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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Behind the Scenes

Hi everyone! How cool is this? I'm Maggie Van Well and my debut novel The Chase is On was release in April by The Wild Rose Press. It's a humorous contemporary romance set in Long Island, NY.

I've been told I do characters very well. Vicky at Sizzling Hot Book Reviews said, "...Maggie Van Well has done that well writing her characters!" (I know. I'm bragging:) I especially do well with heroes. Why? Like most writers, they talk to me.

So I thought it might be fun to share what I do when writing isn't going the way I planned.

What do I do while my hero sits pouting in the corner with his arms crossed tightly, lips pressed firmly together while shaking his head? Well, if it were me, all you'd have to do is offer a sizable amount of chocolate and I'd be sharing secrets from my weight to my PIN number. Unfortunately, characters aren't that easily coaxed so I've developed a few exercises that have worked for me.

1.I write it out anyway: This seems to work best for me. It doesn't have to make sense. Doesn't have to be paced or in any sequence, but once I have a skeleton, I can work on adding the muscle and flesh. Why it works: I think my character peeks over my shoulder while I'm writing the scene, becomes horrified and demands I do it his way.

2. I speak it into existence: What the heck does that mean? Well, when I have an idea in my head, but can't seem to get it down on the page, I speak the scene out loud. Why it works: I think my hero gets pissed at the horrible impression I"m doing of him and entices me to stop by taking over.

3. I critique: There's something very refreshing about, not only reading another writer's fine work, but also helping them make it shinier. Why it works: I think when my character sees how well-behaved other writer's characters are, he becomes jealous and wants to do the same.

3. I listen to music: Music has always been an inspiration for me. I listen to my or my character's favorite music. Although, something soothing probably works best, any genre will do. Why it works: I think it relaxes my character enough that he forgets why he's angry with me.

4. Play a Hidden Object Game: This I do with caution, WARNING: May be addictive! And it's true. I love these games and, at times, I get so caught up, I look at the clock and realize I didn't cook dinner, let alone write a single word. Why it works: When I play hidden object games, my character focuses so much on the game I can sometimes get him talking without him realizing it. Hey, whatever works, right?

5. I stare into Space: No, I'm not kidding! There are times I stare at a blank page and let my eyes go out of focus. I think it might be a form of meditation. But once I let the silence take over, eventually the ideas come to me. Sadly, this exercise only works if I have enough time. Why it works: I think my character eventually gets so bored, he starts talking just to fill the silence. However, if I start hearing other voices telling me to go through my neighbor's garbage or something weird like that, I take a break.

6. I go on a retreat: This one is my favorite, but alas, the least likely to happen. I love writer's retreats and there are times when I'm almost to the point where I might rent a hotel room for the night. And on Long Island, that's an expensive exercise. Why it works: My guess would be my hero starts to worry I'm trying to seduce him (he's in love with the heroine after all), so he starts babbling until I can't shut him up anymore.

That's a little taste of how I get my stories out.

And now a little taste from The Chase is On:

“Conditions? What kind of conditions?”

He pushed his hands deep into his front pockets, studying a sprig of seaweed. “For starters, when the baby’s born, I’m there.”

Kayla smiled, her excitement building again. “You can be my Lamaze partner.” Oh, God, was this real? Could she really be so close to having the child she’d longed for?

Chase looked up, his eyes boring into hers. “I want to be a father to this child, Kayla. I can’t give a kid my genes and then walk away.”

She fought back the tears that burned her eyes. She didn’t know until that moment how much she needed to hear those words from him. “I wasn’t going to bring it up. I mean, I didn’t want you to feel—”

Chase pulled her into a hug. “Did you really think otherwise?”

Kayla laid her head against his taut chest, letting his warmth flow through her. Tears leaked
through her closed lids, but she didn’t care. He had just given her the most precious gift. Her lashes eased open when his hands traveled a slow caress down her back. His steady heartbeat
quickened. The familiar spice of his cologne sprouted in her flames of desire she had never known existed.

Alarmed, she pulled from his embrace and forced an impish grin, hoping to hide her bewildering response. “So, any more demands?”

His eyes left hers again and he became very interested in scratching his head. “Just one more.”

“Come on. What?” Playfully, she punched his arm.

He took a deep breath. “There will be no artificial insemination. If you’re going to have my
child, it’ll be conceived the old fashioned way.”

The smile on her face froze and then her jaw dropped open. “You can’t mean we—”

“Yes, Kayla, we’ll have to be intimate.”

~Maggie Van Well

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The Chase is On - available in print and eBook at The Wild Rose Press


Anonymous said...

Thanks for all of your writing tips. I think many would work for other types of jobs too.

User1123 AT comcast DOT net

The Happy Booker said...

I think that is wonderfully brilliant advice. I'm always amazed at the ways a character speaks to an author.

Donna Smith
ahappybooker at gmail dot com

Robin said...

Love your post!

Robin D
robindpdx (at) yahoo (dot) com

Brenda Hyde said...

Cool excerpt, and writing tips. The only thing I do that you didn't mention is play in the dirt. LOL I garden-- if I'm really stuck or overloaded I go out and weed or plant seeds:)

Sarita said...

Sounds like a wonderful story. And I love the setting. Best of luck with it!

books4me said...

It sounds like all your ways of writing is working for you! congrats on your sounds great!

books4me67 at

Maggie Van Well said...

Thanks everyone! Yeah, these little tidbits have served me well over the years. Hope some of them work for you!

shiderly77 said...

Thank you! I love reading authors takes on writing.

JohnF said...

Best of luck with the book!

Na said...

I usually read dark stories but sometimes I will read a humorous story. I love stories that make ma laugh at loud.