Tuesday, August 31, 2010

What can a hobby say about your character?

Something else to keep in mind is what your character does for fun. Does he like to shoot hoops with his sons after work or just want to sit in his home office and play fantasy sports games? Does she prefer to put in her favorite movie after a hard day at the office or would she rather flip through channels until something catches her eye? Maybe she picks up a good book or he turns on his favorite CD. Maybe she spends the weekend at the beach with her friends or he goes hunting with his dad. Maybe she goes to play sports with her friends or neighbors while he goes to the gym to lift weights. Each one of these things says something about the character and suggests a few more habits the character has. A guy who goes to the gym every day to relax obviously cares a lot about looking good and eats right and he likely takes care to eat extra protein. A girl who hangs out at the beach probably does her best to feel comfortable in a swimsuit or at least beach clothes. Someone who prefers tv or books to sports may be slightly overweight. A man that plays sports with his children may be a very involved dad. Someone who does crafts likely has a house showing off their accomplishments or at least a few crafts decorating their house somewhere. What do your characters’ hobbies say about them?

Monday, August 30, 2010

Habitual mannerisms

Habitual mannerisms are things that have formed habits and are really hard to break. Does your character smoke or leave the toilet seat up all the time? Those are habitual mannerisms and everyone has some. Maybe your character likes to pace when frustrated or chews their lip or cheek when thinking. Maybe they play with their lighter when bored or strokes their mustache when thinking. Things like that they do without thinking and can make the character seem more real to the reader, as long as the actions are inserted correctly and not overdone. What are some of your habitual mannerisms?

What does posture have to say with anything?

For the last two posts I’ve been talking about mannerisms and how they can add depth to a character. Today I’m going to talk about posture. Have you ever noticed how people with different hobbies or jobs walk differently? I rarely have trouble telling what service of the US military a man is in due to his build and how he walks. If they’ve been out a while it’s harder to tell but they never quite lose the swagger and pride instilled in their branch of military. Sports also affects posture as athletes use different muscles for different sports. A dancer will likely have very straight posture while a skateboarder may have the typical slightly hunched posture typical of American youth. Politicians spend time perfecting their public image and as such likely stand straighter while looking more comfortable than a typical person perhaps used to being crammed in a subway everyday. Politicians and the rich often are more comfortable taking up space than people used to being crammed together in tight apartments or small cubicles. All of these are things to consider when writing your story. Although they may be more important on television or the big screen than in books, keeping these things in mind may allow you to hint at facts that you don’t need to talk about in the story, such as past sports or interests.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Mannerisms, part 2

Mannerisms are defined on Dictionary.com as “a habitual or characteristic manner, mode, or way of doing something; distinctive quality or style” or “marked or excessive adherence to an unusual or a particular manner, esp. if affected.” They are how people show emotions, such as a tendency to sigh loudly when aggravated or where they always go to think or cry. Mannerisms cover everything from how a person eats to how they speak, even how they greet another person. Some people wave, others merely smile in passing. You may notice that many people have a standard way of greeting people. Most people they will greet with a firm handshake but they may hug close family members or greet them in an established way such as a family handshake or something they came up with as kids. The handshake or hug are common mannerisms, any other greetings will likely need explanation which could add some memories to the story and give the character more depth. Just remember when you think up mannerisms for your character to be sure they fit with the character. A super shy girl is unlikely to greet everyone with a big hug and a New Yorker is unlikely speak in a Boston accent.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Mannerisms: how people live

Mannerisms are little things everyone does unconsciously such as biting your nails when nervous or a girl twisting her hair while in thought. They are ingrained in our behavior and very hard habits to break if we need to. Mannerisms are often learned from a caregiver or close friends. How many times have you seen your best friend and her mom do the same thing, whether it’s a quirk in the kitchen or something they do while they think? When was the last time you noticed your friend and his roommate do the same little thing? Have you ever noticed that both you and your siblings have a habit of tapping you feet while waiting or that you all have the same smile? Things like that can distinguish a character in a story or tell others that they are family or hang out too much. There are so many things to chose from for your character, just remember not to overdo it. The story may believably point out a few mannerisms but pointing out too many may be overdoing it. How many of you would notice a person having over a hundred mannerisms and comment on all of them (not counting significant others)? That would likely be overkill unless done just right.
However, mannerisms done right can add depth to a character and possibly add plot points to a story or change someone’s emotions towards them (either good or bad).

Thursday, August 26, 2010

What about addictions?

Yesterday I spoke of creating perfect characters versus scarred characters. What about recovering characters. I personally have no dangerous addictions but I’ve heard said that the cravings never go away. Many movies show a recovered alcoholic staring at a bottle of alcohol debating how much they really want that drink versus how much more it would screw up their life. Ex-druggies often think on how easy their life was on drugs and ex-smokers still crave the nicotine years after stopping. Adding an addiction or old addiction to a character can add another dimension to their personality. It also usually covers another deep seated issue that the person refused to face and possibly still does, the reason they needed to escape in the first place. Figure that out and you can look into helping your character find inner peace.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Who wants to create a character that isn’t gorgeous or perfectly charming? Many new authors create characters that look exactly as the author wished to look and act just as the author wished the world saw them. However, nobody is perfect. Everyone has scars whether it be a visible one or invisible. That scar above his eye could be from a fight he proudly won as a boy, a car crash the character barely survived, or a drunken night he can’t remember. That scar on her stomach may be a c-section mark, a scar from a beating she hates to remember, or a scar she got climbing a tree in her youth. He may be perfectly charming to hide his insecurity if he settled to dating one girl or she may be gentle because it’s expected by her family or husband while inside all she wants to do is scream or strangle someone.
My point is that often the more flawed characters can be more interesting than seemingly perfect characters and seemingly perfect characters always have stuff under their surface that is not so perfect but can make them interesting as well. Just remember that a “perfect” character not only has nowhere to build to in a story, they also ring false with readers and should be avoided without some explanations.

How do memories affect development?

Next we’ll talk about how memories can affect the life of characters. One thing to remember is that everyone sees things from their own perspective and doesn’t have all the facts. An example would be a story I’m working on. The lady thinks a guy hates her when really he has no real emotion towards her, he just hates how he sees the situation someone else put them in. They could one day become a couple or the greatest of enemies. It all depends on if they ever bother to talk it out and see neither of them is to fault so they can stop blaming each other. Misunderstandings are common because people forget that everyone sees something different. Have you ever seen the movies where two people are arguing and don’t realize they are arguing about different things? The scene in Ocean’s 11 comes to mind. One guy was arguing about the girl and the other guy was arguing about the job. They didn’t realize it until one of their buddies asked them what they were talking about. Things like that happen because of what they bring to the argument. One guy was thinking about the girl that was so important, the other thought the job was more important. They had to realize they were seeing things differently before anything got done.
Another way memories can affect a character is how they perceive their childhood. If their parent worked a lot, the character may have felt unloved whereas the parent was doing their best to show love by providing for their child. Even though the parent thought the child was the center of their world, the child may feel like a burden or neglected and grow to avoid the parent as soon as possible. To the opposite extent an adult may feel forced to smile and play with the child or listen to hours of talk when all they want is to be out partying or at the office. The child may think they are loved and secure while the parent grows to resent the child.

Monday, August 23, 2010

New name

Yes, you are still at the same blog about writing stories from a sci-fi writer's veiwpoint. I just thought that the name "Daily Musings" was a misrepresentation as I don't write everything and anything that happens to me here. In fact, I want to focus on facts more than on on my limited experience here. I hope you enjoy the new name and learn something new from my blog.

Family and friends make us who we are

Another thing to think about is who your character’s family is. I know I would not be who I am today if not for my family. Whether it’s the quirky sense of humor or the fact that as the youngest I’m kind of a “mommy’s girl”, my family is my support network. I know I would be much different if I had been raised in a faster paced home or a dysfunctional one or one where my parents worked 24/7 and never had time for us growing up. I’d be much different if I was in the foster system, always getting shuffled between families with no dependable link or I would cling to any link, such as a sibling, as the only “solid” thing in my life. Also, people with no siblings or only one parent are raised differently than people with both parents raising multiple kids. Adopted kids often have things to work through such the question “Why was I given up” that they need answered or have to learn to have peace with not knowing. I have a friend who was adopted in grade school and still has contact with all her siblings overseas. That can add a whole new list of worries as can remarriages and even in-laws. I’ve been lucky with my in-laws so far but what if my brother marries an attention grabber? That would change the family dynamics at the Christmas party as my family and in-laws are rather laid back. How has your family affected how you are today? I’m sure you can think of a number of things whether it’s religion, morals, level of emotional honesty, or just a sense of humor.
Another thing that affects us at a young age is our friends. I know throughout high school I was mostly friends with the drama kids or the artsy ones. Now I have trouble fitting in with the girls I work with, the ones fascinated by fashion trends and being popular but seem to have no other hobby than hanging out at malls with friends or flirting with boys, and I have little to talk to with the boys who prefer to play video games and flirt with girls or go drink all weekend then pickup a book or make something with their hands. Who my friends were growing up made me comfortable to be me. Most people have friends or acquaintances like that and they may pop up in the story, whether to annoy a character or explain something. Also, friends can affect a person’s social confidence. A girl or boy who had few friends growing up could be really shy whereas a popular child may be very outgoing and possibly overconfident as an adult.
Another thing to remember is that how someone interacts with friends can be judged. A love interest may be watching how a guy reacts to girls in his circle or how a girl reacts to her coworkers. That could be an interesting scene if played right. No matter how you decide to use your character’s friends, or lack of, it will affect the character in some way throughout their life so you may want to at least decide how popular in what crowds they were and how that affected them, even if only for the duration of the story.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Why is education so important?

Once you’ve figured out age and ethnicity, as I explained in the last blog, it would be a good idea to decide on their education. If the character is only seventeen, it’s a pretty safe bet that they only have high school behind them. However, some seventeen year olds have already graduated,, whether by being a genius or by taking a GED, and many high school students are already taking college courses in high school. A number of my friends at that age were spending more time at the colleges as part time students than they were at my high school taking courses. Here is probably also a good place to decide on how “smart” your character is. Is she book smart or street smart? Does he prefer art classes over math or music over science? Is she a genius musician that needs a tutor for history or is he a mathlete that avoids art class and public speaking? Is your character very political and good at speeches but unable to hold a funny conversation or is she an awesome researcher that can’t stand up in public? Remember as far as school goes everyone has a favorite subject and there’s always one they hate. Then again, your character may never have graduated into high school if they were needed to support the family or they may have dropped out of high school to join a gang, pursue fame, or become a mechanic. Or maybe they became a lawyer that would have preferred to be a mechanic. Knowing how they did in school is often an indicator of future interests or current pressures. They may love dance or they may hate it but excel in it because their mother makes them practice three hours a day outside of class. All these things can help develop a character and indicate things like who their friends are, who they want to be, even hint at experiences they may have had with friends.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Ethnicity plays a role in character

The last blog I explained that you should have the basics of the character down (male/female, place in story, what personality fits that place as in smart/flighty, strong/weak, loud/quiet, even tempered/not so much, impulsive/thoughtful, emotional/closed, you may even have the physical description such as hair color and facial features or skin type) before you try to expand on the character. Once you have the basics down, you can decide on the other things. At this point a good place to start would be on age and ethnicity. Is she a twenty-four year old Cuban-American or is he a fifty year old Chinese man? The physical characteristics may sprout from the racial background or the other way around. Also, the personality may decide the race. If you want a loud, passionate lady, you may want her to be Puerto Rican or of African descent. If you want a quiet, obedient wife, you may want an Asian. Now, those are stereotypes and no character is supposed to be a stereotype in a story, especially a main character. Still, remember that their genetic race often influences how they were raised unless they were adopted.
Another thing is that what they remember can influence who they become or what they talk about. Some of my friends that are five to ten years older than me enjoy reminiscing about cartoons and fads I don’t remember while I enjoyed fads they considered to “juvenile” for them at the time. Knowing their birth date and where they were raised can be helpful in knowing some of their memories or conversations later on. Knowing that can also tell the author what may have happened in the character’s life such as I remember what was happening when the World Trade Towers fell, even though I was just a kid at the time but don’t remember what I was doing when I learned of foreign terrorist attacks in my youth. Maybe your character was working at the Mall of America that day when it was shut down or was injured in the attack on the Pentagon. Things like that need to match with age (why would a six year old be at the Pentagon?)
Once you have age and ethnicity set up you can decide things like how strict or relaxed were their parents? How outrageous were his or her friends? In Pennsylvania the character may have been raised with Amish friends while in Texas they may have had mostly South American schoolmates. All this can be included in basic background of the character and may take you only a minute or two to decide on. The rest should take a little longer as we go more in-depth.

Steps to creating a character

I’ve decided that while I focus on writing stories and navigating the web to find good resources and check out different sites I will focus here on how to create a character. When I go through a how-to book, usually something to do with writing fiction, I prefer to take notes to help me remember things in the future or jog my memory of an idea the writer had or I got from what a writer said. This series of blogs is from the notes on one of those books, although I am trying to figure out which book. (The newer books I’ve picked up I’m writing the notes under the title, this book I wasn’t so lucky to think ahead.) As I write sci-fi and some fantasy, many of my posts may mention things like non-human backgrounds or features. If it doesn’t apply directly to your writing, it may still apply indirectly.
Characters are very important in a story. In fact, they are the story. Some movies can get away with having no real characters in them, those are the ones with very little acting beyond screaming and action or chilling sequences, but a book is based on the character. A book may leave more to the imagination than a movie, such as how someone really looks, how those features match up, and settings can look differently in the minds of different readers, but the reader knows more of what happens in a character’s head than in a movie. Often movies try to show in action and facial expressions what a character is thinking but books usually tell in words what they can’t show people. Because of that, creating the character thoroughly is very important. However, not all of these questions need to be answered before you start your book and often the answers may change before you finish your work. That’s fine, it’s part of writing. Just be sure in the rewrite that if you changed a part of the background halfway through the story, it still matches with what was said before or change what was said before.
Before you can decide on things like personality and appearances you need to know what position you want the character to fill. Often I build a story around a character idea but I know not everyone writes like that. Even if you do write the story and plot based on one character, you still need to add other characters in the book to make it solid, unless you want to write something like Castaway with only one main character and few other actual actors. So you know your main character and you know the plot. Now you just need to figure out what makes the flighty sister tick or figure out who the boyfriend/love interest is or who the villain is. You know you want the love interest to be charming and kind but still masculine or you want her to be a tough shell to crack. You know the villain wants to kill your main characters or to take something they have. You may even know a trait your character has such as a phase they always say or a particular scar. However, a good writer knows the back story, at least generalities usually more than everyone else knows about them, of every character in their work. This series is designed to give writers ideas on questions to answer about their characters and I hope it gives you a few ideas as well.

Thursday, August 19, 2010


Today I really don't know what to write so I thought I'd send you some links:


Piont of view is often the easiest thing for writers to do and is often an ignored thought when writing. However not every story is best written in your prefered POV. I got stuck with this thought when starting my short story series. Although I am much more comfortable writing in first person, the series worked best in third person since it had many characters. This is a post describing each POV on a useful site I love.


This is the contest I was talking about looking into entering last post. I'm still debating what I should write my article on but it looks like a good contest. Also the benefits to winning look rather good.

Sorry that I still don't know how to post these links correctly and will try to think up some more good blog ideas. Until then enjoy your writing and your day.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Sorry I haven't written in a few days. Work has been busy and it has sapped my energy and time. On a bright note I have an idea for my next 2000 word story and am lookig at joining a contest called Transparent Narrative Writing Contest for a travel artical. It should be interesting working on the two projects. I'll keep you informed on the happening. Sorry but I have to go to work now. More another time.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Keep culture in mind

Have you ever wondered how different you would be if you were born elsewhere? Maybe you were born in the Midwest and wonder what you would have been like if you were born in New York or Paris. It’s an interesting thought and another thing you should think about when you write about your character. Because of the culture of a place people born in different places or even different years will be influenced differently. One may think that being raised Asian is so similar that all the writer need to know is the stereotype Asian personality but each Asian country is different. Things like how affectionate people can be in public and how comfortable they are can change from country to country. An American boy dating a Japanese girl in Japan could offend her by trying to hold her hand while the same guy trying to hold a Korean girl’s hand in Korea would find it easier but she may prefer to merely link pinkies as is more polite in public. Also, an American girl would likely be more vibrant than the stereotypical quiet and helpful Asian girl.
Even differences between Americans can depend on where they were raised. A New Yorker would likely be more busy, hyper, antsy, or rushed and seemingly unfriendly than a person raised in a small town where you know everyone and the main business around is to make sure the crops grow properly and the money is still in the bank. Although a stereotype based on places is only a beginning as far as developing a character, it is still something to keep in mind. If you chose to divert from the stereotype, such as to have a calmer, more laidback girl come from NYC, be sure to make a comment on it. The comment doesn’t have to be big but you can bet that at least one of your characters would expect a girl from NYC to be hurried and glamorous and have trouble figuring out where she’s from if her accent didn’t match the stereotype in the person’s mind.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Don't forget the setting

I just want to talk about something many authors may forget. It’s something as important as any character or plot twist. It’s the setting. If an author doesn’t know the story’s setting at least as well as any of the characters, they could wind up annoying the reader. Whether you want to write about the neighborhood you grew up in or the place you visited for a day or that place you dream of one day visiting, be sure you know your setting. I’m not a big fan of writing about something that exists today but that you’ve never visited. Often when that happens things get misrepresented, such as in Supernatural where a medium sized town was represented as a small town. Small things like that will only be realized by the people who live around the settings or who have visited the places themselves. Some readers that are rather unforgiving about settings are in historical and science fiction genres. There are a number of websites that make a point of showing the inaccuracies of historical films, if your historical book goes big, you will have to answer for any little detail you may have misrepresented. (An example that comes to mind was a movie that the actor gave a length of measurement before the time period when that measurement had been created.) As far as science fiction goes, one of the easiest ways to lose credibility and readers is to make a mistake with the setting or the science. For instance: having a land dweller able to breathe in a water planet without an explanation or having a problem for one member of a species that another member of the same species doesn’t have in the same situation. Then again, that also has to do with consistency and that is a different blog.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Religion's affects

Here’s a thought on character development: What religion is your character? What religion is typical of their people? I believe religion says a lot about a person and their personality. Many Christians are calm, seemingly at peace while Wiccans often feel a deep connection to the planet and may be advocates. Some religions won’t kill bugs or certain animals because of reincarnation and a deep love of life. Some religions could worship a god like the god of wine or passion and celebrate life as much as possible. However, a person that worships money or the god of money may be quite somber and professional al the time while their entrepreneur mind is always looking for opportunities. How might a culture differ if it worshiped primarily a male god versus a female goddess? If the culture worships many gods do they pick an individual “patron” god/dess or just worry about offending a god by praising another? Are the gods loving siblings and couples or constantly bickering and fighting amongst their followers? Are the gods of nearby tribes/planets bitter enemies or best friends that smile upon intermarriage? Is one god more powerful and the tribes/planets around constantly fearful? Is the single god benevolent or always angry?
Another question is if the character grew up worshiping the unpopular god. Did they grow up always defending their faith? Were they beaten daily? Was their faith the strong god or the weak god? Why did they choose to go against the norm? Is their family from elsewhere as is their religion? Was there a “vision” or deal made? Are they clinging to a religion they barely believe as a memory or tribute to someone?
Everyone has a religion, whether they practice it much or not. Even if they “worship” themselves or money or power or a god or prophet, their religion will affect their morals and their choices so it’s best to add that to their profile early, even if it never gets in your story.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Assignment finished

I finished the story I decided on for my 2,000 word assignment. The final count was 1917 words and it’s about three pages long at 12 font. It was rather a challenge for me because I decided to write it in third person and I much more comfortable and used to writing first person. However, this story is sort of a first chapter of a book or series of short stories about the station and in that perspective the viewpoint works better as third person for all the characters. I enjoyed writing it although I was hoping to make more of a deal about her search and loneliness. I just couldn’t figure out how to make that happen in 2,000 words. If you’re interested in reading Sara’s Place check out my profile on Writing.com: http://writing.com/authors/cece22 . Sorry, still trying to figure out how to make links.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

2,000 words, one story

As part of my attempt to put more of my writing online, my first assignment for myself was to write a story in around two thousand words. For a girl whose last story was over 25,000 words, it’s proving to be a challenging thought. I wrote a scene on Writing.com in about 550 words that seemed to go over well for the two or three people that reviewed it, or so they said. However, that was one scene I wrote from inception to finish in about a half hour. It’s what I believe is called “flash fiction” and was done purely to have something in my portfolio. It turned out rather well but was assumed to be part of a larger piece (which it’s not at this point). One scene in about five hundred words, that’s about four scenes to show a character grow in some way. In this case I want to make a girl who just lost everything she ever believed in to find a new purpose. In two thousand words? This could turn out to be an interesting assignment.

Monday, August 9, 2010

New focus for now

One thing I keep hearing in all these marketing sites and blogs is that everyone is promoting a product. Most people are promoting their website, not so much their blog. In fact, a blog is usually used to promote the website or product. A blog is usually how a person builds trust and credibility so people will buy their product. However, my blog is my “product”. Eventually I want to get published for my novel, not so much my online stuff. What I write online is more to help me write better and get reviews of my writing to get honest responses to what I write, not people that hated my story just claiming not to be done with it so they don’t have to actually tell me how bad it is. (I think at least two of my readers couldn’t continue the story I borrowed to them and just don’t mention it to me so they don’t have to tell me that they could barely stomach the first few scenes or stopped halfway through. I can easily see it being that bad as it has no glue, no emotional storyline.) I have one reader who’s forcing himself to read it and I can tell it’s rather painful to him but he can’t quite tell why. Still, he’s trying to be nice and not tell me he’s having trouble reading it. (It’s kind of obvious that it completely puzzles him as to why it’s so bad. It’s rather amusing watching him try to be diplomatic about it.)
Anyways, I got off track. It occurred to me that if my aim is to get honest feedback on things I’ve written, that I should have things for people to look at. With that in mind I’ve decided to ignore the internet marketing side of things for a while and focus on getting “quality content” on here as well as growing my portfolio on Writing.com and maybe on Squidoo if I can figure out how best to put stories up on there. Once I’m more comfortable with how much of my “product” is visible, then I will look into drawing people to my blog and writings. Who knows, maybe I’ll put a few articles up somewhere to.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Character's childhood

Here’s a thought on character background: what was their childhood like? A childhood is often what an adult is based on. It’s when most of us learned right from wrong, how to share, why the sun comes up each day, and how lovable we are. Though your character may “overcome their childhood,” it will still affect them. If their mother wished they were like a cousin or older sister, they may now know they are worthy of love (how’d that happen?) but they may need to remind themselves of that often. A guy that got picked on as a scrawny kid may work out daily as an adult or have a dislike for those that look strong and perfect. He may even hesitate to go for a girl he loves but feels he can’t compare with “her league” so he watches from afar and settles for another. If they were well loved they may be very loving, if they were neglected, it could be the opposite. However, if you want a girl who grew up on the streets (literally) of Brooklyn all her life, it may not be a good idea to have her sweet and naive. If you have a large secret or shame in your character’s background, that can affect how honest, proud, or suspicious they are. Events or secrets can often bond people or drive them apart. An engaged couple that accidentally killed someone they knew may find it easier (eventually) to break up rather than see each other and be reminded. Accidental sex partners (drinking or just bad in bed) may never want to see each other again. Then again, some people cling to secrets others long to forget causing rifts. People leave towns for big cities hoping to be forgotten if there was a big scandal surrounding them or their family. An aborted child or one given up for adoption can cause problems in the future…The ways childhoods or secrets can effect a character are endless, as well as what they learned from each scenario. While one character may become introverted from being molested, another may become a prostitute or slut in order to feel in control of who hurts her. The possibilities are endless so have fun meeting your characters and making them as close to real as you can.

Friday, August 6, 2010

When are you a writer?

I came across a thought in a book not too long ago, the character development book I'm reading (Yes, I'll put a link up to it here soon.) and there was a mention to it in a blog I read not long ago. When are you a writer? Is it like a job where you do it for eight hours before heading home and trying to ignore it the other sixteen hours or is it like being a parent where you just always are? Even if your child leaves home and never calls or writes, you still worry and wonder, you're still a parent. The book claims, and I mostly agree, that you are a writer any day you actually write. Even if you merely wrote a paragraph, a short article, or some backstory, if you wrote creatively that day you can call yourself a writer all day long. Why I don't fully agree with his statement is that sometimes taking a break from your story is good or life just interferes. That doesn't mean you didn't make the decision of what your character will wear in the next scene while stuck in traffic or came up with a great backstory while waiting in line at the bank or grocery store. You just didn't have time to write it down yet.
I think that being a writer needs to be a passion, not just a hobby or a job. It's something that is always percolating in the back of your mind, the wheels are always turning. Being a writer, at least a function one, this is probably true for nonfiction writers as well though that could theoretically be "just a job" to someone, is who a person is. It's how a person thinks, how they notice the world and maybe even how they respond to it. However, like every talent, the more you use it the better it becomes and the less you use it, the more you loose it. Just because you think like a writer most days does not mean you are one everyday if you never put pen to paper or hand to keyboard. So keep those words flowing and try to write daily.

Thursday, August 5, 2010


"Don't judge a book by its cover." "First impressions matter." We've all heard those sayings or variations of them. However, have you ever thought how wrong those first impressions can be? I had a thought of how amusing or interesting it could be to play around with the first impression. Just imagine a character that wears glasses and does her hair just so and everyone thinks she's smart because she rarely speaks. Then, at a critical time, they need her brains and she really has none. Or how about the muscular guy that everyone thinks is athletic so he gets picked for an important game just to find out that he works out at the gym a lot but can barely run because he's been focusing on looks over functionality. Having incorrect first impressions in a story can lead to a number of complications that could prove amusing, interesting, or annoying for the reader. Feel free to play around with ideas.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


One of the most important things I've found for a story writer, such as novels or short stories, is organization. It is very important that all your ideas for one story stay together. I know I have the habit of writing down ideas for world building or personality traits on anything nearby. Some of my ideas have been in small notepads while others have been in up to three or four different notebooks. I often have troubles remembering which notebook is my primary one and sometimes have to search through my whole drawer and desk to find that idea I had last month that would be perfect in this place in the story. My strong recommendation is to take some time at the end of each day to make sure each idea you had that day got put in its proper notebook or place so you won't have to search for it and ruin your motivation.

A little at a time

Sometimes I need a reminder that life doesn't happen overnight. I've been trying to figure out how to get more readers to my blog (originally my travel blog but as that is written primarily for my family, I started looking at getting readers to a new blog, this one.) All the research I've done has reminded me that everything takes time. No matter if you want a book published, a successful blog, a successful new business, or even the starring role in a movie or a successful music career. Everything takes time from the day you start down the road to your ultimate goal. My brother has a rather successful blog. It's been nominated for at least an award twice. To me that seems like he's doing well in the blogging world. I started looking at his old blogs, the ones he did when he first started and I realized something: he's been blogging for over eight years! I hadn't thought about it in those terms. Anything could happen in eight years but not so much in the few weeks since I started thinking of going on this path, wherever it leads me. Small steps will lead to big benefits but nothing happens overnight.
Well, that is my thought for the day, now back to my research. Talk to you tomorrow.