Two friends“Edna, do you get this thing about bridges?”

Ethel, “No, and I am not going to sit on a bridge and write.”

What brought this to my mind? Watching the weather channel on television. There are so many disasters hitting people and countries, it would take too long to list every one and every place. However, we can connect to all these unusual events with bridges. Okay, why not include writing? We write from any available place: a computer on our desk, a laptop in our car, a worn out journal, a piece of paper, a napkin, even the back of our hands. If an idea hits, ya gotta grab it like NOW.

But how do bridges work? In a disaster, if there are distances between and a bridge is still standing, the teams sent in to do search, rescue, and get supplies to the affected areas, can use bridges. I came up with the same idea for writing. Here we are struggling to get an idea from the beginning to the end. Instead of getting all bent out of shape, pardon the cliché’, try a bridge method.

The story begins….a character needs to expand to another area….use a bridge. You can place your character(s) at the beginning of The Bridge and see what they do. Some will take steps forward and even venture to peer over the side. Others will see the long walkway with no safety net and back up. Then, you have a character who chomps at the bit and takes off for the other side. An adventure is awaiting their arrival.

The Bridge brings out the best and worst of a character’s attitude and altitude. You learn how your character reacts to heights, being alone, clinging to another character, unable to encounter the unknowing of what’s on the other side.

Push your characters to their limits and see how they handle situations. Once they are on The Bridge, a different side appears. You can give them a choice to return, if they are not past the middle. This is the place where the bridge can open, if a ship needs passage under. If your characters went to far, can they still cling to the side and hold on for the bridge to close. You learn another dimension of your character’s strength in hard places.

Okay, everyone is now headed down the other side of The Bridge, but what awaits them? This is where you get the tension flowing. Readers either turn pages fast or hesitate. They don’t want anything to happen to their character(s). This could be a no return. Each character needs either to rely on someone or shrug and go off in another direction.

With The Bridge, you took your characters from the normal, to a possibility, to an ending only they can decide. How will they react? How will your readers react? Remember, you can always throw a rope into the novel for a safety net.

Now you know your characters strengths and weaknesses. Make them shine and surprise, not only you, the author, but the reader


“See there, Edna, we worried for nothing. She’s not going to let us down.”

“Yeah, Ethel. I’m so happy. You know I don’t like heights.”


Are Your Characters Contradictory?

How well do you know your characters? You’ve researched, made sketches, know their background, size, color of hair and eyes. What happens when conflicts arise? Are you certain how your characters will react?

Look at your story and see if your characters have permission for strange behavior. Our characters must surprise and even shock the reader. We want the reader to fall in love with the story, the scenes, and our hero or heroine (protagonist or antagonist). Your characters must show emotion, an unbelievable other side, and get ‘out of character.’

A minor character becomes forceful or hateful toward the main character. If this action is full blown, the female character takes revenge, not at all like her. Or the male character plans a way to get rid of the other person. Or what about a character who thinks she must be prim and proper at all times, and a guy who must be perceived as a gentleman at all cost. Boring. Boring. Boring.

Think about your actions during the day or a few days. Everything rolls around on an even keel until a stressful situation turns your world upside down. You do things ‘out side of your box’ to get back to normal. Take a good look at your characters. How would they react?

Enter conflict. This can be between two characters or one character arguing with his or her conscious. What great behavior antics you can create? Then, the female character hears a certain song or remembers a specific time from long ago. This is something none of her friends know; her other side. From a male character, he may have a past hidden in the sealed files of a court. Each of these characters have issues from the past and surprise the reader. Now, you have emotional involvement with the characters. Next, you need to show reasons for her or his behavior. Do not tell. Show with fear, secrets, choices, motivation, and be in dialogue with them. Let your characters be real to you, the writer, and to your reader.

Surprise your reader and your characters will keep them reading. AND, let me hear about some of your character happenings, ‘outside the box.’

Happy Writing.


YouI know I said we’d do a little more in the critique process area, and we will, just not at this time. I have had this word, “PASSIONS,” floating around in my head and cannot shake hard enough to let the letters fall to the floor. No, I do not do resolutions for the new year. Why? They are of no use. If after day 1, of the new year, I screw (oops, pardon) up, then I feel the whole year will be that way. New Year’s Resolutions set people up for failure.

Now, let us take PASSION. Passion grabs you at any time, any place and any year. SO, WHAT ARE YOUR PASSIONS? First let me ask you, “What turns you on?” The second question is “Why aren’t you doing this?” Think on these questions for a while, before you answer. Turn yourself inside out and look at the choices you have made.

All of us have gifts and they get buried. Now is the time for you to get a shovel and see what gifts you can dig up. Sure, a good job and a paycheck are comforts in our environment, but you do have choices out there. Look at things that have the deepest meaning for you and see if there is an opportunity for work in this area. You need to deepen your gifts.

A thought about gardening hits. A nice yard with plenty of flowers and shrubs or a veggie garden. But, your yard is small or you live where you have no yard. OK. Check within your area for community gardens. You get your passions satisfied and meet other people.

You love to read and could sit all day with books around you. Share this passion by reading to children at your local library or starting a book club. Your passion gets filled and overflows into a child’s life or new members of a book club.

Think outside the box.

Put these passions down on index cards and look at them every day. If one does not fit, look for a different avenue, a new choice or decision. Then you find one that does fit, and you soar to new heights. You will find yourself getting closer to working with your passions.

If you are a writer, remember that every writer faces fear and failure before that one golden moment of publication. Why do we continue? We are filled with the PASSION. PASSION. PASSION. of putting words on paper.

But, one words drives all of us in search for our PASSION….PRACTICE. PRACTICE. PRACTICE.

No more resolutions, just grab your PASSIONS and hang tight. You will find your match. If you want to share, please write down five passions and how you plan to work these into your lives, starting now. No sense waiting until the New Year.

Happy Passion Hunting and let me hear from you.