Creating characters of the opposite gender can be a hellofa tricky task. In a workshop called “He Said, She Said,” my pal Jennie Shortridge and I try to make the point that observation and respect are the two keys. Look, listen, watch how men and women react, move, speak.
     Each person–male or female–has a distinct set of behaviors, unique traits,some good, some bad. If you  write with all your biases showing, you’ll end up with cardboard people. Whiney women, domineering men, you know all the rest.
    All men are . . .,
    Women always . . .
   As you write today (you are writing today?) open your eyes and open your heart give us real people, men and women, with hearts and minds and souls and dreams.
   Perform this invigorating creative process at WRITE AT ABSOLUTE TOP SPEED.


      Here’s a place that talks about the real reason for writing. Synopsis: the road to publishing is long and hard. We have to love the craft, the work of writing. Fiddling with words may be all that keeps us going.
     Without that, we might as well be studying taxidermy. At least when people tell us to “get stuffed,” we’d have something to show for it.
     I hope your love of the writer’s craft means you will learn to love your characters as well, and want to make them live and breath and fart and sweat.
     Fiction is all about interesting people in trouble. And it needs to be major trouble. Characters need to experience a watershed event. A major turning point in their lives. After this, nothing will ever be the same again. No little piddly-ass irritation will do. Readers read for emotion. Real, strong stuff.
     Get that watershed event right up front. Think of the things that have changed your life. A chance encounter, a job in another town, a death in the family, a forbidden love. This is the kind of stuff that stirs things up, keeps those agents reading. A lot is at stake, in your story (and in your life) as you write. Think what you would do with a generous six-figure advance.
     Ok, stop thinking about it–focus on your character.
      I can hear a small whine gathering in the back of your throat right now. “A six figure advance? I’ll belive it when I see it.”
      As Beverly Sills once told a young singer who dreamed of Carnegie Hall, “You’ll see it when you belive it.”
      Now, as always, the journey begins by writing at ABSOLUTE TOP SPEED.
      Hasta Luego.