Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Wednesday Doesn't Blog...

...she VLOGS!

While this video uploads (which is taking forever), I shall ramble. In the video I talk about finishing things. Or not finishing things. Mostly I ramble (like I'm doing now) and can't complete my thoughts. But I thought vlogging would be an interesting change up. So. There's that.


LOAD FASTER, DANG IT. Oh, happy leap day! I feel special to be blogging on a day that won't exist for the next three years.

AHA! Here it is. Vlog.

ALSO. I didn't mean for me to talk about finishing things riiiight after Laina finished her first draft for her novella thing. It just happened.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Tuesday Talks About Adverbs

World, it's time for a little intervention. You know your friend, Adverb? Yes, about him. (Note: him? Just felt like a him.) I understand he's fun, and seems to spice up any conversation. Sometimes he really does make himself useful, but you must have noticed how often he tries to dominate a conversation, throwing in his two cents after almost every dialogue tag!

You really must stand up for yourself, dear. Regain control of your sentences. Don't let Adverb make everything you say end in -ly. There is a better way, and you know it. Be strong by choosing stronger verbs or added action. Instead of an exchange that looks like this:

"Are you sure?" he said nervously.
"Of course!" she said excitedly.
"Okay." He signed his name hesitantly. She grinned and took his hand firmly, and they walked down the hall together happily.


"Are you sure?" he asked, glancing from side to side.
"Of course!" she enthused.
"Okay." He paused before signing his name. She grinned and squeezed his hand, and they walked down the hall together with fingers intertwined.

Do you see the freedoms you have when you distance youself from Adverb? Of course you two can still be friends--he's not always bad--but do use caution.


Saturday, February 25, 2012

Saturday on Not Writing (With Pictures)

Or: Haven't I written this post before?

Remember last week when I talked about how much trouble I had finishing my book/short story/long story/thingie Christmas Wars?

Guess what?

No, really guess.



No, the weasel isn't wearing pants. Why would he be???





*wipes sweat off brow*

Seriously, that thing tried to kill me. A lot. Seriously, I can't even brain anymore. I also forgot it was Saturday again. (I'm really bad for that. Sheesh.)

So, if you've been around for a while, you'll know I'm not the type of person who writes everyday. It just doesn't work for me and there are probably about five blog posts in our archives where I talk about why it doesn't, but basically... I'd go crazy.

Since I finished this draft, I'm taking a bit of a break. I always do after a big draft of any type. Things that I've been doing involve:

- Sleeping

- Reading the magazines I've been denying myself and soon a whole lot of books once I can brain again.

- Possibly dancing like this:

- Reading the rough (rough, rough, rough, rough) copy of SMN and sobbing to KT that I didn't know how to fix it so she could have it.

- Watching movies with KT. Most recently the first three Land Before Time movies.

- Watching movies without KT. (Like I said, I'm a bit brain-dead.)

- Tweeting.

- Forgetting to blog and coming up with last minute blog posts like this!

Peace and cookies,

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Thursday Plays the Price is Right with Her Characters

*Is that show even still on?*
“Seems like everybody's got a price,
I wonder how they sleep at night.
When the sale comes first,
And the truth comes second,”
-“Price Tag” by Jessie J.
As writers, we all know the essentials to give a character: goals, motivations, conflict, morals, etc. We all have things we want, but don’t’ we all have price that would compromise what we want? I think we all have a price. If the price is right, I think everyone would cave.
I see this a lot in friends/ trusted allies. The friend/ ally is offered _____ in return for _____. This happens a lot right before the climax. This leads to a sense of betrayal for the MC. The betrayal leads the MC to feeling all is lost and blah blah blah.
But what if it was our MC who had to choose between ____ and _____.
For example, your ethical MC is trying arrest a villain who committed many petty robberies around the area leading to many families losing all of their money. Your MC herself is hurting for money due to their sister’s pilling medical bills (but they love their family unconditionally so money is a small price to pay for their sister’s health), but the money is running out. Also your MC secretly wishes to be rich and not have to worry about when their next meal will come from since they can barely afford their sister’s medical bills.
What if the villain offers your MC money to not arrest him? Would your MC still arrest him?
What if the villain promises to grant your MC new social standing and economic prosperity? Would your MC still arrest him?
What if the villain threatens to have your MC’s loved ones killed if you arrest him (he has powerful friends who can hold a grudge)? Would your MC still arrest him?
Even though arresting the villain is ethically correct, what will it take for your MC to finally break and not arrest them? Imagine the conflict you can create for your MC.
The key to selling the Price is Right Method is your MC’s thought process. You have to show your MC’s inner struggle. Your MC is fighting between her morals and things she wants/ needs. Some characters will stick with their morals. Others will fall victim to their desires. As the writer, you must make the reader content with either decision (or at least understand why they choose what they did). I think “The Price is Right” method shows a lot about characters. Everyone has a price whether your price is money, loyalty, power, protection, etc. The need for money can show greed. The need for loyalty can stem from a repressed childhood where no one cared enough for your MC. The need for power can show a need to be in control (maybe they felt helpless during their childhood). The need for protection can show how weak the character feels or unsafe they feel the world is (maybe you have a super paranoid character). Your MC’s price can show their struggles from the past, present and even the future. Also if the Price is Right is introduced early, this can lead to foreshadowing and character development (your MC who desires protection can end up in a situation where they are defenseless and must figure a way to be victorious without their protection).
What will it take for your MC to break and give in? Did you come up with new ways to add conflict/ foreshadowing/ character development in your stories using the Price is Right Method?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Wednesday is a Therapist.

(FIRST. I apologize for missing last week. It's been a rough February. SECOND. This is late today because I had a meeting and then work after school)

People have said it before, and I'll say it again.

Writing is therapeutic.

Not in the "OH I AM SO MENTALLY DISTRAUGHT; WRITING WILL CURE ALL MY PROBLEMS" way, but writing is a form of self-expression, and so it can be therapeutic in the sense of subtly expressing your emotions.

Obviously it's hard to express anger or depression when writing a scene in a novel or a longer story because it may not fit in with the other scenes and style of writing you're using for that novel. But sometimes straying from your norm and writing a piece of flash fiction, a poem, or a stream of consciousness-like piece, may help to let out what you're feeling.

Or I suppose you could write a journal or diary entry. I'm not much of a journal person because I hate writing about myself or my life, so I usually take the other routes I mentioned above.

I think a lot of what I'm saying is common sense and it's already been said before, but yesterday I was very angry and I wrote a poem and it does really help sometimes. I was still angry and upset after I wrote it, but I did get something out. Instead of doing something damaging with strong emotions, it's good to do something creative and productive.

Does anyone else use writing therapeutically like I do? What kind of stuff do you write?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Tuesday wonders about catchphrases

...As the title says, I'm wondering about catchphrases.

Do they add to a character's, well, character? Or do they just pile on the corniness?

Ha, who am I kidding. It's totally the former. Good ones, at least, which are the ones most widely known. For example, Bazinga, anyone? Sheldon Cooper's catchphrase not only enhances his character, but also serves as an inside joke for anyone who watches Big Bang Theory. Or, another one of my favorites, Gus, don't be a... a la Shawn Spencer. Five by five from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The famous Gibbs slap (yes, a slap can be a catchphrase). Allons-y! a la the tenth Doctor.

These are just off the top of my head. (Apologies that they're all TV catchphrases, those are the most fresh in my mind. Book catchphrases work the same way, though--recognizable, quirky, unique, and oh yeah, fun.)

What are your favorite catchphrases?


Saturday, February 18, 2012

Saturday Has A Rough Week

Or: On bad days.

February hasn't really been so kind to me. Not the whole Valentine's Day (I spent it watching movies with my best friend, Miss Wednesday) but the month has been a bit... blah. I've been having some issues with my eyes and between that and not sleeping well, I've been having headaches like every other day. Earlier in this month, I spent two days cleaning my entire house top to bottom because there was an inspection and I'd gotten the date wrong in my head which... well, let's just say, I'm not fond of cleaning at the best of time, let alone when it's not my idea :P

All that isn't normally a big deal but for some reason, the words haven't been coming lately and that is FRUSTRATING. They've been as slow as loading flash games on dial-up. I sit down to write and... there aren't words there. So I stare at my word document and type a word. Then I stare some more and type another word. Stare some more and type another word. Then I get frustrated and bored because I'm not DOING anything and I go stare at We Heart It. Then I feel like this:
I've been averaging maybe two hundred words a day. And there's nothing wrong with that, if that's a good word count for you.

But it's driving me CRAZY. I've been working on this thing since December and it's barely 13,000 words. It's FEBRUARY. I wrote a 60k book in 34 days! (Readers, meet Saturday's Unreasonable Expectations For Herself.) I just... I really want to finish this thing, even if it's going to be short (it's going to be short). I want to read (I can't while I'm drafting or all the voices in my head make me go batty) and I want to read my last two months' Elle Canada magazines (they're my bribe for finishing it) and I just really want to be done it.

So today I'm trying a change of location (living room instead of my bedroom) in the hopes that might make things happen more and I'm spending the rest of today writing. Hopefully.

What are you spending today doing?

Peace and cookies,

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Thursday Talks about What Dr. Evil Teaches Writers

*This post was originally posted on my other blog. Sorry this week has been so hectic that I couldn't think of anything new. I promise to post something new next week.*

How many of you have seen Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery? For those of you who haven't, it's a comedy movie about a spy. Towards the end, Austin is caught in his enemy's lair. His enemy, Dr. Evil, wants Austin to die a slow death involving sharks with laser beams. Dr. Evil's son, Scott Evil, is the rational person in this scene. The scene between Dr. Evil, Austin Powers and Scott Evil is quite funny. Here is a portion of the conversation I found off of IMDB.
This scene starts with Scott finding his father feeding Austin Powers.

Dr. Evil: Scott, I want you to meet daddy's nemesis, Austin Powers
Scott Evil: What? Are you feeding him? Why don't you just kill him?
Dr. Evil: I have an even better idea. I'm going to place him in an easily escapable situation involving an overly elaborate and exotic death.

Shortly after this part of the conversation gets to where you really notice how rational Scott is.

Dr. Evil: All right guard, begin the unnecessarily slow-moving dipping mechanism.
[guard starts dipping mechanism]
Dr. Evil: Close the tank!
Scott Evil: Wait, aren't you even going to watch them? They could get away!
Dr. Evil: No no no, I'm going to leave them alone and not actually witness them dying, I'm just gonna assume it all went to plan. What?
Scott Evil: I have a gun, in my room, you give me five seconds, I'll get it, I'll come back down here, BOOM, I'll blow their brains out!
Dr. Evil: Scott, you just don't get it, do ya? You don't.

I love Dr. Evil. He's funny and surprisingly likable, but no real enemy will leave you alone in a tank to escape. Scott Evil on the other hand has it right. Just shoot him and get it over with.
I've noticed a lot in books that the villain will explain his motives or do unnecessary things like Dr. Evil did and leave your hero alone to escape. But how likely is that? More likely a real villain will be like Scott and go for the easiest way possible. Why go to the trouble of having a shark pit and have them possibly escape when you could just shot them or poison them? Not very logical.
Now the exception would be if there is torture. Torture has to be slow and painful. But don't have a torture scene unless it has a point. Most of the time torture is either to get info from your hero or the villain prefers to torture their victims first.
So if you have a very drawn out almost death scene ask yourself: how likely is it that my villain would do this?
It might help to write the scene from the villain's point of view. I understand that it's easy just to want make the villain talk until the hero can come and save the day, but just think, is this what my villain would really do?
A good example of a good villain is James from Twilight. Groan all you want, but in his way he was. Now I haven't read or seen the movies in a while, but if I remember correctly James got Bella alone and went straight to torturing her. There was a little bit of explanation, but the direction was clear (Please comment if you realize that I am wrong). He wanted the game.
The quotes came from Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery's IMDB page. For those of you who haven't seen the Austin Powers movies please do.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Story dates

Happy Valentine's Day!

With that disclaimer, I thought I'd share some of my favorite fictional love stories, and what makes them GOOD love stories, and some of my least favorite fictional love stories, and what makes them NOT good love stories. Some cliche (imagine the little accent mark on the e, por favor), some perhaps not. Consider them profiles for you to peruse when deciding on your next fictional story date. Here we go, in no particular order:

The movie 500 Days of Summer (2009, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel)

Love story? GOOD (and a little NOT SO GOOD, but in a good way).

Why? REALISM. (Sorry if the caps lock bothers anyone.) Tom immediately falls for summer. He wants commitment. For once it's not the girl begging for a ring. She doesn't know what she wants--except that it's probably not Tom, and she's quite up front about it. This movie has great scenes, great tension (something Thursday mentioned), great quotes, and a great lesson...and not an entirely sad ending, either. (The NOT SO GOOD part is added as a qualifier because my guyfriends think Summer is the spawn of Satan and whatnot. The ladies disagree.)

The movie Mean Girls (2004, Lindsay Lohan and Rachel McAdams)

Love story? NOT SO GOOD.

Don't get me wrong. I love this movie. So. Much. But the love story always bothered me. Why? Cady never questioned the quick turnaround from Regina to her. I mean, the guy went back to Regina after dating her once (a warning sign in itself). Who dates someone like that...twice? Not a normal, healthy-minded potential boyfriend.
Though it was funny, so...whatever.

The book I just read: The Name of the Star (Maureen Johnson, 2011)

Love story? NOT SO GOOD.

Just like with Mean Girls, I LOVED THIS BOOK. So much. It kept me up til 2 am...just finishing. Then another three hours shaking under the covers. Because it actually scared me. Such a rarity. In a good way. Anyway. It's quite amazing that I liked this book so much because, in the back of my mind, I found the love story lacking. I wanted to know more about Jerome and Rory's relationship, but among all the other things going on I couldn't muster up the emotions to care that much. When the scenes focused on Jerome all I could think was, what are you doing? Serial killer! Out there! Focus! (This segues into a story tip: it's always nice when the love story also goes hand-in-hand with the story story. Then it all ties together and adds suspense and et cetera.)

The movie Titanic (1997, do I even need to name the actor?)

Love story? GOOD.

Why? It pulls you in. And yes, while the lines border on cheesy, this movie also set the precedent for cheesy. "Draw me like one of your French girls." "You jump, I jump, remember?" Not to mention the glamour of the ship, the always intriguing clash of the classes, oh, and the horribly sad ending. That's what defines the movie, really. So if this is your story-date, bring tissues as the wingman.

The Hunger Games series (Suzanne Collins, 2008, 2009, 2010)

Love story? GOOD (first book), NOT SO GOOD (overall).

Why? Re: first book, because it added a twist to the already twisty plot. And at the end of the book, the love story was what led me to Catching Fire. At that point I wasn't so interested in the rest. Peeta was sweet. His character really grew throughout the book, a development that make me really like his character as well as the relationship he had with Katniss.
Re: overall .......have you read Mockingjay?..........

Okay! What stories would you add to the mix? (Both good and bad!)


Saturday, February 11, 2012

Saturday Has No Ideas

Or: An Interview of Saturday by Wednesday

KT: Do you like llamas?
Me: Yes, they are very cute. Although probably not as much as you because I don't think it's possible to like llamas as much as you do.

KT: What inspires you?
Me: Somedays, everything. Dreams, pictures, movies, other books. Somedays, nothing. It just depends, yanno? But ideas for my books, or things that happen in them, they've come from everywhere. I once got an idea for a scene doing dishes.

KT: Do you have a favourite book you've written?
Me: All but the one I'm working on. I never love the one I'm writing as I write it XD I love Spyder because it was the first book I read that I felt like it was good enough to actually go somewhere with it. Berserk... I have a special place in my heart. SMN sometimes feels like the easiest one for me to write and I love the characters.

That was a hard question. Like picking a favourite child :P

KT: Do you have any music you CAN'T write to?
Me: LOTS. It just depends on the scene I'm writing. It's really hard for me to write a sad scene to Ke$ha or a makeout scene to a "I-hate-you-and-wish-you-were-dead" song. Like I said, depends.

KT: Do you ever think you'll stop writing?
Me: For ever? I hope not. And I don't think so. I think I'll have the itch and the need to write forever. I really hope I will. I don't want to lose that. It's such a part of myself and it has been for over eight years. It's who I am, you know?

KT: WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE PERSON? (Her capitals, not mine. Also her spelling, not mine. Everyone knows it's supposed to be favourite, but she's silly.)
Me: You ;)

KT: What do you think is the most important thing to do when you're just beginning to write?
Me: Read and write. The more you do those, the better you'll get. Don't rush into things. Do your research before you do anything. Read and write more.

Okay, KT is out of questions and I'm out of ideas so I'm gonna end this here. Sorry this isn't the best post I've ever done but I'm a bit brain-dead. Hopefully you guys liked this at least a bit.

Peace and cookies,

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Thursday is Teaching Love Interest 101

As you all know, this coming Tuesday is Valentine’s Day (I’m so jealous of Kieryn right now because she gets to post on Valentine’s Day. It’s okay though because I get Flag Day and Thanksgiving. Y’all better expect some awesome holiday posts).
Back to Valentine’s Day. There are a lot of amazing love stories out there. Anna and the French Kiss, Perfect Chemistry, The Notebook (OMG Ryan Gosling is just too attractive for words), A Walk to Remember, the Vow? (I don’t know yet, but I am super excited to watch it since it has Channing Tatum who I loved since he was in She’s the Man because I like Gouda too), Pride and Prejudice and a bunch of others. What do they all have in common? What makes them so amazing? Why no it is not St. Clair, Alex Fuentes, Ryan Gosling, Shane West, Channing Tatum, and Mr. Darcy’s amazing good looks (though they are all very attractive). Then what you my ask? It’s the love that they shared with the MC. A love so strong and so powerful that our hearts skipped a beat between page, that we tear up when something bad endangers their relationship, that sigh you release after finishing the last page and not wanting to leave such an amazing couple. That is love in literature at it’s finest. If a book makes you feel like that, the author has done a fantastic job.
How do you write amazing love like that? It’s definitely not easy. If it was our hearts would implode from all the love and possibly ruin us all from ever finding such a powerful love. Well that’s what I wanna help with.
  • Turn Up the Tension: Tension is difficult for me because I’m horrible at plotting (that’s why most of my posts are about characters), but without tension, there is nothing that is keeping your characters from being together. It’s tension that makes you wonder will they be together. Tension keeps you reading. The more tension the more unsure the reader is, and the more they’ll turn the pages to find out. It’s that kind of investment from readers that make them connect and love your characters and their love interests.
  • Let them be more than a Hot Piece of Pie: I see this so often. I don’t think I can stress this enough. I’ve talked about plastic characters before but plastic love interests are a major turn off. No guy is perfect. You just write the guy who is perfect for your MC. Your MC and love interest should connect on more than just a physical level. The love interest can be as attractive, mysterious, and brooding as you want, but they need backstory and real quirks. Nobody’s perfect, but the love between your MC and love interest should be so real and imperfect that the love is heart wrenchingly perfect.
  • Let Them Grow: The best love interests are the ones who make the other stronger and better. Love shouldn’t be in your story for loves sake. You shouldn’t give your MC a love interest just because it’s a trend. You should give you MC a love interest to develop your MC. I’ve read about a lot of books were most of the book just talks about how they feel a connection. You need more than a connection to be in love. You have to find someone who recognizes your mistakes and makes you stronger for them. Love should make your MC stronger. Your MC should grow and develop and learn to be a better person with love.
  • Fight It Out: Everyone gets in fights. Fighting is such an under used technique. Fighting let’s you get everything out in the open. Sometimes you say things you don’t mean. Sometimes you finally realize what you do mean and want. I personally don’t think two people can love each other without fighting. You have to fight for what you want. If you can’t fight for it maybe it’s not worth it. You have to give love your all to be in love. When your MC fights with your love interest it test them to see if their love is worth all the fighting for the possibility of true love.
“You never lose by loving. You always lose by holding back.” –Barbara de Angelis
  • Let Your Characters Indulge: Most authors hold off the big kiss until ¾ into the book. This indulgence is the point everyone waits for. Every conversation, every smile, and every touch has led up to this moment. Each scene between your MC and their love interest should tantalize and thrill the reader until they are begging for that big kiss. Of course then you have to take it all away and make your readers beg for the next big moment. The indulgence is what you should build up to and make every fight, every weakness and every heartbreak worthwhile.
As an early Valentine’s Day extra, I wrote my soundtrack for love and looking for that imperfectly perfect love.
My Love Soundtrack:
B-e-a-utiful by Megan Nicole
Crush by David Archuletta
Future Love by Varsity Fanclub
Into Your Arms by The Maine
Just a Kiss by Lady Antebellum
Shut Up and Kiss Me by Orianthi
Soulmate by Natasha Bedingfield
Teenage Dream by Katy Perry
You and Me by Lifehouse
1, 2, 3, 4 by The Plain White Ts
Anything by Taylor Swift!
Happy Early Valentine’s Day!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Wednesday Likes to Breathe.

Busy day. Busy week.

Taking a little breather/break today.

So. Go take a look at this crazy awesome house. (My mom enters the sweepstakes for theses houses every single year XD)

And I will have a regular post next week!


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Tuesday is Out of Order

I recently finished reading Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer. One of the most interesting things about the book is how it's written in did I describe this...non-chronologically-linear manner. Krakauer jumps from describing Christopher McCandless in the "Magic Bus" in Alaska to his journey that brought him there to stories by those he met. (The movie, if you've seen it, does the same thing.)

I find this style incredibly cool. Instead of drawing a straight line from Start to So What, the story (yes, it was a story, not just nonfiction) branches out from the So What to draw all sorts of conclusions and epiphanies that end up being very exciting aha moments versus just another line of the story.

After reading this book, I've decided to give that a shot in my current story--which means writing in past tense (I'll have to alter my default tense). Also, I'm incorporating anonymous letters to reveal part of the backstory, and those will come in a somewhat random order. That way a lot of seemingly unimportant details mentioned earlier will produce the aha effect!

Off the top of my head I can think of two other works of fiction that use non-chronological-linearity. First one--Doctor Who. (Did you guess I was going to say that?) I won't expand on that too much because if you know anything about the show you also know it has to do with time travel, and, well, the non-chronological-linearity is a sort of duh. (Though let me stress the AHAness of the aha moments. Falling-out-of-chair AHAs.)

The second example: the movie 500 Days of Summer. It very clearly shows its out-of-orderness, by starting each "day" with a number (from 1-500, isn't that clever?). The way it flips between happy and sad, then and now, and Yay Summer is Awesome and I Hate Summer keeps the audience on their toes (and also keeps the movie from being all Yay Happiness in the first half and Aw Gloominess in the second, which would be the effect if it was chronologically linear).

Does anyone have any other examples of non-chronological-linearity?


Thursday, February 2, 2012

Thursday Wishes Writing was like Algebra

Remember in algebra when you would spend hours solving problems with y=mx+b? Personally, I’ve always found math semi easy (I’m really afraid I just jinxed myself). There is a definite answer no matter what.

Unfortunately, people aren’t that simple. People are irrational, inconsistent, and well… maddening. Think about one of your friends. Could you summarize them in one word whether they are kind, mean, happy, etc? Even the nicest person could throw a punch at someone when the time arises. Even the meanest person might give money to a beggar on a bright and sunny day. Even the happiest person cries themselves asleep when everything just gets too tough. Their inconsistencies are what make them human. If someone was ALWAYS nice or mean or happy, well they might be a robot. If people were as constant as y=mx+b then they wouldn’t be interesting. The most interesting people are the ones who color outside the lines.

In my introduction post, I talked about how I tend to develop my secondary characters better than my main characters. Main characters are troubling creatures. There is no perfect amount of good and bad in a character in which your readers will love. I can’t even count how many times I’ve read a book and felt that the characters were too perfect or too imperfect. It’s easy to tip the scale on both sides. Many characters are too perfect because as authors we don’t want our readers to tear our characters apart for being flawed. On the other hand, many characters are too imperfect in order to seem more human and flawed which causes the tearing apart.

I wish I could tell you a simple y=mx+b (can you tell this is one of my favorite equations? Wow, I’m so geeky. I have favorite equations -.-), but as we all know, writing is not that simple. In my current WIP, my MC is manipulative, vengeful, a tad snotty, but at the same time, she’s caring and thoughtful. She’s also the most complex character I have ever thought of. She is all over the walls in her personality which I love. In the past, my characters have been flawed but only slightly that the bordered being Barbies.

So how do you make amazing characters like my not-so-perfect MC? The best advice I have found is get to know your characters. No person can be defined in one word and neither should your characters. The better you get to know your characters then easier it will be to find out what words (plural NOT singular) they would be descried with. Don’t force your characters to be too perfect or imperfect because you think you have to. Write them how they are or you are basically committing purgery (I think that’s the legal jargon word for it) if you try to make them something they’re not. My MC gave me no say in how her personality would turn out. She kinda wrote herself.

Now even though I can’t give you the perfect formula, I do have a few tricks up my sleeve for developing your characters. Developing characters I think would be harder for pantsers than planners (I’m a planner myself), but I think anyone trying to get to know your characters should look at these sites no matter how difficult it may seem (your readers will thank you later). Character worksheets are a great way to develop characters more thoroughly. My personal favorite is Jody Hedlund’s character worksheet. I fill one out for all my main and secondary characters. Tumblr is another great place for character worksheets. A lot of people on Tumblr post things like “send me a number and I’ll answer a question.” Those questions tend to be more teen related (e.i. drugs, sex, etc). If you want to help make your characters less stereotypical, I would definitely suggest checking out The Bookshelf Muse’s Character Trait Thesaurus. Actually, I suggest checking their entire blog regardless.

My final tip isn’t a website but important none the less. Write. I know everyone says this, but it’s true. You know your characters best. If you have to write a billion and one scenes to get to know your characters better do it even if you only use one of those scenes. Thomas Edison once said “results? Why, man, I have gotten lots of results! If I find 10,000 ways something won't work, I haven't failed. I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is often a step forward....” So take that one step forward to getting to know your characters. You never know what kind of amazing character you will develop.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Wednesday Lacks Inspiration.

This past week I was assigned to write a short story in my creative writing class.

I was VERY excited because we haven't done any truly creative stuff yet, and I like writing short pieces occasionally. However, as soon as i got the assignment, *POOF* Writer's Block appeared. And he was vehement.

We had two days in class to work on the story, both of which I spent staring at the computer screen, wondering what the heck to write. And I asked for suggestions on twitter, and thought more on it at home. Nothing anybody said, nothing I though, gave me one spark of an idea. Last night at 1 AM, realizing the rough draft was due today, I picked out a piece I wrote a year ago that no one's read and revised to fit more so with the assignment.

Yes, that's kind of cheating, but I wrote it and it's a short story and it worked. (Stop judging me. VEHEMENT. WRITER'S BLOCK WAS VEHEMENT).

While it was a short assignment and in the scheme of life, not overly important, it was one of the strongest cases of writer's block I've had. Usually I have ways of getting out of it. Music. Automatic writing. Reading others' work.

But nothing worked. Not even my "Let me just start writing and whatever happens, happens." That's my fix for EVERYTHING. That's even how I've started writing WIPs (Total pantser here, guys).

Unfortunately, I still have no ideas and that story has been peer reviewed, so I have to continue to use it and mold it for the assignment, but I hope that this writer's block won't continue. Because writer's block for class work is the worst seeing as they have a deadline and a grade.

What about you guys? What's the worst case you've ever gotten?