5th Blogiversary

My blog is officially 5 years old!

I keep forgetting that it shares a birthday with my sister (well her’s is tomorrow).

I started this blog in 12th grade before I graduated high school…now I’ve graduated again this year. How bizarre is that.

I haven’t been blogging recently which has been bugging me, but every time I’ve had to log onto my computer recently, its to do work. Work. Work. Work. And not my fun work…like…just writing papers and filling out forms kind of work.

I’ve been writing a lot through: creating characters, writing scripts, working on my novel, editing.

I’ve also spent a lot of my free time day dreaming. I spend a lot of time up in my head.

I’d like to get back into the habit of blogging once a week, but like I mentioned in one of my previous posts, I like to give updates when I’ve actually gotten a lot of progress done.

Recently I’ve begun writing the second book in my novel series. I’m a little bummed because I had to set it aside for about…two weeks now because I had work. Getting up at 4 am everyday for work is gonna take me some getting used to.

I’m suddenly hungry…and I just ate…sigh.

Anyway, the progress I’ve made so far I’m pretty happy with. I actually made myself laugh out loud while writing, which is good because one of my creative writing professors pointed out that I tend to write really depressing, cold sounding pieces. I’m not a depressing person, I promise.

Yesterday I wrote a song about a chicken…who know one wanted to dance with at the club because he had nasty flow…and…actually it was a pretty depressing song. Thankfully, I’ve never been rejected a dance. Although…I haven’t been to a club since I was 19 (Canada eh) and…it wasn’t much fun. Everyone had to leave because this guy threw up everywhere…plus I’m not much of a drinker…or much of a nightlife person.

Back on topic. Yah, I made myself laugh, and now that I’m older I actually understand new emotions, and I can actually convey things that I wanted to express when I started my novel five years ago.

I’d really, really like to hire an editor but it’s just not in the funds right now. Like…I have $60 to my name. Everything else goes straight to paying for courses right now. School is expensive. I know I’m not going to get a loan from my parents for that…they already feed me. I’m trying to work out some sort of plan for that. I just think it would be easier. Not all of my beta readers are the editing type. Most are just folks who love to read. What is great about them is that they are about to point out plot holes or any inconsistencies within the novel! Thankfully with this final draft of my novel I haven’t heard anything of the sort from them. In my earliest draft…ha…well…I mean…it was five years ago. The feedback I got then really helped me shape my novel into what it is today. If I were to get free editing…it would be from two of my relatives who are big readers, and one who has actually published before. The only thing is that I’m a bit weary of having my work reviewed and edited by my family right now because I don’t want biased feedback. I only know one person in my family who will always be brutally honest with me about my work, and that is my sister. My sister doesn’t kiss butt. My sister doesn’t blindly throw compliments around. My sister gives praise when someone truly earns it, and isn’t shy about giving constructive criticism. That’s why I’ll usually ask her for some quick feedback for a scene or something.

I’ll figure it out…maybe if I put away a portion of my pay every week I’ll be able to afford an editor. I’ve actually been looking around. If I do that, it means I’ll be behind in my publishing schedule though…but at the same time, it allows for me to keep working on my second book in the series so that my readers won’t have to wait too long for the next installment. I know how frustrated I used to get waiting for a new book to be released in a series…and how disappointed I was when authors rushed the writing of them. It’s obvious. Honestly, take it from a reader/writer, DO NOT rush your books. I get that we all need to make money to eat and whatever, but I cannot stress this enough. Your readers know when you’re cutting corners. They know your potential. If they follow you, don’t disappoint them.

Yikes…it’s cold in here.

Well, I’d better get to work…oh joy…it’s alright this work is actually fun. It’s actually character creating work. I’m just a little sleepy is all. I have to spend all evening working on boring stuff…seeing as how I procrastinated that as usual and left it till the last-minute.

Part of me really, really wants to go buy a frozen lemonade from Tim Horton’s despite the weather being all dreary and what not.

I seriously don’t feel well. I don’t know what’s going on with me lately. I keep blaming it on the change in my sleep schedule or not drinking enough water…but I’m praying I feel better soon.  I don’t like to feel under the weather when I’ve got so much on my plate.

Happy blogging everyone,

–R.

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Fourteen Pgs. of Character Notes…And Writing Tips for Detailing Characters!

Fourteen pages of character notes. Wow. I don’t know how that happened but I’m glad it did.

I always try to give as much depth and detail to my characters as I can. I believe that the more I invest in a character, the more attached I will become and that attachment is what makes that character seem more real (that’s a lot of mores). Its great because my characters go from being an idea to becoming like a close, life-long friend (until you know…that scene where they get silenced by the pen aka they die).

It’s a fun process honestly, even though I’ll admit it takes time. Despite the time it takes to do it is a lot more fun than just naming a character and throwing them into your story. A name is only a fraction of a person, there are many other things that make us who we are.

A lot of the time I like to draw pictures of my characters: the facial expressions they might make in different scenario’s, what clothing they might wear, what their hair looks like, their height, the colour of their eyes.

It can be really helpful, but of course I know that not everyone likes to draw. What I used to do on my drawings was create a list beside my character. The list usually looked like…

  1. Name: Bob Robert Bobbinlee
  2. Age: 22
  3. Likes: cows, cats, cookies and cake
  4. Dislikes: anything that doesn’t start with the letter C (is for cookie)
  5. Family: Mama Bobbetta, Father Bobert, Juliettabobo Boblee, Bobafett
  6. Friends: Cookie Monster, Elmo, Pinkie Pie and Ash Ketchum (yes I was talking to my 4 year old niece recently…any watching Pokémon)

What I’ve begun doing now is creating this same list in a table on Microsoft word.

Its pretty easy to do, you just go to insert, then click table…etc.

So now I keep my images and my charts separate, giving me more room to add written details about my characters. This is especially helpful when I have side characters. Usually I don’t know the personality of a side character. Some times I might just have some character who until named is called “Book Store Clerk.” The first thing I like to do is to draw this character out (or imagine what they might look like), then I take that image and I create a detailed character chart, similar to the list above but in chart form…and because it isn’t on the same page as my drawing I can add even more detail.

Using the same example from above:

Name Bob Robert Bobbinlee
Age 22
Appearance Hair: Crimson

Eyes: Crimson

Height: Average

Special Features: Tattoo of the letter C

Personality Hot-headed, sweet-tooth, perfectionist, crazy about cats and cows, creative, incredible cook
Family Mother: Bobbetta

Father: Bobert

Siblings: Juliettabobo, Boblee and Bobafett

Friends Cookie Monster, Elmo, Pinkie Pie and Ash Ketchum

 

Partner (or partners for them playa’s) Cloe Ver
Pet Cactus the Cat and Carver the Cow
Hobbies Reading, eating and baking cookies and cake, chillin’ like a villain with his squad…I mean crew.

 

Occupation/Education Book Store Clerk

 

Fears The letter Z…because he isn’t sure if it should be Zed or Zee even though he’s Canadian. He just…doesn’t know.

 

Dreams Publish a Children’s Cook Book

See, its that simple, and even though some of these details won’t end up being in you story, they are details that are significant to who your character really is. Once you know this much about your character they begin to take on a life of their own, and as an author I have to say that is one of my favourite things that happen while I’m writing.

Whether you like to draw or not, this is a method that I highly recommend. It’s easy to set up and once you get going it can be a lot of fun. Before you know it you’ve got fourteen pages of characters and this amazingly long chart!

Also, if you are a tech-savvy person you can even scan a drawing of your character and place the image into the appearance box on the table. I’ve never done this but I’m definitely going to give it a try. The idea just came to mind.


 

I hope that this post was helpful!

If you’ve never tried to do this sort of detailing with your characters I highly recommend it. Its both fun and rewarding.

If you have any different ways of detailing and developing characters (or you’ve written a post with another writing tip) feel free to share in the comment section. I’m sure, myself and many people would appreciate it!

Happy writing everyone!

— R.

 

It’s Just a Name: Is the Name That I Give to My Character Actually Important?

names

It’s one thing to slap a label onto a character, it’s another to give it a name.

Not everyone takes this into consideration when creating their own characters, however what they don’t seem to realize is that names are symbolic and often reflect ones personality. This means that the name you give to your character should have some sort of significance.

A great example of a well named character, is the character Daisy from the novel, The Great Gatsby. Being named after a flower adds to her extremely, dainty and feminine persona. The flower itself, also symbolize unhappy love, which is significant to the character Daisy because her marriage is an unhappy one, full of careless lies.

“I read in a book once that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but I’ve never been able to believe it. I don’t believe a rose WOULD be as nice if it was called a thistle or a skunk cabbage.”
L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables.

If Daisy had been given a name like Rogue, meaning rebel, her personality would not be reflected in the same way. This is because the name Rogue gives the impression of someone, strong, and daring. The name also would not be a reflection of Daisy’s unhappy marriage.

Putting thought into a character’s name builds onto the characters personality, acts as a form of symbolism, and a character’s name can also have significance to their overall story.

So to answer the question above?

Yes, the name you give to your character is actually important.

Tip: Look up the meaning of a name before giving it to a character. This can help you pick a name that suits your characters personality and it also helps save your lovely’s (characters) from getting slapped with labels.

This Week on Orion Writer: Characters

“I read in a book once that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but I’ve never been able to believe it. I don’t believe a rose WOULD be as nice if it was called a thistle or a skunk cabbage.”
L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables.

“Its one thing to simply slap a label onto a character, it is another to give it a name.”

Orion Ryder.

This week on my blog, I will be sharing tips on how to create and give life to your characters. Make sure to check daily for tips, advice and more on things such as:

  •  Naming characters.
  • Giving characters personality.
  • Knowing whether or not a character needs to be remodelled or cut.
  • Making the character easy for readers to relate to.