Character Creation

Creating a Character

This month’s topic: How do you develop secondary characters? Do you
even have a favorite secondary character?

I don’t develop secondary characters any differently than I develop the major ones: I imagine them moving and talking, and I write little scenes about them. I know that many authors fill out lists of characteristics about their characters, but I usually can’t answer those questions until after I’ve written most of the first draft.

I do sometimes give my characters personality tests. Myers-Briggs is a favorite of mine, not because I take it as gospel in any way, but because it is pretty quick and easy to use. Enneagrams, which I believe gives a much fuller picture of a character, is, for me, both more difficult to “administer” and more difficult to understand.

Myers-Briggs:

This test was once a popular method of typing your boss and co-workers. Your Myers-Briggs type is a four-letter code that spells out your place on each of the four axes:

E or I: Introverted or extraverted

N or S:  Intuition (N) or sensing(S) N’s start with the big picture and S’s start with the details.

F or T: Feeling (F) or Thinking (T). Feelers make decisions with their hearts (think Captain Kirk) and T’s with their heads (Mr. Spock).

J or P: Judging(J) or Perceiving(P):  J’s enjoy routine and P’s like surprises.

Here is a writeup of the eight preferences: https://www.knowyourtype.com/8_preferences.html

and here’s one about the sixteen types:  www.khttps://www.knowyourtype.com/16_types.html

Multiple-choice Myers-Briggs test: http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/jtypes2.asp

A much simpler one where you just have to pick one in each of the four categories (includes descriptions): http://www.personalitypathways.com/type_inventory.html

Another simple test:  http://www.teamtechnology.co.uk/mmdi/questionnaire/

Enneagram

An Enneagram is pictured as a circle with intersecting lines, and a type consists of one of the nine types, a wing type, and a variant. In spite of having taken an online course and doing some reading on Enneagrams, I still don’t have much of a ‘feel’ for the types.

Enneagram:

Official:  www.enneagraminstitute.com

Chakras and enneagram information, easier (IMO) to understand http://www.eclecticenergies.com/

About the nine types: http://www.9types.com/

Free enneagram test http://www.eclecticenergies.com/enneagram/test.php

Another one http://www.9types.com/rheti/index.php

Character Creation Software

Typing Chimp has a free version available for download. It’s loads of fun, but some features are disabled: http://www.typingchimp.com/

Writers cafe http://www.writerscafe.com/

Links

Here is a link to my publisher’s website, where you will find all four of the novels mentioned above: http://museituppublishing.com/bookstore/index.php/our-authors/56-our-authors/authors-f/149-author-4764

Do check out the posts of the other participants

Skye Taylor http://www.skye-writer.com/blogging_by_the_sea
Margaret Fieland https://margaretfieland.wordpress.com
Helena Fairfax http://www.helenafairfax.com/blog
Dr. Bob Rich https://wp.me/p3Xihq-1tC
Fiona McGier http://www.fionamcgier.com/
Beverley Bateman http://beverleybateman.blogspot.ca/
Connie Vines http://mizging.blogspot.com/
Judith Copek http://lynx-sis.blogspot.com/
Rhobin L Courtright http://rhobinsrambles.blogspot.com/

Victoria Chatham http://www.victoriachatham.com

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What got me started

Robin

Sat, Aug 11, 10:16 AM
This month’s topic is what started us writing:

I’ve written poetry as far back as I can remember. I kept it in a series of spiral notebooks that accumulated in my attic, wrote cards for holidays birthdays, co-workers leaving the office, and the occasional small newsletter. Along about 2005 I wrote a poem I wanted to keep, so I scrounged around online and ended up putting them in online in what would now be called a cloud.

That December I was reading an ezine I liked and discovered they had a poetry contest. I believe the theme was ‘sleep’, and  I had a poem to fit it. Since it was handy (read online), I sent it in, and the poem was one of four runners-up., I didn’t win.

But they published all four of the finalists, and I was psyched. I joined a couple of online communities and started working on my poetry. In one of them, I ran across someone who was starting a small print poetry mag (since died, I believe). He liked and published a couple of my poems. That was early 2006. I found out about “The Muse Online Writers Conference,” (free, online virtual conference) and “attended” that October.

There I “met” Linda Barnett Johnson. Linda runs writers forum, and she insisted that her students join both fiction and poetry forums. Poetry alone was not an option.

At  that point, I’d never written a word of fiction (at least, not since elementary school ), and I would have sworn I never would. However, I liked Linda, and I wanted to join the poetry forum, so I signed up. I started writing for children, as that felt less intimidating – and shorter. As a poet, I was a terse writer, and generating sufficient word count worried me. My first story ended up published online. It was a *long* time until I placed another, but thus encouraged, I continued to write both fiction and poetry.

Many years ago, a family friend lost his wife and all four of his children in a house fire. This incident had haunted me ever since, and one weekend I wrote a 5000 word book in which the main character, a nine-year-old boy, lost his mother in a house fire. I couldn’t change my friend’s outcome, but in my fictional world, I could.

I spent the next year and a half or two years whipping it into shape. Although I have (and had) a good ear for language and a solid knowledge of grammar, I knew little about structuring a story. I set out to learn about plotting, characterization, dialogue, setting, points-of-view, and, yes, more grammar. I joined a critique group and took the ICL basic course. I hung out on Writers Village University and took their free fiction course and a couple of others that proved extremely helpful. The story was accepted for publication but has not yet been published.

Fast forward to September, 2010. I am a huge science fiction fan, but I’d never written a sci fi story — I had kind of a phobia about it — so I decided I’d do Nano (National Novel Writing Month) that November, and began to plan my story.

I devoted most of my time and energy to world building, a bit to thinking about the characters, and devoted about  a page to the plot. Then I started writing.

Of course, there was still editing, polishing, submitting …

And that’s how I got started writing.

Connie Vines http://mizging.blogspot.com/
Victoria Chatham http://www.victoriachatham.com
Skye Taylor http://www.skye-writer.com/blogging_by_the_sea
Judith Copek http://lynx-sis.blogspot.com/
Dr. Bob Rich https://wp.me/p3Xihq-1ke
Beverley Bateman http://beverleybateman.blogspot.ca/
A.J. Maguire  http://ajmaguire.wordpress.com/
Fiona McGier http://www.fionamcgier.com/
Margaret Fieland https://margaretfieland.wordpress.com
Rhobin L Courtright http://www.rhobinleecourtright.

Chris Redding’s New Book

     Chris at her computer

 

 

Today I have the pleasure of featuring Cris Redding. Her new book When Gargoyles Love, first in her new series Destiny of a Gargoyle.  Check out the great cover and excerpt below:

Excerpt: Destiny of a Gargoyle Book One When Gargoyles Love

“She’s it,” Donal said.

He could communicate with his brothers telepathically. Otherwise his time in stone might have driven him nuts.

“You’re sure?” Sean said.

“I’m sure. She’s it. I can feel my heart softening. She must be the one that I am supposed to protect,” Donal said.

“Wow. After all of these years. And of course Donal finds his first. Lucky guy,” Declan said.

“He is always the lucky one,” Sean said.

“If I were that lucky I wouldn’t have been stuck in stone here with you two lugs,” Donal said.

He would have lived and died in his own time. Instead of watching what had happened to the fairies he’d been born to protect. They’d died off and somewhere along the line the fairies had forgotten who they were. He’d bet that Meg had no idea who she was.

That made his job even harder. She wouldn’t have any idea why he was protecting her. The fairies had gone into hiding when the humans took over the world. They renamed his part of the island County Galway. What did that even mean?

He was Donal of Connaught. Not Donal of Galway. If he could sigh he would. He sighed in his head.

His brothers were stilling whinging about him being lucky. “I’m the oldest. You didn’t have to tell the Queen what our father had done. She could have made me stone and you would never have known what had happened to me.”

“Still, why do you get to go first?” Sean said.

“Because she is my fairy. Not yours,” Donal said.

He wasn’t going to apologize for finding his fairy first. He never would have thought they were going to find any of theirs. The fairies were all elsewhere and finding one from his own kingdom let alone another one had always been a long shot.

“What will you do?” Declan said.

“The Fairy Queen told me the rules before she left. I have to be in the fairy’s presence for a whole day before I lose the curse,” Donal said.

“A whole day. The sun must be in the same place for the beginning and the end?” Declan said.

“Yes.”

“How are you going to do that?” Sean said.

“I don’t know. She doesn’t spend that much time here, but I’m sure I have a few days to figure it out. I already feel as if I could fall off of this wall. Maybe I can go with her.”

“Without legs? Or only stone ones.”

“I don’t know everything, you mugs. I’m guessing some things here,” Donal said. “If you two be quiet and let me think maybe I’ll figure it out. You’ll have your chance and I get to sort out what needs to be done. That way neither of you mess it up.”

Blurb:

Donal Foley was born in a time when magic ruled the Earth.

Gargoyles protected fairies from goblins. His family was a group of elite gargoyles who were assigned to protect a specific fairy. His father’s dereliction of that duty cursed his sons to become stone and wait.

Now reawakened in the twenty first century where no one believes in magic how is he going to convince his fairy that she is one and that she is in danger from a goblin?

He must do that without falling in love with her.

 

Destiny of a Gargoyle is the first in a trilogy of gargoyle shifter romances by Chris Redding.

Book 2: Fate of a Gargoyle will be out in the next few months.

 

Chris Redding Author LLC

Email: chrisreddingauthor@gmail.com

Website: www.chrisreddingauthor.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/chrisreddingauthor

Twitter: www.twitter.com/chrisredding

Google Plus: https://plus.google.com/101743269602364199911/posts

Skype: Chris.Redding.Author

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/chrisredding/

 

Beginning, ending, and what’s in between

 

How do you ensure a story has a good beginning, a satisfying ending, and good continuity in between?

Honey, if I could answer that one, I’d be on the New York Times Best Seller list, or at least my novels would be top sellers in their category onAmazon.

Ah, well.

But of course, I do take care to try to ensure a good beginning, ending, and continuity.

I am not one of those writers who outlines their novel in detail, but I do need to know the beginning, the ending, and the high points of what’s in between when I start out. Or at least, I think I do.  So far I have been fairly on target about the ending, even when I don’t know how I’m going to get there. For example, in my novel Broken Bonds, (WARNING: Spoiler) the main character, Major Brad Reynolds, is accused of treason. I knew which way I wanted the case

One of my drawings of Aleyne, mountains wiith the multi-colored desert sands in the foreground

against him to go, but I had no idea, until I wrote it, how I was going to manage to do it. Fortunately, my subconscious is a better plotter than I {wry grin}.

 

As to the beginning, that’s trickier. I wrote a children’s chapter book (that has yet to appear) about a little boy who loses his mother in a fire.  I initially started with the fire, but finally realized that the story really started in what was at the time Chapter Three where my main character’s mother is dead, his father still in the hospital, and he is going home with his grandmother. I discarded part of the first chapter of the earlier versions of Broken Bonds, too.

As for filling in the middle, since I don’t outline in detail, I have notes for the chapters I ‘know’ about and fill in the ‘blanks’ as I write. I tend to have more detailed notes a couple of chapters ahead of where I’m writing.

And when I reach the end of the first draft, I go back and revise. At that point I have an overview of the whole novel. I revise more, I believe, than someone who has a detailed outline. That’s the trade off. However, I don’t know enough about the novel to do that before I’ve written the first draft.

 

Skye Taylor http://www.skye-writer.com/blogging_by_the_sea
Marci Baun  http://www.marcibaun.com/blog/
Judith Copek http://lynx-sis.blogspot.com/
Margaret Fieland https://margaretfieland.wordpress.com
A.J. Maguire  http://ajmaguire.wordpress.com/
Beverley Bateman http://beverleybateman.blogspot.ca/
Rhobin L Courtright http://www.rhobinleecourtright.com

Anne de Gruchy  https://annedegruchy.co.uk/category/blog/

 

Help Spirits of the Heart win the RONE

Help SPIRITS OF THE HEART win the RONE!

I’m thrilled to announce that my second Haunted Voices novel, SPIRITS OF THE HEART, has been nominated for a RONE award, hosted by InDtale. But I need votes to get it to the finals!

Voting is open only one week: May 7-13. Ends this Sunday, Mother’s Day.

This title made the finals in the 2017 I Heart Indie Awards, and missed winning by a hair – help it make it over the top this time, please . . .

You have to register on the InDtale website (it’s free, no obligation) here: www.indtale.com. Once you confirm your registration with the link they email you, the voting takes place here: http://indtale.com/2018-rone-awards-week-four

My title is third or fourth under Paranormal Long, right at the top of the voting page.

Please help this book, which has a solid 4.8 star rating on Amazon, get the recognition it deserves!

The Blurb:

An addiction counselor and a security guard struggle to free a little girl and her father, two lost spirits trapped inside an abandoned mental asylum.

Addiction counselor Laura Horton returns from college to move in with an old friend and start her career. But her homecoming is jarring. Her friend moves out, leaving Laura alone with the gorgeous but intimidating ex-boyfriend—in a house that snugs up to an ancient graveyard.

Officer Miller Stanford is a man with a shattered past. His alcoholic dad destroyed their family, a weakness Miller is terrified will consume him too. The last thing he needs is a sexy, blonde addiction counselor watching his every move. When he begins to see specters in the dark, he starts questioning his own stability.

But Laura sees her too—a pathetic child-spirit searching for her father. Then Laura starts digging into old asylum records . . . Can Miller and Laura uncover the secrets of Talcott Hall without jeopardizing their love—and lives—in the process?

You can view it on Amazon here: https://amzn.to/2IicGAH

And see the book trailer here: https://youtu.be/YUa2RALSEm8

Instructions: You have to register on the InDtale website (it’s free, no obligation) here: www.indtale.com. Once you confirm your registration with the link they email you, the voting takes place here: http://indtale.com/2018-rone-awards-week-four

Thanks in advance for your support, and thank you, Margaret Fieland, for hosting me!

Starting Out: Establishing a Story

How do you establish a story, its characters, and setting? For me, since I’m writing science fiction and fantasy, it starts with my creating a setting,  a society, a cultural context and a history fit to tell my story. My stories start with the germ of an idea and grow from there, made up of bits and pieces, the body of an animal, a discarded mattress, two boys dragging a body out into the cold, and grow from there. I need to be able to fully picture the scene my characters are in: the glass doors, the large reception room with the crowd of humans and aliens enjoying drinks and snacks. I need to see and hear the scene in my head, rather like a film running past my eyes. I need to know far more than ever makes it onto the page.

When I describe an alien setting, I try to start with the familiar — mountain — then add the distinguishing characteristic — purple rocks — and only include the details that are relevant to the story.

Where is the line between too much and too little? Ah, there lies art, there lies experience, and there lies the helpful comments of the readers of early drafts.

Skye Taylor http://www.skye-writer.com/blogging_by_the_sea
Dr. Bob https://wp.me/p3Xihq-1eg
A.J. Maguire http://ajmaguire.wordpress.com/
Marci Baun http://www.marcibaun.com/blog/
Beverley Bateman http://beverleybateman.blogspot.ca/
Connie Vines http://mizging.blogspot.com/
Rhobin L Courtright http://www.rhobinleecourtright.com
Judy Copek http://lynx-sis.blogspot.com/

Where do ideas come from

Well, everywhere, really. Frankly, my problem is which ideas to pursue. Often, when reading a book, I’ll reach the final chapter only to say to myself, “What happened next?” Did the teenage stepdaughter start to act out? Did the private eye get a hard time from the police? What will the next political crisis be?

I’ve said, only half in jest, that my characters wake me in the middle of the night and bother me until I give in, take notes, and agree to write the book.

For 2010 NaNo (National Novel Writing Month), I decided to write a science fiction novel. At this

One of my drawings of Aleyne, mountains wiith the multi-colored desert sands in the foreground

point, I’d written a children’s chapter book (more on this later) and a middle grade novel in need of serious revision that I believe ran about 15,000 words. I’m a huge science fiction fan and am widely read in the genre — I selected Robert A. Heinlein’s “Farmer in the Sky” for my tenth birthday, now long past — but I’d never written any, so I decided to take the plunge.

Here’s the blurb

Relocated, a science fiction novel by Margaret Fieland

When fourteen-year-old Keth’s dad is transferred to planet Aleyne, he doesn’t know what to expect. Certainly not to discover Dad grew up here, and studied with Ardaval, a noted Aleyni scholar. On Aleyne, Keth’s psi ability develops. However, psi is illegal in the Terran Federation. After a dangerous encounter with two Terran teenagers conflict erupts between Keth and his father. Keth seeks sanctuary with Ardaval. Studying with the Aleyne scholar Keth learns the truth about his own heritage. After Keth’s friend’s father, Mazos, is kidnapped, Keth ignores the risks and attempts to free him. Little does he realize who will pay the cost as he becomes involved with terrorists.

So where did these ideas come from? Despite the little voice that’s yammering, “If I could really tell you that, I’d be out there making my fortune,” I can tease out the origin of some of the elements in the story.

The main character is a fourteen-year-old boy. I raised three sons, and at the time I was still under the misapprehension that kid’s books were easier to write. I was also attracted to the idea that they could be shorter than a novel for adults; as a poet, I am fairly terse.

The action takes place on an alien planet. The main character’s father is an army officer assigned to the military base, which is in the desert. My middle son was still in the army at that point, and he was stationed in Afghanastan. I couldn’t do anything about my anxiety over this, other than bite my nails, but I could and did add a terrorist plot to the novel and make sure that things “came out right.” Well, mostly.

My aliens are quite humaniod, with very dark skin, gray eyes, oval heads, and hands and feet that are wider than ours. Because of the demands of the plot, I needed to make them close to human in appearance. I wanted them to have a normal but easily distinguished skin color, and thus I had a choice of very light or very dark. In my novel, the aliens are the good guys; I made them dark (very dark). This gave me the opportunity to play with the theme of discrimination. As well, White for the good guys is way overdone, and I learned from reading Heinlein the value of the unexpected in a story. In “Starship Troopers,” for example, we don’t learn that one of the major characters is Black until half-way through the book.

There’s more, of course. In the second book in the series, “Broken Bonds,” one of the characters is Black Seargent imprisoned for going AWOl where his White fellow soldiers were not charged. This came from a story of my father, who served as a Judge Advocate General in the army during World War II. The third book in the series contains an incident based on another of Dad’s wartime stories, one where he hitched a ride on a small plane when he had leave and they ran out of fuel. My aliens form four-way relationships. This was sparked by my reading a book years ago where I came across one, prompting me to say to myself, “That’s not the way I would write it.”

Check out the posts of my fellow bloggers:

Skye Taylor http://www.skye-writer.com/blogging_by_the_sea
A.J. Maguire http://ajmaguire.wordpress.com/
Marci Baun http://www.marcibaun.com/blog/
Connie Vines http://mizging.blogspot.com/
Anne de Gruchy https://annedegruchy.co.uk/category/blog/
Helena Fairfax http://www.helenafairfax.com/blog
Margaret Fieland https://margaretfieland.wordpress.com
Dr. Bob Rich https://wp.me/p3Xihq-1dm
Fiona McGier http://www.fionamcgier.com/
Rhobin L Courtright http://www.rhobinleecourtright.com