Are You Your Character?

9776003-audienceWhat? No, I am a fiction writer and I make up my characters, but there are times they do not seem to fit the image I had in mind. I did what a lot of writers do, I’d put the story away for a while and think.  A lot of times, even this did not help.

What helped, was a child. Yes, a young girl playing with her doll. I listened for over an hour while she had a pretend tea party, wore an old floppy summer hat, probably one of her mother’s old collections, and got disgusted that her ‘dolly children’ would not mind.

WHAM! I received that kick in the behind and a thump on the head as I realized what I could do to jump-start my story. I need to be my character. Of course, if you are working, you might have to wait until off hours or the weekends, but try out this role play.

Become your character for a weekend. Live like you think she wants to live, talk in a different voice, spice up your life with your new self.

In your story, is she treated in a different manner because of her lack of education or the side of town she lives in? Do her friends make fun of her? Is your character out spoken and not afraid to say anything to anyone? Or does she drag words out slow, slow, and slower causing people to turn away. Does she dress like a hippie from the 60’s, or always wear blue jeans and a t-shirt? Does she try to dress like the most elegant female alive. Of course, these clothes may come from thrift stores if she does not have a job or is not able to hold onto a job.

Now, hit your story. No, not to write but to read. Forget any typos, the missing places, and concentrate on your character. What about the people around her and the guy she wants, but never seems to get. You need to feel her as a person and not a character in your story. You will need all of this for a whole weekend. Do not plan anything except to be your character.

Go to areas of town unfamiliar to you and where none of your friends hang-out. You are “xxx”, a new person and you need to meet different people and try out your new character. You may feel uncomfortable for a while, but it will not last. Your new character will take over and surprise you.

Do you see any guys walking around or sitting at a different coffee shop? Would any appeal to your character? Do you find yourself in a position to start a conversation as your new character?

Return home and to YOU and go back to your story, but not the old one. Start making notes about your character. Do not worry about all the details, just write from your new character’s feelings. You will be shocked at what flows from your fingers to the keyboard. Do not stop; keep writing until you are drained.

The next day, pick up your story and begin again. You will find yourself in tune with your story character. Just let go and enjoy the sensation of knowing your character inside and out.

Happy Character Hunting.  Happy Writing.

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Where are your Purple Squirrels?

unicorn danceOkay, so  I am not a squirrel, but I am purple. And, yes, you heard right. Do you scramble for  new thoughts? Do you have trouble forming mental images? Does your creativity take deep breaths when you need help?

HAVE YOU CHOKED YOUR IMAGINATION? As writers, we cannot be without this important tool. So how do you (and me) get this important part of our writing back at a moment’s notice? First off, I’d say fire your Muse, and then I’d retract that statement. She is as bugged as you are. One word hits the spot —  OVERLOAD — and it happens to everyone.

Imagination is one word – Imagine. Kinda like the old game ‘let’s pretend.’ Sounds simple. It is, except we forget to let our ‘pretend’ side take over. Another way to look at this is ‘what if?’ Oh, you’d forgotten about that. Well let’s see what we can do to sharpen our minds, reinvent our ‘what ifs,’ and bring back the sights, sounds, and make-believes that our Muse tries so shard to knock into our thoughts.

Suppose you go outside and ‘what if” all you see are PURPLE SQUIRRELS? Hey, start here. Could you imagine writing about the purple squirrels? No. Well, what do you think of all of the paranormal attitude? Or the books way out on the limb? If a writer could not turn off the day-to-day happenings, where would all of these books or movies be? NEVER.

Is this a type of fantasy? Only you can answer this, but fantasy is not a death threat. It is an avenue to make you think way, and I mean way, “outside the box.”

Romance was once said to have a girl, a boy, a problem, a kiss, and make-up. Maybe when we read “See Jane Run,” and no one followed her, romance took a drop. But, as writers, we have come way past this emphasis. We are not kids trying to keep up with the world. No, we are adult writers trying to out-do the world.

We are into brainstorming with our fellow writers. We need the versatility of life in our stories. We need to dream and have hallucinations to spawn off onto our readers.

This is our purpose of writers: to give out readers a mental image of something they have never seen, known or felt.

This is our time, as writers, to give our readers a gift of the unknown and pull them inside with our stories and a great force of abilities to confront whatever it is out there. (EVEN PURPLE SQUIRRELS.)

Okay, ‘what if’ squirrels were purple? As a writer I’d have mine a different purple than all the others. Purple squirrels would climb higher, fly higher, and scream louder. No, not a lavender, but a deep blue-black purple and scare everyone. OR, maybe they would give the reader a sense of love not remembered, but not completely ignored,

This is our gift to our readers, our imagination. We create what the reader cannot perceive, and give them what they think they want.

As writers, we create new things and take our readers on their daydreams, or delusions, and let them fantasize their own lives. We create for them their imaginary world as they want it to be, but we let them know this is a fantasy. We do not lead our readers on without the consequences of the downside.

‘What if there were no more PURPLE SQUIRRELS?’ Oh, No. Then you need to take yourselves out and walk through parks, walk through woods, or any place that takes you back to your beginning and start again.

Imagination is there. We just forget to use it, improve it, and most importantly embrace it.

Your job for the next week is to stop to have fun, and be sure to watch the ‘Purple Squirrels.’ they know more than what you think they do.

HAPPY IMAGINATIONS. HAPPY WRITING. CONQUER AND DELIVER EVERYTHING TO YOUR READER.

HAS YOUR ‘JOY LIST’ GROWN?

I hope you have been busy adding to your ‘Joy List.’ The more you add, the more you become accustomed to freeing your mind and opening the realm of possibilities you have not begin to try.images_080

I added to mine and feel rewarded with bloodshot eyes, time tables to meet, and yes, the revision pages of my book came in by the editor–more work–then it hit me. Of course, but the end result will be publication and isn’t that one of the goals of all writers? To get ahead and where we want to be, is not just wishing. It is hard work.

I received an email with a request to be a judge in a Romance Writers Contest in Tennessee. I had enough to do, but this is something I’ve never done and was honored they emailed me. I have guidelines to follow, which makes the judging even and straight-forward. But, what writing I have encountered. This is a Paranormal Contest, and there are many, many vivid imaginations to encounter. These contestants have turned loose their Muse or maybe hidden her in the closet, while their fingers and thoughts hit the keys. I am impressed and intrigued by their stories.

Have you ever thought about writing in another genre? One you never thought you could or are you comfortable in your present genre. If so, then what about writing in a different POV. Try something different and your ‘Joy List’ might increase in size. Be inquisitive and shake up your mindset. Remember the Christmas Snow Ball, where you twist, turn, and watch snowflakes fall inside the small ball? Try twisting and turning your thoughts the same way and see what falls out on your computer screen or in your handwritten notebook. You  never know until you try.

This is another thing with a ‘Joy List,’ the more you add to it, the more joy you create for you as a writer and you as a person. You will have more to give to others and share a different side of you..

Take advantage and surprise yourself and others. Soon, this list will become a part of your daily lives and you will experience much joy, happiness, and a new freedom of your mind. Things start to become new, fresh, and a joy to try, taste, or tempt your muse.

Have fun with yourself. Have fun with your writing. Have fun looking forward to something new.

HAPPY YOU. HAPPY WRITING.

Do You Have A “Joy List” ????

images_014Yes, you heard right, a “Joy List.” Something you want to do, just not for certain what?

Take a step back and think, really think. Do you get off-center, do you feel too much pressure, can you list five new restaurants or places you never knew existed, what about watching the squirrels scurry for their winter supply of food, or the last time you put on a CD and poured a cup of hot tea or your favorite beverage and relaxed to the musical sounds?

But this is supposed to be about writing and its pleasures. Well, if you are not writing, why? This could be you’ve lost your “Joy List,” and need to either find it or begin again.Of course, you know, this list will change, but you need to be ready to jump on the “joy” wagon.

These are the simple pleasures or activities that make you feel fuzzy inside. When you get this fuzzy feeling, everything seems right with the world, AND ignites your imagination.  Soon the flames give you energy, and you cannot wait to go on a short journey, even around the block, and then come back ready to tackle a blank screen in front of you or a blank white piece of paper.

How long has it been since you met a friend for brunch. I’m not talking big bucks, but something as great as a Waffle House breakfast. You talk and talked over the food, noise, and great coffee for two hours. Then you left, filled with a vibrancy you have not felt for a while. Why? Because of the interaction between you and your friend.

This also includes awakening your curiosity. Never thought about that, huh? I do not have the time, but why not? I have responsibilities, I need 1,500 words to add to my story. I need groceries. I need to have the car checked out. I need to . . I need to . . . Not if you are taking care of yourselves.

If there is something you want to do, DO IT.  I love animals, yet where I live, we cannot have pets. Yes, I agree, this would be yuck for some. So, I check out pet stores having a sale and offer to walk the dogs. I get the hugs, slurps, sloppy kisses, and return feeling like a happy parent, without the college expenses.

Maybe, you like music, but cannot afford an instrument, classes, or tickets to events. Hey, volunteer to be an usher at a symphony or a playhouse or even a school event.

All of you have not put on your “Joy List Hat,” have you? Try again and do something so simple, so fun, and so connecting with your friends, that you come home and head straight for the computer. Your mind is energized beyond belief, and your writing will show the positive side of you.

Sometimes, we need a kick in the A _ _ and this is the first on this week. Go ahead and do one of the simple items you wrote on your “Joy List.” You’ll never regret it.

KEEP THE JOY LIST GOING.   HAPPY WRITING

PASSION. What’s Yours?

On FireFirst off, you must identify passion. Words that jump into your thoughts might be love, desire, even sex. You are thinking of lovers, and who wouldn’t like those ideas.

But, take another look at passion and see different thoughts or words you come up with or let your mind wander. This time, there is no right or wrongs here.

What about boundless enthusiasm? When a person is filled with so much emotion about a specific subject, thing or place, there is no room to hold the thrill back. What about people who know they have to be the best race car driver ever, or the best football player. What about the person who cannot go a day without reading poetry, or cooking to use her skills?

Okay, so you are an avid reader, but which department do you head toward inside a bookstore. Or, which avenue do you locate on your computer that will take you directly to where you want to go. Maybe it is in the romance area, or suspense area, or gardening, sewing or the ‘how to’ area from anything like car repair, traveling, and yes WRITING.

I remember years ago, the first place I headed was to murders, mysteries, and suspense. My passion was to outwit the author and know the culprit within the first part of the book. Sometimes I hit a big, fat ZERO, and there were times I came close. Yet, these writers made me want to come back for more. Then, I joined a book club and that passion dwindled as I now have other avenues to check out.The book club, and its members, gave me new passions to look forward to reading.

Passion can also include movies, plays, and times of reverence. When you realize that passion is an intense, overwhelming desire or emotion, you can see passion in your lives

There is also a downside to letting passions rule your lives. This happens when a person has a passion of violent emotions or lets envy or extreme anger become dominant in their lives.

Spend some time writing down your passions. You may be pleasantly surprised. This would be a great time to compare how your passions have changed from childhood, teenage years, to the present. Do not hold back. Be honest with yourselves and watch, NO FEEL your passions and all their changes.

Then read your story, novel, poem, or whatever you are working on at the present. Do you have enough passion written throughout the book? Are your characters filled with strong emotions, good and bad? Are you able to have your characters come to a resolution with their passions? Remember to keep the fire in passions burning bright and long.

HAPPY PASSION FINDINGS. HAPPY WRITING.