- A Kitty in the Henhouse
- Chicken Scratches and Other Writing Tips
- Eye Candy
- Happenings at the Henhouse
- Music of the Coop
- Pop Culture
- Squawk Authors: Latest and Greatest Books
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- Squawk Interactive: Captions, polls, etc
- Squawk's Favorite Books
- Stranger Than Fiction (Real Life)
- Teresa Reveals the CONFESSIONS OF A TRUE ROMANTIC
- CHRISTINA DODD HAS A TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE, NO GOOD, VERY BAD DAY
- Christina Dodd Exposes the Glamour of Booktour
- Christina Dodd Treats You to an Extra Excerpt of IN BED WITH THE DUKE!
- GIRLFRIENDS JUST WANT TO HAVE FUN Contest!
- Connie Brockway Posts Incriminating New Video
- SPOIL ME! BY CELEBRATING THE GOLDEN SEASON’S PUB DATE, TODAY!
- Teresa Says It Loud and Says It Proud: I WRITE ROMANCE NOVELS!!!
- CHRISTINA DODD SAYS “IT’S CHRISTMAS! DUCK!”
- Teresa Needs Your Help to Choose the SEXIEST MAN DEAD!
Now that I’ve finished “Mine Till Midnight,” my historical romance for St Martin’s, I have some time to prepare for my next contemporary novel. To me, this is the most difficult but also the most fun part of being a writer . . . plotting and wool-gathering. By wool-gathering, I mean the accumulation of dialogue snippets and character quirks and bits of action that give fullness and life to the story. No matter how tight and perfect your plot is, the characters are stick figures until you figure out their personal histories, and how their interactions might go.
A well-camouflaged character is always intriguing. As a reader, you’re not quite sure how you’re going to feel about a hero, heroine or villain until they reveal their true natures with some telling gesture or action. In books and also in real life, people are always engaged in PR whether they’re aware of it or not. The clothes they wear, the words they choose, their silences, body language, and the actions they take, all define them to the rest of the world.
Think about the judgments we make at a place like the grocery store . . . when we see a parent slap a child, or when a stranger helps someone who’s knocked over a few cans of tomatoes, or when someone waits patiently for a senior citizen to move down the aisle. We instantly draw conclusions.
Other times, we instinctively make a judgment about someone, but we try to talk ourselves out of it. For example, Mr. Smith can’t be an abusive husband, because he goes to church. Your supposed friend gossips about everyone else in town, but assures you that she would never say anything bad about you. But people give us clues about their true natures. Actions speak louder than words. Maya Angelou said it perfectly : “When someone shows you who they really are, believe them.”
In my novel “Devil In Winter,” the hero, Sebastian, tries to convince the heroine, Evie, that he is every bit as shallow, self-absorbed and villainous as his reputation has led her to believe. But his self-condemning words are belied by his actions. When he takes the trouble to get Evie a foot-warmer on their long, cold journey to Gretna Green, she begins to suspect there is more to him than meets the eye.
When Roarke, in JD Robb’s “Naked In Death” keeps a button that has fallen from Eve Dallas’s jacket, you know he has a serious fascination for her.
When my reputedly cat-hating husband was dating me and brought my cat a toy, I knew he has serious intentions *g*.
What gestures, in real life or in books, have given you the aha moment, when you realize someone is not what he or she seems?