11 Tips for Character Development

Your plot is ready to go. You have a protagonist, an antagonist, a secondary character, an old mentor, a love interest, a traitor, an opposed parent, a jealous sibling, and an intelligent talking horse named Phillip. Hopefully, by the time you sit down to start writing the first chapter of your first draft, you have a general idea of what your cast of characters is like. Well at least you’ll know the gender of your main character. Ideally.

I believe the most important thing that will help you achieve a well developed story is a well developed cast of characters; the story is about those characters, after all. Probably the most crucial question to ask when developing a character is “what are the character’s motives?” The protagonist’s motives alone will drive the plot forward, but when you add the antagonist’s desires, the traitor’s secrets, the mentor’s wishes, along with the protagonist’s motives, the story will automatically become so much more detailed and complex. And complexity is a good thing. Not only will it make the reader think, but it will make each character believable: all their trials, emotions, fails, and triumphs will be real, thus drawing the reader into a deeper level of identifying with each of them. It may be scary at first to think that strangers who happen to be reading your story will connect with your babies if you do a good job, but if your readers don’t connect, what is your story worth? Without a developed cast of characters, it will be hard to connect with them, thus we will feel nothing at their fails, triumphs, or emotions, and thus the message or theme of the story you want to convey through your characters will never be understood by your readers.

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20 Questions to Ask Your Plot and Characters

Writerly tags are, believe it or not, one of the biggest things that make me think about my WIP more in depth. Most of the tags I’ve participated in (the Six Question Character Challenge being my absolute favorite) made me ask questions of my plot and characters that I’d never even thought to ask. For instance, before participating in the aforementioned tag, I had no idea what my MC’s MBTI type was, where my main six characters saw themselves in ten years, or that my villain resembled Anton Yelchin. Getting to know little details about my characters also revealed so much more about my plot, even future book ideas for later in the series! It results in much elation, as you may well understand if you’re a writer. Writing up Six Questions Character Challenge made my week. I love talking about my characters to begin with, but answering questions I didn’t know about them in the first place made the experience so much more enlightening and enjoyable.

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8 Healthy Lifestyle Tips for Writers

Some of you might be wondering why I’ve decided to write a post for writers on how to stay healthy. I realize that nearly everyone knows basic guidelines for staying healthy (it’s mostly just a matter of ignoring temptation), so why can’t writers just do the same thing? Glad you asked! I am armed and ready with an answer to this question.

If you’re a writer, or know writers, you’ll understand that such a life is very sedentary. We read, write, edit, brainstorm, and do everything else writing related while sitting down and/or hunched over a notebook or screen. This is because everything we do writing related, whether getting inspiration or actually doing the art, either comes from or goes on a piece of paper or a blank document. To sum it up, writing is definitely not an active activity, if you haven’t already noticed.

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Finding Neverland – A Guest Post by Brianna Merrit

Today I have a fabulous treat for you: I’ve asked the lovely writer Brianna Merrit to guest post on my blog! She has some wonderful inspiration and epic encouragement to share with you all and I am honored to have her do just that on my blog. Go ahead and enjoy! (Warning: Use fairy dust in moderation but don’t be afraid to fly.)

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That…is Neverland.”

~J.M. Barrie

 

If you’re a writer or anyone loosely associated with the Arts you can probably find that you identify, perhaps even relate, to the character of J.M. Barrie in the 2004 film Finding Neverland. I’ve been involved in the Arts since I was 3 years old when my mom enrolled me in Ballet class. And for as long as I can remember I’ve loved telling stories through dance as well as the written word, so to say that I felt a special connection to Johnny Depp’s character, J.M. Barrie, would be putting it lightly.

 

As Peter Pan is one of my all-time favorite fictional characters, I’m somewhat floored that I only saw Finding Neverland for the first time this year. But let me tell you—it was well worth the wait.

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In the same vein as Saving Mr. Banks (another film that I laughed, cried, and dreamed myself through), the film transported the ever-present writer inside of me to the world of J.M. Barrie and what it was like for him to come up with his greatest work.

 

Exploring the movie’s themes and underlying messages, you can find many lessons to be learned and many nuggets of wisdom to glean, but I want to look at two of them in particular.

 

One.

“You find a glimmer of happiness in the world,

there’s always someone who wants to destroy it.” – J.M. Barrie

 

Have you ever been told you can’t do something? Or that you’re not good enough?

 

“That’ll never work” and “Don’t get your hopes up” are very common phrases told to the dreamers of the world. Three groups of people have seemed to emerge from the masses: the dream achievers, the dream stealers, and those without a dream. (Think about the “I’ve Got A Dream” song from Tangled and you’ll know what I’m talking about). Out of the three groups the biggest happen to be the dream stealers because they were once the dream achievers. Because someone chose to steal their aspirations away they see fit to steal others as well. We can’t let that happen. Do you know why?

 

Everyone wants to have a dream. And even more than that, they want to see their dream take off on fairy wings.

 

As Jefferson, the Mad Hatter from Once Upon A Time says, “You know what the issue is with this world? Everybody wants a magical solution to their problem, and everyone refuses to believe in magic.”

 

If you’re a writer or dancer or artist don’t let other people steal away the happiness you find in your magical creativity. In fact, never stop sharing it with them because they are the people who need it the most.
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Two.

 

“I’m not Peter Pan. He is.”

– Peter Llewelyn Davies

 

What we create defines us. It is who we are as an individual, and as a culture. Art is essential to our world, and stories are at the very center of every art form out there.
Painting, Dancing, Singing, Writing…

They’re all forms of story performed by storytellers.

 

Be transparent in your work. Be honest and vulnerable.

 

Be you.

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Brianna Merrit

I’m a dragon-loving, tea-addicted writer who loves to share the joy of adventure and grace of redemption through my writing. I write Christian Speculative Fiction and Fantasy for teens and young adult readers .

As well as writing, I love dancing and currently teach Ballet and Jazz in Virginia where I live with my family and spoiled rotten Dalmation, Valentine.

briannamerrit.com

9 Ways to Hit 50K Words for NaNoWriMo

November is a crazy month for writers not just because of midterms, Thanksgiving, and other seasonal preparations, but also because of writing. Do I care to elaborate?

Sho’.

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My Novel and Writing Tips for NaNoWriMo 2016

*sings* It’s the most craziest tiiiiime— of the year.

You say it’s too early to be singing parodies of Christmas songs, but the Santa Claus decor has been out for a while. I’ll sing all I want.

I’ve never done NaNoWriMo before, making November 2016 a month full of dread and anticipation, worry and happiness as well as my first year to particpate. I’ll be trying to write 50K words in 30 days = I’m attempting to write a whole novel in a month = I’m actually going to complete a whole dang novel. And that is something I have never done. The exciting part is that I might just do it.

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Answer the Question “What’s your Book About?” Using Story Cards

Admit it. Pretty much all writers get asked the question, “What is your book about?” Me, I begin wishing for a memorized tagline while trying to respond and sounding stupid in the process. Probably, most of our responses run thus:

“Er, well, it’s about this guy who saves the world from this demonic guy … Scratch that, it’s about a boy who travels to another world and realizes he’s from that world and that he’s the only one who needs to kill the bad guy … it’s actually about a kid who’s the chosen one, and there’s lots of other stuff I can’t tell you because SPOILERS.”

Ooooh. Impressive. And I’ve read too many books like that. Cliche? BAM!

I think we’ve all been there.

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