Today for #CharacterCreation Week, please welcome the talented author, Mandy Eve Barnett! Read what she has to say about her process for developing her characters and be sure to check out her books at www.dreamwritepublishing.comThanks for stopping by Mandy!
As a free flow writer, I tend to let my characters dictate how their story will unfold and their part in it. Although, this may seem a lazy method of character development, it is harder than having a detailed description of each pivotal character, their backstory and emotional compass. I am writing with the briefest idea of where the story will go and what events it will include. Most of the time the story takes a completely surprising turn (or turns) as I write. It is character and situation driven, conjured from my imagination and the voices of the personalities populating the narrative. Read More…
Ambivalent – definition: uncertain or unable to decide about what course to follow
Ambivalence is widely viewed as a teenagers persona. Their conversation is liberally interspersed with ‘I don’t care’, ‘I’m bored’, ‘you don’t understand anything’, and many more. The ‘sudden’ change in a child for many parents is puzzling and frustrating. No matter what they say or do it is never ‘right’. The reason for the changes are due to new massive hormonal messages flooding the teenager’s brain in conjunction with the normal and current needs and experiences it has to process. In essence their brain is being reshaped, and reconstructed giving rise to personality changes and emotional instability.
It is essential that teenagers are exposed to encouraging, supportive and sound advice in this period as their personality will be shaped into their adult persona during this time. Negativity in any form will result in devastating results, whether physically, mentally or emotionally. The teenager years are the most venerable and it is the reason they need more love and encouragement. Let them experience new hobbies, research spirituality and get involved in organizations but with supervision and guidance. Above all love them.
Have you experienced the ‘teenager’ period? Are you in the midst of it?
Can you share tips on how to deal with a teenager?
For my own experience I encouraged new hobbies, sports and interests. Got to know their friends and hang outs. Ensured they understood I would collect them from anywhere at any time if they needed me to. Required a text so I knew they were safe and unharmed. And loved them fiercely. My son is now 21 years and a delight. My daughter is 17 and we are coping with her growing up with understanding and love.
When we write for this age group or create a character from it, we need to understand the workings of their minds. As with all research for novels, the more we understand the better our work will be.
As writers we love to be immersed in our own creations -weaving plots, planning and following story arcs, creating character profiles as well as their trials and tribulations. Our minds are full of questions : What happens next? How would my character react? Is that plausible or believable? Can I improve on that scene? Have I shown not told? Is there too much exposition? Would the reader have enough description to envisage the scene?
Graph – speedofcreativity.com
All these questions need to be answered but not when we are writing the first draft. This initial phase is the most enjoyable part of creating a story. Remember to give your inner editor time off enabling you to create freely and get the basic story line written. Once you have finished, the ‘real’ work starts. Continuity, grammar, spelling, character development, revisions to scenes etc. the list is long and sometimes overwhelming. Where should you start?
Once the story is complete put it to one side and go onto new projects. Leave it for a month or more (I’ve left two projects for nearly 6 months). When you go back to re-read you have fresh eyes giving you new insights. Your revision process may be to correct everything above as you read each page or you could concentrate on one item at a time, re-reading each time giving you a particular focus. This second method does lean itself to sharpening the process as you are not trying to ‘spot’ numerous revision types at the same time. With your editing done let your favored readers have it. Take note of their suggestions and correct any errors they may find. No matter how many times you or your beta readers go through the manuscript there will always be a word missed, misspelt or a continuity slip up. How do you make your manuscript as good as it can be?
Image – Library of Poetry
A professional editor – if you can afford one – is a good investment. However, one trick that may work for you in finding those elusive errors is to read the book from back to front page by page. Another is to read it out aloud to yourself or a understanding friend (a glass or two of wine helps with this one!) A missed word is very obvious with this technique.
When editing there may be sentences or even whole paragraphs that you know need to be revised or even omitted from the manuscript to help with the flow of the story line or scene. Deleting these is hard – it is your creation and your words were written through hard work. There are different opinions on what to do with these revisions but I think they should be saved in a separate document until you are absolutely sure you do want to delete them and even then you may keep them as a record of how the scene developed. They are a writer’s jetsam so to speak, which is my link to today’s calendar word. I had to squeeze it in somewhere!
Jetsam Definition: unwanted material or goods that have been thrown overboard from a ship and washed ashore.
Photo by Verity Cridland
These ejected words from our ‘ship’ may float on our hard drives or become washed up in a document folder but wherever they end up they are part of our creative soul and never truly lost. We may pick them up from the shore in the future to use in another piece of writing or they may stay hidden in the depths of our files. No matter which scenario occurs, they are born of you and precious all the same.
As writers we endeavor to produce the very best manuscript or article we can and that is why we endure the editing process. Without this method of correcting and improving, our creations will not be polished and worthy of reading and that is the one thing we all want – our work to be read and enjoyed.
I wish you fortitude in your process to make your work excel and delight your readers.