Posted in Character Development, On Writing, Post a Day/Week

Interview Your Characters

Every writer has a way to get to know their characters. For some writers this is an incredibly detailed process which involves character sheets, pictures and profiles on social network sites. For other writers the process involves nothing more than writing the character’s story.

For me, the process is different for each character. Some characters come to my mind fully formed and I am able to produce multiple pages about them. Other characters take time to fully form and it is only after the story is finished that I have a grasp on them.

One of the methods that I use is what I affectionately call “The Interrogation” though it could more accurately be known as character interviews. The interrogation is a two-step process which involves coming up with questions and answering the questions.

Coming up with questions can be as simple as searching for character questionnaires or as difficult as deciding what questions you want to ask. If you decide that you want to choose the questions then it helps to keep in mind both your story and the world your story is set in.

The reason you should keep your story and world in mind when figuring out questions is that not all questions will be pertinent to your story. Each story has things that are important. By knowing what is important to your story, you will know what you need to figure out about your characters. For instance, if magic is important to your story you should know if your characters can use magic.

Once you have a list of questions that you feel comfortable with you can begin answering them. There are two ways that you can answer these questions.

The first way is to answer from the character’s point of view. This way is very similar to magazine interviews. I prefer this way because how the answers are given can give further insight to the character’s personality.

The second way is to answer the questions from your point of view. You can do this in point form answers or by writing paragraphs in response to each question. This way of answering is a bit more in-depth for background but can give less information about personality.

Regardless of which way you choose to answer the questions you should know more about your characters by the time you answer the last question.

Posted in Post a Day/Week, Writing

Magic

Round about the pond
Puddles always near
Sit on little stumps
Noises do I hear
Birds go flying by
Resting in the green
Bits of colour all around
There’s magic to be seen

Posted in Post a Day/Week, Writing

Make-Believe

Trigger Warning:
This poem has a theme of depression. If this theme affects you I would advise against reading.

Continue reading “Make-Believe”

Posted in Post a Day/Week, Writing

Meeting George

Sisterhood “I give up Emma. This place is impossible to find.” Carrianne slumped down into the leather booth and peered at her friend over the table.

“Nothing is impossible!” Emma raised her fist in the air. “We will –“

“Emma!” Carrianne sat up quickly and batted at Emma’s arm. “You don’t have to shout. I’m sitting in front of you.”

Emma smiled sheepishly. “Sorry.”

“You’re forgiven,” Carrianne said while rolling her eyes. “Just remember to use your indoor voice.”

“Yeah, yeah.” Emma waved off Carrianne’s words.

“Excuse me ladies.” An elderly man with coke-bottle glasses stood by the table and handed the girls menus. “Can I get you anything to drink?”

“I’ll have a coffee, black,” Carrianne said with a light smile.

“Do you have milkshakes?” Emma asked as she batted her eyelashes.

“Yes we do.” The man’s voice had a slight country twang to it. “We’ve got vanilla, chocolate or strawberry. I recommend the strawberry as we get them fresh from the field this time of year.”

“Excellent.” Emma peered at the man’s name tag. “George, I will have a strawberry milkshake.”

George left, presumably to make their drinks, and the girls went back to their conversation.

“Do you remember anything about Winterwood?” Emma asked.

Carrianne shook her head. “I was only five. The only thing I remember was one of the older kids kept teasing me. I think it was a boy; Matt or Mark. Something like that. I use to call him the terror.”

Emma giggled. “You? Call someone a terror? Never.”

“Oh, be quiet.” Carrianne looked over at the counter and noticed George staring at them. “People are staring.”

Emma looked around. “No they aren’t. There’s no one here to stare. Pity, I was hoping they would be cute.”

“Not customers. That old man was staring at you.”

“Who? George? He can stare if he wants. He’s sweet.”

Carrianne slapped her forehead. “Emma! We just met the man. How can you know if he’s sweet or a murderous maniac with a chainsaw?”

“Easy, he doesn’t have a chainsaw.”

“That’s because it’s getting repaired; Puts a damper on the killing.” George set a bright pink milkshake in front of Emma and a steaming cup of coffee in front of Carrianne, who had turned red with embarrassment.

“Sorry about that. I’m trying to teach her to be careful around strangers.”

“No offense.” George laughed which made his brown eyes sparkle like melted chocolate. “I grew up with a friend like her. She kept me on my toes before she moved to the city.”

“That’s sad,” Emma said while frowning. “What happened to her?”

“Well, she got married and had a little girl. Settled down better than anyone else I know.”

“That’s ‘cuz she got out all her crazy.” Emma nodded sagely.

Carrianne rolled her eyes. “George, I was wondering if you might help us. We managed to get a little lost.”

“Most people do ‘round here. Where’re ya looking for?”

“Winterwood! Home of adventure!” Emma said between slurps of her milkshake.

“Well, that is a tricky one. Not many people come through looking for that. I reckon you passed it long ago.”

“Thanks, George,” Carrianne said dismissively.

“Now hold on. I didn’t say I couldn’t help. Why are you looking for Winterwood anyway?” George pulled over a chair from a nearby table and sat down.

“Adventure, treasure –“

“My family is from there,” Carrianne interrupted Emma with a cold glance.

“What did you say your name was little one?”

Carrianne’s eyes narrowed as she subtly slipped further into the booth, away from George.

“I didn’t but my family name is Picketts.”

“You’re not Wilhelmina’s daughter by any chance?” George said, his demeanor seeming a lot more friendly.

“Yes, she was the one that told me to come. Why? Did you know her?”

“Bet she’s the friend. Your mom seems like the crazy in her youth type.”

“She was.” George laughed. “Use to talk to her all the time. But I haven’t heard from her in over a year now. Funny that she sent you. I remember her saying that she would never send her Carrie back to Winterwood.”

“You haven’t heard from her because she died,” Carrianne stated. “She had cancer.”

“May she rest in peace.” George made the sign of the cross on his body.

Carrianne frowned. “You’re catholic? I never would have expected that.”

“Because I work on the reservation or because I look Native? I am a Catholic Native though. I even go to Mass twice a week.”

“No, it’s not either of those things. It’s just something Mom said about Winterwood. I thought everyone around here was part of a crazy religious cult. You seem surprisingly normal.”

George laughed and stood up. “Sit tight, I’ll draw you a map and make you some breakfast. It would have been a long drive from the city to get here.”

Posted in A.P. Roberts, For the Promptless, Post a Day/Week

Cryptozoology: Tuatha de Danann

This week’s Prompt for the Promptless is Cryptozoology.

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Cryptozoology is the search for legendary creatures whether to prove or disprove their existence.

I grew up hearing stories of the Tuatha de Danann. Stories that wove them into myths and legends that may not have originally been linked with them.

For those who have never heard of the Tuatha de, I will attempt to explain. They are Irish and their name means “Danu’s People” or “Danu’s Tribe”.

It is said that the Tuatha de have the stance and grace of the gods. They are descendents of Nemed. The Tuatha de arrived in Ireland by riding a black cloud which blocked out the sun for three days.

The Tuatha de had four treasures which they brought to Ireland but which were lost. My favourite of the four treasures is the Spear of Lugh though my reason for it being my favourite is because it was in Alison Baird’s books.

When I think of magical beings, I think Tuatha de. I think towering majesty and terrifying beauty.

If I could prove the existence of any magical being, I would want it to be the Tuatha de. It would be absolutely terrifying but amazingly wonderful as well.

Posted in On Writing, Post a Day/Week

Writing on a Schedule

English: Gentaur schedule
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are two groups of writers; those who write on a schedule and those who write when inspiration hits. While I am in the group that writes when inspiration hits, I want to be in the group that writes on a schedule.

The first reason for wanting a schedule is that I feel it would help me get into my writer mindset. A schedule would make me write rather than me saying “I can write later”. I would be able to train my brain that at a certain time I start writing and I don’t stop until the time limit is reached.

The second reason is that I want to have a divide between my writing and life. At the moment my life has no schedule because Sweety and I are both off work for health reasons. Because of this lack of schedule I’ve been attempting to write while spending time with Sweety. It has gotten to the point where I am interrupted every time I open up my computer to start writing. With a schedule I can let people know that for this time period I am writing and don’t want distractions.

My last reason for wanting a schedule is so that I can give myself deadlines. I can say that I want to write a certain number of scenes in each time period or that I want to use one of the time periods to edit a story. By setting deadlines I can measure my writing goals and try to improve my output.

Do you find yourself writing on a schedule or do you write when inspiration hits? Do you prefer one method over the other?

Posted in A.P. Roberts, Post a Day/Week

Happy Canada Day!

Today is Canada Day. Soon the fireworks will go off and I will happily be watching from the apartment window with my Sweety.

But until that time I am celebrating by finishing the planning for my Camp NaNo story. Rather than trying to write a completely new story, I’ve decided to go with The Sisterhood storyline that I started through Prompts for the Promptless.

I realize that today starts Camp Nano and I should be writing instead of planning. But I’m planning in a very lazy way and writing would take more time away from the celebrations. I can’t run the risk of getting caught up in writing and forgetting about the fireworks.

So, for all my fellow Canadians have a happy Canada Day. For my fellow writers who are taking part in the Camp NaNo challenge I wish you luck on your word counts.

Posted in On Writing, Post a Day/Week

Music To My Muse

If you go on any writing forum you will find writer’s sharing the playlists they’ve made to help with their writing. There are multiple threads on the NaNo site devoted to writing playlists. Writers share the music they listen to when writing action scenes or romantic encounters. They share songs that help them get in the mind of their characters.

It is such a common occurrence that it seems like music and writing go hand in hand. If you write you should be listening to music.

Unfortunately, not everyone can listen to music and write at the same time. Some people prefer absolute silence when they’re writing while others need that background noise.

I admit that I cannot write to music. I need silence when I write or else I will write in what I’m listening to. If someone talks to me or starts playing music when I’m writing, it will end up in my story. Most of the time it doesn’t even make sense but it ends up there anyway. I could be writing about WWIII and end up with a scene about unicorns because someone started playing The Irish Rovers.

Because of my lack of skill in multitasking, I am unable to write with music. Sometimes I feel like I’m missing out by writing to silence but then I think of how strange the stories would be if I did write them to music.

What about you? Do you find that music influences your writing? Is the influence mild or do you find yourself writing the lyrics instead of your story?

If you do write with music then check out these threads over on the NaNo site:

**Please note that these links are only good until the 2013 relaunch of the NaNo site.
Posted in Post a Day/Week, Writing

Home Sweet Home

 

I hear the Island calling me
Though I'm far away
I dream of it at night
My cradle in the waves

Sand beneath my feet
Salt spray upon my face
When I see those red tinged cliffs
I know I've found my place

With calls of "Hey der buddy
Hows it goin? Where've ya bin?"
Feels like I've never left
Though it's been ages since I've been
Home sweet home
Posted in Post a Day/Week, Writing

The Fairy’s Cure

A fairy tale that I started writing for last week’s Prompt for the Promptless. It was a 30-5 Challenge and was written in 30 minutes.

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Once magic was wild and free. Depending on magic’s mood, rain could change into food or lava. The days could end up being bright with life or dark with despair.

Magic seemed to bless different creatures by giving them powers. Fairies were given the power of light and childlike wonder. Dragons were given wisdom and strength. Gnomes were given control over plants and water.

The people thought they would be blessed if they followed magic’s whims. But, try as they may, magic never seemed to bless the people with more power.

Ages went by with the people watching magic bless other creatures. The people began to crave the power that magic was giving away. Some tried to harness magic’s power and use it for themselves. But magic was too strong for them and the power consumed their bodies.

Many died in this quest for power but still the people tried.

Eventually someone had the idea to weaken magic. If magic’s power was weakened, then it would be easier to obtain.

A disease was created in the hope that it would attack magic. But it didn’t work the way they had planned. The disease attacked people and weakened them.

Confused, the creators of the disease worked furiously to create a cure. One attempt after another was made but the disease only grew stronger.

The people cried out for a hero; someone to save them from their mistake. But no one stepped forward.

Years went by with each generation growing weaker than the last. Parents were living longer than their children. Grandparents were raising grandchildren who rarely lived past their childhood.

Eventually, when the people had given up on their fate, a fairy appeared in the village. The fairy, at half the size of a small child, seemed to glow with an inner light that made grown men cower.

The fairy laughed as she danced through the streets gathering the people. “Don’t be afraid. I’m here to help you. Follow me and I’ll teach you the secret of a long life.”

The people of the village followed the fairy, attracted by her light and the promise of a cure. When everyone was gathered in one area, the fairy began her story.

“People were created by magic. Every person has a piece of magic inside of them. When you try to steal magic that does not belong to you, then everyone suffers.” The fairy looked around. People were standing with their arms crossed and faces turned toward the ground. “When you try to make your light shine brightest then you end up dimming it instead.”

The adults of the village scoffed and dismissed the fairy. One by one the adults wandered away but the children stood in awe of what the fairy was telling them.

“When people tried to steal magic’s power, you destroyed your own magic.” The fairy pointed at the adults who were leaving. “It is too late for them but it may not be too late for you.”

The fairy stepped toward the children and sat down among them. She gestured for them to join her on the ground. “I am going to tell you how to get rid of the disease that is plaguing your people. I need you to listen closely to what I say.”

The children nodded and silently moved closer.

“You need to stop being selfish. Your light grows brighter the more you help others.” The fairy opened her hands in front of her with each palm holding a small flame. “You all have a light inside of you that is like the flames I hold. When you think only of yourself and your own power, the flame grows smaller and you grow weaker. This is what you call the disease.”

The flame in the fairy’s left hand slowly grew smaller and the children gasped in fear.

“If you help others in need then your light will grow.” The flame in the fairy’s right hand grew to twice its size. “The more you help others; the more your light grows.”

A small child, no older than four, crawled closer to the fairy. “How does you help him?”

The fairy smiled and her eyes lit up with hope. “You can help others by being nice. If someone has trouble with their chores, you can offer to help them to finish what is left. If your mother feels sick, you can clean the house or make the food. If your father is hurt, you can feed the animals or tend the crops.”

“Why are you telling us this?” asked an older girl who had her arms crossed in front of her chest. “It’s not like it will fix us.”

The fairy laughed. “It won’t fix you but it will keep you from getting sick. I’m here because magic sent me. We’ve seen the plight of people and we want to help.”

“Mom says that the disease was sent by magic because we were close to destroying it and taking its power. If we can get magic’s power then the disease will disappear.” The girl reached over and tugged on the arm of a younger girl who was sitting beside her. “We need to go Carol. Mom will be mad if we’re late.”

“But I want to stay with the fairy.” The younger girl pulled back away from her sister.

“It’s alright child,” the fairy said. “You have heard enough to help. As for your sister’s question, the disease was not sent by magic but was created by people. It was made to weaken magic but those who created it did not know that people were made of magic. This is why the disease attacks people. This is also why you must strengthen your magic to overcome the disease.”

The fairy looked around at the children. The older children looked sceptical and the younger children looked hopeful. “I will not keep you much longer but I will leave you with this knowledge. When you help others you will feel the warmth of your flame growing. The more your flame grows, the more people will try to stop you. People want to extinguish your magic; they will tell you that there is no need to help others. They will try to stop you. You must not let them extinguish your flame.”

The fairy disappeared before the children could ask more questions. Slowly, they wandered off back home; each of them lost in their thoughts of the fairy.

At first life in the village remained the same but soon it was obvious that the children were acting different.  They were helping each other with chores and doing more around the house.

The more the children helped others, the older they were before they grew sick with the disease. Some of them were able to avoid getting sick at all.

The next generation learned from the fairy’s children and grew to an age older than their parents. The generations that followed grew much older than the generations before.

Soon, the disease itself was a distant memory but everyone knew the story of the Fairy’s Cure.