Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Are your characters scared?

How often to you put the fear in your characters? Other than when being chased by a brain eating zombie that is.

Fear is for more than horror tales. It’s something that we carry with us every day. Every living creature has a fear. Admit it even you are afraid of something. Indiana Jones was afraid of snakes, Tom Hanks character from Angels & Demons was claustrophobic.

Those fears can give a needed push to a scene or have a significant effect on a story. It can be a hindrance for your character or a challenge they can overcome. No matter what the fear at some point a person is going to have to face it. Maybe daily.

Look back for a moment at the television series Monk. He was terrified of germs. It was a challenge for that character to overcome his fear in order to solve the mystery. With out his quirky fear it would have been a pretty boring show.

Our fears are part of our personality traits as much as any other. Perfect heroes and heroines are really hard to swallow. It’s the flaws that draw the reader to them more than the perfections. So don’t be afraid to let the character’s negative side show now and again.

You don’t have to be cliché when passing out phobias. There are hundreds of them to chose from. You might have a character afraid of rabbits or thunder, fear of a certain plant or even a scent. Almost anything can be a fear.

By adding this one little flaw you’re opening a whole new avenue for your character and story. If you hit a block at one point that might be the time to bring up why your character has this fear or make a situation where they have to face it in order to move to the next task.

Fear is a challenge we all can relate to. Young or old we walk along with all of the fears and phobias around us just waiting to jump out and say boo. So put some fear in your character and see where this new dimension in his/her personality takes you.


Monday, February 14, 2011

OneWord/60 Seconds: Chocolate

OneWord.com is a website for getting the muse warmed up. Each day you get one word and sixty seconds in which to write what it inspires. This was my entry today.

The one who’s there for every turn of life. From break ups to celebrations, chocolate is always by my side. Warming me on cool nights with a few marshmallow friends. A cool summer treat turned into ice cream. Even in my coffee to give me the pick up I need when the day is going down hill fast.Comes in a kiss or a bar, all shapes in sizes not caring if I’ve shaved my legs or gained a pound. Late at night when no one else is around. It’s just the two of us and tasty bliss.


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Breaking Past Writer’s Block

There is only one way to really break that block. Write. Take an active role in getting past whatever is blocking your prose. Instead of sitting in front of the television for the next episode of American Idol try one of these ideas to get wake up your muse.

We all have looked in someone else’s medicine cabinet, so why not your main character?  Write about what they find in there. It could be mundane everyday stuff, something tawdry, or a hidden secret.

It doesn’t have to be a medicine cabinet. He/she can look in a drawer or the glove box in a car. Just open something up and take a long gander at what’s inside. You’ll be quite surprised at what he or another character is keeping stashed away. Somewhere hidden in the back of the junk drawer of your character’s boss’ desk is way back on track with your manuscript.

A lost object is another great way to trick the muse into walking around that block. While searching for lost keys, phone, cigar clipper, or the hamster that escaped his cage you can find all sorts of things to fluff your plot. Use it to explore a bit more of your character’s personality, or, that of another character helping in the search.

All else fails have disaster strike. It’s amazing how much a lightning strike or freak tornado ripping across the front lawn can get the creative juices flowing again.  In real life these things can come out of no where so why not use a cyclone to drop a house on your block.

Open a new doc and pick any character but your hero/heroine. A background character such as the guy in the parking garage, the waitress with the great smile, someone who is mentioned but really isn’t a player in your story.

Now take that person and write a page about them. What where they doing before meeting your MC? Do they have a cat or is she slinging hash until she’s discovered as the next Marilyn Monroe? Once you’ve gotten a few paragraphs or a page you can go back to your WIP, you’ll find your muse is now ready to take off again.

Writer’s block is like a huge wall that falls in front of our muse. Looking up it seems impossible to get over that wall. Put your fingers on the keyboard and write until that wall crumbles.  When it does the sun will shine, the forest animals will surround your desk in song…. Okay not really but you’ll be celebrating with your muse as the story picks up speed again. 

Writing Challenge:  WRITER'S BLOCK
  1. Second Tuesday 2: Words Shy of Daylight - Alberta Ross
  2. 12 & a ½ Ways to Deal with Writer’s’Block - Ruchira Mandal
  3. Second Tuesday - Writer's Block - Patti Larsen
  4. Iain the Cat opines on Writer's Block - Jeannie
  5. Using Writer's Block as an Excuse to not Write - Rebeca Schilller
  6. Writer's Block - Gary Varner
  7. Second Tuesday - Writer's Block and the Tooth Fairy - Annetta Ribken
  8. Writer's Block or Writer's Withdrawal - Eden Baylee
  9. Breaking Past Writer's Block - Elise VanCise

This post is part of a monthly writing challenge known as "Second Tuesday," written by members of the Fellow Writers' Facebook group. Click on any link above to read another "Second Tuesday" post. Enjoy!