Tag Archive | Characters

February Writing Prompts: Creating Characters

q-writerswriteCreating characters for stories is never an easy thing to do. It’s not easy to just come up with a character off the top of your head and slap a name on him or her and call him or her ready to go. Creating characters are much more complex than that. Essentially, writers are creating real living, breathing, and well rounded creatures, just like human beings, and breathe life into their characters. They come with full backgrounds, families, personalities, looks, likes, dislikes, and so on just as real people, such as you and I, do. In order to create believable, honest, and real characters for your stories, you have to practice at building people out of nothing. You can pull ideas on characters from everywhere around you: people you know, people you see walk passed you, yourself, and every corner of this Earth, as well as from your imagination.

Let these writing prompts for this month help you gather ideas for the characters you wish to create and write about. Get to know these characters as if you were meeting someone new for the first time. Know your characters as well as you know yourself, your family, and your friends. Characters are just strangers that come into your life and you, as a reader and as a writer, get to know them better than you know anyone else on this Earth.

Here are the writing prompts on creating characters for the month of February:

  • Write a story/scene/poem/etc. in which the main character is based on yourself, but when you’re 55-70 years old. How have you changed? What is your personality and demeanor like, as opposed to now? Have you accomplished the things that you wanted to? What do you look like? Where do you live? Who are the people in your life?
  • Write about someone who hides his or her, physical or emotional, pain in the work they do. Does someone notice and try to help them with getting rid of the cause of the pain?
  • Write about a main character discovering his or her doppelgänger. How would your character react? What is the doppelganger like personality, physically, etc?
  • What emotions motivate your character’s journey? Show us without saying the emotion. Have someone read it when your done and see if that person can distinguish which emotion motivates your character.
  • How did your character overcome their obstacles and set backs in the story?
  • What would your character say, or how would your character react, if his or her dark secrets were aired for all to know? Show us in a scene or two, or simply write out a summary.
  • Would you consider your character a threat to others? Write a summary or brainstorm of how your character is a threat, and how your character is not a threat.
  • What do you think your character’s breaking point is? How would you show that in a scene?

Get to Know Your Characters:     

(www.writingforward.com)

Background and Family

  • Unearth your character’s roots. What is the character’s ancestry or cultural background? How does ancestry shape your character? Is the character at odds with family traditions?
  • Write a series of short paragraphical biographies of each of the character’s closest family members: spouse, children, parents, grandparents, siblings, close friends, etc.
  • Write a monologue in which your character summarizes his or her life story; be sure to write it in the character’s voice.

Motivations and Goals

  • What motivates your character? Money? Love? Truth? Power? Justice?
  • What does your character want more than anything else in the world? What is he or she searching for?
  • What other characters or events are interfering with your character’s goals? What obstacles are in the way?

Flaws and Fears

  • What is your character’s single greatest fear? How did your character acquire his or her fears?
  • What are your character’s flaws and weaknesses?
  • How does the character’s fears and flaws prevent them from reaching their goals?

Appearance

  • What does your character look like? Make a list and include the following: hair, eyes, height, weight, build, etc.
  • Now choose one aspect of the character’s appearance, a detail (bitten nails, frizzy hair, a scar) and elaborate on it.
  • Write a short scene in which your character is looking in the mirror or write a short scene in which another character first sees your character.

Personality

  • How does your character feel on the inside? What kind of person is your character and what does the character’s internal landscape look like?
  • We don’t always present ourselves to others in a way that accurately reflects how we feel inside. We might be shy or insecure but come across as stuck-up and aloof. How do others perceive your character?
  • Write a scene with dialogue that reveals your character’s external and internal personalities. Good settings for this dialogue would be an interview, appointment with a therapist, or a conversation with a romantic interest or close friend. Write the scene in third person so you can get inside your character’s head as well as the other character’s head; this will allow you explore how your character feels and how he or she is perceived.

Enjoy these writing prompts. May they bring you insight and understanding into your own characters. Write on, my fellow writers and readers.

-Jessica.

 

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Vestige Novel Chapter 2 (Reworked and Edited): Rena’s POV

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Chapter Two: Rena’s POV

How could this have happened? I watched still as stone as Amos and Constantine reach out and catch Jamie before she hit the ground. She had fainted. Much worse than that, she knew about the Dark Ones now. A dangerous force in the world that Vanessa never wanted her to know the existence of. What was Jamie doing in the woods at this time of night? My mind whirled as I ran my hands through my long dark locks.

            I had met her a few times before when I went to visit my old friend, Vanessa. Jamie was Vanessa’s seventeen-year-old adoptive daughter. As hard as this was going to be for the both of them, and more so for Vanessa, Jamie knew about them now, and something had to be done about it.

Amos and Constantine looked up at me with the same matching expressions on their faces of concern and shock. Neither of them had ever seen a human be so bold as to attack a Dark One without fear. I had never known humans were strong enough to actually take one down without dying in the process.

Gazing down at her now, a silent sigh of disappointment slipped between my lips. Jamie was still out cold. Her dark golden hair and her life drained face was covered in beads of sweat, matting strands of hair to her forehead.

“Is she alright?” I finally asked them, not bothering to check myself. Their guesses were as good as my own.

They placed her down carefully on the ground and looked her over. Amos put two of his fingers to the main vein on the throat of her neck to check her pulse. “She is breathing; unconscious, yet breathing. She will live to see another day.” He examined, his Spaniard accent clear in his voice. He met my gaze with worrisome eyes. “What should we do now with the girl? She has seen too much for human eyes.”

I knew what he meant.

Constantine’s eyes rounded and bulged at the same time we heard his sharp intake of breath.

“What is it Constantine?” Amos and I asked in unisons, stepping closer to him.

“Her arm! Look at the girl’s arm! Tell me it isn’t what I think it is.”

At my son Constantine’s request, I walked over and bent down hovering over Jamie like Amos and Constantine were now doing. He pointed a shaking finger to the nape between her upper and lower right arm. “There,” he pointed.

We followed his gaze and direction with our eyes. Amos positioned his flashlight on the section of her arm, so we could see it better under the fluorescent light. When the light shone over the area, we saw what Constantine meant. In the nape between her upper and lower arm were three distinct needle marks. They were surrounded by bruises and her veins were a vibrant violet color at the moment in hand.

It was clearly obvious to Amos, Constantine, and I what the marks meant. We all stood back up.

“The girl has been marked. She probably fainted from the pain of the change,” Amos shook his head. “She’s so young. They always are.” His gaze fell on her. “The world will never be the same for her again.”

Constantine nodded in agreement. “Because she is going through the change that must be why she had the strength to take down that Dark One. Strange, but intriguing. However, even those going through the change shouldn’t be able to be as strong as she was.”

It made complete sense if one looked at it that way. Still a newly changed Immortali shouldn’t have the knowledge it would require to defeat a Dark One or kill it, let alone one who’s still going through the change.

Amos yawned. The dark lines under his eyes were evidence of his exhaustion. We had been tracking the Dark One for days and chasing him for hours. Ours wards were waiting for us to return home.

“What should we do with her now? We can’t just leave her here and have humans find her. We would be risking exposure.” Amos was right. We couldn’t just leave her here.

I thought it over briefly though I already knew the answer. I knew the answer the second I realized that the girl was Jamie. “We will take the girl to her adoptive parent’s house and see where to go from there. Her house isn’t far from here. A few miles at best.”

Confusion was written in the furrowing of their brows and the stillness of their movements.

“You know this girl and her adoptive parents?” Amos wondered.

I nodded my head in her direction. “Yes, I do. Her name is Kathleen James McKenna, though she prefers to be called Jamie. Her adoptive parents are Mark and Vanessa McKenna of Trenton, New Jersey. They adopted her two years ago.”

Understanding flashed over their features the moment I said Vanessa’s name because they knew Vanessa as well.

Amos kneeled down and slid his hands under Jamie, lifting her off the ground, and put her into his arms without waking her up. She was still out cold.

Constantine’s eyes flickered down to the unconscious Dark One and up to me. “What should we do with him then?”

This was a job they could do without me for tonight at least. My current job was to make sure Vanessa knew what happened to her daughter. This is going to break her heart, I think sadly, but it has to be done. I held out my arms extended. “Give her to me,” I told Amos. He placed her into my arms, and I held her tight against my chest, so she wouldn’t fall. “I’m taking her to Vanessa. I’ll call you when I’m going to return. You two can deal with the Dark One without me for tonight. This is much more important than him.”

Neither of them contested my words.

Amos put his hand on my shoulder gently. “Be careful and return back safely to me, Renata,” he whispered. He worried too much. He knew that I was more than capable of taking care of myself.

Without another word to them, I carried Jamie back to her car on the side of the road. I found it easily in the night, and I put her securely in the backseat. I shut the door silently without waking her. Looking around, I see no one in sight for miles. Thinking over what I should tell Vanessa, I got into the driver’s seat, shutting the door, and I turned the key in the ignition. As the car hummed to life, I drove off on a new mission. A mission that I didn’t want to do, but I knew I had no choice.

Writers and Readers Live Many Lives

Writers and Readers Live Many Lives

Writers do write to taste life twice. In many ways, readers and writers alike both read and write books to jump into the story, see it through the eyes of the main character, and experience his/her adventure with them as if we are really there and his/her world is as tangible as our own realities.

When readers read books that have compelling story lines, real world situations, and characters with emotions that the readers can identify with. All books are written with this purpose in mind, that the stories readers choose to pick up are really fantasy worlds and have alternative lives that the readers themselves entertain to be their own worlds as they read.

Writers read books such as those too. Writers read them because they know that these are the books their readers want to read. These are the books that are going to show them, with the power of critical thinking and analyzing, how they need to write characters, plots, story lines, emotional build up, realism, themes, and how to relate to their readers. Everything is a learning lesson, especially in life and in books. The whole purpose of writing books is to share and teach readers life lessons. We aim to enrich their minds with the knowledge, ideas, and insights that we have within our own minds, because when we write our characters and our characters worlds and realities, we write with the readers in mind.  The abilities that we have as writers is that we can pull all of this information about our characters, where they come from, where they are now, and their journeys to get to where they have to go, and mentally, visually take it out of our minds and imprint it into our readers minds, so that way they, themselves, can see, hear, touch, taste, and smell everything happening in the book as we do, with a sense of realism and honesty etched into every word on the page.

So, yes, writers do write to taste life twice, and often times way more than just twice. Readers do this as well. They read to put themselves into others’ shoes, situations, and minds. We all grow as individuals, readers, and writers by what we read. We grow along with the stories and the characters. They are friends that are eternally emblazoned into our minds; memories of lifetimes we have lived.

My First Quote from Path of Shadows 2: HIDDEN IN SHADOWS

My gaze drifts over to Sarah, who’s sleeping across from me in her bunk bed. Brazael’s loud ranting doesn’t seem to wake her.

“Don’t worry about talking quietly,” Brazael says and nods over to Sarah. “She won’t be waking anytime soon.”

In confusion, I gaze back at where Sarah is sleeping. The pastel blue, cotton blankets are pulled up to her shoulders. Her face is turned away from me, so all I can see is her long, black braided hair from where I sit. There’s no movement from under the sheets. I can’t tell if she’s breathing or not.

“What did you do to her?” My eyes burn with bright anger as I meet his expectant gaze. I hold his stare momentarily before I focus on his mouth to break our gaze.

From his back pocket, he produces a butcher knife. Crimson red blood is matted over top of the gleaming silver blade. My mouth hangs open slightly as I recognize the knife. Turning around on the bed, I lift up my pillow. The knife I’d taken from the kitchen and placed under my pillow earlier is gone. Brazael has it in his hand.

Facing him now, I grab at my covers, clawing them until my hands ball into fists. I want to kill him, strip the life right out of his body, but I resist the powerful urge to do so. If I kill him, I’ll surely be exposing myself for who I really am. My mission will be ruined.

The Art of Characters

The Art of Characters

F. Scott Fitzgerald got it right when he spoke these words. Writers are many people in one body. To develop, create, craft, mold, and imagine characters up from bits and pieces of our daily encounters with people, shreds of ourselves, things we see everyday, and build them from the ground up in our imagination as people. People of whom become as real to us as flesh and blood. Friends, enemies, children, etc. We all have deep roots with our characters. In a way, it’s like childbirth; we go through the mental “pain” of giving them life, so that they can entertain our reads with their journeys and life stories. We become attached to them and we know them better than anyone else in this world. They essentially become a part of his, a part of our own personal history. We see through their eyes the world, their thoughts, their joy, their pain, their fear, everything. The real challenge is finding ways to make these characters relateable and telling their stories well enough to paint vivid pictures in our readers’ minds. That is the challenge every writer, beginner or master, has to become the victor at.

Elements of A Good Story

 

There are many elements that combined can make a good story. By good story, I mean a story that can pull a reader into the world weaved with believable characters and a dynamic plot and hold the reader there until the end of the story.

The first aspect that helps to make a good story is point of view. The perspective that a story is told through can either reveal an interesting, relatable story or an unreliable one. The point of view, the eyes through which a story is narrated, has to be done through a character who is central to the storyline and plot. Someone who’s right in the middle of the action and can relay important information.

Setting is also an important aspect of a story. The setting is the time and place in which a story is told. If someone’s going to write a story that they want to effectively convey a real visual in his or her readers’ minds he or she must write the setting with the right amount of description and have good word choice to really bring the world of the story to life. There doesn’t need to be an overload of description to make a setting believable. Describing the setting immediately around the character and the action happening with suffice to paint a vivid picture in the readers’ minds.

Scene choice and dialogue are essential parts of a story that make it a reader delve into the story or pull out and put the book down without a second thought. Major scenes need to be written that flow from one main point or step in the path and journey of the story. Minor scenes need to be written to calm the flow of a story so there isn’t one big arc or action right after another. This gives the reader time to breath and reflect on how the story is progressing thus far and where the story is heading. Dialogue doesn’t need to be used on every page or even in every scene. Dialogue in a good story should move the story forward, not take away or disrupt the flow of the storyline. When writing dialogue, it should be written as if these are real people communicating and the words they speak should realistic. Dialogue that has nothing to do with the plot or the character’s emotions should be omitted because they pull the readers out of the story and disrupt the action flow.

Plot and conflict are important to a good story because without them the story would have no real point and would be just a mess of words without logic or order. Conflict is the very essence of a story because it’s the difficulty or challenge presented for the characters to deal with and overcome. There has to be conflict, a beginning, a middle, and an end to any story to make it compelling enough for the readers to stay with it throughout the entire story.

Tone of voice sets the mood for the story because if there’s no real tone of voice the story becomes dull and boring. The characters won’t be as appealing or interesting as they could’ve been. In order to convey tone of voice in a story to make it worth reading, there needs to be emotion. The tone sets up the build for emotion, so does tension. The suspense and anticipation mixed with the mindset and tone of voice of the characters in any given situation moves the story forward and keeps the readers guessing what will happen next.

Lastly, but not least important, is the characters themselves. Characters that are dynamic, honest, believable, relatable, and overall well-rounded drive the story and the plot entirely. It is through the characters that the readers see the world and experience the action and unravel the mysteries with. Readers need to be able to get into the characters’ minds and wholeheartedly invest their time in.

The point of view, setting, description, word choice, dialogue, scenes, conflict, tone of voice, plot, and characters are the key elements that make a believable and good story.