Writer’s block can be very real. Sometimes to get started on what we really need to be writing, we need to do a little warm-up. Set a timer for 30 minutes, use the photo and or the passage below to start those words and stories flowing!

The sun took way too long to sink below the horizon. The day had been way too long. The waiting was unbearable. The shadow felt secure. The blanket felt warm and provided a shield from the reality that waited.


Click to tweet: a picture, a described scene, and 30 minutes could be the start of something wonderful.

Creating #characters who are believable and are relatable is an important part of the writing process. As we build a character’s personality, we have to be sure to carry that personality throughout the story. There are 4 fundamental personality types. They are sanguine, choleric, melancholic, and phlegmatic. There are researchers and studies that explain personalities and reactions in a deeper manner, but for our purpose in developing characters, lets explore character development with these four.

Generally, the sanguine is the fun-loving, life-of-the-party type. This personality could be the your comic relief in the most intense parts of your story. The choleric is the leader. Still out-going, but will be taking charge and solving problems. The melancholic is organized and very steady when it comes to emotional reactions. And the phlegmatic is a quiet introvert, and hard to know what they are feeling because they don’t share unless asked. Any of these sound familiar?

Each personality type has strengths and weaknesses. Typically those who study personalities will explain that when any given personality is under stress, upset, or in crisis, their strengths can become a weakness. For example the sanguine might make sarcastic jokes when stressed or in an awkward situation rather than address the issue at hand.

As you get to know your characters through writing them into scenes, keep in mind their personality. Are their reactions to outside stresses and successes consistent with their personality?


Click to tweet: Creating #characters who are believable and relatable is an important part of the writing process.

 

 

I shared with you that I now need to go back through my manuscript and add better descriptors for my characters. I know what they look like, but you, the reader, won’t at this point. Every writer has their own tips and tricks to creating list-1character. While it’s impossible to not pull some attributes from real people, you don’t want to fully model characters after a single person.

My characters have been given some characteristics of people I’ve encountered. But no one character is exactly like a real person I know. That being said, I need to give them hair, skin tone, body structure. In order to write descriptions, I needed something to look at. I’m a very visual person. So I spent some time with Google searching for images of people who looked like what I see in my head for Maggie, Dan and the gang. I tried to choose generic images that had no names attached to them. So if you know any of these folks don’t tell me. These images will ONLY be used for me during the writing process, they will not appear anywhere in my book.list2

When I told my son about the exercise, he looked at the pages on the wall and then asked “what did you Google to find these people?” With that, I will caution you if you try this to be both as general and specific as you can or you may wake up your internet blocker. Adding the word “head shot” in your search helps.

What are your tips to describing the features of your characters?

I’m closer than I’ve ever been to completing my first novel (cheering appropriate here). Part of the delay is my own slowness and every time I learn something new about writing I go back through the entire draft and make changes. Nonetheless I have a goal to get this thing completed and to an editor by the end of the year (more cheering please).

The other morning on my way to my writers’ group meeting it occurred to me that I have been so careful to show and not tell that there are no descriptors of how my secondary characters look. Maggie’s mom, Jen’s husband, the kids.

So this week, in addition to tightening up the ending, I am going to start at the beginning and go back through adding appropriate descriptors.

The other thing I’ve gone overboard eliminating with this draft is backstory. In my first draft, instead of peppering backstory throughout,  I basically barfed backstory everywhere to the point of stopping the story.  So, I need to go through and be sure I’ve rounded out my main characters for my readers.

What are you working on this week?

 

books proposeOk, so I’m busy trying to write but wanted to touch base with my writing friends. You never know where your inspiration will come from.  Do you live with a reader? I do (even married him) and it is great to be together and yet in different worlds. I imagine my historical characters dancing about the room dodging the bullets and car chases of his action adventure heroes.

I heard an idea for character development (probably from one of you). Find pictures of people who have similar features to your characters. For example, you may do a Google search for females with brown hair (I tried it to be sure nothing inappropriate popped up). best weaponsHaving a real image of a person may help your character become more real.

What other tips and tricks do you use when forming your characters?

reading and ignoranceHi ho, hi ho, it’s of to write I go.  You never know where your inspiration will come from. Go people watching and find your next great character.