Marji Laine

I Love a Good Mystery!


Reader’s Rejectables: Plastic Characters

A pile of discarded books exemplifies my series on Reader's Rejectables.Last week, I started a series about the things that will make a reader put down a book. You’re a reader. Tell me about a time you put a book down because it annoyed you. My first topic was inappropriate content. I know it sounds prudish, but that is one situation that will make me discard a book fast. The other topics are a little more gray-ish.

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Top 20 To-Read in Christian Fiction for 2014

I’m so excited about my list of to-reads this year. My first “writing” year, I concentrated on debut authors, enjoying their excitement – living vicariously. Last year, I tried to read books by friends and connections through the various conferences I visited. This year, I’m focusing on authors that I’ve already liked. I’m honing in on my own voice and style, so relishing potential new favorites will give me the opportunity to analyze why I like the books as I read them. I hope that I can not only encourage these wonderful novelists, but get more than enjoyment from the time I spend with their books. Continue reading

Romance for the Waif

myfoolishheartLove is in the air, and isn’t that the typical status of a Disney princess? Well, the ones who are WAIFs anyway. It occurred to me that I didn’t specify those yesterday. Maybe I should do that before we try to find romance for the archetype. Continue reading


Top 10 Heroes

After discussing the characteristics of heroes for the last couple of weeks, I’ve succumbed to assemble my own list of favorite heroes. I’ve combined book heroes with those from movies and television, and even a couple from real life.  Continue reading


Heroic Greatness

After my frolic with all things romance last week, I decided to investigate the details and depth of heroes. Have you ever wondered what it is that makes great heroes great? Me too. I’ve had so much fun researching different opinions about them. If you enjoy fiction, whether books or movies, I’m thinking you’ll have opinions about what makes a good hero. The characteristics might not be what you think. Continue reading

Choosing Characters

carwash I love plotting. And I can see a murder scene almost anywhere I go. I know, gruesome! My Precious Redhead and I make a game of it. Should have heard our conversation as we waited in a fast food line next to a car wash. After sunset, the flashing blue lights inside the glassed-in building looked more like a house of horror than a car wash.

But I digress.

My biggest challenge, and my critique partners will back me up on this, is developing deep characters. But I’ve heard some excellent advice on this.

First, from Susan May Warren, I learned to ask my characters what their greatest fear is. Actually, it never occurred to me to actually ask them until I read Shame and Redemption by Bethany Quinn (a character created by Katie Ganshert).

But I have to describe the depth of my greenness. So I jotted down the greatest fears of my characters, and stopped. The thought never occurred to me that I should actually take my characters through their greatest fear. No. I can’t do that to them!

At a DFW Ready Writer meeting (a chapter of ACFW in Dallas/Ft. Worth) Ronie Kendig argued my point. By all means take your characters to those dark places. I got the feeling that unless things hurt, I didn’t go deep enough.

I’m also inspired by some of the terrific stories I’ve read from all three of these authors and the way their characters have unique personalities with things that I like about them and things that I don’t like. (See Reviews on My Foolish Heart, Wildflowers from Winter, and Firethorn)

So I’ve got a place to start with my character development. Only a starting place, though.

What tricks to do you have for peopling your stories? How do you make them all distinct?



I know this isn't what you want to see on a cold January day!

I thought about making this word my C word for the A2Z blog hop article this week, but I went with this word instead. Challenge is a better topic for this ROW80 Update anyway. If you're anything like me, you feel challenges at every side. I would say that right now I'm in a busy season, but the truth is, I'm ALWAYS in a busy season. I like it that way. It keeps me moving and I find I'm much more effective and efficient when
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Hoping for SOMETHING!

I actually don't believe in luck or crossing fingers or any of that stuff, but the picture sure exemplifies hope. "Cross your fingers and hope real hard!" That's what I was always told, but I couldn't tell you who first said it to me.

So I'm hoping. First, I'm hoping to do better at reporting. I'm so bummed that I forgot to share an update last Sunday.

Second, I'm hoping for … well … you know.

There’s a time to dream and a time to act. As a writer, being part-dreamer just comes with the territory. I visualized getting “the call” the other day. I’ve delayed attempts to connect with an agent for the most part. (I don’t really count the few queries that I sent out before I had a clue of what I was doing.) Now I have a clue, thanks to the many

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Where Do the YIKES Come From?

Marcie with her latest reads. She even has Erica Vetch's new debut novel, A Bride's Portrait of  
Dodge City, Kansas included in her "to read" stack.

Everyday, people pick up books for entertainment, escape, and inspiration. Finding Christ-honoring books is no longer the challenge that it used to be. Christian Fiction boasts some of the best of today's literature. With a variety of genres from which to choose, readers can immerse themselves in stories of love, history, and contemporary fiction. Along the way, the suspense category of Christian Fiction has
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Usually I read over the weekends. With last weeks suggestions I had plenty of fodder for my reviews, but the time got past me.

No, that's not entirely true.

I've been grazing on amazing insight from Award Winning Author, Susan May Warren. I LOVE her books! Not a book this time, but pages of chats and invaluable notes from her My Book Therapy sessions. I investigated suspense, sifted through characterizations and settings, and even dallied with a little romance.

With sparkling eyes and dimpled cheeks, I told my
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