On Smart Characters who do Stupid Things

You know them. You love them. They’re smart, witty, handsome/beautiful. They’re lives are interesting enough for you to devote countless hours reading about them. They are your main characters, and you trust them to bring you entertainment to the very last page.

But then, they do something so terrible, so vial, that you don’t know if you will ever turn the page, or even ever look at the book ever again. They do something HORRENDOUSLY STUPID!

Yes, I understand that the one horrendously stupid act may be the catalyst for the whole entire book and the story hinges on that one crazy mistake the main character made. Most books have this. Definitely most romance novels have this. It’s an elephant that I enjoy on a daily basis, but there is a line, so I beg you, don’t jump the shark.

What the author tells us and how the character acts can be completely opposite things. I’ve seen books where the author took so much time telling the reader how smart and beautiful and witty their heroine is, and then they make the terrible mistakes that are so out of character to her. Then the hero makes a mistake, and then the heroine again, and pretty soon its a stupid fest the likes of which I’ve never seen.

Before your character goes and does something out outrageous, I think the author should have the maturity to ask, would this person really do this?

I can forgive the one f aux pas that that gets the story in motion, to a point, but from that point on the hero/heroine is in a hole. They need to regain my trust and fast. I’ve read books where the supposedly smart main character would just do stupid things over and over and over again, and authors who even bring those stupid things into other books! Yikes! Nothing like a highly intelligent stupid person (yes they exist in real life too).

I’ve saved Maddie Fitzwalter from the fates of stupidity several times in my novel To Love a Beast” available at

In the first draft of the novel, Maddie attends one final ball in a last ditch effort to save her reputation. When all hope is lost, Maddie gets swept off her feet by a handsome duke. She has absolutely no inkling that this was the man responsible for kidnapping, seducing, and ultimately soiling of her reputation. She had no clue, no clue whatsoever. Forget that the night she was taken was the most passion filled night she’d ever experienced and that the man had completely stolen her heart. She just plum had no idea.

I didn’t want Maddie to come off the stupid heroine. I’ve read books like this, and they might be satisfying, but mostly they leave me screaming at the book.

With that in mind, I went in a completely different direction. When I did the rewrite, Maddie knows, gasp, that he’s the man, gasp gasp, that took her. She may be too afraid to say anything She may be too swept away to care, but at least she’s not stupid.

This destupifying of Maddie also led to several different plot twists that take place throughout the rest of the novel, and gave birth to another interesting character that will definitely be showing up in future books of mine.

Sooooo, don’t take the easy way out by making your characters do something uncharacteristically stupid. Think of ways to make them better for yourself and your reader. You may not realize how much a good re imagining will do for your characters and your readership.



Beware the Dreaded Computer Virus

I just wanted to warn everybody that I cared about that there is another computer virus out and It almost got me! EEK! So if anyone that you don’t know sends you a love letter with weird writing and has an e-card attached, DO NOT OPEN IT. This card has no love in it, but it does have a Trojan in it, and not the fun kind. I repeat…DO NOT OPEN.

Luv ya,

Teri Butterfly Harvey

An Insane Marketing Sceme from Bflyzone…

Hello fellow Word Press bloggers, especially bloggers with books out. While I was out buying shoes today, my brain sprouted a miraculous marketing scheme to sell more copies of my novel. It would also help other authors who blog and currently have a book they are wanting to sell. I’m not sure if anyone else has done this sort of thing before, but a little experimentation never hurt anyone. Plus, I have a marketing degree, and marketing strategies are always bouncing around my head. I’ll tell you all my plan and then I will welcome any suggestions, comments, anger that may arise.
Here is my plan:
First, everybody who has a book to sell use a blog post to promote your book. I want to see a picture of the cover, links to where you can buy it, if you’re bold, maybe a sample chapter, the meaning of life, your sample query, basically any metadata that you have and are willing to share of your book. Then post it to your blog.
Then, this is where the rest of us come in, when I receive someones marketing blog, I will push the re-blog button on your page…and like…and possibly comment.

When I re-blog, your post will be shown to all my friends at Facebook, all my twitter friends, and all the Word Press subscribers who don’t know you exist yet. I don’t know about you guys, but my friends are readers and someone out there may end up buying your book. Hell, I might end up buying your book. It could be cool. The best part is, it’s free!

I suggest doing this on the first day of every month just so our inboxes don’t explode. We also don’t have to make a new one every month. We can just re-blog the old one again later. I think it would be a great opportunity for free marketing and for platform growing. We all know how important those platforms are. Cause if we didn’t have a platform, we’d either be standing in alligator infested water…or getting naked for peanut butter. (Sorry for the OLD Survivor joke. Hope it didn’t go over your heads.)

What say you?

Author Feature: Jessie Cox

Anything to help a fellow Okie! Good luck! Reblog!

On Forcing Yourself to Write…

First of all, if you have to force yourself to write, you may be in the wrong business.
Just wanted to make that clear from the beginning that this is my ultimate stance on the matter.
I love to blog and I love my blogging community. One of the future literary masters that I follow on wordpress posed the question “How do you make yourself write?” I have been pondering that question for a few days, and now that I’ve thoroughly chewed it over, I’m ready to give my answer.
The answer is, for me at least, YOU DON’T!
That’s right boys and girls. I’m just going to come out and say it. If you’re resorting to forcing yourself to write, you’re probably in for a rough existence.
I love writing. When I first discovered the joys of creating my own worlds at the age of 14, I was in awe of what could be done with a simple blank sheet of paper. I loved the library and I loved books. I was one of the fastest readers in my grade and I was a sponge for stories and information, but I never thought about where those books came from. To think that one person had to sit in front of a typewriter all day thinking of all this crazy entertaining stuff…it just blew my mind. Then I though, “I can do that! I’m nuts!” From that day forward whenever I got a writing assignment I would basically do the assignment, but slant it in a fantastical way, or I would just write whatever the Hell I wanted. Most of the teachers thought, “Well, she wrote something,” and gave me a good grade anyway.
I skipped field trips in favor of staying in a classroom of failing students and writing all day. “OOPS, I forgot my wittle permission slip. Guess I gotta stay here all day.” Besides, the kids with the bad grades are more interesting than any movie they packed us into a theater to see. 101 Dalmatians the live action movie was not a big loss. Sorry Glen Close. I absolutely loved those days!
I’ve heard other writers say “You have to be productive every day bla bla bla. Write this many sentences a day bla bla.” That may work for them, but it’s just not my style. All of the forced stuff usually gets edited out anyway.
The days I spend not writing always get made up somewhere down the line.
I have to run the same scene in my head a thousand times over before it reaches the page. Once the scenes are thoroughly thought through and I can’t stand it anymore, then I open the dam and let the carnage flow out. On days such as this, I can write ten to fifteen pages in a matter of a few hours. Sometimes, if I’m lucky, I can write the whole day and the whole night and come out with about 30 pages (250 words a page). On nights when my brain will not shut up and let me sleep, that’s an opportunity for genius to come out.
I like to go to bed at 9. If I’m not asleep by 12 I just say, screw this, and I get up and write, usually till two. Those are some pretty wild nights because that’s when I write with reckless abandon. I keep going until my brain, and Aric are satisfied with the work. I go until I can’t hold the pen up anymore. Poor Aric, when I don’t sleep, he doesn’t sleep either. We work together…always.

I love to write, and I happily pick up my pen every time. For me, writing is an adventure that I get to take every day. Normal people don’t go on adventures every day. I’ve been given a great gift, talent on loan from God, and I’ll be damned if I will waste it. I see book ideas everywhere, and I know that’s not just a coincidence. For the next 100 years, I’m pretty well set for book ideas…God, I better live for a hundred years cause I can’t write that many books in a lifetime, or maybe I will. Who Knows?

I would like to thank the ten people who purchased my ebook “To Love a Beast” currently available on smashwords. You all are the greatest and it feels good to get the book out there and have people interested in seeing it. Money is nice, but readership is better! Thanks!

I love this idea. As an adult ADHD and Aspie, I approve, and therefor reboot. Thanks a lot.

My Crazy Blessed Life!

Sooooo… I have a three-year-old little girl who is full of drama.  Probably not the only one in history, but one of my current dilemmas.  When time out time comes for bad behaviour I find myself with a little girl on the bottom step screaming, kicking walls and not able to even calm down enough to learn her lesson.  This was getting worse and worse until I told my husband, “there has to be a better way, I’m going to research this.”  So I went online and read other mom’s advice, dr’s advice, psychologist’s advice, etc.  Nothing was really working.  Finally I saw something called a mind jar.  This was a mason jar filled with water, clear gel glue and ultra fine glitter.  You shake it and the glitter settles slowly as you watch you relax.   The original ones I saw were to teach children to meditate (not my goal).  I loved…

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Oh Notebook, Where art thou? Part 1

They never fail…They never send your work into oblivion by forgetting to click save, they will never run out of power and will never cause you eye-strain (well, not too much anyway) They are the ultimate hard copy. They are your notebooks made from 99.9% killed trees and.01% love…and fun chemicals, but that’s neither here nor there.

You guessed it. I am a huge notebook fan. Computers? Not so much.

So ,why, in all your writerliciousness, like you not the computer, you may ask.

They answer is quite simple: Eye Strain, EYE STRAIN, EYE S-T-R… you get the point. And I do get a lot of migraines too. I can work in a notebook before I’m completely better from a migraine. With a computer…I can hardly even have one in the same room with me.

With that, I thought it would be a fun Saturday project to do a history of Teri Butterfly Harvey’s awesome notebook collection.

It all started out with one… The one that in the seventh grade I’d decided would be for my writing only. Here it is, right here… It’s the first notebook I’d ever bought specifically for writing, and I was damn proud of it. I even bough some special shiny gel ink pens to use in it! I was going to write my first novel in this thing, and all my novel ideas, draw some pictures, gasp, become famous!

Well, I did fill that notebook up with my first novel. Sparkly and beautiful and very worn out by the time I was done with it, I loved the notebook. I didn’t even want anyone touching the thing. No borrowing paper from this thing. It was special, but what was I supposed to do when it was full. Buy another, of course!

Oh Notebook, Where Art Thou? Part 4

Finally, I come to the last group of notebooks, the ones I am currently using. I really love these babies, and I drive 50 miles to the nearest Barnes and Noble to buy them when I’m out of paper. These beauties are big. They are heavy, but in a good way. They do not fall closed easily. They are solid and thick. I practically refuse to write in anything else. Here they are.
Here’s a quick rundown of what I have here…The two brown and pink ones at the end contain “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” The tan one with the wave on it and the little Jesus book contains “The Claiming” my book about the aliens. The blue and brown one contains “To Love one’s Husband,” the second half of To Love a Beast.
That concludes my notebook fetish, so now I’ll tell you a little bit about my process.
I write the first draft in the notebook. I type out the second draft and edit it at the same time. 3rd draft-10,000th draft, I do just like anyone else on a computer. Most of my days are simply writing days with my notebook, but I usually dedicate one or two days a week for typing out pages. It helps out especially when I’m not feeling really creative, but still want to work on something.
I’ve heard people say that if you work on more than one project at a time, that you’ll never get anything done. To that I say, who cares? I’ve got several thousand characters trying to claw their way out of my brain and on the the page. I enjoy every moment of writing them down. I gets done when I gets done. I’m not itching to be rich or anything. I just want to be able to write whatever I want whenever I want and have a kick ass time doing it. Now that’s what makes a writer! Now, go fill up a notebook!

Oh Notebook, Where Art Thou? Part 3

When I got into college, I had a little bit more money for notebooks, so my notebook buying became a bit more interesting, but I’m going to get a little off topic here. I did happen to write one whole book without a notebook, and that book was called Edward.
I would now like to recount the very last time I ever attended a critique group. A very good writer and all around nice guy suggested that since a sparkly vampire, who was very popular at the time, was also named Edward, I shouldn’t use that name. Not like I named him before I even heard of Twilight or anything, buuuuuuut that set me off royally.
“Okay, so no one can never name their character, Edward again. Burn um at the stake if they do, and God help anyone who had named their character that before. Perhaps they can change their name to Edmund, or Eduardo. Oh, and we can’t have anyone named Jacob either, or Bella, and I really wanted to name my next heroine Renesme. OH, THE BROKEN DREAMS!” I was mad, and I admit I may have gone a little overboard, but I didn’t go back….
Okay, I was supposed to be talking about notebooks, wasn’t I? The silver notebook is my favorite of all my notebooks. My mom works for a bag company who does lots of business with China and that’s where this little gem came from. I call it my WTF notebook. On the front is this weird saying that is kind of true, but you wouldn’t want to go spreading it around. It says, love is what enables us to bridge the gap of disappointment when others do not live up to the expectations we have of them. Uh…thanks notebook. Just what I needed to hear. Ironically, this is the notebook I used for my first all nighter, and the notebook I wrote the first few chapters of To Love a Beast in, which took place during that all nighter. The rest of To Love a Beast was written in those lovely Tiffany stained glass journals. Yes, I graduated to journals! I bought two, and if I ever see another I’ll buy it on the spot!
The Fall was written on napkins and computer. I was working for Disney World. I couldn’t afford a notebook.