Girls Write Out
Monday, July 02, 2012


Some things you never forget even when you don't do them every day. When I went to Nashville to speak at sales conference, I wanted to spoil my fiction girls a bit in celebration of 10 years with Thomas Nelson so I took them all out for pedicures on Thursday afternoon. It was soo fun! But we got to talking about colors, probably because we were all picking out nail colors. When they learned that one of my previous careers was as a color consultant, I had to go around and tell them what season they were. Some of them were easier than others, and I had to guess on Daisy and Jodi. Next time I go, I'll take my color drapes and figure it out for sure. But we laughed and talked LOUDLY for quite some time. I advised the girls what highlights might look good and what colors to wear. So fun!

When Ami, Katie, and I started to leave, another young woman not in our group stopped me and asked if I'd tell her what she was. She said she'd been waiting patiently until her turn. it was clear she thought I was an employee! I got tickled about that, but told her I'd be glad to tell her anyway. I had to give her the bad news that she was a winter (brown eyes and olive skin) and should get rid of the blond in her hair. I told her that the older she got, the worse the blond would look next to her skin. She was a great sport about it though and said she was due a trip to the hairdresser and would go back to her real hair color of dark brown. 

When we left, I was struck at how easy it was to go right back to a skill I hadn't exercised in a while. But then I realized that I still notice when people are wearing the wrong hair color or makeup for their skin. It's ingrained now after all my training.

It's like writing. Certain skills become part of your "voice" as you progress as a writer. One part of my voice is a strong sense of place. That comes naturally to me when writing a scene. Another skill is intuitively knowing whose POV a scene should be written in. I try to write the scene in the POV of the person who has the most to lose by the resolution (or lack) of the conflict. And I never use semicolons! LOL It's part of my style sheet. But I'm always working on new skills to add so that they become part of my voice. One thing I'm working on right now is incorporating shorter scenes and not showing movement to a new place. I'm also working to make sure interior dialogue doesn't diffuse the tension in the scenes. When I'm finished learning those things, there will be a new skill to try to master.

What about you? What new skill are you working on? It might not be in writing but in another area of life. 

Colleen Coble  
posted at 11:52 AM  
  Comments (7)
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At 2:58 PM, Blogger jel said...

that is a cool shot !

it's not the eyes that have it,
but the the toes that do! :)

I'm working on cooking!

At 1:20 AM, Blogger Hannah Alexander said...

Plotting. And walking straight.

At 1:45 AM, Blogger Kara I said...

I never use semicolons either - but mainly because I can seem to get it right when to use them. Maybe I'll start insisting it's just part of my style ;)

A sense of place/setting is one of my weaknesses and something I need to work on. My current WIP could probably be set in almost any setting it's so light on location specific detail.

At 8:40 AM, Blogger Timothy Fish said...

I find your idea of choosing POV based on who has the most to lose interesting. I’ve never heard it stated that way before. Looking back over my work, I would say that most of the scenes were told from that POV. However, my selection was based on which character I felt could see what was going on but not so much that it would kill the suspense.

And I have a question. What are you doing about “not showing movement to a new place?” I was watching a television show recently and they would frequently mention that they needed to go somewhere or do something, then they would fade to black and in the very next scene it was as if they had already gone and come back. I found it very confusing. So what is your approach?

And for the record, I love semicolons; they keep thoughts together.

At 8:44 AM, Blogger Colleen Coble said...

Semicolons. Shudder. Most suspense writers don't use them because they slow the action. You tend to see them more in historicals, but I don't even use them in my historicals.

What I do is end the scene then start the next scene actually in the new location with a new scene goal. My editor is who gave me that assignment. LOL So my scenes tend to be shorter now and I just cut that movement stuff.

At 10:10 AM, Blogger SheilaG @ Plum Doodles said...

I remember getting my color analyzed years ago (summer), still use the guidelines when buying clothes.

As for writing, I don't write books, but started a blog a few months ago. I'm finding it hard to write with any flow because of the pictures. (It's a diy/decor sort of blog, so lots of pics are necessary.) Not sure if my pics should follow the writing, or my writing should play commentator to the pics. Any suggestions?

At 2:59 PM, Blogger Crystal Laine said...

That was a great thing to do--such fun--and nice. Plus, it's nice to not waste money on the wrong colors, so what a gift.

I'm still not sure what my "colors" are, but they're not "light" because I look washed out in light colors and need saturated colors even as I'm aging. I've been told I'm a winter, a spring, a summer...LOL...a light summer, a light spring, a cool summer...Okaaay. So, I wear black a lot.

But learning something new? I think I am always learning something new because it is the way I'm wired, never satisfied with status quo. It goes back to my teacher-training--and it amuses(meaning I find it fun) me to observe and diagnose learning styles.

Speaking of nail colors, I bought this Pepto-Bismol pink this week and had to take it right off--it looked bad--too bright, too cool. I've given away more nail polish because of that. I stand like a deer in the headlights when I get a pedicure trying to find a color that would work. Usually it's a plum or burgundy or navy but I keep trying new ones.

Fun post!


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The Authors
Kristin Billerbeck
Kristin Billerbeck is a proud Californian, wife, mother of four, and connoisseur of the irrelevant. She writes Christian Chick Lit; where she finds need for most of the useless facts lulling about in her head.

Colleen Coble

Colleen Coble writes romantic suspense with a strong atmospheric element. A lovable animal of some kind--usually a dog--always populates her novels. She can be bribed with DeBrand mocha truffles.

Denise Hunter

Denise Hunter writes women's fiction and love stories with a strong emotional element. Her husband says he provides her with all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too.

Diann Hunt

Diann Hunt writes romantic comedy and humorous women's fiction. She has been happily married forever, loves her family, chocolate, her friends, chocolate, her dog, and well, chocolate.

Hannah Alexander

Cheryl Hodde writes romantic medical suspense under the pen name of Hannah Alexander, using all the input she can get from her husband, Mel, for the medical expertise. For fun she hikes and reads. Out of guilt, she rescues discarded cats. She and Mel are presently taking orders from four pampered strays.

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