story Question (by Robin Perini):

(Your Protagonist)____________MUST_____________( Critical Plot Goal) BY ______________(Conflict with the Antagonist) ONLY TO REALIZE__________________(What the character learns about life that helps him change his goal during the journey of the book).

Here is the example:

Jacob Marshall must avenge his father's honor by implicating Serena Jones' father, only to realize revenge often hurts the innocent.

About Lee Emory

“I’m definitely a morning person. Call me jack of all trades, master of them all. Uh-huh, sure I am.” Lee likes to write a variety of genres, fiction and non-fiction. Her books and articles have been published in numerous magazines and publishing companies.

In her publishing company established in 2001, she decides within 90 days whether or not to accept a manuscript for publication. She assigns manuscripts to her reading staff and editor, analyzes the reports, creates the physical book layout and design, plus critical last edit/corrections of the book before it goes to print; she designs most of the book covers, fills book orders, sends invoices, packs and ships the books to customers, designs booksigning table posters and magazine ads if the author decides to do them.

Don’t forget she does the royalty statements, writes the checks and envelopes and year end tax prep, while she slowly tears her hair out by the roots. Oh, yes, answers hundreds of e-mails and phone calls. She travels, speaks, and presents workshops across the country from her home in Arizona. There’s even more, but after paying the bills enough is enough.

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