Disclaimer: Intentional Use of Bad Metaphor, Read at Your Own Risk.

Naturally, Scarlet Whisper has to crack a few safes/vaults/heads to get the jewels.

As her mild-mannered alter ego, I’m more into cerebral lock picking. Lately, I’ve been struggling to unlock the secrets of characterization and emotional tension.

See…I just finished my WIP, which has a face melting premise, lots of snarktastic twists, and plenty of fist flying action. (Did I mention the Evil Elvii? And the Volcanoes? There’s always those.)


I have to deliver more than that. My characters can’t just move from one scene like CGI ninjas on a green screen. My tale needs depth and heart. The reader needs to get inside the mind of the protagonist.

Whoa…sometimes, I don’t feel up to the task of this whole writing gig.

It’s a good thing I have writing mentors. The League of Extraordinary Writers, the superfriends who meet every Wednesday for DFWWW and IHOP post mortem are my saving grace.

Their advice and critique is priceless. The tips and tricks are like a locksmith’s tools. I can use them to crack the writing code. I can  listen and learn and read examples of good stuff. Once the door is open, it’s like I’m rolling around in a pile of greenbacks and sparkly stones.


All week, I’ve been marking up passages of favorite books and posts. I’m analyzing good passages and taking notes.

I’m picking locks.

I’d love to know what writing obstacles you struggle with. What has helped YOU?

Hungry for More? Try my banana pudding, a dish modeled after one of Elvis Presley’s favorite desserts.

The Evil Elvii’s Favorite Banana Pudding

3 reg. sized boxes instant vanilla pudding mix

5 cups milk

8 ounces sour cream (yeah, you read that right)

12 ounces Cool Whip

2 boxes vanilla wafers

10 bananas

In a large bowl, blend pudding mix with milk (use a wire whisk). Add sour cream and half the cool whip. Mix well. Set aside. In a large bowl or dish, layer in the following order: cookies, bananas and pudding mixture. Top with remaining cool whip.


  1. I don’t know which sounds more decadent, your metaphors or your yummy banana pudding! I couldn’t do without my local writers group either – priceless.


  2. jmartinlibrarian says:

    Marsha: That’s awesome. Seriously, my workshop is usually the highlight of my week. People talk about writing being such a solitary thing. Yes, the actual behind in the chair, hands on the keyboard gig is an individual process, but camaraderie with fellow writers is such a wonderful thing.

    Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

  3. Jemi Fraser says:

    I’ve never had a live crit group. I do have awesome online buddies though. Live would be a lot of fun 🙂

    I’ve learned so much by being online the past year or so. AQ is invaluable. Then there are the blogs of writers, agents and editors. When I’m stuck or need inspiration that’s where I head.

    I finally broke through & got my ending down today – after multiple bleh attempts. Listening to online advice about letting the characters guide, taking time.. all helped.

  4. jmartinlibrarian says:

    Congrats, Jemi! Is this the steampunk project, or is this a new one?

  5. Wow. I mean, I knew the Scarlett Whisperer was into the occasional lock/safe/head breaking–and the occasional late book beating, but wow. The insight into picking the lock of your character’s brains is awesome. I didn’t realize that’s what we’d been working on doing…you put it in such awesome perspective. I’m tickled I’m in your writing group and thankful to have your perspective! Viva la IHOP!

  6. jmartinlibrarian says:

    Chantal: “late book beating”. That’s awesome. Love it. You have no idea how much I LOVE our IHOP nights, sister! 🙂

  7. catwoods says:

    You’re very lucky to have the IHOP Crew. Beta readers are so important. My face to face writing buddy just got married and moved.


  8. jmartinlibrarian says:

    Cat: I’m so sorry! You’ll have to be an honorary member of the IHOP crew, in abstentia!

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