Thursday, June 21, 2012

Character Development Tips and Tricks

I have been working solidly on the character development for a new fantasy fiction story I have been working on. I have recently scrapped several attempts at a different story because I found my characters to be far too unrealistic. I thought I would share with you some of the things I have been doing lately to create realistic, likeable characters.

1) Write a brief description of each character. I ran a google search to find a worksheet that had dot points I could just fill in. One comprehensive profile I really liked can be found here:  Another lengthy profile outline I liked was from here:

2) Get to know your character. I imagine I am having a conversation with the character. I like to visualise how they may be standing, any quirks and mannerisms, tone of voice, accent etc. It makes me feel a bit like a talk show host, and I really enjoy this part of the process. It may seem like I am talking to myself, but I know better.

3) Talk about the character with someone if you can. I find this helps me pick up holes in the story. My boyfriend is pretty quick to tell me if he doesn't like a character and why. He also makes suggestions for how he thinks a character would act in a given situation. This is great because it helps me see my character in another light.

4) Create a photo chart so you can visualise what they look like. I google things like: 'Male brunette with blue eyes'. I find a photo of someone who matches the idea I have in my head. This is a good reference point for later when your brain is foggy and you can't remember what your hero looks like.

5) Write a short story centering around the character. This can be some back story, a childhood story or anything else you can think of. This makes the character seem so much more real, and you already have a good grasp of how they speak and act before you start writing your novel. For my own part I am currently writing a prequel to the series that I want to write. My main characters are in childhood, and it explains how their personalities are developed. I do not plan on anyone ever reading this prequel. 

These are just a small selection of what you can do to create the best characters you possible can. I would love to hear any other suggestions you may have. Happy writing!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Gun Seller, by Hugh Laurie

The Gun SellerThe Gun Seller by Hugh Laurie
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I read this book a few years ago, then lent it to a friend and never got it back! I loved it so much that I have just bought it again and can't wait to re-read it!

View all my reviews

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Do I Need NaNoWriMo?

I just discovered that there is a June NaNoWriMo for those who wish to do it in a month other than November. For those unfamiliar with the concept, NaNoWriMo is the National Novel Writing Month, where the goal is to write a complete novel from start to finish. This challenge traditionally takes place in November, so I was surprised to find that the field had been opened to other months.

At first I thought, "Maybe I should be taking part". I unofficially took part last year and DID complete an entire manuscript. But did I gain anything from it? I enjoyed the process, but what did I learn?

  1. I don't write well when I have to write at the speed of light. My thoughts are a jumble and undecipherable.
  2. The editing phase was made much harder by the fact that I couldn't remember where I was heading with the scene. I could not make head nor tail of my sporadic writing.
  3. It physically hurts me (well, maybe not literally, but I'm a writer so I'm allowed to take creative license) to not be allowed to take a perfectionistic attitude toward my writing. It was tough being messy, and I didn't like it.

After much deliberation I have decided not to do NaNoWriMo again this year, although that may change come November. I just don't think it helped my writing. The manuscript I produced ended up lining my wastepaper bin because, try as I might, I couldn't do anything with it. I know there are people out there who find the NaNoWriMo process really useful and come out of it with amazing works of literature. Unfortunately for me this wasn't the case, and I felt it to be a hindrance rather a help. I'm not saying it is a bad idea, I'm just saying it didn't work for me.

What are your thoughts on NaNoWriMo? Do you spend the year counting down the days until you can write non stop? Or do you find it, as I did in hindsight, to throw a spanner in the works?