Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

My Book News & Advocate for the Writing Community ©

Author Toolbox Blog Hop- Character Building

August 13, 2020
mandyevebarnett


character-cube

Whether you spend time intricately plotting and creating your story line or let the story flow unbidden, one facet of all stories that must be created and created well are its characters. Your protagonist, antagonist and all the supporting characters have a ‘job’ to do. They must give our readers an insight into their personalities, their struggles, ambitions and fears. Characters build the ‘world’ you have set your characters within by showing it through their eyes, their thoughts and actions.

Every writer has his or her own methods, when it comes to the creation of a character.

  1. Name,
  2. Physical attributes
  3. Personality traits.
  4. Setting.

For example, Setting: an alien being trapped in a spacecraft, a monster hunting its prey or specific behavior traits for period pieces.

Physical features: This primarily gives our readers an image but more importantly an idea of their personality. A thin, acne-faced teenager will not automatically give our readers the idea of a ‘superman’ kind of personality but a muscle bound, athletic type could.

Name: a good starting point for our creation, but it is also a minefield. Research into real persons, living or dead should be foremost, unless of course you are writing about that particular person.

Accent: a character’s voice says a lot about their location and background.

Real people or not: We can base characters on people we know or a combination of several or from people watching – an author’s favorite pastime. As writers situations, overheard conversation and life in general is a constant source of inspiration.

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There are numerous ‘character development work sheets’ available on the Internet and it can be useful to fill them in for your main characters, if you have no clear ‘picture’ of them to begin with.

I tend to write the story letting my characters dictate how their story will unfold. In so doing the characters develop creating their own story. This tends to change the narrative from my initial perception.  In this way they may develop characteristics I had not considered or react quite differently to a situation from my preconceived idea. This method may seem harder than having a detailed description of each pivotal character, their backstory and emotional compass, but it is my method.

We ‘live’ with our characters for a long time and they become ‘real’ to us. This enables us to write the story with ‘insider knowledge’ of our characters backstory, their emotional compass and their ultimate goal. This knowledge becomes paramount during the subsequent drafts and editing process, giving us a well-rounded character and a believable one for our readers. In truth, the initial draft is the testing ground for our characters, and revisions make them well rounded and ‘believable’.

Character profile

How do you create your characters?

Recognize these characters? Remember how irate poor Wile E Coyote would become with Road Runner? No matter what he did he never succeeded in catching his ‘dinner’. Beep, beep would ring out as yet another ACME kit damaged the coyote instead of the bird. It was truly a lesson in perseverance. No matter how many times the speedy bird escaped the coyote he would try, try, try again. I actually went past a road sign to Acme on my way to Canmore one time and wished I could have made a detour just for the fun of it.

wile-e-coyote-roadrunner

The art of creating such lovable and memorable characters is what every author strives for. We hope our creations will stay in our readers minds long after the last page has turned. Character profiles and back story play a large part in ensuring our characters are well rounded and believable. We delve into their personality type seeking out traits and habits to make them react to their crisis situations in an authentic way.

Do you make up scenarios for people you observe? Have any made it in to a manuscript?

 

Without characters our stories would have no real impact on our readers. We write to engage and intrigue them and hopefully make our protagonist the character our reader cares about. If your experience is anything like mine, there is usually one, or possibly two characters, that make their presence known in no uncertain terms. They want the starring role in our narrative. These characters are usually more defined in our minds and are ‘easier’ to relate to, whether because of a personality trait or that they are more fun to write. When creating the protagonist and antagonist in our stories, we give each opposing views and/or values. This is the basis of the conflict that carries our readers along their journey. Each character, whether major or minor, needs to have flaws and redeeming features, motivations, expectations, loyalties and deterrents.

With such a guideline our characters become clearer. A lot of the details will never reach the pages of our manuscript but knowing our characters well makes for a more believable personality as they struggle through the trials and tribulations, we subject them to. As most of you know I am a ‘free flow’ writer so everything is by the seat of my pants until the editing starts. This is where I find character flaws or great character traits that I can correct or build upon. My characters live with me during the writing process and usually lead me in directions I had never considered – I’m sure many of you can relate to that. As these personalities gain strength they become more ‘real’ and that is the moment their true selves appear.

When creating characters we must remember to ensure that each character acts and responds true to their given personality. Character profiles are a good way of ‘getting to know’ our characters. For example this sheet.

character

Blogger Q & A Tag – My Turn…

November 21, 2016
mandyevebarnett


I have been tagged by Eva Blaskovic at https://evablaskovic.com/ to play along with this Q&A, so here goes.

tag

Rules: Thank the blogger who nominated you. Thanks Eva (I think!)
Answer the questions you were given by that blogger.
Nominate 10 bloggers, give them 10 new questions, and let them know they’ve been tagged.

The questions I received were:

Country or city?  Most certainly country – I like my space, the sound, smells and sights of the great outdoors. I grew up in the  English countryside and find cities too noisy and crowded to stay very long.

For writing: silence, music, or other? Depends on my mood – sometimes silence, other times classical music, however once absorbed in my words everything around me disappears.

What/where is your favorite writing retreat? A difficult question as I have quite a few – Strawberry Creek Lodge, anywhere I holed-up on road trips, my local library or coffeehouse or even when alone in my house for several hours.

What do you consider to be the most meaningful book to you and why? Another difficult question as different books meant different things to me as I grew. I loved Stig of the Dump by Clive King as a child, the idea of befriending a caveman appealed to me. Ferney by James Long is a book I re-read over and over, it is beautifully written and I love reincarnation theme, it is a subject I researched in depth when nursing and again when writing my novel, The Twesome Loop.

Can you write in a language other than English? If so, what is it? Nope – English is it for me! If I thought I could do it I would love to learn Italian.

Would you like to live in the past, present, or future? If past, what is your favorite time period in history and what do you like about it? If you are asking for the ‘romantic’ view of past eras then porobably Elizabethan England, however if you mean to go back as it actually was then 1950’s. The reality of the 15th century with poverty, short life spans and dreadful mortality it is less appealing. For the 1950’s I could enjoy the music, dance and experience the cusp of the sixties movement.

Spring, summer, fall, or winter? Can I say I love more than one? The sudden greenness of spring after winter brings me joy. The possibilities of road trips in the summer and fall are exciting and a chance to discover new places.

What is your dream goal or dream job, if you’re not already doing it? A multifaceted goal – to write for a living travelling the world for inspiration and publishing novels reflecting the places I stay in.

Have you ever wanted to do anything “out there” like skydiving, spelunking, deep sea diving, or visiting Antarctica? I would love to skydive, go in a hot air balloon, swim the Great Barrier Reef, walk the Great Wall of China, visit Victoria Falls (the place of my birth) and live in Rome.

Would you go to the moon or to Mars? To be honest neither – there is so much to explore in the beauty of our planet.

Now for my blogger nominees:

http://www.mikederegowski.com/

https://ethanjonesbooks.wordpress.com/

https://marthareynoldswrites.com/

https://tobreatheistowrite.com/

https://biancarowena.wordpress.com/

https://kellysamarah.wordpress.com/

http://www.rebeccabradleycrime.com/

https://gerribowen.wordpress.com/

https://authorcharmainegordon.wordpress.com/

https://kathytemean.wordpress.com/

You are my potential nominees. You may post your answers here in the comments or create your own blog post, as I have done.

There is no time limit on this Q&A Blog Tag. Please do not feel rushed or even obligated to take part, I know we all have a lot of projects to complete and life stuff to do!

Your questions are:

Which do you prefer – tea or coffee or something else?

Vacation destination – beach, city, cruise or adventure?

As a writer do you plot your novels step by step or free flow allowing the idea freedom?

Given the choice would you either write your memoir OR the autobiography of someone else?

What inspires you to write?

Do you prefer one genre or many to read? If one genre – why that one?

Which TV show from your childhood was your favorite?

What is your preference for a pet? Dog or cat or some other animal?

List two items you would rescue in the case of a house fire.

What skill do you wish you had?

Thank you for joining in, Mandy

you-are-it

 

 

 

Getting To Know You

February 16, 2016
mandyevebarnett


 

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I am pleased to be included in Robyn’s blog series – Getting to Know You – today. Thank you, Robyn for the opportunity!

Please follow the link – http://justbitsandpieces.com/2016/02/16/getting-to-know-mandy-eve-barnett/

WIth 2014 my table

Blog Carnival…Come & Join Us… 1st May

May 1, 2013
mandyevebarnett


Today’s word is not really a reflection of what is happening here and over at Melissa’s blog. http://grosvenorsquare.blogspot.ca/  We are having a carnival of writing spaces.

Attrition – definition: a reduction or decrease in numbers, size, or strength over time. In actual fact the opposite is true. An increase in participants and sharing is happening.

Come and join in the fun of this Blog Carnival.

This is my writing area, it’s still a work in progress but a lot better than my previous make do space.

I upgraded my writing space last June from the dining room table to a proper desk set up at one end of our living room. With the addition of bookshelves, printer, filing drawers and inspirational pictures on the wall. It is my favorite place in the house, with views left and right of our acreage and the wildlife that lives in it. In an ideal world I would have a separate room away from the constant noise of the TV but step by step, I hope to have my own study some day.

This picture shows my old faithful silver laptop, which assisted me through three NaNoWriMo challenges as well as a ton of writing. Unfortunately just before Christmas  it died and I invested in a new one with Windows 8. It has taken some time to get used to the new format but now I am going full blast. The little green creature on top of the shelf is the soft toy version of my Rumble character I made.

New Writing DEsk 003

My inspirational wall, including NaNoWriMo certificates, a letter from Stephen King and the Pride of Strathcona Award, I received.

Picture Wall

My new baby…

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Sunday Snippets…

February 10, 2013
mandyevebarnett


sunday_snippets2Continuing with the snippets I have decided to highlight the opening of another WIP. The title for the novel is The Twesome Loop. It is a romance with a reincarnation twist.

Brett gave Dawn a wink as he passed her desk. Her eyes smiled back as he took in her deep cleavage and musky perfume, a memory flashed into his mind of how her full breasts bounced when she was astride him.

“Good morning, Mr. Shaw. Do you need me to take dictation?”

“Not quite yet, thank you, Dawn – Mr. Collin has asked me to sort his files before ten o’clock but later I will want you. For now, just a coffee would be great.”

The innuendo hung in the air as Brett opened his office door to find a large pile of documents on his desk. He’d really have to push to get them all done in time. As he surveyed the bundles of legal documents, he glanced at the probates to see how much each estate was worth and how many heirs were entitled to it.

In the past two years, as Mr. Collin’s assistant, he had seen several large estates, but all were divided into paltry amounts, as far as Brett was concerned. He was waiting for the ‘big one’; the one that would change his life.

After an hour, only a few more bundles were left to sort and that’s when he saw it – the one. He reread the probate sum to be sure. It was worth over four million pounds and to only one heir, a daughter. Even better, she was a spinster. Ensuring he was not observed, he wrote down the daughter’s particulars and put the slip of paper in his top pocket.

This character is the scoundrel of the story. Do you dislike him?

Thank you for any comments.

http://mermaidssinging.wordpress.com/

http://caitlinsternwrites.wordpress.com/

http://ileandrayoung.com

http://wyrmflight.wordpress.com/

http://www.mandyevebarnett.com

http://womanbitesdog.wordpress.com/

http://jennykellerford.wordpress.com

http://jennifermeaton.com/

http://jordannaeast.com

http://letscutthecrap.wordpress.com

http://ileandrayoung.com

 

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