Characterization: Journey to Awareness

Characterization: Journey to Awareness

By Gail Gaymer Martin

Every novel moves the main characters toward growth on their journey from unawareness to awareness. This happens in any genre from suspense to romance. And it happens in real life. We all make mistakes and, hopefully, learn from them.  So do all the main characters in a novel when they are confronted with a situation or an individual whose demands cause opposition that results in change.

Change can be positive or negative. Negative change creates doubt, discouragement or anger while positive change results in understanding or confidence through evaluation, new perception, and decisions. Weighing and judging new evidence provides wiser choices as characters face their weaknesses or deficiencies within their own thought processes or abilities.

The character’s past strengths and weaknesses can be reevaluated and understood, giving options for how the character might succeed or fail in putting two and two together. This helps wiser choices to be applied to the situation they face.

In life and in fiction, sometimes growth is a pattern of failure and success. Success can be achieved when a character digs deep inside to evaluate those patterns by organizing and evaluating what has been learned and then chooses the best answer to his dilemma. When a character ignores a friend’s warning about a bad investment or ignores a job offer that sounds questionable, the character faces a loss. If this happens, he can learn from the mistake and realize that not listening results in consequences. Next time a friend’s warning will have greater value and can result in a wiser decision. This means the character’s journey moves from unawareness to growth and progress and then awareness.

Still some character may have to ignore numerous warnings before he faces his weakness, the inability to weigh and judge choices wisely. This can add conflict to a novel by two partners or friends dealing with this issue when the result affects them both.

By understanding the process of growth through understanding the positive and negative attitudes and the abilities of a character, authors can use this knowledge to deepen the characterization of the individuals in the story and add realism and anxiety for the reader.

In your next novel, challenge characters by overlooking or ignoring other’s knowledge and have them act on their ignorance. When they admit mistakes, gain awareness and grow, the change will add credence to the characterization and the reality of the story.

© Gail Gaymer Martin 2015

Question: In what way have you allowed your characters to make mistakes and then face their errors and grow as a person? Share your thoughts in the comments.


gailmartinMulti-award-winning novelist Gail Gaymer Martin writes Christian women’s fiction, romance and romantic suspense. Gail has six-three published novels with four million books sold. She is the author of Writers Digest’s Writing the Christian Romance. Gail is a co-founder of American Christian Fiction Writers, a keynote speaker at churches, libraries and writers organizations, and presents workshops at conference across the US. She was named one of the four best novelists in the Detroit area by CBS local news. She lives with her husband in a northwest Detroit suburb. Her latest novel is Romance By Design released by Winged Publications. Visit her website at

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How Are Those Goals Going?

Well, we are a month and a half into 2016 – a time when many people have already fallen flat on any New Year’s resolutions/goals they may have made last month. It is easy to get discouraged when we look back and see what we hoped for – and realize we haven’t gotten much closer. And if you are on MY side of the globe, the winter doldrums that may or may not have hit certainly don’t help.

But it’s okay. If you are plugging away and on track – good for you. If you aren’t – that is fine as well. For a few reasons.

  1. God knew what the circumstances of your life were – knew what you would achieve and wouldn’t. He knew the goals you would set, and the goals you would abandon. And He knew WHY you would achieve or abandon them. And He loves you anyway.
  2. January 1 is completely an arbitrary date. Sure, a lot of people turn over a new leaf at the beginning of the new year, but nobody said you had to. Reset your goals today. This is as much a new day as any other.
  3. God is in control – and He made every day of this year, and every other year, past or future. If you have stepped off the track, so to speak, just step back on (whether it be goals or your walk with Him or anything else). His mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23)

Great is His faithfulness!

How ARE your goals going? How will that change today?

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Making Something Out of Nothing

Making Something Out of Nothing

By Delia Latham

Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

God put His “Seal of Approval” on creativity from the start.

He brought forth the earth and seas and sky and everything above, below and in between – out of “thin air,” as the saying goes. But it wasn’t magic. It was creation (the act of producing or causing to exist, according to

And it wasn’t easy. God needed rest after he’d finished His work. The first verse in the Bible is most likely the ultimate understatement of all time. I’m convinced those six days of intense creation entailed far more thought and planning than scripture reveals. Is it possible there might even have been a “do-over” or two?

We’re allowed to see only the finished product of God’s original creative process. He kept specific details – the “making of” the making of the world – to Himself. Just handed us the complete, finished work to enjoy.

Isn’t that what we do as writers?

Our Father taught us by example, and we’d do well to follow the Leader:

Start with a blank canvas. Nothing there. Just an empty page and the desire to turn it into something magnificent.

Continue Reading…

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Smother Them with Kisses (A Valentine devotional)

Smother Them With Kisses

By Pam Ford Davis

I just had a light bulb revelation. A thought shed light on a much-used expression, ‘Smother them with kisses.’ Okay, to smother is to leave one breathless. Hey, that was a hit song. [Jerry Lee Lewis, 1958]

Valentine’s Day is rapidly approaching. I’m a hopeless romantic; will I smother my sweetie with kisses and shower him with love? Nah, the customary “Happy Valentine’s Day” will suffice.

Inwardly, all blossom when receiving outward expressions of love. The simple touch on a persons’ cheek or firm squeeze of their hand lifts spirits. We cannot start sharing those actions too early; as recipients, we never outgrow the desire for hugs and kisses.

Once upon a time, there was a woman with a scandalous reputation

“A woman in the town who was a sinner found out that Jesus was reclining at the table in the Pharisee’s house. She brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil and stood behind Him at His feet, weeping, and began to wash His feet with her tears. She wiped His feet with the hair of her head, kissing them and anointing them with the fragrant oil (Luke 7:37-38 HCS).”

Was Christ offended? No, He was befriended and deeply loved. Praising her, the merciful Lord seized the opportunity to teach valuable lessons on love and forgiveness. (Verses 39-50)

I close with a recollection: S.W.A.K. ‘Sealed with a kiss!’

With God all things are possible! Published articles in Mature Living Magazine, Secret Place, Daily Devotionals for the Deaf, Light from the Word Daily Devotional. Available now in book store: FORGET-ME-NOT DAILY DEVOTIONAL http:/

Article Source: WRITER

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Delicious Writing

The FaithWriters Writing challenge is well under way for 2016 – in fact, we are halfway through the first quarter. As you may have heard, this year’s challenge quarters are unthemed, which means the next topic could be just about anything. And this week, we are looking for something…well…delicious.

So, wanna jump in to this week’s challenge? If you are a platinum or gold member, you are more than welcome to write an entry, between 150 and 750 words, with a Christian worldview, with the topic as the focus of your piece. (If you are a silver member, you have a total of four opportunities to enter the challenge to try it out over your time as a FaithWriters member) But don’t wait TOO long. This week’s topic – Delicious – ends on Thursday at 11am ET (when a new topic will be announced).

Once the topic is closed, you can check out other entries to read and comment on – and a week from Thursday, winners will be announced. And if you are a platinum member – don’t forget you have the opportunity to get a ratings report to learn your strengths and weaknesses in your entry. Check out the Writing Challenge page for more details.

Have any ideas for the topic?

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Five Tips for Creating an Effective Newsletter

Five Tips for Creating an Effective Newsletter

By Dorothy Love

Staying in touch with our readers has never been more important than it is now, in these days of shrinking markets and expanding options for the way stories and other types of entertainment are delivered.  I’ve been doing some research on what makes a newsletter worth the time, effort and money it takes to develop, circulate, and maintain it. I studied the newsletters that arrive in my in-box almost daily and thought about what I like and don’t like. And I consulted a couple of marketing experts to see what they have to say. My own director of marketing at Thomas Nelson feels a newsletter begins to be effective when you have at least 500 names in your database. Once you’ve reached that number, here are five tips the experts say are critical to success:

An attractive layout is paramount. Use plenty of headers subheads, boxes, and graphics such as drawings, photos or illustrations. Some of my friends use a company called Constant Contact that offers a wide range of banners, colors and  layouts.

Don’t annoy your recipients by including too much information about yourself. Of course you want to mention your newest book coming out, any places you’ll be signing, but the value in a newsletter lies in what you can offer your readers.  How about recommendations of  books by other authors that you think your own readers will enjoy? An interesting statistic about books or book buying?  A favorite recipe or one that figures into your novel? A photograph of the setting of your novel? Make it short, make it interesting, and give your readers one little tidbit that’s fun and unexpected.

Don’t give away too much of the plot of your novel. Some experts recommend keeping the summary to 200 words or less. I realized how important this idea is when I remember how having to write a detailed synopsis of a novel beforehand drains me of the sense of urgency needed to actually write the story. Once I’ve set it all out there in the synopsis, I don’t feel the need to write the book.  Readers are the same way. Tell them too much about your novel and they will feel that they’ve already read it.

Provide tips and news about the book business as a whole. Readers enjoy a behind the scenes look at our industry. News of book award winners and upcoming books by well known authors are always interesting. How many of us devoured this week’s news that horror author Stephen King is writing an historical novel about the assassination of President Kennedy?  I’m not even a King fan, but this news held my interest.

Send your newsletter to a media list to generate publicity.

Do you have a favorite tip for creating a newsletter? As a reader, what do you love/not love about the newsletters you receive?


Dorothy LoveBefore moving to the inspirational market with her Hickory Ridge series of historical romances for adult readers, Dorothy Love published more than a dozen novels for preteens and young adults at major New York houses including Random House and Simon and Schuster. In addition to the three in the Hickory Ridge series, she has had three other novels published, including her most recent, A RESPECTABLE ACTRESS,  named a 4.5 star Top Pick by Romantic Times. Her next novel, due out in late May, MRS. LEE AND MRS. GRAY, is a biographical novel about the 50 year friendship between Mrs Robert E Lee and her slave Selina Gray. Dorothy shares a home in the Texas hill country with her husband and golden retriever. She loves chatting with readers through her website: or her author page on Facebook:

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How About Some Haiku?

Did you know that February, the shortest month of the year, is National Haiku Writing Month  (NaHaiWriMo) – a month celebrating the shortest poetry form? (I didn’t until two days ago :D ) The challenge is to write one haiku a day the entire month of February. Which means, since this post is going live on February 2, you are only a day behind! ;)

I am sure most of you learned haiku in school – but, contrary to popular belief, three lines of five, seven, then five syllables does not a haiku make. While following the syllable rule is perfectly fine, the most important part of what makes a haiku a haiku is the poem itself. According to the NaHaiWriMo website, a haiku is a short poem that creates the feeling of a moment of personal experience. They also often have a two-part structure, a seasonal reference, and immediate sensory imagery, avoiding most judgment and analysis. Intrigued? Check out the NaHaiWriMo site to learn more about haiku, the challenge, and how to participate.

So, who’s in?

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A Useful Branch

A little fiction from my own archives :)

A Useful Branch

By Joanne Sher

The white granules of sand burnt the bottoms of his feet. Increasing his pace to a trot, Kevin Small reached the water and knelt into the surf, a small tree branch gripped in his left hand. Slamming the makeshift spear into the water, he stared down at the end of the stick and smirked. A solid hit. He would have a real meal tonight.

Kevin soaked his feet in the ocean water a bit longer, looking out over the horizon. He tried to keep his focus on anything but what his brain was obsessing on. No such luck. He could have a brief break, but after a minute or two the same images would whirl about in his mind until he felt like tearing his hair out.

The worst part was that Kevin knew exactly what he needed to do to calm his mind. Unfortunately, he couldn’t do it.

A few days ago, he’d been on his boat deep-sea fishing, enjoying a well-deserved respite from the hard work of ministry. A few moments of distraction and the boat capsized and broke apart, dumping all its contents, including Kevin, into the sea. He’d floated on a piece of the hull for hours, until he saw this small island. It had taken all his strength to reach the beach.

Kevin remembered an assignment he’d had in a junior high social studies class. He’d been given a list of a few dozen items and was told to pick five to be his only possessions on a desert island. If only he’d had that luxury a couple days ago; though, even then, he wasn’t sure he’d have picked a pen and a notebook.

“I’m a writer, and I can’t write. I’ve gotta get this story out of my head, or I’m gonna go crazy!”

Continue Reading…

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Chase Your Dreams

Chase Your Dreams

By Megan DiMaria

Do you have an unfulfilled dream? Go for it!

No one will drop your life’s dream into your lap. You’ve got to work for it.

Since I was a little girl, I wanted be a published author.

I was too afraid to tell anyone my dream, so when the time came to go to college, I took the safe path and studied communications instead of creative writing.

It served me well, I worked in broadcasting, journalism, and marketing most of my adult life. If I hadn’t made that decision, my life would not have taken me to where I met my honey, so I don’t regret my choices. I’m blessed.

Yet, I still longed to see my name on the spine of a book. My dream would not fade. So one day about a decade ago I decided to take a run at my dream.

By then, I’d been writing a novel (or two!), but I never submitted it to a publisher. Actually, I didn’t know how. So I joined a writers group. Then I went to a writers conference. Then I joined a critique group and began to enter contests. I continued to write, continued to learn, and started submitting my work.

One magical day I got that email dreams are made of–the one from an editor requesting to see my full manuscript. The rest is history. I had two books published. My dream was realized.

I’ve thought of how lucky I am, but honestly, much of it was disguised as hard work. I didn’t sit around daydreaming. I did all I could to make my dream come true.

Continue Reading…

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Share Your Writing

FaithWriters is probably best known for the Writing Challenge and the Page Turner contest. But did you know that there are lots of other places on the site to share your writing?

Are you feeling like your story, song, or play (or anything else) needs some feedback to make it its best, but you are not sure where to get it? Why don’t you try out the Critique Circle? Upgraded (Gold and Platinum) members are able to submit writing in any genre, and members (as well as a few paid editors) will give you some feedback (and it will go exclusively to you – nobody else will see it). All you need to do is provide feedback on someone else’s entry – and once you post yours, others will return the favor.

Maybe you are happy with your piece, and simply want to share it with folks who might be searching. If that’s the case, you can post it in regular articles. There are several dozen categories your article may fit into – and you can pick where to put it. You can offer an article for view, for sale, or to share for free. It’s a nice way to get your stuff out there – and a great place to look if you want a little something to read yourself!

Maybe what you are really wanting is to share your devotional, article, story, or other piece of writing with people for their own use. If so, be sure to stop by free reprints and post your article there. I know of church secretaries, bloggers (including yours truly) and others who look in this area for filler material for their publications in free reprints. You never know who might contact you and let you know they plan to use one of your pieces to bless others!

Where will YOU submit?

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