Character Profiles: in which I basically bare my heart for you all

Greetings, fellow earthens.

And HAPPY SEPTEMBER!!!

Today I’m going to take on a dark, daunting post subject. I’m going to spill my heart and guts and share some of my creations with you. That is, introduce some of the main characters from my current WIP. Which is a terrifying prospect for me. It’s going to be hard. It’s going to be traumatizing.

It’s also going to be really fun.

These lovelies are still undergoing MASSIVE changes… in the finished work they’re likely to look quite a bit different than they do now. But for the time being this is how far their personalities have evolved, and I can honestly say I’m *sniff* proud of them *wipes away tear*. They are some of my most precious characters. They’ve been through a lot with me. And as a result they’re all wrapped up in my heartstrings.

As a side note, I found these characteristic photos via Pinterest. They aren’t mine. I take no credit. The clothing (from what you can see) is all modern and wrong… but who cares. :P

Taryn

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the Protagonist

wind-flung brown hair / one blue eye and one hazel / nimble hands / pointed chin

   Taryn is a wanderer. A loner. An outcast. She has an independent streak she got from her father, and loves wild places. She’s perceptive and generally relates well to others’ emotions, but can also be pretty cynical of people, which comes of being treated the way she has her entire life (you won’t understand that but #spoilers). Insecurity is one of her many struggles. She hates sharing her feelings and has the tendency to push away her loved ones when she’s in pain; she’s also terrible at comforting others. Sarcastic wit comes easily for this one.

She loves the wind and the scent of freedom. Rock/hill climbing (she has the flat feet geared for it, and she’s proud of that). People who judge by anothers’ attributes and the way they treat others, not by appearances.

 

 

Ree

the Sidekick

freckled / blue-eyed / crooked limp / wide smile / small wrists and ankles

   Ree is homier than her sister. She’s empathetic and slightly more centered; is calmly optimistic and laughs a lot. Her limp (she was born with a minor deformity, one leg slightly shorter than the other) keeps her from doing a lot of things she’d like, but as a general rule she’s pretty philosophical about it. In arguments she’s likely to go on the defensive… but she doesn’t lose her temper much.

She loves murkbrew (their world’s kind of thicker version of hot tea) with honey. Rain. And the productive feeling of keeping busy – especially when she’s worried or stressed.

 

 

Matt

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the Logic/Voice of Reason

light brown-dark blond hair / grey eyes / medium-tall / a slight cowlick that irritates him

   Matt is a strong shoulder to lean on. A hard worker with calloused hands. He just might be my favorite character besides Taryn… because except for her he’s been the character to undergo the most changes, yet has remained his dependable, stubborn self through it all. He’s quick-witted. Diplomatic in most disagreements. But other times he can be blunt to the point of pain. He and Taryn are alike in that most of the time they’re relatively mild people, but both are fiercely protective of the people they’re close to.

He loves carving; bringing form and shape out of dead wood. His young siblings. And fried rabbit well-done.

 

Lisi

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the Emotional

blonde / pale blue eyes / small-proportioned and slim / an odd laugh

   Lisi is the soft-spoken one. Invariably gentle, ceaselessly compassionate. A little wistful. She’s quiet and unobtrusive in most things, and her cautious nature sometimes comes across as timid… but still waters run deep. She’s a lot stronger of a person than she seems at first sight. Despite having very few similarities at first, she and Taryn form a strong bond throughout the course of the novel.

She loves sunlight through the fog. Long walks along the dusty Village paths. Strong, beautiful personalities.

 

Maeve

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the Tempter

thick reddish hair / curvy / face mottled with freckles / dark brown eyes / vivid full lips

   Maeve is beautiful. Incendiary. Malicious. She loves deeply, hates with abandon, and is passionate in every emotion between. Her deepest aversions are to the deformed and those she sees as hideous or weak. Her hurts are remembered and she’s pretty darn vengeful, while we’re at it. She takes on hard labor grudgingly but well.

She loves good seasoned mutton and strong mead. The thrill of autumn in the blood. And followers who allow themselves to be dominated without question.

 

 

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Sooo. Those are my lovelies (that is, five of them). And that wasn’t so bad. The others are still in slightly earlier stages of development. The Antagonist, the Mentor, the Skeptic, and lotsa other extras who kind of came out of nowhere and (in the course of headaches, blood and tears) have grown into beloved characters. I might share a bit about them some other time. :)

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Thanks for reading! Can you believe it’s the 1st of September, and are you excited for autumn?? Chat with me in the comments below!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Five Horrendous Books I Wrote as a Child: and what I learned from them

How is everyone’s summer coming along? I for one am super excited about it being August already, because the end of the summer means autumn is coming.

*dances happily*

Anyway. Down to business. I’m going to tackle another tag today… the 5 Horrendous Books tag. I almost feel like I’m not qualified, since I am famous worldwide for not finishing stories. Seriously. My desk drawers are packed with unfinished ideas and scraps, and I’ve finished a total of… three stories. In my life.

THREE.

Which is mostly due to the fact that, in my writing experience so far, I’ve been devoting myself almost entirely to two main ideas. The two that are actually good and I really, really want to write. The more recently-born of these is the novel I’m working on right now. The other is a sort of epic fantasy creation about heroes in a land called Bayan (don’t quote me here. the name will more than likely be changed). That one’s dear to my heart because it first originated when I was about twelve and has gone through a lot. It’s currently on the backburner; maybe I’ll get around to it one day.

Shall we proceed.

I present my most horrendous of story ideas, what I’ve (maybe) learned from each one, and hope you enjoy.

 

Nora

This one was one of my first “book” attempts; a cute, boring little narrative about a family of multifarious orphans. They live their lives in a ramshackle house and… never do much of anything. I mean literally nothing happens. Butttt I started this one when I was eight, when I’d never even heard of plot. So. The kids (including flat protagonist Nora) take turns watching the baby, mop floors, and do what good little orphan children do; they have a few dull conversations and live happily ever after.

(maybe that’s why i never got any farther than a few pages with this one. maybe)

  • Lots of clichéd (and kind of strange??) character descriptions.
  • ADVERBS. OH, THE ADVERBS.
  • There was a lot of pea shelling. In my eight-year-old imagination it was the most interesting of farmhouse mundane tasks. Thus, much pea-shelling.
  • Written-out southwestern country accents. Please help.
  • I could not devise a more original surname than Kettle.
  • Yes. The Kettle kids.
  • #cringe

 

What I Learned:

I LOVE writing large families and sibling relationships.

 

Out of Bondage

This one is (surprise!) an Israelites’-flight-from-Egypt retelling. It features a girl named Hannah and her seven siblings. I got a few pages into this one before inspiration flat-out ditched me and I got disgusted and trashed it all (pssst: it wasn’t much good anyhow).

  • There is boring backstory and a lot of information you never asked for. In heavy loads.
  • Once again, characters not doing much of anything.
  • Just going about their daily borings and major yawn.
  • This girl is kneading dough like she does every day, but for some reason I considered it necessary to emphasize the fact that she’s sweating and getting really tired. I mean I went into detail here.
  • A halfway decent descriptive paragraph of Egypt that I might actually use one day.
  • But most of the time I was very vague and clueless.

 

What I Learned:

Research is essential in historical fiction.

 

The Most Beautiful Kitten

Agh, the title. Prepare yourself. This was one of my (ahem) several attempts at writing my own fairytale. Our protagonist is Yet Another Tiresome Princess, the predictable type who is clichéd and adored and lives her happy little life in clover… till her parents, the king and queen drop the MARRIAGE BOMB and squash her flat.

She will of course only marry the #1 And Only who can bring her what she most desires. And with this damsel (who actually happens to be nameless, i just realized that), it’s a kitten. The most beautiful kitten in the kingdom, if you please.

  • We have a lot of knights, princes, dukes, earls, and other sundry nobles. All bearing kittens.
  • Lengthy cat descriptions you do not want to hear about. I was new to the descriptive-similes world, okay?
  • Rejected cats and disgruntled nobles.
  • Disgruntled king and queen.
  • You see it coming, right?
  • Yes. A humble shepherd.
  • Yes, his kitten is the most beautiful of them all. Idk where he got this fantastical cat, or where he comes from, or anything. Nothing is explained.
  • They live happily ever after.
  • Please forgive me, I was ten.

 

What I Learned:

Ummm. NEVER try writing fairytales again? Ever.

 

The Snowstorm

This one was supposed to be something of a romance. But I started to write it at thirteen, so that tells you a lot. Let’s just say at thirteen I was not an expert on romance. It’s about Meredith, an eighteen-year-old with a really bad case on her childhood friend, Daniel. AN EIGHTEEN-YEAR-OLD WHAT WAS I THINKING.

The Binghams and Wilsons (the two respective families) get snowed in together in a blizzard. Meredith’s pregnant sister Nell (who happens to be married to Daniel’s brother), goes into labor.

  • No one can go for the midwife.
  • So of course Meredith, who is completely inexperienced, decides to be the hero. She hitches up her bootstraps and single-handedly delivers twins.
  • (???)
  • I have questions here.
  • The family connections are also really confusing. ??
  • We have a couple sappy paragraphs you really, really aren’t interested in. Trust me.
  • And viola her romance is also resolved.
  • Daniel is actually my favorite character; he’s a redheaded sarcastic firechild of awkwardness and hilarity.
  • But Meredith :P

 

What I Learned: 

I absolutely love writing laughable rogue-type love interests

 

Rebecca

Another story named for its heroine. She is a young woman in a little town who goes through a lot of hardship (i really don’t know why). The general premise of the story: A few good things happen. There’s some inane romance. Lots of bad things happen. People die. Some good things happen. The end.

It starts when she falls in love with a dashing guy named Edgar (once again I was thirteen years old whhhyyyy).

  • We have mush and absurdity and confusing plot points.
  • Edgar dies.
  • Rebecca’s father dies.
  • She eventually marries Edgar’s brother John, a widower with five kids (i can’t remember for what reasons, exactly. i think she’s poor and needs support).
  • John is two-dimensional and tasteless to the extreme. #writingskillz
  • He dies.
  • One of his daughters dies.
  • Die, die, die.
  • Rebecca is left with the four children and has no one in the wide world.
  • She finds an advertisement in the paper written by a man out west named Matthew (i don’t think he has a last name). He’s looking for a wife and housekeeper.
  • And this WAS NOT written in the midst of my mad pioneer-era craze. Heh. Why do you ask?
  • Rebecca travels west, she and Matthew meet and fall in love, get married and live happily after, etc, etc.

 

What I Learned:

My romance needs a lot of work. My deaths need a lot of work. My writing needs a lot of work.

 

 

I tag Sydney at The Elliot Countenance; have fun with this! :)

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Have you written trash as bad as this in your time? Tell me you cringed reading my fairytale attempt (i was almost too embarrassed to include that one). Comment below!

 

The Interrogation Tag

New blog theme!! *applause*

How was everyone’s month? June was a WONDERFUL month for me. Friends, scribblings, lots of coffee… some amateur photography attempts…

Anyway. I was tagged by Emma at Real and Official Matters, a happy little blog that’s just taking off. Thanks for the tag, friend!

I present The Interrogation Tag.

 

Get To Know Me:

1. What are 3-5 little known facts about yourself?

  • I really, REALLY want a wolf. Like, for a companion. And it would be the coolest thing EVER if we could talk to each other. So basically a telepathic, weirdly intelligent wolf friend (don’t tell my dog I said any of this).
  • I’m still adjusting to being a young adult and acting like one… often I’m caught breaking into spontaneous running or jumping.
  • I LOVE singing, but I’m not a fan of my singing voice. So if you get to hear me singing I like/trust you REALLY well… or else I didn’t know you were standing there.

2. If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would you go?

Oh my. Probably either England or Australia. The accents both places are great, and the Australian animals are really cool. Also, English food. Can’t forget the English food. It’s a toss-up.

3. What are your favorite and least favorite foods?

Ugh, this is hard. Because I’m kind of crazy about most food… I guess five basic foods I really love would be:

  • All things potato. Baked, mashed, boiled, fried. They’re the best.
  • Pizza!!!
  • Cheesecake. Just. Cheesecake.
  • Strawberries (thanks to an obscure allergy I have, they’re – for some inexplicable reason – one of the only two raw fruits I’m able to eat. love these loyal guys).
  • I’m also an insane fan of my mom’s macaroni and cheese
  • You can tell I’m all about the healthy foods, right??

Three basic foods I detest:

  • Blueberry pie/cobbler (i know that is the weirdest thing ever. i give no explanations or excuses).
  • Pork. Ugh.
  • And coleslaw is beyond disgusting.

4.What are some of your hobbies?

Well, I guess writing doesn’t count since I’d like to consider that more of a lifework than a hobby. I enjoy reading, occasional baking, photography, the infrequent arranging of flowers, and Pinterest (yes, pinterest totally counts as a hobby).

5. Tea or Coffee?

COFFEE! Swirled with hazelnut creamer, sometimes cinnamon. But (for the benefit of you outraged tea-lovers out there) several teas I’ve tried have been amazing as well.

 

Bookish Questions:

1. Do you like books or movies better? 

Definitely books, but movies are wonderful as well. Especially movies based on my favorite books. So long as they don’t butcher the storyline too brutally, that is. The 2006 version of Jane Eyre did a pretty great job of adhering to the story… it’s one of my favorite movies.

2. What is your favorite genre to read?

I enjoy a lot of speculative fiction subgenres… fantasy and dystopian, that kind of thing. Ooh, and historical fiction.

3. What are some of your favorite books? 

Ohhh, I have an overwhelming number of favorites. But these are some I never get tired of, in all the times I re-read them:

  • Jane Eyre
  • Ella Enchanted
  • Rilla of Ingleside
  • Magic for Marigold (i first read that one when i was about ten, and have loved it wildly ever since)
  • Little Women
  • Persuasion
  • The Hobbit

And there are so many, many more.

4. A fictional character (or maybe 3) you’d like to be friends with?

Okay. Sorry folks, but I am going to have to make this five. Rilla, from Rilla of Ingleside. Dashti, from Book of a Thousand Days. Calvin O’Keefe from A Wrinkle in Time and its sequels. Maude, from The Misadventures of Maude March. And Ella, from Ella Enchanted.

5. Prettiest book cover that you own.

Probably L.M. Montgomery’s The Blue Castle. The font and cover illustration are lovely.

Image result for the blue castle

 

Writing Questions:

1. What is your favorite writing snack? 

Umm, I’ll eat ANYTHING when I’m hungry and writing.

2. When did you start writing?

At about six or seven. For the first few years of this I thought I wanted to be a poet, and I still have notebooks filled with my less-than-extraordinary efforts. There were a few that I’ve saved fondly, but I’m DEFINITELY more prose-inclined now.

3.Why do you write?

Ummm. (What am I supposed to say here?) I guess just overall to glorify the Lord, and because I love it. LOVE it. There, that wasn’t so bad. XD

4. What is your favorite genre to write?

I like trying my hand at a lot of styles and genres, but my favorite is probably fantasy. The research is so easy in comparison to historical fiction and other real-world genres. There’s some research that has to be done, but when you’re really and truly not sure about something you can just MAKE IT UP.

And the tag goes to Zane, who helped create these questions and I can tell is going to have a really good time with this. :D

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How was June for you? If you’d like to take this tag and do it yourself, feel free (also comment below to make my day fantabulous).

 

 

 

Wasted Time

Here I am, you see, already barely making the once-a-week thing. *sighs*

Recently I’ve been busy (and a little unmotivated, as well), so much so that I haven’t been getting what you’d call substantial amounts of writing done.

Amount of Writing I Scored Last Week:

….Maybe if you collected it all it would fill two pages. Maybe. More or slightly less. Heh.

It takes insane amounts of self-control (and motivation, of course) to write. To refrain from checking when emails come in. Or taking a “quick break” to look over your inspiration boards on Pinterest. You’ll end up realizing you’ve wasted an hour in no time at all. Well, actually in an hour.

So, how to improve [and use wisely] your writing time? Here are a few ways:

  • Let everyone know you’re having writing time and ask not to be disturbed. This will ensure peace and quiet. Now to utilize this peace and quiet.
  • NO social media. At all. None.
  • Set yourself a specific goal. Fifteen to twenty minutes is a good goal, and relatively easy to achieve. If you’re one of those phenomenal intensive writers, an hour or more. And the lower you set the bar, the easier it will be to transcend. *smirks conspiratorially*
  • Turn of message notifications so the temptation isn’t even a problem.
  • NO self-deprecation. Yes, your writing probably does stink. Get over it. Just push through your insecurities and WRITE YOUR GARBAGE.

“If I waited for perfection I would never write a word.” – Margaret Atwood

  • I would say “Don’t stop to edit, correct your spelling/grammar, or to search the thesaurus for the perfect word; just mark the spot and come back later.” But that would be hypocritical. :D
  • Have a snack on hand so you won’t have to get up when hunger strikes. Preferably something sweet. Like chocolate. Very much like chocolate.
  • Breathe deeply.
  • Listen to inspiring music. I love listening to sad/moody/dark/beautiful pieces that fuel strong emotions and make me want to cry…. Yes. Weird. It improves my writing, okay?
  • No breaks. Unless under specified circumstances:
  1. The house is on fire
  2. Space aliens invade
  3. Your brain is about to EXPLODE

If scenarios #1 or #2 qualify, immediately flee the house. If you’re experiencing scenario #3, congratulations. You’ve gotten some good writing/brainstorming/plotting done. That’s why you’re in such pain. Or else you’ve been sitting staring blankly at the computer screen for so long there’s been a system fail.

There we are. Another list. (Have I mentioned I love lists? Especially bullet-pointed lists.) Hope everyone has a fabulous weekend!

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Thanks for reading! If there’s anything you’d suggest to make writing time more productive, comment! I’d love to hear from you.

Puzzle Pieces: fitting characters together

One more post this week. I’m on a roll. ;)

This post is going to be about writing. And I am slightly terrified to impart any kind of advice to anybody, as the magnitude of my own inexperience is…well, big. But here goes. (Maybe somebody will find this remotely helpful.)

One of a writer’s greatest challenges (at least in my case) is creating a strong bond between two characters. Whether it be love of the romantic sort, the admiration of an apprentice to his master, or the close affection of good friends, growing and developing a relationship between people is hard. Especially if the relationship starts out with a Princess Leia + Han Solo mindset…

Image result for why you stuck-up half-witted scruffy-looking nerf-herder

Here’s a list of questions I ask myself.

  1. One of the first signs that two characters are going to connect is usually a “click”. They have something in common. A common fear, a common desire, a common love. A common hobby. “Hey, you collect 1960s movie posters too?” Have your characters clicked through a shared interest or emotion?
  2. Does the hate/dislike/confusion/indifference they feel towards each other in the beginning blossom with head-scratching suddenness into warm endearment? Make sure you’ve maintained a smooth and consistent arc throughout the course of the story.
  3. Are you showing rather than telling? Body language, actions, speech, and thoughts should all be subtly used to communicate the growing bond.
  4. If there’s a lot of friction at first, keep it going even when they’ve fallen for each other. The closest of friendships still spark and sizzle at times. Are there enough disagreements to make the relationship realistic?
  5. Do your characters grow each other? A couple need to have interlocking personalities; fit together like puzzle pieces, each satisfying in the other what he/she is lacking. If Jen is quiet and shy, make Brad more outgoing. He’ll draw her out of herself and provide a stimulant. On the other hand, if Brad is over-the-top extroverted and drives people crazy because he’s loud and self-assured to the point of obnoxious, Jen might keep him down to earth and help him develop a sense of humility. That goes with friends too. Give the volatile fireball with anger management issues a level-headed, gentle friend who struggles to express his feelings. Make the friendship grow them into better people.

So there are some questions which have helped me in my bond-developing. I have a long way to go before I’ll be able to post any wildly eloquent writing advice here (ha ha, right), but hopefully this was a beneficial read and a good start. Have a wonderful weekend!

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