CHARACTERS

Where do you get your characters for your stories? Sometimes, they are just in our head and as we begin to write, they emerge into a scene. Then you get this idea and the character will not appear. No matter what you think, scribble down, or hit the keys, the character stays hidden. Characters, like life, are fickle to our stories and just do not behave the way we think they should. Of course, not. This is the reason we have characters.

Characters need to have a will of their own. They are often complicated with hope, fears, and dreams and at times contrary to what writers want them to do. Have you ever started your story with a sweet character who turns into a person you do not know? Your character is showing volition and this is what you want.

Your characters need complications to overcome. They need to be full of life, powerful, and have potential and appeal. Also, they need to show a softer side in some scenes and give the reader a chance to observe their different sides. If your character or characters do the same thing over and over, you are not giving your reader an incentive to read more pages.

How your characters dress, their age, their mannerisms relate to the reader. Put a spark of imagination in their attitudes and see what changes they can create in your story. What about their names? This can say much about your character. Odd names can remain in your reader’s mind for a long time. Just make certain this name fits your character.  This brings up the use of ‘nicknames’ for your character. Do you use them?  If you do, make it a name to remember for your character. We are not talking about a William to Billy, or a Harold to Hal and then on the female side, an Elizabeth to Betty, or Suzanne to Suzie. You need to stop and listen. If the name does not fit, your characters will not act the same.

Then your character is in the reader’s mind and emotion as the story moves forward. Are your characters friendly? If so, your reader will relate to the character. If your characters are cold or standoffs, your reader will not relate or even suspect this character of being rude throughout the book. How your characters come across to your reader is an important, if not the most important, connection of the reader and the story.

Play with names, mannerisms, age, and let your characters be themselves. They will come forward and liven up your story in the most unusual ways. Let your characters work for you and enjoy your writing.

HAPPY DAY.  HAPPY WRITING.

BLOWN IS READY TO LAUNCH – MAY 19, 2015 IS THE DATE

AuthorChuckBarrettThis is the author, Chuck Barrett, of another powerful novel, that will grab you by the hand, take you by the throat, and not let go. By that time you are exhausted. Barrett is an Amazon bestselling author of the Award-winning Jake Pendleton series:  The Savannah Project, The Toymaker, and Breach of Power.  Somewhere in between all of these novels, he  added his personal information and seminars to the art of self-publishing, Publishing Unchained: An Off-Beat Guide to Independent Publishing. He has put together his Book Launch Advocate Team, and it has been a “Blown” away experience. So, for my part, I asked him if he could answer some questions for all of his readers. Not many, but enough to let the reader know  little more about the author. How long have you been writing?  I started writing in 1998 and my first book, The Savannah Project, took 12 years and six rewrites to complete. And, I’ve been writing ever since. What attracted you to writing?  It was that mid-life thing, I think. I felt it like it was something I not only wanted to do, but needed to do. And I love it. There is nothing more exciting than watching a story unfold in front of me and being surprised by each twist and turn. I’m talking about as a writer and not a reader! Where did the idea for your story come?  I guess the catchy answer is from the gremlins in the attic. Reality is most ideas come from newspaper articles or real-life stories. That’s the spark and it gets my imagination going. Then I try to draw (or create) a nexus between the stories and spin a twist tale of intrigue. How did or do you figure out what to name your characters?  As morbid as this may sound…the obituaries are the best source. I mix and match first and last names until I have something catchy. Occasionally, I use a name verbatim, but not very often. One of my characters is named after a cemetery. I’ll keep everyone guessing on that one. What is your favorite thing about writing?  The twists and turns. A surprise around every corner. I typically write as a panster (by the seat of my pants) in the first few chapters knowing only where the story will ultimately end. After about 25,000 words, I use plot notes a few chapters ahead, just to make sure I don’t get off track. Only plot notes. No in-depth outlines. What is your least favorite thing about writing?  Editing. Do you have a favorite quote?  “Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.” Benjamin Franklin. If your story was turned into a film, what Hollywood stars would play the two main characters?  From the Jake Pendleton series–Jake:  Chris Pine is a hands down ringer. From the Gregg Kaplan series–Gregg Kaplan is a much tougher pick. Probably…I’m thinking a scruffy Clive Owen. What is your favorite book?  Stone Cold by David Baldacci. It was the first Baldacci book I read and was enthralled with the characters that made up the Camel Club. Wonderful character interplay. I have since read all of Baldacci’s books. What is your least favorite book? Why?  I’d rather not say. Do you have an odd quirk that not a lot of people or a lot of people) know about?  I’d normally say I have no quirks, but my wife would insist otherwise. She says I’m slow to respond to her questions…like even days betting around to answering. She says it’s annoying, I say I’m processing all the outcomes before giving her an answer. BLOWN This is the book that will send you into another spin. My first words …two to the chest, one to the head, works every time. Some other comments have been..not just an oath, but a trust not to be broken..Once in, never out. Thanks, Chuck, for taking the time and letting all of your readers  and now, soon-to-be readers, know a little more of you the writer. Now, it is time for you to find your own words after reading this new novel and share your reviews online. All of Chuck Barrett’s books are available in print and e-book. Go to http://www.chuckbarrettbooks.com and find out more about Chuck and his writing. Don’t forget about the Publishing Unchained, if you are interested in doing your own publishing. Check out his line-up of events on his website and enjoy a taste of Florida and the heat of the book.

2015 SPRING FLING FOR SILVER SNEAKERS

The rain-filled days came to a halt and we grabbed the day for our 2015 Spring Fling at the 57th Restaurant on the patio. Blue skies, big white clouds, bright sun shine, and plenty of planes to watch arrive and take-off at Peachtree Dekalb Airport . Instead of writing, I’ll let the pictures tell about our good times. One thing you should know, we exercise, get fit and follow the three rules of SilverSneakers®:  Fitness, Friends, Fun. No words, but the pictures say everything. Thanks to a fantastic group.

The Trouble Table

The Trouble Table

CHEERS

SPRING FLING 2015 – CHEERS

BEAUTIFUL AT ANY AGE

2015 SPRING FLING

CHEERS

SPRING FLING 2015  CHEERS

HAVING FUN

HAVING FUN

WHAT IS HE HIDING? THE NEW BEARD?

WHAT IS HE HIDING? THE NEW BEARD?

GREAT PATIO FILLED WITH GREAT FRIENDS

GREAT PATIO FILLED WITH GREAT FRIENDS

DO YOU GET IN THE WAY OF YOUR CHARACTERS?

AudienceAnother word for this is ‘Author Intrusion.’ As a writer/author, we have a good idea of what our story will be. We set up character sheets and know our protagonist or antagonist from top to bottom. We know their likes and dislikes, their favorite colors, their secrets and fantasies. Yet, sometimes we inject our own feelings and goals for the characters.

Wait a minute. This is the characters’ story and we are writing what they are showing us that needs to be done. It is their point of view, not ours, that keeps the story fresh, rolling forward, and adding surprises along the way. As we write, we remember catchy phrases we heard growing up and these words creep onto the page.

Ask yourself, would my character say those word, or are you trying to make the story interesting with your words. Dialogue can be a big help, but  too much information and going the way the writer wants, is not helping your story. Adding your narrative is not the way to go, as you leave no room for the character to be his or herself. Read a new piece of work or a published novel and see if you can pinpoint the dialogue intrusion.

How about information dumping on your characters? What is their back story? Your character is in the present and remembers a particular time with fondness or fear. You want to get this on the page and share with the reader. Then, pages later, the past is still with the character. Why? The writer/author got caught up in their own memories and could quit writing.

One of the best ways to check for the writer/author taking over is to read your work, not in your head but with your voice. When you hear yourself reading, you catch so many different areas that should not be there. Don’t stop, use a highlighter or add comments from the computer and continue. Then go back and take yourself out of the story. Let the characters take full control.

You are on a search and rescue.  HAPPY HUNTING. HAPPY WRITING.