Calendar of



Note: Archetypes discussed in this newsletter are based on the book
Heroes & Heroines
by Tami D. Cowden, Caro LeFever, Sue Viders



The Chief
The Bad Boy
The Best

The Charmer

The Hero

The Warrior
Archetype: The Swashbuckler
The Professor
The Boss
The Seductress
The Spunky Kid
The Free Spirit
The Waif
The Librarian
The Crusader
The Nurturer
Role: Protagonist
Role: Antagonist
Role: Contagonist
Character Description
Goals, Motivation, Conflict
Character Arc
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Back in January to kickstart your writing year!
Roses Plotting Bootcamp
Jan 5 - 31st

Layla Chase, Betty Hanawa,Myla Jackson and Delilah Devlin are pleased to announce the release of Altered State a new series of shapeshifters coming to you from Ellora's Cave. The release schedule of the books in this series is as follows:

Night Prowler by Layla Chase - Dec 24, 2008
Beast Within by Betty Hanawa - Jan 28, 2009
Naked Prey by Myla Jackson - Feb 25, 2009
Unleashing the Tiger by Delilah Devlin - Mar 25, 2009

Myla Jackson is pleased to announce the release of Cat Scratch Fever December 5, 2008 at Ellora's Cave

Desiree Holt’s OW/YM for Ellora’s Cave, Teaching Molly, is a finalist in the Eppies, in the Erotic Romance category.

Myla Jackson, Shayla Kersten and Layla Chase are pleased to announce the release of their anthology Masters of Desire on December 29, 2005 in print from Kensington Aphrodisia

Delilah Devlin signed a contract with Samhain for a paranormal novella and another contract with Harlequin Spice for a Brief

Desiree Holt has signed a contract with Ellora’s Cave for Having It All, part of the Caveman Anthology series. She also just contracted her novella, I Dare You. Her The Edge of Morning, which will be released in January from Total-e-bound, is the first in a new series, The Sentinels, about guardians who are all shapeshifters. Her first full length for The Wild Rose Press Scarlet Rose line, Do You Trust Me, is in galleys and will be out after the first of the year.

Roni Adams latest book in the Double B Series will release on January 2, 2009



Roses Holiday Gift of


Day 1 - Naming Your Characters
By Layla Chase

For me, a character's name is integral to his or her personality. Not only does the name describe a core attribute, but it also establishes that person's nationality (which helps me fill in family and upbringing details). I want my characters to be seen as individuals and I pick names that say something about who that person is. For some I pick a name that can't be shortened and or I create a nickname for when the characters get to know each other better. For others, I choose a name with a meaning that portrays the character's growth during the story. Because the names are so important, I can't write a story (and sometimes can't even start plotting) until I've chosen them. The names for secondary characters are ones we hear everyday, further illuminating the hero and heroine as being different.

Once I know what type of people they are (choosing from the 16 major archetypes explained later this month), I start on the names. Sources of choosing names are: baby name books, Character Name Sourcebook (published by Writer's Digest Books), phone books (helpful with getting regional flavor), even tombstones in cemeteries. The last is especially good for learning names used in past eras. Recently I saw an unusual name on a waitress's nametag while vacationing and used it in a story.

Sometimes I've used themes for names. One historical series I'm working on has siblings whose names are semi-precious stones. In another story, the parents were hippies and their children's names are synonymous with peace and love. In yet another, the mother loved the Arthurian tales. In a couple of stories, fake names are used as part of the plot but both names the character uses fit the core personality.

For most male characters and the female ones I'm portraying as business-like, I choose names with no more than two syllables. For most female characters, the name will be more lyrical and gentle sounding. The final test-say the name aloud, and in several tones. Can the name be spoken in anger? Exasperation? How will the name sound when whispered?

This process can be time-consuming but is so rewarding when you choose (or invent) a name that exactly fits your characters.



Day 2 - The Chief Archetype
by Allie Standifer

He's solid, dependable and always there when times are rough. He is the Chief.

A chief is the personification of a Type A archetype. He is goal-oriented, determined and always takes care of everyone he loves. Always follow the rules and colors inside the lines. He is a firm believer in rules, schedules and order. The Chief's stubbornness and single-minded determination may lead in him in places few wish to go, but he will always stand by his principles, beliefs and friends. When the world is twisting off its orbit and chaos becomes the norm, the Chief is the one you want by your side for his ability to single-handedly turn the work right side up again.

An example of the chief is Humphrey Bogart in Sabrina.


Day 3 - The Bad Boy Archetype
By Desiree Holt

One of the most appealing characters in romance fiction is the "bad boy." The one your mother wouldn't let in the house. The one with the hot gleam in his eyes and the disregard for rules. When you write about him, close your eyes and visualize-think James Dean, Patrick Swayze in Dirty Dancing, Christian Bale.

The attraction of women to the bad boy archetype is attributed both to his confidence, the intriguing air of mystery surrounding him, his seeming indifference to the abundance of sexual options open to him (making his choices as much from arrogance than anything else) and his appearance of unavailability. He presents a challenge that women can't resist. He is an obvious contrast with men who seem needy and too eager to please, almost desperate in some cases, diminishing their attractiveness.

He's the rebel, perhaps the boy from the wrong side of the tracks. He can be bitter and volatile, a crushed idealist, but he's also charismatic and street smart. He hates authority and doesn't buckle under to anyone, which is why he's often in a job where he's his own boss. That means he can be anyone from the guy who runs the motorcycle shop to the top of the ladder CEO.

If this man were trapped in the basement with an unconscious heroine and a bomb was ticking, he'd be very physical. He's going to be resentful and have a bad attitude, but he's used to being in tight spots. He's a Bad Boy, after all. He might pick the lock or just beat his way out - and really enjoy it!

He's very masculine, with a dark, sexy look and is surrounded by an aura of great, but leashed power. He wears an invisible "keep off" sign that really says "come here-right now." And with him, you can do all the naughty things you were always told were forbidden.


Day 4 - The Best Friend Archetype
by Roni Adams

This is the beta hero. He's kind, responsible, decent, a regular Mr. Nice Guy.

This man doesn't enjoy confrontation and can sometimes be unassertive because he doesn't want to hurt anyone's feelings. But he'll always be there.

This was the nice guy you went to high school with. The one who was always there to lend a shoulder when the "bad boy" who we thought we wanted broke our hearts. He's the coach for your kid's little league and he's the guy who actually attends the PTA meetings. He takes care of his parents, and he volunteers at the holidays.

Good examples of Best Friends? Tom Hanks generally plays this role. Michael J. Fox played this type of character in his movies. Mark Ruffalo in 13 Going on 30 was a best friend.

He believes that women can do anything and they don't threaten him. Many times he is the result of a family of sisters and usually is right on with his opinions and thoughts about a heroine's conflict. He has a healthy respect for women and would always want the heroine's comfort and needs to come before his own. While he can be very casual and easy going, he can also stand up for what he believes in but generally in a way that doesn't alienate anyone.

This is the type of hero who has a lot of connections; people like him. In small towns, he has a friend on every corner, in large cities, he's probably made friends with the neighbors in his apartment building. People gravitate towards him and his natural warm personality.


Day 5 - The Charmer Archetype
by Eve Savage

This hero is the fantasy creator. He's got all the right lines and all the right moves. Unfortunately, these moves are all to gain him the good time. The irony about the charmer is he works very hard to get something for nothing. He's got a string of women and doesn't commit to one easily. The charmer is all about self-satisfaction.

Some examples of the charmer are Johnny Storm from The Fantastic 4, Dick in The Bachelor and The Bobby Soxer, and Bret Maverick in Maverick.



Day 6 - The Hero Archetype
(The Lost Soul
by Betty Hanawa

The Lost Soul is the character who has been hurt in the past and is scared to reach out again. The hurt may have come from a childhood cruelty, either intentional or not-the loss of a loved one, an illness. The pain the character clings to may even be a physical attribute that makes him/her different from the mainstream.

Yes, the character clings to the pain. Staying with what's familiar now than to change is always easier. Deep, deep down, the character is convinced that to try again to reach out and join the party of life will involve more hurt to be endured.

This is not to say the Lost Soul character is always a recluse. The character's life may well be very full and enjoyable. However, that life is just slightly stunted, possibly in such a small way, even the character isn't aware unless challenged to change.

The last thing a Lost Soul character needs for growth is an enabler of any sort. The Lost Soul has to learn to face the pain and get beyond it. He/she needs someone to help face this challenge. That someone cannot take on the challenge for the Lost Soul, but has to demonstrate why the Lost Soul must grow to encompass the hurt as part of life and live better because of it.

Beast from Beauty and the Beast is an obvious Lost Soul, as is Heathcliff from Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights. Bruce Wayne is a Lost Soul who uses his Batman persona to fight crime in a battle to deal with his own pain. Peter Parker, Spider Man, is the geeky teenage outcast who suddenly has super powers, which he uses as a crime fighter to cope with the difficulties in his life. In the last two examples, their choice is to fight bad guys and be heroic to others instead of handling the uneasy feelings of inadequacy by not being good enough to protect his parents (in Bruce Wayne's case), deal with snotty contemporaries or stop his uncle from being killed in Peter Parker's situation. For each of them, they've magnified their losses and situations until they hold themselves responsible, even though they weren't, which keeps them lost in their own pain.

For the Lost Soul to grow emotionally, the desire, determination, and drive to change has to come from inside the self. Outside events and people can help the Lost Soul realized the change has to be made. Ultimately, however, the Lost Soul has to be the one to do it.


Day 7 - The Warrior Archetype
by Eve Savage

Everyone likes a man in uniform. We like him even more when he's out of uniform! I have always had a soft spot for a military man. Which is a good thing as I am happily married to the USAF.

A military man is the embodiment of the warrior archetype. This hero is honorable, relentless and always sticks up for the underdog. He doesn't always follow the rules, but he does have a code he lives by and expects other people to live by as well. His determination to fight for the cause tends to lead to self-righteousness and a rigid adherence to his code. But in the end, good guys will always win.

Some examples of the warrior are: John McClane (Bruce Willis) in Die Hard, William Wallace (Mel Gibson) in Braveheart, Lt. Col Hal Moore (Mel Gibson) in We Were Soldiers, and Capt. John H. Miller (Tom Hanks) in Saving Private Ryan.


Day 8 -The Swashbuckler Archetype
By Megan Kerans

The name "Swashbuckler" brings to mind pirates and lightning-fast sword fights. However, there is more to this archetype than a black flag and cutlass.

The Swashbuckler is a daring, confident man who lives on the edge of danger. Within this archetype are different kinds of swashbucklers. The DAREDEVIL is a risk-taker, fearless he seeks out life-and-death challenges and thrives on spitting in the Grim-Reaper's eye. He has shades of the "bad boy's" confidence and penchant for rule-breaking.

Next is the EXPLORER this man is about the end goal rather than the process. He often has a personal commitment, takes calculated risks, but isn't averse to having a little fun while doing it. This type is more likely to think ahead and while he'll take risks, they are more calculated. Captain Jack Sparrow, Robin Hood and Indiana Jones are three perfect examples.

Positive Traits:

Courts danger
Always looking for the next challenge
Never stops to consider failure or consequence.
Dives in headfirst.
Can have a purpose
Inspires others
Thinks on his feet

Negative Traits

Doesn't consider others' feelings
Need for freedom
Doesn't take orders well.
Can be ruthless if called for
Always looking ahead

Any career that involves danger, challenge and travel is ideal for the Swashbuckler.


Day 9 -The Professor Archetype
By Bev Oz

The professor is easy to pick out in almost any crowd. If he's not wearing a lab coat or a tweed jacket with leather-patched elbows, he's probably out and about in a hodgepodged, mismatched outfit, oblivious to any fashion faux pas. After all, the purpose of clothing is to protect one from the elements and prevent any indecent exposure. Does it really matter if his lime green "particle vacuums suck" t-shirt matches his plaid slacks, when what's happening in his head is what's important? To the rational-thinking Professor, the answer is unequivocally NO.

Although he may not be the king of cool, don't let his lack of fashion sense fool you for a moment. The Professor is no dummy. He's extremely intelligent and a logical, rational thinker - almost to a fault. He's the cool head in a crisis. As he pushes up his glasses, he's quietly calculating the probability of potential outcomes, and will continue to ponder the problem until the most reasonable and feasible resolution can be found. A well-educated man, he finds joy in the most tedious of subject matter and has no problem verbalizing quantum physics. But ask him to speak any language other than his learned specialty, and he's a goner. He often uses terms and phrases the ordinary person simply cannot comprehend, or says the wrong thing at the most inappropriate time.

The Professor may not be a social creature blessed with all the social graces. He's spent more time in a lab or reading books alone rather than living in the real world. But he is a steadfast, reliable fellow you can count on through thick and thin. The Professor is honest and faithful, and genuine about his feelings. Because he is so unpracticed with emotions and love in general, he can be vulnerable and sometimes clumsy, but always tries his best, especially when he's fallen for a girl.

Consider these Professor heroes:
Dr. Dolittle, the Professor on Gilligan's Island , Barnaby Fulton in Monkey Business, Norbit and Harry Potter


Day 10 -The Boss Archetype
By Megan Kerans

The Boss might be called a "bitch" by some. She is in charge and isn't about to let you forget it. Wherever the top of the ladder is, you will find her there or climbing her way to that lofty spot.

A "boss" might be a woman accustomed to being in a position of power, a Queen or member of a very powerful family. This lady doesn't want her way simply to have it, she believes her way is the best and most likely to result in a successful outcome. Sigourney Weaver in Working Girl is a good example of this kind of Boss.

A second kind of "boss" is one who has had to work her way up the ladder. She's savvy and determined to reach the pinnacle. She has no time for anything or anyone is her way. Having seen life without success or control, makes her hungrier for achievement.

Positive Traits:

Planning, Organizing, Executing

Negative Traits

Winning is everything
Can't see from other's point of view
Ignores others' feeling and her own.
Needs to be in-charge
Need for perfection

Goals and ambition are the focus of the Boss's life and she accomplishes them.


Day 11- The Seductress Archetype
by Eve Savage

Not all women use their body as a weapon - but this one does. The seductress knows how to use everything she's been given to her advantage. And when it's not given to her, she takes it instead.

An expert at quickly sizing up a situation and using every bit of knowledge to her advantage, some may think she's cold and cruel. Quite the opposite. The seductress is at heart a survivor. Full of passion and self-preservation, she doesn't trust anyone but herself.

Some examples of the seductress are: Scarlet O'Hara (Vivian Leigh) in Gone With The Wind, Kathryn Merteuil (Sarah Michelle Gellar) in Cruel Intentions, and Jessica Rabbit in Who Framed Roger Rabbit?.


Day 12- Spunky Kid Archetype
by Bev Oz

The Spunky Kid is that irrepressible woman cheering on everyone, including herself, with the never-say-die attitude. No mountain is ever too high climb, valley too deep to crawl through, or mission too impossible to achieve. At least, not with the gutsy and supportive Spunky Kid around. Even if all hell breaks loose, you can count on her to be there until the bitter end, as she's as loyal as they come.

Although the Spunky Kid doesn't necessarily have an easily recognizable uniform, there's a good chance you'll find her decked out in more manly, sporty clothes than in dresses and pumps. Why? She's likely hanging out with the guys, watching or playing the game, and tossing back and forth verbal barbs and wisecracks with the best of them. Her ability to behave like a proper lady may be a bit on the clumsy side, too. But don't think for a moment she's not capable of being feminine and using good manners. With just a little effort, a light touch of makeup, and dress, she can easily transform herself into an irresistible knockout that sometimes throws the hero completely off balance. Think of Amanda Bynes character in What a Girl Wants and J.P. Franklin in television's My Boys.

The Spunky Kid generally has an extensive gaggle of friends eager to be around her, a short list of enemies, and a past that may be littered with failed attempts at love. Her moxie and eternal optimism always carries her through any tough times.

Some examples of the Spunky Kid include Bella Blue in The Ex List, Blue in Susan Elizabeth Phillips' Natural Born Charmer, and Fiona in Shrek.


Day 13 - Free Spirit Archetype
By Layla Chase

This character is full of energy, fun loving and spontaneous. Ruled by her emotions, rather than any practical consideration, this character goes through life listening to her inner voice. This may not make sense to others but she thinks relying on her instincts is the only way to make decisions. She very much lives in the moment and is sincere in her dealing with others. Looking at life with a positive viewpoint keeps her always thinking of possibilities.

Possessing a strong sense of individuality, she is labeled eccentric by some and a trendsetter by others. Her curiosity and enthusiasm leads her in several directions at the drop of a hat. The impulsiveness that makes her lively person to be around also may cause hurt feelings because she speaks her mind before thinking.

The Free Spirit might be a comedian-think Auntie Mame, Phoebe Bufay in Friends, or Lucille Ball. Or the character may be a darling like Ariel in The Little Mermaid, or Jane Austen's Emma, or Jenna Elfman in Dharma & Greg. Occupations that fit this personality are: actress, fashion designer, travel agent, florist, receptionist, retail buyer, manicurist, jazz singer.

Life is never dull with the Free Spirit around.


Day 14 - The Waif Archetype
by Betty Hanawa

The Waif is the character who not only wants to be protected, but whom everyone else is more than happy to take care of. The Waif is an innocent, despite being aware of life's harsh realities. The Waif rarely, if ever, instigates life changes. No matter what happens, The Waif holds to a solid core of belief that whatever happens, happens. The Waif accepts what happens, incorporates it into life's fabric, and moves on.

Snow White is the perfect examples of The Waif. She ended up under the thumb of an Evil Queen who dressed her in rags. Snow White never cared why she suddenly had new clothes, but cheerfully went off into the woods with a huntsman she didn't know. When he told her to run, she did. She didn't question, she simply ran. She stumbled into the dwarves' lives and simply took up the position of their maid and nurturer. Even when the Evil Queen disguised herself as an old crone offering apples, Snow White didn't remember Grumpy told her not to accept gifts from strangers. She took the pretty apple and ate it. When the Prince kissed her and woke her up, she cheerfully rode away with him, waving good-bye to the dwarves.

While Cinderella is also a Waif, she's a stronger character because she has emotional growth. At the end, she steps in front of the step-mother and step-sisters to show she has the glass slipper and claim the Prince. She instigated that change in her life.

To be a viable character for today's public, the Waif must become strong enough to take steps to change the life path, not simply stand still and let life happen.


Day 15 - The Librarian Archetype
by Roni Adams

This heroine is controlled and proper. She knows every rule and regulation and follows them to the letter. She is a role model in her community and is generally above reproach in her personal life. But, underneath all this proper role-model behavior lurks a passionate woman who longs for the hero who can make her feel uninhibited and free. The Librarian can be shy and quiet, finding solace in the peaceful atmosphere of her library and her books, or she could be an intellect- the girl in school who knew everything and intimidated most people with her knowledge.

The Librarian may have chosen the life she has or it may be a role thrust upon her by life's circumstances. Her parents may have been quiet and expected the same. She may have come from an intellectual background, maybe both parents were professors and she's followed in their footsteps. Or her childhood could have been so out of control and chaotic that she has to have this kind of control in her adult life in order to cope. This heroine isn't always a librarian, however, she could be a school teacher, or college professor, she might even be a doctor.

Examples are: Joan Wilder in Romancing the Stone, Rose Sayer in The African Queen, Diane Chambers in Cheers



Day 16 - The Crusader Archetype
by Eve Savage

There's no other way to put it - the crusader is the fighter!

She is strength and determination personified. The crusader knows her goals and walks over anyone who gets in her way. She is stubborn and could never be called a damsel in distress.

Some examples of crusaders are Buffy Summers in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Sarah Connor in The Terminator movies and Lu Shu Lien (Michelle Yeoh) in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.


Day 17 - Nurturer Archetype

by Betty Hanawa

The Nurturer can be summed up in one word: Mom!

This is not to imply males are not nurturers, some can be terrific at it. Primarily, though, nurturing falls to females.

These are the characters who take care of everyone, whether they like it or not. The Nurturer often anticipates needs and arranges things before the need arises. This is the calendar keeper, the sender of cards and flowers, the gift buyer. The Nurturer is a volunteer-junky whether for a family gathering or an organization. The Nurturer thrives as a homemaker, a teacher, a secretary, an accountant. The Nurturer is not the power figure, but the one influencing the power. In My Big, Fat Greek Wedding, Maria Portokalos tells her daughter, "Let me tell you something, Toula. The man is the head, but the woman is the neck. And she can turn the head any way she wants."

The flaw the Nurturer must overcome is two-fold.

One: not everyone wants to be taken care of nor can be taken care of. The Nurturer gets her feelings hurt when she realizes not everything she does is appreciated. At that point, she becomes the martyr. How many people does it take to change a light bulb for a mom? None. Don't worry about it. Go. Enjoy yourself. I'll be fine here. Alone. In the dark.

Two: a Nurturer has to learn is when to encourage someone to take charge of the decision process and not step in and take over. The Nurturer has to step back and allow someone to learn a lesson by failing.

A wise Nurturer knows how to encourage and support without becoming a Smother Mother. Another nurture is Abby in The Truth about Cats and Dogs.


Day 18- The Protagonist
By Desiree Holt

The term protagonist refers to the central or main character in a story. The word derives from a Greek term that means "the main character." It is most common for the story to be "about" the protagonist; even if the Main Character's actions are not heroic, they are nonetheless usually vital to the progress of the story. The protagonist could also be the narrator of the story, if it's told in first person.

A protagonist is a figure or figures in literature whose intentions are the primary focus of a story. Usually protagonists are derived from good will, however, this does not always have to be true. Protagonists cannot exist in a story without opposition from a figure or figures called antagonists. Classically in literature, characters with good will are usually the protagonists. However, not all characters who assist the protagonist are required to be simple protagonistic.

The actions of the plot are a result of actions by the protagonist. For example: an attorney makes a conscious decision about representing a particular client. Everything else follows from that. The client isn't what he seems to be. Bad people are involved in his life who then focus on the protagonist-our hero. The protagonist's wife/girl friend is alarmed by what's happening, wants him to drop the client and their relationship is affected.

Sometimes, a work will initially highlight a particular character, as though they were the protagonist, and then unexpectedly dispose of that character as dramatic device. Such a character is called a false protagonist. This happens most often in suspense stories and thrillers.

And remember, the type of person you choose for your protagonist, the characteristics he/she has, will also determine how and why that person interacts with the occurrences of the plot.


Day 19 - The Anagonist
By Delilah Devlin

First, let's demolish the idea that Antagonist is synonymous with "Villain." Sure, a villain can be an antagonist, but not all antagonists are villains.

Antagonists by definition are "barrier characters." The antagonist's role is to prevent the protagonist from reaching his or her goal. This can be your villain of the piece, but the antagonist doesn't necessarily have to be a bad person. It is how he/she/it interacts with the protagonist that determines the role.

The easiest way I can think of to get your mind around this concept is by providing you an example. In the movie The River, Mel Gibson and Sissy Spacek are a married couple trying to save their farm from a river that's rising. Their goal is to save their farm. The river doesn't have a goal, doesn't have any motivation, doesn't hate the couple, doesn't mean them harm-but by continuing to rise, it's acting as a barrier character, preventing the couple from achieving their goal.

Actual, "live" antagonists can be well-intentioned. A mother who doesn't think a heroine is good enough for her son may act as an antagonist, putting up roadblocks to the hero and heroine's blossoming romance, but she isn't doing it out of spite. She means well. She isn't a villain-merely an antagonist.

So what about the villain? Is he necessarily the antagonist of a story? Think about Hannibal Lecter in Silence of the Lambs. This was a nasty character, but he wasn't the antagonist of the story. The hideous killer murdering women to fashion his "girl-suit" was the antagonist as he continued to elude the FBI. Hannibal, in fact, aided Clarice. He was a contagonist in that he played with her, aiding the antagonist as he fattened up the girl he'd kidnapped, but he also made Clarice think, gave her hints, helped her face her own terrors so that she could figure out the puzzle and save the lamb. In that sense, he was also her mentor.

Confused enough? When you lay out your characters, it's important to think about how they support the protagonist. How they interact with and how they change the protagonist will determine their role in the story.


Day 20 - The Contagonist
By Megan Kerans

Of all the roles for characters, the contagonist often causes the most confusion. Many times the contagonist is confused with the antagonist, but they are different and serve different purposes.

The antagonist is person or entity is knowingly trying to stop your hero/heroine from reaching their goal. They are completely aware of their actions and taking steps purposefully to throw roadblocks before the hero/heroine. In many cases this person is the villain of the story.

The difference between an antagonist and contagonist is knowledge and intent. The contagonist can also be a person or entity. They cause roadblocks for your hero, but unlike the antagonist, they believe they are "helping." Think of a well-meaning friend or family member. They care about the hero/heroine and honestly believe the goal will be bad for that person.

The contagonist can also act out of ignorance. They honestly have no idea their actions are thwarting the hero/heroine from their goal. This person can be anyone from an oblivious family member or friend to the security guard who won't bend the rules and allow the hero/heroine to sneak inside a building after hours.

A contagonist doesn't need to be a person. A blizzard that stops your hero from chasing the villain is a contagonist. The storm isn't knowingly or purposely acting against the hero, but simply by being poses a challenge. A high-tech security system such as the one in Mission Impossible is a form of contagonist. The Chicago Police Department pursuing Dr. Kimble in the Fugitive as he tries to clear his name create challenges to his discovering the real killer.


Day 21 - Role: Mentor
By Shayla Kersten

The Mentor is a vital role in most novels. He is the protagonist's guide, teacher, surrogate parent or master. The Mentor is the conscience of the story. One of the most obvious Mentors in a movie is Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars: Episode Four.

To Luke, Obi-Wan was literally his teacher, his guide and his master. Sometimes the role isn't as obvious but it is just as important. Like Obi-Wan, the character may disappear from the story leaving only their influence behind. Or they may be there, by the hero or heroine's side, until the end, like Mr. Miyagi in Karate Kid.

Then again, the Mentor may not make a true appearance in the novel at all. He or she could be a memory of deceased parent or teacher. The moral fiber instilled in the protagonist could act in the Mentor's stead.

The Mentor helps shape the protagonist's character so he can succeed at his task. When Luke was flying his fighter in the final raid on the Death Star, he heard the voice of Obi-Wan telling him to "use the force"-to believe in himself and his beliefs and training. This is an obvious use of the Mentor's role.

Most of the time, the role is more understated. The heroine remembering her mother's confidence in her abilities as she faces the villain shows the Mentor's affect in a more subtle way.

However one chooses to use a Mentor in a novel, Mentors should be well-rounded characters with believable reasons for why the protagonist looks up to them.


Day 22 - Role: Sidekick
by Roni Adams

Is a secondary character, the buddy, the friend, the character who makes the hero or heroine shine. The sidekick doesn't always have to be the same age as the main characters; sometimes the sidekick is a mentor or a guide, a mature influence and the voice of reason. Through the sidekick, the reader gets to know the main characters even better. The sidekick doesn't even have to be human as in the case of Bruiser in Legally Blond.

Sidekicks can be funny (like Al, Dirk's sidekick in Sahara), or they can be serious. They can be the strong calm influence in the troubled waters of the hero or heroine's life or they can be the zany quirky "you need to lighten up" type of secondary character.

Very few romance novels can exist using only a hero and a heroine. It's not natural to think that men and women don't have others in their life and these secondary characters serve a vital role in helping the reader understand their internal thoughts and feelings about the other. Writers, however, have to be careful of sidekicks - too often they can overtake the story and the reader wants to read more scenes featuring the sidekick and doesn't relate as well to the hero and heroine.


Day 23 - Role: Logic
By Shayla Kersten

Logic is a secondary character that embodies reason or control for the protagonist. Appealing to the intellect of the protagonist, Logic helps move the story forward. An example of Logic in a movie is Princess Leia in Star Wars.

Leia is single minded about her mission and the need to defeat the Empire. She convinces Luke, the hero, to follow her with reason-the Death Star would change the balance of power in the galaxy. The emperor would be unstoppable. Since Han is the Skeptic (see #24), he's convinced by the promise of a reward.

While the example of Leia is a well-rounded character in Star Wars, Logic doesn't need to be a fully developed role. Shorter novels don't leave room for too many characters. As with most of the secondary characters, Logic can be combined with another role or can even be internalized as part of the hero's or heroine's upbringing or training.


Days 24- Role: Skeptic
By Shayla Kersten

The Skeptic is the disbeliever, the Doubting Thomas. The role's function is to make the hero or heroine question their purpose or their goal. Can the heroine really succeed? Will the hero's plan fail?
Although a secondary character, the Skeptic is an important role. He creates conflict and as writers, conflict is our friend.

Back to my Star Wars references, Han Solo is the Skeptic. He doesn't believe in the Force-"hokey religions". He doesn't believe in much of anything. He's only in it for the money.

His role as Skeptic plays off Luke's role as hero. Instead of making Luke doubt himself, Han's skepticism makes Luke try harder to succeed. This is a perfect example of a Skeptic. Of course, in the end, the Skeptic comes through. By the next movie, The Empire Strikes Back, Han's role has changed to the Mentor.

Heroes aren't unafraid-they succeed in spite of their fear. The role of skeptic outlines those fears for the hero to overcome.

Again, as with any secondary character, this role can be combined with others or internalized as part of the protagonist's personality.


December 25 - Role: Emotion
By Desiree Holt

The character role of Emotion is the character that appeals to the protagonist to listen to his heart and emotions to reach his goal. Logic might tell him that it can't be done, but emotion will tell him that if he believes in his heart that he can do it, he will succeed.

The character that convinces the hero or heroine to toss caution to the wind or to stand fast in the face of defeat with nothing more than a belief or faith is using emotion to spur the main character on. This is the character that will help the Alpha male wrestle with his own emotions (and we know how good Alpha males are dealing with their emotions - horrible!).

In Romancing the Stone, Joan Wilder was Jack's emotion. When she told him she'd never had such a good time, it helped him realize that he'd never been someone's good time and that he liked it and would miss it if it was gone. She helped him develop emotion and a longing for something more than just the next great fortune to hunt.

Dr. Cuddy is Dr. House's emotion on the TV Drama House. She reminds Dr. House that they are dealing with people, not just diseases. House has a Type A tendency to see the puzzle, not the person. Dr. Cuddy reminds him that these are people with feelings and families that care for them.


Day 26 - Character Description
Elle James

Your characters ARE your story. Plant that in your head from the very beginning and you'll build a better story. Character Description is more than just the physical characteristics of your characters. In order to have a full, rich story, your characters have to be more than just flat paper dolls colored lightly with crayons. They need to be three-dimensional.

Yes, describe the physical characteristics of your characters. Sometimes a character's physical characteristics have a lot of bearing on how that character behaves. Take for example a character who is Albino. The character perceives him/herself as different from others and may react to criticism or simple phrases in a completely different way than someone whom the rest of society considers normal. So, yes, describe your characters in detail. I use a spread sheet for the vitals: hair color, eye color, age, and height to keep my characters' descriptions consistent throughout the book.

More than just jotting down the simple physical description, go into the character's manner of dress, where he/she lives, what she/he does for a living.

Delve deeper to get to know your character. Take him/her back to his childhood, his birthplace, who raised him, what kind of parents he had. Were there siblings, what was the pecking order in the family? Who were his friends? What issues did he deal with as a child? Adolescent? Young Adult? What relationships shaped the way he reacts in situations?

Ask your self, what does he fear? Hate? Love? What are his/her strengths and weakness? Give your character a physical trait or mannerism he/she displays when he's happy, sad, angry, or nervous. These traits help you to show his feelings throughout your story rather than telling them. Describe them up front to use throughout the story and remain consistent. Characters with flaws and quirks are much more interesting. Consider Dr. House or Monk.

Describing your character is more than just the color of hair and eyes. It's the color of their soul. Paint your character with all the colors at your disposal making him/her rich with shadows and light. Do this for all your characters, but be most generous with your pallet when identifying your main characters.



December 27 - Goals, Motivation, Conflict
By Myla Jackson

I first learned about Goals, Motivation and Conflict from listening to a workshop tape by the inspiring author Debra Dixon. She does a fabulous job describing these three key elements to character development in her book Goal, Motivation & Conflict. If you don't have a copy of this book, get one.

Your character's goal is WHAT he wants or what he thinks he wants in the beginning of the story. In You've Got Mail Joe Fox's goal is to build his new store Fox Books.

His motivation is WHY he wants it. In Joe's case, it's all about money and prestige. He's grown up in a family of money-making men, driven by the need to make more money. It's a measure of their worth and business acumen.

The conflict is WHY HE CAN'T HAVE IT or what gets in the way of his ability to attain his goal.

In this case, Kathleen Kelly launches a campaign to stop Fox Books from building around the corner from her bookstore, painting them and Joe Fox as the big bad wolf. Conflict is what makes the story interesting just like flaws are what make characters interesting. Without conflict, you don't have a story. So make the conflict good. Make it matter to the characters. To Kathleen Kelly whose goal was to keep her bookstore going just like it had for years and years, the conflict of the big mega-bookstore moving into her sales territory was a huge blow to her. Why (motivation)? Because her bookstore was tied to her memories of her mother (makes your reader want to root for Kathleen). Repeat after me:


Just because you identify a character's goal at the beginning of the story doesn't mean you're stuck with that goal through to the end. In many cases, the character may change his mind or commit to another goal as the story progresses or as the character grows and learns. Or if he achieves his goal as in Joe's bookstore putting Kathleen's out of business, he might find the success empty and establish a new goal: win the heart of Kathleen.

When you lay out your story, remember, to ask:

What does my character want (GOAL)?
Why does he want it (MOTIVATION)?
Why can't he have it (CONFLICT)?


ay 28 Day 28 - Character Arc
By Elle James

So, what's this Character Arc, you say? Is it some big boat you have your character climb aboard with the other animals, two-by-two in preparation for the big flood?

Kind of.

The Character Arc is the journey your character undertakes. It's the path toward learning and growing. He steps on the path or into the boat at the beginning, thinking one thing, convinced his way is the true and only way. As the story progresses and conflicts emerge, events happen to him, his beliefs and attitudes change. He might grow stronger, or become less harsh by the time he climbs off the boat at the end of the journey.
For example, at the beginning of You've Got Mail Joe Fox thought "It's business. It's not personal." Through his interactions with Kathleen Kelly, the man on the elevator, his ex-girlfriend and other people he met along his journey, his beliefs shifted and changed.

By the end of the story, he'd learned that life was empty when you looked at it as all about business. He began to realize he didn't want to end up like his father, never finding love, never being loved. Through his interactions with Kathleen and others, he learned and grew and became a better person wanting life to be personal, not all about the business. Kathleen helped him to see this by her actions, her love for her employees and her mother's memory.

The Character Arc is the progression of your character's change throughout the story. Think of Hans Solo in the first Star Wars movie. He was all about making money, never getting involved. By the end of the first movie, he was ready to join the rebel cause. He'd learned there was more to life than smuggling for personal gain throughout the star system. He came to this conclusion through the events that occurred and the people who influenced him along the way.


Day 29 - Ramp-Up for 2009:
Daily Page Counter

By Delilah Devlin

The Roses hope that you've enjoyed the little lessons we've provided all month long regarding character roles and development. For the last three days of the year, I'd like to give you some tools to help you keep productive in the New Year.
One of the things I wished I'd known before I published was how fast I could write.
Knowing how productive you can be is important for several reasons. Say you want to enter a contest, but you need a new manuscript to wow the judges. Do you know for certain that you can finish it in time to enter? Or, what do you tell an editor who's crazy about a proposal she just accepted when she asks how fast she can have it, especially when she wants it yesterday?

I've kept a spreadsheet that captures my daily page count since 2002. Taking an average of the page counts per week can help me estimate my productivity, but looking at periods where I wasn't particularly productive forces me to evaluate why I wasn't and helps me plan better in the future for those things that cause the lulls (conferences, between book rests, plotting).

Keeping the chart up to date "keeps it real" for me. I can't romanticize what I can accomplish when I have cold, hard data. Follow the link to the EXCEL spreadsheet page count chart I will keep for 2009 if you'd like to give it a try.

Counting pages isn't always straightforward. Different publishers have different formats for manuscript submission. For Ellora's Cave, I submit my manuscripts in Book Antiqua font, 1.5 lines, rather than double-spaced, which gives me an average word count of around 300 words per page. For Avon, I submit in Times New Roman for an average word count of 285 per page. For Kensington, I submit in Courier New for an average of 250 words per page. I personally don't make a distinction between formats for the tally I enter in my page counter, but you might convert your documents daily to one format to get a truer picture of your productivity for planning purposes.

For Daily Page Count Click Here


Day 30 - Ramp-Up for 2009:
Monthly Calendar
By Delilah Devlin

There's a brand-new, bright-shiny year ahead. Don't waste time thinking you have all the time in the world to accomplish your goals. Get started now on laying down a plan to reach those goals.

Step 1: Use a monthly calendar. We're providing a link to a free MS word 12-month calendar. You can work with it on your computer, or print it out and use a stubby pencil to map out your year.
Step 2: Map out your non-writing days:
  * Put all family-related dates on the calendar (family vacation, graduations, birthdays, etc). Any date you know you won't be at your computer. These are your first priorities.
  * Write in conferences, writing retreats, meetings.
  * You might want to shade those days, so you don't consider them at all when you move into the next steps.
Step 3: Forward Planning -- No deadlines pushing you, but you want to set some personal ones so you make progress
  a. Ask yourself:

How many pages will I commit to write in a day?
weekdays?(example: 2 pages per day)
weekends? (example: 6 pages per day)

  * What other writing-related activities need to be included in your plan?
Printing Queries
  * Research for stories
Marketing/Promotion activities
  b. Calculate the number of writing days needed to complete the project
  c. Lay out your projects, one after another
Step 4: Backward Planning - You have a deadline
  a. Ask yourself:
  * When does this project have to be shipped?
  * What other writing-related activities need to be included in your plan?
  * Editor revisions


Marketing/Promotion activities
  b. Count the number of actual writing days available between now and when the project needs to be done
  c. Calculate the number of pages per day you need to write to achieve your goal and pencil it in on your calendar (number of pages divided by number of available days)
  d. If you have more than one commitment, you need to adjust. Can you string them one after another ( or overlap them) and accomplish all? Or do you need to tighten the timeframe and perhaps finish one quicker than necessary to make all your goals? When you're done tightening and you're looking at the daily word count required, does it look realistic?

For a copy of Rose's 2009 Planning Calendar for your planning purposes...

2009 Planning Calendar Click Here


Day 31 - Ramp-Up for 2009:
Get Ready, Get Set, Go!
By Delilah Devlin

First, one last tool I'd like to offer. I've shown you what I use to gauge my productivity (the daily page counter). I've walked you through planning your work in the long-term (the annual-monthly calendar), and now I'll let you have a peek at what I use to plan my work on a week-to-week basis.

The tool's not perfect. I like to play with the spreadsheet and have the totals roll from one week to the next, but that might be more work than you want. You might have something that's simpler that works just fine for you. The point I'm not making is that it doesn't matter what tool you use, but somehow you have to translate your annual/monthly goals into work steps each week so that you make forward progress.

In the grayed lines for each day's notes, I write down what I hope to achieve. In the white lines below it, I write what I actually accomplished or what might have interrupted it. The tool is a way to preserve your work plan/accomplishments, but also to validate what you were doing on specific dates-if say the IRS comes knocking and wants to know about business expenses you claimed for a particular date. A quick check to see that I traveled to Little Rock for an RWA chapter meeting is very helpful.

Note the columns to the right of the spreadsheet. Yup, that's provided for you to keep tabs on multiple projects. Not that I'm saying you should work on several projects at one time, but you may have edits coming from an editor that you'd like to keep tabs on, you might be working on story or character notes for another project when you break from your current WIP. Yes, I work on several projects at once, and sometimes I plan page count progress for 2-3 each work. But I'm just crazy that way. Use the columns to keep projects in mind, but don't think you actually have to add pages to all of them every week.

So, that's the final worksheet.

Every year we've done a December countdown that we hoped would be helpful for the visitors to Rose's Colored Glasses. We try to mix up the topics. We like to learn new things and refresh our knowledge of subjects we know. It's not a chore. We hope you've enjoyed this year's countdown, and wish you every success in the New Year!

2009 Weekly Planner Click Here