BRINGING CHARACTERS TO LIFE

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      “Every person’s feelings have a front-door and a side-door by which they may be entered”

(Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr.)

 

WERE YOU EVER TOLD: “YOU DID NOT BRING  CHARACTERS TO LIFE?”

I was, and it was the biggest let-down I could ever imagine. My first reaction was: if I could not bring life to my characters, why am I writing?  I put the rejected manuscript in a drawer, hidden in shame. After weeks of disappointment, I took the manuscript out of the drawer and   re-read my draft.  That is when I realized, although I felt the emotions and feelings of my characters, I neglected to reflect those feelings in my writing.

It was evident I had to learn the difference between emotions and feelings. I found a wonderful Article written by David Corbett, in Writers’ Digest.

Emotion is created through action generated by the character. Sometimes it is an action not expected of your character.  Sometimes the character is experiencing multiple emotions in the scene you are creating.  One thing I did learn is to ask myself what is the obvious response my character might have, and then what other emotion is possible. His advice: To make your characters more real, give them unexpected reactions to the scene playing out.  In writing a mystery, the character may exhibit misdirected emotions to overlook the obvious.

Feelings require mental examination of the thoughts and motives of your characters. You can create empathy for your character with feelings.  Is it right or wrong to feel this way? Would a stronger person feel the same?  Is it the only response for the character?  Is the response worse or better than the response to other situations?  Allow your readers enough information to process the meaning of what happened and make a plan how to proceed.  Start with an unexpected element, or a surprise, and find a physical analogy for it.

Using both together, I learned that I can create a character that changes from the beginning to the end of my story. Further, he advises that through the thoughts and actions of the characters, the reader is also taken along the same path of self-awareness as the characters.

With this information, I re-wrote my manuscript, hoping to succeed in bringing my characters to life and not having to experience the same discouraging review again.

I thank David Corbett, author of “The Art of Character, for his informative piece.

Happy Writing,

Paula

A Lesson Learned

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A LESSON LEARNED

My husband was an “I can do it” person and tackled many home repairs–resulting in unforeseen difficulties.  I believed that he should have had a working knowledge before starting any task.

In writing my first novel, I prided myself on using proper grammar, sentence structure and choice of words.  I reviewed every chapter, carefully checking grammar and punctuation.  It took almost one year to complete.  Then, I sent it for publication, and ordered a few books for my family and friends at the same time.

A proof was sent, and I approved it, confident I had done a good job of editing. The books arrived.  It was exciting to see my name printed in bold on the glossy cover, and to know my story unfolded within the pages. I opened the book, and was shocked when I found misspellings, commas where they did not belong, and incorrect hyphenated words, on many of the pages.

Sometime later, recalling the errors in my first novel, I diligently used the features in Word to check spelling and grammar in editing my second book. Again, I was satisfied with the corrections. But I wanted to be certain it was ready for publication, so I asked a friend to proofread the manuscript, and was perplexed when she discovered more mistakes.

Difficult as it is, I was forced to admit that I was not capable of writing without errors. I realized the fault did not lie in the program from Word.  And it did not lie in the friend who read my draft.   The fault is mine and mine alone.  Why? Because I believed all that could be done, was done, and never re-read the proof before publication.

I, who believed, I was proficient, needed professional help! I found it in the following Websites.

  1. MASTER WRITER. For Songwriting and Creative Writing. Need a collection of words for every occasion, happy, sad, triumphant, weak, strong, phrases, rhymes, sayings, and much more. No matter whether you are writing a song, poem, novel or screenplay, this will help you. This was the first software I downloaded. Master Writer offers a free Trial.  Try it!
  2. AUTO-CRIT: Editing software for Writers. It takes the guesswork out of the editing process.  Their or There, lie, or Lie,–it’s all there to help you become a better writer. Sentences too long or too short–words repeated too often?  Auto-Crit is the only software that customizes your work to a specific genre, whether it is Sci-Fi, Mystery, Young Adult, or Movie.
  3. PRO-WRITING AID: An Editing tool for Academic, Business, Content, Technical, Web, and Fiction Writers. Upload your document, and the summary report denotes overused words, readability, grammar errors, clichés, diction, and improvements to your style of writing. Tell Pro-Writing Aid whether it is for Technical, Creative, Business or General, writing, and this software advises how to improve your style such as use of passive and hidden verbs.

 

Happy Writing,

Paula

Hidden Hills

Book-1 – The Search

In the 21st century, in the mysterious forests of the mountains, dwell a Medieval clan of Fairies, hidden from the world for centuries until a human finds his way to their secluded town, resulting in a chain of events that threaten their existence. In their hidden society where no human ever dared to venture before, the Queen finds herself faced with events testing her authority, the consequences of loving a human, and the ongoing conflict with an evil Goddess who awaits the opportune time when she can destroy the Fairies. The Queen knows that any decision she makes will affect the future of her clan, and all the others she is sworn to protect. In the mortal world, where stories of Gods, Goddesses, Fairies, Elves and magic, are thought to be merely myths, there is no one she can look to for help.

Book-2 “The Selkie“,

A tale of a human female, who died, and is reborn as a seal creature. She assumes human form to enable her to search for her former mate, now wed to Princess Shaylee. The Queen is, once again, placed in a perilous position as she realizes by sending the Selkie, the Goddess Morrigan has launched her attack. Morrigan, in an effort to insure success, sends her warrior son, who falls, in defeat, at the combined magic of the Fairy clans. Her anger is incensed by their victory and she beckons all of her powers to eliminate the fairies and all who come to their aid.

Book-3 “The Stand

In the final Chapter of the conflict between the Fairies and the Goddess Morrigan, their endurance is tested over and over again, as Morrigan attacks each of the Queen’s Allys, by sending supernatural fierce dogs, her Ravens with razor sharp talons, and giant creatures with two heads, resulting in massive death and destruction amongst the elves, the wood Sprites, and all others. The Allies join together in an effort to stop her attacks, and as they grow weary and weakened, with each ineffective counter-offensive, an unlikely hero makes an appearance.

Buy the Hidden Hills Trilogy (in Paperback) for $9.95, plus shipping

THE SEARCH …buy for.. $3.95, plus shipping

THE SELKIE, buy for $3.95, plus shipping

THE STAND, buy for $3.95, plus shipping

DO YOU MAKE DECISIONS WITH A ROLL OF THE DICE?

 FIdiceRST PERSON OR THIRD PERSON


 

A question asked often and answered just as many times

Why do we face such a dilemma every time we sit down to write? Because, it all depends on whose point of view you want.  Each will create a slightly different story, both good— but different. How do we decide whether to write in the First Person or the Third Person? They both work. Is it better for the author to look through the eyes of the character?  Or should the author tell it through observers, narrators, or something else?  Let’s start with the difference between the two.

With FIRST PERSON, you are looking through the eyes of your character, and have access to that character’s thoughts and feelings. Writing in the First Person is more intimate, and you can dig deeper into the character’s personality. Usually this is the main man or woman (the Protagonist). There are times when the person telling the story is an observer; as in the Sherlock Homes novels, that are narrated by Doctor Watson.  Sometimes, the character whose eyes we are looking through is not human…like a Dog.

With THIRD PERSON, you, as author, are the viewpoint of the character, speaking through the eyes of the Protagonist.  In Third person, you create the events your character must deal with, and how to solve the problems as they occur.  You are the Supreme Being; the Creator, the Omniscient, and the one and only decision maker. If there are other characters in your story; once again, you, are speaking and creating the viewpoint, with your words, and actions. Some think it easier to always write in the Third Person.

My Fifth Novella is almost complete, and for the first time I am writing using the FIRST PERSON’s Point of View. I did that because I wanted to allow my readers the opportunity to know my Protagonist, her feelings, desires, goals, and most inner thoughts.   When she thinks silently, I use ITALICS so the reader can listen to her private thoughts and reactions, as events unfold. This is done only when the Character is the viewpoint character.

Note: I have not mentioned Second Person writing which uses the Words YOU & YOUR. This is limited in its use.  One way is by speaking directly to the audience (an Example, you will find in the FIRST PERSON and THIRD PERSON paragraphs).  Other uses are: In Video Games, Self-Help Books and Magazines, Travel articles and Informational Guides.

FIRST PERSON:  l/me/my/we/us/0ur

SECOND PERSON: Y0u/Y0ur

THIRD PERSON:  He/him/his/She/her/It/its/They/them/their     

Happy Writing,  Paula

 

 

 

 

Steps in Plotting your Story

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STEPS IN PLOTTING YOUR STORY

It is said to write well, one must read a lot. Why? Because in reading, we learn. I definitely agree… but many times it is prudent to learn another way.

Just recently, I read an article by Glen C. Strathy advising what compiles a well-planned plot. I found it a valuable and beneficial guide in assuring future stories had all the elements for a compelling story.  In a shortened version, I relay his advice on how we should apply the following “A through H” guide.

In what way does the author present the Protagonist (the main character involved in a conflict), and Antagonist (a character or group of characters who oppose the main character).

            How should authors create and execute a compelling plot?

                        A…What is the Goal of the story?

                        B…What situations will occur resulting in the difficulty obtaining the                                                      Goal?

                        C… What is done in order to achieve the Goal?

                        D… What events occur during the story to show the main character is                                                closer to the Goal?

                         E… What is the Protagonist forced to endure in order to achieve the                                                      Goal?

                        F… What reward will the main character receive or learn as the result                                                 of his/her situation?

                        G… What events must happen before the main character is in a                                                 position to receive the reward?

                        H…   This is similar to “B” in that the main character has to face a                                                 precondition that can make it difficult to achieve the Goal.

The ending is most important.  You have a progressive plot.  You have written the events that must happen in order to create an emotional impact.  There is a crisis, and now, the final resolution—the ending.  It should be a satisfying ending, so the reader feels the main character resolves his/her inner conflict.

**To read the complete Article go to www.glen-c-strathy.com.

Happy Writing!    Paula

 

 

 

 

 

 

Speaking In Another Language

 

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CHILDREN AROUND THE WORLD:   
 As Authors, we know that words define our character’s personality,  and traits that define their uniqueness.

When our characters speak, we recognize them by either the dialect, their dress, or the construction of their words or sentences.  Figures of speech create vivid images in your readers’ minds, and determine where the characters originated, the period of time, whether it is a period in European history, American history, or the 21st Century.  I refer to “Outlander” where all the characters speak either in the Scottish or English dialect.

To compose a path from our native English tongue into a target language, we must pay attention to the meaning of the original expression, the style of the target language, and the accuracy when written.

Every language has sources considered good in the target language. Seek out these in order to get the feel for the language.  Search for articles in the target language, or authors who write in the target language– or follow the philosophy of the target language by seeking similar websites. Notice the cultural references, and expressions that you would never find in a textbook, and make notes.  There are Grammar textbooks in most languages which will aid you, in writing the target language with the style and flow necessary to relay the substance of the story, and make your characters believable.  I find the Public Library the perfect place to begin.  With its vast selection of books and educational materials, you are sure to find such books, Dvd’s or Videos to help you learn the proper style of writing your target language.

Copying is not to be confused with style. Good translation is important.  Improper clauses that do not connect to the main sentence is a No! No!  Sentences must be balanced and well connected.  Remember, proper dialect will create vivid images in your readers’ minds, and if we do not use the proper terminology, your characters will not be believable, nor will your story move smoothly.

One other important fact:   Do not rely on your computer to correct your spelling and grammar when writing in your target language.

Happy writing!

Paula