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The Shack

2017 March 1

The Shack TEDisclaimer: I have not read The Shack.  I had it in my house for a short period of time, and I returned it because I was disturbed by what the story was said to reflect. Now with the release of the movie, the blog posts and articles are everywhere. The Shack is the “inspirational” book/movie currently tearing apart the Christian community, arguing over its scriptural accuracy.

I very much dislike fiction that claims to be inspirational in the Christian sense and thus mistaken for “Christian.”  Honestly, I don’t know the author of the story. I don’t know what he claims. However, I am easily upset when Christians begin to justify the reading of such a book by declaring it Christian, making it a stumbling block for some Christian brothers or sisters. Sometimes, I wonder if Christians have taken a good look at the “Christian” or “Inspirational” bookstore aisles (in most case they are the same section) and what most publishers considered “Christian” and “Inspirational.” Trust me, while all Christian fiction should be inspirational and sound in Scripture, the world’s understanding of “inspirational” is not always “Christian.” I’ve seen non-fiction books on the art of satanic worship and witchcraft in a “Christian/Inspirational” aisle.

In my reading, I have found plenty of books by Christian publishers that definitely work hard at misconstruing Scripture. The Edge of Grace created a world in which homosexuality is not a sin and those who think it is and would speak truth in love to an individual in that lifestyle are compared to those who killed Matthew Shepherd because of his homosexuality. I was sickened by the book. I noted that the person in the sinful lifestyle was the one with the New Testament on his bed, the one who read the Bible nightly, but he was also the one who left his female bride at the altar and ran off and took his honeymoon with his male lover. (Try that with a heterosexual couple and not show it as wrongdoing and see the fit a Christian publisher will throw–including the one that published The Edge of Grace). The character’s actions left me thinking how many other verses of Scripture the author refused to accept so that the book could be written. In the story, the man’s sister, who had trouble accepting his homosexual lifestyle, is the one who in the end needed to ask God for forgiveness and for the ability to accept her brother and his lover’s lifestyle. And that was the very untruthful lesson of the novel. If you want to read inspirational Christian fiction that treats the issue with love and uses scripture truthfully, try Ryan’s Father by June Foster.

What about The Da Vinci Code? Do you know that readers of that book of fiction swear it as truth. They see a grand conspiracy in the Catholic Church and believe Dan Brown’s fictional precepts are gospel. Dianetics, the book that appears to be a bible for Scientologists was actually L. Ron Hubbard’s take on the work of a science fiction writer, and it has brought a grossly false religion into the mainstream of Hollywood, which is seeping into the real world outside of fantasy land. This is the danger when Christians pronounce a book “Christian Inspirational.”

Personally, I don’t care if you read The ShackThe Da Vinci Code, or any other book that might not have a true grasp of scripture. My problem is not in the works themselves but with those who want to make it a spiritual issue so that they can justify reading the works and passing it along to Christians who may not realize what is truth and what is not. For me, it’s like a reader shouting to the world that she’s reading Fifty Shades of Grey because even a Christian wife or woman needs spice in her life.

My advice is to stay far away from Fifty Shades of Grey if you value your marriage. I didn’t have to read that book either to know that it depicts a lifestyle that shows bondage as healthy when, in fact, the world is trying to save hundreds of thousands of people, many of them children, who live the real-life horror of sexual slavery.

If you realize that you are not theologically grounded, for any reason, or if you are a new Christian, I would suggest leaving The Shack on the shelf or reading it with pencil in hand, writing questions you might have. Then find some sound Biblical teacher or mentor who can help you reason with the precepts the book presents.

Whatever you do, though, read the book as it is intended: as fiction. The story might be an inspirational one. The story might be an excellent read, but don’t confuse it with Scripture. Don’t try to find Scripture that allows God to appear to you in any form except Himself–and that appearance will be through His word.

Realize that when Jesus revealed Himself in the Old Testament, those who saw Him recognized Him. Sometimes, they would worship an angel, and they would be corrected, but when Jesus appeared, He was recognize and received very due worshiped. In the New Testament, Jesus never changed, not in His righteousness or His message. While the Lord has many roles in our lives: our Father, our Brother, our Friend, our King, our Protector … He deserves the utmost respect. The Shack doesn’t offer Him that respect.

There’s a song that I love: I Could Only Imagine, but the precept is inaccurate when it asks if I will stand or will I fall before Him. I think that question has well been answered in Scripture. We will fall before Him with our faces to the ground, and we will worship Him. And not in a shack.

I still love the song I Could Only Imagine. I simply accept the inaccuracy in the wording. Someone can love the story behind The Shack and still understand its scriptural inaccuracies.

Fay Lamb writes emotionally charged stories that remind the reader that God is always in the details. Three of the four books in the Amazing Grace romantic suspense series, are available: Stalking Willow, Better than Revenge, and Everybody’s Broken. Hope is the third book in The Ties that Bind Series, which also includes Charisse and Libby. Fay’s adventurous spirit has also taken her into the realm of non-fiction with The Art of Characterization: How to Use the Elements of Storytelling to Connect Readers to an Unforgettable Cast.

Future releases from Fay will be: Frozen Notes, Book 4 of the Amazing Grace series, and Delilah, Book 4 from The Ties that Bind.

Art of Characterization Cover FINAL FRONT (2)Fay loves to meet readers, and you can find her on her personal Facebook page, her Facebook Author page, and at The Tactical Editor on Facebook and on Goodreads. She’s also active on Twitter. Then there are her blogs: On the Ledge, Inner Source, and the Tactical Editor.

What’s So Important About a Book’s Cover?

2017 February 22

Okay, I’m tooting my horn here. I have a new release coming out in March. I’m excited as excited about this story as I am about every release. The thrill of seeing your novel come to life to be held in the hands of another and read will probably never leave me.

As an author, the cover is important to me. In every way, it is the first impression for the reader, especially when said reader may have never met the author who penned the pages. The book cover has many things to say to the reader:

  • “Look. I’m here.”
  • “Psst. Want to read a good story? This is what this book is about?”
  • “Hey, let me tell you a little about the author.”
  • “Yes, the story within is as good as the cover.”

I’m picky about my covers. I think they should catch the readers’ attentions in a good and positive way. The picture on the cover must be crisp and clear, and even when the reader might not know it until they finish the book, everything on the cover should depict something important about the story.

HOPE front COVER 1 concept (2)Hope is my release coming out in March. As you can see, the cover depicts an artist, a smiling artist, who reached out to me and said, “Not only is my name Hope, but I am filled with hope.” The carousel … well, it’s very important to the story, and I’ll let you figure out why.

The cover with Hope’s smiling face and the carousel also hides a bit of sadness, because the picture only captures, as is said in the book, “What God sees about Hope.” And when I look at the brilliant design, emotions flood through me because I know … I just know … that Hope’s happy ending comes at the end of a very long journey I want the reader to take with her.

I’m going to be perfectly honest with you. I do judge a book by its cover. I was asked to do some work in our church library a while back. I tossed out book after book after book. When asked why I would get rid of a story or a non-fiction work that still had value, I had to explain that no one has picked up the book and why no one has picked up the book. The reason for most of my decisions: the cover was off-putting; it screamed antiquated or amateurish or just plain not interesting. The dust on the covers and the lack of any checkout card proved that I was right. Oh, there was some old tried and true classics that kids and adults will always pick up, and I was sure to leave them. Those stories have transcended the ages and have won a place in the hearts of generations of readers. Yet, a so-so book with a cover that looks as if someone threw it together speaks to the reader as well. It says:

  • “Yeah, I’m here. You might want to have a look.”
  • “I’m not too interesting on the outside, but you might like what I have on the inside.”
  • “The author? They might have cared about the story, but my cover doesn’t really relay that, does it?”

I’m so fortunate to have an editor and a cover artist at Write Integrity Press who care about what’s on the outside of a book because they want the outside to reflect what they know is on the inside. To those individuals, I say, “Thank you. This is a favorite part of my writer’s journey.”

all-current-books-01-17-2017-collage

Fay Lamb writes emotionally charged stories that remind the reader that God is always in the details. Three of the four books in the Amazing Grace romantic suspense series, are available: Stalking Willow, Better than Revenge, and Everybody’s Broken. Hope is the third book in The Ties that Bind Series, which also includes Charisse and Libby. Fay’s adventurous spirit has also taken her into the realm of non-fiction with The Art of Characterization: How to Use the Elements of Storytelling to Connect Readers to an Unforgettable Cast.

Future releases from Fay will be: Frozen Notes, Book 4 of the Amazing Grace series, and Delilah, Book 4 from The Ties that Bind.

Fay loves to meet readers, and you can find her on her personal Facebook page, her Facebook Author page, and at The Tactical Editor on Facebook. She’s also active on Twitter. Then there are her blogs: On the Ledge, Inner Source, and the Tactical Editor, and Goodreads.

The Make-You-Feel-Bad Myths about the Writing Life

2017 February 8

Lately, I’ve done some soul searching, plundering my conscience for advice that might hurt rather than help me.

While a lot of the plumbing of the depths is spiritual, I did ponder some myths that I’ve bought into the writing life that may have set me up for a certain amount of failure.

I’d like to share my two-cents worth about them.

Write a Certain Number of Words Every Day

While writing daily can certainly up your word count and your productivity, the expectation might be a grand one for some. Granted, setting a daily word goal can help someone who needs a push. Setting a daily goal is not a bad thing. To the contrary, goal setting is the way we achieve. However, if you’re working an eight-hour day, have children to raise, dinner to get on the table, extra-curricular activities, etc., a daily goal might not be best for you. Perhaps a weekend goal or a monthly goal to eek out a count when you can is more in line. As long as you pick the goal that’s best for you and stick to it, there should be no guilt when someone brags about their daily word count.

I sit down and write in spurts, and I do have a daily word count that I rarely reach. Sometimes though, I bountifully exceed that count–and then I brag.

A Real Writer Can Work Any Where

Yeah, really? While some folks can write in a crowded coffee house, I’m too busy making sure I don’t spill the coffee or that I don’t have crumbs on my face. When I’m satisfied no one will find anything to use about me in a novel, I’m searching for people to write about–I’m not writing.

Sometimes, my office is a little too quite. Sometimes, my office is a little too loud. I’ll move to my porch. I’ll write with the music blaring, or the house will be as silent as tomb. I’ve written on the beach. I’ve written in my car during a long ride. Other times, I can’t seem to find the right place to click away on the keys.

I wish I could say that I’ve persevered through my inabilities, but the truth is, if I’m not comfortable, I’m not writing–anything of value, that is. I don’t use it as an excuse not to write. I use it as an excuse to find a better place to write.

I Don’t Need Criticism

I’ve seen authors who enter critique groups and spout off how no one understands. They get their feelings hurt, and they storm off and … well, they self-publish a book that isn’t as good as it could be. Balanced criticism is always helpful. You’re not always going to hear what you want to hear about your work. You’re not always going to get good criticism. By that I mean that the criticism you receive might not always be right. That’s why it’s good to have three to five people critiquing your work. That gives a balance. Two people might suggest changes while three others don’t pick up on it. Place the critiques on a scale and decide what is good and what is bad advice.

Just as a fool appears in court as his own lawyer, a writer who can’t take criticism and publishes what they alone think is wonderful has a fool sitting at the typewriter telling their story. And that’s a criticism you can take to the bank.

There Is Only One Way to Tell a Story

At a writer’s conference, I was surprised to hear an editor declaring stories non-publishable because a format wasn’t followed. Now, I know there are publisher guidelines, and a writer who wants to be published by XYZ Publisher should follow those guidelines. For that publisher, a formula might work. However, the advice given by the publisher was that all stories must follow that same formula. Oh, what a dull world that would make. I live for the rare story that breaks the mold.

As to the declaration that there’s only one way to tell a story, I say hogwash. Yes, there are elements that should go into a good story, and the way an author uses those elements creates a voice. One element might be used heavily by one author while another lingers in the background. Formula is just a guideline used by certain publishers to create a work that has been proven by their readers to be popular. An example of such a guideline is having the hero and heroine of a romance meet in the first chapter. That formula doesn’t always work for me. In Better than Revenge, the hero and heroine met in the past, so the tension is amped by the reader’s anticipation of them seeing each other again, which occurs in chapter seven. I’m glad that this editor didn’t have that book.

There is nothing wrong with being a renegade so long as an author knows where to pitch a rebel story line.

Grammar Myths

Runaway grammar rules are often set forth by someone who knows what they’re talking about and given to someone who doesn’t understand the rule and runs with it. I fell victim to one early in my career, and I managed to write an entire novel without a form of “to be” in my manuscript. However, my sentence structure was lacking. Not all forms of “to be” are passive. In fact, passive writing has everything to do with sentence structure.

Then there’s the runaway rule that drives me insane. Please note that “that” is a viable word, and it has a place in the English language. To take out “that” from some sentences creates vagueness. Yes, make every “that” prove its worth before you take it out, but for goodness’ sake, use common sense.

While you’re reviewing the “that’s” and the forms of “to be” in your manuscript, look at the writing advice you receive as subjective and not objective. This means that what works for someone else, might be a good idea for others, but it could derail your writing if you’re not careful. Set goals and thicken your skin with criticism. Write your story so well that whether it is traditional published or self-published, the reviews will set you apart as someone to be read.

all-current-books-01-17-2017-collageFay Lamb is an editor, writing coach, and author, whose emotionally charged stories remind the reader that God is always in the details. Fay has contracted three series. With the release of Everybody’s Broken, three of the four books in the Amazing Grace romantic suspense series, which also includes Stalking Willow and Better than Revenge, are currently available for purchase. Charisse and Libby the first two novels in her The Ties That Bind contemporary romance series have been released. Fay has also collaborated on two Christmas novella projects: The Christmas Three Treasure Hunt, and A Ruby Christmas, and the Write Integrity Press romance novella Heart Seekers series, which includes A Dozen Apologies, The Love Boat Bachelor, and Unlikely Merger. Her adventurous spirit has taken her into the realm of non-fiction with The Art of Characterization: How to Use the Elements of Storytelling to Connect Readers to an Unforgettable Cast.

Future releases from Fay are: Frozen Notes, Book 4 of the Amazing Grace series and Hope (Coming March 2017) and Delilah, Books 3 and 4 from The Ties that Bind series.

Fay loves to meet readers, and you can find her on her personal Facebook page, her Facebook Author page, and at The Tactical Editor on Facebook. She’s also active on Twitter. Then there are her blogs: On the Ledge, Inner Source, and the Tactical Editor, and Goodreads.

 

The Trouble with Floating Body Parts and Misplaced Modifiers

2017 February 1

A fellow author posted an example of a misplaced modifier. While I don’t want to use the published example, I have created one of my own: Gliding easily across the lake in ice skates, my head wasn’t prepared to hit the frozen tundra. One man’s focus on a misplaced modifier is another author’s focus on floating body parts.

I did not coin the term floating body parts, but kudos to the individual who did. The words provoke such an image for me that I am probably over-sensitive when body parts go rogue. When I read a sentence drafted much like the example, I tend to look at it literally. Therefore, the head in said sentence is imagined as sitting atop a pair of ice skates. This image is brought about by the “ing” construction of the sentence. In many cases, an author forgets to assure that the “thing” doing the “ing” is the right “thing” to do the “ing.” So, a better construction of that sentence would be: While I glided easily across the lake in ice skates, I wasn’t prepared when I fell and hit my head on the frozen tundra OR I glided easily across the lake in ice skates, so I wasn’t prepared when I fell and hit my head on the frozen tundra.

A note: not all “ing” constructions are incorrect. The key to eliminating floating body parts and misplaced modifiers in a manuscript is to work toward clarity in every sentence and by attaching a pereson to the body part doing the action.

Misplaced modifiers are much like the missing “of,” “the,” and other often used words that escape an editor’s careful scrutiny. Editors and authors tend to see the image they’ve created clearly, so that the misplaced modifier and/or the floating body parts are unseen until someone with a fresh eye catches it and calls it out.

So what other floating body parts should be avoided?

Her eyes rested on me. *Shudder* Better: Her gaze/stare/attention rested on me.

Her hand fell over mine. *Call it Thing.* Better: She covered my hand with hers.

His shoulders slumped. *Minor, yes, but annoying.* He slumped forward.

His foot held the door open. *That’s a weird doorstop.* He pushed his foot into the door, blocking me from closing it.

I’d love to hear if you have any examples of misplaced modifiers or floating body parts.

all-current-books-01-17-2017-collageFay Lamb is an editor, writing coach, and author, whose emotionally charged stories remind the reader that God is always in the details. Fay has contracted three series. With the release of Everybody’s Broken, three of the four books in the Amazing Grace romantic suspense series, which also includes Stalking Willow and Better than Revenge, are currently available for purchase. Charisse and Libby the first two novels in her The Ties That Bind contemporary romance series have been released. Fay has also collaborated on two Christmas novella projects: The Christmas Three Treasure Hunt, and A Ruby Christmas, and the Write Integrity Press romance novella series, which includes A Dozen Apologies, The Love Boat Bachelor, and Unlikely Merger. Her adventurous spirit has taken her into the realm of non-fiction with The Art of Characterization: How to Use the Elements of Storytelling to Connect Readers to an Unforgettable Cast.

Future releases from Fay are: Frozen Notes, Book 4 of the Amazing Grace series and Hope and Delilah, Books 3 and 4 from The Ties that Bind series.

Fay loves to meet readers, and you can find her on her personal Facebook page, her Facebook Author page, and at The Tactical Editor on Facebook. She’s also active on Twitter. Then there are her blogs: On the Ledge, Inner Source, and the Tactical Editor. And, yes, there’s one more: Goodreads.

The Truth about Coincidence in Fiction

2017 January 25

The definitions for coincidence are: 1) a remarkable concurrence of events or circumstances without apparent casual connection; and 2) correspondence in nature or in time of occurrence.

By its very meaning, coincidence is not something that happens every day. If it did occur daily, we would take it for granted and think it nothing remarkable.

Therefore, when an author brings in events or circumstances that seem remarkable in nature, the imagination of the reader could be stretched to the point that they no longer see it as remarkable, but implausible.

All uses of coincidence, whether small or large, should be reviewed and weighed carefully by the author. A reader is more likely to accept the wonderful and imaginative worlds of Spec Fiction before they will accept some of the following situations in a novel outside that genre. The following are examples of coincidence in fiction:

  •  A character is thinking of another character, and lo and behold, that character being thought of enters the scene or calls on the phone or sends an e-mail, a text, or a direct message on social media. The author would be better served by layering in the fact that the character stops by often, sends e-mails, texts, or direct messages on social media, so that the reader can reasonable expect the person will act at such a time as needed.
  • A character is thinking of something and uses a word or two that sets that thought or spoken idea apart. Enter another character who uses the same words or thinks the same thoughts. This situation can be made more believable for the reader if the author would give the second character a synonymous word or phrase that doesn’t smack of ESP.
  • An angel or a rescuer shows up right when they are needed with no indication of how that person knew trouble was afoot. Giving a hint of an angelic being or layering in a rescuer’s journey to where the individual needs help, especially if that character is a hero or heroine, will help make this situation more believable. In regard to the rescuer’s journey, throwing in conflict to keep the rescuer at bay only adds conflict to the novel, and every novel, no matter the genre is made better by conflict.
  • A break in the weather, a change in conditions, a much needed occurrence happening at the right time. This type of sudden change waters down the suspense. The author would be better served by keeping the situation and using it to its fullest potential to stretch out the tension for the reader.
  • Right when a character needs a plot device, it is suddenly on hand. This is the equivalent to the gun in the drawer. If the reader has not seen the gun in the drawer prior to its necessity, the gun does not exist for the reader. Therefore, when the gun is produced by the character, reality has been stretched and the bond broken between the reader and the stoyr. Let the reader know the gun is in the drawer before it is required.

These are only a few of the examples that bring in unwarranted consequences. When layered in correctly, the coincidental events will read less like high fancy and more like a believable occurrences.

all-current-books-01-17-2017-collageFay Lamb is an editor, writing coach, and author, whose emotionally charged stories remind the reader that God is always in the details. Fay has contracted three series. With the release of Everybody’s Broken, three of the four books in the Amazing Grace romantic suspense series, which also includes Stalking Willow and Better than Revenge, are currently available for purchase. Charisse and Libby the first two novels in her The Ties That Bind contemporary romance series have been released. Fay has also collaborated on two Christmas novella projects: The Christmas Three Treasure Hunt, and A Ruby Christmas, and the Write Integrity Press romance novella series, which includes A Dozen Apologies, The Love Boat Bachelor, and Unlikely Merger. Her adventurous spirit has taken her into the realm of non-fiction with The Art of Characterization: How to Use the Elements of Storytelling to Connect Readers to an Unforgettable Cast.

Future releases from Fay are: Frozen Notes, Book 4 of the Amazing Grace series and Hope and Delilah, Books 3 and 4 from The Ties that Bind series.

Fay loves to meet readers, and you can find her on her personal Facebook page, her Facebook Author page, and at The Tactical Editor on Facebook. She’s also active on Twitter. Then there are her blogs: On the Ledge, Inner Source, and the Tactical Editor. And, yes, there’s one more: Goodreads.

Deadline Ramblings

2017 January 18

I’ve been dealt one of those nasty little things I call a deadline. I don’t like them. I avoid them like the plague, but for this story, I was given a choice between an earlier release date or one at the end of the year.

The reasons I usually shun a release date are fodder for a “How Not to be a Writer” post, so I thought I’d share those with you today:

  1. Deadlines choke the creativity out of me.
  2. I’m a quality writer not a quantity writer.
  3. I’ll dare anyone tell me when I have to have a story ready. I’ll know it when it’s time to let it go.

Some authors bloom with adrenaline when a deadline is imposed. I actually know an author who writes under some pretty tight schedules while running a national writer’s conference and a very large writer’s organization. Yet, she thrives under deadline pressure.

I do not.

However, I have had to face the truth about my writing diva-ness.

  1. A true author is creative whenever and wherever creativity is needed.
  2. A quality writer who does not produce quantity will be a starving writer.
  3. Editors have a right to demand a story within a reasonable time, and they understand that most authors are never ready to let a story go to press. Who knows? They may have missed a comma.

So I’m off to shrug off the diva-ness and put my big gal panties on and write, write, write. After all, the manuscript was two-thirds written, and I found a chapter-by-chapter synopsis I don’t remember writing. How cool is that? I must have some professional author in me somewhere.

all-current-books-01-17-2017-collageFay Lamb is an editor, writing coach, and author, whose emotionally charged stories remind the reader that God is always in the details. Fay has contracted three series. With the release of Everybody’s Broken, three of the four books in the Amazing Grace romantic suspense series, which also includes Stalking Willow and Better than Revenge, are currently available for purchase. Charisse and Libby the first two novels in her The Ties That Bind contemporary romance series have been released. Fay has also collaborated on two Christmas novella projects: The Christmas Three Treasure Hunt, and A Ruby Christmas, and the Write Integrity Press romance novella series, which includes A Dozen Apologies, The Love Boat Bachelor, and Unlikely Merger. Her adventurous spirit has taken her into the realm of non-fiction with The Art of Characterization: How to Use the Elements of Storytelling to Connect Readers to an Unforgettable Cast.

Future releases from Fay are: Frozen Notes, Book 4 of the Amazing Grace series and Hope and Delilah, Books 3 and 4 from The Ties that Bind series.

Fay loves to meet readers, and you can find her on her personal Facebook page, her Facebook Author page, and at The Tactical Editor on Facebook. She’s also active on Twitter. Then there are her blogs: On the Ledge, Inner Source, and the Tactical Editor. And, yes, there’s one more: Goodreads.

Inspriration: Because a Story Starts Somewhere

2017 January 11
by Fay Lamb

A question I’m often asked is where do I get the ideas for my stories. My ideas come from several areas, and I’d like to share those with you to help you get a jump start on a new project.

Ideas are “iffy” little things. Sometimes an inkling for an entire plot might come into my head because of some trigger. Other times, I might get the inspiration for a lead character, secondary character, or a plot device, maybe even a simple scene to build the story upon.

Bumblebee the Bear in Everybody’s Broken was an inspiration received when I saw the cutest picture of a bear. In fact, that picture reminded me that a series set in the mountains of Western Carolina would not be complete without a bear. At first, Bumblebee’s character afforded comedic relief and nothing more. What she became to the story surprised even me.

The idea for my novel, Charisse, was born out of a collaborative effort. Therefore, I want to call this inspiration necessity. When I first began to write Charisse’s story, she was not called Charisse. She was Faith, and her story was one of five novellas. When the story came close to a contract but didn’t get picked up, each author took their special character and did what they wanted to do with her. Faith became Charisse, my first attempt at writing simple romance, and I learned something inspirational about myself. I cannot write simply.

In my novel, Better Than Revenge, the hero clicked with me right away. His inspiration came from him. He walked upon the stage of my mind, stared down at me, the director, and said, “I’m an ex-convict who went to jail to protect my heroine. I’ve just found out that she has a seven-year-old son, and the kid is not mine.” As I neared the end of the stories first draft, I realized that the heroine wasn’t as concrete as I liked because I didn’t have a strong picture of her. I worried over that until the day my husband and I drove by a farmhouse in Maggie Valley, North Carolina. That farmhouse instantly became the heroine’s abode and gave me a link with her that I didn’t have before. Add two cows, some chickens, and a psycho’s return looming over her, and she became very real to me.

My favorite way to for inspiration to strike is to see an actor or actress in a role and connect with that character. At that point, I have something one dimensional. I study the actor or actresses roles, and I pull good and bad traits from the various characters they’ve portrayed until I have a fully formed, three-dimensional character to which my readers can bond. When that happens, the creativeness flows through my veins like a shot of intravenous fluids because if I know if I’m bonding with the characters, my readers will, too. Ideas swarm inside my imagination, and while working around the house or taking time away from the computer, I allow the character and his or her friends to come out on stage for audition. The lead characters work as co-directors telling me who can stay, what role they’ll have, and where their stories will take us. They cast different scenarios for me, and when the right one comes along, I know it. The story sticks. The plot doesn’t grow cold … it heats up.

Another way to obtain inspiration is so obvious that many authors dismiss it.

Just write.

Write every day. Write without inspiration so that it can be stirred within you. True authors cannot cite a lack of ideas as a reason to stay away from the page. Often, putting the hands to the keyboard is what brings the ideas out to play.

Do you have a special way to be inspired? If so, I’d love to know.

all-current-books-01-17-2017-collageFay Lamb is an editor, writing coach, and author, whose emotionally charged stories remind the reader that God is always in the details. Fay has contracted three series. With the release of Everybody’s Broken, three of the four books in the Amazing Grace romantic suspense series, which also includes Stalking Willow and Better than Revenge, are currently available for purchase. Charisse and Libby the first two novels in her The Ties That Bind contemporary romance series have been released. Fay has also collaborated on two Christmas novella projects: The Christmas Three Treasure Hunt, and A Ruby Christmas, and the Write Integrity Press romance novella series, which includes A Dozen Apologies, The Love Boat Bachelor, and Unlikely Merger. Her adventurous spirit has taken her into the realm of non-fiction with The Art of Characterization: How to Use the Elements of Storytelling to Connect Readers to an Unforgettable Cast.

Future releases from Fay are: Frozen Notes, Book 4 of the Amazing Grace series and Hope and Delilah, Books 3 and 4 from The Ties that Bind series.

Fay loves to meet readers, and you can find her on her personal Facebook page, her Facebook Author page, and at The Tactical Editor on Facebook. She’s also active on Twitter. Then there are her blogs: On the Ledge, Inner Source, and the Tactical Editor. And, yes, there’s one more: Goodreads.

 

The Four Movies that Impacted My Writing and Why

2017 January 4

the-four-moviesOnce upon a time, I was a movie buff. Now, I pretty much avoid most of what Hollywood has to offer, but in that land far, far away were four movies that literally changed my writing, and I’d like to share those with you and tell you the impact they made on my technique.

First, I do believe that there are seven essential elements to writing fiction. Each element is necessary to write a novel worth reading. The way an author uses those elements is his developmental style. In the way that a great script comes across the screen for the audience, so should a story come alive in the readers’ imaginations. These four movies helped me to create that move in the minds of my reader.

A warning, though, before we start. Two of these movies might be considered PG; two of them are definitely R-rated due to content and language, especially the use of God’s name in vain as was the surprise I received when I studied one of the most iconic and beloved stories of our time. I tell you this because I want you to make an informed decision before you decide to watch. Oh, and there could be a few spoilers below.

The Mummy (with Brendan Frasier)- PG

Clarification of the classic is important here. I’m a suspense writer, but more and more when I watch anything on television, let alone a movie, I have to turn the channel. The explicit violence is not something I feel comes with suspense. That’s a horror flick. I don’t do scary.

Yet, The Mummy is a horror flick. I believe the charm I saw in the movie the first time I watched it was a result of director, Stephen Sommers’, use of old Hollywood techniques that allowed me to experience the “horror” without turning away. While I do not believe there ever was a time when Hollywood was sensitive to what it pushed upon an unsuspecting public, there was a point when they were not allowed to get away with it. Sommers took us back in time to when a hero was a hero; a heroine was a competent damsel in distress; the sidekicks for both the antagonist and the protagonists add dimension to the story, and tension came in what was about to happen and not in the grossness of showing it.

Sommers heightened tension for the viewer by placing into our imaginations what was about to happen to a hapless character who ran across The Mummy. For example, we know when the professor loses his glasses in the tombs that the mummy is on his way. Something inside of us wants to scream, “Get away. Get away.” Then the mummy appears, and the professor can’t see him. Fear rings in his voice as he explains to the stranger that he’s lost his glasses. We see the grotesque mummy standing over him. My senses are on alert. I know the fellow is about to meet his demise. Does Sommers show the monster crushing the life out of the man, his eyes bulging out, his neck broken? No. This wise director cuts to shadow, and on the wall we see the man shrink up as the mummy drains the life from him.

Another technique utilized by the director is that of speeding up the action yet slowing it down with conflict. While Evie is tied to a slab, awaiting her sacrifice and Rick is fighting the mummy, who is getting the best of him with his conjured mummy priests and his own strength, Rick’s sidekick is running around trying to read an ancient spell. Jonathan isn’t a student like his sister, Evie, and he struggles with the translation, spouting out to Evie that the symbol looks like a bird. He has to describe the bird, and Rick is yelling at him to hurry up with the translation. That’s classic suspense. Still we’re waiting for the results of the scene, and the audience is caught up in split second action while all the time the suspense is being slowed with the conflict of Jonathan’s ignorance.

Everything about The Mummy is either a “wait for it” or a “my heart is racing,” moment. The viewer does not have to see the brutal violence. The suspense results in artfully leaving the audience to their own imaginations until the dreaded action occurs–in shadow or off camera–or at a fast clip with conflict hurdles.

This technique happens to be about pacing. The next movie includes pacing as well as an important lesson in layering.

Back to the Future- R  (for language)

Marty McFly takes the audience on the adventure of a lifetime. I’d watched the movie several times before the masterful script caught my attention. In Back to the Future the layering and back story begin from the opening credits in which the only words spoken come from a television newscaster and Marty’s exclamation after he strums the guitar on Doc Brown’s amp-on-steroids. In the opening credits alone, the reader learns Doc Brown’s history and why he lives in a garage. The viewer understands that Doc is obsessed by time and that he has stolen some plutonium. We know he has a dog named Einstein, and we understand that he and Marty are very good friends. The fun of this movie, for me as a writer, comes in ferreting out just how much the screenwriter had to layer into the story for it to make sense. I only caught one problem, and I won’t tell you what it is. You’ll have to find it for yourself.

As the movie continues, though, we see the layering of plot devices from Marty’s cassette player to the movie camera he takes to the past. We meet his parents in the present so that when Marty goes back to the past, we understand that his parents aren’t exactly who they present themselves to be in the present, and we learn why they are like they are. In this movie, back story is unique because it’s everything, and the way it is layered in to each scene, building the conflict is amazing. Layering is also important because what Marty does in the past is largely because of what he’s brought with him from the future, whether it is information or plot devices.

L.A. Confidential-R (for content and language)

With regard to violence, this movie is the exact opposite of The Mummy, but the layering is dynamic, especially for writers like me who love character and plot and developing separate plots that converge into one story at the end.

This story has three concurrent plots. One officer is attempting to rise in the ranks, and his desires make him a target from others on the force. He’s not too shy about his aspirations, and when a group of people in a 1950’s dinner are shot up and killed, including a police officer, our man gets his chance to investigate a crime. That crime leads us to hero number two.

He’s a bruiser of a cop. He collects extortion payments from citizens by order of his chief, but this hero isn’t all bad. He’s multi-dimensional. He doesn’t like hero number one because that hero is everything he isn’t and everything he doesn’t want to be. He takes orders. He does what he’s told. He’s not seeking advancement. Then into his world walks a woman who appears to have been beaten. Our hero number two kicks into action. He seeks her out, trying to find out if she’s okay. He finds out that she’s an escort, and the cuts and bruises on her face were due to surgery to make her look like a famous actress. His infatuation with the escort collides with hero number one’s aspirations of solving a crime.

Hero number three is getting his money in another way. He sells Hollywood gossip to the local gossip rag, and he makes money. He also stages events and sets up stars for trouble so that the columnist can get his story. His actions tumble him into the escort service world when he sets up a rising star and finds him dead. That’s when his world collides with the worlds of hero number one and number two.

These stories evolve with each scene, cutting from one lead to the next until they get closer and closer and closer, and finally, we see how it all fits together. If you want to know how to move one or two or even three plots along, I recommend this movie.

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof-PG

I saved my favorite for last. When I first saw the expertise of the screenwriter in bringing a classic to life, I thought it was only about the conflict. The story of Brick and Maggie Pollitt, Big Daddy, Big Momma, Goober and May is all about conflict that rises as the story goes forward and climaxes pretty much in the first part of the second act when all of the mystery concerning Brick and Maggie’s back story explodes and leaves the characters to put out many fires and also causes another explosion or two.

Is this a thriller? No. It’s the story of an ex-football player, ex-sportscaster, ex-football team owner whose marriage is falling apart. From scene one, we see not only the conflict but the dynamics of character.

This movie teaches every element of writing: plot, pacing (back story and scene development), conflict, character, point of view (the deeper the better), dialogue, and showing (not telling). It’s a rich movie for an author to watch and to glean. And when you get to the end of it, you’ll find out that everything that happened in the story was about back story–deep, rich back story. However, you’ll also note that the screenwriter never took one moment to throw the reader into the past with a flashback–my pet peeve. The story has deep, dark soil, and every bit of back story comes to life in front story, in words that are spoken and in words that are never said.

I’m sure there are more movies out there that utilize techniques that authors can learn. I’d love to hear any that have helped you develop your story.

all-current-books-01-17-2017-collage

Fay Lamb is an editor, writing coach, and author, whose emotionally charged stories remind the reader that God is always in the details. Fay has contracted three series. With the release of Everybody’s Broken, three of the four books in the Amazing Grace romantic suspense series, which also includes Stalking Willow and Better than Revenge, are currently available for purchase. Charisse and Libby the first two novels in her The Ties That Bind contemporary romance series have been released. Fay has also collaborated on two Christmas novella projects: The Christmas Three Treasure Hunt, and A Ruby Christmas, and the Write Integrity Press romance novella series, which includes A Dozen Apologies, The Love Boat Bachelor, and Unlikely Merger. Her adventurous spirit has taken her into the realm of non-fiction with The Art of Characterization: How to Use the Elements of Storytelling to Connect Readers to an Unforgettable Cast.

Future releases from Fay are: Frozen Notes, Book 4 of the Amazing Grace series and Hope and Delilah, Books 3 and 4 from The Ties that Bind series.

Fay loves to meet readers, and you can find her on her personal Facebook page, her Facebook Author page, and at The Tactical Editor on Facebook. She’s also active on Twitter. Then there are her blogs: On the Ledge, Inner Source, and the Tactical Editor. And, yes, there’s one more: Goodreads.

Why Italics Are a Problem in Fiction

2016 August 10

The Problem with ItalicsIn writing a story, the key to reader participation is point of view. Whether an author agrees that a simple point of view (simply keeping the viewpoint in the head of the lead character for the scene) or a deep point of view (drawing the reader into the story to experience it with your characters) is best, authors are still finding ways to draw their reader out of the story.

The most popular, annoying, irritating, exasperating, for-crying-out-loud-stop-it habit has become italics.

My gut wrenches when I see italics inundating a published book or submitted manuscript. Yeah, it’s that bad.

So, why are italics a problem?

Before we get down to the problems with italics, let’s look at the reason italics are used in fiction: 1) authors use italics to indicate internal monologue; 2) words are italicized by authors to provide emphasis; and 3) italics show that a word is being defined. We won’t get into that because when this occurs the italicization is correct.

Now, we can dissect the problems with the first two uses.

No matter the reason they are used, italics jar a reader out of the story. In internal monologue, italicized thoughts remind the reader that they truly aren’t a part of the story. They are simply reading what is going on.

For italicized emphasis, the author is telling the reader one of two things (and possibly both in some instances). Either the author isn’t confident in his or her ability to get the dialogue across without the emphasis or the author isn’t confident in the reader’s intelligence to understand what is being said.

In case you need a translation on these, it boils down to one hard fact: the author is telling rather than showing. Yes, these methods have been used, and they continue to be practiced, but italicization is a shortcut, and when you breakdown the shortcuts of authors, they seem to have one thing in common: they are a form of telling.

Internal monologue can be shown much easier in point of view. I understand that there are still some hold-out authors who balk against deep point of view. Also, there are some writers who are studying it and struggling with the concept because internal monologue gets in their way. Those authors use a mixture of both, often putting deep point of view into italics and leaving internal monologue as if it were deep point of view.

Here’s a deep point of view primer: in third-person, quite simply, a scene is set as the lead character’s scene by giving that character an action. Everything stays in third person, and every thought in that scene is recognized by the reader as that character’s point of view. Take out telling words such as heard, knew, recognized, thought, etc., and you have deep point of view. Practice makes it better, and the practice is a lot of fun. Internal monologue in third person is changed to first person and italicized. Can you see why the continual use of that practice would become annoying to the reader? There are two instances when I feel that internal monologue is necessary: 1) when the character is in silent prayer; and 2) when the author truly feels that the emphasis of a statement of internal monologue is necessary. Believe me. That instance is rarer than most authors want to believe: Big Foot rare, if you get my meaning.

Let’s not get started with novels written in first person. In all honestly, the reader should be in that character’s point of view. Italics in first person stories are utterly useless, so I’m not even going there.

Look at the following paragraph written with and without internal monologue:

Abra let the wind blow through the open car window. This winding road to Shane’s was one of her favorite places. Who would have thought that in only five and a half months, she’d be used to the mountains. Cruising them was so much more fun than traveling on straight roads where you could see miles ahead without a break in the scenery.

So, after reading this paragraph, what do you think she’s doing? She’s driving. She’s not only driving, but she’s driving to the home of someone named Shane.

How long has Abra been in this area where she’s driving and how do we know she’s a little new to the area? She shows us in her point of view. She been there a little over five months; she likes the mountains. She’s obviously from some place void of their beauty—like Florida. (Writing what I know). She shows us these things in her deep point of view, without italics. Four sentences of the first paragraph, which gives Abra the action and the thought, and we’re driving on that mountain road with her.

Let’s see how the same four sentences sound with internal monologue:

Abra let the wind blow through the open car window. This winding road to Shane’s was one of her favorite places. Who would have thought that in only five and a half months, I’d be used to the mountains. Cruising them is so much more fun than traveling on straight roads where I can see miles ahead without a break in the scenery.

Yes, the information is the same. The delivery is what kills the second version. As a reader, I’m in the car with Abra driving to Shane’s house for the first two sentences. In the last two, I’m outside the car, as Abra is kind of alone with her thoughts.

Keep the italicized thoughts out, and I’m still sitting in the car with Abra heading to Shane’s. I’ve been there five and a half months with her, and I’m winding around those curves, loving where I am at the moment.

Now, to emphasize (notice I didn’t use italics for the pun) my next point, Abra isn’t alone in her car. She has two little boys with her, and they can help us see how italicization for emphasis can be unnecessary, for the most part. Let’s look at a bit of their conversation with the italicization included:

“Maybe we’ll see Bumblebee today,” Paulie whispered.

Shu-ut-ut up,” Peter hissed.

“Buzz, buzz,” Abra let them know she heard. “Is that what Shane and Taffy film for their music CDs and DVDs? Bumblebees?”

“Shane films lots of stuff. Last week we got to watch two otters play in the stream at Mount Tabor. It’s really not a mountain. It’s a place where the mountain levels out to one side, but it’s higher on the other. The stream roars down. Shane owns it.”

Would you believe that none of that emphasis is necessary? Look over the paragraph again. Without the italics would you understand that Bumblebee might not be a bumblebee? Yeah. Because the author (me) has capitalized the name of whatever it is.

Do you get the idea that Paulie and Peter don’t want their mom to know that Bumblebee isn’t a bee because maybe she won’t let them continue to do whatever they do with Shane and Taffy? Duh! That’s why Peter tells his twin to sh-ut-ut up, and the boys evade Mom’s questions.

Not one piece of italics is necessary. The dialogue and the way it is delivered take away the need for the telling emphasis. The reader is shown what they need to know. They aren’t talked down to, and the reader also feels as if the author believes he or she is smart enough to catch on to the interplay between a mother and her two boys.

Okay, to the authors who argue that rules are meant to be broken and authors do live to break rules, the fun in breaking the rules comes when you do it at the right time and not every time. Seeing every other word italicized for emphasis or paragraphs of internal monologue weary a reader and plain wear thin on an editor or agent. The secret to breaking these rules and any rule is first to understand it, and when it is understood, use it to the utmost in one, maybe two instances. As stated above, I call that the Big Foot rule. Break the rule so sparingly that the reader will remember it as if they would remember stumbling across a Big Foot or make Big Foot so stealth that they wonder if it existed at all.

Book Poster

Fay Lamb (The Tactical Editor)  is an author, editor, and writing coach, who loves to work with authors to help them meet their goals.Her emotionally charged stories remind the reader that God is always in the details. Fay has contracted three series. Stalking Willow and Better Than Revenge

Art of Characterization Cover FINAL FRONT (2)Books 1 and 2 in the Amazing Grace romantic suspense series are currently available for purchase. Charisse and Libby the first two novels in her The Ties That Bind contemporary romance series have been released. Fay has also collaborated on two Christmas novella projects: The Christmas Three Treasure Hunt, A Ruby Christmas, and the Write Integrity Press romance novella series, which includes  A Dozen Apologies, The Love Boat Bachelor, and Unlikely Merger, which are now available in print or eBook as The Heart Seekers. Her adventurous spirit has taken her into the realm of non-fiction with The Art of Characterization: How to Use the Elements of Storytelling to Connect Readers to an Unforgettable Cast.Future releases from Fay are: Everybody’s Broken and Frozen Notes, Books 3 and 4 of Amazing Grace and Hope and Delilah, Books 3 and 4 from The Ties that Bind.

Fay loves to meet readers, and you can find her on her personal Facebook page, her Facebook Author page, and at The Tactical Editor on Facebook. She’s also active on Twitter. Then there are her blogs: On the Ledge, Inner Source, and the Tactical Editor. And, yes, there’s one more: Goodreads. Anyone interested in learning more about Fay’s freelance editing and her coaching, should contact her at fay@faylamb.com.

 

 

The Danger of Killing Characters

2016 July 29

The Danger of Killing CharactersRecently, while heading toward the last scene of my work in progress, I pondered killing off the hero. In this tale of suspense, a lot of people fall prey to mayhem. I thought perhaps offing the hero would be a twist for my reader. I pondered this thought for all of two seconds.

Spoiler alert: I kept him safe and returned him to the arms of the heroine. Believe me. I wouldn’t write this unless I knew that the twists and turns in this story will keep a reader turning the page wondering how the heroine will ever have a happy-ever-after.

Here’s why I didn’t end the character’s life:

I’m not Nicholas Sparks. He can get away with it. Those who continue to read his books look for someone to die. I don’t read his books any longer. If he left a heroine or hero alive at the end of a story, I would be surprised. In turn, if I killed a hero or heroine, my readers would be flabbergasted. Readers do not like their favorite writers to surprise them in this manner without very, very good reason.

When readers pick up a book, they are investing their time and their imaginations in the lives written on the page. For an author to kill a main character without necessity is a waste of both a reader’s time and imagination. Once a reader has realized the author has wasted her valuable investment, she is less likely to allow the writer the opportunity to do so again. Some authors do have very good reasons for not providing a happily ever after romantic ending. In A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks, there is no story unless the young heroine dies. That’s what the story is about. She’s dying. A miracle cure would really aggravate the reader. The same is true of The Notebook. The jury is out on some of Sparks’ other titles, though. I stopped reading the books because my costly investment yielded nothing of uplifting value. I don’t like to close a book and walk around bummed about it for days. However, there is one title by Og Mandino where the story is imprinted on my heart because the young hero of the story died. He had to die. Without it, like the aforementioned Sparks’ title, there would be no story, but The Twelfth Angel sits among my favorites on my bookshelf.

Killing off a secondary character can be tricky as well. The best example I have of this is from the movie, The Mummy. Good old Bennie. He was a rascal, but he was a funny rascal. Even when Evie stands in the desert with him after she believes the mummy has killed her hero and she declares, “Nasty little fellows like you always get their comeuppance” (yes, I have seen the movie over 200 times. I can quote every line), I was still not prepared for that comeuppance. I was angered. How dare they kill off Bennie?

Well, they dared because he was akin to most of Peter Lorrie’s characters in the classic movies. When the shock and anger wore off, I understood Bennie had to die. The screenwriter had a reason. Fans of the movie realize that the directorship and the appeal of the movie is the classic formula, especially in characterization: hero, heroine, sidekick, villain, villain sidekick.

Now, secondary characters with four legs—our little furry friends—that an author kills off are another story altogether. Very few times when I have read a novel or a proposal have I believe any animal killed within the pages was done for anything but author suicide. Oh, the readers might cry over the animal’s death, but the emotion turned on the author is anger, hence, author suicide. The writer becomes dead to the reader.

I get those folks who say, “You have more compassion for an animal than you do a human being.”

Great. Those people are right probably not only in a story world but in real life.

Shame on me for being honest.

However, the majority of readers, if they will admit it, feel the same way about the books they read. Kill off a secondary two-legged character, and I might not like it, but I will continue reading. Kill off an animal without real reason and the book is trashed, as in hurled into a wastebasket, never going to tell anyone about the story because I would never do to another reader what an author did to me by suggesting they read the story.

If I’m editing for acquisition and an animal dies, the author is in trouble unless I see why it had to happen. And I have had one acquisition—only one—where I accepted the death, and I have to say that the reader did it so well that when it happened, I jumped up from my chair with my hands covering my mouth. The killing was necessary, but we had to tone that well-written death down a tad. In fact, the actual act was not shown, but the reader got the gist when they turned the page to the next chapter. You see, when I jumped up from my chair, that was the ultimate case of what I refer to as “jarring the reader.” I was taken right out of the story–horrified by the action. I don’t like to be horrified. I don’t watch horror movies. This book, while an action/thriller type story, was not horror, yet I was unsuspectingly jolted by the terribly vivid end to an animal.

The truth about the risk of killing off important secondary characters was brought home to me through the untimely death of a real-life feline who didn’t even live in my country let alone in my home. I was on staff as secretary for my church at the time. I was in an evening service. My pastor had just returned from the Philippines. That particular evening service, he was reporting on the mission team’s trip. Within the first five minutes, he mentioned that on the way from the airport their driver ran over a cat. The next day in a meeting, he asked his staff if the report had conveyed the importance of the trip. I looked up at him, and with all honesty, I declared, “I don’t know. The last words I heard were about the dead cat.”

So, the lesson I learned is this: whenever an author decides to kill a character (whether it is hero or heroine, a secondary character, either two legged or four legged), the result of said death should be weighed carefully. An author could have a great message or theme woven through the pages of his or her story, but kill off the wrong character, and that message or theme will be lost to the reader. The only part of the story that will be remembered is the death of the beloved.

The death of the Filipino cat, an animal I would have never known about otherwise, clenched my heart and squeezed so tightly that I heard nothing else of what the pastor said. Though the pastor’s words had been important, they were lost on me. He’d made me love the cat by telling me of its death. The story wasn’t about the cat, but my heart stayed with the dead animal, imagining its suffering on the road in the same way I imagine you, as a reader, are imagining it right now. I did not learn about the missionaries we support or the souls reached during that trip.

What I just did to you by telling you the feline’s story (and I made sure to share it at the end of the post) is not what you, as an author, want to do to your readers–without good reason.

Books Collage

Fay Lamb (The Tactical Editor)  is an author, editor, and writing coach, who loves to work with authors to help them meet their goals.Her emotionally charged stories remind the reader that God is always in the details. Fay has contracted three series. Stalking Willow and Better Than Revenge

Art of Characterization Cover FINAL FRONT (2)Books 1 and 2 in the Amazing Grace romantic suspense series are currently available for purchase. Charisse and Libby the first two novels in her The Ties That Bind contemporary romance series have been released. Fay has also collaborated on two Christmas novella projects: The Christmas Three Treasure Hunt, A Ruby Christmas, and the Write Integrity Press romance novella series, which includes  A Dozen Apologies, The Love Boat Bachelor, and Unlikely Merger, which are now available in print or eBook as The Heart Seekers. Her adventurous spirit has taken her into the realm of non-fiction with The Art of Characterization: How to Use the Elements of Storytelling to Connect Readers to an Unforgettable Cast.Future releases from Fay are: Everybody’s Broken and Frozen Notes, Books 3 and 4 of Amazing Grace and Hope and Delilah, Books 3 and 4 from The Ties that Bind.

Fay loves to meet readers, and you can find her on her personal Facebook page, her Facebook Author page, and at The Tactical Editor on Facebook. She’s also active on Twitter. Then there are her blogs: On the Ledge, Inner Source, and the Tactical Editor. And, yes, there’s one more: Goodreads. Anyone interested in learning more about Fay’s freelance editing and her coaching, should contact her at fay@faylamb.com.