Monday, September 14, 2015

The Art of Character Crafting - Post #6: "Creating a Convincing 'Mood'"

Disclosure: Today's post will be super short; due to the amount of homework and classes that I have going today.

Sometimes, I just have that one character. You know... He/she causes me pain whilst writing, because I cannot for the life of me create a mood for them. It's quite frustrating.

First of all, every character has a mood. I'm not talking about emotional moods... I'm talking about the character traits that everyone identifies them with.


Katniss Everdeen - Mysterious, survival-orientated, lost. Think about it. When you first read The Hunger Games, what did you think of its' main character? Definitely mysterious. Definitely survival-orientated. Definitely lost.

Ronald Weasley - Funny and often oblivious.

Samwise Gamgee - Extremely loyal.

Sometimes, these moods come easy to craft with the character you are creating. Other times, it's difficult.

'This dude is SUPPOSED to be dark and scary and mean but he's just sarcastic and creepy.'

I've pondered different techniques of this difficult task, but only one has ever worked for me. Go back and look at your sentences. Check your wording. If there's any place where you can change your wording, do it. If need be, go to your thesaurus. Look up synonyms of the word that you are going to change.

This post is veeerrryyyy short... But hey, why would I give you tips that I don't use? *cough*

Keep writing & happy homework (for those of you who are in my boat)!


Patricia Rane

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Blending Dialogue With Description - Post #3: "New Beginnings and Age Old Endings"

Once upon a time, a very long, long time ago; in a faraway land...
And they lived happily ever after... THE END.
Well, that's an interesting way to start this post. As you may have noticed, I began this post with possibly the most used lines in the history of writing. Fairytales always begin and end exactly like this. Disney movies do to, sometimes. Let's talk about fairytales, shall we?

Fairytales. Along with Bible stories, Fairytales are the classic stories that children hear first. They are tales of adventure, romance, self-despair, hatred, love, loyalty, kindness, courage, and many more traits. But what makes them so enchanting?
Why does Hollywood insist on making remake after remake? Why do desperate mothers turn to a good fairytale to soothe their jittery children? When certain words and phrases are said, why is it that a fairytale will instantly come to mind? Why have these simple tales of character building life lessons and fanciful longings been passed through centuries worth of generations? What makes them so enchanting?

First of all - because this is the internet after all, and we all are entitled to our own opinion ;) -, I am going to tell you all about my perspective on fairytales.

I adore fairytales. I absolutely adore them.
(this is me, thinking about fairytales, in case you were wondering)

Some of my fondest memories of my childhood learning stage was reading the original The Brother's Grimm and Hans Christian Anderson. My mom went through the material with me, but I found myself sneaking the book off the shelf and reading the ones that we skipped. The discussion questions that she presented me with were amazing for my imagination, because it caused me to search deeper into the story. It made me ask questions like, What does the author REALLY mean in presenting this character in this particular way? Why is this character so kind to the other characters who are mean?

The bottom line is that Fairytales are unforgettably wonderful. Everyone loves them. I'm not just referring to the green and gold bound tales, which gather dust upon every library shelf. Think about it. How many successful movies/tv shows - just in the past year - have been based off of pure fairytale folklore? Several come to my mind. And they've all done beautifully well both in the theater and in dvd/merch.


These are just a few among a much greater number. The point is, it doesn't matter which form they take, fairytales somehow work their way into our lives. 
So... Back to the question. Why are they so enchanting?
This is the best answer I could come up with: 
"Fairytales are stories that are so simple, yet so elegant... Everything about them makes you want to read them over and over again... They have the perfect amount of everything. Just enough dialogue, just enough description... Along with morals and great writing, it all blends together perfectly... Making the perfect story." 

And that's it. They have a balance that's not distracting. There's not too much dialogue and there's not too much description. However, fairytales are very short compared to the (at least) 50k word novel that you are writing... This could be a thing to do chapter by chapter.

Lastly, I encourage you to study fairytales. Fairytales are some of the oldest tales that there are. Read them, watch them, study them. Believe me, it will help improve your writing in one way or another.

Keep writing, lovelies!


Patricia Rane

Make Something - Post #4: "But Don't Make it Badly"

     So I was gone for a while. Yeah... well, as you already know, I was moving halfway across the United States, so you can't blame me. On the upside, I've been getting lots of awesome inspiration for a Make Something blogpost!
     There are many hard parts about writing. Inspiration is a huge part, along with characters, realisticness (the person who's supposed to be good at grammar just made up a new word!), and probably the biggest thing for me: editing. The problem with editing is that no one wants to do it. It's not hard, it's just annoying. Who has the time to go through a book and edit every single little mistake and weak spot when they could be writing more awesome stuff? 
     Okay, so maybe some of you like editing. That's great; you really don't need to read this, haha! But if you don't, here are some options that will make it easier. 

1. Edit as you go.
     If you haven't already figured this one out, then I am about to make your life a whole lot easier. It's so simple; edit as you go. When you finish a chapter, go back and edit it then and there. It'll take a load of stress off your back, believe me. Of course, this method only works if you're editing a work in progress. 

2. Get help from a friend.
     I have a few friends who actually took classes on editing so sometimes I'll just send them a few chapters of my book and they'll take care of it. They love doing it and it makes my life so much easier! I highly recommend asking someone to help.

3. Ice cream.
     Ice cream. The answer to everything. Just kidding... not really. What I mean by "ice cream" is just buckle down and do it. Get some ice cream and don't think about it. If you keep looking at all the material you have to edit, you'll get discouraged and never do it. Just take it one chapter at a time and give it all you have, because ultimately, the end product will be worth it.

Sorry for the short post, guys, but I'm still quite busy. Hopefully I'll be back soon with more posts! Love you all. <3

Keep writing!
~ Emilie

Friday, September 4, 2015

The Art of Character Crafting - #5: "Details are just so darn hard!"

Let's face it. Every writer runs into this roadblock at least once.

Birthdays, anniversaries, appearances, names, significant dates, dreams, pets, family members, unimportant friends, school stuff, extra-curricular activities, memories, favorite things... etc.

I'm not going to lie, it's HARD keeping track of this stuff. Which character's birthday is on June 22nd? Was that Pepper or Skylar? I'm just gonna say it was Skylar, and hope that I'm right. 

I don't know about you all... But I really don't have time to sit down and reread my novel every time I need one of those details. There's about a million other things that I would rather spend my time doing besides tirelessly searching for one detail... I don't know... like, WRITING, maybe? Yeah. Or baking. Or eating donuts. Or petting puppies. Or doing English homework. You know, the usual list. So, how do you keep track of all this tough stuff? Over the past few years, I've tried several different methods, which have all served the same purpose for me. They all work pretty well for organization, it just depends on what type of writer you are.

1. Character Notebook - This can be any type of notebook. Journal, Binder, College-Ruled, Composition Book... You name it. The only thing I wouldn't recommend using is loose-leaf paper. Loose-leaf paper is genius, but it's TERRIBLE for people with OCD; and it's not too good for organizing your character details either. Anyway, when you're in the midst of plotting your story/creating a character, pull out your character notebook. Just start writing. Full, name, place of birth, age, family members, significant other, favorite things, dreams... etc. With an organized notebook, you will easily be able to go back through to a specific character, whilst looking for those details. Aaand, if you have OCD, like me, I have another suggestion for you. Use a binder. Once you have so many characters completed, you can organize them in whatever order you like. Alphabetical order is FANTABULOUS for being perfectly organized. It's almost like having a CLASSIFIED character file. You know, just like the FBI. Or CIA. Or whatever. "Muahahaha, I've got all the dirty details on these characters. Well... I guess that's a good thing... You know... Cause I created them..." *slow clap*

2. Info File - Whenever I begin a new project... Even if it's just getting the idea down on paper, I always create a specific file for all things related to that particular novel. In this file, I have several different word documents organized in a wonderful OCD-friendly environment. Character charts (names, dates, that sort of thing...), chapter names (which are EXTREMELY great for plotting), plot twists, different vital events. If they aren't related to each other, they go in a separate document; but if they are for the use of one book, they go in the same file. KABLAM. Congratulations, you are now a very organized person.

3. Lists - This one... eesh, I wasn't sure if I should even post this one. I mean, I don't want the label 'list lady'. But, hey, they work. And they help. So, label me all you want. This may not work for everyone... Especially people who have the rare gift of NOT overthinking things. Me? Yeah, whenever my wheels get turning, it's hard to stop them. Anywho, at the beginning of each chapter that I write, I create a list. These lists go in my info file. The list will usually contain everything that I want to happen in the particular chapter. Even snappy dialogue interchanges... If I want it to happen in the chapter, it goes on the list. In doing it this way, I can easily refer back to my checklist and see if my writing is staying on the track that I want it on. Rabbit trails are fine, but I hate having to delete fifteen pages of work because I didn't think about how it would effect my plot. It's so frustrating thinking that you have 20k more words than what you actually have. Again, I've sat contemplating whether or not I should show you one of my lists... Yikes, this is scary. I feel like I'm exploiting all of my secrets. Oh well. We're all friends, amiright? Sooo... Inhales slowly, here you go (Note: some things have been removed for my intents and purposes, thus making it a VERY short checklist... but, hey, at least it'll give you some ideas.):

4. Pinterest Boards - Pinterest is my bae. Seriously, though. You can create a board on pinterest for the purpose of keeping track of your character... Quotes that remind you of them... Pictures of clothes they would wear... Pictures of THEM. Unless you want all your followers to see your character details, make sure to remember to make it a secret board. You can do so by clicking "create board", and selecting to keep a secret.

Alrighty, well that's all I have for you today! I hope that was helpful... Again, if you have any specific questions you want answered, please feel free to contact me using the form on our homepage!

Keep writing!


Patricia Rane