Dr. Maxine Thompson Live Internet Radio Shows

This Week’s Guest – Monday, November 13, 2017


Maxine Thompson

Dr. Maxine Thompson,
Publisher, Literary Agent, Author, Host of Internet Show is cross-referenced to her other businesses

Dr. Maxine ThompsonArtist First Internet Radio


Dr. Maxine invites you to join her this week on her various shows where she will be speaking with some interesting people.


November 13, 2017


9:00 P.M. Eastern Standard Time

This Week’s Dr. Maxine Thompson will be the Guest – Monday, November 13, 2017

Email dj@artistfirst.com with questions for the host or Dr. Maxine Thompson


November 13, 2017


November 13, 2017


Tracie Loveless Hill
Author of

Unwise Decisions, et. al.



Listen to Archives: Replay

Sponsored by:


EXECUTIVE SPONSORS:

January 4, 2010

Dr. Maxine Thompson

Author of
Hostage of Lies

Voted A Best Book of 2009

EDC Creations
Black Pearl Magazine

Black Butterfly Press

If you are interested in becoming a guest and/or a sponsor you may visit:

www.maxinethompson.com
,

www.maxinethompson.com/artistfirst.html for available dates
or via e-mail: maxtho@aol.com

>Home

This press

release may be viewed with links at www.maxinethompson.com/pressrelease.html





Dr. Maxine Thompson Live Internet Radio Shows

This Week’s Guest – Monday, November 6, 2017


Maxine Thompson

Dr. Maxine Thompson,
Publisher, Literary Agent, Author, Host of Internet Show is cross-referenced to her other businesses

Dr. Maxine ThompsonArtist First Internet Radio


Dr. Maxine invites you to join her this week on her various shows where she will be speaking with some interesting people.


November 6, 2017


9:00 P.M. Eastern Standard Time

This Week’s Dr. Maxine Thompson will be the Guest – Monday, November 6, 2017

Email dj@artistfirst.com with questions for the host or Dr. Maxine Thompson


November 6, 2017


November 6, 2017


Dr. Maxine Thompson
Author of

The Hush Hush Secrets of Writing Fiction That Sells



Listen to Archives: Replay

Sponsored by:


EXECUTIVE SPONSORS:

January 4, 2010

Dr. Maxine Thompson

Author of
Hostage of Lies

Voted A Best Book of 2009

EDC Creations
Black Pearl Magazine

Black Butterfly Press

If you are interested in becoming a guest and/or a sponsor you may visit:

www.maxinethompson.com
,

www.maxinethompson.com/artistfirst.html for available dates
or via e-mail: maxtho@aol.com

>Home

This press

release may be viewed with links at www.maxinethompson.com/pressrelease.html

By Dr. Maxine Thompson

http://www.maxinethompson.com

http://www.maxinethompsonbooks.com

Taken from my book, The Hush Hush Secrets of Writing Fiction That Sells

http://amzn.to/1S2yid7

As a fiction writer, you should create strong characters who will hold a reader’s interest for 300-400 pages, whether the character is a good person or a bad person. Who the character is will determine what he wants.

One tip: Make your character act in a courageous way that readers will admire. Test your character. Will he steal $50 if he finds it lying around?

In one of the first writing classes I taught, as an icebreaker, we played a game called ―Two Truths and a Lie.

Each attendee told two truths about himself and one lie. Surprisingly, no one ever guessed the correct answer for any of the participants. For instance, one workshop student said that he had been on Oprah’s show, had six children, and had been to prison. Everyone thought that the statement that he had been to prison was the lie. The truth was the student had been on Oprah’s and had been to prison. He also was a minister with five, not six, children.

Remember, people are full of contradictions. We used the game to show that you can’t judge people by only one aspect of their lives. This not only showed the different parts of people, it showed how a person’s behavior can change over the years.

In writing, the best characters do change and grow or fail to grow. They are also conflicted.

Another exercise we did showed the difference between stereotypes and rounded characters. We used a stereotype that has been used to death in literature and movies, for example—“the red-necked sheriff.”

We shifted the archetype and the situation. What if the character was a white law man with a conscience when a lynching took place during the Depression? Now there’s a story that goes against type and goes against the grain. (Of course, this is reminiscent of the wise father/attorney, Atticus Finch, in Harper Lee’s novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, who defended an innocent Black man in the South during one of the most segregated periods of time, during the Depression.) No wonder this book won a Pulitzer Prize and the movie version won an Academy Award.

Another powerful method for bringing characters to life is The Konstantin Stanislavski acting method. What would you do if you were in that character’s shoes? Act out each character’s role and put yourself in the middle of the story. One exercise was used to show the shifts in power in relationships from scene to scene. This is where you learn to use reversals such as from dominating to dominated.

In the exercise using the Rogerian theory, an attendee was assigned to interview people unlike themselves to understand their characters. This is crucial when you’re writing about a despicable character, such as a child molester (Vladimir Nabokov did this in the famous classic novel, Lolita,) or a serial killer, the infamous character, Hannibal Lecter, (from novel, Silence of the Lambs, by Thomas Harris.)

The Carl Rogers theory was used to develop communications between the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Its purpose is to have each person understand someone who holds a polar opposite point of view.

If someone asked you to describe a certain person, how would you do it?

Exercise: Write character sketches and descriptions for five different characters. Be sure to include important details about their history, personality, and context (setting—time and place). Then pick the character who interests you the most, and write a brief scene putting that character into a conflict in an imagined setting (time and place.) The critical part of this is to think, in advance, how you would describe someone to a friend if he asks you what you think of a certain person. This simple method is the single fastest, most “telling” way of getting at character that I know of.

The other key to creating interesting characters with built-in conflict is to bring together characters from different backgrounds. Your characters should come from disparate lifestyles, different classes, different races. How do they connect? Disconnect? Put together your characters and look at ways to derive built-in conflict, such as the old HBO special, ―“Oz,” where men of different backgrounds find themselves in prison.

How to Build Your Character’s Personality

1. If your character applied for a job, what would they put on the
application?

2. What is your character’s religious background?

3. How does your character’s physical appearance affect his self-esteem?

4. What are some of your character’s mannerisms?

5. Is your character urban-bred or country bred?

6. What is your character’s social or economic class?

7. How many family members are there and what birth order was she born in?

8. Where does she live? In a house or in an apartment?

9. What kind of work skills does she have and how does this affect her
role in the story?

10. How is your character different from others and how does that affect
the story? Is your character marginalized by race, sexuality, or ethnicity?

11. Is your character married or single? Any children?

12. Any physical handicaps? Speech impediments? Quirks?

13. What makes your character an outsider from the norm in terms of race, gender, sexual orientation, age, or ability?

14. In what ways is your character conflicted? Does he have a friend, or even a child, from another race, but is part of the Ku Klux Klan?

15. What is your character’s deepest secret?

16. Outline your major scenes and use index cards for each character.

17. Ask yourself, what is the worst thing that can happen to my character?

18. How can it get even worse? I call it the “Throw-everything-but-the-kitchen-sink-at-your character” technique.

19. Who is going to solve this problem? Your hero or heroine or a helper? (Preferably your protagonist will work out his own problems.) In Winston Groom’s novel, Forrest Gump, the main character, Forrest, with his 70 IQ, was such an innocent, loving person, that he became the agent of change, or catalyst character, who changed his love interest, Jenny Curran, for the better and the world around him.

20. Is your narrator just an onlooker, observing the agent of change, the person who affects everyone around him? In The Great Gatsby, the narrator, Nick Carraway, relates the story as he watches the main character, Gatsby, as he self-destructs.

Remember. Characters are what make your story. People might not remember all the plot, but they will remember an intriguing character long after they close the pages of a book.

Tagged with: Creating characters • Creating fictional characters • developing characters •Fiction

Filed under: Books • Character Development • Fiction • Reading • Writers on line • Writing tips




Dr. Maxine Thompson Live Internet Radio Shows
This Week’s Guest – Monday, October 17, 2016


Maxine Thompson

Dr. Maxine Thompson,
Publisher, Literary Agent, Author, Host of Internet Show is cross-referenced to her other businesses

Dr. Maxine ThompsonArtist First Internet Radio


Dr. Maxine invites you to join her this week on her various shows where she will be speaking with some interesting people.


October 17, 2016


9:00 P.M. Eastern Standard Time

This Week’s Guest – Monday, October 17, 2016

Email dj@artistfirst.com with questions for the author or Dr. Maxine Thompson


October 17, 2016

Jason Overstreet
Debut Author of

The Strivers’ Row Spy


Listen to Archives: Replay

Sponsored by:


EXECUTIVE SPONSORS:

January 4, 2010

Dr. Maxine Thompson

Author of
Hostage of Lies

Voted A Best Book of 2009

EDC Creations
Black Pearl Magazine

Black Butterfly Press

If you are interested in becoming a guest and/or a sponsor you may visit:

www.maxinethompson.com
,

www.maxinethompson.com/artistfirst.html for available dates
or via e-mail: maxtho@aol.com

>Home

This press release may be viewed with links at www.maxinethompson.com/pressrelease.html


Ten Tips for Raising the Stakes in Your Fiction/Screenplays

By Dr. Maxine Thompson

http://www.maxinethompsonbooks.com
http://www.maxinethompson.com

Give your characters quirks, if you want to raise the stakes in your fiction.

Have your character be the outsider, at odds with his environment, or even a threat, where people isolate or attack him, such as in Toni Morrison’s novel, Beloved. After escaping from slavery, in an act of desperation, Sethe slashed her baby’s throat, rather than see the child go back to bondage. Although later, when she was released from jail, the community threw up an implacable wall of scorn and disgust towards Sethe and her surviving children. In the end, though, Sethe realizes her need for community.

Janie, the protagonist, in Zora Neale Hurston’s 1937 novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God, is also an outsider. She is ostracized because she married a younger man.

Often, I feel like an outsider and it struck me. Most writing is penned by artists who feel like outsiders. Women of other races have felt same sense of being different, judging from the misfits in Carson McCullers’ debut novel, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter.

As an African American woman, I can identify with feeling like an outsider, feeling marginalized. I know how it feels to live on the fringes of society. I know the double whammy scourge of both racism and sexism.

Here are ten more tips for raising the stakes in your fiction/screenplays. This will produce both suspense and tension, which will compel your reader to stay up all night reading your book/screenplay.

1. Put your characters on the edge. The best fiction, films, and plays do this. (Consider Tennessee Williams’ play, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Edward Albee’s play, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and the movie, Set It Off, based on the screenplay written by Kate Lanier and Takashi Bufford.)

2. Set a timetable. The characters only have one week or better yet one day to save their kidnapped child’s life in exchange for a million-dollar ransom.

3. Put danger of loss of some kind in the character’s life. Example: One student in my writing class opened her novel with a child twirling in the mirror. I said change the point of view and let the mother wake up and not find her child in bed. That definitely would raise the stakes. That’s every parent’s worst nightmare—not being able to protect their child and keep her safe.

4. Life is hard. Show it, but in the end, be kind to your characters. Even in a dark story have some redemption. (Example: Henry Dumas’s short story collection, Goodbye, Sweetwater.)

5. Love all your characters, the good, the bad, the ugly. This shows in the respect you give a character. Even if the character is a serial killer, see his side of the story. It worked with serial killer, Hannibal Lector, in Thomas Harris’s novel, Silence of the Lambs.

6. Turn the juice up on your characters, like in the movie, Forrest Gump, (starring Tom Hanks, which was based on the novel by Winston Groom.) I loved the scene in the movie where Forrest’s friend, Lt. Dan (played by actor Gary Sinese), Vietnam vet/amputee, climbed up high on their boat’s sail mast, lightning and thunder swirling about him. He all but cursed God for how he had lost his legs in Vietnam, and to paraphrase, he asked God, “Is that all you got? Give me more.” (Sinese’s sensitive portrayal of a once invincible soldier reduced to a pathetic self-pitying specter of his former strength brought him the Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor.) Do just that in your writing. Give your characters more problems than it seems they can handle.

Likewise, go for the jugular vein in your characters. Let it rip. Now here is the paradox. Be kind in the end, yet, at the same time, you should not resolve the character’s problems. Allow the characters to solve their own problems. It is all right if your story has an unhappy ending. But don’t be too kind to the characters along the way, when it comes to piling on the complications and problems. That means you’ve identified too closely with them.

7. If your character has cancer, double this whammy up by having her husband
leave her, after she has her breast removed. Kimberla Lawson Roby does this in her novel, Best Friends Forever.

8. Sandbag the main character when he’s down, and paint him up into a corner, where there doesn’t appear to be any way out.

9. Use secrets to up the ante. A ghost, by definition, is something which haunts. When people have family secrets they are like ghosts. Writers can’t mine family secrets enough for story ideas, and I do this in both of my novels, The Ebony Tree and Hostage of Lies. A family can be very clannish and protective of its secrets. But you know what? Every family has secrets. Every family is somewhat dysfunctional. Another secret could be that your character hit, possibly killed a person or a child, in a hit-and-run car accident and never reported it. This will haunt the person’s conscience.

10. Have your character have to choose between two negative outcomes. Critical choice is important in a work of fiction. (Should you pull the plug on a child in a coma, or let the child live on indefinitely with no quality of life?)

These are just some ways you can raise the stakes in your writing and keep readers turning pages.

About the Blogger: Dr. Maxine Thompson is a novelist, poet, columnist, short story writer, book reviewer, an editor, ghostwriter, Internet Radio Show Host, and a Literary Agent. As an editor, she has edited New York Times and numerous other best-selling books for African Americans, including many books for men and women who are incarcerated in the prison system. During a down economy, as a literary agent, she has negotiated many book deals for African Americans.

She is the author of Novels, The Ebony Tree, Hostage of Lies, LA Blues, LA Blues 2, and LA Blues 3, A Place Called Home (A Short Story Collection), The Hush Hush Secrets of Writing Fiction That Sell, a contributor to bestselling anthologies Secret Lovers, (A Black Expression Bestseller) All in The Family, and Never Knew Love Like This Before, (Also a Black Expression Book Club best-seller, and Kindle Bestseller).

She is also an ebook author of The Hush Hush Secrets of Writing Fiction That Sell 1, 2, The Hush Hush Secrets of Making Money as a Writer, The Hush Hush Secrets of Creating a Life You Love, Novellas, The Katrina Blues, Capri’s Second Chance, and Summer of Salvation, contributor to Proverbs for the People, and Editor/Contributor to anthology, Saturday Morning.

Her novels, The Ebony Tree, (Won a small Pen Award in 1997), Hostage of Lies, (Voted a Best Book of 2009), LA Blues, (2011), and LA Blues II, (2012), which were featured in Black Expressions’ Catalog in August 2012. LA Blues 3 was published in August 2013.

Character Development Exercises For Fiction Writers

By Dr. Maxine Thompson

http://www.maxinethompson.com

http://www.maxinethompsonbooks.com

Taken from my book, The Hush Hush Secrets of Writing Fiction That Sells

http://amzn.to/1S2yid7

As a fiction writer, you should create strong characters who will hold a reader’s interest for 300-400 pages, whether the character is a good person or a bad person. Who the character is will determine what he wants.

One tip: Make your character act in a courageous way that readers will admire. Test your character. Will he steal $50 if he finds it lying around?

In one of the first writing classes I taught, as an icebreaker, we played a game called ―Two Truths and a Lie.

Each attendee told two truths about himself and one lie. Surprisingly, no one ever guessed the correct answer for any of the participants. For instance, one workshop student said that he had been on Oprah’s show, had six children, and had been to prison. Everyone thought that the statement that he had been to prison was the lie. The truth was the student had been on Oprah’s and had been to prison. He also was a minister with five, not six, children.

Remember, people are full of contradictions. We used the game to show that you can’t judge people by only one aspect of their lives. This not only showed the different parts of people, it showed how a person’s behavior can change over the years.

In writing, the best characters do change and grow or fail to grow. They are also conflicted.

Another exercise we did showed the difference between stereotypes and rounded characters. We used a stereotype that has been used to death in literature and movies, for example—“the red-necked sheriff.”

We shifted the archetype and the situation. What if the character was a white law man with a conscience when a lynching took place during the Depression? Now there’s a story that goes against type and goes against the grain. (Of course, this is reminiscent of the wise father/attorney, Atticus Finch, in Harper Lee’s novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, who defended an innocent Black man in the South during one of the most segregated periods of time, during the Depression.) No wonder this book won a Pulitzer Prize and the movie version won an Academy Award.

Another powerful method for bringing characters to life is The Konstantin Stanislavski acting method. What would you do if you were in that character’s shoes? Act out each character’s role and put yourself in the middle of the story. One exercise was used to show the shifts in power in relationships from scene to scene. This is where you learn to use reversals such as from dominating to dominated.

In the exercise using the Rogerian theory, an attendee was assigned to interview people unlike themselves to understand their characters. This is crucial when you’re writing about a despicable character, such as a child molester (Vladimir Nabokov did this in the famous classic novel, Lolita,) or a serial killer, the infamous character, Hannibal Lecter, (from novel, Silence of the Lambs, by Thomas Harris.)

The Carl Rogers theory was used to develop communications between the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Its purpose is to have each person understand someone who holds a polar opposite point of view.

If someone asked you to describe a certain person, how would you do it?

Exercise: Write character sketches and descriptions for five different characters. Be sure to include important details about their history, personality, and context (setting—time and place). Then pick the character who interests you the most, and write a brief scene putting that character into a conflict in an imagined setting (time and place.) The critical part of this is to think, in advance, how you would describe someone to a friend if he asks you what you think of a certain person. This simple method is the single fastest, most “telling” way of getting at character that I know of.

The other key to creating interesting characters with built-in conflict is to bring together characters from different backgrounds. Your characters should come from disparate lifestyles, different classes, different races. How do they connect? Disconnect? Put together your characters and look at ways to derive built-in conflict, such as the old HBO special, ―“Oz,” where men of different backgrounds find themselves in prison.

How to Build Your Character’s Personality


1. If your character applied for a job, what would they put on the

application?

2. What is your character’s religious background?

3. How does your character’s physical appearance affect his self-esteem?

4. What are some of your character’s mannerisms?

5. Is your character urban-bred or country bred?

6. What is your character’s social or economic class?

7. How many family members are there and what birth order was she born in?

8. Where does she live? In a house or in an apartment?

9. What kind of work skills does she have and how does this affect her
role in the story?

10. How is your character different from others and how does that affect

the story?

11. Is your character married or single? Any children?

12. Any physical handicaps? Speech impediments? Quirks?

13. What makes your character an outsider from the norm in terms of race, gender, sexual orientation, age, or ability?

14. In what ways is your character conflicted?

15. What is your character’s deepest secret?

16. Outline your major scenes and use index cards for each character.

17. Ask yourself, what is the worst thing that can happen to my character?

18. How can it get even worse? I call it the “Throw-everything-but-the-kitchen-sink-at-your character” technique.

19. Who is going to solve this problem? Your hero or heroine or a helper? (Preferably your protagonist will work out his own problems.) In Winston Groom’s novel, Forrest Gump, the main character, Forrest, with his 70 IQ, was such an innocent, loving person, that he became the agent of change, or catalyst character, who changed his love interest, Jenny Curran, for the better and the world around him.

20. Is your narrator just an onlooker, observing the agent of change, the person who affects everyone around him? In The Great Gatsby, the narrator, Nick Carraway, relates the story as he watches the main character, Gatsby, as he self-destructs.

Remember. Characters are what make your story. People might not remember all the plot, but they will remember an intriguing character long after they close the pages of a book.

Blog

Tips on Revision of Fiction Manuscripts


Taken from The Hush Hush Secrets of Writing Fiction that Sells

by Dr. Maxine Thompson

http://www.maxinethompson.com

http://www.maxinethompsonbooks.com

http://amzn.to/1S2yid7

When you finish the first draft of your manuscript, set it down for a few days or a week, then pick it up to read it with fresh eyes.

Revision tips.

1. Read your entire book out loud.

2. Look for basic grammar and punctuation skills and paragraph development.

3. Vary the length of your sentences and your paragraphs. Cut unnecessary adjectives and adverbs.

4. Listen for the rhythm, variance and music of the language.

5. Have I started my scenes near the action? Are you interested in what happens next?

6. Does the information surprise you?

7. Does each scene move the story forward? Is it essential to what the story is about?

8. Have I made use of sensory detail, including sensory memory?

9. Does my dialogue sound stilted?

10. Have I made use of oblique dialogue, which is how many people speak? 11. Does my opening line draw the reader in?

12. Do I end my chapters on a cliffhanger so that the reader will want to know what happens next?

13. Do I use show vs. tell? Have I properly dramatized my scenes?

14. Have I created reversals in each scene or major group of scenes?

15. Do I predict the action before it happens and give away the story?

16. Have I cut my manuscript to a marketable length of 100,000 words?

17. Have I made use of rhythm and poetry in my prose or have I used clichés?

18. Have I made use of body language and gestures, which further characterize the people in the scene?

19. In sex scenes, do I prolong the actual consummation of the act, thereby intensifying the sexual tension?

20. Look for language dissonance, which doesn’t match the characters.

21. Look for chronological dissonance, which doesn’t fit the time sequence of the story.

22. Look for the secret ingredient—candor. Be authentic and keep it real.

23. Examine your ending. Does it resonate with the reader? Is it organic to the story, whether it is tragic or unpredictable?

23. Look for your passion, your truths in your writing. Do not use purple prose.

Final steps.

Make use of peer review through a writing class or writer’s group. For fiction, have your work story edited, then copy edited to tighten up the language and the grammar.

My Top Ten Books for 2009

My Top Ten Books, for 2009 voted for on Myshelf.com

1. Push by Sapphire,

2. This Wicked World by Richard L. Lange

3. Last Breath by Michelle McGriff

4. His Invisible Wife by Shelia Goss

5. Betrayal by Dwayne S. Joseph

6. Up to No Good by Carl Weber

7. Finding Joy in Pain by Roslyn Wych-Hamilton

8. Sassy by Gloria Mallette

9. Deep Deception by Tina McKinney

10. Black Water Rising by Attica Locke

  
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