Tag Archives: round robin

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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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/

 

Finding Their Voices: Using Language to Build Character

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Broken Bonds was the first novel I wrote with more than one point of view. The final version has five point-of-view characters, the four characters involved in a romantic relationship and the antagonist who is the “villain” in the political plot. There are three aliens and a Terran: Major Brad Reynolds, a major in the Terran Federation Guard, Ardaval Namar, an BrokenBondsCoverAleyni scholar and teacher, Imarin Namar, one of his former partners, involved in government, and Nidrani Namar, another former partner, a woman, and a musician. As well, there was Senator Hank Manning, a member of the Terran Federation senate.

I wish I could tell y’all that I was wonderfully methodical about this, but, alas, it would be a lie. Ardaval and Brad had appeared in a previous novel, Relocated, so their voices were pretty clear to me. I had little trouble finding a voice for Imarin and Hank Manning, but Nidrani was slower to come clear, and I ended up searching out clothing I thought she might wear to help me out.

I pay attention to grammar, sentence structure, word choice, pet phrases, how formal or informal they typically are in their speech,  pet phrases, etc, but a lot of it involves my being able to “hear” my characters.

One of the things I did was collect up all of the pieces from each character’s point of view and put them together. Then I read through them for consistency of voice and to make sure that they sounded distinct.

I do use grammar and word choice with far more intention for minor characters, where there is less time and space to paint a full picture.

 

 

Skye Taylor http://www.skye-writer.com/blogging_by_the_sea
Marci Baun  http://www.marcibaun.com/blog/
Margaret Fieland https://margaretfieland.wordpress.com
Victoria Chatham http://victoriachatham.blogspot.ca
Beverley Bateman http://beverleybateman.blogspot.ca/
Dr. Bob Rich  http://wp.me/p3Xihq-OB
Rachael Kosinski http://rachaelkosinski.weebly.com/
Judith Copek http://lynx-sis.blogspot.com/
Helena Fairfax http://www.helenafairfax.com
Rhobin Courtright http://www.rhobinleecourtright.com
A.J. Maguire  http://ajmaguire.wordpress.com/

 

September Round Robin: Current Events

AleyneDesert1This month’s topic is what current issues are important to you. How often do modern social/global issues take place in your stories no matter what era or generation you write?

I write poetry, science  fiction, and fantasy. Nevertheless, politics, political maneuvering, the law and how it plays out in real life,  discrimination in any form are all issues that are important to me and that appear in my books. My imagined future society is still plagued by the same kind of political chicanery we see today, and they appear frequently in my stories. So does discrimination and clash of values, in my case a clash between my alien society of Aleyne and the Aleynis on one hand and the Terrans and othe Terran Federation on the other.

When I wrote my first science fiction novel which I stared in November of 2009, t my middle son was in the army, stationed  in Afghanistan. Not too surprisingly, my alien planet had a desert climate, and the main character’s father was posted to the Terran Federation Guard base there at the startr of the story. Terrorism and a terrorist plot play a big part in the story, but in this case the aliens are the good guys and the Federation, in general, is cast in the role of antagonist.

When I wrote Broken Bonds I ended up making the main character’s trial for treason a centerpiece of the story, and thus legal maneuvering came theo the fore. My father was an attorney, my mother served on the Grand Jury, and I had served as a juror myself, so I was relatively familiar with trials, but I still sended up doing a lot of research into exactly how a criminal trial proceeds and various other aspects of the courts that I wanted to carry forward into my novel in a believable manner. I ended up creating an Interstellar Court, loosely modeled after the International court, as well as the court system of the Federation where the trial of my main character ends up taking place.r

Economics and exploitation of workers is another area that interests me. In Geek Games the main character, a teen age boy, ends up on a tri-p to the asteroids where he observes first-hand the plight of miners who are virtually enslaved by the Federation, which controls all economic activity, including what the miners are able to buy in the way of goods and technology.  Writing all this as sci fi allows me to play out these themes with a freedom that I wouldn’t have if I were writing a contemporary or historical novel.

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/
Beverley Bateman  http://beverleybateman.blogspot.ca/
Margaret Fieland  http://www.margaretfieland.com/blog1/
Marci Baun  http://marcibaun.com/blog/
Victoria Chatham  http://victoriachatham.webs.com/
Connie Vines  http://connievines.blogspot.com/
Bob Rich  http://wp.me/p3Xihq-vQ
Rachael Kosinski  http://rachaelkosinski.weebly.com/
Helena Fairfax  http://helenafairfax.com/
Judith Copek http://lynx-sis.blogspot.com/
Rhobin Courtright  http://www.rhobinleecourtright.com/