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Story Weaving on Steroids: Real People Create Real Characters

22 Oct

This is part of a series of post that gives you tips, tricks, and dirty little secrets that will help pump up your plot, and make your story an irresistible read! Today’s trick:

Using real people to make real characters.

A question authors are often asked is “are your characters based on people you know?” most of the time the author will answer no, but let’s be honest the answer is probably yes, because if there is one thing authors are good at it’s cheating at writing.

Basing characters off real people is cheating, and it’s also genius!

Using a real person as a base for a character much like you would use white as a base for paint leads to amazing things. How so? After all, real people generally don’t have lives that are spicy enough for fiction.

Well, take a person I know. Let’s call him “John”

John’s older now, but his whole life while living in the mid-west he struggled with a drinking addiction. He’s been divorced once, and had two kids with the woman, but he has now remarried and his kids grew up with his new wife and their mother. After his remarriage he found help with his addiction and now lives happily.

Okay, that’s all well and fine, but there is no plot to John’s life. You can’t just write THAT story. But you CAN write one with someone like him. Now comes the imaginative part.

Change John’s life. Make it more tragic, more weird, or more adventurous.

For instance lets pull John out of the mid-west and stick him in England. He’s a young 23-year-old drunken Englishman in (instead of the late 1980’s) (the early 1900’s )lets say 1910. His wife didn’t leave him because of his drinking, he killed her in a fit of rage during one of his many drunken bouts. Now he can’t stand the sight of blonde women. He placed his young daughter (instead of daughters) into an orphanage to cover up the murder. He dumped his wife’s body in the river and now slogs about the bar near the river’s bridge often looking out at the water pondering suicide, until…. he meets an extraordinary woman who….

Who what?

From there you take the story where ever it may please to go.

But, just from that paragraph you have an excellent idea about who your MC is. Granted, we embellished John’s life almost to the point of  being in-recognizable, but John is still real and still very much there, and that is what makes the character seem real!

I am totally in favor of stealing people’s lives for novels. Are you?


My First True Love(s)

25 Sep

From the time I was little I was in love with stories. Movies, plays, books anything that wasn’t kindergarten napping and hopscotch I was into. I desperately wanted something exciting to happen to me, something that happened to characters in books. I wanted to sprout wings, or find out I was a missing princess like Anastasia.

Naturally then, I had my favorite stories, and my favorite characters. I had particularly bad little girl crushes on Peter Pan and Dickon from The Secret Garden.

To This day I’m not sure what the appeal of these two were as compared to the princes of Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty. Maybe it was the fact that Peter Pan was utterly wild and incredulous, while the Princes of Disney had little else but their title.

Oh Golly! If you don’t find this adorable you’re on crack!

Peter Pan always held a special place in my heart. He was unruly and lets not forget musical (pan pipes). Not to mention an excellent leader (he could rally 12 boys under the age of 13 and that’s a tough job for anyone). Besides that he was an extraordinary fighter (beating up a  pirate 3 times his age and half his wit). And boy was he witty. Even at 7 years old I  couldn’t help but falling in love with people’s wit and Peter Pan’s was no exception.

Then there was the fact that he was utterly magically, and could freakin’ fly! If that wasn’t reason enough to want to marry him then i don’t know what is. So there is my explanation for being in love with Peter Pan. Makes sense.

Then there was Dickon. Oh Dickon, sweet, adorable, animal charmer Dickon! That should be enough to make any girl swoon right there. Let’s not even MENTION the fact that he has an accent (an adorable little scots-irishaccent)! Plus he’s all in love with animals and the wind in his hair and stuff like that and as a little suburbs

It’s like The Notebook for 10 year olds! 😀 *I’m squealing on the inside*

girl I wanted so badly to run out on the ‘Moore’ with him. Plus, he could tame a WILD PONY. Every little girl wants a pony and if a boy could tame a wild pony and give it to me I’m pretty dang sure I would marry him to this day. Nuff said.

Oh and on top of that he would Push Mary on the swing in the garden and that was just too cute! He was a perfect little gentleman, which is the complete opposite of Peter. Who in retrospect was a total player who flirted with Mermaids, and probably joked around with Wendy way too much. He will just never grow up. So immature (haha)!

What do my fictious love interests have to do with writing.

Well, just recently I realized that right there (those two characters) are excellent examples of how to make love interests interesting. They (even as children) had the makings of great men. And so I will now got pat myself on the back for discovering that I have great taste in fictitious boys. Their characters would be excellent models to form an MC or a secondary character with! Now, don’t you feel like you learned something?

Did anyone else have kiddie crushes?

Sorry this post is late… Microsoft is lame and windows live didn’t post it for me! UGH! Technology 😦

Just Add Water and a Fun House Mirror!

15 Jul

So yep… here is me. Back from my FINAL vacation this summer, I SWEAR! This was the last one. And the last prolonged blogging absence I will have in the coming months! So yeah, vacations over!

Wow… that sounded like an oxymoron.

Anyway, I decided to tell you all that vacation is a good thing for writers. Especially ones who don’t write on vacation (like me). Why? That sounds even more like an oxymoron than the last one.

Because we need brain food. Seriously.

Where do you think you get all your ideas from? They aren’t coming out of thin air despite how it may seem. All ideas come from other ideas. Everything you’ve ever written (and will write) is a collection of every movie you’ve ever seen, every book you’ve ever read, every piece of art you’ve ever seen, and every experience/conversation you’ve ever had.

And since we writers write everyday (ehm. Yes everyday… *cough*) we are constantly pouring out those experiences and taking less of them in by comparison. Things that we do everyday like go to work or school, eating breakfast, or riding a bike, those often times don’t give us any new information. Without new information how can you create anything new? You are drawing from the same stagnant pool of ideas 24/7! Without any new flow of information to mix up the waters (shall we say) you end up with a bunch of new but similar ideas or rewriting old ones.

Not good.

That’s why it’s important (in my opinion at least) for writers to be getting as much new information as possible at all times. And it doesn’t have to be something big. Sure, going on a weeks long vacation to Oregon (a place I’d never been before) that is great! Fantastic! But, you can’t do that all the time. So, getting new information needs to be more accessible, and you can make it that way just by enacting small changes in your life.

For instance:

Instead of watching an old favorite switch on a new movie or show

Likewise for books and music

Take a walk/ride your bike to a neighborhood you haven’t been in before

Try something new: pick up a guitar or play a piano, take some photos,bake something, play a sport, or get your hands on a sketchbook

Re-paint your room to give you a new outlook on your life

Clean out a bookshelf

Try reading a different genre (you might just like it!)

Basically, just do something new, something that will spark new neuron pathways in your brain because it hasn’t experienced it before!

Being creative is about taking in as much of your surroundings as possible and then warping them into something else entirely. Like fun house mirrors! So, there you have it, your job is to become a fun house mirror!

So what have I done in this post? Mostly I’ve made myself feel better about not writing, and you know, maybe I imparted some useful advice. Maybe…


Inspiration Compilation

7 Mar

Hey all, I know I haven’t been around lately, but to make it up to you I’ve thrown together a little thing I call an “inspiration compilation”. It’s basically a bunch of photos and quotes I’ve found on the net that I think will help get your creativity going. So, without out further ado enjoy!
































































































What do you all think? Feeling inspired?