Sci -Fi Novel Prompts


National Geographic puts out a TV series called Year Million. I haven’t watched it til today. It’s freaky stuff and incredible, but my mind reels on what could happen if… (fill in the blank)? 

…Nano bots in everyone’s body and they rebel against humans? Take them over and control? Or people control others. 

… Living forever. All the problems that would create. 

… A group who go against future tech and their rebellion. 

Once you’ve been bitten by the writing bug, are there no limitations to what stories can be told? Only time and energy to stop them from not coming time fruition. And I’ve never written sci-fi.

Where do you get your ideas from? What inspires you?


Getting back into reading


Recently, I ran across old photos of my childhood and many have me curled up with a book. I went through a long spell of not reading, years actually. It’s not that I didn’t try to read! I’ve mentioned this in a post before, that I would read a few pages, the book not catch me, and then I close the book and move on. No need to waste time.

So, I’ve narrowed it down to reading only best seller list books. And the results? I’m actually avidly reading again and finishing books. I’m jumping on the bandwagon with everyone else, but with reason! These books are successful, and have widespread success at that. Meaning to me, they are captivating enough for me to not set the book down after a few pages. Thou shalt not bore, right?

I’m excited to read again.

An insight to what I read, the Divergent series, Gone Girl, and picking up The Maze Runner.

How are you with reading? Do you read often? And what do you read?

Alone? Scared? Don’t be!


In writing, it’s easy to hide away and lose yourself in your make-believe world. A lot of time must be spent deep in thought. I had a previous post talking about how difficult it is to venture out and join the writing community. I would like to dedicate this post to the positive reasons in stepping out and taking those chances.

The first is the feedback from fellow writers and readers. When you get stuck, you can ask people what they think, how they might suggest going forward, and advice on your work in general. They can help support you and encourage your writing. It’s also great to provide that same feedback to others, thus building a writing community.

The second reason for putting yourself out there: if you are a writer seeking publication, then your work will eventually see the light of day. By sharing it with a critique group or partner, you are taking steps to showing the world what you wrote! And that’s pretty exciting. Scary too. It prepares you for the big leagues of publishing.

Finally, it’s wonderful to have camaraderie in the writing community. It’s so beneficial to discuss writing with someone who’s eyes don’t roll in the back of their head. To chat about actual publishing, plot points, and what they think about so and so characters. For the fear I had in joining social media, I’ve met some pretty cool people who keep me motivated, who have great advice to give, and we aren’t alone in our writing.

Thank you all writers out there and keep writing! A special thanks to Amanda over at Amanda’s Nose in a Book.

Character Sketches


This post goes along with a previous post I had about writing flat characters. By creating a thorough character sketch with a backstory, I’m able to really get to KNOW my characters and flesh out my stories better. Previously, I used my own Q&A worksheet, but found it much easier to use someone else’s. I follow K.M. Weiland’s blog and used her great questionnaire.

Each question leads to a stronger awareness of who your character is and what motivates or scares them, and many other traits you didn’t know that character even had. Some of the questions aren’t easily answered, but by the third page I feel like we’ve been introduced and I have a good feel for who the character is.

I also write an autobiographical backstory for each main character and then tie them all together. I start from birth and to whom, then into education and young life, then delve into what happened in their lives to make them who they are today. By the end I feel like I have a whole book to publish on a single character, but will only draw from that history. It’s surprisingly fun to write the history of villains. Give it a try!

After I have all the backstory typed onto my computer and connected through hyperlinks in my word processing program, I print the pages out and put them into an organized notebook. It helps me to have order so I can find things when I need them.

This method works for me. Do you have a process in getting to know your characters? How do the introductions go?

Bland Characters vs. Intriguing Characters


One of the first books I wrote, I loved and it was just beautifully prosed. At least until I learned about a little about characters and storytelling. I analyzed my main character, and asked myself simple questions, “She’s on a quest to save the country from evil, what does she add to the quest? What personality traits help her achieve her goals? Does she even have any goals? If I deleted the character from the story, would the story go on without her?”

After a deep look at my character, I realized she was weak and shallow and this was my main protagonist! She was a character my book could do without. It was a difficult discovery.

Throw the book aside? I think not. I can’t ignore all the many years of work. So I filled out character sketches, mapped out my characters personalities and their involvement with the story. My other characters were fun, strong, and had quirks. But the main character: a dull one.

Ultimately, I revamped my character, adding depth, discovering who she is, and it’s led to a complete rewrite of the story, naturally. Now there’s more depth. Today, I can tell you who my character is, how she will react in different situations, but mostly how my story needs her.

How deep are your characters? Are they worthy of being in your story?

Naming Characters


Naming characters can be a challenge. Here is how I handle naming characters.

I start by fitting the name to the genre and tying it to my character. Since I write fantasy, I pick some made up names and some common names. Possibly today’s names but with a little different spelling.

One trick I have is listing a bunch of syllables together. Like Thor-ein, Fli-prisn, Veri-kan. Sometimes they end up as names for people, places, or groups of people or creatures. Some sounds are harsher than others, and some slip off the tongue. (I’m finding this by teaching my three year old phonics.)


Extra tips:

Try saying names out loud, to see if they are easily pronounced.

Will reading the name trip up the reader? Pausing the reader can lose them.

Name characters with enough differences in their names. Not: Simon, Shane, Sally, Sharon, and so on. Or even Rob, Bob, or Ron. It helps to keep characters apart and not blend together, again being a potential trip up of the reader and losing them.

Warning: too many hard-to-pronounce, made up names in one book can really lose the reader. It can be difficult to remember unfamiliar names.

Finally, an old standby is picking up a baby book and searching in there. These are convenient because some of them even have the meanings and origins of names.

How do you pick your character’s names?