Activewear in My Protagonist's Closet

pink active wearMy Protagonist, Jill Steele, in Norman in the Painting, wears what I called a pink jogging suit. In a critique group, I was told the terminology is activewear, not jogging suit. Apparently, people don’t jog now days, they run. Jill’s sister convinces her to buy new clothes. Jill doesn’t like to go clothes shopping but since Norman is on the scene, she wants to look good for him. The pink activewear is a key to Norman’s vortex. Jill’s new activewear looks like the one here in Landsend’s photo. She hopes it will work as well as the old one did to bring Norman through the painting.

Do you think it will or does she have to wear her old worn pink outfit?

Picture credit to Landsend.com.

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How Do Other Characters in your Story View the Progagonist?

Looking through a keyholeIf we imagine other characters in our story seeing the protagonist through a keyhole view, what would they say or write? If the story is written with a single point of view, the thoughts of the other characters can’t be used or we’d be head hopping. Their judgements can be revealed in dialog, directly in words or tone of voice, or in a letter/email the protagonist reads, etc.

The other characters have a limited view based on their interactions with the protagonist and their observations of his or her actions and emotions. How accurate is their character judgement? Is the bias partly the protagonist’s fault for not allowing others to get to know her or him and by hiding the true self?

In my multidimensional novel, Norman in the Painting, the protagonist, Jill, has a long time friend named Evelyn who owns an antique store. Jill freaked when Norman appeared out of the painting at the back of her shop. She wanted Evelyn to see the phenomenon, but Norman had disappeared again. Since then, Evelyn’s tone of voice sounds placating as if Jill is mentally fragile regardless of the topic Jill initiates. Ed, the knife sharpener at Evelyn’s, often gives Jill a look of total confusion and annoyance. He has seen her fainting, shouting, arguing, and causing chaos which Evelyn says he doesn’t like. Jill wants to have conversations with him but he ignores her attempts. The antagonist plays on Jill’s fears to control her but as she grows in the character arc, the limited assumption about Jill will prove wrong.

How do your other characters view the protagonist in your story?

Protagonist's Positive and Negative Traits

thumbs upOur characters have positive and negative traits like people do. As writers we give characters flaws to prevent the protagonist from being too perfect. Some writers are afraid to do anything that might make the hero or heroine less likable. But the character who exhibits flaws is more believable, more human. Their flaws often  worsen the conflict and can keep their actions unpredictable at times. Make the flaw part of the cause that thwarts the character’s goal. The protagonist’s awareness of the effect of the flaw can spark a desire to overcome it and that change  becomes part of the character arc.

The positive traits are endearing to the readers and create the emotional impact when the character struggles.The readers relate to the situation, live it through the protagonist, and experience what it would be like if that happened to them.

What is your protagonist’s flaw?

Is his or her best trait one that you have or wish you had?

My protagonist, Jill Steele in Norman in the Painting, has a constant battle between fear and desire. Her need for security and safety is challenged with her desire to be with Norman. Her best trait is loyalty and it’s one of mine too.

Introducing Jill Steele in Norman in the Painting: Character Blog hop 2014

It’s time for a character-centric blog hop. Here you will meet Jill Steele, the protagonist of my multidimensional novel, Norman in the Painting. First, I will introduce the writer who tagged me in this blog hop, Justine Manzano. I connected with her on LinkedIn and she patiently walked me through the steps.

Justine ManzanoBio: Justine Manzano is a multi-genre writer living in Bronx, NY with her husband, son, and a cacophony of cats. Her short fiction has appeared in the anthology Things You Can Create, Sliver of Stone Magazine, and The Greenwich Village Literary Review. She maintains a semi-monthly blog at JustineManzano.com and a twitter account where she discusses her adventures in juggling aspects of her life such as motherhood, writing, and the very serious businesses of fangirling and multiple forms of geekery. She works as a fiction reader for Sucker Literary Magazine and is currently searching for a publishing home for her YA Urban Fantasy series, Keys and Guardians.

Blurb:

Jacklyn Madison has a thing for heroes. She reads about them, watches them on TV, and would very much like to become one. When a monster makes an attempt on her life she discovers she is one – the long lost member of The Order of the Key, a group that protects humanity from creatures that come through interdimensional rifts. It’s all fun and games until training for her duties reveals the Order’s out of touch views – Keys, like Jacklyn, are protected while Guardians, like the rest of her family, are expendable. As she rails against their value system, she finds herself in the centre of a power struggle between the group’s leader, Lavinia, and her idealistic son, Kyp – the boy Jacklyn likes. Worse, Kyp’s attempts to protect her only entangle her in a mire of deceit. Viewed as a target on one side and a weapon on the other, Jacklyn must find a way to protect the people she loves and decide what kind of hero she’s willing to become. Filled with action, romance, and paranoia, The Order of the Key is an edgy Young Adult Contemporary Fantasy novel that is currently searching for a home with an agent.

Thanks, Justine Manzano for this opportunity to blog hop.

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Here is an interview with my character, Jill Steele in Norman in the Painting:

What is your name? Are you fictional or historical? My name is Jill Steele. I suppose most people would say I’m fictional, but I think I’m real. I tell Julaina my story so that makes me real, doesn’t it?

When and where is your story set? My story takes place right now, present day, in a small California town near San Francisco. I’m a CPA and I work out of my home. I don’t like to travel much so I’ve only been to San Francisco a couple times. It’s about forty miles from my hometown. With all the action in my life, I don’t have time for San Francisco.

What should we know about you? I don’t like to tell my age but I’m older than thirty and younger than forty. I have an impossible older sister named Vivian who is my nemesis. Our family is the wealthiest in our town. Our parents died in an auto accident, and Viv wants to maintain our social status. She’s on my back about that all the time. I’m the so-called blight on the family. I own my own home and I have a Siamese cat named Rocky. I collect Foo dogs for protection. I really need all the protection I can get but you’ll have to read my story to find out why.

What is screwing up your life? My ex-husband who is in prison, a strange man in a Homberg hat who seems to be following me, and a man I love who lives in a painting…literally. He comes through now and then.

What is your goal? To prevent Norman from disappearing into the painting, to keep him in my 3D world so we can have a real relationship.

What is the title of your book? Norman in the Painting.

When will the book be published? Julaina says she would like to have it published by February 2015 but it might be a few months longer than that. She has other projects like an anthology and two other novels in the works. I’m looking forward to meeting my readers on the pages. Bye now.

xxxxx

Here are the writers I have tagged. Watch for their posts on September 22nd.

G. Karl KumfertG. Karl Kumfert seeks representation for his debut novel, The Tavern Priestess. It’s a epic fantasy for young adults he frames as “Joan-of-Arc defends Merlin from Nikita”. When he isn’t pitching his manuscript to agents, Karl is either developing mobile apps, or trying to be a decent father and husband. He blogs about teen ethics, multi-racial families, and social media at http://www.gkarlkumfert.com.

He’s surprisingly personable for a former government scientist with a Ph.D. in computer science. He and his wife lead the high school youth program at their church where he also plays 5-string bass. You can visit him on https://Twitter.com/KarlKumfert

 

d-jordan-bernalJordan Bernal is the author of The Keepers of Éire, a dragon fantasy that encourages adult readers to let their imaginations take flight. Jordan’s enduring love of dragons and her pursuit of her Celtic heritage inspired her to write and publish her debut novel in her “Keeper” series through her independent press, Dragon Wing Publishing. She currently serves as president of California Writers Club Tri-Valley Branch. Jordan lives in the Tri-Valley region of Northern California. She enjoys reading, traveling, photography, and spending time with Roarke, her Pomeranian. For more information on Jordan’s current projects, visit http://www.jordanbernal.com or http://www.1dragonwriter.wordpress.com.

VioletCarrMoore-DSCViolet Carr Moore achieved her dream of becoming a published author with her first book, In the Right Place: A Gallery of Treasured Moments. She followed that memoir of mystic vignettes, with Moments of Meditation, a collection of devotionals. Violet’s short stories have been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Devotional Stories for Mothers, Christmas Miracles and other anthologies. Her winning themed haiku appeared in San Francisco Bay Area newspapers. She is a freelance copy editor and mentors aspiring writers in independent publishing workshops. Violet blogs humorous writing tips at http://violetsvibes.wordpress.com. Visit her website http://www.carrtwins.com. Follow her on Twitter @violetsvibes. Contact her at info@carrtwins.com.

sharonsvitak2-19-11Sharon Svitak writes under the pen name Sharon Burgess. The author of Simply Irresistible: A Spruce Creek Romance, she is working on the second book in the series. She is a member of the San Francisco Area Chapter of the Romance Writers of America. In addition she is an officer on the corporate board of the California Writers Club. She credits her membership in both organizations for pushing her to finish her first book and get it published. Like all writers should be, she is an avid reader, especially romance novels which is the genre she writes. Visit her at http://www.sharonsvitak.com  http://www.sharonburgess.com

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref%3Dnb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=simply+irresistible+a+spruce+creek+romance&rh=n%3A283155%2Ck%

 

Elaine SchmitzElaine Schmitz’s life has had many chapters, set in many locales. She graduated from USC with a B.A. in English, and planned to become an editor. However, life intervened; ten years later, she became a business manager at AT & T for twenty years. Now she has reinvented herself as a freelance and fiction writer and editor. She writes about what is important to her. She successfully published her first book “Recipes & Recollections of my Greek American Family,” soon in its second printing, and seven fiction and memoir pieces in anthologies. She is currently working on her third novel. She finds writing a fulfilling career, full of learning, adventures, and many wonderful people. Visit her on http://www.elaineschmitz-writer.com.

Protagonist admires Norman Rockwell Paintings

Couple on chest saying dance teamMy protagonist, Jill, in my new multidimensional novel “Norman in the Painting” is a fan of Norman Rockwell. She falls in love with a man in a Rockwell style painting who appears from another dimension. As in most romance mysteries, obstacles block their way in being together.

An old friend of hers has to move to Idaho and offers Jill a Norman Rockwell poster. I chose the one I’ve added in this post. Like Jill, I admire Norman Rockwell paintings too and I enjoy the research to find the right pictures as I go along with the plot.

Do you have a favorite Norman Rockwell painting?

Have you experimented with Google free images to find what your characters look like or paintings that are in the story’s setting or an environment where the characters live? I find looking for images inspirational, maybe you will too.

Lillian Hellman Quote for Writers

table with open notebook and penLillian Hellman says “Story is what the characters want to do. Plot is what the writer wants the characters to do.”

The character in my new novel, Norman in the Painting, who appeared wearing a Homberg hat, is keeping his intentions a mystery. I wanted him to be hired by the antagonist, but he refuses that connection. Hellman is right.

Let us know if you have a character who wants to tell his or her own story and not follow your plot?