Character development…Good and Bad

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One of my favourite thing to do as I write a novel is watching my characters develop on their own. I’ve been told I should do that prior to starting the story, but I find it more fun to do it this way. I’m a pantser, I don’t plot ahead of time. Besides, it helps me see a side of them I didn’t know they had.

In my current WIP, Charlie (female) and Mason are my two protagonists. I had an idea what they were like… kind-hearted, fun, loving, best friends. As the story evolved, I realized Charlie was impulsive, and she jumped to conclusions before knowing all the facts.

As I write the story, I sometimes look at the ceiling, thinking: where did that sentence come from? I’ve seen my protagonists do things totally out of character, and wondered what’s wrong with them. Charlie’s Plight began as a murder mystery, but at some point, the characters veered off the well-beaten path, and turned the story into a romantic suspense. HA! I have news for them. It’s going back to what it was in the first place.

When developing your characters, whether you do that ahead of time or while writing, remember they are people like you and me. Both good and bad things happen to them. They have talents and skills, but they have faults, and they have flaws. Yes, even in fiction, where the story is made up, characters need flaws. If they are too perfect, it will not ring true to your readers.

Think of the first time you went on a date. Everything was perfect. He held your hand, opened the door for you, pulled out your chair in the restaurant. Perfection could have been his middle name. Then, you got to know him. You noticed he had annoying habits (plural)! He pointed out yours too. No one’s perfect. Make them real.

They also need motivations, goals, and conflicts. They need something that will propel them (motivation) forward, from the start until the end (goal). However, it’s rarely ever smooth sailing from point A to point B. There’s got to be road blocks (conflicts) in their paths, something that will make it harder for them to reach that goal. I’m not talking about a small pothole. I’m talking about a barricade-size road block that could mean life or death if they’re unable to overcome that obstacle.

Another point that’s important is to make sure you create your characters differently. Make them unique. No two people react the same when in a predicament. Some are verbal. Others hold their emotions inside. Some literally go into shock and can’t move (I know someone like that) in a situation where a person could die. Make sure each character has their own personality.

One more important tip: Their name. Some are overused. Others are hard to pronounce. That can be a turn off because trying to figure out how to say it takes the reader “out of the moment.Be creative. Be original. Make it easy. 

How do you create your characters? Leave a comment below.

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LOVE / HATE RELATIONSHIPS with WRITING PROGRAMS

by: Ginger Solomon

There’s a love-hate relationship between writing programs and me. I’ve tried several different avenues to get my thoughts organized. At present, I am using Scrivener (for Windows). While it is better than my other way (hold on…I’ll get to it in a second), it still has it’s deficiencies.

Most times a picture won’t copy from a website. I have to save it to my hard drive and then copy and paste to my file. The spelling program is REALLY bad. And the program has a pretty steep learning curve. I’m sure it does a number of things that I have yet to discover. It also is limited on how much formatting you can do. A lot of format styles apply to the whole document and cannot be changed for one scene or chapter.

There are also some really GREAT things about it. The ability to rearrange scenes from one place to the next (or previous) without having to copy and paste, but simply click and drag is amazing. I also like the ease with which I can save certain sections as a document, a pdf, or various other files, including e-pub and mobi without having to create a new document to save.

Prior to trying, and subsequently purchasing, Scrivener I was using Word and OneNote. This way also had its downsides. I had to have two different programs running simultaneously. Switching between them became a bit of a hassle. I tried writing in OneNote, but it didn’t quite work as well as I would have liked.

It’s great for notes. 😉 I actually use OneNote weekly for sermon notes. It also works well to save pictures and various websites with a simple click and drag. And, up until recently, I could only access it from one machine, so if I was writing on my desktop (which I no longer have), I couldn’t access those files from my laptop. Of course, this could have been a long-time feature that I didn’t know about. 🙂

As for Word, well, most of us have used it at one time or another, I imagine. It is versatile and easy to understand. However, the spelling and grammar program does have flaws, and it is impossible to move scenes without copying and pasting, and that doesn’t always work like we’d want. And then there are the black lines that appear and disappear at random. It’s probably just a bug (I use Word 2010), but it can be disconcerting when a sentence of my document disappears behind a large black line only to reappear a moment later.

One thing I LOVE about Word is the Track Changes feature. It allows for great editing. I don’t use it for my personal documents, but to proofread and critique others’ works. I do use the comments section to make notes to myself, reminding myself to go back and research a certain thing or to change a name or something like that.

Overall, I love Scrivener for writing, Word for editing, and OneNote for taking notes, writing reviews, or anything that is short and doesn’t need much space.

If you’re a writer (fiction or non-fiction), what writing program do you use and why do you like it more than another one?

 

Ginger 12 - brightened

Ginger Solomon

Ginger Solomon is a Christian, a wife, a mother to seven, and a writer—in that order (mostly). When not homeschooling her youngest four, doing laundry or fixing dinner, she writes or reads romance of any genre. She’s a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, president of her local writing group, and writes regularly for two blogs.

Author Links:
Website
Inspy Romance Blog
Facebook Author Page
Twitter @GingerS219
Pinterest

Broken Valentine cover

Being stood up on Valentine’s Day is not how Sarah Sawyer wanted the evening to go. It only gets worse when she discovers her boyfriend’s betrayal. Accepting a ride home from her attractive waiter goes against everything she’s been taught, but her choices are limited. 

Michael Richmond can’t let his beautiful, yet heart-broken customer walk home, no matter how tired he is after working fourteen hour days all week. 

It might be either the best decision of his life or the worst. Only time will tell if their broken hearts can become one, or if they will tear each other apart. 

Broken Valentine
is the second book in the Broken Holidays Series, but can be read as a stand-alone. 
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