Monday, August 31, 2009

Thinking about Characters...

One of the most important aspects of any novel is the main character. And this is true for both the reader and the writer.

As a reader, if we don't connect with that character in some way, many times we won't continue reading. And as a writer, if we don't like the character, we won't continue writing him or her.

There have been numerous books written on how to create the perfect character and each writer has their favorite way to bring those characters to life. Many writers fill out in-depth character sheets and profiles, conduct interviews with their characters or even write the whole back story for that person.

Others, get to know their characters as they write the story. They choose to be surprised as their character

And, honestly…there's not wrong or way to create characters. It's whatever works best for you and your writing style. I've got some character profile sheets along with interview questions I'll share later on.

But for now, I want to focus on what makes a great character. What it is that draws us to that character.

Instead of pulling characters from books, I'm going with a couple from television since our reading tastes probably vary widely. Two of my favorite characters right now are Temperance Brennan from Bones and Brenda Lee Johnson from The Closer. I love these two ladies and while they are both very different people on the outside, on the inside they have some very similar qualities.

For example, both are very strong women in male dominated careers. They are both determined, almost to the point of being stubborn but they are both honorable and have a strong sense of duty.

Both women also have a complex back story and as the series progresses, we get to see glimpses that history along with how it shaped their personalities.

So…for the next couple days, think about your favorite characters and some of the things you like about them. Maybe make a list of character traits you'd like to incorporate into your characters.

If you enjoy writing books, here's a couple I have on characters. Well, more than a couple but I have this fetish for writing books.:-)

Characters, Emotion & Viewpoint by Nancy Kress

Dynamic Characters also by Nancy Kress

Characters & Viewpoint by Orson Scott Card

Breathing Life Into Your Characters by Rachel Ballon

Bullies, Bastards & Bitches by Jessica Page Morrell

The Writer's Guide to Character Traits by Linda Edelstein

Careers for Your Characters by Raymond Obstfeld & Franz Neumann

What Would Your Character Do? by Eric & Ann Maisel

Got any you'd like to share?

Saturday, August 29, 2009


Only two more days until we start this great novel planning/writing journey. I want to welcome each of you here and hope you not only learn something useful but find new friends and get your novel written. (We'll deal with revisions and getting it published later.)

Let your friends know about us...the more the merrier.

In the comments, introduce yourself and let us get to know you. You don't have to know what you're going to write yet so don't stress over it. Just say hi.

Also...if you'd sign up as followers, that'd be cool. Not required but it'd be nice to see how many of us there are.

And...I got us a chatroom!!! You'll find it on the right side, down a bit under the Writer's Lounge heading. Later on, we'll schedule some chats for brainstorming ideas. Also, If you'd like to just chat, let us know that too.

I'm so looking forward to getting to know each of you better, hearing about your novels and writing together.

So, in the spirit of starting things off...

Hello!!! I'm Jean, I write mostly mystery and fantasy. I'm about 1/3 through with the first draft of a mystery novel and will probably go with fantasy for NaNo since I want to switch off to something lighter.

Now, it's your turn..:-)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Let's Write a Novel...Together!

Writing a novel tends to be lonely work, except for the month of November when NaNoWriMo is in full swing.  So, in the spirit of NaNo, let's write a novel...together.

Starting Sept. 1st, I'll be posting about creating characters, writing dialogue, setting scenes, hooking the reader, tension, conflict, pacing, taming the inner editor and so much more. 

In Oct., we'll start an intensive month long novel planning session.  It'll include more indepth posts on topics such as story arc, structure and scene development along with some brainstorming and possibly real time chats.

Then, starting Nov. 1st, we'll make daily progress posts, along with weekly encouragement and who know what else.  Plus, you'll be able to have a progress meter just like mine on the right.  I'll explain more about that later.

If you've always wanted to write a novel or if this is your second or third or even sixth novel, join us on this wonderful journey.  I can't promise you it'll all be fun but it'll be worth it.