Tag Archives: create characters

Writing Tips: Character Chart

31 May

Over the past two days, I’ve had the pleasure of receiving two more reviews of Minutes Before Sunset and one interview about the behind-the-scenes of the work. And I’m here to share it with you all before I begin my “Writing Tips” sessions.

On May 29, Nada Faris, author of Before Young Adult Fiction, Fame in the Adriatic, and ‘Artemis’ and other Moms wrote a five-star review on Goodreads: 

“…This story has twists and turns (even the prophecy changes). It has magical powers, romance, and some funny moments. As a young adult novel, it will satisfy its readers. All in all, the first book in A Timely Death series, was promising. It sets the stage for more conflict. Seconds Before Sunrise, Book 2 of the series, is scheduled for release in fall 2013.”

Read the rest of her review by clicking here.

The five signed copies of Minutes Before Sunset are in the mail for the winners! Congrats!

The five signed copies of Minutes Before Sunset are in the mail for the winners! Congrats!

On May 30, Tina Williams, host of A Reader’s Review, wrote an analysis of my recently released novel while also expanding it with an interview/guest post: (Click the links to read more.) 

Review: “…Minutes Before Sunset is an original and compulsive read. The tale is told in the first person, with chapters told from the perspective of Eric and Jessica. This is effective in terms of both advancing the plot and giving depth to the characters. I particularly enjoyed the maturity and selflessness of the hero and heroine, Eric and Jessica, and found their growing attraction and love for one another both believable and sweet. The novel ends in such a way that I am chomping at the bit to read the next installment. Minutes Before Sunset is a magical, if slightly dark tale, containing romance and adventure, which explores fate and free will and self-sacrifice. I recommend it to readers of both adult and young adult paranormal romance.”

Interview: “As a much younger child, I often suffered from nightmares and night terrors (I honestly couldn’t differentiate between reality and dreams) so my mother had me turn them into stories in order to cope. My latest young-adult paranormal romance, Minutes Before Sunset, is actually a result of the same thing, but it was a different series of dreams. I was in a very dark time in my life, and I had dreams of a boy visiting me at night—just to talk. He’d ask me about how I was feeling, what I was going to do next, and what my hopes were for the future. When I got through that dark time, the dreams were quite literally ripped away from my conscious, and I was distraught. Despite my happiness, I still wanted him as if he was a real person, so I created a story explaining his visits. And Minutes Before Sunset was born.”

Special thanks to both of these talented and lovely ladies. I am proud and grateful to have such great supporters like you all. 

In case anyone is curious, Minutes Before Sunset is available as a paperback on Barnes & Noble and Amazon as a preorder. It will be shipped to you on June 14, 2013. Click the links to be directed to the website. (And don’t forget to let me know if you review it! I will put your blog right here.)

Now. ::takes deep breath:: The writing tips! 

I’m a big fan of graphs and charts. Seriously. I graph everything. (I’m sure I’ll do more posts on this later–you will not believe the things I can find ways to graph.) But why do I like to graph and chart?

Whether or not I expect it, graphs and charts show something–a pattern or lack thereof–and I think this visual information can help more than a writer (or reader) might originally think. So I came across one the other day called The Character Chart, and I wanted to share it with you all. I would take a screen shot and post it, but the website asks users to “link only” and use only for personal use, and I want to respect that. 

However, I will say that it is a great chart. It’s basically a questionnaire for you to print out and get in-depth with your characters about who they are, what drives them, and who they will become. I particularly like this one because of the detail involved (like self-perception compared to reality.) This is not to say that all of these details are completely necessary to know, but I do say this: this list will challenge you, no matter how well you know a character (especially minor ones), and you might learn something about your character you haven’t expected. I think this list is great for those who are also looking to bring depth to their character (or even to create an entirely new person!)

I’ll definitely be returning to it. Again, I’d share more about it, (I’d even share my answers for Eric or Jessica in Minutes Before Sunset) but I want to respect his copyright properly, so all I can really say is check it out :] And let me know if you’d like to see more interactive websites like this. I’ll be sure to share them as they come.

~SAT

P.S I hope everyone is enjoying the arrival of summer. I sure am! And I wanted to share a piece of my lake fun with everyone: Have a great (and sunny) day!

I'm on a boat...wait...a raft.

I’m on a boat…wait…a raft.

Writing Tips: Beautiful Characters

22 Feb

When I wrote about “Beautiful Creatures” last Wednesday, my follower, Wordschat, said “This looks so much like a Twilight wanna be but then again anything with ‘beautiful people’ will be.” (Wordschat’s blog reviews many aspects of his life: books, TV, movies, and novel–along with politics. Anything that effects his Canadian life, and I find his insightful writing to be a wonderful example of how we can take advantage of our technological world to communicate our opinions effectively.)

But–I wanted to discuss this “beautiful people” in novels, because, like many of you, I’m sure you’re sick of it. It’s repetitive, shallow, and, in the end, it’s impossible to relate to. Novels, it seems, go into this world where everyone (as long as they are a main character) is a walking super model (or a model in the making.)

What is with this and how can we, as writers AND readers, change this???

Readers: Demand a change. You have the power. Not the writer. Based on what you buy and react to, the industry WILL change. The industry HAS to adapt to what YOU want. But you have to demand it first.

Writers: Stop. It’s that simple. Instead of telling the reader how beautiful they are physically, explain the little things that make them beautiful to others. Use their personality.

Another way to show beauty is explaining what is beautiful to your character. This painting is beautiful to me. Not only does it depict my favorite actor (and cat!) but a wonderful painter took the time to create something lovely, specifically for me, and that gesture is beautiful.

Another way to show beauty is explaining what is beautiful to your character. This painting is beautiful to me. Not only does it depict my favorite actor (and cat!) but a wonderful painter took the time to create something lovely, specifically for me, and that gesture is beautiful.

Think of it this way: if you’ve ever had a lover yourself, what makes them beautiful to you? I hope your first thoughts don’t go straight to their physical aspects. It goes to their personality—who they are and how they continue to grow into the person you love. They aren’t set in stone—they are human—and they have flaws.

Personally, I find flaws are the most attractive part about a person. Not only do they describe a history, but they create a vulnerability that, when the narrator focuses on them, shows the endearing emotions of a character. This goes for all characters—not just lovers or protagonists.

I’ve created a list of attributes you can consider when thinking of how to create a “beautiful person” through personality rather than by physical forms:

Gestures: Actions speak louder than words. There is a reason this is such a popular phrase. Use it. Does a character go out of his/her way help, to show that they care? Consider creating a character who’s bad at explaining their emotions, so they, in turn, show it. Maybe they cannot make eye contact—so, in the rare moments they do, it means something.

Speech: Perhaps they are great with their words, but you cannot explain yourself in every situation, especially when a lot of people are around. Allow their conversations to change between different characters. Show how they change from one person to the next. This will show who they sympathize with and/or who they dislike. It will also create a relatable, emotional person, who may not even be aware how much they give away with their speech.

Physical: So they’re chiseled and their jaw line is impeccably defined. Great. I don’t care. Maybe I’m not attracted to that type of man, so why should I care? Keep your reader in mind. Use your narrator, and focus on the little things, THEY find beautiful. Consider using scars, birthmarks, injuries, or how they can never control their hair or expressions. Allow these physical aspects to create a beauty that is unique to the person, the narrator, and that will effect how the reader will respond.

I have one last disclosure: There, of course, are exceptions, but I want you to think about why they become exceptions. An example would be a novel about someone’s extreme beauty causes them disconnect. Their beauty puts them in situations where they cannot connect, because they feel as if people only like them because of their physical appearance. In this case, however, when you really get down to it, it’s their insecurities about connection that allow them to be beautiful. It shows a thought process. It shows an emotional response to the world. Use beauty in a way that readers will sympathize with how they are effected–not how they look. 

~SAT

If you're interested in how I'm doing in the Midwest snow storm: this is a carport in my apartment complex that collapsed beneath the weight of snow. Eek.

If you’re interested in how I’m doing in the Midwest snow storm: this is a carport in my apartment complex that collapsed beneath the weight of snow. Eek.

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