Tag Archives: Wendy P. Miller

Am I An Alcoholic? Guest Post from Wendy P. Miller

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One of the biggest blessings in being involved in the writing community is that I have had the opportunity to meet and become friends with several amazing, amazing people. These people aren’t just writing buddies– they are supporters and readers and critiquers and developers and plotters and generally wonderful friends.  And most of all, they are incredible writers, using the gift of words to create stories that entertain and teach and challenge.

I’m honored today that my friend, Wendy Paine Miller, is stopping by the blog to share with you some of her thoughts about what is behind her newest release, The Delicate Nature of Love. Wendy’s writing is word-art, and I am so excited that she’s here with us today. Read below and let her words challenge you about a topic that touches so many.

From Wendy:

Am I An Alcoholic?

This is the question my main character in my latest novel, THE DELICATE NATURE OF LOVE, grapples with. I have an opinion about whether or not Emma Gates is an alcoholic. And I’m willing to bet many book club members will be sharing their opinions while sipping cabernet and sampling goat cheese.

Emma is a grieving widow. Wine has become her go-to when it comes to numbing her feelings. I don’t want to give away my thoughts about whether I feel Emma is addicted, but I will share a bit about why I gravitated toward this topic.

Addiction runs in my family. And I like wine. I like fruity mixed drinks. And with a hot pizza or a delicious chili recipe, I like to swig 312 Goose Island beer. Occasionally I ask myself the hard question: Do I like this too much? Because when I say addiction runs in my family I’m not talking six degrees of separation, I’m talking more like .14 degrees (about the same blood alcohol level several of my family members would hit at any given moment).

I remember suffering through a tragic season in my life when the idea of checking out—sanding down all of my depressed feelings to the point of numbness—sounded ideal. So I drank. A lot. And it did feel great. For a night. Then those feelings resurged and I was met with the weight of what I was going through twofold. And thankfully, I didn’t make a habit of tossing back the bottle. But this is exactly why I work hard not to judge those with addictions. I get the pull. The only difference is that I’m able to stop. I’m able to make a different choice. They aren’t. That doesn’t make me better. It just means the gene didn’t sneak into me.

Forget our country running on Dunkin’ as the slogan suggests. I’m convinced most of us have grown accustomed to running on whatever the five o’clock hour has to offer. In the first scene of DELICATE, my main character, Emma, finds herself facing a similar predicament Pink sings about in one of her songs. She’s looking for herself sober. She’s lost sight of who she is without her trusty wine bottle.

Because addiction is something I’ve grown to recognize, I care about others recognizing it in themselves and confronting it.

I think it starts with…

Accountability—asking the hard question, not just of yourself but asking loved ones who know you well to tell you what they think.

Awareness. Paying attention to when you say when. How many is too many for you? How generous of a pourer are you?

Finally, this might be the hardest one yet.

Honesty. It’ll always come back to this.

Does the topic of addiction hit close to home for you?

Wendy Paine MillerWendy Paine Miller is a native New Englander who feels most alive when she’s laughing, reading, writing, or taking risks. She’s authored eleven novels, including The Delicate Nature of Love, The Flower Girls and The Disappearing Key. Her books have prompted thought-provoking conversations at book clubs all across the country. Wendy lives with her husband and their three girls in a home bursting with imagination and hilarity. Connect with Wendy on her website.



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Filed under Books, Is It Okay To ____?, Uncategorized

Six Places To Take Your Characters to Get to Know Them Better– A Guest Post from Wendy P. Miller


I laugh in the face of writer’s block. Why? Because I’ve got back up. I tuck away ammo for days when the doldrums sneak in and try to steal my creativity. As a novelist, I consider it a great treasure hunt, a psychological expedition trying to get to know my characters better.

Today I’m providing a fresh way to understand more about the main characters you’re creating.

Oh the places we’ll go…

A Festival

The swirling lights, towering sticks of cotton candy, and overpriced games…a festival is a great venue to watch and learn.

Does she lurk on the edges or do you see her in the center of every crowd? Is she quick to race to the Ferris wheel or does she avoid heights at all costs? Did she once get so sick on a drumstick she’ll never try her luck again? What did she show up wearing? A pastel cardigan and loafers or steel toed boots and a plunging V-neck?

The Mall

One of our pastors once said you know where your loyalties lie when you review your checkbook. What better place (albeit chaotic, overpriced, and not my favorite of all places) to bring your character to observe her behavior.

Does she head straight for Barnes & Noble? Or is she buying more sugar-coated pretzels than she can carry? Does she tire quickly and call it a day after an hour or is she browsing every single storefront? How fast does she walk? Does she make conversation with anyone or is shopping all business with her? Does she have the money to buy what’s she’s ogling?

A Sporting Event

This is where my husband would love to zap me into a character so I’d go with him to a sporting event. That aside, what fun to see how your character would react to the wave, the break-your-budget cost of food, the jeering and cheering crowds.

Does she wear layers or is she freezing the whole time? Does she avoid going to the bathroom at all costs? How rowdy does she get? Does she meld with the crowd or stand out like an oversized thumb (guess she wouldn’t stick out much at all with those awkward fan thumbs wielding around in the wind)? Who does she root for or does she discreetly pull a book out of her purse?

The Library

Ah, my haven. Enough about me…what does she do?

Does she dart in and out within a matter of seconds? Does story time catch her eye? Is she able to carry all of her books out without tripping? What kinds of books has she checked out? Does she ask anyone’s opinion about a specific book? Does she use the library system to look anything up or browse randomly?

An Elementary School Field Trip

Yah hoo…a field trip.

It almost doesn’t matter where she goes. What’s more important is how she interacts with the children. Is she constantly rolling her eyes or is she laughing and giving high fives as they learn new things? Did she preplan and bring wipes for sticky hands? Does she take notes? Is she sad because of something she remembers about her own childhood? Where does she sit on the bus?


Pretty sure I don’t need to expound upon this one much.

Her actions will scream at you if you choose to bring her here. Tears, non-stop fidgeting, swaying to the worship music, going over her bills, head bent in reverent prayer? Watch closely. See her. Let her show you who she is.

Have you ever been inspired to come up with unconventional ways of getting to know your characters better? Which one of the above has the potential to reveal the most about a character you’ve created?


 Bio: Wendy lives in New England with her husband, their three young girls, and a skunk-dodging Samoyed. She feels most alive when she’s spending time with loved ones, speeding on a boat, reading, writing, refurbishing furniture or taking risks. Her work has been published in Christian Fiction Online and in numerous anthologies, including Love is a Flame published by Bethany House. She graduated with a BA in English from Wittenberg University, where she earned an Honor of Distinction for her accrued knowledge of literature. Visit http://thoughtsthatmove.blogspot.com/ to learn more about Wendy. Or check out her Facebook http://www.facebook.com/pages/Writer-Wendy-Paine-Miller/232985413400039 and Twitter https://twitter.com/wendypmiller pages.


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