Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Building Characters & Giving Them Life

Creating characters that are full of life, personality, well-rounded and real is far harder to do then you might think. It’s more then describing them, more then giving them names, history and physicality. It takes more then rich colorful language and a strong handle of how to use it.

And honestly, characterization is one thing that I have often struggled with. Creating diverse settings that pulse with a life of their own – that I’m generally good with, it doesn’t faze me. But doing the same for my characters… simply not the same.

One trick I have learned is to not sweat those descriptions during my first draft. (Simply put: during that first draft it’s perfectly fine to simply say “she has green eyes” or “he has dark brown hair.”) If you’re like me and struggle with your characters, in the first draft just focus on getting the story down first. Once you’ve got that done then you can go back and add more. 

With story down on the page you can go back and focus on the characters – describe their looks; give color and depth to their personalities. (“His rich brown hair was so dark, in moments of fantasy it sparked images of having dipped him in lush dark chocolate.”) Give them quirks. (“I discovered that she had this annoying habit of lifting her dark brows and opening her brilliantly green eyes wide, making them appear even more like highly faceted emeralds set into the fine setting of her face.”)

Once you do that you’ll discover that suddenly they’re alive and you’ll better connect with them. Then you build them emotionally – give them strengths, weaknesses, fears and dreams. And that’s when you find that now they have that pulsing life that you need from them. 

That’s when they become real.

It takes time. Patience.

But the more you write, the more often you’ll find that without even focusing effort on creating real, life-like characters that you’re writing that spark into them thoughtlessly. Some characters will grow easily, organically on the page and some are frustratingly more difficult.

The bottom line is to find a method that works for you, whatever that may be. But also remember that sometimes your method will change, with certain stories or characters you may go about their creation differently. And that’s okay.

So what are some methods you use for creating, building and bringing your characters to life?

Monday, September 5, 2016

Summer's Over - Back to Normal?

Hey There Everybody!

It’s been a long summer… Okay, truth, some parts of the summer seemed to fly by in the blink of an eye, while other parts did seem to drag on. However, truly accurate descriptions of this summer would be – active, busy, fun.

July passed in a blink and was full to the brim, scratch that – overflowing with family activities, kid activities, friends, trips, and more. August, always an eventful month for the Corner Table Family, was also busy though I’m happy to say we were able to find a couple days here and there when we simply had nothing to do and could kick back and relax. But summer holidays are (as of tomorrow morning) officially over and we’re all going to be back to a regular schedule and able to focus on things, work or otherwise.

Photo Credit: LD Ferris, 2016

There will be a few feature changes on Ups, Downs, Ins & Outs – nothing major; a few simple changes in schedule or additions. Inside My Mind should see more regular postings – I’m hoping to start with weekly and then bump it up to twice weekly in a month or so. On both of these blogs I will also be trying to look for folks interested in doing guest posts.

A Corner Table in My World will also start to see more regular postings. Honestly I’m not sure what the final goal will be there besides simply more. There a lot of things that happen in our daily lives that I could talk and write about but I’ve always shied from simply regurgitating everything I do everyday. So I guess one goal will be to figure that shit out.

So that’s what I wanted to let you know today. If you take nothing else from this post make sure you catch this: Hi everyone, we’re back!!!