Tag Archives: Help

Guest Post from E.D.C. Johnson

Today, I have a guest post for y’all from the wonderful E.D.C. Johnson. She’s the author of the excellent YA story called Moonflower. It’s available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

A brief blurb about the story: After Josephine Wood’s father dies of cancer, her mother up-roots the two of them and moves to the city. Josie hates her city life, but her teenage issues are of little consequence when they have a car accident and she wakes up in a strange land (reminiscent of Victorian Europe) alone. Lost, with her school backpack as the only connection to her world, Josie struggles to find her way home. She is found by Lucius Conrí, the son of a Marquess, who possesses royal blood and the gift to shift into a wolf’s form at will. Can the kind-hearted Lucius help her find her way while winning her love, or will she fall for Donovan Conrí his older, more serious brother and heir to the Conrí wealth?

And now, Ms. Johnson, it’s all yours.

***

Three Main Aspects That Make a Good Love-Triangle

There are three main aspects that make a good love-triangle:  both of the potential romantic leads need to have contrast, there must be both pros and cons for the protagonist to be involved with either choice and finally the protagonist must be riddled with indecision.

In my novel Moonflower, the two love interests, Lucius Conrí and Donovan Conrí, are brothers with very different personalities.  Not only is Donovan the older brother, he was raised to be the next heir as Marquess.  He serves in the military and takes his future very seriously.  In great contrast Lucius, as the younger brother, knows that he is not destined for greatness like his brother.  He did not have the luxury of countless tutors preparing him for his future.  Konrad, an old alchemist, was his only teacher but also became a mentor and friend.  He is a hard worker but focuses his energy in the here-and-now.  These qualities present two distinct choices, no Ménage à trois in this YA book.

For a love triangle to truly sizzle the characters need flawed realism.  If any character is too good to be true then it gets annoying and pointless.  Donovan has some in-your-face pros and cons.  At first the reader may not be sold on him as a possible love interest.  Although he is smokin’ hot, Donovan’s demeanor is judgmental, exclusive and self-important.  Our heroine, Josephine Woods, has to peel away his layers to discover his inner self.  His confidence, maturity and passion make him a total babe.

Lucius is the younger energetic brother with a bit of growing up to do.  He wears his heart on his sleeve and acts impulsively.  Despite his weaknesses he has lots of love to give and a kind heart.  He wants the best for all the people in his land.  Lucius is crazy about Josie and, hey, what girl doesn’t like that?!

These amazing qualities and intriguing flaws makes it difficult for Josie to decide which brother is the one for her.  Throw in her desire to return home, away from them altogether, and she becomes apprehensive to invest too much into either of the two boys.  The inner struggle Josie has debating between Donovan and Lucius is the crown to this royal affair.  The suspense and the process excites the reader and allows them to develop a favorite brother to root for.  Team Donovan or team Lucius, which will you be?

You can find more information about EDC Johnson and her novel Moonflower at:

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1...

Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/Moonflower-EDC-...

Website:  http://www.edcjohnson.com/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/EDCJohnson

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/EDCJohnson

Sessions

“I don’t know what to do, Doc.”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean, I’m stuck. Let me go back to the beginning.”

“That would be helpful.”

“Remember me telling you about Stacy?”

“The young woman in the abusive marriage that you’ve fallen in love with.”

“Right. Well, she’s recently told me that she’s not going to look for a way out right now.”

“Did she say why?”

“She says she’s not strong enough to leave. She has small kids, remember.”

“I’m not following. Wouldn’t that give her more cause to leave, not less?”

“You’d think so, wouldn’t you, Doc. She thinks if she were to check into a shelter, all she’d be able to do is sit on the bed and cry. She says she wouldn’t be able to take care of her babies.”

“Alright. She seems to have made her decision. There’s not more you can do.”

“I’m afraid that’s not the issue.”

“What is the issue, then?”

“You know I told you she always says she wants to make sure no one gets hurt?”

“I do. You said that Stacy doesn’t want to leave her abuser because she doesn’t want to take a chance on her being wrong about the abuse, and she doesn’t want to hurt you because she loves you.”

“Right. Well, last night, I pointed out the corner she’s painted herself into…”

“Go on.”

“Doc, I told her she’s going to have to choose sooner, or later, how is more important to her: The guy that she’s terrified of, or the guy that she says makes her happier than she’s ever been.”

“…”

“And then, I said, ‘I’m not sure I want to wait much longer.'”

“Oh, no. You gave her an ultimatum.”

“Yeah.”

“Take one of these tissues, and wipe your eyes.”

“Thanks. What do I do, Doc?”

“What do you think you should do?”

“I don’t know. That’s why I’m here.”

“Well, the way I see it, you have only one option.”

“Just one? What is it?”

“You love her, right?”

“Of course I do. She’s the most important person in the world to me.”

“Then decide if you really meant your words, or if they were a misguided attempt to spur Stacy to action.”

“And if I did mean them, Doc?”

“Then you have to walk away.”

“Why?”

“Because you’re not making things easier for this poor woman. You’re making them worse.”

“But she says I’m not.”

“Tell me something: If this young woman is in an abusive relationship with a controlling man-”

Boy. A man wouldn’t abuse a woman.”

“Boy, then. If she’s in a controlling relationship, then do you really think that giving her an ultimatum is helpful?”

“No.”

“Lift your head, and take some time to think things over. Choose which path you’re going to do down. Remember, if you really love Stacy, you’ll choose the path that makes things easier on her.”

“Alright, Doc. Thanks.”

“Same time next week?”

“…Yeah…sure.”

“Good. See you next Tuesday at 3.”

“Right. Goodbye.”

A Fecked Up Situation

In my early 20’s I was involved with a tiny woman named Christine. The relationship lasted for a few years. Not that it was a happy one, but because I was afraid to leave. She used to kick my ass on the regular. Hands, baseball bats, golf club, tennis racket, paddles, ladding strips, ect. I finally left when I caught her banging the guy she named as my best man on the preacher’s deck in the church, on our wedding day. Fortunately, it was before the ceremony. While chatting with a friend in a similar situation, who is finding it hard to leave, I had a bit of a realization. I said the following to him.

“Things would be so much easier if our abusers didn’t know what buttons to push to keep us in place, wouldn’t they? It sucks that we are so easily manipulated. What makes it worse? We castigate ourselves mercilessly when we realize that were. Now that’s the real diabolical scheme. They don’t constantly abuse us because of two things: 1) We’d find leaving a hell of a lot easier, and 2) They don’t have to. We do a much better job of it.
Abusers are masters of psychological warfare without being trained in it. They wait until we build ourselves up enough to where we are ready to leave, then they bring on the sweetness, kindness, and other things that made us fall for them in the first place. This causes us to question ourselves, to doubt reality, and make us wonder if we are even sane. When we are nearly over it, BOOM!, the abuse resumes. And then the castigation begins again.
Another fucked up thing about it? We question if we don’t deserve it. Surely we bring it on ourselves. We push them to yell, scream, blame, hit, etc., us. If we were better, they would never treat us this way.

Now is the time to ask yourself these questions:
1. Why do I deserve to be treated this way?
2. What makes me a terrible person?
3. Why do I think this is okay?
4. Why is it important that it be my fault?
5. Is it really okay for me to go through this?
6. Why?
7. Is this really who I am?
8. Do I want this for my children?
9. If it is okay for me to be treated this way, why don’t I want my kids to be?

The reason the “yourself” at the beginning is stressed is because I want you to just go based on you. Don’t worry about what anyone else this. They are unimportant for this exercise. Once you have the right answers to those questions, then you will know what to do. What are the right answers, you ask? You know. Yes, you do. In your heart.”

If you, or a loved one is in a similar situation, call the National Domestic Abuse Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.

Perils of Being Old…

This could be me... if I had someone to make a list for me.
This could be me… if I had someone to make a list for me.
…Or is it senility? I can’t remember. Speaking of forgetting stuff, I forgot that Last week, I was supposed to be updating my blog. According to the schedule I had set for myself, last week was supposed to see a Raw update of Jennifer Steel, A contest on Wednesday and a guest post by R.S.Guthrie. I think I accomplished one of those things. And that’s only because it wasn’t in my hands.

I have to look into setting up a calendar and schedule these things. I hope I don’t forget to look at the calendar…

Also, I have been forgetting my writing. I have been wrapped up in informal counseling of two friends. They’re going through some rough stuff at the moment. As I have gone through similar things a decade ago, and fought through it, they tell me I have a unique way of viewing things. I think they’re the most magnificent people I know.

Eh, before I get too lost in my ramblings, I’m gonna go look for those calendars. I just hope I don’t forget why I’m looking for them…

Image credit: Scott Hilburton

Today, R.S.Guthrie Takes Over…

Rob-75x850-Cropped…Posting on my blog. He’s a great author of Books such as Black Beast and Lost. Both are phenomenal books. Give them a read. To check out what up coming novels he has coming (like Blood Land) Check out his blog robonwriting. Tell him beginingsinwriting sent you. Without further ado, here’s Rob:

The Self-Publishing Dream (Or Was It Nightmare?)

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It was so much simpler when writing was just a dream. I mean, everything works out in a dream, and unknown things like deadlines and marketing campaigns with their cost and timing and effectiveness aren’t in the dream—after all, their unknown, right?

And what about the slush pile you were planning to avoid by self-publishing instead of sending your manuscript into the maw of overworked, underpaid, tumultuous world of traditional publishing? Send it there you might never see it again and even if you did what were the chances of it not having a form rejection slip attached to it?

Here’s the rub: the slush pile has moved to the marketplace. Yes, the ability for any man, woman, or child with an Internet connection to publish a book is one of the most fantastic things to happen to the unpublished writer. Want to know what one of the absolute worst things to happen to those same writers turned out to be?

Same thing.

Now this is not all doom and gloom. If you’re like me (or you were a Scout) you like to be prepared. Know what you’re in for. Muster your courage. Become the warrior you were always meant to be. (And when you’re done fighting those bloody battles you’re really going to need that sword as a machete to cut your way out of the middle of the “Jungle of Unknown Writers” for the next few years.
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Writing the book is the easy part, my friends. It really is. You have about three or four other full-time jobs awaiting you after the completion of your masterpiece. You are the Marketing Department, the Accounting Department, the Art Department, the Accounts Payable department, the CEO, the CFO, and a few other jobs I’ve forgotten due to the anti-depression medication.

Okay, that’s more like six or seven jobs above and beyond AUTHOR. The good news is even if you went the traditional publishing route, were signed, and waited until you were old and gray to see your book on the shelves, you’d be expected to do most of those things yourself (at your cost) anyway.

So here I am going to lay out some things, high level, you need to think about and my opinion on them (based on semi-substantial experience):

1. Hire a cover designer. There are a LOT of them out there who work for major publishers (or even publishers in general) who do work on the side. You should not have to pay more than $100-200 for a really nice cover. Make sure that you get the spine and back cover if you are going to have a paperback made.
2. Have a paperback made. You aren’t going to make money off of it, but you owe yourself after dreaming all those years of seeing your book in print to finally see it in print! And people want signed copies (book signings are a great way to meet your readers and even if they aren’t giant revenue producers, they make you feel more like an author and things that bolster your confidence are going to be very important in the first year or two.
3. Hire an editor and a proofreader. Yes, two different people. I like to think of it as checks and balances because the professions do overlap so you get some bonus work by using two different professionals instead of just one. (I hope I didn’t just ruin half my relationships with editors and proofreaders.) Again, you should be able to find reasonably priced people for each but expect to pay a bit more for the editing. That’s hard work.
4. Whatever date you have in mind for your “release”, plan to send it to advanced reader/reviewers as far ahead of time as possible. They are called Advance Reader Copies (ARCs) and you need to leverage them big time. Some advertisers won’t even allow you to pay for an ad without a certain number of reviews and a particular average score (say 4.5 out of 5 stars). You’re also going to have better luck actually getting them to post the reviews if your book is already out there digitally published on Amazon (and wherever else). Trust me, you hitting “publish” and your book being “available for sale”, while majorly exciting for you, means nothing to the marketplace. Just another web page no one knows about…YET.
5. Get on every social networking site there is (Twitter, Facebook Author Page, LinkedIn, GoodReads, etc.). And do it now (i.e. ahead of the release of your book). They say buyers have to see your name 3-4 times before it sinks into their brain that they might want to buy something from you. You need exposure. Pay for a decent website. That’s one thing that’s going to cost you a little bit more—definitely one of those “you get what you pay for” things. But look at it this way: your webpage is like your home on the Internet (and will be for a very long time). It’s also Grand Central Station through which all trains of reader will connect to your books. Make sure it looks good and performs nicely.
6. Grow thick skin. I mean skin that makes an alligators look like rice paper. No matter how good you are, no matter how nice you are—in fact, many times inversely proportionally to these things—you are going to be disliked, poorly reviewed, and even hated. You won’t even know why. This is the hardest part for me. I take things personally. DON’T. EVER. If you write well and produce quality material, the readers who love you will one day come. To Hades with the rest.

I know this makes self-publishing sound scary. Guess what? It is. Nothing worth getting in this life is without hard work, crazy levels of patience, and the ability to levitate above all the crap and still get up every day and start it all over again.

If you are truly a writer—if it truly is a passion; if you love it—you’ll get up every day and get done what needs to get done.

I Heart WritingIt’s a love affair. Actually, it’s a marriage. Love affairs come and go. This is your passion; this is what you’ve decided to dedicate your life to—richer, poorer, sickness, health, good reviews, haters, etc.

No one can take away your talent OR your love. And the combination of the two (with a lot of determination and outlasting the others mixed in) will get you there.

Click this again.
Click this.

Thanks for those words, Rob. They are ones to study on. Now, if y’all will excuse me, my Kindle says I downloaded his new book, Blood Land already. Let me go read it. I’ll review it here when I’m done.

Dreams Image credit: iqoncept / 123RF Stock Photo

Guy With Sword Image credit: aaronamat / 123RF Stock Photo

I Image credit: burakowski / 123RF Stock Photo

In Defense of the Lonely Adverb [post 2 of 3]

The much maligned adverb has many detractors. I haven’t really been able to figure out why, other than from what I hear is the adverb represents laziness on the part of the author. Me? I think they’re acting snobbishly. Heh. Yeah, I did that on purpose. Here’s the thing: I’ve always felt that all words serve a purpose. Otherwise, why would they have been created & taught to us? Some passages could use adverbs and our readers won’t object. Hell, they may not even fecking notice. *gasp!* Say it ain’t so! Never. It is very true that most readers won’t notice your adverbs. How do I know? I never noticed them until I became an author and had folks point them out to me.

I’ll let author Robert Masello explain with an excerpt from his novel “Robert’s Rules of Writing” (I love that title for some reason):

“When it comes to writing, there is perhaps no more vilified part of the language than adverbs. Even Stephan King in his book On Writing declares, “The adverb is not your friend.” Like many writers, he considers them weak and weaslelly, words that cling to other words – verbs, adjectives and even other adverbs – draining them of impact, or just cluttering up the page.”

Okay, that’s a pretty strong argument against them. No writer wants their work cluttered with useless words, right? What else does he have to say about it?

“What drives most opponents of the adverb up the wall is the fact that these adverbs are being used – in their heated opinion – to do the work that a properly chosen verb, for instance, could and should have done on its own. For instance, instead of saying a soldier ran wildly, why not say he charged? Instead of saying the horse rose up defiantly, why not say it reared up? Isn’t that easier and more to the point? Well, yes and no. In a lot of cases, it’s true the right verb can do the work on its own, but sometimes it can’t. And I would submit that adverbs add a lot of leeway and variety that we wouldn’t otherwise have.”

Oh? Could you give us examples, sir?

“Take that horse rearing up for example – couldn’t he have reared anxiously, out of fear? And wouldn’t that have been misunderstood if that “defiantly” not been thrown in for additional clarification? In the hands of a better writer, maybe it would have been entirely clear why the horse was rearing up – maybe we would have known from previous pages this was one brave, unruly horse. But then again, maybe not.”

Okay. That’s a good point. Maybe some authors use adverbs for training wheels, or guidelines, for their readers. Maybe they aren’t certain things are clear enough and want to make sure their readers know where the author is going, or trying to say. I would also add this: Consider the solider from earlier. For me, as a reader, saying he charged is vastly different from he ran wildly. This is because to me, saying “charge” implies the solider is maintaining his discipline and training. I would accept that at the beginning of a battle, or one where he was winning. I wouldn’t expect, or want, that if the soldier’s squad is being routed. “The soldier ran wildly” implies to me that he’s scared and running for his life. Something didn’t go right.

So, do you think Robert’s book would be useful to you? You can buy it here. I own it an use it a lot.

Usually, I don’t like Mondays… [post 1 of 3]

…but today is actually a good one. Shocking, right? Today, we’re going to have three posts from me, this one and two others.

This first post is to remind you about an announcement I made last month (seen here). I had asked author R.S.Guthrie to guest post. Unfortunately, as sometimes happens, life got in the way. Mr. Guthrie got a bit swamped and he didn’t get a chance to write that guest post. He recently go a break and has informed me that he intends to send it to me by the end of the month. His guest post will touch on indie publishing and some of the tools he uses. Sounds epic, right?

If you haven’t checked out the books I mentioned in that last post (click the blue “here” above for the reviews), the links to get them are as follows: Black Beast and Lost. Click the links and buy them. Do yourself a favor by getting two great books and help R.S.Guthrie by supporting his work. Oh, click here to get to know him a bit better. He loves hearing from fans.

Later, I will post about the friendly adverb and I’ll add another Carter Blake update.

Reblogged: 8 Words to Seek & Destroy in Your Writing.

I found this an immediately had to share it. I never noticed these words before. Must hunt & destroy them from my writing…

From LitReactor.com:

Creating powerful prose requires killing off the words, phrases, and sentences that gum up your text. While a critical eye and good judgment are key in this process, some terms almost always get in the way. Here are eight words or phrases that should be hunted down in your story and deleted with extreme prejudice.

“Suddenly”
“Sudden” means quickly and without warning, but using the word “suddenly” both slows down the action and warns your reader. Do you know what’s more effective for creating the sense of the sudden? Just saying what happens.

I pay attention to every motion, every movement, my eyes locked on them.
Suddenly, The gun goes off.
When using “suddenly,” you communicate through the narrator that the action seemed sudden. By jumping directly into the action, you allow the reader to experience that suddenness first hand. “Suddenly” also suffers from being nondescript, failing to communicate the nature of the action itself; providing no sensory experience or concrete fact to hold on to. Just … suddenly.

Feel free to employ “suddenly” in situations where the suddenness is not apparent in the action itself. For example, in “Suddenly, I don’t hate you anymore,” the “suddenly” substantially changes the way we think about the shift in emotional calibration.

“Then”
“Then” points vaguely to the existing timeline and says, “It was after that last thing I talked about.” But the new action taking place in a subsequent sentence or sentence part implies that much already. You can almost always eliminate your thens without disrupting meaning or flow.

I woke up. Then I, brushed my teeth. Then I, combed my hair. Then I , and went to work.

“Then” should be used as a clarifying agent, to communicate that two seemingly concurrent actions are happening in sequence. For example, “I drove to the supermarket. Then I realized I didn’t need to buy anything.” Without the “then,” it would be easy to mistake this as pre-existing knowledge or as a realization that happened during the drive itself. “Then” can occasionally be useful for sentence flow, but keep the use of the word to a minimum.

“In order to”
You almost never need the phrase “in order to” to express a point. The only situation where it’s appropriate to use this phrase is when using “to” alone would create ambiguity or confusion.

I’m giving you the antidote in order to save you.

And after ten minutes of brainstorming for an example of a proper time to use “in order to,” I haven’t been able to come up with anything. Legitimate uses of “in order to” are just that few and far between.

“Very” and “Really”
Words are self-contained descriptors, and saying, “Think of tasty. Now think of more tasty” doesn’t help readers develop a better sense of the meal or person you’re describing.

Her breath was very cold chill as ice against my neck .

Mark Twain suggested that writers could “substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very’; your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.” Another strategy is to find a more powerful version of the same idea or give concrete details. To say “It was very/really/damn hot” does little, but saying “It was scorching” helps. Even better?: “The air rippled like desert sky as my body crisped into a reddened, dried-out husk.”

“Is”
Is, am, are, was, or were—whatever form your “is” takes, it’s likely useless. When’s the last time you and your friends just “was’d” for a while? Have you ever said, “Hey, guys, I can’t—I’m busy am-ing”?

The “is” verbs are connecting terms that stand between your readers and the actual description. This is especially true when it comes to the “is” + “ing” verb pair. Any time you use “is,” you’re telling the reader that the subject is in a state of being. Using an “ing” verb tells the audience the verb is in process. By using “is verbing,” you’re telling your audience that the subject is in the state of being of being in the process of doing something.

Take this example:

I was sprinting sprinted toward the doorway.

If the description is actually about a state of being—”they are angry,” “are evil,” or “are dead”—then is it up. But don’t gunk up your verbs with unnecessary is, am, or was-ing.

“Started”
Any action a person takes is started, continued, and finished. All three of these can be expressed by the root form of the verb. For example, “I jumped.” The reader who stops in frustration, saying, “But when did the jump start? When did it finish?” has problems well beyond the scope of the content they’re reading.

If you’ve been doing yoga for six years, you could reasonably say, “I started doing yoga six years ago.” For you, yoga is an ongoing action with a concrete starting point. But when describing action in a story, there are few circumstances where “start” is effective.

Let’s take this case and look at the potential fixes:

He started screaming.

Is it a single scream? Use “He screamed.” Are you telling us his screams will be background noise for a while? Rather than clueing us in unnecessarily, show us the series of screams first-hand. Do you want to introduce a changed state, such as escalating from loud speaking into screaming? Show us the decibels, the gruffness of voice, the way the air feels to the person he’s screaming at, and the hot dryness in the screamer’s throat as his volume crescendos.

“That”
“That” is a useful word for adding clarity, but like Bibles on the bedstands of seedy motel rooms, the word’s presence is often out of place.

When “that” is employed to add a description, you can almost always move the description to before the term and make a more powerful image.

Ireland was nothing but flowing green hills that flowed green.

In many other cases, “that” can simply be dropped or replaced with a more descriptive term.

I was drunk the night that your father and I met.

Many other uses of “that,” such as “I wish I wasn’t that ugly”, can be enhanced with more descriptive language.

“Like”
I’m not just saying that, like, you shouldn’t, like, talk like a valley girl (though that too). Here’s the problem: “Like” is used to show uncertainty. And you. Should. Not. Be. Uncertain.

Be bold. When making a comparison, use force. Use metaphor over simile. Don’t let yourself cop out by coming up with a halfway description.

My eyes rested on the gun for a sliver of a moment. I snapped forward, grabbed it, and it was like the chill metal flowed from the gun into my veins.

One of the 36 articles by the infamously fantastic Chuck Palahniuk dives into the issue of like in great detail. It’s well worth checking out.

As always, Orwell’s final rule applies: “Break any of these rules before saying anything barbarous.” There are instances where each of these words fills a valuable role. However, especially among inexperienced writers, these words are frequently molested and almost always gum up the works.

Apply these lessons immediately and consistently to empower your words. Then, with practice, you will suddenly realize that you are starting to naturally trim the text in order to create prose that is very powerful. -Rob D. Young @ litreactor.com

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.

As I promised…

I’ve discovered some fantastic resources for my writing. There’re listed below with a short blurb about why I like them and links to them.

The Bookshelf Muse: This blog, by two YA authors, is a great writing resource. It features things like a Setting Thesaurus, which helps beginning writters with describing locations; a Character Traits Thesaurus, which helps flesh out your characters; and a few others. Bookshelf Muse

The Emotion Thesaurus: A book, written by the authors of The Bookshelf Muse, that aids you in showing, not telling, how your characters are feeling. I have a copy, and it really has helped improve my work. Buy a copy here: Emotion Thesaurus

AutoCrit Editing Wizard: Kind of self-explanatory. With the free version, you paste your work (5oo words) and press the analyze button. The wizard will indicate what words are overused, sentence variation and cliche’s & redundancies. AutoCrit Wizard

I’ll post more later.