Posted in Character Development, Writing, Writing 101

Writing 101: A Childhood Greenhouse

This was written in response to Writing 101: Size Matters. I managed to vary my sentence length between 8 and 20 words. Hopefully this range is enough to get me the twist for this prompt. 🙂

As a child, I spent more time in Mom’s plant nursery than at the apartment where we slept.

Mom taught me about each of the plants she grew. She would quiz me on the properties of each plant. When I turned twelve, she finally allowed me to help plant the seeds.

Plants were the only thing Mom shared about her childhood. Mom never talked about her parents unless she was also talking about her beloved plants.

While I learned that a love of plants runs in the family, I was never taught my grandparents’ names. I can’t even say if they are still alive or where they might live.

I use to imagine who they were. Sometimes I would pretend that my grandparents were scientists who developed new plants in the middle of the Amazon rainforest. At other times, my grandparents made medicines from the rare and exotic plants in their greenhouses.

Most times, I imagined that my grandparents grew the same plants Mom and I did. As I would water the tender shoots, I would pretend my grandparents were watering their plants alongside me.

I may not have known Mom’s childhood home, but in my imagination it was the same as mine; a warm, wonderful greenhouse.

Posted in Challenges, Writing 101, Writing Exercises

Writing 101: Character Building Exercise

This post was written in response to Writing 101: A Character Building Experience.

 

Write a post about the most interesting person you’ve met in the past year. To be honest, I don’t feel as if I have met any one person who was more interesting than the rest. However, I have met some very interesting people who I will attempt to portray in this post.

I have met a baker who never smiles. A look at his face might give the impression of discontent and anger. However, a conversation would show the baker to be an optimist. The baker has a quick wit, which captivates listeners. To judge this baker by his looks, one might turn away and miss the chance to meet a wonderful man.

I have become better acquainted to a man who is the embodiment of strength. Despite being dependent on blood transfusions, he helps with chores and longs to return to work. In the days before a transfusion, he is sluggish but still manages to help his wife take care of the house. Every improvement is a celebrated victory and every day is an improvement.

Of course, I have also met some people who leave much to be desired. I have also met a mother who refuses to discipline her child. When her toddler bites, she laughs. If her sister is in the room, it is her sister’s job to look after the child. There is no attempt to control voice. All because she fears turning as abusive as her child’s father.

I have met a woman who is struggling against her mind. Anxiety and depression are constantly creeping into her thoughts. She has learned positive coping skills over the years but yearns for the quick fixes she once used. This woman is determined to win this daily battle with her husband’s help.

While I have met many more people in the past year, these four are the ones which come to mind as I am writing. I hope you enjoyed a glimpse into their lives, short as it was.

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.