Thursday, October 31, 2019

Please Don't Buy My Book

Amazon Algorithm Change. If you’re an Indie author, those three words probably provoke a level of dread proportional to the number of eggs book sales you generate from that one basket megastore.

Amazon’s latest tweaks involve their “Also Bought” generator. This feature is now much more prominently placed (its placement above the item the page belongs to is being trialed right now – sometimes you’ll see it there, sometimes you won’t), and it takes its data gathering very seriously.

If you’re an unknown author, Also Boughts are how potential readers find you. Let’s say you write cozy mysteries involving clever cats that help the investigator find clues. If Amazon customers were browsing for Lillian Jackson Braun or Clea Simon books and your book was featured on that page, it would be an ideal match – you’d very likely get a number of sales from people willing to try something new but similar. Perfect. Once you have more books out, you also want your own books to appear on your Also Bought list so that readers buy the rest of your series.

But how about this scary scenario? Your Aunty Mildred decides to do something nice to support you and asks her gardening club friends to buy your book. Suddenly books on pruning roses and the best time to plant hydrangeas are appearing on your book’s Also Boughts, and your book’s connection to The Cat Who series is being diluted by the number of readers who prefer composting to kitties. Your writer friends on Facetwit who wanted to help you out have caused Amazon to add dozens of writing books into your pool. Free days, giveaways, and contests you promoted on Tweetbook sent all sorts of freebie seekers to muddy the waters of the Amazon with every other free book they’ve downloaded (and probably never intended to read). And your day-job colleagues on InstaLinked have such varied tastes that Amazon has no idea what to do with the data it is being served other than to spread your book so thinly it barely registers.

So, how do you handle a book launch where the people who love you most could potentially sink your book? One idea is to initially send your friends and family to an offer IRL (in real life - what a concept), on your website, or directly from your publisher/ POD printer/ distributor, instead of linking to Amazon. Keep your Amazon link for those campaigns where you know you are engaging with fans of the authors you want on your Also Bought list, and vice versa.

Thanks for reading. If you enjoyed this article... please don’t buy my book (from Amazon, at least).

Elle Carter Neal is the author of the picture book I Own All the Blue and teen science-fantasy novel Madison Lane and the Wand of Rasputin. She is based in Melbourne, Australia. Find her at ElleCarterNeal.com or HearWriteNow.com

Robot image from Wikimedia Commons

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Fear of Writing


We like to call people who flaunt fear and defy death daredevils, like those old barnstormers who flew their rickety biplanes upside down to the delight of the crowds below. But how can what writers do be compared to that?

For me, it's not too far a stretch to think of writers as daredevils. I would argue that for many writers, even established ones, fear is the emotion most readily associated with our work. To get anything meaningful accomplished, we have to dig deep, don our daredevil armor and vanquish fear, much as the haints that terrorize us on All Hallow's Eve are conquered by the rising of the Saints on November 1st.

Talk with any group of writers and you’ll find they fear the same things... that somehow their work won't be good enough or will never cross the finish line. Or if they do manage to get something written, edited and submitted to a publisher, it will never be bought. Or if their work is miraculously bought, once published, no reader will buy it. Or if people actually buy their books, they will never read them. Or if they do read them, no one will like them. Ad nauseum, ad infinitum. 

No matter how we approach it, the writer's path is full of artfully placed stones, each waiting to trip us up and keep us from reaching our destinations. The list of fears associated with the act of writing goes on and on, a dreadful tangle of crippling thoughts that threaten to hogtie our minds with every word we commit to the page. Too many aspiring writers spend their lives constrained by these knots that exist nowhere but within their own minds. Fear crowds out any impulse to write and smothers every creative idea that sparks before it can burst into a roaring fire that cannot be extinguished. The sad truth is we stop ourselves from succeeding as writers when we let our "what if" fears control our thinking.

It's just plain awful.

Speaking from personal experience, here is what I do when my fear of writing threatens to swallow me up and extinguish any nascent creative sparks that may be sputtering about in my brain.

1. While I dislike that old adage about how you eat an elephant—namely one bite at a time—it's useful when it comes to writing.

How do you write a book? One sentence at a time. How do you write one sentence at a time? Make a plan. Pick a time of day that's most convenient for you, and every day at that time, sit down in the same place, choose the same tools (pad and pencil, tablet, computer, typewriter, etc.) and write one sentence. Make no judgment about that sentence. Just write it and then congratulate yourself and get up and leave it. You're done for the day. Go take an antacid to help you digest that bit of elephant if you need it, or do yoga or walk or eat ice cream.

2. After a full month of writing one sentence a day, set aside 30 minutes to read all your sentences at once. It doesn't matter if they go together or not, or whether they make sense or are even part of the same story. What you're trying to do is develop your writing muscles, get them used to the habit of writing every single day. If among the 30 sentences you find some that seem to go together, that’s good, but at this point, merely incidental.

3. For the next month, pick a topic and write two sentences a day about that topic. This time, the goal is to make them work together, to seem part of the same whole. By the end of the month, you'll have enough sentences strung together to create a short article such as a book or movie review, or even a blog post. But even if you don’t, celebrate the fact that you wrote two sentences a day for 30 days. That’s a real accomplishment, and by now, you should start to feel more comfortable with the physical act of writing.

4. For the third month, you will write a full paragraph every day. All the paragraphs you write should be focused on the same topic or story.
5. By the fifth month, select a topic and start writing with the goal of finishing a short story or article by the end of the month. The goal is to get your idea down on paper, not to create a Pulitzer Prize-winning piece of literary or journalistic art. If fear raises its ugly head, go back to writing one sentence a day until you have it managed again.
I believe most fear of writing arises from the unrealistic demands we place upon ourselves. Let’s face it. Not every one of us is going to grow up to be a Margaret Atwood or Richard Powers, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t write. If you truly want to be a writer, then you must write. And in order to write, you have to conquer all the fears you associate with writing. Only then will your Muse feel free enough to come out and play, and when that happens, the real fun begins.

Patricia B. Smith is a journalist who is the author of 11 published books, including Idiot’s Guide: Flipping Houses, Alzheimer's For Dummies and Sleep Disorders for Dummies.

Pat is also an experienced professional developmental editor who serves as an Editorial Evaluation and Developmental Coordinator for Five Star Publishing. She works with private clients as well and has helped many authors land their first publishing contracts. Many of her clients have achieved notable success, including two winners of the Missouri Writers’ Guild Show-me Best Book of the Year Award.

Connect with Pat on Facebook, Twitter, or Linked In.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Taming the Fearsome Apostrophe

Ah, dearies, it's so good to visit you in the absence of my sweet niece, the Style Maven. I'm filling in for her because she's quite involved at the moment with another project. However, she sends her greetings and has asked me to share with you some pertinent thoughts on the uses and abuses of the often misunderstood apostrophe.

According to The Chicago Manual of Style Seventeenth Edition, the apostrophe—which is not to be confused with its identical twin, the single quotation mark—serves one of three purposes in a sentence: it shows possession; it indicates a contraction, or it signifies the possessive nature of certain expressions.


Let's first consider singular and plural possession:
The cat's meows awakened me. ( 1 cat)
The cats' meows awakened me. (2+ cats)
Placement of the apostrophe determines the singularity or plurality of cats. If it sits between cat and the s, it denotes just one. If more than one cat is involved, it follows the the plural word cats.

Apostrophes should never appear in the plural form of a family name unless it shows possession. For example: The Smiths live here. Never write The Smith's live here or address an envelope to The Smith's. This is especially important to remember when sending out wedding or party invitations or seasonal greetings. However, you would say the Smiths' house, denoting more than one of the Smiths own the house.

One exception: suppose the word is already plural—such as people or women. In this case, possession is treated as though it were a singular noun.
The people's choice indicated their mindset.
The women's club meets on Tuesday.
We had fun at my grandchildren's picnic.

Unlike some of the rules for showing possession, contractions are quite straightforward in their need for apostrophes. Here are a few examples:
don't for do not,
can't for cannot,
they've  for they have,
and so on.

What about compound expressions? These, too, are typically uncomplicated.
My father-in-law's truck stalled on the highway.
His bride-to-be's mother decorated the wedding cake.

One final thought: occasionally possessives can replace of in certain phrases.
In two days' time he will be home. (In two days (plural) he will be home.)
I will earn a month's vacation next year. (I will earn a month (singular) of vacation next year.)

For further discussion and examples of the apostrophe's versatile nature, consult The Chicago Manual of Style. It has a lot to say about the really not-so-fearsome apostrophe. Meantime, watch out for these little marks of punctuation that can make a big difference in the meaning of a sentence. They may seem confusing, but they only want to be understood so they can do their job right.

See you next time, dearies.

Editor Linda Lane has returned to her first love—writing—while maintaining her editing work. Her novels fall into the literary category because they are character driven rather than plot driven, but their quick pace reminds the reader of genre fiction. They also contain elements of romance, mystery, and thrillers. You can contact her at websites: LSLaneBooks.com and DenverEditor.com.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Welcome to the Future, or Not

I’ve never been afraid of much. Not sure why. I don’t like scary movies, don’t read horror novels. I used to fear getting old, but I’m kind of there, and it’s not as bad as I thought. But in day-to-day life, nothing much ever made me really scared, until recently.


Why could that be? you might ask. It’s the future—the future I probably won’t be around to learn if my fears were justified. The future that my children, grandchildren, and their children face. It’s the banal reality show mentality of the Kardashians and Big Brother. The greed in politics and lack of empathy. It’s people shrugging off the ugliness toward others and normalizing it. It’s a diminished public educational system that only serves those kids who are lucky enough to live in a good district or have the benefit of a private education. A good public education used to be for all kids from grades one to twelve and then affordable college. Now, some people bribe colleges to get their kids accepted, as if they have no faith their child will be accepted on his or her own merits. We need to teach critical thinking and civics, and we need to spend more money to do it.

My fears aren’t momentary fears, like a monster coming out of the closet or a “we’re-gonna-need-a-bigger-boat” shark attack. It’s fear of the real and all-too common nutcase with an AR-15 or a bomb attacking those out for a peaceful afternoon or a movie. It’s the heartbreak of seeing people living on the street and the fear that it will get worse.

If this sounds political, it isn’t. These are not right or left concerns. There is only one side to this, the human side. Before anyone jumps on me and reminds me of slavery, segregation, and Kent State, among dozens of other examples, yes, I know. We have some dreadful history in this country that people will point out when we get on our idealistic high horse about how much better we are than everyone else. We recognize these atrocities and wars, the shootings and prejudices, but I never feared I’d be shot in a movie theater or my kids would have classes on how to survive being the senseless targets of a psycho while they were at school.

How does this all pertain to writing, for I can’t forget, The Blood Red Pencil is a blog for writers, editors, and readers. At the risk of sounding shallow, all these fears and distractions have interfered with my concentration to write. Some things are keeping me up at night. Maybe I’m not a “real” writer if I can’t compartmentalize what worries me. I can accept that. Like I said, most of my life is behind me, but I worry about what’s coming, for my kids and yours. The fact that we have become more callous and complacent to the erosion of common decency is terrifying to me, and that so many don’t see the future repercussions of what is happening now is even more scary.

All that said, I try to convince myself that I’m wrong and and that there’s nothing to fear. When I can concentrate, I write. The book I’m working on now is political. It’s about power, revenge, and betrayal. Perfect for our times, but it’s also a way of making sure I control the ending, and that everything comes out all right.

Polly Iyer is the author of nine novels: standalones Hooked, InSight, Murder Déjà Vu, Threads, and Indiscretion, and four books in the Diana Racine Psychic Suspense series, Mind Games, Goddess of the Moon, Backlash and The Scent of Murder. A Massachusetts native, she makes her home in the beautiful Piedmont region of South Carolina. You can visit her website for more on Polly and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.



Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Are Your Characters' Fears Your Fears?

Franklin Roosevelt said "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself". Those words from his 1933 inaugural address were intended to encourage and energize the American people, who seemed to have lost all hope of recovering from the Great Depression that had devastated their lives.

Now fast forward to October 2019. The world appears to be teetering on the brink of another crisis, one that threatens to break peoples and countries into fragments that seem to be headed toward anarchy.


How does this affect your writing? Earthshaking events on the world scene can drive a story or be a backdrop for events in various genres from romances to thrillers to mysteries to science fiction and fantasy. But what about other fears—ones that fall short of a world crisis? Do things that go bump in your night show up on the pages of your novels?

Do you and your character share a fear of spiders or snakes? How about fear of the dark? crowds? height? flying? the opposite sex? Why do you you shrink back from confronting your fears? How do you react when a spider or snake crosses you path? What are the perks of sharing what you are afraid of with someone in your story? Realism.

When something terrifies you, your ability to convey the fear and emotions attached to it multiply exponentially. The reader will be drawn into the scene to a far greater extent than she would have had you simply described what you imagine the fear to be like.  For example, how do you react to standing on the edge of a high cliff? Do you shake inside? Are you afraid of falling? Or are you tempted to jump? What goes through your mind? Show your reader your gut reaction to what scares your character (and you), and you'll have a memorable scene.

Editor Linda Lane has returned to her first love—writing—while maintaining her editing work. Her novels fall into the literary category because they are character driven rather than plot driven, but their quick pace reminds the reader of genre fiction. They also contain elements of romance, mystery, and thrillers. You can contact her at websites: LSLaneBooks.com and DenverEditor.com.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Fear: What Scares You the Most in Books and Movies?

I am no longer in the habit of indulging in self-fright by reading books that are too alarming or watching movies that terrify. But that’s today. When I was young and foolish, I took chances.


Back in the day, I read several Stephen King novels that have stayed with me forever. Cujo was the first. Pet Sematary was even worse. I still read Stephen King from time to time, but I read the synopses very carefully before I buy. And I don’t read King novels after the sun goes down.

As far as the movies made from King novels, I think the only one I dared to watch was Carrie. If I had watched the others, I might have been scarred for life.

My friend and critique group co-member Brian Kaufman wrote a few horror novels and ran the chapters through our meetings. I had to “woman-up” and read critically without freaking out. I can safely say that’s the only way anyone will persuade me read about zombies (Dead Beyond the Fence: A Novel of the Zombie Apocalypse) or a creepy haunted house with a possessed owner (The Wretched Walls). Also any story that features werewolves, vampires, or Hannibal Lecter.


Brian has moved on to other genres (The Fat Lady’s Low Sad Song). That one is not scary.

I avoid scary movies altogether. Sometimes I get unpleasant surprises with movies I expected to be suspenseful but not horrifying. Like that bunny scene in Fatal Attraction. Or the surprise-fist-through-the-glass-door scene in what might have been Sea of Love, but I’m not sure because it’s the only scene I can remember of a whole movie. When the fist crashed through the glass, my hand that held a container of popcorn flew up involuntarily and shared my popcorn with all those sitting around me. My soda was safely in the cup holder instead of my hand, thank goodness.

Music can be a fear trigger for many of us, I’m sure. Consider Psycho, Jaws, and, for me, the theme from Deliverance. Yes, I saw those movies a long time ago, before I knew better. The music still sends chills down my back.

Are you a reader or movie fan who seeks out the scary stuff? What scares you the most in print or film?


Pat (Patricia) Stoltey is the author of four novels published by Five Star/Cengage: two amateur sleuth, one thriller that was a finalist for a Colorado Book Award in 2015, and the historical mystery Wishing Caswell Dead (December 20, 2017), a finalist for the 2018 Colorado Book Awards. This novel is also now available in a large print edition. Her short story, “Good Work for a Girl,” will appear in the Five Star Anthology, The Spoilt Quilt and Other Frontier Stories: Pioneering Women of the West, scheduled to be released in November 2019.

Pat lives in Northern Colorado with her husband Bill, Scottish Terrier Sassy (aka Doggity), and brown tabby Katie (aka Kitty Cat).

You can learn more about Pat at her website/blog, on Facebook, and Twitter. She was recently interviewed for the Colorado Sun’s SunLit feature that you can find at the Colorado Sun website.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Writers Gotta Read, Right? Scare yourself silly

Right on the heels of our month exploring humor (September) is our month on FEAR (October). So hang onto your hats, turn on the lights, and muffle the screams (or not), because I've rounded up some lists of scary reads for you to indulge in (or avoid).

 Let's start at the top and go all out with Daryl Chen's 20 Scariest Books of All Times over at the Reader's Digest site. The post includes covers and short summaries, so you can pick and choose how you prefer your frights.

Stephen King is well represented in the previous list, and his works appear as well in Buzzfeed's 23 Books That are Actually Really, Really Scary.

ADDENDUM: King also appears prominently in another Buzzfeed article: 23 Books That Actually Freaked People Out So Badly, They Had To Stop Reading. (And here's a shout-out to my local indie bookstore, Towne Center Books, for mentioning this particular list.

Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay

Okay, I'm officially freaked out after looking over those lists. How about we look at something a little less intense, such as:
 And, oh dear, I see there is an official HORROR WEEK over on Goodreads. Yikes! Cybil's Be Afraid: It's Horror Week on Goodreads! has links to several posts, including:
... There are more links listed on Cybil's original Goodreads post, but I can't wrap up without mentioning the "Nightmare Generator," which claims to tell you what will haunt your dreams. For me, it turns out to be "teenage zombie in the library." Hmmmm. Maybe I could use this as a character in a story (or maybe not!).

What about you? Have you read a scary book that continues to haunt you even now?

And what is your nightmare, according to the Nightmare Generator? Do share!

Ann Parker authors the award-winning Silver Rush historical mystery series published by Poisoned Pen Press, an imprint of Sourcebooks. During the day, she wrangles words for a living as a science editor/writer and marketing communications specialist (which is basically a fancy term for "editor/writer"). Her midnight hours are devoted to scribbling fiction. Visit AnnParker.net for more information.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Fears That Usurp Writing



Let’s just get that word out of the way now because it and all its ugly friends—worry, doubt, and anxiety to name a few—often play a role in how or why we write (or don’t).

We all at some point have fears, and it seems that we creative types have them in constant, overpowering waves.

As I moved into my twenties and began to write in earnest, fear was my constant companion. Every year, there is a plethora of stories published. How was I going to compete? How was I different from or better than those who were already published? Those two questions swirled inside my head all the time. Who did I think I was to think that I was good enough for other people to want to read my work? It didn’t help that some editors recommended that I “write blacker.” The fear of writing expanded to me wondering if and how I could pander to the publishing world my blackness for the sake of being published.

When you let fear in, it becomes a squatter. It comes not to visit and have some tea, a little chitchat, then leave. No, its goal is to find a nice, comfortable spot in your mind and live there forever and keep you from moving forward in your writing endeavor.

Even people who have the strongest confidence suffer from fear from time to time, so we can’t get away from it. We can, however, fight it.

If we know what our fears are, then we can find ways to kill those fears every day. And ultimately, in the killing of those fears, some of them will die and stay dead.

When I have the fear that I’m not good enough, I go back and I read passages of my first mystery Death at the Double Inkwell because my favorite writing experiences come from that novel. I also go back and read stories I wrote that other people enjoyed reading. I think about my MFA fiction professor, who always had such positive, motivating things to say about my work. I still have the last page of my revised thesis (a novel) where he wrote, “Shon, this is really great.” That short statement meant so much to me, and it still warms my heart and makes me think, Hmm, maybe I am a good writer after all. I try to combat the fear with fact because really that’s the only way you can kill a fear: obliterate it with facts.

What fears keep you from writing? What facts do you have to kill the fears?


If you journal, you might consider thinking further on this topic and journal on the following questions/suggestions:


  • What negative thoughts do you have when you try to write?
  • Where do these negative thoughts come from? Where do they originate?
  • How true are these thoughts? Fear typically is not true; it’s something we’ve conjured up in such a way that it looks real. It can even develop a physical identity because we have made it so real. Try to get outside of your negative thoughts and that place where fear exists and truly examine each of your fears, each of those negative thoughts that try to kill your writing. How real are they?
  • Write positive truths to negate each of those negative thoughts.
  • Repeat those positive truths aloud.



It will be important to keep those positive truths nearby so that you can recite them every day, several times a day if necessary until you kill those fears.

This post is an excerpt from the book, Make Your Writing Bloom.

PS... There are other great articles on BRP regarding fear. Check them out here.









Shonell Bacon is an author, editor, and educator with 20 years of experience in helping all levels of writers become better writers. When not editing, Shonell is writing (mysteries, literary, non-fiction) and crafting digital products for people who love planning and organizing their lives. You can learn more about Shonell and her work at her website, ChickLitGurrl.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Overcoming Writer's Block

Writer's block is most often internal resistance based on fear which drives writers to self-sabotage and procrastinate. If you expose the source, you can battle it.

1. Your writing isn't good enough.

The good news is a writer doesn't have to be perfect. It isn't neurosurgery.  A reader won't die if you make a grammatical error.  You should have a basic grasp of language. If your last encounter with grammar was high school, you could probably use a refresher course. Some writers know how to compose language like a musician creates scores. If you are a true word nerd, you will enjoy learning how to craft masterful sentences and paragraphs. You should also have a basic grasp of story structure and genre expectations, but you don't need a degree to gain them.

You can improve your craft in three ways:

A. Read and analyze the best. 

Read them with an analytical eye. Take notes. What did they do well? What did you dislike? Describe the point of each chapter in a few sentences and view them at the end. How did the story flow? What information was relayed when? Take note of how the characters were crafted. Mark descriptions of people and places that brought the story to life. Note when you were moved, frightened, or tense. By analyzing other writers, you can borrow methods to improve your own work.

Learn by Analysis

B. Take courses.

There are plenty of options to learn about writing that do not require a Masters of Fine Arts degree.  Whether you prefer lectures or the written word, there is something for everyone. Many of the classes are free or low cost.

Online Courses

Great Courses

Master Classes

C. Practice.

Everyone's first draft sucks. I'd go so far as to say everyone's first book sucks. Even Jane Austen revised. If it is at all possible, join or create a critique group.  A nurturing critique group, and by that I don't mean a rah-rah session where everyone gushes praise, helps identify your weaknesses. You will learn from reading other writers' work and identifying their strengths and weaknesses.

You can't fix something you haven't created. I recommend a bare bones draft rather than wasting time finessing words you will later cut. If you prefer to trim later, then it helps to break revision into steps to avoid feeling overwhelmed by the task.

2019 Conferences

Building a Critique Group

Finding a Critique Group

2. No one will read it.

Your best chance of being read hinges on two aspects: target audience and demand. While Mystery and Romance are the top sellers over time, there is plenty of room for a good Gothic, Horror, Thriller, Historical, Literary Drama, etc. If you have an original twist on a genre, go for it. Understanding who you are writing for before you start makes the next essential step easier.

People have to know you've written a book which leads to panic-inducing task of marketing. The majority of writers have deep internal resistance to putting themselves out there virtually or in person. But you have to do it. There is no way to wriggle out of it. You may find you enjoy hanging out with other writers who love your genre at conferences and book events. You may never go to a book signing and that's okay. Many people successfully navigate social media and other online tools to gain readership without ever leaving their house.

Self-promotion and marketing are specific skill sets. It doesn't matter if you are traditionally published or self-published. You have to get readers to look at your premise and like your description. Pitches and cover design are also special skill sets.  You either have to develop them or pay for others who have them if you self-publish.

Marketing Questionaire

Marketing and Publicity

Unique Marketing Opportunities

3. People won't like it.

You can't please everyone and shouldn't try. Even J. K. Rowing and Stephen King have haters. Don't worry about people who aren't into your work. The internet is a magnet for hateful trolls who have nothing better to do than tear other people down. Block them if you can. Ignore them if you can't. Whatever you do, don't feed them.

While your book is full of your blood, sweat, and tears, to the greater world it is a product. And what a product! You strung thousands of words together to create people, places, and events. You created a verbal movie all on your own. You were writer, producer, director, set builder, costume designer, cast, and crew. That is an amazing achievement requiring discipline, intelligence, imagination, and daring.

The hardest part of being an artist is separating your ego from your product, which leads to the greatest fear of all:

4. People won't like me.

We all have doubts and insecurities. No one is immune. But my bet is anyone who liked the result of your labors will also like the creator. You don't need Photoshop filters or Twitter feeds full of sparkling wit. Just be yourself. You are enough.

That said, social media gives audiences greater access to the artist. It is best to keep a professional distance. Put your best foot forward like you would for any job and leave your personal life at home, or on an alternate protected online profile.


Diana Hurwitz is the author of Story Building Blocks: The Four Layers of Conflict, Story Building Blocks II: Crafting Believable Conflict, Story Building Blocks III: The Revision Layers, and the YA adventure series Mythikas Island. Her weekly blog, Game On: Crafting Believable Conflict explores how characters behave and misbehave. Visit DianaHurwitz.com for more information and free writing tools. You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter.