Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Write Well Wednesday: Poets and Writers

Today I'm doing a shout out to the Poets and Writers website!

Every-so-often we writers need to share the wealth.  This is of my favorite writer resource sites!  While this site offers a lot to anyone willing to take a few minutes and look through the contents, my favorite aspect of this site is the ability to find what journals and magazines are taking submissions as well as checking to see what competitions are being offered.

Take a few minutes out of your busy day to stop here and see if it can help you!


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Toolbox Tuesday: Dreams

Short and sweet today!  DREAMS...

Simple enough!  I'm not talking about the get in bed and enter sandman dreams.  I'm talking about the waking dreams that drive us forward in life.  Everyone I know has one dream or another.  Which means you probably do to!  You might have many small dreams which, upon accomplishment, require making bigger and grander plans; or you may have a big-shiny-dream which requires making many small steps to get to.

I'm a big dream kind of girl.  My dream is to become a bestselling author.  I keep this first and foremost in my mind all day, every day.  I don't think any decision I make is made without thinking about how it will impact my dream. 

I, for one, think it's incredibly important to have a dream that you believe is legitimate and achievable within your lifetime.  It's having something to want and look forward to that keeps us on the right path, plugging forward when fate starts to throw random road-blocks in front of us.  Without this drive and desire, we plod through life and, while we may make startling achievements, I don't think they are as sweet because we didn't desire them in the first place. 

After all, does cake more satisfying when you've been wanting it for a month or if someone just randomly hands you a piece?

Monday, December 26, 2011

Monday Muse: White Flag -Morgan

This is one of my favorite bands ever! This is an older version of White Flag...Back when they called themselves "Morgan" and not "The Romanovs," but I like this YouTube version a little better. Enjoy!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Cheer And Joy

The giveaway madness has ended. *whew* Congratulations to "Spav" who won my Stuff Your Stocking Giveaway. Fingers crossed for all of you who entered any other giveaways as part of the Mistletoe Madness Blog Hop.

I want to thank all of you for making this giveaway such a success. I had over 550 entries and there are now an extra one hundred people following this blog.

For those of you who are new, here's what to expect:

Generally, here are three posts a week.

Monday Muse (I post a fun song or piece of art to get everyone's creative juices flowing for the week)

Toolbox Tuesday (I decide on a tool that belongs in a writer's toolbox and give it an in depth examination)

Write Well Wednesday (I give a writer's "craft" entry)

Every-so-often, I'll review a book or put up a personal blog entry so you can see how my journey as a writer is going.

PLUS, I'm intending to do at least six giveaways a year. My next giveaway will be a YA faeries and fantasy blog hop in early January, so stay tuned for that!

Disclaimer: I do suffer from chronic migraines and twelve hour work days so every-so-often I miss one...I'm only human.

If you end up enjoying this blog or my tweets, please tell your friends! The best gift you could give me is more followers (this is incredibly important for when I finally graduate to the big leagues and need to reach many potential readers). In return, I'll try to give you interesting posts, juicy giveaways, stories that don't suck *hopefully,* and fun playlists on YouTube.

I hope the holidays are simply smashing for all of you!
-A.L. Davroe

Friday, December 16, 2011

Mistletoe Madness Blog Hop

Hello and welcome to my very first giveaway!

Since this is the first and it's so close to the holidays, this giveaway is extra special!  For this giveaway, you get to stuff your own stocking!  If you win this giveaway, you can choose any three books from the list*; plus you get a free e-book version of my short story, Salvation Station.  In addition to all that, you can enter into a chance to win the grand-prize: a brand new Nook Color (with a sexy leather cover) that has been preloaded with e-books from the sponsor authors (including myself).

Young Adult Books:
1. The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross
2. Pathfinder by Orson Scott Card
3. Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel
4. Darker Still by Leanna Renee Hieber
5. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
6. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
7. The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor 
8. Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
9.  Any book in the Maximum Ride Series by James Patterson
10. Any book in the Birthmark Trilogy by Caragh M. O'Brien
11.  Any of The Books of Pellinor by Alison Croggon
12. Any book in The Leviathan Trilogy by Scott Westerfeld

Adult Books:
1. Ganymede by Cherie Priest
2. The Buntline Special by Mike Resnick
3. The Court of the Air by Stephen Hunt
4. Any book in A Song of Ice and Fire Series by George R.R. Martin
5. Any book in The House of Comarré Series by Kristen Painter
6. Any book in the Night Angel Trilogy by Brent Weeks
7. Any book in the Pendragon Cycle by Stephen R. Lawhead
8. Any book in the Riyria Revelations by Michael J. Sullivan
9.  Any book in The Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne
10. Any book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood by J.R. Ward

If you want any of these books, here's what to do:
1.  Enter my giveaway by following my blog.  To increase your chances of winning, you can do the other tasks!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Write Well Wednesday: Creating the Vocal Character

This post is the third in a series of posts about characterization.  To read the others, go here:  Creating the Visual Character and here:  Creating the Active Character.

Today we're talking about my favorite aspect of the dynamic character!  It's already technically Thursday and I'm bone, it's going to be a short, sweet post (and I hope I'm not so tired that it doesn't make sense)! 

Today's topic: Creating the character's voice.  This character trait has two areas.  The internal voice and the external voice.

The internal voice is the way the character vocalizes his or her thoughts or feelings to his or herself while the external voice is the way the character expresses his/herself to the other characters in the story.  The reader is privy to the internal voice while the other characters are not, thus creating a bond between the main character and the reader. 

Quite often, the internal voice is very different than the external response.

Example:  A teenaged boy is dared to egg a house by his friends. 

Internally, he's really a good kid and doesn't want to do it; however, he explains to us how much he wants to fit in with his friends.  He'll go through the motions of wondering if he'll get in trouble and he might consider the feelings of the house's owner.  He's having an internal struggle on whether to do it or not and weighing how his friends will react if he says, "No."  The reader is following him through this internal struggle, learning all about his strengths and weaknesses, wants and needs.  From this voice, we come to know that the boy is really a good, sensitive kid who just wants to fit in.  And, depending on how good the author portrays his internal character, they may even come to sympathize with the boy's plight.  They may even see themselves in the boy.  You want this kind of emotional stock!

Externally, the boy's friends watch as the boy, exuding an air of bravado, gets out of the car, tells them he's going to aim for the window, and throws the egg.  He turns around with a big stupid grin on his face when he hits his mark.  From the friend's perspective, we learn that the boy is fearless, brazen, and pretty damn cool.  He can hang with us!

The boy has saved face with his friends, but at what cost to the internal voice?  And how does the reader feel now that they know the boy betrayed his true self so that he could fulfill a social desire?  A writer must think about where they want to lead the reader with all of this conflict!

On the flip side, one character might think that they are exuding a particular air to others -- perhaps trying to reflect what their internal voice is telling them to do, perhaps trying to do the opposite -- but others may not being perceiving them the way they want to be perceived.

Our boy wanted to be cool for one set of friends, but what does he look like to the eighty-year-old grandmother whose house he just egged?  He looks like quite a jerk doesn't he?

These are the kinds of complications that make characters rich.  Be sure to always divide your character between who they are on the inside, what they want others to think, and how those others actually perceive that character.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


Sorry guys, no Toolbox Tuesday today. I'm having some life complications and need a mental breather. There will be a Write Well Wednesday post tomorrow, so tune in for that. Also, my first giveaway goes up on Friday (December 16) and will be running through next week (December 23), so make sure you tune in for that. Scheduled posts (Monday Muse, Toolbox Tuesday, and Write Well Wednesday) will be on hold until the 26th!

In the mean time, have a fun cheer up song! This isn't exactly the situation I'm having, but I always sing the chorus of this song and it cheers me up. :)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Write Well Wednesday: Creating the Active Character

Today's post is the second in a series on characterization.  To read last week's post go here: Creating the Physical Character

Today's topic is creating the active character.

Once you've established the physical characteristic of a character (what anyone might be able to see from a photograph), you're going to start the second dimension of your character's personality -- what people would see when your character is moving.  This is a secondary visual characterization, so think silent film.

A huge amount of human interaction can be boiled down to physical action and reaction.  We're incredibly expressive and, often, we take that for granted when we build characters.  So here, we will make sure that we cover this base.

1.  Quirk your character.  Everyone has at least one physical quirk.  Ask someone what yours is.  Do you chew on your lip or your nails?  Are you a leg jiggler?  Do you click pens, snap gum, twirl hair?  All these little things are physical traits that we take for granted, but subconsciously integrate into our physical profiles of the people we surround ourselves with.  Decide what you believe a certain character's quirk should be and then make sure that you sprinkle it in throughout your manuscript.  Like any trait, you don't want to mention it all the time because you'll start to annoy the reader.  A really ingenious way to build in quirks is by making another character notice it (because we don't often notice our own quirks, right?)

2.  Build your character's active presence.  Depending on the type of character your trying to create, you're going to give him/her a presence.  This can be both an active and static physical characteristic that other character's notice about the character in question.  Is the character passive?  Then make them stand off to the side, maybe hunch their shoulders or hide behind their hair.  How about that military man from the last post?  How would he stand?  Probably erect or at attention and his presence might somehow feel a little overbearing...Perhaps he looms over others or scowls a lot?

3.  Make the physical and emotional work with the active.  If you've got a tall character then make sure the way he walks and stands matches his physical characteristics.  Have you noticed that most seven feet tall people tend to stoop slightly?  Perhaps that's out of fear of hitting their heads or a need to bend closer to others to hear them or look them in the face?  What about an overweight person?  How would they walk and what sort of active challenges might they face?  Depending on how overweight they are they may have to turn a particular way to get through a turnstile at a train station or might need to constantly adjust their clothing.  If your character is depressed, make him drag his feet when he walks.  If she's high powered business woman who hunts demons by night, she probably walks quite confidently and stands proudly.

4.  Characters must save face!  I don't know how many books I've read where characters don't make facial expressions.  The likelihood of finding someone who never smiles or doesn't express their feelings through their eyebrows is pretty darn low.  How someone uses their face to express themselves can tell a huge amount about their personality and how they interact with others.  It can also tell us a lot about what other characters feel about them.  Is there something fake about their smile?  Does their joy reach their eyes?  Does the character arch one eyebrow or two?  Do they tend to use the physical instead of the verbal to express confusion or a question?  And don't forget!  If you make a facially expressive character, give them static physical features that might indicate this (i.e. wrinkles).

5.  Reaction.  Pretend you are producing a silent film.  You have no words to express how your character is feeling.  Someone just pulled a gun on your main character.  How is your character physically going to react?  Recoil?  An expression of defiance?  A deer in the headlights eye-widening?  Every action deserves reaction.  Any interaction between a character and his/her world or other characters will illicit some type of expressive or active response from the character.  Make sure these reactions fit with the personality you're trying to create for your character.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Toolbox Tuesday: Karma Code

What goes around comes around.  You reep what you sow.   The Golden Rule.  Harm None.  Cause and Effect.

The idea of doing unto others as you would have others do unto you has been around for quite some time.  It spans every religion and every culture across the world.  Yet somehow we still manage to miss this one...

As some of you may know, one of my close friends lost her engagement ring this past weekend.  We're not entirely sure how it came off of her finger, but somehow she dropped it at a restaurant.  And someone, instead of handing in something that they surely understood had sentimental value to another, found it and kept it for themselves. 

Two things happened here.  One: Someone who might be good enough not to steal the ring noticed but didn't do anything about it.  Two: Someone noticed it and stole it. 

Notice what didn't happen?  No one cared enough to pick up the ring and bring it to management.  This got me thinking.  This whole "copping out half-way to being a good person" thing happens a lot.  People won't help a stranger in need.  Why?  What's stopping us?  Are we lazy?  Scared?  Do we intuit that there is nothing in it for us if we do help?  A little bit of everything?  Basically we say, "I'm not bad so I'm not going to take the ring."  But we don't think to expend our energy enough to save the ring from being stolen.  We say, "It's not my problem" or we don't want to be accused of stealing the ring if someone sees us pick it up.

Let's face it.  Humans are, by definition, selfish.  We have to program ourselves to be selfless and self-sacrificing.  Even then it has been a matter of philosophical debate as to whether we even help people out of a selfish need.

Why do you help people? 
"Because it feels good."
Oh, so it's about you feeling good.

Why do you help people?
"Because I'd want someone to do it for me."
Oh, so it's about you again... More specifically, this particular one is about you hoping that you can be an example to society or perhaps gain some kind of "Get Out of Jail Free" card for being a good person. 

Or, as I like to call it, you're building up good Karma. 

Which brings me to today's Tool:  The Karma Code! 

We should all have one in our Writer's Toolbox and we should live by it for the rest of our lives.  All it is is a simple promise to one's self to do whatever you can to help another.  In return, positive energy will come back and help you.  It's the basic idea that what you put in is what you get out. 

What's this all about?  The Buddhists believe Karma stretches over lifetimes and has an impact on what you will be and do in the next life.  If you are bad you will have a worse life when you are reincarnated.  If you are good, you will have a good life.  Eventually, when you've risen high enough on the karma food-chain, you reach Nirvana (the ultimate goal and Enlightenment).  (This is a very simplified version which, in this context, actually goes against the teachings of Buddhist because I'm advocating the use of Karmic theory in an effort for personal gain).

I know what you're thinking:  "I'm not a Buddhist.  I don't even believe in Heaven, for goodness sake! How does Karma help me as a writer?"

Let's be New Agey here and say that Karma is simply energy.  Good Karma is positive energy and Bad Karma is negative energy.  Like attracts like.  You conduct negative energy, you'll get negative energy.  Which means Bad Karma attracts Bad Karma.  And Good attracts Good. 

And how does that relate to the here and now?  Well, not all that good karma can go into your next life, can it?  Some of the positive energy has to impact you here in this life.  What better place than in that call from an agent who wants to represent your manuscript, or an editor who wants to buy your novel, or in reaching 10k followers on Twitter, or getting that fat check from Amazon in the mail?

So, next time you're feeling like not following another author on Twitter, or ignoring a fan at a conference, or not helping someone who has dropped their papers in the elevator.  Just remember:  "This could be the little push I need to get what I want."  No one is going to punish you for thinking about how you're going to benefit from something, especially if others benefit as well.

Alternately, try your best to keep your attitude up at all times.  The idea of Karma stretches beyond actions.  Thinking good, positive things will attract more positive energy your way!

So, try your best to integrate doing the absolute good by another that you can. It WILL come back to you in the end!