UNFORGETTABLE FICTIONAL CHARACTERS


UNFORGETTABLE FICTIONAL CHARACTERS

Natalie Bright

 

Here’s a list of a few unforgettable fictional characters that seem to have life beyond the pages. A great character isn’t always likeable, but one that can evoke strong emotion or a memorable experience for the reader. Are any of these your favorites?

Atticus Finch, To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee

Emma Bovary, Madame Bovary, Gustave Flaubert

Prince Hamlet, Hamlet, William Shakespeare

Gandalf, The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien

Holly Golightly, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Truman Capote

Frankenstein’s Monster, Frankenstein, Mary Shelley

Peter Pan, Peter Pan, J.M. Barrie

Scarlett O’Hara, Gone With the Wind, Margaret Mitchell

Jay Gatsby, The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald

Just to name a few…

Leave us a comment and let us know your favorite, unforgettable fictional character. Thanks for following Wordsmith Six!

The Force


POSTCARDS FROM THE MUSE

The Force

Nandy Ekle

One of my favorite movies is from the 80’s is The Never-ending Story. It’s a kid’s movie, but it’s really ageless because it’s so deep.

A beautiful world ruled by a child-like empress, who is dying. The only way to save her is to get in touch with an earthling child. And the only way to get in touch with an earthling child is to have a warrior child go on an adventure. 

That’s the importance of characters in a nutshell. 

Without good characters, there’s no point to even having a story. You may have a profound lesson to get across to your reader, but you won’t contact them if you don’t show them someone who could be them. For example, Bastian would never have learned his lesson if Atreyu had not taken on a dangerous mission, losing his horse, nearly losing his very own self, and then nearly being swallowed by nothingness. Bastian identified with Atreyu, and that’s how contact was made.

The way to make a character your reader will identify with is, first, know your audience. Who are you aiming for? What are the characteristics of that group? 

Once you understand your audience, the research begins. I’m talking about people watching. Stand back in a corner and watch what happens. Listen to conversations. Watch body language and listen to their lingo. 

Now, this is where your imagination applies what you’ve learned. Step into their head and watch the world through their eyes.

When I was in high school I did a little bit of theater. One of the things I learned is “putting on a character.” This is where you become them. 

And this is where you make contact with your reader. And they’ll love you for it.

 

In Search of a Character


In Search of a Character

Rory C. Keel

When starting a story, we need characters like a Protagonist, the main character, and an Antagonist the villain. There may even be secondary characters that play a role in your writing.

So where do characters come from? Where do we get them?

The easiest way for me to find a character is to think about people I know in real life.

This idea could include friends, family, or someone you just met.

If you have a good imagination, then creating characters by mixing fantasy and reality.

Are you coming up with blanks? Then a trip to the shopping mall with notepad in hand can offer some relief as you observe people as they shop. Another quick starter that might help is to do an internet search for movie star images.

How many different characters can you create this week?

CHARACTER DESCRIPTIONS


CHARACTER DESCRIPTIONS
Natalie Bright
As a reader, do you like detailed physical descriptions of your characters? As a writer you can go nuts trying to decide: tall short, thin, long hair, red hair, bleached blonde, plain face, or Hollywood icon?
In answer to the question I refer to the book THE SUCCESSFUL NOVILEST: A LIFETIME OF LESSONS ABOUT WRITING AND PUBLSIHING by David Morrell (creator of Rambo) With thirty years of writing and publishing experience, this is a barebone, practical book of advice. I have found this book to be one of my favorites; I’m giving it a second read through.
Morrell notes, “I believe that readers can do a lot more efficient job of imagining the look of characters than I can and that characters are best described by their actions.” (pg.147)
The objective details of a character’s appearance don’t matter as much as the emotions they imply, as Morrell explains. So how do we, as writers make that happen? Morrell suggests that we concentrate on a character’s emotional effect, the reader will supply the physical details. What do her clothes convey; polished or destitute? Does the character radiate power, intelligence, or sexual desire? What about the character’s posture?
The example is from Tolstoy’s ANNA KARENINA (translated by Rosemary Edmonds). The main character is full of life, friendly, and her smile shows this.
“Her brilliant grey eyes, shadowed by thick lashes, gave [Vronsky] a friendly, attentive look, as though she were recognizing him, and then turned to the approaching crowd as if in search of someone. In that brief glance Vronsky had time to notice the suppressed animation which played over her face and flitted between her sparkling eyes and the slight smile curving her red lips. It was as though her nature were so brimming over with something that against her will it expressed itself now in a radiant look, now in a smile.”

Tools and tips – Grammarly


Tools and Tips

Grammarly

Rory C. Keel

Grammarly is a web or desktop editor, that can be used as a browser extension by most popular browsers. An app for iOS and Android platforms is available also.

While the basic service is free, other services of this program come with the Premium version for a monthly or annual fee.

The free version of the program has most of the features of the Premium version. For the casual writer or blogger, it is the perfect program to give your writing that second look.

For the more in-depth writer, the Premium version is well worth the money. The ability to set goals for each project of your writing is a fantastic feature.

As a writer, Grammarly has set me free while writing my first drafts. The old habit of editing while I go, always slowing me down instead of focusing the story, has been resolved. Now, I write without worry, knowing that Grammarly will catch the grammar, spelling, punctuation, and even wordiness in my long sentences.

Try the free version you have nothing to lose. For me, Grammarly Premium is worth it.

Useful Tools: Scrivener


WRITING A NOVEL BY SCENE
Useful Tools: Scrivener
Natalie Bright
So many times I have heard, “I’ve had an idea for a book for so long, but I don’t know how to start.”
Start anywhere! Just write it. The truth is you don’t have to write a novel in perfect sequence from beginning to end. Listen friends, the honest truth is that first draft will be total crap.
If you’re like most writers I know, you wake up with character dialogue or pieces of scenes playing out in your head. Start writing the scene or bits of dialogue as soon as you can. You’ll put it in order later. Scrivener makes it easy to do that.
For my current WIP, I knew the ending would be a snow storm, so I wrote that scene first. This climactic scene has to be intense and self-revealing for the main character, so it’s good that I had the bones first and am now able to intensify the internal dialogue and sharpen the imagery. I keep working and reworking that scene as I develop earlier chapters which will lead me to that final scene. In between times, I finally decided where to start the story so I am labeling the text folders in chronological order:
Saturday noon
Saturday pm
Sunday
Monday am
Monday afternoon
Monday dinner
Tuesday am
Tuesday mid-morning
Wednesday noon
and so forth, up until
Friday snow storm
Scrivener makes it possible to insert scenes easy, or move them around with no problem.
In the creative process, you are your own worst enemy. Don’t over think this. Write the scenes that are in your head and fill the imagery with the emotions from your heart.
Once you have the bones in a rough draft form, that’s when the fun really begins allowing you to edit and polish to perfection.
Keep writing and stay sane!

Tips From a Pantser


POSTCARDS FROM THE MUSE

Tips From a Pantser

Nandy Ekle

I am most definitely a pantser, which means I write by the seat of my pants. I usually have an idea for a story, and idea for a character, and an idea of a twist when I start. But planning much more than that before beginning to write seems to take all the fun out of it, sort of like having a fill-in-the-blank test. I rely on the television inside my head to fill it in as I write.

There have been times when I’ve had to plan a little more deeply because I get to a place where the character looks at me and shrugs his shoulders about what he’s supposed to do next. That’s when I get out a piece of paper and write what I know, where I know it’s supposed to go, where it’s been, and what have I not done. A lot of times this happens when I’ve just finished a very thrilling and revealing scene and I know we need a slow down breathing moment. But I don’t want my reader to get bored. 

Sometimes I’m the one whose stuck and I have to rely on my character to tell me what happens next. For example: my current WIP. I have three characters, each one has to face a task designed just for them. Which means I have to know that character well enough to know what would be a good task for them. The first character was easy. She was an expendable character and was destined to fail. So her character didn’t have to be extremely deep. She had to be deep enough to connect with the reader, but still could be pretty shallow. I knew the third character inside out. He’s been in my head for years, his passion, his motivation, his fears, and what he is willing to pay to accomplish his goal. He’s a deep character, very solid. The problem I had was my middle character. I didn’t know him very well and wasn’t particularly fond of him. So I took what I did know and just began writing that. Then there came a moment when he had to face what he didn’t want to ever face. And the inside of his head came tumbling out on the page. It was exhilarating!

Another place I was stuck and looked to the character was in a past work. I knew the story, knew all my characters, knew the conflict and the twist. What I didn’t know was who the villain was (it was a paranormal story, so the villain was not clearly visible). So I continued to write what I did know. As I’ve said before, writing a story is, for me, like watching a movie in my head. So I had the characters in one room and one of them got on the floor to check under the bed for the boogie man. As he began to stand up, he turned to face me and wink. And I knew he was the villain! Another exhilarating experience.

So pay attention to your characters. A lot of the time, they know exactly what they’re doing and what comes next—it’s their story, after all. And if they don’t know what’s next, look at what you have and remember, your job is to make the reader love your character, then torture them with any and everything you can think of. So what have you not done to them? That’s what comes next.

 

HASHTAG IT! Twitter for Writers


HASHTAG IT! Twitter for Writers
Natalie Bright
Hello Writers; I Hope this finds you safe. Have you thought about turning to Twitter for submission opportunities, publishing news, and inspiration? You can follow specific hashtags (#) which interest you. Hashtags are a way of setting categories for your social media content.
#IndieAuthorChat
As part of a drive to connect more group members, The Alliance of Independent Authors will be stepping up their Twitter Chat.
#MSWL
Manuscript wish list hashtags is used by agents and editors who are looking for specific elements for story submissions. You can reply with your pitch and if they are interested, they will send you a Direct Message (DM).
Generate interest by creating and using your own hashtags based on your blog name, book title, or author pen name, for example.
#nataliebright
#prairiepurview and #wordsmithsix are my two blogs. Thanks for the follow!
Connect with writers and fans of your genre. Search hashtags by Genre:
#SciFI
#AmericanWest
#Fantasy
#Romance
#Horror
#UrbanFantasy
Follow hashtags by writing process and connect with other writers.
#AmEditing
#AmWriting
#WriterChat
#WriteGoal
#ePubChat
#WritingPrompt
#WritersLifeChat
#5amwritersclub
#WritingCommunity
#ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers)
#SCBWI (Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators)
#BookMarketingChat
#KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing)
More importantly, connect with your readers!
#MustRead
#FollowFriday (suggesting new people to follow; promote your author friends)
#Novelines (to quote your own work)
#FreeBook
#FridayReads
#TeaserTues
#Bookish
#Shelfie
#ReadMore
Yes, Twitter has a well-deserved reputation for political rants, but it is what you make it. Focus on what guides your passion for writing and you’ll find others who feel the same and who love a good story as much as you do.
Hoping this #selfisolation period is proving to be productive, and thanks for following WordsmithSix!

Scene by Scene Story Building with Scrivener


Scene by Scene Story Building with Scrivener
Natalie Bright
An author’s process is fascinating to me. Some writers stay in a perfectly synchronized flow writing the same time every day, powering through that first draft until the end before editing. Some writers edit as they go, refusing to move on to the next chapter until the current chapter is perfect. And then the rest of us fall somewhere in between using a host of ideas about creativity, I think. For me, it’s a combination of all of the above. I don’t think there is a right or wrong way.
Take my current WIP for example, I knew the ending would be a snowstorm and that something will happen on Christmas Eve before I even knew the opening scene. So I wrote the ending first because it was hot on my mind and I couldn’t work on anything else until I got that scene out of my head. Only then did I begin to think about Chapter 1. I like having character profiles completed with an understanding of how the minor characters will relate to my main characters and why.
This book is coming together so fast, but it’s a scramble in my head. Characters are jumping out of nowhere. The only way I can keep things straight is to use Scrivener.
Each folder of text is labeled as a day of the week because I know that by week’s end my main character will be trapped in a barn in the middle of a Texas Panhandle norther. I just have to get her to that barn, and make her life as miserable as possible until then. The folders are labeled accordingly: Monday, Monday noon (a lunch scene), Monday late afternoon, Tuesday morning, and so forth. The title of each section of text is a chronological order with day of the week and location and notes about the action on that day, but that’s where any order of writing ends.
If I wake up with a specific scene in my head, I write that scene. I am three scenes into the snowstorm, but have no middle to my story. Seems crazy, right? Scrivener makes it so easy. If I wrote that action for a Tuesday but decide it should be happening on a Thursday, I can move that folder up in the order. And I can look at the corkboard view to determine the basic outline of my story and what is lacking. I try not to think about how crazy this book is coming together because in my day job everything is numbers, exact, and deadlines. The creative process is so far removed from anything I’ve ever done before.
Does anyone else write in a frenzy of chaos, where the story is coming so fast in your brain your fingers can’t type fast enough? Just wondering.
Stay safe and stay sane. Have a happy, productive week!

EXCEL FOR AUTHOR EXPENSE & INCOME


EXCEL FOR AUTHOR EXPENSE & INCOME

Natalie Bright

 

During the month of April, we are blogging about “Tips and Tools” for writers. This is such an important topic, we’ll be blogging about it again in November under “Writing Resources”. We’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions too. Please leave your comments below.

GET ORGANIZED NOW

You may be a newbie writer drowning in the muddle of author platforms, social media, chapter hooks, and wide or not wide. It can be overwhelming. Regardless of where you are in your writing career, there’s no better time than 2020 to get your finances organized. From online spreadsheet templates to high dollar accounting software, there are many options available. As a newbie writer, I began with several books on KDP and tracked my business with a simple Excel Spreadsheet.

First, I recommend that you:

  1. Open a separate author checking account.
  2. Only use your author debit card or a designated credit card for expenses related to your writing business.

Don’t be tempted to charge anything on your author card that cannot be expensed. When you set up payments for book sales from KDP, Ingram, etc., and Square (if you plan to have booths at book fairs and take credit cards), have all of the royalties and payments come directly to your author checking account. All of your income will be posted right there on your bank statement, which you can easily make copies for your CPA or transfer to an income spreadsheet.

EXPENSES

Second, set up a spreadsheet for expenses, a check register, where you will record checks you have written, cash disbursements and credit card charges all relating to your author business.  Across the top list the Categories, for example:

     
Date Ck # Off Sup  Workshop

Seminar Fees

 Travel Exp Research Reference Professional Fees/Dues Mrktng

 

Those sticky notes, writing pens, spirals, and copy paper are office supplies. Don’t forget about the printer ink cartridges. That trip you took to the beach to get a feel for the setting of your next series can be counted as author expense under research and travel. You can set up sub-categories by working titles or series title. That little ad you placed in your local newspaper announcing your newest release is marketing expense, and maybe you bought the newspaper editor’s lunch. Log that under public relations. There are many different ways to set up your expense categories. Check with your CPA to make sure you have the right categories for your particular situation.

In the meantime, stay safe and happy writing!