Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Writerly Wednesday: Pens, Ink, and Characters

Howdy Ya'll!

(No, I did not turn into a cowgirl over night or take a trip to Texas. I'm just slightly strange. In case that hasn't become apparent yet.)

I have been doing some writing this week because, whew! musical is finally over and I can have time to write again! Mwahaha!

Not much writing happened, but enough happened for me to have fun with something.

My characters have certain pens. They even fight over some pens because there is only so much ink and the pen is so pretty and red (like flowers - the happy character - and like blood -a very unhappy, slightly crazy character). Some refuse to use pens and will ONLY use a keyboard (no matter how much I beg and plead. These people are stubborn as heck). But most of them like pens. Two of them will only use pens. And use the same pen (that red one).

Maybe it's strange, using certain pens for certain stories. But I love it. I love that I can flip through a notebook and see certain ink or the way a certain pen writes and know what story that scene belongs to. It makes my life easier. Post-writing, of course, as sometimes I don't have the right pen or can't find the pen right away and I begin freaking out because man, is this an important scene and I want to write it right now. Then there's the what am I going to do when this sacred red pen runs out, because it will at some point, and my two lovelies (or unlovelies, really) stop refuse to write until I find it again. But most of the time, it's fun.

I also try to use different handwriting, since a lot of the stories are first person and none of these people would have the same exact handwriting as me. Except maybe one. So using different pens helps make that easier, since every pen makes my handwriting come out just a little bit different to begin with.

Fun fact (in case you care): None of my characters like blue pens. None. This makes me super happy since I have a dislike for blue ink. Unless it's the light blue that only colorful packs of pen have. I like that blue.

Does anyone else use certain pens or colors to when writing?

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Writerly Wednesday: A Bit Late but Let's Talk Characterization

I was perusing the internets when I found 25 Things About Creating Characters by Justin Mclachlan. Since I am a writer and since I like reading this lists, I clicked on the link and tralala, read the list.

Sometimes these lists are pretty useless for me. When it comes to characterization, I know my characters. It's a matter of stitching everything together and deciding what the reader needs to know (like age. Readers like age, while I prefer to give random details. Age is a bit more need to know in most cases). I still like reading them, though. They serve as a reminder or a checklist, something to hold my characters up to and make sure they are developing well. Sometimes I even catch one that was sliding through the cracks and go crazy trying to figure EVERYTHING out. This is impossible, by the way. I cannot know everything about any of my characters. I can know quite a bit, but not everything. In some cases, this is very good.

Most of the time, I don't have any reaction to what I just read in and of itself. This time, I did. If you like, you can click on the title of the post thing I read and read it for yourself to see if you agree with me. If not, that's okay.

8. Real people sometimes like lascivious and licentious things:  porn or weed or orgies, or porn, weed and orgies—you get the idea. So, why can’t your character like some of these things, too?
While I agree with this to some extent, basically every book I have read with a male MC has him liking all 3 of those things. So... maybe this isn't really a necessary comment? My version of this would be something along the lines of "real people sometimes like weird things like Cow statues and Veggie Tales and anything Irish. So why can't characters like weird things, too?"

I'm not kidding with this. It bothers me how normal most characters are. They like normal things. They like beer and weed and boobs or muscles. Things we expect people to like. I loved Unspoken  by Sarah Rees Brenna because her characters liked weird random things. Just like real life people. Someone I know loves everything Icelandic. I get super excited about really weird things. A friend of mine was obsessed with pickles for a while. Porn and weed and orgies are so boring and normal and everywhere.

 15. At a base level, every character wants the same things: food, shelter, sex...
Ahem. Excuse me. Sex? Every character wants sex? Half of my characters couldn't care less about sex. I have Kevin, who is asexual and cares way more about everything else. I have Dave (by the wayside, you are getting these names because they are relatively common names so I don't care if you know the names) who never wants sex. At all. I have females who are the same way. It just... no. Not every character wants sex because not every real life person wants sex.

I was so offended reading this. I mean, yes, sexual people, it's weird to wrap your mind around the fact that there are people out there who ohmybabies don't want to have sex or don't care about sex or kind of just stare at sex because it's confusing and why does it even exist let's just eat pasta. Also, this is totally debasing. And wrong. And says something about our society as a whole.

Why? Cause let's face it, you can have all the sex you want, but if you do not have a relationship, a working, active, personal relationship with someone, you will be unsatisfied. That is what every character wants. Not sex. But a relationship - maybe a messed up one -  but a relationship. That specific character may be overly afraid of relationships - not romantic ones, just fyi, but any relationship, be it mother or father or friend or lover - but there is still that desire there, somewhere.

So, you're characters, Mr. Person can want sex. I don't care about those characters. Because those aren't people I know. I know people who want food and shelter and a meaningful relationship, sometimes with sex as a bonus, sometimes not.

16. Just because a character lives in the past doesn’t mean she has to conform to outdated stereotypes.
It also doesn't mean he or she can't be in one of those stereotypes. Whenever I read a book set in Victorian times, the females are lumped into either 1. superfluous and silly or 2. headstrong and super independent, take no crap, revolutionary. Those are the new stereotypes. I'm not sure what the outdated stereotype being referred to here is - probably women who need men to save them - but let me tell you something, those stereotypes can still exist. They became stereotypes for a reason. Not every women alive was super headstrong and revolutionary. A lot were, but a lot weren't. What's wrong with those stories? Or how about the characters who are just human and alive during a certain time period?

18. In real life, we strive to avoid conflict. But in fiction, characters who always agree have no life—at least, not one worth reading about.
Has this guy ever strived to avoid conflict in an extremely conflict-ridden situation? I don't think so. I read and thus sometimes write realistic fiction. I enjoy it. Because it's life. Usually the nitty-gritty aspects of it. Let me tell you, I live in a family where striving to avoid conflict actually makes conflicts worse. I have a life. I have a life and emotions and reactions and responses. Someone could easily write a story off of my interactions with my family and it would be worth reading.

Why? Because is situations where taking sides is easy, the character who says "I will not take sides. And this is why" can be way more interesting than the person who says "I am taking sides" and is completely ignorant. Avoiding conflicts doesn't mean completely out of fear. How about the reason why the character is striving to avoid conflict is explored? Something like this depends on the skill of the writer, not on what is happening.

 20. Don’t be surprised when a character you’ve created does something you don’t expect. That’s called magic and you should just get out of its way.
This is so completely true. Although I'm pretty sure I did not create my characters because when I create characters, they suck. So... when a character appears in my head and demands I know his or her story... don't be surprised by random things. But really, feel free to get in its way. Challenge it. Fight it. Make sure it is actually there. Then hug it because it really is fantastic.

 22. Real people are seldom interesting enough to make great characters. Create, don’t imitate.
Um... Real people are way more interesting than most of the "great" characters I have read. So I'm not really sure what is happening here. I think real lives are seldom interesting enough to write a book off of, possibly, but real people, no. Real people are interesting. Possibly too interesting because I have no idea how to translate them to paper.

And obviously, I do not know everything there is to know about writing and characters. So this is not an end all say all, but I do know that some of the points I have made here about writing a character, are points that are valid and writers should pay attention to. Because readers want this stuff. Readers can tell the difference between a character who likes weed and a character who has an obsession with elephants. Weed is normal, but random obsessions are pretty normal, too. Not only that, but those elephants will make that character and individual. Those don't always exist. Especially not in YA.

Do you have any modifications to the 25 Things post or my responses to it?

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

I'm Back and Making some Changes

So I have been gone. For a while. Probably not as long as I am thinking, but long enough.

I have a confession to make. I kinda sorta left this blog for another one (Autumn Unleashed). I needed to.

In the process I realized I had abandoned the purpose of this one. Sure, I wrote some posts that I really liked, but in general, this blog isn't supposed to be about that stuff (thus my new one). This is supposed to be about my thoughts and adventures. Basically, it's supposed to be fun. Mainly. Because sometimes writing gets super serious and nitty-gritty.

Now: the changes!

I will be making the purpose of this blog anew. Yes, it will still be the thoughts and adventures of me, this silly writerly person. But with some new additions. Like...

Writerly Wednesday: in which I inform you about writerly stuff. Such as difficulties I have had in writing, if I have written, what sort of stuff I am working on. Have I made any progress? And at some point I have to read a thing on grammar, I am sure, because I feel like this whole paragraph thing is error laden. 

p.s. I might also talk about/share other writer's stuff on these days because there are awesome writers out there. 

Style Sundays: Shut up. I know. That's girly. But... I believe that style is very important in characterization. It says a lot about someone in little ways. And... 1. Style is not fashion. I could care less about fashion. Style is personal, what an individual wears. 2. Style is nothing to judge people by. Sometimes it is meaningless, sometimes not. But in general, it is fairly helpful and defines a lot of the world. 

So what shall Style Sundays be? I will post pictures of the various things I have worn throughout the week because A. It's my style and you might want to know more about me as a person and B. I want to keep track of all the things I wear because my style is rather random. So these posts may be amusing.

And at times, I may include some styles my characters love, either on me or just pictures.

And... My personal favorite -

Travel Tuesday: (Notice the green because T's are always green, but especially the word Tuesday)
I haven't been able to travel a ton, but I have been to places in this world. Some very nice places that I would like to share with you. Here I will choose places I have ventured to and share my thoughts on the places and my adventures there as well as some information about the place. This may not be useful to your life, but I hope you find it interesting. 

And that's it! I am back! If you so wish, you can click on the link somewhere up there and visit what I have been up to for the past month or so, if not, here's an impromptu Travel Tuesday and hope to see you around!

nyc_skyline1.jpg (470×311)
I do not own this. Unfortunately my current phone doesn't have my pictures of this skyline. But, it looks like where I got this from doesn't own it either.

So, since I'm not delving into anything too much right now, I'm making this a game. 

Can you name that certain place I have traveled to??