Burnout and other issues…

A couple of days ago, I came to a sad realization as I was editing my story, “Into The Realm: The Chronicles of Carter Blake”. I realized that it was feeling like work. I don’t know about you guys, but for me, work equates to No Fun and I don’t want to do it anymore. I jumped to a fun site I recently learned about (TV Tropes) and proceeded to kill about two hours. While reading about Star Wars, one of my favorite universes, I had an idea for something I wanted to do with Carter. After pulling my doc open, a though hit me like the proverbial ton of bricks: I had been dealing with a form of burnout. Holy crap! I had heard of it, but never experienced it for myself. Let me tell you, it sucks. Fortunately, I have a great imagination (part of being a fiction writer, I guess) and I think I found a solution for it.

I decided to start scheduling myself. A schedule? gasp! “That sounds bad, Rob!” Well, it hasn’t been. I started yesterday. I worked on editing a friend’s story for 45 minutes, took a 15 minute break, worked on my edits for 45 minutes, another 15 minute break, and wrote new stuff for another 45 minutes. Today, I wrapped up the friend’s edit, and am looking forward to editing my work in about an hour.

How do you combat burnout?

Now for the next part: My friend has started thinking about her next story and asked me for some ideas. This section is largely for her, but anyone can use it, too.

A couple of months ago, I saw a blog post about character designs. This chart:

Main Characters
Name:
Age:
Birthday:
Physical Description:
Personality Description:
Hometown:
Type of Neighborhood/Description of Home:
Father’s Name:
Father’s Background and Occupation:
Mother’s Name:
Mother’s Background and Occupation:
Siblings:
Position in Family (oldest, youngest, etc):
Family Relationships:
Friends:
Enemies:
Influential Person or Event:
Grade in School:
Grades:
Attitude Toward School:
Favorite School Subject:
Least Favorite School Subject:
Favorite Sports:
Favorite Foods:
Hobbies:
Dress Style:
Religion:
Attitude Toward Religion:
Relationship with Boys:
Relationship with Girls:
Leader or Follower:
Ambitions:
Strongest Positive Personality Trait:
Strongest Negative Personality Trait:
Temperament:
Consideration for Others:
How Other People See Him/Her:
Opinion of Self:
Other Traits:
Notes: Minor Characters
Name:
Age:
Physical Description:
Friends:
Enemies:
Siblings:
Education Level and Grades:
Occupation:
Hobbies:
Personality Description:
Dominant Characteristics/Traits:
Physical Tag (a mannerism or nervous habit):
Voice and Vocal Tag (voice pitch, frequently used word or phrase):
How Other People See Him/Her:
Opinion of Self:
Other Traits:
Notes:

On a characters objects and possessions:
What does your character carry around in his/her pockets? And why?
How does he/she dress (i.e. what is his/her sense of style)?
How is his/her bedroom decorated?
What is his/her most prized possession?
What are his/her opinions of the various things in life?

On the people a character interacts with:
Who are your character’s friends? Enemies?
Who lives in his/her town? Neighborhood?
How does he/she treat these people?
What are his/her relationships with parents? Siblings? Other family?

On a character’s actions and reactions:
What makes your character laugh? Cry?
What does he/she do when frightened?
Introvert or extrovert?
Body language.

On a character’s opinions:
Optimist or pessimist?
Liberal or conservative?
What is his/her opinion on certain kinds of music, movies, and books?

was on there. It was written by either Ms. Angela Ackerman, or Becca Puglisi. I’m sorry ladies for not remembering which of you posted it. Anyway, it was on their website, The Bookshelf Muse. I don’t remember the exact spot (it was a couple of months ago), but it is there.

I use part of that chart to help me get to know my characters initially. Of course, as the story progresses, the details may change, but it helps a lot. I hope the chart is useful to you, too. And, if you like it a lot, head over to The Bookshelf Muse and let the ladies know. You can tell them how you got there, too. 😉

Last thing: I’ll be posting the first Carter selection soon.

Have fun with your writing, folks.

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One thought on “Burnout and other issues…”

  1. Ah, I was wondering what happened to you. I’ve experienced burnout. It lasts for a day or two and then I’m right back to writing. I wish I could stick to a schedule though. 😀

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