Archives

Celebrating You

holiday-heading

For me, 2016 has been full of personal growth and surprises. I’m focusing on sharing my motto: Excite, Empower, and Embrace. And, I love sharing uplifting stories, support, and words of love and peace on my personal FB page, so please follow me there https://www.facebook.com/cyndifaria/ as well as my author page where I share all my latest writing news and releases: https://www.facebook.com/CyndiFariaAuthor/

My quarterly newsletter is fast growing. I offer special prizes throughout the year, including excerpts, reader bios, covers, swag, recipes inspired by my Whisper Cove series, and peeks at what the characters are doing now. Super fun! You can sign up here https://www.instafreebie.com/free/nRk3u

I’m excited to share that my writing took a new direction (dark romantic suspense!) I can’t wait to tell you more about my new series in 2017. I’ve returned to writing book 5 in the Whisper Cove series (Thank you to everyone who requested more of that paranormal world. Dane and Abigail’s book, Spirit Freed, releases February 14th! Woot! (For info and pre-order vendor links: https://cyndifaria.wordpress.com/published-fiction/)

The new house is amazing and furnished just the way we like, lots of pillows, throws, and comfy reading areas. We welcomed a new puppy and she’s eight months old already. Will, my four year old heeler, thinks she’s awesome. The backyard, aka swampland, will be our next project…but isn’t that life’s lesson to happiness? Setting goals, empowering yourself with the skills needed to complete the work and doing your best, then embracing your accomplishments? Repeat, repeat… I’ve even been asked to speak to a group of high school-aged young women on pursuing dreams!

Before I welcome in the new year, I want to say thank you for following me and supporting my writing dreams. If you haven’t read the first two books in the Whisper Cove series, now is your chance to read the romance that started it all (books 2, 3, & 4 are stand alone novels). I hope you enjoy Jake and Faith’s quest to find their HEA.

Fall in love with Whisper Cove First two books 99¢ *Limited Time*

books-1-2-99-cents

Spirit Awakened *FREE*
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2h3r7Hk
B&N: http://bit.ly/2g9gN2T
iBooks: http://apple.co/2gWs2gd
Kobo: http://bit.ly/2gWkkQX
Google Play: http://bit.ly/1DBb10s

“Loved it! Definitely one that pulls you in from the start! Cannot wait for book 2 (available now)!!” Reviewer

Spirit Released 99¢ *Limited Time*
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2hutrIZ
B&N: http://bit.ly/2hjxbyN
iBooks: http://apple.co/2hiSCzY
Kobo: http://bit.ly/2gydtLE
Google Play:http://bit.ly/1EdTRVF

“…filled with intrigue, mystery, romance, and paranormal… I can’t wait to see what book 3 has in store for us!” –Tanya’s Book Nook

Books 3 and 4 Available! Book 5 Preorder now!
https://cyndifaria.wordpress.com/published-fiction/

A Bestselling Holiday Romance, Honor the Promise, is being offered at a reduced price. This is a sweet bestfriends to lovers romance novella you won’t want to miss.

honor-99-cents

A hidden fear. A secret crush. Risking the truth could tear them apart.

A bestselling, sweet holiday romance Amazon (only): http://amzn.to/1rkb5pD
(Bonus Chapter from the Whisper Cove series included) *Limited Time*

“…a wonderful story about love, best friends turning to lovers, and figuring out what you really want out of life.” Reviewer

Maggie leaned in, brushed her lips against Garrett’s, and shimmied closer. “Don’t be afraid to get close.”

He twined his legs with hers, thought about how the pig-tailed ten-year-old had transformed into a beauty queen, now safely tucked into his arms. “I thought we had a dance class?'”

She whispered, “Class doesn’t begin for half an hour.”

He tasted her smile, tasted sunshine on a stormy night. The way his body tingled from her chest, tummy, and thighs pressed tight against his might as well have been a lightning bolt that struck deep and fired him up inside. He could think of nothing else but claiming her as his.

Best friends to lovers never felt so good.

***

Lastly, congratulations to Catherine Maquire, winner of my Holly Jolly Facebook Hop page game. And, Congratulations to Cara Scott, winner of the Kindle paper white! Woot! I had so much fun seeing everyone’s’ Mr. Sexy! Oh, my!

Here’s wishing you a wonderful holiday season! Don’t forget to download the above items and have a fabulous time reading, relaxing, and ringing in the new year.

 

Happy Reading,

 

Cyndi Faria

Advertisements

Office Inspiration Photo

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been working to implement my office inspiration. That’s code for an office makeover. See, I’m so addicted to HGTV that I actually snap photos off the television, have a binder of magazine cutouts, and have even hired a room designer. But that’s not the story.

As a romance writer, I love, well, anything romance—crystal chandeliers, sleek black lines, pearls, scented candles, French soap, fresh-cut roses, love letters….You get the picture.

But, currently, my writing space is up against a flat white wall in a dimly lit room that is in desperate need of a makeover! But let me not digress.

How am I supposed to be inspired by love when my own space screams business?

With 4 boys and limited rooms in my cottage home, I had to find a space where I could combine functions and quiet. In my house, no one wants to do laundry. So unless I’m running the machine, that room is pretty silent.

So, with the help of a designer and using the HGTV color palette Urban Organic (paint palette of same name found at Sherwin Williams), I created the perfect working, yet romantic, space by combining these seven decor items:

  1. Color
  2. Texture
  3. Old World Charm
  4. Garden Accents
  5. Family Memories/Inspirational Messages
  6. Atypical Desk (Wine Bar in Lieu of Desk, Cushioned Chairs with Back Support)
  7. Globe Lighting/Candles

This room was a complete redesign. I did most of the work myself, even the stool re-upholstery. My hubby did the electrical upgrades. Together we hung the cubbies—I held, he drilled.

Office Inspiration Come to Life!

Office InspirationHere’s my romantic creative space. Just outside the 2’x8′ window, the garden and sparkling pool temp my gaze, the sun rises over the mountains, humming birds flit about the feeder on the other side of the window just inches away.

And best of all—my floor buddies (my dogs) will always feel at home…’cause I’m in their space, too. Along with the cost breakdown, here’s what I updated for a total project cost of $761 of creative bliss:

  • Paint: Jersey Cream semi-gloss, brushes, floor clothes, rollers, tape. ($52)
  • IKEA Cubby System: 6 cubbies ($60)
  • Lumber: ($6)
  • Assorted Baskets: 3 grey weave, 3 rattan with black accents ($96)
  • Cabinet Hardware: ($45)
  • Bar with Stools: ($280; original cost $560)
  • Re-upholster stools with single curtain from Pier One ($32)
  • Updated electrical outlets ($10)
  • Updated floor register ($9)
  • Staples Photo Board: Upholstered with curtain remnants to match chairs ($20)
  • Staples White Board ($20)
  • Designer Over Window Wall Art ($25)
  • Flat Black Spray Paint ($5) (Bed, Bath, and Beyond Mirror, re-purposed)
  • Towel Holder (re-purposed basket)
  • IKEA Tumbler Lamp ($17)
  • Bed, Bath, and Beyond Faux Roses ($8)
  • World Market red photo frame ($5)
  • Princess House votive and scented candles ($45)
  • Designer Wall Shelf ($15)
  • Homegoods inspirational message art ($8)
  • Joann’s Fabric inspirational message art ($20)
  • Screws ($3)

Note: Many items purchased at consignment or re-purposed to reduce cost.

I’ll start working in my new space tomorrow. I’m so excited to see what new magic springs from my mind and finds its way to the blank screen!

How can you find simple ways to infuse your creative space with romance?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Know Your Reader: Reaching Out and Forming Friendships

To know your readers, you must reach out and form friendships.

Recently, I read a fantastic blog on How to Find Readers on Twitter and I encourage you to pop on over to Jonathan Gunson’s Best Seller Lab’s Blog if you’re interested. But that’s not the story. What I came away with after reading his blog on authors connecting with potential readers was that I wanted to find out who my current followers are?

Reader Writer

From my stats, I have close to 2,000 followers and I find myself absolutely flattered and in awe by the interaction I receive, both in the form of replies, tweets, and in personally meeting other authors who read my blog. Especially, since I’m pre-published. One thing is for sure, I’ve always found successful authors, and others, who pay-it-forward to capture my heart.

And, so, it has been my goal since starting this blog a little over a year ago, to share my ever-growing writer’s toolbox with other writers in hopes that financial manacles wouldn’t hold captive a budding author. At my expense, I travel, attend conferences, speaking events…the list continues and I won’t bore you.

Getting back to YOU and the essence of this post: TELL ME ABOUT YOU!

I want to know about you, so I’d love if you participate by answering these five easy questions. Next Monday, I’ll recap and share the information. This is my way of paying-it-forward, directing traffic to your blog, book, or special interest, and thanking you for following me, as well as considering new blog directions for this site.

Questions:

1. Are you a reader or writer or both, and what genre do you read or write?  Feel free to plug your favorite title.
2. Do you have a blog or cause or an inspiring story that you want to share? Shout it out!
3. What do you enjoy about this blog that keeps you following me?
4. What do you want to see more of?
5. What positive effect has reading had on your life?

I’ll go first:

1. Are you a reader or writer or both, and what genre do you read or write?
I’m both. Given my first book, Cinderella, I fell in love with far away fantasy romance that slowly evolved to encompass the paranormal romantic and urban fantasy genre. Although, I do love a good mixed genre: humorous, contemporary, mystery romance.

2. Do you have a blog or cause or an inspiring story that you want to share?
For as long as I can remember, I’ve kept my home and barn open to orphaned, unwanted, or injured animals that can live out their years knowing kindness, a full belly, and a clean, warm place to bed down, which includes my lap. I’ve worked with Feral Cat Rescue, Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), Sacramento Animal Control, Project Ride (Connecting special needs children with horses).

3. What do you enjoy about this blog that keeps you following me?
I enjoy bringing materials forefront that benefit other authors or inspire others to see the positive and purpose in everything.

4. What do you want to see more of?
This year, I look forward to blogging more about what inspires my creativity—the California Coast—in hopes that you too will venture out and explore your backyard.

5.What positive effect has reading had on your life?
Reading has opened my mind to learning about things that I wouldn’t have allowed myself to explore and learn without judgment.

That wasn’t too hard. Please don’t be shy. I really do want to know about you. Share and I’ll be sure to spotlight how important you are to me next week!

For further information on how to connect to readers check out Nick Thacker’s Blog and guest post from Matthew Turner How Well Do You Know Your Reader.

Happy Reading and Writing,

Cyndi Faria

What is Your Christmas Wish?

Xmas Gift

Is your wish to sit fireside listening to the snapping flames, sipping hot cocoa with fluffy and melting marshmallows. Is it snuggling beside the one you love watching a favorite movie? Or is it surrounding yourself with the sounds of family and friends?

Christmas is a time of celebration, of reconnecting, and of creating lifelong memories. But often we fill the entire month of December with so many commitments and expectations that we develop the Scrooge syndrome. We snap at our children, we dream of anything other than driving to the next gathering, we just want the season to end.

I want to remind you to become self-possessed. Learn to say No. Prioritize. By doing this, you’ll be able to decipher what is truly important.

My Christmas wish is that you learn accept that you are good enough, that you are not a burden, that you are worthy of love, that you have value and matter to those around you, that you are accepted for who you are, that your needs will be met, and that you learn to trust, even yourself.

As Ebenezer Scrooge awoke renewed and rushed to his bedchamber’s window, he saw the world in a new light:

“No fog, no mist; clear, bright, jovial, stirring, cold: cold, piping for the blood to dance to; Golden sunlight; Heavenly sky; sweet fresh air; merry bells. O, glorious! Glorious!

May you be abundantly rewarded by hope, joy, benevolence, redemption, compassion, serenity, gratefulness, forgiveness, and self-possession!

As Ebenezer Scrooge said after his transformation: “God bless Us, Every One!”

Merry Christmas!

Thank you for being that very special person in my life!

Cyndi Faria

Ride To Publication

On the ride to publication, should you focus on change, flexibility, or results?

According to Jack Dixon, “If you focus on results, you will never change. If you focus on change, you will get results.” ~Jack Dixon

Me and Magic

But change is hard, a kind of friction we battle against as we’re learning something new. I think back to the first horse riding lesson I took. I jostled in the seat and, most likely with my hands gripping the reins too tight, I tugged at the bit and caused the horse unnecessary mouth pain. After, my thigh muscles burned and I hobbled around until my next lesson. But each day I kept riding and learning and changing until I excelled, won awards, and began to teach others to ride.

Embrace Change

As a newer writer learning how to improve my craft, I’ve taken on-line classes, attended chapter meetings and conventions and writing retreats, and flat-out studied and applied the changes by revising and rewriting and tossing out entire chapters until something felt . . . right. I could feel the road to publication growing less bumpy.

Still I write every day, and I sneak in a few chapters of pleasure reading each night. I watch movies and study structure each week. However, like the riding lessons, I set my goal on growing my craft one lesson, one class, at a time. I don’t focus on the result—a completed novel—but on the journey and lessons learned. Change was anything but easy.

Be Flexible

No matter where you are in your writing career, flexibility is paramount. If you’re deep in the edit process as I am, welcome criticism from your critique partner or editor not with disdain but with joy knowing that rewrites, abandoned and/or combined scenes will tighten the plot and pacing; thereby allowing potential readers a more satisfying experience.

But again focus on the journey, the micro-changes experienced during that lesson, and not the result.

To aid in flexibility, as I switched from riding western to english, search for different writing techniques that can benefit your unique writing style. Read blogs, travel, study art, hunt for fresh ideas through new experiences, interview others about some unique aspect of their life, read, read, and read some more. Stretch your muscles, your creativity, until like the rider who becomes one with the mount, reacting and compensating to the subtle shifting and tensing of the horse under saddle, the same is true for the writer who narrates the mind fluently, beautifully, magically.

By allowing growth and change, by staying open and flexible, you’ll awaken to the result with a kind of awe as you realize publication has arrived.

Write with Joy,

Cyndi Faria

By The Book Christmas Tree

Tree of Romance with twinkle lights! Oh, yes!Christmas Book Tree

When I saw the photos of the Christmas trees made from books in The Mary Sue (www.themarysue.com/12-christmas-trees-made-out-of-books/ )I had to build one for myself. I own hundreds of books, a three-foot tall round table, and twinkle lights… How hard could it be?

Well after two tries, I realized building a book tree would have been a lot easier if all of my books were hardbound, like those in the photos.

However, perseverance combined with the engineer in me and I decided to create a sort of recipe. For a three-foot tall tree with a two foot base, you will need the following:

  • 120 books, sorted by size,  thickness, and hardness.
  • Solid surface base (wood or marble, not carpet). I used a marble table.
  • 1- 25′ strand of clear mini lights (indoor, low heat)
  • 1- 25′ strand of colored bulb lights that twinkle (indoor, low heat)
  • Topper

Starting with your largest hardbound books, form a circle with the bindings facing out. My base uses 5 hardbound books. Continue to form circles, bridging two books from the bottom layer with your next lift. Slowly decrease the number of books you use per layer until you have an opening that is big enough for the smallest paperbacks to slide into and fill in the middle to stabilize the tree (a simple stack will do the trick for a tree this size). Test to make sure your tree is sturdy by rocking it slightly. It should feel solid.

Next:

  • Add several single books to increase the top height. I used 8 more books of decreasing size.
  • Wrap with the clear lights, non blinking.
  • Add a strand of colored bulbs, blinking.
  • Add a star, angel, or whatever for a topper. I used a snowman.
  • Plug in and Enjoy!

As I stepped back, I had an epiphany of what kind of reader I am. I’m author loyal and am a huge fan of paranormal and romantic suspense, with a light sprinkling of classic stories. I also support my circle of friends who are also writers.

If you build a book tree (or imagined building one with the books you have handy), what would your tree tell about you–the kind of reader you are? The kind of writer you strive to be?

Please share your tree pictures!

Research: Acquiring More Than Facts

The sea fog swirled around me and clouded my view of the waves rolling in off of the green-grey horizon and crashing in a thunderous climax against the sandy shoreline. But I knew the fog was not what it seemed. Fog spirits kissed my heat-baked skin, their touch delightful like the tender lips of a new lover. I tipped my face up and the bold dot of yellow attempted to burn away the mist surrounding me. The sun’s heat hugged me in warmth, intensifying my pleasure and trying to tear at it with the same salty breath. I suppose fog spirits might be in competition with the sun. As a human, I couldn’t know and perhaps because of the heat and mist war that stole my breath, I didn’t care. I lie back onto the heated sand, let the fog spirits dance across my skin, listened to a thousand lulling murmurs that drifted in off of the surf, and closed my eyes. My human lover who lay beside me would never allow them to steal me away.

Research: Acquiring More Than Facts.

Yesterday, I spent the day researching Fog Spirits with my husband. I drove along highway 1 toward Point Reyes, California, stopping at the local restaurants to sample some of the day’s freshest catch: oysters, clams, shrimp, crab, salmon, herring, chowder, and warm French bread. We could have included wine and local cheeses and many of the other tourists lured by the mad frenzy to the bountiful tables that lined the banks and overlooked Tamales Bay did enjoy these additions. But I resisted such temptations as this was a business trip.

Back in the car, I cruised along the shoreline toward the point, the salty yet heavily muddied scent of the bay should have been stifling, but wasn’t. The sea was close enough to taste. I accelerated toward the fog bank that hung in a thin sheet over the last cypress-filled bluff overlooking the pacific coastline.

Once on the beach I played in the frigid surf, letting the sand push between my toes, and explored tide pools that dotted the shoreline. My partner and I copped a spot in that heat-infused sand, tucking against the rocky bluff. I closed my eyes and listened to the rumbling waves that built and built before exploding against the surf, the cry of an occasional seagull, the mist tickling my skin, and the sun a mere thought.

And I reminded myself why I’d come to this place, why more than any other location in the world, the pacific—my backyard—pulled me like a current to this spot time and again since childhood. I asked myself what memories and information I could take with me from this day? What would I infuse into my nearly finished work in progress (WIP)?

One thing I’ve learned is to wait until I’m nearly finished with my stories before weaving fiction and fact together. I once spent months researching the fifteenth century, working that piece into my hero’s past and having my editor recommend that I remove the thread as it didn’t affect the plot. She was right. And although I increased my knowledge of the French Revolution, I’d also wasted time researching instead of writing that story.

Research List, Collecting More Than Shells:

  • Senses (sounds, smells, sights, tastes, touch)
  • Emotional Feeling
  • Traditions
  • Local Celebrations
  • Beliefs/Fears
  • Culture
  • Food
  • Climate
  • Time of Year
  • Founder(s)
  • Socioeconomic Status

Research Expenses, Keeping Track of More Than Sanddollars:

  • Mileage
  • Food
  • Tour Admission Costs
  • Books
  • Toll
  • Parking

Do Fog Spirits exist? In my mind they do.

Here’s hoping that your time spent researching is a pleasurable as mine.

Happy Researching,

Cyndi Faria

Are You Pitch Ready?

With the RWA National Conference just around the corner, you’ll want to make sure you’re pitch ready.  Here are some helpful tips to ensure your “elevator pitch” or pitch session is spot on!

Prior To The Interview:

  • Know who you are pitching to (editor/agent). Read the person’s blog, twitter messages, etc.
  • Know what genre they are looking to acquire.
  • Know what books/authors they have recently acquired.
  • Know their company’s mission.
  • Have an understanding of what their company is acquiring now and in the past.

What To Bring:

  • Business cards www.vistaprint.com
  • Professional attitude
  • Good Posture
  • Think/say “I’m excited” and not “I’m nervous”
  • 3×5 index cards with pitch notes, if needed
  • Passion for your story!

What To Wear:

  • Business Casual
  • Vivid colors are more memorable than monochrome
  • Incorporate “Branding” (Read The Basics of Author Branding here)
  • Remember, you are interviewing not only your book, but yourself
  • Smile 😀

What Editors And Agents Know And Are Looking For In Your Pitch:

  • A VISUAL HOOK!!! (Previous Blog on One Sentence Hook here)
  • Unique Twist/High Concept
  • Structure (Previous Blog Turning a One Sentence Hook into a Five-Sentence Synopsis here
  • Personality Types
  • Flaw/Strength
  • Theme
  • Arcs
  • Conflict
  • What sells?
  • Minimal  backstory in pitch

Be Prepared To Answer The Following:

  • Your Name (real)
  • Title of your book
  • Genre
  • Word count
  • Snappy Hook (or Log Line)
  • Story plot
  • Theme
  • Character arc
  • Suspense arc
  • Romantic arc
  • What else you are working on?
  • What have sold?
  • Are you indie published?
  • STOP TALKING  with Submission Request

What To Have On Standby:

  • A polished (edited) manuscript that you can send in right away if requested.
  • A polished (edited) query letter  (Previous blog Query Letter Made Easy here)
  • A polished (edited) synopsis (3-5 pages)

After You Pitch:

  • Thank the editor/agent for their time
  • Send thank you e-mails and/or cards afterwards, regardless of request for proposal

WISHING YOU THE BEST OF LUCK AND MUCH SUCCESS!

Happy Pitching,

Cyndi Faria

Writing Retreat Much?

Mount Shasta

 The benefits of writing retreats.

  

Recently, I had the privilege of spending 6 days with Nina Bruhns. She’s the Editorial Director and Senior Editor for Entangled Publishing’s DEAD SEXY books. She’s also a Bestselling romantic thriller author. She writes as both Nina Bruhns and Nikita Black and her books are absolutely sexy-thrilling.

From right: Nina Bruhns, Virna DePaul, Grace Callaway, Susan Hatler, Cyndi Faria, Rochelle French

A benefit of the small retreat setting was that I got to know the writer behind the book cover. Nina’s love of travel, not to mention that she’s also an archeologist (an Egyptologist), was inspiring as she has lived and worked all over the world.

During the Mt. Shasta retreat, in California, Nina talked about the ten types of movies and how romance writers often find themselves writing the same types of books over and over again.

Movie types include:

  • Monster in The House
  • Golden Fleece: Road movie.
  • Out of the Bottle: Wish plus magic.
  • Dude/Dudette with a Problem: Ordinary guy/extraordinary circumstances
  • Rites of Passage
  • Buddy Love
  • Whydoneit? Villain plus why?
  • The Fool Triumphant: Outsider triumphs by luck.
  • Institutionalized: Band together for common cause.
  • Superhero: Extraordinary guy/ordinary circumstances

She also presented her twist on Blake Snyder’s “Beats” for screenwriters (as detailed in Blake Snyder’s book, Save the Cat), which she has tweaked for romance writers and teaches her method at various retreats and conferences.

So if you’re a writer who wants to improve your writing craft and networking in a big way, I encourage you to check out your local RWA chapters for writing workshops and retreats. You’ll not only deepen your relationship with fellow authors, but, who knows, maybe you’ll bring home a new critique partner or a friend for life.

From Right: Cyndi Faria, Virna DePaul, Rochelle French, Susan Hatler, Poppy Reiffin

Check out some of this year’s writing retreat attendants’ talents, books, and websites below:

Published Authors:

Pre-Published Authors:

  • Poppy Reiffin—Web Developer and E-book Designer, Contemporary Romance
  • Vanessa Kier—Urban Fantasy and Romantic Thriller
  • Maris Bennett—Columnist for Contra Costa Times
  • Linda Livingston—Women’s Fiction with Romantic Elements
  • Kristina Mathews
  • Sam Bradley—Women’s Fiction with Romantic Elements
  • Laura McCann—Contemporary Romance

Describing Emotion

Don’t let your emotional descriptions be cliche.

As writers, we can bring freshness to our scenes by using our internal responses to events to describe our character’s (MC’s) body’s reactions to emotional stimuli? According to Humintell, there are approximately six primary emotions: anger, contempt, fear, disgust, happiness, sadness, and surprise. Each of these emotions evokes a unique combination of physiological (body) responses, especially facial features as shown and detailed in Humintell’s article.

As a reader, I’ve read descriptions of how a MC reacts to loss that include the tightening throat and stinging eyes… The challenge is to make the description less cliché.

To do this, give your writing a twist, and pull information from your own experiences.

Below I’ve captured two events from my life. The first sparks sadness and the second surprise. So if I need to write a sad or surprised scene, I focus on my body’s physiological reactions to those events.

Sadness Example:

My uncle sat in his blue corduroy recliner. His eyes had pinched down so only a hint of blue wept through his lids. His breath, though labored from pain, seemed strong. How wrong, I thought, that his life approached the end. I held his thin-skinned hand and allowed myself to feel the strength and warmth that fought to exist. That warmth embodied the friendship and love he had shown toward me. My jaw line ached in a way a lime will pull pain from your mouth without a taste, but only sight. My pursed lips quivered into a forced smile he’d expect from me. But my eyes… My eyes brimmed with unshed tears I’d only allow to fall when I left his room.

Note: My reaction to my uncle’s pending death was due to his expectation of me to remain stoic. He wouldn’t have wanted to know that he’d caused me, or anyone else, pain. He brought joy to the world and not the other. And that’s exactly what I gave him: a joyful face though my heart was breaking.

This example is not cliché. I doubt anyone has written the rawness of loss of a loved one in this way, but the physiological experience is similar in all of us. That’s what we need to capture internally when we write our MC’s internal dialogue, even though your MC’s external reaction may be completely the out-of-place, laughing perhaps. That coping mechanism is formed early on by our parents and culture as an example is detailed below.

Surprise Example:

My father came home from work around five o’clock every day. On one uneventful after-school day, he walked through the door and said, “Cyndi, I thought I told you to clean out the truck…”

I never argued with my father or questioned him in any way. Upsetting our Italian family balance was my sibling’s forte. Instead, I jumped to my feet and went outside to clean the truck, grumbling under my fifth grade breath, why I had to do the dirty work on such a balmy day. I peeked through the open window and assessed the task.

On the front seat of our green Chevy sat the most beautiful tri-colored Collie puppy I’d ever seen. The white fur collar circled his neck and his deep brown eyes gazed up at me as if I were an angel.

My eyes widened and my fingers gripped the chrome door handle, but I didn’t move my hand or arms or feet. I couldn’t. What if I dropped him with my trembling hands? All I could do was stare down at the quiet fur ball and inhale his puppy essence until it calmed my racing heart.

Note:  I didn’t jump up and down or scream or run in circles. I didn’t jerk the puppy out of the car and squeeze him like children will do. I didn’t because my family culture had taught me to be reserved and emotionally silent, even though fireworks of joy and surprise and fear were exploding inside my body.

And that’s the challenge as a writer. You must understand your MC’s backstory in a way that you capture the unique response to each situation. A MC’s external reaction may be different from your reaction to the same stimulus, but internally the body’s reaction is the same. Understanding the Enneagram Institutes (personality traits) can help understand specific personality traits. See my previous blogs too.

I hope this method inspires you to detail emotions in a way that is less cliché.

How do you evoke emotion in your characters? Do you pull from your experiences or not? How do you stay true to character? I would love to hear from you.

Happy Writing,

Cynid Faria