Monday, 21 May 2012

Character Study: Personality

If you could think of one word to describe your main character (or any character you want to "study"...) what would that word be?  "Brave"?  "Funny"?  "Modest"? "Serious"? "Virtuous"?

I adore describing my characters.  As I briefly discussed in "Characters or Besties"?, these people (or animals, or elves, or whatever) that you spend so much time with become your friends.  How much do you know about your best friend?  You know his / her physical characteristics and likes / dislikes.  You know their personality, (probably) worldview, and maybe even what flavor of ice cream they would order.

A really good Character Profile Worksheet can be found here.  It's fun to fill out and will probably make you think about your aspects of your character you may not have considered before.  The questions that I had trouble answering were the ones about shape face and embarrassment! :)

-- Klara C.

Friday, 11 May 2012

"Who knew he could be so deep?" & Banter

Today I was actually spending a profitable hour editing my book, when I randomly had the idea to browse  This is always a dangerous pastime for me, because although I've never bought anything off etsy, I find many things I would like to buy, and it only gives me either 1) craft ideas, which consume my thoughts and then, when I try them, fail 2) the seed of discontentment...  very dangerous little plant.  So, I shouldn't really have been on etsy, but I discovered a quote about fairytales.  I adore fairytales, so I Googled more fairytale quotes.

I found this beautiful quote - "Every man's life is a fairy tale, written by God's fingers."  Isn't that just awesome?  It's something I've believed for a long time, but to hear it voiced by such a wonderful and renowned author is pretty amazing!  Who is this wonderful and renowned author?  Let's have a guessing game!

Notes & Quotes
Who said...

The quote written above ^

"To travel is to live."

"Where words fail, music speaks."

"Enjoy life.  There is plenty of time to be dead."

"Everything you look at can become a fairy tale and you can get a story from everything you touch."

(Highlight for answer)
Hans Christian Andersen!

For some reason I was surprised to find such deep quotes, especially those about music, coming from the author of fairy tales.  And yet, Hans has always been deep.  "The Ugly Duckling"?  "The Steadfast Tin Soldier"? (Although I don't like that upsets me)  I would almost say it was a comforting reminder to me that even when writing children's stories or fairy tales, one can still be deep.  One can still write a message.  In fact, some of the best messages or allegories are in fairy tales or children's stories.  Aslan at the Stone Table?  Cinderella's humbleness and kindness in response to her sister's cruelty?  And from Cinderella, we can also learn just how much the perfect shoes can change one's life (author unknown).

The classic Grimm and Perault fairytales can be just plain weird.  Or creepy.  When I watched the Disney princess movies as a little kid, I had nightmares afterwards.  If I'm a wife and mom someday, I'm not sure how soon I'll be introducing my children to the princess fairy tales (I'll probably read them some of Hans Christian Andersen though!).  But that's okay, because these stories are for big kids, and adults too.  As C.S. Lewis said, "Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again."

Going back to Hans Christian Andersen again, I really need to finish reading his fairy tales.  Also, there's a really amazing movie called My Life as a Fairytale that's all about Hans Christian Andersen. It entwines his fairytales with his life.  It's 3 hours long (why are some of the best movies so long?) but it's a beautiful, fun movie for all ages, although it's kinda an unexpected tearjerker (but I warned you, so you can expect it!).  It's on Netflix, I believe, as well.  Although I'm not sure how factual the movie is, I'm trying to read Hans' biography, so I can let you know!

On a side note, I think Hans' quotes about God are pretty cool.  Some of his quotes have just been stuck on my Door of Epicness...and he's in good company.  Hans' quotes, written on neon index cards (I'm out of hot pink, what's up with that!?) hang alongside Dickens, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Josh Groban and musicals (not to mention quotes from the awesome, amazing Bible!!!).

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Characters or Besties?

Characters - they're the people that hold your book together.  Without them, your reader has no reason or interest in reading your story.  Without characters, I think readers are pretty helpless.

When I was younger, I based my characters off some of my toys - a plush dog, a flocked horse, a plastic figure.  Others simply popped into my mind and I developed them as I wrote.  Recently, I get to know my characters and flesh them out as I write.  Occasionally they are based off friends but some are inspired by other book or movie characters combined with my own ideas.

At first I had no idea how attached I could become to one of those characters.  I mean, they're just characters!  How could I possibly become so involved?  But when you really create a main character, and give them a personality, mannerisms, habits, speech, likes, dislikes, passions, as well as some of your own personality in too, you'll soon find yourself caring about the three-dimensional characters you've thought up.  They soon become your friends, if you spend a lot of time writing or thinking about them.

Recently I've learned a little more about aspects of writing.  I always thought of writing as something creative, not restricted by a set of rules.  I could use simile or personification without knowing what it's called - I learned about grammar and writing styles from reading various books.  Although I still believe writing is a creative process, it does help to learn about different writing tips and helps.

A couple months ago I became interested in studying people.  I would listen to voices and see how everyone's voices were unique - some people spoke in matter-of-fact tones; others enunciated and were interesting to listen to; others spoke in more of a monotone.  Although your reader doesn't need to know everything about your main character(s), you should know quite a bit about them.

I'm thinking about doing a series of articles about characters.  I might call it a "Character Study", although this usage of "character" will of course refer to, "a person portrayed in an artistic piece, such as a drama or a novel" (according to the Free Dictionary).

Although I adore hanging out with people in the "real" world, I enjoy hanging' with my characters too.  :)

-- Klara C.