Thursday, April 14, 2011

Characters, Disclaimers, Falls and Newsletters

The title of this post sounds like a grouping of mis-matched things, doesn’t it? Well, it is. And since it is, I’ll talk about them out of order. (Yeah, it’s that kind of day.)

We’ll start with disclaimers. If you post reviews of books, then you know the FTC recently decided that you must also post a disclaimer with the review, stating whether you were paid to do the review or not, if something affected your review one way or the other, and so on. You may have noticed that I started added disclaimers to my reviews.

One of my fellow HoTSinC’ers (that stands for our local chapter of Sisters in Crime called Heart of Texas) seemed to think my disclaimers were funny so she asked me to write an article about disclaimers and give some examples. So I did. ‘Course, there are others who also write interesting disclaimers. So I included a couple of Maryann Miller’s disclaimers. If you want to read the article, click here. (It’s a long newsletter with tons of great links and a re-cap of a fabulous talk by a Texas Ranger at our March meeting.)

Now that leads us straight into newsletters. Clearly, the HoTSinC newsletter is great. You might want to bookmark it and check it out each month. If any of you are interested, I also do a weekly newsletter, although it’s not a beautiful one like the HoTSinC newsletter. Mine comes to your ebox in basic black and white, no pics, no embedded links. I’ve been writing Doing It Write for twelve years now. It has news, contests, events, links -- all geared toward writers. If you’re interested, you can easily sign up.

Moving quickly to Falls. I’ve been doing Spring Cleaning. This past Sunday I tackled the windows. While carrying a rolled up water hose, the hose came loose and I tripped over it. But I managed to stop the fall with my face. Had to cancel a dental appointment because I would not be able to keep my mouth open (dear husband likes that part). I didn’t even know lips could peel or that chins could blacken. No. I did not take pictures.

And, finally, (I hear you cheering.) Characters. Today, I'm over at the Blood-Red Pencil talking about establishing the character of your characters. Then, at the end of this month, I’m co-teaching a workshop on Characters. Right now, I’m working on handouts. For one of them, I’m searching for one line or one short paragraph from books or stories that establish the character of a character. Ways that the author showed the character without stating it directly or by writing it in such a way that you stopped at its perfection or uniqueness. If you’ve read or written such a character-establishing line, email it to me. Include the book and author. (Don’t send a whole page or long paragraph.) And if it’s your own writing, that’s even better!


  1. Who is the FTC? The fabulously terrific critics? The federally tightened cannibals? The ferocious typing cadre?
    ah, never mind.
    I've always adored your disclaimers! I'm listening to an audio book these days that has a woman who's a mermaid in a tawdry boardwalk wax museum and I wondered to myself - 'when will Helen give us more mermaid tails?'
    As to character lines - it is too early in the day and I'm on my way to the airport but I'll get back at ya!

  2. I always enjoy your disclaimers.

    I hope your face doesn't feel as painful as it sounds. Take care.

  3. I didn't realize we had to post disclaimers. Since I either buy my books, or pick them up at conferences, the reading and posting of my review is totally independent :-D

  4. I think sometimes I look for your disclaimers as much as your reviews. :) Hope you're feeling better.

    Thoughts in Progress

  5. Sorry about your fall. And your disclaimers rock.

  6. Oh Helen, I hope you heal quickly! And oh, I wish I lived in Texas. I just finished my first ever workshop and learned SO much...I'd love to attend your class.

  7. I confess! I read your disclaimers first.

    Be patient as faces heal slowly.

  8. I'm a big fan of your disclaimers, Helen. They're hilarious. And ouch - so sorry about your fall.Hope you heal quickly and easily.

  9. Jan, this: "federally tightened cannibals" sounds right.

    Laurita, my face is getting better. The scabs are getting smaller (yuk).

    LM, your disclaimers would be easy then.

    Thank you Mason. I rather wish I could hide out in the house, but I keep having to go out in public!

    Your whole blog rocks, Alex.

    I wish you lived here, too, Liza. I'm gonna let Sylvia Dickey Smith do most of the talking.

    Giggles and Guns, patience is probably the hardest part of healing.

    Thank you Karen.

  10. Ouch! I'm sorry to hear about your fall. (What? No pictures??)

    Your Federally Tightened Cannibals disclaimers rock! (Thanks, Jan) ;)

  11. Laura, even I don't want to see my messed up mug in the mirror. Nor pics.

  12. Thank you Les Edgerton! He sent me three samples of writing that establishes character to use in my handout. They are fabulous examples.

  13. Ouch; my face hurts for you.

    I'll check out your characters post, I love characters . .


  14. How was I not already following you. Wow, what an info-packed post. I have several hyperlinks open and waiting for me to peruse. So nice to meet you and Thanks!

  15. Oh sorry about your fall, I'm glad you're okay. Bruised, but okay.

    Interesting stuff about character. I love it when an author just nails it with those perfect lines that say it all. The beauty of words, in action.

  16. Hi Pam! So glad you came by.

    Hi Donna.

    Joanne, sometimes I'll read a book and a line will stop me. Then I keep reading, but later I'll wish I had stopped and written the line down, it was so good.

  17. So sorry to hear about your fall. Hope you are healing up okay.

    And thanks for the mention of my FTC disclaimers, although I do think yours are much funnier than mine.

  18. I like yours Maryann! I'm healing, but not fast enough. It's only 2 weeks before I teach the workshop and I'll probably still look like I've got some face eating disease. I tried putting some iodine on it today. Man, that stuff stings!

  19. Big hugs, Helen. But your accident could be a good scene for a character.

    My Darcy Mutates

  20. That's true, Enid. If my mind doesn't totally block it from memory.

  21. Oh goodness, I'm sorry to hear about your fall! I hope you're feeling ok now and your face isn't too sore. Take it as easy as you can - sounds like you deserve it.


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