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.
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.
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”.
Lysa TerKeurst is the leader of Proverbs 31 Ministries and the New York Times best-selling author of Uninvited, The Best Yes, Made to Crave, and 17 other books.
As the founder of Proverbs 31 Ministries, Lysa and her team have led thousands to make their walk with God an energising and faithful journey by doing daily online devotionals, radio programs, online Bible studies, speaker/writing training, and MUCH more.
The following article I did is featured on Taylor Magazine, an online London magazine that is a minimalistic guide to life, which is “Taylored for you”. From articles that speak about the matters of the heart, celebrity interviews, Life, conversations, culture, and they also include favourite books! Which is the category that I chose! According to their About page, Taylor was born out of the need to have something that combines EVERYTHING that consumes our world. Something that is taylored specifically for you.
Here is the link to “Enjoy” by Trillia Newbell – Review on Taylor Magazine, and I have put the article up so you can read it on my blog. I also did an article on “Feminism” on Taylor Magazines website, which you can find HERE. It is probably one of my best work, ever!
I am currently reading a book called “Enjoy – Finding the freedom to delight in God’s good gifts” by Trillia Newbell. I received this book from ‘Blogging for books’. I have done two book reviews so far, “How to own it” by Sallie Krawcheck, and “The Women of Easter” by Liz Curtis Higgs. I thoroughly enjoyed writing these, and have been looking forward to doing a different book. “Enjoy” is a faith-filled illustrative, scriptural based book on experiencing the fullness of life, and truly learning how to enjoy life in general. They cover the basis with scripture such as 1 Thessalonians that says to “rejoice always”.
They also reveal that joy is a fruit of the spirit – something that is developed and nurtured within us. I was a little unsure of doing a review on a Christian book, because some people aren’t religious, and it caters to people who believe in the Holy Bible. I was brought up in a Christian home, so I find this kind of reading therapeutic for me personally. I like how they talk about gifts, gifts He intends for our enjoyment. We have been given gifts in life. For example, I am truly learning the gift of writing. Growing up, I did love my books, and relished in an Enid Blyton story, but I honestly never thought I would create my own website, and write personal stories on my blog. This happened during my late twenties, when living in a small country town called Merredin, so it became a creative outlet for me to break out, and just write.
We can experience the fullness of enjoyment as we use our gifts daily. We can and should ‘enjoy, delight and rejoice’!
Have you struggled with enjoying things in life, such as gardening, or just sitting down in your lounge and reading a good novel, or listening to classical music?
Sometimes we feel confused about the significance and purpose of leisure, but it is really quite simple. Turn on the radio, and dance your heart out, or sing to your hearts content. It is with learning to enjoy, recognize and appreciating things like leisure that you learn to see more clearly, and more passionately.
I particularly like how they say in the first chapter that there must be purpose in order for us to make sense of the world, and that we can easily fall into the snare of discontentment. It would make life hard to live if you are not feeling content with yourself. Life was created for us to enjoy, so, do things for yourself that would truly make you feel a sense of joy.
Through this book you can gain a deeper understanding of what it means to delight in good things, and to simply, enjoy your life. I also like how they created an “Enjoy Project” as a tool where there is a list of suggestions at the end of each chapter, and you can decide which suggestions you would like to do, such as journalling and you can write down if it was effective or enjoyable. For example, they put ‘start a blog series’, when I started blogging I felt a sense of joy and achievement from typing and it was out of pure joy that I started doing it.
If you do something similar to this, or just writing anything down in a journal, you will feel challenged, encouraged and inspired. We are not called to do life on our own, we are created to also work together and have relationships where we can sit down and talk to one another sharing our goals and dreams and aspirations for the future. That is one of the best things you could ever do, is get with people and talk about what you want to do with your life, and then truly embrace your god given talents. Our goal can also be to learn what it truly means to enjoy. Maybe create a random encouragement card to someone that you admire – investing in other people is worthwhile.
I love how at the end of every chapter there is a section/list on what you can do to create that joy, for example, scheduling a coffee date with a friend, making a meal for someone, or making certain lists. And each chapter starts out with an inspirational quote, which is pleasant to start off with.
I particularly liked Chapter Nine, which is called “The Art of Life” opening up with the sentence, “It’s interesting how something can be so central to your everyday life and then gradually fade away”. I have had this in the area of friendship specifically, and also when playing an instrument. My life was focused on piano playing for about eight years, but over the past few years I have forgotten what its like to sit down, and let my fingers tap away with such joy in my heart, and I miss those days. Sometimes life gets in the way of enjoyment and it is important for us to delight in everything that we do. If certain obstacles prevent us from fulfilling our dreams it is easy to fall into the trap of self-pity, we need to put our hope into pursuing and cultivating a great life for ourselves. This chapter really stood out to me because it’s so easy to get lost along the way that you forget to truly enjoy life.
You can delight in a variety of things, and I particularly liked that chapter because it talks about the arts. I delight in painting and music, and theatre, so it really stood out to me.
Last, but not least, the last chapter called “Everlasting Enjoyment” focuses on the spiritual side of things, delighting in not only the here and now, but looking forward to the future, and it talks about faith and hope. To be truly complete, you must have hope. I particularly like how they use scripture such as Romans 5:35 how it says that ‘suffering produces endurance, endurance produces character, and character produces hope’, and especially it ends with a C. S. Lewis quote: “For the present is the point at which time touches eternity.
So, I hope that even if you don’t read this book, that you have learnt something to truly learn to enjoy your life by doing things that you love.
In tribute to Camilla’s 70th birthday I thought I would do a post on her, regardless of anything, I never thought of doing a post on her, but she is still part of the royal family! Please note that I used words from Royal Central which I absolutely loved because it is to do with reading and writing. It is such a good “read”! I would love to have elaborated more, but Royal Centrals post was quite concise and succinct, so I hope you love reading this and of course, with both the word “bookshelf” and “garden party”, I’m in!
The Duchess has always been supportive of encouraging reading and writing in young children, and last year hosted a writing competition run by the BBC. This year she was been working with a project run by the National Literacy Trust, and in honour of her seventieth birthday later this month. The project has seen seventy books selected as the most popular books chosen by primary school children across the country. These seventy books complete with the Duchess’s bookshelves will be given to seventy selected primary schools across the country.
This Tuesday, Camilla welcomed a party of schoolchildren to Clarence House. Partly to launch the project, now the seventy books have been selected; and partly as an early birthday party. The children were brought to Clarence House in an iconic red bus driven by the comedian, Britain’s Got Talent judge, and children’s author David Walliams. David was probably quite please his own talent had been recognised – two of his books, Gangsta Granny and The Boy in the Dress were included in the seventy! A set of the books was also presented to the Duchess, who assured those gathered that the bookcase would be placed in a central place so that all five of her grandchildren could borrow them without fighting over them.
There is a wide selection of books on the list, which includes non-fiction books on coding and the solar-system together with fiction books that have been classics for children throughout the generations. These include classics by Road Dahl and Michael Bond who sadly died earlier this month, and more modern books like the first of the Harry Potter novels by JK Rowling, the books by David Walliams and the Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney.
The Duchess loves reading and sharing children’s books, and is the patron of several organisations which promote and support literacy, including the National Literacy Trust, Beanstalk, BookTrust, First Story, Roald Dahl and the Wicked Young Writer Awards.
She is also the Royal Patron of the National Literacy Trust who are behind this project.
Note: This is all copied from Royal Central, it is not my own words, but I loved it so much I had to share and particularly loved the reading/writing/literacy side of things.
I hoped to have read the list of 20 books in My Book Collection, but because of the whole move from Merredin to Scarborough it’s been too busy to just sit down and take the time to read, except for today….. I hardly had anything to do, so I pulled out a book that I had my eye on for months and I am completely taken by this one, because it is set in the Regency Period. I particularly like the period in the early 19th century because it was followed by the Victorian Period and was during the reign of King George IV.
Today I had such an awesome day! I have never had such a productive Sunday in all my life!!!!
I attended TWO workshops in Merredin at the Community Resource Centre. It cost $40 per workshop and it was with The Society of Women Writers WA.
My granny was a member so it has been a desire to join as well, like I have said, she has played a BIG role in my life and I believe there is a story that she left behind. I need to read her book! She’s left a Legacy for me.
I met Maria Bonar who is the Vice President and Wendy Stackhouse who wrote a book called “Two Old Boots and a Backpack“! We had a conversation about Rio and a bit about her travels.
Wendy hosted the workshop, Self Publish to Amazon and Creating Book Covers which went from 1pm to 4pm. She wrote the course in a book called “Visual Guide to Publishing on Amazon – Self Publishing” which I only bought for $10. On Amazon it is $8.96 and you can download it onto Kindle, your laptop or iPhone!
The first workshop I attended was “Storytelling” which Helen Iles presented. There was only me in the classroom!!!! Hehe
She helped me a lot with the idea of creating a novel which I have mentioned previously, but I haven’t felt as confident about writing a book because I go through stages where I don’t think I’m quite educated and don’t know big words! I only went to Footscray City Secondary College from Year 8 to 12! But I know I shouldn’t talk down on myself because who knows! I’ve always believed everyone is talented. It’s like singing, you may think you don’t have the voice but if you go to lessons and keep on practicing you can fine tune yourself.
If you’re thinking of writing, why not give it a crack! I never in my life thought I would be a blogger!!!!! And look where I am now. 1014 followers currently & that makes me driven!!!!! And want to fine tune my writing even more. I’m no typical Aussie where I can talk about outback stories even though I am in the outback! Haha! But I try and do my best. I am a city girl at heart and my stories would be different. I could write a story about an office girl, or an intern who wants that promotion in a magazine company!!!! Now, That’s my kind of story! Something like The Devil Wears Prada. 😜
Back to basics, the storytelling workshop honed in on character analysis and we talked about my idea for a novel. Things you have to ask yourself are, is the main character religious? What’s the personality like? What does she love to do? Level of schooling? Ambitions? Who’s her best friend? Does she have pets? All these things and more have opened up my mind and more brainstorming for my characters.
Things I haven’t even thought about have come to the table and I have to think about my characters occupation, birthday, brothers and sisters – it has opened up to a whole arena! And I am going to try my best at writing. I talked about this openly in Wondrous Writing as well.
I also had to write a short synopsis of my favourite book (The Governess of Highland Hall) using SIX emotionally powerful words.
This is what I wrote.
“As Julia travels back to Berkshire, England from doing missionary work in India, she applies for a job at Highland Hall as a governess. It is truly an extraordinary journey as she faces times of reflection and deep-thought teaching the Ramsey children about qualities of virtue. William Ramsey, the widowed father is astonished by her level of education that he falls in love with her heart that is full of compassion and pure innocence.”
Does that GRAB you!!?? If you’re a sucker for historical romance like me, then I am sure that synopsis works for you!
One thing I learnt!
Don’t restrict your pen!!!!!
That was the FIRST thing I learnt and I am hoping this one little sentence gives me hope to just write on!
Also, Put time aside.
Allowing yourself time is the best thing you can do. If you have mountains of chores to do, prioritise them, spend some time writing for 10-30 minutes or whatever you can do and then get back to those chores! And then when you have a time where you are bored and have nothing else to do. WRITE!
I just finished packing the dishwasher, then I asked Mum what else I could do and she said no and I was happy to go back to my blogging!!!!! It gives me such excitement and a passion to do this and have never felt a fulfilled heart like this before. Honestly, you will feel so much achievement when you have finished publishing that article!!!!!
Do some research for character names and maybe randomly Google names of places for your set location! Research the time period. For example, I am going to start reading THREE books I have listed in my Book Collection blog, Venetia, Cotillion and Sylvester written by Georgette Heyer because these book covers and stories and time period of the regency period appeal to me. And I hope I write something similar to that genre.
Read, read, read.
I think I have said this before, but it’s what inspires you to write!!!! Having an open mind to new things and openness to learning opens up a whole new world!!!!! You will then get ideas for conflict and a storyline, and what to put in.
I still have MUCH to learn! But I just wanted to share with you what I learnt today and I am excited to read, write and learn!
So, I hope what you have read on this blog has inspired you to either write, read or type!
I love my trusty laptop! And my fingers typing away like mad! I hope hope HOPE there’s a story in me……..
P.S Wendy was such a lovely lady so I bought her book for $10, all about when she went backpacking around South America. We talked a lot about blurb, and this grabbed me.
“Read this entertaining adventure as the two fifty year olds traverse one of the world’s most diverse continents, discovering not only its beauty and hidden treasures, but also a greater insight into themselves.”
Can you spot the “emotional” keywords?
Also you can go to The Society of Women Writers WA website
A member of the society, Anne Marie Price wrote a book called “The search for the King James Bible“. The title grabbed me as I am interested in biblical history and it sounds like a good story too!
I downloaded it on Amazon for Kindle and it was only $3 to purchase! I am completely intrigued!!!!!!
I admire people who write books!!!
It’s not an easy task….. Storylines, plots, characters, settings, there is sooooo much you need to invest in to get a great story happening.
As I have mentioned before, my favourite book so far is “The Governess of Highland Hall” by Carrie Turansky. She is an eloquent writer and I JUST finished “A Refuge at Highland Hall“, where the main characters were different to the first! I eagerly read on to find out how the friendship between Penny and Alex unfolded. I loved how they wrote to each other with such warm regards. It was a very heart warming kind of read and the picture of it is on the blog, My Book Collection. The ending was satisfying and it just finished off so well and exactly how I liked it! It left me feeling giddy and romantic on the inside!!!
I have decided to move onto “Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Bronte which is also mentioned in my previous blog on books.
I always remember the start how she curled up behind the curtain sitting by the window reading a book because I can so relate to that! Hiding away from the world and getting caught up in a world of fantasy and intrigue. It is what I do mostly with my time. Apart from shopping and drinking coffee, book reading is my first love!
I have so much more I want to add to the list but I think 20 books a year is enough to keep you going. What I have listed are a great collection and I think it will keep me busy which is what I want. I love keeping busy, and reading and writing are on TOP of the list. I’m a lover of the Good Reads app which keeps everything shelved and in the right piles. My granny was a writer, so if I could follow in her footsteps and be anything like her I would feel successful. She married a Western Australian author, Donald Stuart and he wrote a number of books which were mainly to do with farms, aboriginal heritage and such. It is very Australian!
I am enjoying Season Six of Downton Abbey and am stoked about a few of the scenes so far! Because I am in Australia I am up to Episode 5 and won’t see it till next Monday!!!
Now, I have created a “What to buy list” and NUMBER ONE is a book called “Not by Sight” by Kate Breslin. It is apparently set in World War II and was inspired by Season 2 of Downton Abbey. I can’t WAIT to buy this book!!!! I came across it on Carrie Turansky’s website. She has a blog as well and recommends books that are similar to hers and in the same time period. You can sign up to her newsletter and get updated with what she is doing regarding her blog, and novel writing. Well, you can do that with BOTH authors!!
So, I decided to google the word “blog” and there was an informative definition on Wikipedia, but what got me the most was that it can be seen as a social networking service. When I think about it, I love the idea that I can build social relations with my readers and even other bloggers!!! Such as my favourite bloggers that I mentioned on “My TOP 10 Favourite Bloggers“.
I could not believe my eyes when I saw “937” followers and I still can not believe it TODAY. I never thought I would be doing something as fulfilling as this. Even if I don’t get comments, 937 people are “special” to me and I hope I can produce even BETTER content in the NEXT post!!! I hope YOU are enjoying reading my blog! YOU are why I keep on going, and I have not had as much fun in my life!!! I see my blog posts as more personal rather than business minded. Although, I would LOVE the idea of creating it as a business! Who’s to know what will eventually happen!!!! Writing for a magazine would be fun! and there are plenty of dream jobs out there. I like the idea of branding and creating something out of my name, ‘Exquisite Emmalisa’. I’m full of creative ideas and want to put it into good use. Whether I have a lot of followers or not, my goal is to create a space where I can convey my thoughts and ideas or creations into one whole diary.
When I was a teenager I was BIG on journaling and I feel as an adult now, that this is in replacement for that! I can share with you my creative ideas and thoughts on fashion, travel, beauty and everything else about life!!!! I love conversing about motivational books as well, and motivational quotes speak to me to help me in certain times.
With this blog I did something different to every other blog I posted. I handwrote it. When typing, things come flooding to me but it feels that when you hand write it, it is more intimate when writing it by pen. I am sure a lot of people would agree with me, that writing it down yourself makes it more personal. I could go on and on, but the main thing is that I wanted to post something more on an intimate level now that I know how many people are following.
I think it can be a big responsibility and that you have to be accountable for what you say and do when you have a big following, but like I said “how many followers is not important“, it is what you do for yourself that counts, and I take responsibility to everything that I write on here.
I have borrowed two books from the library, “How to be a writer” – Building your creative skills through practice and play” by Barabaa Baig and “Creative Web Writing” by Jane Dorner. If you are new to blogging, I suggest that you go to the library, – what better place to start!! and go through the “Arts” section. You never know, you could be well on your way to writing a bestseller. I went to do a Proofreading and Editing course in Melbourne with Australian Colleges, and completed all tutorials, but lost the last assignment in the post, so never got the qualification. I have all the tutorials, and know exactly what I did. So maybe a course like that is for you! Now that I have done it, I have more of an eye for editing, and grammar. I love correcting work, but not sure about having it as an actual job!! It used to be a dream job to me…. but my pathway is probably going in a different direction now.
Find a book in the library that you like. I know that they say “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover”, but I am a sucker for covers, if something is really pretty and has an excellent title to go with it, I grab it!!!! My eyes light up like a Christmas tree when I see a new Sophie Kinsella book come out!
So, happy reading, and enjoy life as a blogger/writer…. Or whatever YOU do.
I’ll tell you now, this is on my list now, “London’s Afternoon Teas”. It looks exquisite and an excellent guide to venues in the heart of London. I want to get this for when I GO there!!! and I still CAN NOT wait!!!!
What was the last book you read?
How many books are you reading this year?
Can you share a favourite book of yours?