Tag Archives: writestuff

C is for Character | #AtoZChallenge

When you’re reading a story, what grabs you the most- plot or character?

With me, it’s character. I enjoy reading a well-written character, who’s multifaceted and interesting. Of course, it’s easier said than done. I’m not an expert, but I do think I have an idea on how to get your characters moving and grooving in an interesting way. Here are five tips for writing characters who are interesting and realistic:

Joss Whedon quote

Tip 1: Name that tune

What is your characters name? Is there significance to it? (A family name? Has Name a certain meaning? Etc.) What does your character look like? You don’t have to go into every insignificant detail. If you do, it’ll start to feel to your reader like you don’t trust them to make some decisions. Describe parts that are important and that give your character shape. If your character is someone who has a hard lifestyle, talk about those lines on his face, the jagged scar running down her thigh. Those puffy bags under his eyes from his habitual drinking tell a lot about who he is and what he does.

Tip 2: Who are you? Who? Who? Who? Who?

What are the qualities that your characters exhibit? Are they shy? Quick to anger? Incredibly insecure? Do you have friends who have qualities that make them a bit alike so they’re more likely to clash, but on some issues, they’re really steadfast? Don’t be afraid to mix it up and give your character seemingly opposing traits- the shy librarian who has a wild streak. The angry bartender with a soft side for baby kittens. You get it.

Tip 3: So what’cha, what’cha, what’cha want, what’cha want?

What drives your characters? What pushes them to make moves? What is the thing that they want the most? And what is the thing that they need? The need is going to be what really drives the underlying story. Is it love? To have an actual home? Revenge? To deal with grief? Knowing these elements to your characters will make them richer and more interesting to write and ultimately for your readers to experience.

 

Tip 4: It’s a family affair…it’s a family affair…

Here’s one thing that shapes us all in the best (and sometimes worse) ways possible: our families. Who is your character’s family? Is there some mommy or daddy issues lurking in the background? Was the family wonderfully supportive and amazing, but had terrible luck that destroyed things? Is your character’s family gone now and he’s all on his own? Was his grandfather abusive? His mother likes a little coffee in her Baileys? Having that family background and learning her roots will show you more about how she will react in the future to the obstacles (and opportunities) you plop in her path.

Tip 5: My flaws are the only thing left that’s pure


Do not write characters who are perfect. Give them moments where they stumble, crumble, and break down. The most interesting traits of characters are how they react when things don’t go their way. Yes, it can be hard to make your character go through the bad, but in order to get to the good, there must be some bad. It’ll increase the level of tension, make the conflict more intense, and just generally makes for better writing.

 

Did you guess the lyrics? Do you have a favorite character from books or movies? Let me know in the comments! Also, if you like talking about writing, join us at the #writestuff Twitter chat every Tuesday at 9 p.m. EDT. Find me on there: @penpaperpad.

 

Check out my posts for Letters A and Letters B. Come back tomorrow for D!

letter C

Aloha y’all! 

 

 

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Write a Story With Me!

Hey everyone, it’s been ages since I’ve written anything on the blog. Takes a minute to blow off the cobwebs. I’ve been concentrating more on writing long-form things. Such as creating The Appalachian Terror Trail and working on that short story anthology. And just last week I finished the rewrite of Blood Roses and Honeysuckles, which was an incredible relief, let me tell you. I was afraid I would never be able to say “The End.” Of course now I’ll be going back and working on editing, editing editing…

Cant-Stop-Wont-Stop-Funny-Stop-Meme-Image

 

Tonight, I wanted to start a possible series, you’ll have to tell me if you’d want to do that. This is all about writing a short story with me. Not everyone enjoys writing  a short story, but in my opinion, it’s a great way to stretch your writing muscles. You have a very confined space to tell the tale. There’s not a lot of wiggle room. It’s an interesting challenge and a lot of fun if you give yourself that freedom.

We do a very bare boned start here.  We talked about it in a very general way to give you as much wiggle room as you want. I didn’t want this to be restrictive. I also didn’t give any specifications to genre and most plot points. Here’s the list of things we parceled out that you’d use to write the short story. Shoutout to Angela for helping me to figure it out!

Main character description:

  • Female,
  • teenager (possibly 16-17)
  • She’s more of a country girl than a city slicker.
  • Sassy, Independent, Likes to control things
  • Birthday: Aug. 15th

Rival/Antagonist:

  • Male
  • Teenager
  • Sensitive, Holds a Grudge, Petty
  • He tries to paint her as the town villain.

They’ve had a rivalry since childhood.

Setting: Town’s biggest party

Theme: Anti-Valentine’s Day. To read the #writestuff event with more info, check it out here.

Conflict: Something will happen between them.

Genre: Open

Like I said, a very loosely sketched out story base. This is more of an exercise to see what we can do with some of the same information and how different it can be. And here’s the video if you’d like to check it out. In it, I discuss what #writestuff it, why reading instructions for anthologies are important, and more. (Also, ignore the bra strap. I love this top, but it’s unruly and makes moves on me.):

 

Thanks so much for watching, let me know in the comments if you want to take up the challenge!

Aloha y’all! 

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The Moon Curse (A Short Story)

Princess Tatiana adjusted the lace at the end of her ballgown, looking out among the people. The most affluent, the most elite were at the St. Williams Gardens tonight to ostentatiously celebrate the rising of the moon’s tide. St. Williams was an incredibly superstitious country town where everyone followed the rules.

Tonight she would disobey those rules. She would stop the senseless defiling of one of the landowners tenant’s son. An act that had happened every few months since before she was born. She could scarcely think of it without shuddering. It was a horrifying practice that she refused to allow to happen anymore. Tonight was the night.

Tatiana adjusted her crown when no one was watching, knowing that her curly raven’s nest of hair would set off by the rubies and emeralds in the crown, the town’s colors. She smiled and nodded to countrymen as they passed. The women were all settled in a room off of the galley way, probably planning needlepoint and gossiping about barren wombs and slutty daughters.

“Princess Tatiana, you look charming this evening,” It took a moment for his thin rather rodent-like features to register.

“Yes, of course, Lord Wilfrog, how do you do this evening?” He was one of the biggest landowners in the town, however, he treated his land and his wives like chattel. Probably worse than his chattel as he needed to actually sell the cattle.

“As long as the sun rises and sets, all is well,” he smiled, and she imagined his whiskers shook. She excused herself and went to find her father. She could feel his eyes on her bared back and she stifled the need to shiver. The little man had always made her feel entirely uncomfortable.

“Shouldn’t you be holed up somewhere with the other bitches Tatiana?” her nemesis, Lord Canton sneered at her. The boy was jealous because she would always have a higher standing than he would. And she’s always be much more clever than he could dream of being.

“I’ll be sure to let your mother know you said so,” she said, just to watch him squirm.

He shook it of quickly, “Regardless, the lady-folk are to be in the backroom, sipping tea and doing what women folk do. And you are to be doing something entirely different.”

“Well, thank you for that succinct summation of my lady duties. I’ll be sure to make a note of it in my planner. Now if you would excuse me,” she spun out of his light grasp and went on toward her father.

She stopped less to talk to people. She had a feeling she wasn’t going to get to him in time. She needed to stop the travesty before it occurred. Not again. Never again.

Her father stood on the balcony, his hand already wrapped around the boy’s throat. The entire party gave him room, a semi-circle to watch the festivities with a grim resolution. The boy himself was only a few years younger than she. He had kicked out a few times when he was younger, but he’d been soundly beaten for it.

He had learned obedience.

“The dagger,” her father, the Lord King said, open his hand. He whispered something she couldn’t hear in the boy’s ear and he nodded quickly. He closed his eyes.

One of the King’s footmen put the jeweled handled dagger into his hands. This was the only time she ever saw it out. For this outdated ritual. The King pressed it against the boy’s neck, starting a small river of blood to drip down his neck, pooling at the top of his ragged-edged shirt.

The boy’s eyes were tightly closed and then her Father, the Lord King, latched onto him, almost slurping up the boy’s life’s blood. As he drank greedily, the boy became even paler than before. His hands twitched at his side and he made a strangled grunt.

It was horrifying to watch, but yet she couldn’t look away. She knew her father would take a moment to allow the boy to have a bite of a bread with jam and to drink a bit of wine and then he would go for more. Leaving the boy half dead on the floor.

When that happened, she knew what she would do.

Her father’s hand had blood flowing over his fingers. The boy’s pale skin glistened in the moonlight. She could smell blood and the scent of the aroused males around her. They liked to watch, they seemed to feed on her father feeding on this poor lad.

When another foot soldier came with the tray of bread with jam and the wine, she knew she had to make her move. Her father disengaged from the boy and the boy stood there swaying in the wind. A small shove would send him over the edge. And really what would be better for him? To live like this for the rest of his days until The King accidentally took to much, which happened more often than not? Or to be freed from these procedures. To fly free.

Before she could truly registered what she was to do, Tatiana rushed over and pushed the boy. He wasn’t able to cry out, but she could hear the final thud as he fell down the three stories.

“What have you done?” her father asked. “WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?!”
She remained silent, defiant. Raising her chin against his cruelty. His sickening madness. What kind of man would do such a horrid thing?

“Oh dear, she’s ruined us,” the footman whispered under his breath, but loud enough she could hear. “She’s ruined us all.”

Her father marched over to her, blood clinging to his beard, dripping from the fingers that were pointing over the banister.

“That my foolish girl, was the only thing that separated the town from the monster that’s inside of me.”

‘What ?”

“The blood from my bi-blow in the pale full moon’s light keeps me from turning into a monstrous beast that will roam the land, slaughtering and killing along the way,” he said, and she noticed how long and sharp his teeth truly were. “Now I’ll have to take another one of my children to finish tonight’s job.”

She gulped, inaudibly. She had a feeling she knew who that unfortunate soul would be.

****
This flash fiction piece was in response to April’s #writestuff prompt. Check it out and if you want to share your own piece.

Aloha y’all!

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