• The Writer

    Hello! My name is Laura, welcome to my blog! I write weird stories, collect dragon plushies and stay up too late with my nose in a book. I am a wife, mom and child saved by grace. My hope is that you find encouragement here or at least a smile or too.
    God bless!

  • “Now go, write it before them in a table, and note it in a book that it may be for the time to come forever and ever.”
    ~Isaiah 30:8.

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    June 2010
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    We have come from God, and inevitably the myths woven by us, though they contain error, will also reflect a splintered fragment of the true light, the eternal truth that is with God. Indeed only by myth-making, only by becoming 'sub-creator' and inventing stories, can Man aspire to the state of perfection that he knew before the Fall. Our myths may be misguided, but they steer however shakily towards the true harbour, while materialistic 'progress' leads only to a yawning abyss and the Iron Crown of the power of evil.
    ~J.R.R. Tolkien

    "The only just literary critic," he concluded, "is Christ, who admires more than does any man the gifts He Himself has bestowed."
    ~J.R.R. Tolkien

    “Fantasy is escapist, and that is its glory. If a soldier is imprisioned by the enemy, don't we consider it his duty to escape?. . .If we value the freedom of mind and soul, if we're partisans of liberty, then it's our plain duty to escape, and to take as many people with us as we can!”
    ~J.R.R. Tolkien

    "Writers who see by the light of their Christian faith will have, in these times, the sharpest eye for the grotesque, for the perverse, and for the unacceptable. To the hard of hearing you shout, and for the almost-blind you draw large and startling figures."
    ~Flannery O'Connor

    You write to communicate to the hearts and minds of others what’s burning inside you. And we edit to let the fire show through the smoke.
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    Words - so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them.
    ~Nathaniel Hawthorne

    "There are forms of insanity that condemn people to hear voices against their will, but as writers we invite ourselves to hear voices without relinquishing our hold on reality or our right to control."
    ~Writing Fiction by Janet Burroway

    Christians have sometimes been suspicious of stories, because they really can influence you. If you read the Twilight novels once a month for a year, I think you'd be a different human afterward—and not a sparkly one.
    ~Nate Wilson

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Character Driven Part 1: Who are these people?

I bet you all have been wondering where the promised topics of 2010 are.  Well, here is the first one in a series on character development!  I am very excited about this series because honestly, I love developing characters!  If you thought having an imaginary friend was fun when you were younger, get ready to experience the allotment invasion of imaginary characters! 😀

To get us started I’m going to talk a little about what it means to have your story character driven and just how important that is. 

Think back to your favorite stories (books and movies), what was it about them that you loved the most?  The adventure? (Got to love that right?)  The story itself?  The characters?  One of my favorite movies is Sahara; I could watch it over and over again and still not be tired of it.  A week or so ago I thought about why I liked it so much, and it occurred to me, the reason was because of the characters.  (You got to admit, Dirk and Ale are one of the best movie dues ever!  I could quote them all day. 😉 )

Now I’m not saying that plot, story and all that good stuff are not important, on the contrary, they are, but right now I’m going to focus on the importance of creating believable characters.  So for now, I want you to forget that dragging plot and stuck story line and just focus on your main characters, (especially the Hero).  For once you truly get to know them, you’ll be surprise on how quickly the story picks up. 


So what does it mean to have your story be character driven?  I haven’t a clue.  Okay, maybe I have a bit of a clue. 🙂   It means to have your characters be driving the story.  They are in control, not you.  Think of it this way; this is their story, you are a biographer and your characters are dictating the story to you.  How is this possible?  The answer is simple, yet hard to achieve.   You get to know these characters inside and out.  You become “weird” and “crazed” to the outside world because you “hear voices” and argue with people who aren’t really there.  Honestly, that’s how it is, or can get, but you know, it’s a lot of fun.  😉

How do you begin?  Simple, choose your character.  Usually characters will spring into existence as a story begins to take shape in your mind.  You have this awesome idea for a high seas adventure and you need characters to fill in the needed roles.  You need a Villain, a Hero, an Ally (someone to support the hero), a Mentor (someone to teach the hero), and if the story calls for one, a Love.  Sometimes characters can be a combination, for example, I have a character who is an Ally, a Mentor, and a Love to the Hero.  Your Villain could even be a combination.  That would make for some great conflict!  But that’s another series.

The next question:  How do I get to know my characters so well?  There are three ways you can do this.

(NOTE: I’ll be covering these in detail through upcoming posts.)

1. Create a detailed outline, asking very specific questions.  Ex. Who is this person?  What makes them tick?  What are their favorite things?  Why are said things their favorite?   

2. Get to know them as you write.  You do this even if you’re not trying.  As you write and put your characters through tough situations, you slowly understand them more, why they make the choices they make etc.  This is how most writers become familiar with their characters, but I like to use more than just this method which brings me to my favorite. 

3. You play with them.   How do you play with people who aren’t really there?  One way is to get them together with other people who aren’t really there.  (I know what you’re thinking, “She’s lost it.  She’s been writing too much.” 😛 )  This is how you do it.  If you are a member of a writers forum, (if so, you might have already done this or are doing it), start a CD, or a Character Development thread and stick whatever characters you want in there.  Then invite others to join you with their characters.  It’s a lot of fun, especially when you get character from all different genres talking.  Another way you can do that is over chat or even e-mail.  If you have a friend who is a writer ask them to have their characters talk to yours.   When you do this, don’t let yourself talk through the characters, let them talk for themselves.  Really think about who they are and how they would respond.  You’ll be amazed with how much you learn. 

Another way to “play” with your characters is to interview them, but not a regular interview.  You ask them very hard core questions and take your time thinking about how they would answer.  There are a lot of games/interviews you can do with your characters, I’m sure there are books and websites packed with them.  One I recently learned and rather like is called, (or something close to it), Burning House.  I like to call it Sixty Seconds.  This is how it goes.  Your Hero’s (or any chosen character) house in on fire.  He/she has only sixty seconds to grab something and get out.  What will he/she grab and why did they grab it?  That is only one example.  If you want, you can even make up your own.

End Notes:

Lots of people like to begin developing their characters by giving them their physical traits first.  Hair color, eye color, height etc. and that’s all well and good, especially if that has to do with a twist in the story or affects who the character is (ex. A superstition says blue eyed people are evil and therefore outcasts), and it really doesn’t matter to me how you start, but keep in mind, the reader isn’t going to care if they have black hair or blond.  Part of having your stories be character driven is making the reader care about the people you are writing about.  You want this set of people to feel real to the person holding the book.  How do you do that?  Well, that’s a whole new post. 🙂

Leave a comment

1 Comment

  1. Daniel

     /  June 28, 2010

    Good charrie development stuff!! 🙂


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