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I couldn’t resist sharing this wonderful post from ROBIN NEWMAN about the PRINCETON BOOK FESTIVAL.
Originally posted on Robin Newman Books:
Celebrating its 9th year, the Princeton Children’s Book Festival provides children, and bigger children like myself, the opportunity to meet some of their all-time favorite authors and illustrators, to learn about their craft, and to pray that their credit cards won’t exceed their credit limits because they’ve bought so many books. :)
And here are some photographic highlights of this year’s festival:
John Bemelmans Marciano
Me & Leeza Hernandez
Corey Rosen Schwartz
Shhh! You didn’t see me.
Alison Ashley Formento
I had an awesome, amazing, super, wonderful, very, very good day at the Princeton Children’s Book Festival! And I’m looking forward…
View original 18 more words
When all the lanes merge into one
And brake lights flicker on,
You have no choice but sticking to
The road that you're upon.
The same applies to life; we age
And walk the paths we've chosen,
The other options out of reach
While we waste time supposin'...
How strange our journey might have been
If other roads had beckoned,
While opportunities still there
Evaporate each second.
So most of us continue on
And hope the traffic lightens
For turning onto routes unknown
Once thrilled, but now it frightens.
Read on Wattpad - Serialized Novel
From September 11, 2014 - October 30, 2014.
Read one chapter/day.
Click on cover to read the first five chapters.
I’m warning you! Don’t plot like I do.
I’ve been working on the plot of a new novel for about six weeks and I’m still stumbling around. I’ll describe the messy process here and hope that you manage to shortcut your own process.
It started last year with an idea and a short story that gave backstory on the longer story. I’ve wanted to write a sf for a while and this idea has been germinating for a long time. Besides the problem of other projects, there’s the question of audience. I had to grapple with taking creative risks.
Take Creative Risks
One creative risk was the type of story I would tell. Would it be a character story or an action/adventure story?
I plotted out something, but my left brain kicked in and compared the plot to the 29 Plot Templates Regardless of which plot structure I looked at, there were so many holes in the story.
I got advice from Optimus Prime. Hey, I take help where I find it and Optimus was obviously handing out advice on plotting.
By now, though, I was getting bogged down. What was the purpose of all this plotting? I had to remind myself that I was telling a story.
The next disappointment was the worry about how slowly the work progressed.
Listen. I know a lot about novel structure, characterization, plotting, setting and many other topics about novels. I teach this stuff. But when I write, I struggle through the writing process. One of my strengths, though, is that I am open to switching strategies. It’s also my weakness, but while I’m in the throes of plotting, I feel like I am jumping from this method, to that paradigm, to yet another novel structure. In reality, I’m just checking out my story from multiple POVs.
A Sixth Grade Aside
When my daughter was in sixth grade, she wrote an essay. The teacher asked my daughter to write an evaluation essay about writing the essay. Write down the process you went through to write this essay, the teacher advised.
And I shook my head in despair.
No, there isn’t just ONE path through the writing process. It’s cyclical, curving back on itself to ask you to repeat this task or that task. Or perhaps describing it as a maze is a better metaphor. I follow false trails until they dead end. I get lost in the middle and can’t fight my way out. I start at the beginning one time and the next time, I start at the end. Somehow, though, the writing gets done. There are strategies, ways of approaching a draft, working habits, and so on. But for any given piece of writing, the process will vary and vary widely.
Messy Writing Process
This time, I’m doing well with trying to go from general to specific.
That got me to an eight-page outline. But the 29 Plot Templates revealed major holes. I realized that I needed to concentrate on sub-plots and figure those out before I returned to the main plot. I focused on the villain as the hero of his own story: why did he want revenge? I re-read articles about writing a revenge story and one comment struck me: “Killing him would be too easy.”
Of course! Revenge isn’t just about hurting or killing the person; it’s about making them suffer as the victim has suffered. I asked myself, “What would make my character hurt/suffer the most?” Of course, that is what I MUST make happen. Voila! A new plot twist grabbed me and I was off and running with the complications from that twist.
10 page outline. But still lots of plot holes.
Over the next few days, I’ll be looking at other subplots and milking them for all the conflict that I can. Will there be a romantic subplot? After an initial attraction, there needs to be deep reasons why they must stay apart. What reason is sitting there in my story already, just waiting for me to exploit it? It’s there. I just need an Aha! Moment to recognize it. I’m jumping all around, reading odd articles, re-reading the 10-page outline and looking for the right way to approach this.
I feel like I am being asked to carve a huge statue with a bobby pin.
I have at least three more subplots to work through and slot into the main plot. I’m sure there will still be plot holes then, but I expect there will be fewer.
Should I copy this process the next time I plot? No!
Each time, the writing process creates it’s own maze and demands a different path to story. I’m just trusting that the process will eventually spit out a viable story. I know that I’ll have to decide something about the audience and tone, and spend a while on characters and their back story. I know that some personal issues are likely to complicate the timing of the writing. I know I’ll make multiple starts before I really get going.
Don’t follow my writing process. It’s messy and ugly. Besides—it wouldn’t work for you. You must find your own way through the maze of words to find the story that only you can tell.
The 4 Stages of Competence | My wife read a magazine while we were waiting in the doctors’ office and found a learning model that has changed my perspective on learning.
The core of the idea is that in order to gain a competence in a skill it is necessary first to recognize that there is more to learn. I personally find the point of view refreshing because it gives me permission not to be perfect yet. It is expected, in fact necessary, for mistakes to be made in order for me to get better.
Before I can achieve competence I must recognize that I am incompetent.
All skill development goes through this stage. It is the stage in the process where most of us quit. If we do however wish to gain the skill a conscious effort must be made. This is a stage of faith. A willingness to invest consistent effort over time to become competent. It is not immediate gratification.
The following is a condensed version from Wikipedia.
The individual does not understand or know how to do something and does not necessarily recognize the deficit.
Though the individual does not understand or know how to do something, he or she does recognize the deficit, as well as the value of a new skill in addressing the deficit.
The individual understands or knows how to do something. However, demonstrating the skill or knowledge requires concentration.
The individual has had so much practice with a skill that it has become “second nature” and can be performed easily.
As children we enjoy a stage where ignorance is bliss. We draw, dance, and sing, because we like it without worrying that it is “good enough”. Then one day when we realize that there is long way to go before we can really draw, sing, and dance, well. We say things like “I can’t draw a straight line”. What gave us pleasure a few days ago now seems unattainable.
All learning requires a recognition of incompetency. So today I give you permission to be incompetent so that you might become competent.
What skill are you trying to gain competency ?
By: Jeanne Lyet Gassman,
Cooper Street, an online publication sponsored by the Rutgers University Camden MFA program’s student organization, is looking for fiction and poetry for our second issue, slated for a January release. All interested writers are welcome. Please send work as word documents (.doc or .docx) via email to:
ru.cooperstreetATgmailDOTcom (Change AT to @ and DOT to . )
using the following format for the Subject: “Last name – Genre.” We’re interested in stories and poems about cities, particularly those set in the Northeast. But we’ll consider all subjects if the work is interesting and strong. If you have creative non-fiction, we ask that you please save it for an upcoming issue.
Fiction: Send either one story of no more than 5,000 words (although stories of 3,000 words or less are especially welcome) or send up to three flash fiction pieces of no more than 600 words each.
Poetry: Send three to five poems as a single attachment, one poem per page.
Submitters may view our May 2014 issue at our website.
By: Jeanne Lyet Gassman,
Psychopomp Magazine, a journal devoted to genre-bending and experimental prose, is now open for free submissions.
Please read an issue or two to get a sense of what we're looking for. Surprise us. Ferry us away from the familiar. We like fiction and art. Please visit our website for more information.
Sometimes, I can't seem to write fiction. I blame the fact that I've been writing almost only non-fiction for a couple of years - and have just agreed to do some more. When I try to get back into writing fiction, something feels dead inside. My brain feels like an imagination-free zone. And that is a desolate thing, like a moonscape without the moonbeams.
In October, I am going to write fiction. I am. For a long time now I have had that month set firmly aside, event-free, non-fiction-free. I've put in place all sorts of mechanisms to make this happen. I've told lots of people that I'm doing it. I've told my agent that I'm doing it. I've turned down paid work and told people that they cannot give me a deadline which involves me doing anything for them in October. At all.
And yet (or perhaps therefore) I'm very afraid that my imagination won't wake up, won't do its job, won't show me moonbeams.
Or I was until this morning.
A daughter phoned. My daughters may be in their twenties but a daughter (or son, presumably) is never too old to cause instant fear in a parent's heart when her number comes up on your phone. Especially at one of those times of day when daughters aren't prone to phone for a general chat.
Instantly, even before I heard her voice, my imagination was running riot. In that split second, this imagination had no words - it was all a rush of adrenaline and cortisol and raw, nameless dread. Emotion. Then her voice, "Don't worry, I'm fine." OMG, she's not fine. You don't randomly say you're fine unless you are about to say something not fine. And in the few seconds it took her to explain what the thing was, my imagination had, quite literally, taken me through visions of death, illness, job loss, burglary, injury (including actual details involving a bone), and a complicated combination of emergency services.
And after all this had calmed down (because she was, in actual fact, fine) I realised the key to imagination: emotion.
So, my October - and any time I or you want to write fiction - has to allow and encourage and nurture and conjure emotion. Maybe I'll read a poem each morning before I write; maybe I'll read the news - there's enough emotion in the human stories there; maybe I'll read a chapter of the best fiction I can find. Maybe I'll brainstorm sad words or angry words or whatever words I need to make it happen. Maybe I'll play anthemic, emotional music to waken my heart.
But I'll draw the line at asking a daughter to phone in the morning. Mind you, it's her birthday today, so I may just phone her...
----------------------------Nicola Morgan writes novels. Oh yes, she does. She also writes non-fiction about the teenage brain and stress. BUT NOT IN OCTOBER. www.nicolamorgan.com
Contrary to what you might think, you don't need any of these things to be a successful writer.
By: Jeanne Lyet Gassman,
Sun & Sandstone, a national literary journal of undergraduate writing published annually by Rocky Mountain College, is now accepting submissions for its 2015 issue. Publishable genres include poetry, creative nonfiction, short fiction, and one act plays.
For complete submission guidelines, please visit our website.
Deadline: February 28, 2015
Posted on 9/21/2014
Nick Frost (Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz), among others, will be in the 2014 Doctor Who Christmas special:
At the SKB Foundation Workshop
in Dubois, Wyoming, most of the painting practice involves landscape painting outdoors, or wildlife painting from photographs indoors.
I thought it would also be a helpful exercise for everyone to paint real, three dimensional animals from observation, but living models weren't available on short notice.
So we arranged to borrow a fine specimen of coyote, a pronghorn antelope, and a wolf from local taxidermy artist Lynn Stewart,
who very generously brought them over to the art center.
This was my view of a running white wolf. I liked the pose, but I imagined it backlit against the bold fall colors of the quaking aspens, with sagebrush in the foreground, as I remembered the setting from a horseback ride in the morning.
Here's the two hour gouache demo I did with that idea in mind.
It would have been even better to do a location study separately outdoors and combine it with the taxidermy study, properly lit -- or to take the taxidermy outside into a natural setting. The idea is to put away the camera and see if there's a way to do a wildlife study as much as possible from life and imagination.
On the other side of the room, John Seerey-Lester did this magnificent acrylic study of the same wolf. He chose to set it within a snowy winter backdrop.
That's John and his wife Suzie (pink hat) in the right foreground of the photo below. They are featured in the current issue of International Artist magazine, not only for their wildlife art, but also for their landscapes and nostalgia scenes.
It was a marvelous experience for all of us to paint together with a combine imagination and observation.
Links:John and Suzie Seerey-Lester's websiteStewart Taxidermy, Dubois, WyomingSKB Foundation Workshop
It’s time for Weekend Links! This is my chance to share some of the amazing links, articles and resources that I have discovered throughout the course of the week…AND…there are some really, really good ones this week.
September 15 to October 15 is National Hispanic Heritage Month
and is a celebration of the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America!
Huge Linky, Giveaway and Round-up at PragmaticMom Hispanic American Books for Kids: Link Round Up. Here is a gold mine of ideas/ways to celebrate this holiday!
Planet Smarty Pants has a great post about reading and learning about Mexico
Gorgeous and in-depth post from Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes
LOVE this post from Crafty Moms Share: Hispanic Heritage Month Blog Hop–Learning about Juan Quezada a Mexican Potter
Becky at Kid World Citizen has a great post about 5 Famous Latinos: Role Models for Hispanic Heritage Month
If you are not hungry now, you will be after readings this post from Spanglish House! Hispanic Meals to celebrate our Heritage.
What great links and reads did YOU find this week?
DON’T FORGET! Time is running out to claim this FREE GIFT. This 50-page Treasure Island Adventure PDF guide will give the little swashbuckler in your life hours of fun and learning!
The Activity Book Includes:
- How to Be a Pirate
- Pirate Wear
- Pirate Speak
- Pirate Code of Conduct
- Pirate Doings
- Flying your colors
- Swashbuckling Sword Moves
- Pirate Games plus many more activities and how to’s
Click the image below and grab your FREE copy!
The post Weekend Links: National Hispanic Heritage Month books and links appeared first on Jump Into A Book.
By: Jeanne Lyet Gassman,
Blue Heron Book Works, an e-pub company, is looking for outstanding memoirs--unusual personal tales well told, or awesomely well told ordinary stories to publish as ebook, with an eye to print-on-demand later.
We would also like to work with fiction writers who have ideas for series fiction of any sort. All costs are born by BHBW.
Check out our website to see what we like. And query us at:
She walks in sneezes, like the blight.
We would stand on the beach at Montauk, a boy and his father, looking out past the easternmost point on Long Island, and I'd strain to hear my father’s words as the ocean waves broke in front of us, crashing and thundering to reveal their power.
“Never turn your back on the ocean,” my father would warn me. “The riptides are treacherous.”
Some of the waves were five and six feet tall, and my
By: Susanne Gervay
Blog: Susanne Gervay's Blog
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elephants have wings
, Anna Pignataro illustrator
, elephants have wings by susanne gervay and anna pignataro
, Ford St Publishing
, Govenor Marie Bashir
, labyrinth Centennial Park
, Stephanie Dowrick author
, Susanne Gervay author
, Sydney Sacred Music Festival
, Uniting Church Pitt Street Sydney
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With the world so traumatised by terrorism , the world is responding with movements for change, peace, kindness.
The Labyrinth – a walking meditation – opened by Governor Marie Bashir to the blessings of the Wisdom Keepers from Aunty Ali Golding Aboriginal Elder Biripi Nation and many leaders of many faiths – Sikh, Buddhist, Moslem, Roman Catholic, Unity Church, Jewish, Zen, Anglican …. and others.
The Sydney Sacred Music Festival joins Stephanie Dowrick author and minister for an Interfaith service in Sydney’ s Uniting Church:-
‘If light is in your heart you will find your way home’. Rumi
The music played and sung by Dr Kim Cunio touched the heart.
Elephants Have Wings published by Ford Street Publishing.
The post Elephants Have Wings Engaging in Community appeared first on Susanne Gervay's Blog.
By: Sue Bursztynski,
Years ago, I used to go regularly to my favourite SF bookshop, Space Age, where I bought some of the books that are among my most prized possessions, and recordings that would probably be worth a mint on eBay these days.
When that closed, we eventually got Slow Glass on the same site. Slow Glass, like Space Age, was a shop where SF fans could congregate before meetings, where writers would sometimes come to do signings. It was brighter and less musty than Space Age.
That too closed when the landlord tripled the rent, as they tend to do when they want to get rid of a tenant and replace them with a fast food joint; the owner, Justin Ackroyd, did open a small shop somewhere in the suburbs, which I never saw and which was open odd hours according to who had to look after the child at the time. Justin is still in business but online and at conventions, where I have to say he always brings my books.
Still, it's not a bookshop. And much as I love my ebooks, there is something about browsing in a shop that downloading just can't match.
For a while, there was Of Science And Swords in the CBD - gone.
But then, out in the suburbs again, was the wonderful Notions Unlimited, run by that very funny man, Chuck McKenzie. I couldn't go regularly, because it was in the outer suburbs. But whenever I went, I'd buy $80 or so worth of books, if not more. It was like having Slow Glass back. It had a lot of classics, some small press books and non fiction which I bought eagerly. There was a Dalek and a comfy chair area around a coffee table where games were played on the weekends.
This is the thing about fans. I don't know about the game players at NU, who were, after all, doing what they had been invited to do and no doubt bought plenty of books, but quite often, when a place becomes a centre for fannish gatherings, the fans gather and socialise and don't actually buy anything. And it's not that they have no money, more likely that they spent it on something else, somewhere else. Games. The latest season of their favourite TV show. Something on eBay. Or they simply couldn't be bothered waiting for an ordered book to arrive, when they could get it quicker online.
Now this wonderful shop is closed, with no plans to reopen anywhere else, and it's our fault for not supporting a local business. Even friends I urged to go along and try it didn't want to bother travelling to that side of the city, though it was close to the station.
It had been in trouble for a while and I admit I always wondered how long it would last in that
location. In the suburbs, you can't discover a shop you wander past, you have to go there - and this
one was in an arcade. You had to know it was there.
Still, a lot of us did know it was there. And now it's not and all we have left is Minotaur, which is just too big and commercial for my tastes. It used to be a fannish shop, but no longer.
Maybe that's why it has survived.
- Sat, 13:36: RT @SCBWI_MD_DE_WV: Getting this conference started! #SparklingLit http://t.co/NwXTgSszSj
- Sat, 13:38: Yeah, I seriously cannot imagine writing a book with my husband. Things would get ugly!! #sparklinglit http://t.co/0usJ5Sk91q
- Sat, 14:33: RT @marielamba: Don't point out your short comings in your query, instead inspire my confidence #querytips #literaryagent
- Sat, 16:34: For those that attended @Miranda_Paul breakout and heard my announcement at the end, my email is Laura.email@example.com #sparklinglit
- Sat, 20:18: RT @shelleykoon: Marc Tyler Nobleman was, in his own words, "Just the fool" to research images Bill Finger co-creator of Batman! #sparkli…
- Sat, 20:18: RT @JenWeingardt: Becky Shapiro, Scholastic, suggests jjournaling your character to help define her voice. #sparklinglit #writingtips
- Sat, 20:19: RT @RyanSheely: @MarcTNobleman says "There really is no obstacle but yourself." @SCBWI_MD_DE_WV #SparklingLit
- Sat, 20:19: RT @SCBWI_MD_DE_WV: Agent Ella Kennen "we are all flawed our MCs need to be flawed too." #SparklingLit
Blog: Jeanne's Writing Desk
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, Hybrid Works
, Mixed Media
, writing craft
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By: Jeanne Lyet Gassman,
Glassworks, the literary magazine of Rowan University’s Master of Arts in Writing graduate program, invites writers to submit work to be considered for publication.
Glassworks publishes nonfiction, fiction, poetry, hybrid pieces, craft essays, new media, and art both digitally and in print. We are currently reading until December 15, 2014.
More information about the magazine, sample issues, and our submission manager can be found at our website.
Hey everyone! Clara Kensie here. A few times a month at Adventures in YA Publishing, I post a question for you and the Adventures in YA team to answer. The questions cover all topics important to writers and book lovers: craft, career, reading, books, and more. Join the discussion!
Question of the Week:
Do you listen to music while you read?Katharyn Sinelli:
Hmmm. I don’t think the theme song to Team Umizoomi counts as a playlist per se. I usually read whenever I have a moment. If I’m really into a book, that can be when I’m waiting for my food at the deli. Most often these days I’m reading late at night in bed so it’s pretty quiet.Lisa Green:
Oooh. I don’t purposely listen to anything while I read because I will be totally sucked into the story and tune out everything else. On the flip side, though, nothing bothers me when it comes to my surroundings when I read. It’s all about the book, baby! Kind of odd when I think about how much I like playlists when it comes to writing. Alyssa Hamilton:
I don't listen to music or anything at all but I can easily do it. I find that because I'm reading in every spare second I have, I've learned to be able to still be aware of my surroundings and follow along with things even if I'm absorbed in my book. Martina Boone:
I can’t listen to anything with lyrics when I read any more than I can when I write. The words conflict. But I do love listening to instrumentals, as long as the music is soft. The problem is that I can’t predict where someone else’s book is going to go the way I can with my own book, so if the mood of the music is too different from the emotional tone of the book, I end up getting irritated and it effects my enjoyment of what I’m reading. As a result, I usually don’t listen to music when I’m reading either. Sad, right?Clara Kensie:
I love the coziness of reading on a rainy day, so sometimes I’ll fake that mood by reading to a thunderstorm playlist on Spotify. Also, pumping music directly into my ears helps me block out distractions, especially when I’m trying to read in a hectic or loud environment, such as my kids’ sports practices and play rehearsals. I’ve bookmarked a few reading playlists on Spotify that I like to listen to, and I've even made my own reading playlist for Spotify. It has 24 songs and it’s 97 minutes long. Here’s the link if you’re interested: https://play.spotify.com/user/clarakensie/playlist/7coLUz190zzTR8lKrSpsoEWHAT ABOUT YOU?
Does reading to music distract you, or do you like to listen to music while you read? Or maybe you listen to thunderstorm or white noise apps? If you’ve made your own reading playlist, tell us the songs you have on it!
By: Kathy Temean,
Blog: Writing and Illustrating
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need to know
, Writing Tips
, 90 Things to answer about your characters before writing
, Character Checklist
, Character Questions
, Dow Phumiruk
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Here is a character illustrated by Dow Phumiruk. Just from the picture we can see she likes to dress nice, is probably a princess, most likely loves the color red, and likes to dance with mice. This is just the tip of the iceberg for this beautiful girl. Every agent and editor will tell you that it is a writers characters that make or break their story, so I made up a list of questions you can answer to help you get to know your character before you start writing. It can even help you with your next revision.
- How old is your character?
- What does your character look like?
- Are they tall, short, fat, shinny, big nose, big ears, long eyelashes, acne, etc.
- Is your character happy with the way they look?
- What kind of clothes do they like to wear?
- Does your character dream? What are they about?
- What are your character’s favorite food? Favorite junk food, Favorite ice cream flavor?
- What is their favorite color? Favorite flower? Favorite movie? Favorite game?
- Do the kids in school like him or her?
- Has that changed? Did the kids like them in a lower grade or vice versa?
- Are they interested in sports?
- Are they a natural athlete or someone who has to try hard to play a sport?
- What was their role in their family growing up?
- Do they love their parents, siblings, etc?
- Do they have a computer? What do they do on the computer? Are there any restrictions?
- Are they getting addicted to any technology?
- Do they have a cell phone? Any problems with how they use it?
- Do they talk on their cell phone when they should be sleeping? Do they text too much?
- Do they like to read?
- What type of books, magazines, etc. do they read?
- Do they play a musical instrument?
- What were they most proud of as a kid?
- What did they find terribly embarrassing as a kid?
- What still embarrasses them?
- Who is their best friend?
- Does your character have a best friend?
- Has that changed?
- What is their first best friend like?
- What do they like about their friend?
- Do they like to talk? Do they talk too much? Are they shy or a loner?
- Does your character cry alot? Gets mad easily? Laughs easily? Make jokes?
- What ‘group’ are they in during school?
- What do they want to be when they grew up–and how is that going?
- Have they ever been sick or in an accident?
- What music do they like? Do they hate the music that other people in their family like?
- What are their hobbies?
- Does your character collect anything?
- Do they play video games?
- Does your main character like getting dirty?
- Do they have good hygiene?
- Would you say your character is selfish?
- What annoys them?
- Are they a bully?
- What makes them laugh?
- Are they a dog, a cat, or an animal person?
- Does your character have a pet? Want a pet?
- What season do they enjoy most?
- Do they have a favorite holiday?
- Is your character religious? Does that play a role in their life?
- Is their family rich or poor?
- What type of house do they live in?
- Where do they live? City? Suburbs? Countryside?
- Has your character seen the ocean?
- Has your character traveled anywhere other than where they live? Would they like to travel?
- Does your character have money to spend?
- Do they care about money?
- Do they drink alcohol?
- Has anyone tried to get them to take drugs? Would they take drugs? Smoke?
- What is the worst thing your character has done?
- What do they feel most passionately about?
- What trait do they find most admirable in others?
- Do they want a job that helps people or a job that makes money?
- Are they a leader or a follower?
- What scares them?
- What are their long term goals?
- What are their short term goals?
- What are their bad habits?
- If they could have lived in another decade which would it have been?
- What do they do when they’re bored?
- What do they think happens after we die?
- If they were to come into money what would they do with it?
- Have they ever been in love?
- What happened to that person?
- Are they still interested in that person?
- Does the person know about that?
- What did the family think about this person?
- Who was or is the love of their life?
- Is your character afraid of anyone? Or anything?
- What is their biggest fear?
- Do they feel safe? Of not, who or what is causing that anxiety?
- Are they in a sexual relationship? Would they like to be?
- Do they look forward to growing up?
- What do they want the most?
- How close are they to getting what they want?
- What will happen if they don’t get what they want?
- Any negative forces around your character?
- Does your character have anyone to confide in?
- What is the best thing you character has ever done?
- Does your character get depressed? What depresses them?
- Does your character look at the world as being half full or half empty?
Thank you Dow for sending in the above illustration. Dow is an aspiring children’s book illustrator. She won the 2013 SCBWI On-the-Verge Emerging Voices Award that promotes diversity in children’s books. Please visit her newly organized portfolio site at http://www.artbydow.blogspot.com. She was also feature on Illustrator Saturday: https://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2013/01/19/illustrator-saturday-dow-phumiruk-md/
Filed under: need to know
, Writing Tips
Tagged: 90 Things to answer about your characters before writing
, Character Checklist
, Character Questions
, Dow Phumiruk
A power happy mean girl entered my life on my first day of school. A day I looked forward to for what seemed like years. I watched my brothers from my bedroom window catch the bus, waiting for my day to arrive, and who do I meet the first day, Holly White.
I couldn't understand why other children cried at the bus stop and physically wrestled their parents on their first day of school.
I guess it was due to the fact that I watched my older brothers do it, and they manage to return safely, plus my mother read to us, and I was dying to learn how to read; I guess I was a weird kid.
I remember feeling overjoyed when I climbed the stairs on the school bus for the first time. My brother was instructed to walk me to my classroom, but of course he didn't, which was fine with me, because I was a big girl full of courage, that is until the bell rang, and I started crying and roaming around the school trying to find my classroom.
Then, a miracle happened, another student was also lost and she was with her mother, her name was Holly White, and from that moment on we were joined at the hip. We learned to read and write together, and spent every free moment talking about everything we knew about the world.
We went to all of the same birthday parties, joined brownies together, etc...Holly was one of the popular girls that every female first grader wanted to be associate with, or even join for lunch, and I was her side kick, wing girl, and slave.
For some reason, I didn't feel like I was likeable as myself, so I bragged about the one thing that most children went crazy over- My parents owned a boarding stables, taught riding lessons, and brought most of their boarders to horse shows, so the horses they owned as well as the other horses at our barn were not for children to ride. But, I had a Shetland pony we could ride, and I couldn't wait to tell Holly.
Well, naturally I thought Holly would be delighted to visit our barn, and impressed enough to maybe spend the night. So, one afternoon at recess, I mustered the courage to invite her using my parents stable as bait.
I remember what happened next like it was yesterday;
Holly and I were looking for a four leaf clover at recess, when I said,
"Holly, would you like to ride the bus home with me tomorrow? Every afternoon after school I ride with my mother to our barn. I have a Shetland pony, and we also have horses you can brush and sit on."
Holly's stopped looking through the clover, paused, fixed her dark brown eyes on mine as if she were my enemy, and replied,
"I hate horses."
Stunned, I began to think as fast as I pulled clover, and said, "Well, we also have chickens, dogs, cats, and a bunch of other animals. What kind of animals do you like?"
Holly thought for a moment, which seemed like a year, and said,
"Well, I like pigs. Do you have any pigs?"
Delighted, by the prospect of having a queen ride home with me on the bus, I said,
"Oh yes, we have lots of pigs, and we even have a pond for them to play in- When would you like to visit?"
"What about tomorrow?" Holly said. And of course I agreed, although I wasn't sure my mother would, especially on short notice, so I spent the rest of the afternoon practicing how to ask my mother. I felt like tiny slivers of ice were running through my bloodstream the rest of the day.
But, to my surprise, my mother said yes, and after a nights sleep, my day came to impress our school celebrity.
When my mother, Holly, and I arrived at our barn, Holly was amazed and impressed, even with the horses.
Then, she was ready to see the pigs at play in their pond.-
The pond was far back in the pasture, so Holly and I kept walking until the barn was out of sight.
Then, it happened, my mother started calling my name, "Ann, Ann, where in the world are you going?"
But, before I could answer, Holly said, "We're going to see the pigs!"
I felt as if I was melting, when my mother replied,
"Ann, we don't have any pigs! Now, come back to the barn this instant."
-Today, I suspect Holly knew we didn't have any pigs, because she felt she would lose her power if she admitted she was impressed. I like to write stories of the mistakes I made growing up because we all make the same ones. All of us have to deal with mean girls and boys- It seems to be one of the recipes of life. And this was my first one. I wonder where Holly White is today, and what kind of person she turned out to be. I bet she is a nice person today. Thanks for reading such a long story, I hope you enjoyed it- Ann Clemmons
Today was full of many things—an early morning with my dad, time with a manuscript, a fantastic (even raucous) baby shower crowded with such dear friends, a trip to the Schuylkill River to experience the Flow Festival, and almost (not quite) finding A.S. King in my own 30th Street Station (we missed each other by minutes; we will not miss each other again). Tonight, day's end, I am thinking of the souls who gathered, the baby who is waiting, the joy that convened. I am thinking, too, about a conversation—the kind I've had so rarely I could count the times on my left hand.
"We need to talk about Savas," the conversation began. The speaker was a dance friend, a tech genius, someone I hadn't seen in many months. I was so startled that at first I couldn't imagine what he meant. It was Going Over,
the Berlin novel, he was speaking of. It was a decision I'd made about a character, a young Turkish boy, that he was questioning. How? he asked me. Why? Should it not have been impossible to write what I wrote down?
My friend had questions, too, about Ada and Stefan, what my west Berlin graffiti girl saw, at first, in her East Berlin lover. He wanted to know about point of view, how I decided what was to be left on stage, and off. And where did the graffiti come from, he wanted to know. Were you (in a distant past) some kind of graffiti delinquent?
I kept shaking my head. I kept smiling inside. I kept reminding myself—Wait. He took the time. He read your book. He thought about it. He wondered.
I thought later how unusual this was. To be asked, with real interest, about something I'd written. To be invited to talk—not about all that superficial stuff that interests me less and less, but about the story itself. It's a rare friend who makes room for this—who presses you, who listens, who may not agree with some of the choices you made, but whose interest, nonetheless, is genuine.
I have been dancing, on and off, for a few good years now. I'm no better at it than when I began. But I dance, like I do clay, for the conversations and the friends. Of this, today—among so much laughter, within such warmth—I was reminded again.
Congratulations, in the meantime, to Aideen, Mike, and Mercy, who brought us altogether. What a family you have. And many thanks to Ms. Tirsa Rivas. One of the best party-throwers in the land.
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Katreina Eden grew up in the Midwest, eventually landing in California, where she went to law school and then ran her own law firm for a number of years. She currently works as the Executive Vice President of Cedar Fort, Inc., in Springville, Utah. Katreina also owns and operates Organiwic, LLC, an all-natural candle company, with her sister. She enjoys being out in nature and spending time with family. Aside from being published in various legal journals, this is Katreina’s first trade publication. It's apleasure to have you on my blog, Katreina! How did you come up with the idea to write Bible Bands? The idea was actually suggested by the owner of our publishing company because the topic was a huge trend but we wanted to add a bit of a twist to what was already out on the market and we thought the Bible themes would also help inspire kids. How was your writing process like? The hardest part about writing the book, aside from learning the art and then creating my own designs, was taking all the step-by-step images. Going into the project, I thought it would be difficult to come up with my own design ideas, but once I learned how to make the jewelry, coming up with my own designs to match scripture themes came pretty easy. I was surprised about that part. Some of the technical aspects of the designs were a little more difficult to create than others once I had a vision of what I wanted so it was a matter of trial and error until the design worked. What do you hope children will take away from your book? Mostly I hope kids will learn that they can have fun while being spiritually uplifted as well. I want them to be able to embrace their spiritual beliefs, whatever they may be, through living life, not just when they happen to be in church. This is your first book. Are there any more on the way? Maybe. I'd like to write more, but I'm also extremely busy. It will probably depend on if this one is successful. You're also an attorney and vice-president of Cedar Fort, Inc. Tell us about that. Ever since I was little, I have been rather determined and let's say ambitious. I like learning. Going to law school and practicing law was just something I wanted to do at the time and I am grateful for the knowledge and training law school and the practice of law has provided me. I also enjoy helping good businesses succeed and being involved in that actual process. Cedar Fort is a great place to work and I feel we are trying to accomplish great things by inspiring the world through books. What has been the most rewarding aspect of writing this book? I think the most rewarding aspect is seeing other's reactions to the book. I had no idea others would find it so enjoyable. Initially I took on the project because it made good business sense, but it has turned in to more than that. Anything else you'd like to share with readers? I would just say live your dreams; nothing is impossible with God's help.