Get to Know Your Characters

I’ve realized that I don’t do enough thoughtful posts. Lately I’ve been posting book reviews, TTTs, and the like. So I’m going to try to write at least one thoughtful post, about writing or reading, every week.

Guess what? It’s NaNoPrepMo!

And that means that this is the month to prepare for your NaNo novel. [Comment below if you’re doing NaNoWriMo!] Outline, plan your characters, come up with some plot twists, et cetera. I’m usually a panster, a.k.a. someone who jumps right in, no planning at all. Take a look at this handy post I found on the NaNoWriMo forums:

If you aren’t familiar with the terms, the general definitions are as follows:

Plotter: The most straightforward of all writers. This writer plans out the entire manuscript. Perhaps he creates a chapter-by-chapter breakdown of the novel. Maybe she positions sticky-notes on her wall, like a shrine to the novel it will become. Or maybe he’s like J.K. Rowling and uses a spreadsheet to keep the story–complete with subplots–straight. Basically, the plotter, as the name would imply, carefully constructs the plot before typing the first word.

Pantser: The anti-plotter. This writer likes to “fly by the seat of his pants,” hence the name. She is most likely to throw caution to the wind–and never mind if the heroine’s name changes from Keith to Kevin halfway through the third chapter.

Plantser: The Plotter/Pantser hybrid. This writer makes rough notes as a general guide but prefers to keep a more fluid outline. This could be anything from index cards on which major plot points are written, to a rough idea of what will make up the beginning, middle, and ending, to detailed character sketches and a clear story question and desired outcome–with everything subject to change.

-E. M. Caines

So I’m a pantser. When I started Nakoma, I honestly didn’t know what would happen next, which characters would come in, whom would betray whom–I trusted my instincts and basically, in the first chapter, wrote a biography of Nakoma, the MC.

But back to the point.

For NaNoWriMo 2014, I’m attempting to lean more in the direction of a plotter. I’ve come up with a plot, thirteen major characters, and even have a nice little folder for all of my planning and plotting.

My folder. [Yes, that is a NaNoWriMo background. :) ]

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My documents inside my folder. From top to bottom: Characters; Novel; NYC; Timeline.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So I’m very organized. But I didn’t write this post today to tell you about organization [Another time, perhaps.]. This post is about your characters.

One of the ways to prepare for NaNoWriMo, or Camp NaNoWriMo, or any new project [particularly a novel] is to get to know your characters. I came up with three steps to get to know your characters. I’ve just completed Step 2.

  1. Make a list of your top ten to fifteen characters. Write down their names and their relationships to the MC(s). Include the MC in this list. You don’t have to put down much information or put any thought into it. You can change the characters’ names later on if you wish. I know I did. And it doesn’t have to be on a computer in your special documents; I wrote my list in an old notebook while camping. Whenever inspiration strikes, write it down. Here’s my list: nanoprepmoscan1
  2. “Ask” them questions/list facts about them. To get to know your characters better, find out information about them. You can list the questions and put down answers like the character would, or do a profile of them. I also find it helpful to search the internet for images that fit your characters. You can type in “girl with brown hair and blue eyes” and get thousands of results. Most of them will be selfies. Here is the profile for my main character, Cait: bloggishcaitFor this novel, most of the characters are bloggers, which is why I added “Blog” and “Username.” Here are some questions to ask your characters: name, age, birthday, hair, eyes, height, hobbies, nickname, family members, pets, where they live, favorites [color, band, food etc.].
  3. Put them in dialogue pieces together. I have yet to do this, but I can’t wait. Put two or more of your characters in a room together, and see what happens. Let them talk. Are they sassy and sarcastic? Let them. Do they want to date the other character? Let them flirt. Are they scared? Show how they’re scared. Let the characters do it all; you just have to write it down. Don’t force them to be one way or another. Of course, you’re their creator, so ultimately it’s up to you. Start with a basic idea, and let it go from there.

I hope you enjoyed my thoughtful post. :) I’m off to type up a thing for my mom. Do you use these steps? Will you in the future? And should I write more posts about writing? Tell me in the comments below.

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I’m Back From Camp, What I Wish I Knew Before I Started [Seriously] Writing, and Two Blog Awards

I’m back from camp! (Note I was also sweaty, tired, and dirty until I showered. I guess I’m still tired though…)

It was pretty fun. And speaking of fun, here is a list of all the fun girls in my group for camp:

Celeste: She looks somewhat intimidating on the outside, but inside she’s fun and relatable.

Madison: She’s very hyper, dramatic, and silly. She has a great singing voice.

Maddie: Funny, sweet, and full of good stories to tell.

Ava: Maddie’s best friend, and they look like twins. We have a lot in common.

Sophia: Short, but she makes up for it with her wonderfully big personality. She’s super funny and smart.

Sierra: One of my longtime friends who visits my blog from time to time. She’s a great actress and very sporty.

There you have it. And, while I blog about random stuff (while avoiding the important things), let me tell you about my Ron incident. It happened in the shower, while I was (obviously) showering. As you probably know, Ron, from Harry Potter, is super afraid of spiders.

So I saw a spider. And usually I don’t flip out, but for some reason I screamed. A lot.

MOVING ON. Ahem.

As said above in the title, I will now post about what I wish I knew before I started writing (which, was, I know, Teens Can Write, Too’s July post thing).

1. A first draft will not be what you publish. When I was a young writer, I always thought my first drafts would be perfectly flawless. Alas, I was naïve and wrong. My first draft of Nakoma is all over the place; I can already see where I need to edit and revise. That will be my job for the next year or hundred.

2. Characters can be diverse. In fact, it’s more interesting if your characters are all different and unique. My main characters used to always be like me: tall, freckled, blue-eyed, Caucasian, and blonde. They all liked to read, write, and were somewhat introverted. Now I know that readers don’t want plain characters; they want unique, special characters with interesting backgrounds, diverse races, fascinating names, and different talents and hobbies.

3. It’s not easy. When I was young, I was talented. I still am. I’m not saying this to brag; I’m just saying that I had (and still have) stronger writing skills than the kids my age. I knew about semicolons and sentences and stories before others. And I thought it was easy, that the stories would just pour out of me and onto paper, and bam, I’d have a book. Haha, little Chloe. You’re funny. I have now learned that it’s not easy. You will get writer’s block. You will have stages where you will not write. You will want to scream and cry and throw your computer across the room. It will not be easy. The story will not let it be that easy. It will toss you on a rollercoaster, and you’ll hang on for dear life. But then it will be over. And you will breathe a sigh of relief, and write again.

4. Never give up. This is connected to number three. Even if you get stuck and you have no clue what to do, keep pushing. Writer’s block is like a wall: it will stand tall and foreboding in front of you, forbidding you to cross, but it can be knocked down. You just have to write, even if it’s a crappy paragraph or piece of dialogue. That doesn’t matter; you can fix it later. Just build the bridge between the good part and the next one.

I guess that’s all…

Now, for my two blogger awards! [I actually got three, but two are the same so I’m just doing one.]

The Very Inspiring Blogger Award From Audrey @ The Measure of a Book and Sam @ Bookish Serendipity

Rules:

  • List the rules and display the award.
  • Share 7 facts about yourself.
  • Nominate 15 other amazing blogs and comment on their posts to let them know you have nominated them.
  • Proudly display the badge.

Seven Facts About Me:

  1. I really want to have blue hair. Like, really badly.
  2. My favored drink is tea. I have hot tea in the morning, iced tea for lunch/in the afternoon, and sometimes (like right now) hot tea in the evening.
  3. Some of my favorite singers/bands are…
    1. Taylor Swift (ever since second grade!)
    2. Jason Mraz
    3. Plain White T’s
    4. Carrie Underwood
    5. Miranda Lambert
    6. Katy Perry
    7. Natasha Bedingfield
    8. Lady Antebellum
  4. I am currently obsessing over tea, The Mortal Instruments, lists, and dying my hair blue someday.
  5. I have always been obsessed with Parisian and French things, even though I’ve never been to Paris.
  6. I collect hats. Some of my favorites are my French girl hat, Greek sailor hat (from Greece!), and panda hat.
  7. I have no social media life.

My nominees (will not be fifteen) are…

Her Story Arc

Miriam Joy Writes

Roomble (I have not known this blog for long…)

Where Books Never End

That’s it…sorry.

 The Sunshine Award From Audrey @ The Measure of a Book

Rules:

  • Thank the person who nominated you.
  • Answer the questions from the person who nominated you.
  • Nominate a few other bloggers.
  • Write the same amount of questions for the bloggers you nominated.
  • Notify the bloggers on their blog.

Audrey’s Questions:

1. Why did you start your blog? Let me think… I started it because I wanted to publicize my novel, mostly, I think, and I wanted to make a blog like Sam’s (which was then Young Writers Café).

2.} If you’re a writer, what is the word count of the longest piece you’ve ever written? My current piece is a little over 50,000, and that’s my longest.

3.} What was your favorite childhood book? For really little, probably Many Moons, but just younger, probably Harry Potter. Or Nancy Drew. I read a lot of different books, mainly ones I found randomly in the library. I remember liking these books with the main character named Rose I think…

4.} If you could spend a whole day with a character from a book (not your own, sorry…), who would it be? Hermione, because she is just totally cool, or Leo Valdez, because he is one of my OTPs. Somewhat.

5.} What is your dream job? I actually would kind of like to be a flight attendant, so I could see the world. But that most likely will not happen.

6.} What is your favorite song? Just one? Well, it changes a lot, but right now, here are my top five:

  • The Lucky One by Taylor Swift
  • Rhythm of Love by Plain White T’s
  • Defying Gravity by Wicked Original Broadway Cast
  • Pocketful of Sunshine by Natasha Bedingfield
  • Behind These Hazel Eyes by Kelly Clarkson

An all time favorite, though, is I Won’t Give Up by Jason Mraz.

7.} Would you rather travel by boat or plane? Plane, because I get seasick.

8.} If someone made a movie about your life, what famous person would play you? Maybe Chloe Mortez (I think that’s her name…) or Emma Watson, if she was younger.

9.} If you’re a writer, what is the name of, your own, made up, favorite character? Oh, I love them all…I really like Cadmium, though. She’s kind of like Luna Lovegood.

10.} Mansion or house? Mansion. Not because I want to be rich, but because I’d like to write in different rooms and play hide-and-seek.

My nominees are the same as above.

My Questions:

1. If you could dye your hair any color, what would it be and why?

2. When did you start your blog and why did you start it?

3. Did anyone inspire you to start your blog?

4. What are your secret tricks to staying happy? (i.e., food, books to read, etc.)

5. Rainy or sunny? Why?

6. The Classic: Coke or Pepsi? Why?

7. Who is your favorite singer or band?

8. What fictional world would you like to live in?

9. Who is your [current] favorite author?

10. Who are/is your OTP(s)? [OTP means One True Pairing, as in fictional characters.]

I’m done.

phineas and ferb animated GIF

Bye now.

Chloe