writing

Creating Characters


Hello everyone.

Before we dive into the next topic in the Writing 101 series, there is a housekeeping issues I’d like to address. I have decided that I will publish writing posts not once but twice a week. You heard correct. That is twice not once a week. These days are Monday and Friday. I am going to try my best to get one done and published on Friday which will begin this new routine. Now for this evening’s topic.

Characters

Every book (whether good or bad) has characters. It is not a book or a story with a cast of main characters and secondary characters.

As the title suggests, main characters are the ones that drive the story.

For example, Frodo and Sam in Lord of the Rings drive the story. The same goes for Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice.

What should an author’s characters look like? Most characters are shaped from the author’s experiences. They are a form of who the author knows and of herself.

Developing characters that are based on yourself is totally okay too. Many authors before us have done this. I have two examples of this.

The first comes from one of my favorite childhood authors: Madeleine L’Engle. She wrote the famous Wrinkle in Time series and the Vicky Austen series.

When asked if she was like her heroines, she responded that she was both Meg Murray from A Wrinkle in Time and Vicky Austen.

My second example is J.K. Rowling. Rowling based the character of Hermonine a bookish young red head on herself.

Now, how does one go about forming a character? Well, it is safe to say that it is good to start perhaps with a name. Then from there start describe the person. Does she or he have blue eyes? Brown? Hazel? What hair color do they have? Where do they live?

But characters are more than just how they look. You need to make them three dimensional.

What does that mean? It means you must make your characters as real as possible. Readers must feel as if they characters they are reading about are real. Like someone they have known all their lives. Otherwise they won’t care about the story.

A while back I came across a wonderful worksheet for writing characters. A worksheet that goes beyond just giving your character a name, eye color, and hair color but it goes deeper to help you flesh them out.

Character Chart

I hope you find this chart helpful. Please let me know how forming your characters goes in the comments below. I’d love to hear how it goes! I am also filling out this chart for my characters in my new story.

Comment below and I will share how it is going for me as well. Stay tuned for the next installment which will be coming out on Friday. Until then, happy writing!

This is part of the Writing Series, Writing 101 with Gabrielle Emmons. The first post was “How to start a novel”.

Advertisements
BOOKS, History, writing

“How to start writing your novel” – with writer, Gabrielle Emmons


Recently I have been talking and collaborating with my very good friend, (a novelist and history enthusiast), an intelligent, studious and amicable lady who strives for greatness in her writing, Gabrielle Emmons. We have been talking a lot about writing in general and I came up with the idea of her doing a guest post on how she begins to write a novel. This is fantastic for those who are budding authors, ready for a new breathe of fresh air or something to their writing life.
I am proud to introduce her to my blog and with the upmost sincere thanks and gratefulness to have her feature on here.
You will find the full article here on her blog, Gabrielle M Emmons and you will also find that she works and keeps up with her own numerous blogs showcasing her work and authorship.
My absolute favourite blog of hers is Tea, Books and Britain because well, you know me! I have become the bit of an Anglophile! And the title is just Oh so perfect! And sums up my life basically. A cup of tea while watching “Escape to the country” or “60 Minute Makeover” has truly been the highlight of my afternoons.
Before I post her article I totally recommend for you to check out her excellent Book Review on “The Mark of the King”. This description on the back cover definitely makes me want to delve into it.

After being imprisoned and branded for the death of her client, twenty-five-year-old midwife Julianne Chevalier trades her life sentence for exile to the fledgling 1720s French colony of Louisiana, where she hopes to be reunited with her brother, serving there as a soldier. To make the journey, though, women must be married, and Julianne is forced to wed a fellow convict.

When they arrive in New Orleans, there is no news of Benjamin, Julianne’s brother, and searching for answers proves dangerous. What is behind the mystery, and does military officer Marc-Paul Girard know more than he is letting on?

With her dreams of a new life shattered, Julianne must find her way in this dangerous, rugged land, despite never being able to escape the king’s mark on her shoulder that brands her a criminal beyond redemption.

So, even if you haven’t clicked on that review, bookmark it or save it on your internet and make sure you get that little glimpse of a story of great and hopeful history. It truly has made me want to read it very soon!
In her Writing 101 – a new series blog post she states how we specifically have been discussing the idea on HOW to BEGIN writing a novel. It has truly been amazing talking with her about ideas and brainstorming and starting that novel in particular.
Now, let’s get started with her article which was published on September 12th 2017 on her History with Flair website. Grab yourself a drink (tea or water) and a notebook & pen or laptop. There is an activity at the end!

Many people have asked me how do I start the process for writing a novel. They have also asked me how do I find inspiration/ideas. So I thought I would do a blog series featuring writing. This is the first in the series and you can find more about it here.
So pull up a chair, grab your favorite beverage (mine is tea), and let’s get started. (Just a heads up there will be an assignment at the end of this post. But it shouldn’t be too bad).
First off, there is no one way to start the process of writing a novel. Each author has their own way of how to start that is unique to them. The key is to find one that works for you.
For example, some have a vague idea right away. Others have pictured a character or characters. Again, others have a couple of scenes already figured out.
It is all up to you.
For me, it varies. For my WWII novel set in England (which I have put on hold for now), I already had a vague understanding the plot.
For my Autumn themed story that is currently in the very early stages, I knew I wanted to have setting of the novel be during the Autumn months in MA because I love the Fall. I also knew who my main characters were.
Okay, homework time.
I want you to grab your favorite notebook and writing utensil. You can use your laptop if you prefer to type. I usually for this stage write it in a notebook and then transfer it to the computer later on.
Now, I want you to write down five ideas that could be potential stories. Don’t feel bad if you can only come up with one and two. It is a start.
The most important thing to remember is to have fun. Writing a novel should be fun.

How did you go with the activity?
I thought I would share one idea I came up with. Here is what I wrote:
Idea 5. Professor Wickman travels to London to start a new job at the City University of London. Committing his time and energy to his work and study is his priority and is all work, but through a period of time he learns to apply his work to excellence and focus on a project with his enchanting partner Lady Grosvenor from the affluent suburb of Mayfair. They eventually fall in love whilst working together and get married at St George Hanover Square.
It is not a complete idea but that is an example of ideas. First off starting with the main character, then a setting, place or particular location, the body and then the minor character fixed in there somewhere.
I skipped a whole part of what “could be” (a long plot) There could be so much more I could add to it and I am excited at the thought of creating a story again!
but I liked the idea of this so much I am thinking I am giving away a good story already! Well, that can be my next project!
Emmalisa
Devotionals, writing

Quick Devotion with Stormie Omartian


STORMIE_OMARTIAN

Maturing in Prayer

Stormie Omartian

“You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.” James 4:2-3 (NKJV)

During the first couple of years I walked with the Lord, my prayers went something like this:

“God, help me get that job.”

“Jesus, please heal my throat.”

“Lord, send enough money to pay these bills.”

“Father, take away my fear.”

It took me a while to realize that those spur-of-the-moment prayers were not accomplishing much. I guess I thought the idea was to do the best I could on my own, and then if I needed a lifeline from God, I grabbed it. The only problem was I needed a lifeline every other minute.

BLESSED IS SHEI loved the Scripture verse that says, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7, NKJV). I took God at His Word and was asking, seeking and knocking on a pray-as-you-go basis. I also took to heart the verse that says, “… you do not have because you do not ask” (James 4:2b).

Great! I can easily remedy that, I thought, and proceeded to ask God for everything. But I still wasn’t happy, and I didn’t see the kind of answered prayer I desired.

One day as I was reading James 4:2, my eyes were opened to the next verse, “You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures” (James 4:3).

Could it be that the “God give-me-this, do-that, wave-your-magic-wand-here, get-me-out-of-this-mess” kind of praying was not what God desired for my prayer life? In utter frustration I said, “Lord, teach me how I’m supposed to pray.”

He did exactly that!

I came to understand that prayer is not just asking for things — although that certainly is part of it. Far more importantly, prayer is talking with God. It’s getting close to and spending time with the One you love. It’s seeking Him first, getting to know Him better, being with Him and waiting in His presence.

Prayer is acknowledging Him as the source of power upon whom you can depend. It’s taking the time to say, Speak to my heart, Lord, and tell me what I need to hear. It’s partnering with Him. It’s aligning our spirits with His to see that His perfect will is done. It’s establishing ourselves and our lives as being connected to God.

STORMIE OMARTIAN QUOTE

We can’t receive God’s best for our lives, and we can’t push back the things that were never God’s will for us, except through prayer. We can’t leave our lives to chance. We have to pray about everything all the time, not just when things go wrong.

We have to pray over anything that concerns us, no matter how big … “For with God nothing will be impossible” (Luke 1:37, NKJV) … or how small … “But the very hairs of your head are all numbered” (Matthew 10:30, NKJV).

The Bible tells us the basic qualification for prayer: “he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6b NKJV).

The more you pray, the more you will find to pray about, and the more you’ll be led to pray for others.

Don’t allow discouragement over unanswered prayer to cause you to doubt that God heard you. If you have received Jesus and are praying in His name, then God hears you and something is happening whether you see it manifested in your life now or not. In fact, every time you pray, you’re advancing God’s purposes for you. Without prayer, the full purpose God has for you can’t happen.

Dear Lord, Help me today to draw closer to You, in my words, my thoughts and my deeds. Help me share more of my life with You, and through that, help me discover Your perfect will. In His holy Name I pray, Amen.

 

Related Resources:
Stormie Omartian is one of the contributors for the new devotional, Joy for the Journey: Morning and Evening. This beautiful devotional book will make a lovely gift for a special friend or loved one.

Joy for the Journey also features devotions from Lysa TerKeurst, Sheila Walsh and Beth Moore, among other bestselling women authors.

STORMIE OMARTIAN SCRIPTURE

 

Reflect and Respond:
Looking back in your walk with Christ, how has your prayer life matured? In what ways does it still need to grow?

Have you ever had a prayer answered? Does this memory help you when facing discouragement over unanswered prayers?

Power Verse:
Jeremiah 33:3, “‘Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’” (NKJV)

stormie

© 2014 by Stormie Omartian. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks Thomas Nelson Publishers for their sponsorship of today’s devotion.

BOOKS, History, Lady, poetry, TRAVEL, writing

Oh, to be in England!


This title is the first Chapter of “The Way to St. Werburgh’s”, and oh! Is it just the perfect title.

“It was 1819, perhaps a year of destiny. George III’s long reign was drawing to a close; his granddaughter Victoria was born, later to be one of the greatest rulers of the British empire; and soon the self-indulgent, sentimental reign of his son George IV would lower the past prestige of the royal family, despite the fact that he had served as Regent for some years.”

“The Northern spring was fast approaching, to gladden the hearts of all Englishmen Grand old oaks and spreading yew trees, majestic chestnuts and elegant birches vied with shy wood violets and bursting daffodils to greet the new season.

Blackbirds and sky larks, sparrows and finches, swallows and thrush, wrens and nightingales plied the air with ceaseless song, and the whole English landscape breathed new life with the melting snow” Continue reading “Oh, to be in England!”

personal development, self help, writing

Ten Tips to Help You Write More Words


 

1. Write with instrumental music playing in the background. I recently saw an informal survey that found those who listened to music while writing were able to write more words per day than those who didn’t. I like to write with instrumental praise music or movie soundtracks playing in the background. Some of my favorite soundtracks are Prince of Tides, The Cider House Rules, and Little Women. You can even download the Original Music from the television series soundtrack, Downton Abbey, and there is a CD called “The Ultimate Collection”. It has music from all Six Seasons.

Continue reading “Ten Tips to Help You Write More Words”

Lady, poetry, writing

A Collection of my favourite poems


SPRING POETRY

Upon Westminster Bridge by William Wordsworth

Earth has not anything to show more fair:
Dull would he be of soul who could pass by
A sight so touching in its majesty:
This City now doth, like a garment, wear

The beauty of the morning: silent, bare,
Ships, towers, domes, theatres, and temples lie
Open unto the fields, and to the sky;
All bright and glittering in the smokeless air.

Never did sun more beautifully steep
In his first splendour, valley, rock, or hill;
Ne’er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep!

The river glideth at his own sweet will:
Dear God! the very houses seem asleep;
And all that mighty heart is lying still!

Autumn-patterns

To Autumn by John Keats

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap’d furrow sound asleep,
Drows’d with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers;
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.

Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too –
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

42746_original spring

Lines Written in Early Spring

I heard a thousand blended notes,
While in a grove I sate reclined,
In that sweet mood when pleasant thoughts
Bring sad thoughts to the mind.
To her fair works did Nature link
The human soul that through me ran;
And much it grieved my heart to think
What man has made of man.
Through primrose tufts, in that green bower,
The periwinkle trailed its wreaths;
And ’tis my faith that every flower
Enjoys the air it breathes.
The birds around me hopped and played,
Their thoughts I cannot measure:—
But the least motion which they made
It seemed a thrill of pleasure.
The budding twigs spread out their fan,
To catch the breezy air;
And I must think, do all I can,
That there was pleasure there.
If this belief from heaven be sent,
If such be Nature’s holy plan,
Have I not reason to lament
What man has made of man?
SPRING FLWERS
Spring – William Blake

Sound the flute!
Now it’s mute.
Birds delight
Day and night;
Nightingale
In the dale,
Lark in sky,
Merrily,
Merrily, merrily, to welcome in the year.

Little boy,
Full of joy;
Little girl,
Sweet and small;
Cock does crow,
So do you;
Merry voice,
Infant noise,
Merrily, merrily, to welcome in the year.

Little lamb,
Here I am;
Come and lick
My white neck;
Let me pull
Your soft wool;
Let me kiss
Your soft face;
Merrily, merrily, we welcome in the year.

img_6277-3

poetry, writing

A “Sunday” Poem


sunny_daffodils-2

To Daffodils

Fair Daffodils, we weep to see
You haste away so soon;
As yet the early-rising sun
Has not attain’d his noon.
Stay, stay,
Until the hasting day
Has run
But to the even-song;
And, having pray’d together, we
Will go with you along.
how-to-fertilize-daffodil
We have short time to stay, as you,
We have as short a spring;
As quick a growth to meet decay,
As you, or anything.
We die
As your hours do, and dry
Away,
Like to the summer’s rain;
Or as the pearls of morning’s dew,
Ne’er to be found again.
ALL CREDIT GOES TO ROBERT HERRICK
1280px-Cornwall_Daffodils