Monday, February 22, 2010

A Deeper Look

First things first: be sure to check out the Whoops! Blogfest today! Click the link to see everyone who has entered. I, unfortunately, missed another one! So I won't be participating unless I can come up with something at the drop of a hat...and I doubt it right now.

Also be sure to sign up for Simon's first hosted blogfest: The PG Love Scene Blogfest!! This is going to be a challenge, but one that I will gladly take on. I can't wait to read everyone's entries!

One thing I think we, as writers, always strive to do is learn as much about our characters as possible before writing their stories.
But once you get past the basics(name, hair color, eye color, etc.), how do you know what you need to know?

We all know the rule: know as much as you can, even the information you won't necessarily include in the story itself. Because the more you know, the more your character will come alive. When you know that your character hates to read, you probably won't find him or her meeting friends at the local bookstore, or studying in the library. You probably wouldn't find him or her studying much at all.

Knowing as much background as you can will help you decide how your character will react to every situation that arises in the story. This is so important, and can make or break your story.

While I was struggling to come up with something, anything! to write this weekend, I realized that I was stuck because I had no idea who my characters were and where they came from. I have their quirks, their basic characteristics, but I never got down to the nitty gritty details.

So I decided I needed to find a way to dig into their pasts. But which questions do I ask? Then I remembered something a friend of mine gave me several years ago: she had received a book from her mom called All About Me by Philip Keel. Inspired by the insight it provided about herself, she made a rough copy of the book for me.
I pulled the copy off my bookshelf and immediately set to work. It asks all the basic questions, but then enters a whole new level of thought provoking questions. Do you believe in God? Do you believe in reincarnation? What kind of secrets do you have that your closest friends would be shocked to discover?
And suddenly, I began to know more about my main characters than I ever thought possible.
There are so many questions in this book! And while I think it's a little much to answer the entire thing for every character you create, it's such a good tool. So check it out! I really think it would be worth your while.
I'm so happy I remembered it. No longer is that book collecting dust on the shelf.

And as a fun side note, here's two things about my main characters that I feel help describe them(and they'd never be caught without these things):

This is Brian's newsboy cap. He wears it everywhere, partly to cover his mass of curls, and partly because he thinks it looks cool. I think that it shows his old fashioned side which pretty much wraps up his personality.

This is Paige's necklace(but the diamond in hers is pink!). She received it from her mother for her eighteenth birthday and it is her most prized possession. It's perfect for her because she is such a girly girl and the horseshoe signifies the luck she's going to need to get through everything I'm going to put her through.

I'm thinking next time, I'll post the actors I have picked to play their parts!(Because this is so getting made into a movie, dontcha know.)

How about you? How do you get to know your characters? Is there any one object that can perfectly describe them?

Monday, February 15, 2010

My Life Outside of Writing

I'd like to start off by saying that I am SO disappointed that I missed Courtney Reese's Love At First Sight Blogfest. Seriously, I look forward to those things so much, and this just broke my heart! :(

But as I was blog surfing last night, I came across a post by Lisa Marie Miles where she posted her Top Ten Non-Writing Activities.

And I thought to myself, 'Self, this is a great way to get to know your writer friends and see what else you have in common with them besides writing'.
So I decided I wanted to post my top ten non-writing activities and hopefully find some more soul sisters/brothers out there!

You don't have to dedicate a whole post to this unless you really want to...I just wanted to because I'm in need of things to talk about and what better to talk about than myself? Well, I'm sure there's a million and seven things I could find to talk about besides myself, but whatever.
I am my own biggest fan.

So here's my top ten non-writing activities list for you to enjoy(or not, but please don't tell me if you don't, kay, thanks!)in no particular order:

1. Photography. I'm not a professional by any means, but my camera does not leave my side for any length of time. It is my world outside of my writing.

2. Reading YA books. It took me a while to really discover the world of YA and now that I have, I can't get enough! I love teen angst, I love the innocence of first love and all that jazz. I don't know what I did without it all this time!

3. Music. What a craptastic world this would be for me if I didn't have music to listen to. I love all kinds(except the serious rap stuff and heavy metal), but I have my special loves like Josh Groban, TobyMac, Britney Spears, etc, etc. And yes, I love across the board. :)

(TobyMac??? Soooo sexy.)

(Josh Groban??? Soooo sexy.)

4. Bubble baths. Give me a tub and a bottle of bubble, and I am one happy girl. They are especially lovely after a grueling treadmill workout. Which lead me to...

5. Exercise! I love to exercise. I feel wonderful during my workouts and even better once they're done and I feel accomplished.

(I totally look like this in real life, all skinny and stuff.)

6. Social Networking. Seriously? I think I check my Facebook like twenty times a night most nights. I love to see what my friends and family are up to, and I love blogging and reading blogs! (And if you want to be my Facebook friend, just click that little linky on the side!! I will say yes because I love you all!!)

7. Taking naps with my dogs. I am not really a nap person because I always feel sluggish when I get up, but when I'm watching a movie in the bedroom and my dogs curl up on either side of me on the bed, I'm in comfy heaven. They are the best cuddlers in the whole wide world.

8. Driving by myself. There is no greater time for my thoughts to roll around in my head than when I'm driving down the highway with my music blaring. I can sing and daydream, and no one can bother me. It's the greatest downtime for me.

9. Cleaning my house. Er...yes, this is very true. It goes along with the whole exercise/feeling accomplished thing I brought up earlier. I listen to my music and dance through the chores. It's also another great time for me to daydream and work through problems I'm having with my WIP.

10. Surfing the internet. Although I never feel accomplished after a two hour surfing session, I love traveling around online, discovering new things and catching up on my favorites. Some of my fave online activities? Watching music videos on youtube, reading the secrets on postsecret every Sunday, cracking up at the new Cakewrecks, name speaks for itself, seriously), and weaving my way through the blogosphere. And Facebook, of course.

So when I'm not hunkered down in front of the computer at night furiously typing away a fabulous fiction novel that is sure to be a bestseller and promote world peace, these things are what I do.
The crazy part is that I try to do almost all of these things on a daily basis. After working nine hours, driving for two(but that still covers one of those activities!), and making dinner at six o'clock. I might be crazy. Or just a ninja. Or Chuck Norris. Because Chuck Norris doesn't make time for activities, they make time for him!! Got that, activities???

So, how about you? What do you do that has nothing to do with your life as a writer?

Monday, February 8, 2010

On Being Uplifted...and Over the Top!

"What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us."
Ralph Waldo Emerson

I went looking for inspiration today and I came across this quote. It might not scream inspiration for writing, but it made me think of it in terms of writing. See, I'm going through a lot right now, and the situation I am facing in the near future has a lot to do with what has happened in the past.
But no matter how bad this situation is for me, I know that what I hold inside of me is much, much stronger.
I've been having trouble focusing on my writing during this time, just difficulty focusing on almost everything. But I need to keep this quote in my head because no matter what, my writing is my voice. I use it to express myself, to let out everything I hold inside. Above all, I need to remember that no matter what I am going through, I still have power over all. It's in me. I just need to open that door.

I'm trying to find something each day that inspires me, to remind myself of the good out there. So that the bad doesn't seem as bad anymore.

Your comments, blogger friends, are another inspiration to me. After my Day of Grrr, I realized that I'm not the only one who gets down. And I have all of you to remind me of that. So thank you!
I'll keep all of you in mind during my search for inner peace.

But for right now, I have something else to post and also to pass on!
From Melissa at Chasing the Dream, I have received the Over the Top award for my blog!

Thanks, Melissa! :)

The rules of this award are as follows:
Complete the following survey using only one word per question, then pass the award on to five other bloggers.

So here we go!

Your cell phone: Vibrate
Your hair: Blonde
Your mother: Amazing
Your father: RIP :(
Your favorite food: Italian
Your dream last night: Unknown!
Your favorite drink: Iced Tea
Your dream goal: Published
What room are you in: Office
Your hobby: Reading
Your fear: Unhappiness
Where do you see yourself in 6 years: Famous! (He he!)
Where were you last night: Grandma's
Something you aren't: Mean
Muffins: Chocolate
Wish list item: books!
Where did you grow up: Illinois
Last thing you did: dinner
What are you wearing: tank
Your TV: ginormous
Your pets: loving
Friends: wonderful
Your life: stressful! :(
Your mood: Blah
Missing someone: Always
Vehicle: Mitsubishi
Something you aren't wearing: Heels
Your favorite store: Barnes and Noble
Your favorite color: Purple
When was the last time you laughed: Today
Last time you cried: Saturday
Your best friend: Sister
One place you go over and over: Wal-mart
Facebooking: Addiction!!!
Favorite place to eat: Italian...

And that's that! It's very hard to use one word answers when I'm very very wordy. Oh well.

To pass this one, I am choosing my five newest followers:

1. Roxy Haynie
2. Jon Paul
3. Lesley Vance
4. Amy Holder
5. Jen Daiker

It's so great to meet you all! Thanks for stopping by, and everyone be sure to check these bloggers out!

Until next time...

Have an inspired day!