Want More Conflict in Your Novel? Go DM & Balance the Party

Unique ideas on adding dimensions to characters–simple too.

Kristen Lamb's Blog

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Recently, I’ve added homeschooling The Spawn to the list of what I already do. Blog, write books, teach, run two small businesses and keeping a house clean, the yard mowed, and my family fed. As an introvert who works from home, it’s easy to realize you no longer leave the house and are talking to yourself way more than is healthy. Thus, I’ve been on a mission to break some patterns and do what might scare me (talking to other people in person).

Btw, writers don’t count.

Welcome to Nerd Land

In the spirit of this “Doing Stuff Differently” I joined some friends for a monthly game of Dungeons and Dragons, and took Hubby as a hostage teammate. I hadn’t played D&D since I was in high school so there is a learning curve. But one thing that struck me is how being an author had changed my perspective. The…

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10 Facts You Don’t Know About The Lord of the Rings

101 Books

Between Tolkien’s immense novel and Peter Jackson’s incredible adaptation, The Lord of the Rings has more interesting little tidbits than every novel I’ve read from the list combined.

I found this exhaustive list of “facts you never knew” on Empire Online, so I thought I’d share 10 of my favorites with you.

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Writing Block — Cure #1

Writer's Block 1

Setting the atmosphere

If you’re like many people, you have trouble focusing when you sit in front of your computer in the stillness of the morning as your mind wanders and you doze off… again. (Or are startled awake by the begging of the children to come play.) You stare at the screen again and hate the pathetic feeling of inadequacy as you realize yet again that your attempt at writing does not even meet your standards, let alone that of the novels written by authors you secretly dream of readers comparing you with.

In this depression, you lack the words to describe the epic-ness you know your story could hold. How do you get in the mood for the scene? How do you set the atmosphere for it?

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Valens – Emperor Against the World Part 2

A prophecy: Emperor Valens would burn

fire

As mentioned in part 1, though Emperor Valens ruled the eastern Roman Empire, his strangeness led to a paranoia that the world was against him. He had more in common with his enemies the Goths (especially the shared Arian religion) than with his own people. As a result, many Catholics predicted that he would burn.

What led to the burning?

Valens made two mistakes.

Actually, they are one—underestimating.

Planning to recruit Goths into the army, Valens allowed the Tervingi clan (one of the two largest Gothic peoples) to immigrate. Though sources differ on exactly how many Goths crossed the Danube to live in the empire, they all agree that Rome was not prepared. Some guesses are as high as a hundred thousand people. Valens must have underestimated their number, for the empire could not provide to feed them all, let alone give them land. The Goths were placed in what we would now call concentration camps, holding areas where they were cheated and abused. The price of meat? They could purchase a dog carcass by selling a child into slavery.

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History of the World According to the Movies: Part 94 – General History: Daily Life

Do you really want to time travel? Maybe the past wasn’t as perfect as we sometimes think. Check this out to find some surprises.

The Lone Girl in a Crowd

Image If you think Barry Lyndon is too boring or depressing outlook on life in the 18th century, here is the 1963 Oscar winning film Tom Jones which is based on the 1749 comic novel The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling by Henry Fielding. Though it doesn’t really provide an ideal portrait of life at the time, it nevertheless shows an accurate one. Still, even so, it continues to remind us that people living in the 18th century (or any other time in history) were just like everyone else, whores, bad table manners, and all.

Of course, I couldn’t end my movie history series without doing a post on daily life. Let’s just say while movies could show our perception of history, this doesn’t mean it played out like it actually did. Let’s just say if we used Smell-O-Vision in the historical film standpoint, you’d probably wouldn’t be able to…

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8 writing tips from powerlifters

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1. Stay focused

Powerlifting includes three events: squat, bench, and deadlift. The goal is to lift a lot of weight, not to have variety. Unlike body builders, who have multiple forms of exercise for each muscle, powerlifters generally train these three exercises, using others as necessary but not at the expense of these. In this way, they work the entire body and show results without wasted effort.

As a writer, what are your goals? Write 1-3 of them. To be well-rounded, have one about progress on your current book, one about networking, and one about steps to publication or post-publication marketing. Focus on other areas as needed, but never at the expense of these goals.

But what about your daily flash fiction, your blog, revisions, and sending to agents; Facebook, Twitter, and Instamatic; surfing for answers online, reading similar books, and going to conferences? Each of these can be helpful, but only do them if they help with your three goals. Aim for variety in your writing, not your writing habits.

Stop reading — write those goals now.
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