Love in Literature

“We’re all fools in love.”

Jane Austen

I used to be a romantic. Now, I consider myself a realistic dreamer. I don’t plan on getting married or having kids. If it happens, it happens and I’ll thank God, but I’m done hoping and wishing for it. Most of my friends – you can tell who they’re going to end up with. And I hate them [/mild sarcasm]. I think I’ll just end up being a crazy cat lady one day. Let’s be honest: I’m not a fantastic people-person. I can hold a conversation most of the time, but I’m always freaking out that I’m asking too many questions or boring them or not being clear or whatever.

At the practice speech and debate tournament I went to on Saturday, a kind boy said hi (you know when you never really feel like a very noticeable person and then someone starts talking to you out of the blue and it’s one of the most touching things?). I ended up asking him about fifteen+ questions. Way to go, Rana.

Oh! And I also discovered that little girls are fascinated with pantyhose. I was wearing some and they kept touching and rubbing my legs. It was one of the most awkward moments of my life.

ANYWAY, I like love as a sub-plot in my novels. And I thought, “hey, why not do a post on love in stories?” So here we go. Some of my “rules” for love in literature:

#1: Insta-Love is an Insta-No-No

Just don’t do it. Please. It’s cheesy and not realistic. In this post, we went over whether or not to make things up or make them realistic. Although fiction is fake up to a certain point, it should also be believable. We read to see ourselves. Books are like verbal mirrors. If we can’t see ourselves reflected through a character’s actions, personality, or journey, we’re not really going to like the book. So, as far as love in concerned, I would steer clear of love-at-first-sight.

In Desensitized, Cael and Ashland end up becoming super good friends and fall in love eventually. But at first, they hate each other. The character arcs change throughout the story and that’s important to me. I like to see people get better. Love helps with that. (Not the cheesy, romantic love, but pure, selfless love.)

#2: It Should Be Significant in Small Ways

So, without Cael, Ashland would probably die – not in a ‘oh-I-can’t-live-without-you’ way, but just that she’s going through a ton and needs support. Without Ashland, Cael would probably continue to be a heartless leader who isn’t concerned with anyone’s quality of life, but just that they’re alive.

They change each other for the better and that’s what love is about. Love in literature should serve as a means of communicating that no man is an island. We’re social creatures and that’s not a bad thing. Also, it’s not all about the feelings.

Essentially, if your story isn’t impacted by the love sub-plot, then it doesn’t need to be in there. It needs to be significant, but not so that the whole focus is on the love.

#3: It’s not all about the feelings

Love is sacrifice. It’s willing to give up your personal, instant pleasure for the good of someone else. This is what we should see. We need an accurate portrayal of love in a world that constantly tells us that it’s nothing more than a //feeling.// Guys, it’s so much more than that. Writers have the ability to tell the truth without getting hated (as much as we would if we said our message to someone’s face).

#4: Don’t make it easy

Okay. It doesn’t need to be Romeo and Juliet level difficult, but it shouldn’t be – forgive me for being cliche, which I warned against in #1 – Bella and Edward easy. Love is a horrible, beautiful thing. It hurts, it feels good, sometimes it feels like nothing, but requires a choice (not a love-triangle choice, mind you, but a choice that’s either going to help or harm the other member in the relationship – think of a parent and their child – the parents gives up a lot for their children and we call it ‘love’).

Love is full of heartbreak and pain, but it’s worth it. Show that. Don’t make it a Ferris-wheel ride (I went on one maybe once or twice and they’re flipping scary. The dude running was like, “I can’t put more people on. I have to balance it out or I could kill everyone on this thing.”) with cotton candy and moonlight kisses. That’s not love. That’s a feeling. And love isn’t a feeling.

Well, I’m sure there’s more, but that’s what I’ve got for you for now.

I hope this helps and if you have any more to add, I’d love it! 😀

God bless!

Rana

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Character Development (Part 7)

Hello, darlings! ^_^

It’s the final part, folks! 😉 Thanks for hanging in there.

So, why should your character have secrets?

Character Development (Part 7)Because, if they don’t, there’s nothing to keep the reader reading. Secrets add suspense. Suspense keeps the readers wanting more.

As the story goes on, the questions rack up. Why is so-and-so doing that? Are they telling the truth? Why did they lie? You slowly give out the answers, bit by bit. Things start to fall in place and make sense.

Essentially, secrets add an element of suspense, intrigue, and mystery to your novel.

Now, not all secrets are something people hide from other people. They can simply be the reason behind why a certain character acts the way they do.

But what secrets could you incorporate into your novel? Let’s take a look at some examples other writers have used. 🙂

The following may include spoilers!

1) The Hunger Games by Susan Collins

  • Katniss is angry with her mother. Why? Because, when her father died, she shut her children out. This also explains why Katniss is so focused on being the provider. Why she is a fighter. It also explains why she’s so good with the bow and arrow and thinks strategically.

2) Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

  • Mysterious things happen around Mr. Rochester’s house. A man is found with severe wounds on his body in the middle of the night. A fire starts in Mr. Rochester’s room. Why? Because he had been married previously. This poses several problems to the plot line of the story.

3) Dracula by Brahm Stoker

I only started this, but never finished it.

  • A man goes to stay at Count Dracula’s house. The Count is a strange man and there is no reflection when he looks in the mirror. Why? Because he’s a vampire.

4) The Secret of Moonacre (film based on The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge)

  • Maria Merryweather’s father held a secret. A secret Maria didn’t discover until he died and she was sent to live with her uncle, who appears to be a pretty strange man. Her father was broke, but left her a book that contained the secret to saving Moonacre. It keeps the viewers wondering what the secret was and how would Maria save the place.

I hope those examples help to illustrate somewhat the idea I’m trying to convey…

If not, or if you’d like to do some more reading on this topic, click here. 🙂

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Now, I’ll be gone for the next two weeks (possibly with no internet access *shrieks are heard in the background, lightening cracks behind an abandoned castle on a dark night, and a lone wolf howls in the distance*). You’ll be in my prayers and I hope I’m in yours. This may be quite difficult for me as I’ve never been away from home that long without family.

God bless!

Rana

Character Development (Part 6)

Sorry for the radio silence, darlings. I’ve been busy finishing up Spanish 1 (which I should be done this week!) and editing The Reset and dealing with life. I hope things have been going well for you. ❤

Character Development (Part 6)Today’s next to last part in the Character Development concerns uniqueness.

It is so important for each and every one of your characters to have a voice of their own. No two of your friends are exactly the same and neither should any of your characters be the same.

Last time, we discussed how you might want to consider discovering your characters’ personality types. The reason behind that was so you can bring them to life — know their quirks. But you’ll notice how, though two people might have the same personality types, they’re still very different.

For instance, I’m an introvert but I’m very friendly. I have no problem going up to a stranger and talking to them depending on the situation, etc. Now another introvert might have anxiety attacks over that sort of thing.

We’re all unique. Your characters should be too. Give them all different quirks. Give them different motives toward the same goal.

If two of your characters play the same role or sound similar, cut one. If you don’t, your readers might begin to get confused. I believe it was K.M. Weiland of Helping Writers Become Authors who said that if you don’t distinguish them, they’ll compete for the reader’s affection. It’s possible that, if they’re not written well, they could even cause the reader to not care.

You need the reader to care in order to keep reading. Every character needs to serve a purpose.

In The Lord of the Rings, every member of the Fellowship serves a different purpose and each is unique. There’s one elf, one dwarf, one wizard, two humans, and four hobbits. The two humans: Aragorn and Boromir are distinguished by the roles they play and their personalities. The four hobbits are distinguished by their voices and roles. The only two that get confusing are Merry and Pippin because they seem to have the same interests and mannerisms.

So just be aware of that and try to distinguish your characters for a lovable and memorable story. Often times, the characters make the book worth reading. 😉

I hope this helps, beautiful. 🙂

God bless!

Rana

 

Character Development (Part 5)

I’m an INTJ/ISTJ, but I really think that all depends on what mood I’m in. 😉 It kind of helps to understand why I do certain things or act a certain way. Keep in mind, however, that I don’t let those personality types define me. And, speaking of personality types, that’s tonight’s topic. Gosh, I sound like a t.v. show host. 😛

determine your characters personality typeBut let’s get to the point. Mirriam Neal told me a while back that she liked to determine her character’s personality types early on in the writing process. That’s what I remember anyway. 😉 I could be wrong.

Regardless, it’s worth a shot to determine it. It can set a sort of guideline for how your character should act.

You wouldn’t want a generally quiet, analytic,  seemingly emotionless person to start screaming at someone when they cut a finger while chopping up some veggies, you know? It wouldn’t make sense and would be out of character because they would know it was no one’s fault but theirs and it wouldn’t be a huge deal anyway. Unless, of course, they lost the member.

And you wouldn’t want a very organized person to accidentally misplace a very important file.

Knowing your character’s personality type really helps keep them in character.

So how do you determine their personality type? I just go take a personality test from the perspective of the character in question. 🙂

Here are a few links you might find helpful:

> The Sixteen Personality Types

> Free Personality Test

> Jung Typology Test

> Myers Briggs Test

Let me know how this works out for you. 🙂 Maybe research and write down the different quirks that come with being whatever personality type your character falls under and keep it by your writing place so you can refer to it whenever you find yourself wonder what on earth Suzy should do in this type of situation.

God bless!

Rana

Character Development (Part 4)

Sorry for acquiring the M.I.A. status! I realize I’ve been a bad blog mistress. *hangs head in shame* But I’ve been away a few times and have not had internet access the entire time. So that’s my excuse. 😛 Plus, I’ve been lazy. So that’s two. And without further ado…

Today’s topic pertains as to why your readers should get to know your characters gradually.

Readers should get to know your characters gradually.Because your story needs to be realistic for people to enjoy it. Again, readers need to relate to your charries. Just like real people, characters should not give up all their secrets at once. Every story needs an element to some degree of suspense. Without it, there’s no point in continuing to read, you know?

So let the reader get to know your babies by means of a few different ways (and I’m sure these aren’t all, so feel free to add more in the comments 🙂 ):

1) Foreshadow

This is extremely helpful in peaking a reader’s interest. There are several ways to do this. A few are having the MC’s friend say something pertaining to the secret without spilling the beans. Something like, “Hey, you over it yet?” What would the MC be over? A broken relationship? A death? Some traumatic event?

Another way is to have something happen that might freak out the MC. If their house got burned to the ground when they were young, maybe someone lighting a match could give them a jolt. This one is very subtle and I like it because the reader could pass it up as, “oh, maybe they weren’t expecting that and just got startled.” Then later on, it’s like, “BAM! Bet you didn’t see that coming!”

I don’t know. I’m stupid. Anyway.

2) Have them hold back.

Maybe they are hostile toward someone or some thing because they have bad memories – memories which probably should/could fuel the story.

3) There needs to be a reason they act like that.

This kind of goes in line with the second “method,” so to speak. They behave a certain way toward something, but you can’t just have them act like it for no reason. They’re in a bad mood. Why? They’re depressed. Why? They don’t like a certain fashion. Is it because their ex dressed that way and it brings back painful memories? They don’t want to go to that restaurant. Why?

I hope you see what I’m getting at. 😛

If not, grab a human translator that speaks crazy or something. Or just ask for clarification in the comments.

Note: This not only pertains to your MC, but also to all other characters whether they be friends, allies, or villains.

We’ve got three more parts to this 7-part-character-development series. Hang in there. 😉

God bless!

Rana

Character Development (Part 3)

Hello, Beautiful (or Handsome)!

I’ve seen blog posts on lies heroes can believe, but always wondered why. Why should they believe a lie? Maybe you were wondering the same thing. Or maybe you’ve already got the answer. Either way, this post discusses why they need to believe a lie. 🙂

Why?

Because they need to change. They need to grow throughout the story (character development, remember?). They are developing as a character. In life, there’s Your character needs to believe a lie.always the law of cause and effect. One thing happens and another occurs as a result.

I was doing research to find a good answer to this and found Helping Writers Become Authors. K.M. Weiland has a ton of great stuff on her blog. In her post on Character’s Ghosts, she discussed why characters needed to believe lies. And I’m sitting here going, “ah, perfect!” And angels are singing in the background. If you want to see what she has to say (and I guarantee it’s more intelligent than anything that will come out of my mouth, or fingers in this case), head on over there. 😉

And keep in mind that your whole novel is focused on that character’s journey. They have to grow. Otherwise, there’s not going to be much, if any, reason for your reader to enjoy the story. We have to relate to the hero and know there’s hope for us. If they can overcome their struggle, I might be able to overcome mine.

Also, because the lie is something created from the MC’s past, it can add suspense and mystery to your story. Characters are like people. You don’t know all about them on the first page. You get to know the gradually. Everyone’s got some secret that would break your heart and that’s the one we discover bit by bit throughout the story. The lie can keep it going.

Examples (I saw Spider-Man 2 last night, so SPOILERS!):

1) Harry Osborn from Spider-Man 2: He felt that his father didn’t love him. As a result, he felt thrown away which made him sensitive to others. He believed Spider-Man could save him, and, when Spidey didn’t, he felt betrayed.

2) Norman Osborn from Spider-Man 2: He thought he was doing what was right for Harry by sending him away and sacrificing the boy’s childhood. This screwed up Harry’s mind to turn him into the Green Goblin.

3) Bruce Wayne from Batman: Bruce thought that killing his parents’ murderer would make him feel better. He believed that justice and revenge sometimes the same. This fueled his anger, which he later channeled into creating the Batman which would fight crime.

4) Rapunzel from Tangled: She believed that Gothel was her mother and really did only want what was best for her. When she ran away with Flynn, however, she realized that the world wasn’t as bad as Gothel had scared her into believing and had really been robbed of her childhood.

5) Many people from planet earth: A lot of us, whenever we’re in a rut, tend to think, “this is it. It’s never going to get better.” And then it does get better with time. Everything always works out. So, we get in a rut and think we’re depressed. We start believing we messed up, we’re not good enough, we did something horrible to deserve this awful time, but the thing is: we didn’t. Life really stinks sometimes and that’s not your fault. We’re a fallen race. The only place to go is up. Hopefully that’s the lesson we learn and we can take our experiences to give others hope.

So hopefully you can see the cause -> effect in each of those and all the lies one can believe and how it affects the story. 🙂

Hope this helps. ❤

God bless!

Rana

 

Character Development (Part 2)

In the last post, we went over what character development was and what we could learn from Batman. That was the first in a seven part series on character development. Today, we’ll take a look at the importance of quirks. Enjoy!

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Quirks.

It sounds kind of silly doesn’t it?

Quirks.

But then again, everything sounds silly if you think about it long enough.

Ring. It’s a common enough word. Say that several times very slowly and think about it. Ridiculous, right?Character Development (Part 2) -- Quirks!

Anyway, quirks.

Why are they so important to writing? Characters make the novel. Plot helps, but most of the time, you can keep readers reading if you have interesting, believable, relateable characters. They cover up a multitude of flaws, some of them pretty big! So, what’s a quirk?

It’s the little things someone does. Personality traits. Mannerisms. Things that make someone unique (notice this last one doesn’t necessarily refer to a personality trait, but can also imply physical characteristics as well, though I doubt that would be considered a quirk). This is the reason they’re so important. Without making a character unique, your readers will find them boring. Give them a personality. Quirks can also reveal something about a character.

For instance, in the first episode of “Sherlock,” Sherlock Holmes notices that Watson stands as if he’s forgotten that he was standing, thus revealing that Watson was in the military. He’d have to be used to standing a lot and after a while, he’d have gotten used to it.

A tattoo of a tear would expose the fact that that person had killed another.

Following is a list of quirks you might want to look through. Believe me, they help bring a character to life. People like to know the little things. 😉 Now, I’ve researched lists of quirks, so I’ll just include the original links at the end of the post.

  1. Has a noticeable Tattoo
  2. Has a noticeable scar from a weapon
  3. Puts hand on someone else’s hand/arm/shoulder/leg as much as possible when talking
  4. Has a noticeable burn scar
  5. Has a Piercing
  6. Has extremely hairy arms
  7. Is bald
  8. Cracks his/her neck all the time
  9. Has a noticeable birthmark
  10. Has vividly blue hair
  11. Looks just like another character, or a famous figure of the day
  12. His/her feet are incredibly bad-smelling
  13. He has no beard
  14. He/she has allergies (To give more depth, give strong allergic reactions to the common nasty ones like nuts, bee stings, strawberries, pollen, cow’s milk, cats, horses, etc.)
  15. Has a very, very bushy mustache
  16. Is gassy
  17. Has a limp
  18. Walks as if he/she is in constant danger of being attacked
  19. Walks as if he/she is afraid of being followed
  20. Always gets a sunburn
  21. Urinates frequently
  22. Sneezes extra loud
  23. Foams at the mouth when excited/angry
  24. Drools when hungry/excited
  25. Has several hidden body piercings or tattoos that regular clothing conceal
  26. Always stands with his or her hands behind their back, sometimes in an “at ease” position, though he/she was never in the military
  27. Thrives in cold weather, hates warm weather
  28. Thrives in hot weather, hates cold weather
  29. Incessantly cracks knuckles
  30. Has several parts of his or her body that are double jointed and bend or flex in an unnatural or uncanny manner
  31. Writes with left hand, but does everything else right-handed
  32. Is exclusively left-handed
  33. Can only see out of one eye
  34. Can only hear out of one ear
  35. Squints a lot
  36. Drags his or her feet
  37. Profusely sweats even when at rest
  38. Can’t stay clean; always dirty
  39. Loves a certain food, possibly to the point of an obsession or fetish. (example: I like grape flavors!)
  40. Taps his/her foot when bored or nervous.
  41. Has a Rubiks cube or some other toy that he/she will often fidget with.
  42. Likes to mess with or deconstruct words and the English language. (example: mispronouncing words purposefully, speaking in a grammatically incorrect manner)
  43. Always seems to have untied shoelaces.
  44. Likes to go around barefoot whenever he/she can.
  45. Always wears shorts/long pants, no matter the weather.
  46. Likes to randomly burst out singing or narrate his/her actions in song. (example: Disney princesses. I have actually met people in real life that do this.)
  47. Randomly wanders or paces when bored, even at odd times (the middle of the night, in class, etc.)
  48. Is good at braiding hair.
  49. Has a very bouncy/springy walk.
  50. Or a very dejected/shuffley walk, and tends to drag his/her feet.
  51. Likes to sit on the arms of couches and chairs instead of the actual seat.
  52. Has a favorite comeback or catchphrase that he/she always resorts to (“that’s what she said”, “or not”, etc.)
  53. Refuses to curse, period. He/she may also get upset when others do.
  54. Is a total grammar Nazi, in writing and/or speaking.
  55. Hates slang and corrects people who use it. Or you could go the other way around and s/he always uses sland and informal language, even for formal occasions.
  56. Tends to space out while staring at someone.
  57. Can do weird things with a part of his/her body (double-jointed).
  58. Sees a reference in practically everything.
  59. Accidentally flirts without realizing it.
  60. Has a bad habit of winking without realizing it.
  61. Is a hugger (or just generally a touchy-feely person).
  62. Hates a certain color.
  63. Can’t stand being hugged or touched. This may lead to the character’s friends teasing him/her or trying to hug him/her anyway.
  64. Is extremely ticklish.
  65. Collects mundane or unusual items (business cards, toothpicks, mutated candy, etc.)
  66. Can’t bear to throw anything away.
  67. Refuses to hurt any animal, even insects.
  68. Always wears cheap sunglasses, even indoors.
  69. Finds everything funny, and will laugh at every joke, even if the other characters (and the reader) don’t find it particularly humorous.
  70. Always has to be snacking on something.
  71. Is extremely gullible and falls for even the most obvious sarcasm.
  72. Bites his/her nails when nervous.
  73. Always has gum with him/her.
  74. Likes to hide out in weird places (closets, under the bed or table, in a tree, etc.)
  75. Can’t pour anything without spilling.
  76. Can quote almost any movie or TV show.
  77. Has a stutter, lisp, or other speech impediment. It’s a good idea to not write this out in dialogue, especially if it’s a lisp or unusual accent, as it’s hard for readers to decipher what’s being said if everything is spelled funny. (NOTE FROM RANA: I think it’s fine to write it out as long as you keep it to a minimum. 🙂 Otherwise, people will forget they have an impediment.)
  78. Has an unusually deep or high-pitched voice.
  79. Owns more pairs of shoes than other characters think is humanly possible. Or vice versa: he/she only owns one pair that he/she always wears, no matter the occasion.
  80. Always has to borrow pens/pencils/paper, and doesn’t always give them back.
  81. Always bumps into/knocks over things.
  82. Knows a lot of useless trivia.
  83. Is an extremely slow/fast walker. Or, he/she can never walk in a straight line and always manages to cut everyone off.
  84. Always shreds things in his/her pocket or on his/her lap (napkins, scraps of paper, etc.)
  85. Always wears colorful, unique, or mismatched socks.
  86. Likes to use bad puns.
  87. Hits on/flirts with every member of the opposite gender even if s/he is already in a relationship.
  88. Always gets quotes and sayings mixed up.
  89. Carries a large coin which he or she is always rolling over his or her knuckles.
  90. Is a habitual sniffler even when he or she is healthy.
  91. Regularly looks up at the sky to check the position of the sun/moon and comments on it.
  92. Always knows the direction he or she is traveling in.
  93. Corrects people when they use colloquial speech.
  94. Is never seen without a baseball cap or stocking cap (except, of course, in bed or the shower)
  95. Whistles the Scarecrow/Tin Man/Cowardly Lion song at random time and refuses to stop.
  96. Ends declarative sentences with in interrogative inflection?
  97. Is a mush mouth.
  98. Is an incessant fidgeter and is always touching his or her face or head.
  99. Dots his or her i’s with a smiley face or heart (respectively or inversely for humor’s sake).
  100. Is unable to digest proteins correctly and gets very ill if too much protein rich food is consumed.
  101. Compulsively interrupts people telling stories to interject facts about the story that he or she only knows because they have been told the story before, not because they were involved with it.
  102. Makes up random lies about unimportant things for no reason.
  103. Has a weakness for rescuing stray animals.
  104. Gets physically angry when people mispronounce a certain word (e.g Illinois, precedent as president, especially as expecially).
  105. (cheat) Regularly mispronounces a certain word or uses redundant terms (e.g. PIN number, ATM machine, Hot water heater–if it’s hot, does it need to be heated?).
  106. When stressed or lying, speaks from the corner of his or her mouth.
  107. Profusely sweats even when at rest.
  108. Is unable to take advice from anyone because he or she thinks that they know it all.
  109. Uses mundane items as toys (e.g. bottle caps, straws, chopsticks).
  110. Cannot drink anything with ice in it.
  111. Is strongly susceptible to “brain freeze.”
  112. Doesn’t wash his or her hands after using the bathroom.
  113. When dining out, always tidies up the table and resets the condiments.
  114. Walks in the middle of any aisle, sidewalk, or other shared walkway causing people to have to move around him or her.
  115. Drags his or her feet.
  116. Only drinks from plastic or paper cups and cannot stand the feel of glass in his or her hand.
  117. Draws random doodles on any piece of paper in front of him or her and always carries a pen or pencil to facilitate this habit.
  118. Wears only new socks.
  119. Has several hidden body piercings or tattoos that regular clothing conceal.
  120. Always stands with his or her hands behind their back, sometimes in an “at ease” position, though he or she was never in the military.
  121. Excessively uses initials or acronyms for common AND uncommon phrases and doesn’t bother to explain them.
  122. Doesn’t eat green things.
  123. Strongly dislikes the sound of chewing and hums a quiet song while eating.
  124. Has the ability to speak in a cartoon-like voice which sounds little or nothing like his or her real voice.
  125. Is thrifty nearly to the point of obsessive or compulsive nature.
  126. Is always at least ten minutes early to any meeting or appointment.
  127. Can calculate the total of any items put in a shopping cart and tax to within $0.05.
  128. Generally submits to the ideas and suggestions of others without thinking of his or her own needs.
  129. Readily puts him or her self in the way of danger without careful consideration.
  130. Always has change in his or her pocket to give to beggars or homeless.
  131. Is always trying to recruit people to his or her religious/philosophical beliefs.
  132. Constantly quotes favorite movies and can usually identify the movie that a quote may come from.
  133. Overly honest person, always telling the truth even to his or her own detriment.
  134. Takes stupid bets/dares for small amounts of money.
  135. Has several parts of his or her body that are double jointed and bend or flex in an unnatural or uncanny manner.
  136. Writes with left hand, but does everything else right-handed.
  137. Can only see out of one eye or hear out of one ear.
  138. Is susceptible to malapropisms or spoonerisms.
  139. Routinely quotes books even when it’s irrelevant
  140. Believes he’s a hero from a prophecy or the reincarnate of another hero
  141. Doesn’t understand names. He refers to everyone as their title only and when someone introduces them selves (i.e. “Bob”), he assumes that is what they are. “Today, I met a bob.”
  142. Believes he’s color blind.
  143. Compulsive liar, especially in regards to insignificant things.
  144. Absolutely no sense of direction (can get lost in an inn)
  145. Personality changes after dark
  146. Makes elaborate plans and then discards them because he believes they’re too easy to see through
  147. Pyro
  148. Overly confident to a fault
  149. Afraid of 20-sided objects and counts the sides of oddly shaped objects like jems (believes they will bring about pain, misery, bad luck, misfortune, death, or even the end of the world)
  150. Compulsive gambler.

    Just me and one of my personality quirks. (Hint: Take a look at #173.)

    Just me and one of my personality quirks. (Hint: Take a look at #171.)

  151. Believes he’s a werewolf but just has a sleepwalking problem
  152. Thinks all jokes are serious statements / no sense of humor
  153. Can’t pose nicely for a photo. Always makes a face (this can be out of some fear of looking bad when trying to look good).
  154. Has a fear of public speaking.
  155. Is shy.
  156. Takes Lysol wipes everywhere they go.
  157. Can’t sleep in a hotel room without checking for bed bugs and spraying down the toilet, sink, counter tops, etc.
  158. Purposefully makes others think they’re not a good person so they don’t have to live up to standards.
  159. Doesn’t like friends because friends know secrets that they can use against you.
  160. Has trust issues.
  161. Blinks a lot.
  162. Doesn’t blink much.
  163. Has to work out or feels fat and ugly.
  164. Can listen to two conversations at once.
  165. Always eavesdrops on stranger’s conversations and gives their opinion.
  166. Always stores their files on a backup drive.
  167. Always has a pen and paper.
  168. Can’t stand a messy house.
  169. Isn’t sexually attracted to anyone and finds romance sickening.
  170. Feels like they have to speak up when they hear someone saying something incorrect.
  171. Always has to do something with their hands.

http://writeworld.tumblr.com/physicalquirks

http://www.fanpop.com/clubs/a-book-comes-to-life/articles/201094/title/characterization-50-random-character-quirk-ideas

http://anthonyowens.wordpress.com/2007/10/17/100-character-quirks-you-can-steal-from-me/

http://character-quirks.blogspot.com/

Hope those help. 🙂

Do you have any quirks to add to the list? Let me know in the comments! 😀

God bless!

Rana

Character Development (Part 1) and What Can We Learn From Batman?

As promised a few posts ago, I’d write something up on character development. This is the first in a seven-part series on developing your characters. 🙂

Today, we’ll just focus on a character’s journey and progression as the hero, but if you want to check out a post on ideals, vices, virtues, etc., click here.

What is character development & why is it important?Character Development (Part 1) and What Can We Learn from Batman?

It’s essentially the way your hero matures and grows throughout the novel. It’s essential to the story. Every good book begins with one person and ends with another.

Every single one of us grows a little with every mistake, experience, and action. Fiction reflects that. So it’s essential to have your hero grow throughout the novel. We need to see a bit of ourselves in every character in order to fall in love with them. We need to see that we can grow to be better and we do through characters that develop. 🙂

And anyone who knows me knows that I love Batman. There’s a reason behind that too. Below, we’ll examine how Batman/Bruce Wayne started out and see how and why he changed into what he is known for: being awesome. Oh, and fighting crime effectively, being a hero, etc. 😉

Disclaimer: I do not own the copyright and intend no infringement upon thatblahblahblah.

WARNING: THE FOLLOWING CONTAINS SPOILERS. IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN BATMAN BEGINS (at least!), GO WATCH IT, THEN COME BACK. Or not. Whichever. 

Bruce Wayne started out as a rich little boy. He had a friend, a wonderful family, and a British butler. He had a fear of bats, due to an incident you’d know about if you watched the film, and never would have needed to worry about his future until both his parents got shot by a desperate man outside the opera house.

That day, he learned that there were bad people in the world. He wanted to fight them. He wanted justice — or so he thought.

During a conversation with his friend Rachel, he realized that the grudge he’d carried against that man who murdered his parents had been allowed to grow into a thirst for revenge, not justice.

Several different factors led to Bruce becoming Batman. The whole film, Batman Begins, is about that transformation. So, what can we learn from Batman and what changed him?

1) He’s not perfect. We see this when he messes up, picks fights. We see this when the camera drops to a gun in his hand at the trial of the man who murdered his parents. But he doesn’t let his imperfections define him. He overcomes them.

2) His friend and trainer ended up being involved in an organization that required murder as a sort of initiation action. Bruce refused to do that and lost his “friend(s).” He lost a lot all over again and went back home. But he took the lessons he learned and applied them to the life he wanted to live.

3) He made mistakes as he learned how to be Batman. He figured out what worked and didn’t work.

4) Don’t forget the fact that he was orphaned. 😛 We got see how his life was before, to how it changed for the worse, then for the better. We sympathized with Bruce. No one wants to see a child witness the murder of their parents left to stand crying for help in an ally at night. We were filled with righteous anger at his plight. From the start, we had something to care about.

All of this led to creating a man who went from being a broken, scared, and vengeful man to a hero (though misunderstood sometimes) who sought justice and goodness selflessly.

THIS is the journey your hero should take. They need to go from some lower state of being to a higher state by the end of the book. They need to learn lessons, fail, and learn some more. Teach the reader through the hero.

I think the fact that we can identify with Batman is one reason why so many love him. Superman stinks. He’s perfect. He doesn’t really make  mistakes. He saves the world. What do we have to root for? Not much. Unless the villain is worse than the hero, in movies like that, I’m voting for the bad guy! We can’t really relate to Superman. He’s entertaining. That’s it.

There should be flaws. There should be failures. There should be lessons learned.

I think that’s it. I’m sitting here, knowing I left out a lot, but unable to think of it all.

The following posts will include:

Quirks

Why your hero needs to believe a lie

Readers should get to know your hero gradually

Personality types and why you should identify your characters’

Uniqueness

Why your character should have secrets.

God bless!

Rana

Make It Up or Make It Real (Part Two)

In the last post, I went over the logistics of how to start researching. Here’s a brief summary (we’ll continue using the druggie examples):

1) Figure out what it is you’re researching.

This will include determining exactly what you want to research. So this is kind of the pre-research stage.

2) Research more about what you’re researching about.

After you know kind of what you want to research, Google some more on that specifically and figure out whether or not that’s what you’re looking for.

3) Know the logistics.

Now you can figure out what that specific thing does, the history behind it, and how it works. (With the Irish Mob, we knew the types of criminal activities they engaged in.)

4) Research the details.

The final step is knowing the specifics. Where does the mob usually hang out, where can they be found, etc.

Make It Up or Make It Real (Part 2)

Sorry, guys! I don’t know where the background image is from and I certainly don’t mean to infringe on any copy rights. If you’d like me to take it down, drop me a comment. 🙂

Today, we’re going to go over what to include in your novel after having done said research. 🙂

Actually, this bit probably comes first… oh, well! Leave it to me to mess up the order! 😛

A lot of it depends heavily on your main character.

For instance, if s/he’s the drug lord, you’ll need to go deeper and figure out exactly how their organization functions, what drugs they deal with, how many people would work for them, how they would pay them, how they do business. The list goes on.

Always ask yourself questions. Is it realistic? How would they achieve that?

But if the MC (main character) is just some poor kid off the street who got in with the wrong crowd and now does errands for the organization, chances are they won’t know too much about what’s going on. In this case, you’ll probably just need to know how they deliver, where they’d pick stuff up, how they live and information like that.

If your novel is about a kidnapped person, like Alyx is in Homecoming, you might just need to know where their HQ would be, how many people were involved in that particular group, and how they live. Actually, I haven’t done that. O_o I didn’t think to think about that. See? I didn’t ask myself the questions! 😛

Know what you’re centering in on.

If you’re just focusing on one aspect of their criminal activities, research it. The rest may not matter too much. For example, if you’re just dealing with murder, then research how they’d kill someone, what they’d do with the body, and whether or not they’d leave evidence, a false trail, a note, whatever.

Whether it be a bullet in the head, or chopping it off with a knife, or bleeding them to death, you’ll want it to be realistic (if you’re like me, anyway), and incorporate that into the story.

Research the levels of the gang, depending on what it is.

This is more example-specific, but it applies to jobs and other things like that as well. Know the heirarchy. If a secretary in the Empire State Building picks up a novel on another secretary of the ESB, she’ll either be familiar with how it works, or very confused at the lack of realism. Know what I mean? 😉

Concerning stereotypes.

Lisa was worried about using something stereotypical. I wouldn’t be too worried about them. It’s just a label. You can take it anywhere. If a stereotypical gang has a lot of research done on them, it’ll make your job easier. 😉 Plus, your readers will be familiar with them. It actually might be better to choose a more well-known gang (or business or whatever) than some obscure, random, virtually non-existent business that deals with nothing anyone would be interested in established in Antarctica just to make the story interesting. Unless, of course, it deals with some pretty high stakes and affects your story and MC heavily.

You’ll want to take into consideration the reality of the premise too. 

This goes along with knowing who your MC is and how their position affects the story. If your plot is focused on some gofer-urchin-person at the bottom of the chain, make sure that what you’re doing to them is realistic. The head honcho probably wouldn’t favor him/her at all. They’d more than likely be disposable and very replaceable. So it might not be a good idea to have the new girl no one pays attention to with the miserable life to suddenly be the big cheese’s favorite minion.

That wraps up this mini-series on research and reality composed of thoughts and opinions by this 16-year-old girl who has no life. If you have any questions or want to add something, feel free to post in the comments! 😉

Don’t forget to rate the post too if it’s not much trouble. 😉 I’d appreciate it and your honesty.

God bless!

Rana

Channel Your Fears into Your Writing

For a fantastic proposition, read ’till the end! 😉

Ana/Elfie touched on something important in the comments the other day. She said, “A personal opinion on the ‘sadistic’ one is that as humans, we’ve all been through pain. Writing is a way to relieve that, look at it from another angle and heal. And I’ve read things that have been painful, but in the end have lifted me and helped me heal, making me a better person.”

They say writing can be a sort of therapy, and I completely agree.

I’ve dealt with depression before off and on since I was about 13. It’s gotten better and I’m fine now, but back then, I didn’t really have anyone to go to right then and there when I needed to talk. Communication with my best friend was limited and the friends I had in the area were/are too innocent to talk to about what I was dealing with.

Writing helped me to deal with all that immensely.

Desensitized, as many of you know, is on hiatus. But I learned so much from writing that trilogy. I was able to channel my fears, anxieties, phobias, and everything else I was feeling into those three books through the characters and they were some of my best cast. They were pretty real to me and my readers loved them as well (at least, they said they did 😛 )!

Here’s a short list of what struggles they dealt with:

Ashland = depression, self-harm, suicidal thoughts, family.

Cael = leadership, feelings, beliefs.

Kody = drinking, smoking, being serious.

Blade and Core = self-doubt, lack of faith in their friends.

If you can channel your emotions into your writing, you’ll have a more believable cast of characters, and a more realistic story.

Characters are the most important part of any story. If you can get your readers to relate to them, you can get your readers to love them. A plot can be shallow and crummy. A novel can have a gazillion plot holes, but those can be covered up by the characters.

I’m not saying go ahead and have a crummy story with fascinating characters and be done. Do your best. I’m just saying the characters will cover up a bunch of mistakes.

Other people have gone through the same things you have. By inserting your fears, thoughts, and emotions into your characters, your readers will have an easier time relating to them. That’s what you want.

People aren’t as happy as they act, they’re not as carefree as they seem, and they. have. problems. We all have problems. People are broken. You can’t live without getting broken.

And that’s why we read. We read to know that we’re not alone. We read to grow. We read to go on the adventures we otherwise never would have been able to. We read to be princes, princesses, heroes, villains, peasants, lords…

Make a list of all your favorite characters from any show or book. I’m 99.99999999999999999999999999999999999% sure that you’ll find something in them that you see in yourself. Whether it be that faked smile, that waning sense of hope, that utter despair, that one fear, that one struggle… it’s there. We like people we can relate to, who deal with the same things we do.

Create characters people will find truth in. Don’t beat around the bush. Just be honest. In a world that crams lies down our throats and shoves impossible expectations at us, be honest. We’re not perfect. We never will be. Show people that being imperfect is okay.

————————————————————-

Fantastic proposition: Ciera is a talented, lovely young lady who has achieved so many goals and done so many amazing things that all I can do is sit here and be jealous. 😛 She would like to collaborate with other writers and start a young writers community, which she would like to release this summer!  It will be a place to submit and share your work!

For more information, visit her blog, The Write Things.

God bless!

Rana