Sunday, September 25, 2011

Creating Characters

So, in my creative writing classes I'm exposed to a lot of different people's writing. Some people are awesome at description (I am not one of them...), others are kick-ass at dialogue, while others make really believable characters. I have a classmate Nikki who is great at this, but since she has yet to be published another person is John Green. He's characters are people who I would've hung out with in high school.

But maybe you are one of those people who have a hard time making your characters real. So, here I am to help.

You may be asking, "Who are you to tell me how to making awesome real-like characters?"

So I consider myself one of these authors who make realistic characters? No. But I don't think I suck. And since I am NOT the best at it, I can pass on some tips on how to get better. I have had to hunt these down myself.

Characters are super important to a story. Have shitty characters? No one will want to keep reading your book. In one of my lectures we were told that people 70% of the time watch a movie/read a book for the characters. If all of a sudden a mystery novel comes out and Harry Potter shows up in it, would you read it? I would. I would just to see Harry again. I can remember when I finished reading the books I cried. Hardcore. Yes, I will admit it. But, in my defense Harry and I had grown up together. When he was 11 so was I. When he was awkward and a teenager who could never fit in, so was I. So, when the books ended it was like I had just lost an entire group of friends. It was heartbreaking.

And I think that's what you want when you create a character. Someone people will miss when they close the book.

How can you make a character like this? I think lots is observation. Go to coffee shops, sit there and make up back stories for the people in there. I used to do this every week with my best friend in high school. Observe how people walk, talk, interact with people. Another way is to channel all those suppressed feelings. Writing a "bad guy" -- then find your inner bad guy. What would you do? I think watching TV and reading helps a lot too.

Also, one of my favorite exercises is interviewing your characters. Find out who they are. Or, have someone else interview you as your character. That's even better. It gets you thinking in ways you haven't before.

A book that I have (and am in the process of reading) is Growing Great Characters From the Ground Up and also Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook is an awesome resource. It has sections for every aspect of your novel -- and yes, character as well.

So what inspired this longwinded post was this webpage Questionnaires for Writing Character Profiles. I was using it and thought, "Hmmm maybe I should post this on my blog..." And I did. I think it can give you a fantastic foundation to build on for a character.

All right, that's all I got.

Friday, September 23, 2011

One of THOSE weeks...

You may be asking yourself, "Hey, you're (usually) pretty awesome about updating your blog on a regular" 

Or you might not. I'm not sure how many days its been since I last posted. 

So this is one of those posts where I assure you that I am still alive. See ---> I'm alive!

This week has been crazy. I am a creature of the night (but not in the Rocky Horror way... just saying) but for work, I have had to get up at 5:00 am. That's right. I wake up before the sun. I go to bed after the sun. Stupid, lazy sun... So, this new "morning person" thing has really thrown a wrench into my life. I'm not complaining. In some ways it's super nice to have gotten in 4 hours of work by 10:00 am. Huzzah! Granted, it does come at a cost. My creative hours have now become sleeping hours. I hope I will adjust.

What else has made this week crazy? The extra stress of classes. I had no idea that taking two online classes was going to be such a balancing act. I mean, I finish my work, get all excited that I'm done, and then realize... oh no I'm not. There is ALWAYS something to work on. And, I don't want to go into it (because I've moved on) but since it's a creative writing class, and so much depends on other students being responsible and getting their stuff posted on time, it's horribly annoying when people just don't meet the deadline. Yes, I've been told they have had technical problems. But, I would like to point out -- we have everyone's e-mails. So, if you can't post something in time (for whatever reason) don't wait and figure out how to post it three days later but 30 minutes before the critique is due. No, send out a damn e-mail and let your classmates know. Is that too much to ask? For graduate school, I think not.

OH! Good things about this week 1) Castle Season 4 started Monday night AND 2) Castle Season 3 was released on DVD Tuesday. 

I love my escape. 

Also, I have been reading Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children and so far I'm a fan. Not just of the story but of the formatting of the novel. It's like a grown-up picture book in a lot of ways. When I post a "formal" review I'll include some snapshots with it. 

So, there's my update. Hopefully I'll post some fun stuff soon. Keep reading!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Too Good Not To Share

Okay, so I know I posted only yesterday...
And while I have nothing super insightful to say tonight (except even though I graduated college Magna Cum Laude and am getting a Masters I still manage to grab pans that just came out of the oven with my bare hand at work... don't be like me. Learn from your mistakes!) HOWEVER! I do have this video to share...

If you are an English person, I'm pretty sure you'll love it. If not, well I hope you appreciated it :-)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Writer's Block

Dun dun DUN!

If you are a writer, you have had writer's block. And if you haven't...well then most other writers will hate you. Me, even with exercises for my online classes I'm taking this fall, still have writer's block. I just can't get through chapter nine of my novel. I know what needs to happen... I just don't know what needs to happen next.


Or maybe I'm just being lazy.

Anyway, like a good member of my generation I searched the internet for answers.

One web page suggested that I turn to God to help cure my writer's block. While interesting, I wanted something more proactive.

Here are the suggestions that I like:

  • Explore new subjects. There's a good chance that you've written all you can (at this stage in your life) about one subject, so pick one closely related to it, research it, and see what happens.
  • Switch mediums. If you usually work on the computer, try pen and paper. Or vice versa.
  • Rewrite a story. No, not what you're thinking. Take a story (or chapter of a novel or just a scene) and rewrite it from another POV (for all of you non-Englishly people this means Point Of View) try writing it from another character's perspective. You don't have to come up with a new plot. You have that part already. Just mix it up a bit.
  • Relocate. I think that one is pretty straight-forward...
  • Find a writing buddy. Bounce ideas off of each other. Sometimes just talking to someone who understand the whole "writing thing" helps more than you know...
  • Work on something else. Take a break from your major project and just write about something else. It doesn't have to be a full story. Do a writing exercise. <--- granted this hasn't helped me too much yet
  • Write for five minutes. Just that. Just do five minutes and then stop if you have to. Something is better than nothing.
  • Let yourself write horribly. Shitty writing is better than no writing. Just get something on the page and then rework it later. 
So there you go. Maybe next time I'll post something that I have actually written!
That would be nice...

(Links I found my suggestions on: 36 ways to cure writer's block and 20 Surefire ways to beat writer's block)

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Here I Sit

And here I sit, not doing anything that I SHOULD be doing.

Here's what I should be doing:

  1. Working on my poetry presentation for my online class. This is due Monday.
  2. Reading the poetry that was assigned for my online class. I'm not sure when this is do.
  3. Reading A Wrinkle in Time also for my online class. I think this is due later this month.
  4. Working on my description presentation for my other online class. This is due in November. I think.
  5. Laundry.
  6. Unloading the dishwasher and then reloading it.
What am I doing instead? Blogging. Blogging and it's not really an exciting post. But in a way it is productive. I mean, I like blogging. Even when I have nothing to say...

Well I did get a new job. So yay! Not a completely starving artist! Only slightly starving. I have a feeling that this new job (while I enjoy it) is part of the reason why I don't want to do anything today. But it's cool. It's at a cafe/bakery/catering place. I get free baked goods (sometimes) and I have discovered that I am terrified of the walk in freezer. This is when having an over-active imagination is bad.

Here is what I think will happen:
So to get into the walk in freezer you have to walk through the walk in fridge and then go to the BACK CORNER to a door that leads into the freezer. Even though both doors have way of opening it from the inside I don't care. I see me getting locked in the freezer (which is REALLY REALLY cold and small -- I am not a huge fan of small places with only one door that is hard to open). I see me banging on the door, but no one can hear me because the mixer is making cake batter and really, how could they hear it through the fridge door? And I see me turning into a frozen me.

Here's what really happens:
I go into the freezer for bread or whatever. The door is a bit tricky to open. So I freak out, push the door knob in (the way to open it from the inside) and throw all of my 130 pounds into the freezer door -- which flys open and I'm thrown into the fridge. And then, from here, I can exit like nothing is the matter.

Needless to say, I don't like the freezer.

At all.

So, I'm debating about posting some of my creative writing stuff here. If you would like to read it -- well comment and let me know. Serious. You don't have to have a g-mail to leave a comment. I'm magic like that.