How to understand the secrets that bend a life

Ding, Ding, Ding!

That was a bell going off in my head after I read a recent post on Writers Helping Writers.

I’ve read many books and blogs on writing. Lots of them talk about understanding what makes the protagonist tick. What secret from their past bent their life?

After all, we are all a product of our environment. Right? Well, our characters are just like us. They too are bent by their childhood, relationships and traumas. But how do you show that? By figuring out what made them the way they are.

I know it sounds about as easy as becoming a rocket scientist. But stay with me.

This post below gave me insight into how to uncover secrets about my protagonist but, most important how to use them to tell her story.

Lisa Cron gives 3 simple steps to help us break down our main character’s beliefs. So I took those steps and this is what I did. Be sure and click on the link below, read Ms. Cron’s article for

So after following her steps I had a breakthrough with my WIP. Here is a brief glimpse of how I used her 3 step method.

  • #1: I sat down and thought about something she believed that could be wrong. When did this belief start? What happened to make her believe this way? How has this belief led to problems? Have her beliefs proved false?
  • #2: Jotted down times when her beliefs led her astray. When they tangled up her life and how I could incorporate these events into the story.
  • #3: Then I wrote a short scene that started her on her road to believing and behaving the way she does. (Now I doubt I will use this scene in its entirety but bits and pieces may show up in other scenes. What it did do was help me flesh out my protagonist.)

Be sure and click on the link at the bottom of this post and read Ms. Cron’s article for the entire picture. You’ll be glad you did. 

So tell, what did you think about beliefs and misbeliefs?

Does your protagonist have secrets you need to uncover?

In the post Become a Story Genius: How Your Character’s Misbelief Drives The Plot by ANGELA ACKERMAN welcomed story coach Lisa Cron to talk about new book, Story Genius and how defining the why behind this struggle is the key to unlocking a powerful story. 

Story Genius: How to Use Brain Science to Go Beyond Outlining and Write a Riveting Novel (Before You Waste Three Years Writing 327 Pages That Go Nowhere) by [Cron, Lisa]
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No Trespassing

The afternoon sun did little to soften the chill as they walked.

Jenna hesitated before the opening; the faded warning alarmed her, No Trespassing.

Kyle clasped her hand and ushered her past the broken boards as he said, “It’s okay.”

His flashlight bounced off the rock walls as they sank to the blanket covering the dirt floor.

She suppressed a giggle, as she sat in an old deserted mine and waited for her first kiss.

Free Writing Prompt

join in the fun with

Five Sentence Fiction-Lillie McFerrin Writes

What it’s all about: Five Sentence Fiction is about packing a powerful punch in a tiny fist. Each week I will post a one word inspiration, then anyone wishing to participate will write a five sentence story based on the prompt word.

This week’s word:  ABANDON

To Edit or not To Edit

Cartoon man erasing a document. A vector illus...

Thank you readers! You are so gracious and you make me want to do better.

I'm my own worst critic. I write, edit, rewrite, edit and chase my tail.
Post, edit, rewrite, post, edit... Well you get the idea.

Can’t seem to help myself. I tweak my writing over and over sometimes to distraction.

However, I do think with each change I learn something about myself and my writing. Good or bad to be determined.

For me, writing is a journey of learning, failing, and tiny successes. One day, who knows maybe a big success or two. But what would a journey be without nice traveling companions. Because let’s face it, sending our words out into the world for all to see, read and possibly tear apart is just plain scary.

So I thank each and every one of you guys for nudging me along with your words of encouragement and kind critiques. 

Below is a revision from last weeks Five Sentence Fiction: Darkness I couldn’t leave this piece alone to save my life. LOL

Let me know if you think my tweaking helped or hurt.

Tell me how many times do you write and rewrite a blog post, or WIP?

Do you learn from the process or become more frustrated?

Walking After Midnight

Clouds filled the sky, hiding the moon as dense fog lifted from the forest floor hiding my steps.

My heart fluttered in relief as tiny flickering lights appeared illuminating a narrow path. They twirled and danced, leading me toward an archway formed by low hanging limbs, and I hoped against hope,  I’d found an exit.

One by one, with a final wink the lights passed through the passageway. I groped like a child waking in the night, and I stood once more blind, lost in the darkness wishing for faeries.


Four ways to revise a scene

5 Draft Method

New Writers Practice, Practice, Practice


Summer is Over


Well, school’s started.vac jean-003

Your house is quiet.

Time to get writing.

But let’s be honest, letting go of those hazy, lazy days of summer is not easy. This summer I’ve enjoyed reading for pure pleasure and daydreaming of sandy beaches.

Are you mocked by your computer screen too? Mine stares at me like a two-year old who doesn’t understand the word no.

However, I’m determined to get my groove back and shake out the cobwebs. At my age, not an easy thing.

So it’s back to basics, and homework. Prompts to get the rust off and articles, books and websites that remind me how to write. Yes, I need reminding.

I’ve listed a few of my favs. Hope they help you get going this fall.

The Six Great Epiphanies of Successful Authors

20 Things That Can Help You Find Inspiration for Writing

Kick it up a Notch: Top Tips on Writing a Page-Turning Novel 

How Revising Rewards Mistakes

An Early Fiction Checklist

Storytelling: One Surprising Approach to Plotting

As I said, this is just a few of the many. I hope one or more of these great writers nudge you and get those fingers flying. Happy writing.