How do I properly write my characters’ thoughts in first person in a third person book?

Normally, it’s done by putting the character’s thoughts in italics. A simple, elegant solution that readers understand because it’s done so often that it’s almost a rule.

How can I motivate myself to finish writing a novel?

 By doing whatever you do to motivate yourself to do all the many things you don’t really want to do but must, including but not limited to:
  1. Putting it aside for a while and then returning to it, reading it, and realizing it’s better than you thought and deserves to be finished.
  2. Figuring out what’s wrong with it that your mind can’t grapple with. What kink in the plot was wrong all along that needs to be fixed so you can finish it and wrap up all loose ends. This is the big one, the one that many writers find is the problem because all stories point to the end and sometimes they fall apart and simply can’t be finished until something is changed.
  3. Meditating because it kind of frees your mind to think it through to the end.
  4. Having a friend read it and tell you to finish it so they’ll know how it ends.

Do pets sense our emotions?

Yes, they do. They are more aware of our emotions than we realize. At least that’s what my son-in-law, the animal person who managed an animal shelter for a while, says and I’m sure that he’s right.

Once, when I was just a bit depressed — nothing special, just a down day — the family dog came to where I was sitting on the couch, jumped up beside me and lay her head on my lap and stayed that way until I started to smile. Then she jumped back down and went on her way.

Another time, as I went to bed, my cat, who sleeps at the foot of the bed, came up and curled up beside me and stayed that way all night. As before, it had been a down day and he knew it and acted accordingly.

So my wip, A Very Black Cat, is right on when the cat character knows what people are thinking and acts accordingly.

Have you ever felt that the story you were writing was not good? What did you do then?

So I’m doing what I do in such situations and what you might consider doing also if and when you are in a similar situation.

Sit down with your outline, synopsis, or whatever you use to lay the story out. Then simply stare at it until you lose your mind or figure out more action/scenes/characters/disasters to include.

This works, not only because it adds words to the story — my current reason — but also because that action provides ideas that improve the story itself. Makes it more complex. Digs deeper into it. Includes twists and turns that make a boring story interesting.

Good luck and I could use a bit of luck right now too!

Witches, Warlocks and Black Cats, oh my

One of the main characters in my wip (work-in-progress) is a black cat named Little Guy. He’s totally black. Not a speck of any other color on him.

Little Guy was found as a kitten, abandoned, in an alley.

The reason this is important to the story is that the heroine’s best friend is superstitious and decides that Little Guy is a familar. A witch’s cat. Or, in this case, a warlock’s because, as the story progresses, the friend decides that Little Guy deliberately chose to live with the heroine because she works for a warlock.

Did he? Is Tobias a warlock or simply a nice boss?

And is Little Guy a familiar? (Diabolical laughter here.)

Only the author knows and she’s not telling. Yet.

How do I get started as an author of books that people buy?

I like that you asked about books people buy because writing a book  that sells is a whole different animal from writing a book for your own enjoyment:
  1. Read the best books in the genre you wish to write in.
  2. Choose a best-selling book in that genre and take it apart. How is it structured? How long are most books in that genre? How many characters (if it’s fiction) are there and how are they described? How much description is in the book? How fast does the story move? Everything you can think of.
  3. Learn the craft of writing. Yes, writing is a craft and any craft can be learned. Buy a book, take a class, go to a workshop. Or all of those and more but make sure they teach you about your chosen genre because one genre can be totally opposite a different one.
  4. While you are learning, compare what you are learning to what you figured out when you took that book apart. The lessons you are taking will tell you the ‘why’ of what you’ve already figured out about your chosen genre and that will help you know how to write your own book.
  5. Then write your best-seller.

Is it ok to write in 1st and third person for a novel?

Sure. It’s done a lot.

The secret is to make sure the reader knows which POV you are using at the time. One common way to do this is to simply write which POV is being used at the beginning of a chapter, as a chapter title, and then make sure that POV is used through that whole chapter.

You can switch in the middle of chapters — or vary POVs by paragraphs — but that’s a little more complicated for the reader so make sure he/she knows who’s doing and saying what.

When you are done writing, go back and read what you wrote. If you don’t know who is who, then your reader definitely won’t. Or, better yet, have an honest friend read it and see what they say. Just make sure you are asking them ONLY to determine if it’s easy to know which POV you are using so you won’t end up with a complete critique of your work that wasn’t what you wanted!

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