Tag Archives: Character Development

What Lies Within

Pink Daisy Flower by Simon Howden ID-10059998 - Ralph Waldo Emerson Quote

What lies within us is very powerful. Use it to your advantage and let your characters write themselves. Your past shapes who you are and it’s where our actions and reactions to every day happenings come from. If you use what lies within you, your characters will have depth because their actions and reactions will be believable.

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Mississippi River Writers Conference Host Award-Winning Authors

The AmericInn Lodge and Suites in Prairie du Chien, WI will be the destination for Mississippi River Writers Conference on May 3, 2014.

Kim Sigafus

The conference will be held from 9-4 p.m. and is an opportunity for both published and unpublished writers to network and gather information about their craft. The keynote speaker is award-winning fiction/non-fiction author, Kim Sigafus. She will be speaking on how writers can take back the power of the printing press and why they should.

Conference topics include:

  • Memoirs
  • Critical formula for successful storytelling in books and movies
  • eBook publishing

Anthony Wedgeworth

Anthony Wedgeworth will be teaching each step of the critical formula, which will include a breakdown of key elements which are utilized in blockbusters on the screen and on the shelves. This exciting and interactive presentation includes the entire process of story planning & outlining, character development & back story, emotional pacing & teasers, and plot & subplot threads.

Lyle Ernst

Lyle Ernst will present the many different reasons and ways to write your memoir. He will include samples and suggestions and ask everyone to join in the fun of writing a six-word memoir.

 

Me

 

I will be presenting on eBook publishing and will be available throughout the conference to answer questions.

Lori Perkins of Total Printing Systems of IL will be in attendance to answer any questions writers may have on self-printing costs.

McIver Publishing will also be there to answer any questions on team self-publishing versus traditional publishing.

A writing contest for registered participants is being held for a great prize which will be awarded at the conference. A catered lunch is included in the conference fee.

Registration deadline is April 25th. For more information and to register visit the Mississippi River Writers website or call (815) 297-2293.

If you aren’t sure attending a conference is right for you. Let me give you a few more reasons. Follow this link to an earlier post from yours truly. The energy I feel leaving a conference is amazing. Don’t miss your opportunity to join us for a day.

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Tips for Dynamic Character Development

Characters in a story need more depth than a meer physical description. How do you get a reader vested in your characters so they want to know what happens to them? It’s simple really, give them personality and depth.

For each character in your novel make a list that includes:

Eduard von Grützner's depiction of Falstaff, a...

Eduard von Grützner’s depiction of Falstaff, a literary character well known for his joie de vivre (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Physical Description

  • Height
  • Weight
  • Hair Color
  • Eye Color
  • Birthmarks
  • Disabilities
  • Limitations
  • Illnesses

Occupation

  • Job
  • Education

Past Experiences

  • Parent’s marital status
  • Siblings
  • Any life changing experience – teased in school, death of a close relative or friend, divorce
Rainbow striped toe socks worn with thong sandals

Rainbow striped toe socks worn with thong sandals (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Favorite Things

  • Colors
  • Foods
  • Places
  • Clothes

Pet peeves

Real people have depth because of our life experiences. These experiences formed the person each of us has become. By making a list of attributes for each character, you as the author, know where they have come from. This helps you write your characters actions and reactions true to who they are, your dialogue becomes natural, giving them depth. When characters are real to the author they become real to the reader. At this point your reader becomes vested in your story because they want to know what happens to the character.

Be careful as you’re writing to not have verbal diarrhea by giving too much background information away at once about a character. Think back to when you met your best friend for the first time. You only knew their name and what they looked like at first. It wasn’t until later as you got to know your friend that you learned their favorite things, past experiences, and pet peeves that allowed you to predict how your friend would react in different instances. You didn’t know everything there was to know about your friend instantly. This is how you should give the reader information about your characters. Slowly, and in small increments. Some information about your character may never be revealed, but as the author you are aware of it.

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Don’t Miss Out!

Writer Wordart

Writer Wordart (Photo credit: MarkGregory007)

The Mississippi River Writers are hosting a spring writer’s conference in Dyersville, Iowa on Saturday, May 11th. During this all day conference attendees will learn how to develop characters that have depth, discuss what to consider when submitting work to large and small presses, and discover the steps involved in self-publishing. There will also be writing activities and time to share your work.

Why should you attend a writer’s conference? A writer’s conference gives you, the writer, the opportunity to learn about an aspect of writing giving you trouble, aren’t familiar with, or want to brush up on. Conference attendees learn not only from the presenters but other attendees. Most importantly, a writer’s conference gives attendees the opportunity to network with veteran and new writers, share what works and what doesn’t (those tidbits of gold about who people have used for editing, cover design, printing, etc), and spend the day doing what all writers like to do…write and talk about writing. Oh, and don’t forget to enter the writing contest. I wouldn’t want you to miss the chance to win a fabulous prize.

If you live near Iowa, and by near I mean within a day drive, come spend a Saturday learning and writing with a fun group of writers that enjoy what they do. To register click on the Mississippi River Writers link above and click on Conferences.

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Random Story Starters

Minnesota is still frozen with yet another layer of snow and more is coming tomorrow. I’m convinced Spring is skipping us and we are going to go right into Summer. Hopefully, maybe? My husband and I took our dog to the dog park today and let him run and play in the snow. On our way home we stopped for lunch at Five Guys (I’m telling you all this for a reason so hang in there my point is coming).  While I was chatting and eating I noticed a woman come in with what appeared to be her husband and teenage daughter. This woman was dressed trendy with jeans that were frayed all the way down both legs. The teenager was wearing black yoga pants and Uggs and the man had jeans and a flannel shirt on. My first thought was the woman was trying to hard to be young by wearing jeans that a teenager should be wearing and then I had an epiphany and an urge to write. I have no idea who this woman is or what her real-life story is, but boy in seconds I could write you the story I had developed around her from what I had observed. If you are looking for something to get you writing find yourself a fast food restaurant or a coffee shop to sit in and observe the random people who come and go. Pick a person you see and describe them, give them a personality and create a story around this person. Please remember coffee shop etiquette and order something once an hour for taking up space and using their internet. It’s amazing where this can take you when you are least expecting it and it’s quite fun to do.

I climbed down onto and into these rocks and let my feet dangle not far over the water at Artist's Point.

I climbed down on and into these rocks and let my feet dangle not far over the water at Artist’s Point.

If you need practice writing descriptive scenery you could take this idea outside and sit by a lake, in a park, or on a walking trail and develop a story with this as a setting. Grand Marais, Minnesota has a great park called Artist’s Point. You can walk on the rocks on the shore of Lake Superior and find a nook in a rock or in among the trees and write, it is so peaceful. Remembering this makes me want to go up there again and sit in the peace.

Malls are another fun place to observe people and write short stories. At the Mall of America they have couches, chairs, and benches all over that a person can sit down, relax, and observe people walking by. Tourists trying to navigate the mall can be a sight sometimes and it makes a good story. Go, pull up a couch, and sit and write for a bit, no one will mind.

These ideas are simple and everyone knows them, but we forget how easy it is to write. I thought I would remind you all today that you can write anywhere you want to. Just go write!

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