Category Archives: Novel

Creating Characters

“Stories have a power, a magic all their own. Consider the fact that the actions, thoughts and feelings of people who have no existence in reality can make you laugh, make you weep. That’s the art and that’s the magic.”
―Denise Rossetti

My favorite books are not those with crazy plots or dramatic scenes.  While those don’t hurt, I love them because I love the characters.  They were written so that it made me care about what happened to them.  A connection was made, and I was hooked.

To be able to connect with characters, a writer must be able to express their complex emotional side.  Boring characters will make even the best plot fail.  If you want to create a memorable to story, you have to create memorable characters.  No way around it.

Most of my ideas for a story begin with a character.  They are born in my imagination and slowly begin to grow.  I begin to question who they are, where they’re from, and what they need.  From that, a story forms and my words breathe life into them.

Sounds easier than it actually is.  For me, it’s a long process to get from character to story. Some people help build their character by creating a profile or conducting an interview with their fictional friend.  I’ve never been a huge fan of doing that.

I ask myself a few simple questions to get started and build from there.  

  • How old are they?
  • Where are they from?
  • What is their home life?
  • What personality type are they?

 

Once I figure out the answers to those questions, I move on to my favorite part.  Research.  Age, setting, family and different personality types all contribute to building a believable character that readers can connect to.  After I have the building blocks of my character laid out, I know how they will act and where to take their story.

I have a notebook FILLED with different character sketches, personality types, body language… You name it, I’ve researched it!  If you’d like a copy of any of them, let me know.  I’d be happy to send them to you or post them here!

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Revision Massacre

My helpless novel is currently sprawled around me in tiny, bloody pieces.  It’s been hacked, chopped and ripped to shreds.  The remnants are scattered about in no logical sequence, leaving me staring at the mess with bloody hands.  

I’ve accepted the fact that it was bound to happen some time.  It was basically dead to begin with.  Luckily, even as my inner critic tells me it’s not worth saving, I still feel a slight heart beat.  Like a surgeon carefully and methodically saving a life,  I’m determined to piece it back together, stronger than it was before.  

There is one slight problem.  This surgeon never went to medical school.  For the past couple of weeks I’ve been trying to mash the mess together with out the proper tools and hope it miraculously comes back to life.  The harder I tried, the worse it got leaving me overwhelmed and my beloved characters begging me to save them.  

I knew I had to change my plan or risk destroying it even further.  

First, I had to take a step back and regain my focus.  Because I wrote the first draft so quickly, it’s filled with inconsistencies and serious structural problems.  

Next came the tedious task of reading it from beginning to end (no matter how painful), figuring out the problems, and plotting out a new, detailed outline.  I had to remind myself to trust my instincts and not be afraid of making big changes, which I did.  I added characters, removed characters, and changed a major part of the plot.  What I was left with, was an organized system for putting the pieces together.   

My manuscript still remains in critical condition, but I can finally look at it with out a sense of dread.  

How do you approach the revision process?  Do you find it daunting or exciting?

 

 

 

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Voices in my head…

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This sums up how I’m feeling today. My characters are shouting all at once while I try to capture everything they are telling me before it’s lost. It’s left me feeling a little crazy…and tired.

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A taste of my novel…

I keep waiting for the day when I no longer see her. Fifteen years after her death and my mother is still as easy to find now as she was then.

I close my eyes, and there she is; dead, wrist perfectly slit, soaking in a tub of her own blood.

Red.

I feel her  buzz relentlessly around my head, like gnats on a sticky, hot summer day.  She’s there, happily swarming aggressively around me until I can no longer breathe.

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Writing resolutions

I stumbled across an article written by Kimberly Turner on LitReactor suggesting 13 resolutions to make you a more productive writer in 2013.  She suggests tackling your resolutions one month at a time instead of trying to do a massive overhaul all at once.  I chose a couple of her suggestions to focus on in January.

  • I will finish a chapter in my novel.

I’m basically starting my novel from scratch, using my very rough draft as more of an outline.  With some extra motivation and creative time management, my goal is to complete one chapter a week. 

  • I will improve my writing space.

I get distracted easily.  My couch or bed tends to be my usual writing space, which is fine every once in a while.  I know I’d get much more down if I took a more professional approach.  It’s too easy to flip on the TV and lose my train of thought.  Everything needs a home, my creativity included!

Have you thought of any writing resolutions for 2013?  Don’t be shy.  I’d love to hear your goals for the new year!

(You can read the full article at www.litreactor. com!)

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{one}

I’ve been staring at this blank post for quiet some time now, writing, deleting and repeating a dozen times trying to come up with the perfect first entry. There is something exhilarating, yet overwhelming, about the endless possibilities that could be produced. So instead of coming up with something brilliant, I’m stuck…watching the snow fall quietly outside of my window.

I am a writer working on my first novel. It is a story that has been haunting my mind and imagination for years and finally coming to life after winning my first NANOWRIMO. My goal is to have the final manuscript finished by March and start the hunt for a literary agent. While editing the massive mess that it’s currently in, I am trying to balance being a mother, a wife and working part-time during the day. It is turning out to be a complicated dance that leaves me tripping over my own feet most of the time.

Encouraging words from my supporters and the love for my characters and story keep me dancing on, stubbed toes and all. We all know a party of one is no party at all, so I hope you’ll join me in this tango!

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