My current main character was created from a college assignment I wasn’t too excited to complete. Seriously. It wasn’t this: “I’ve got an idea!” kind of experience– it was an assignment requiring a character sketch. I was working on another story. I didn’t per se want to create a new character. So I looked around the room and saw a DVD that had a character named Mallory on it (that’s how my protagonist got her name and appearance), and the rest slowly came. As I went along, being required to include “sensory details”– touch, sight, taste, smell, etc.– formed a character that was a little like me, a little like Mallory Keaton from the 1980s sitcom “Family Ties” (one of my favorite 1980’s sitcoms!), and the rest like someone I didn’t know at all. That’s how the good character was born. 🙂
To be honest, I don’t write many bad characters. However, I did write about a controlling boyfriend for a short story and used experiences I knew about– and enhanced them. One tip– if you are writing and have an experience you think is too minute for others to relate to, chances are they’re more significant than you think. I submitted a short story with that controlling character for a college assignment and I thought others wouldn’t think it was as significant as I wanted it to be. Turns out, I got responses that showed it WAS important to others. ALL these experiences happen for a reason and they ARE shared by so many people, and by writing them down we can help someone else get through them. I would encourage you to reply to this post with a real experience you would take some time to write about this week– whether you write it in a journal, turn it into a short story, or eventually turn it into a manuscript for your own book. When you write about your hard times, they can make a difference in somebody else’s life– and who knows, maybe one day they will read what you wrote and it’ll help him/her too. 🙂 . No experience is too small! Have a great day, reader! 😀
I don’t know about anyone else, but I know inspiration comes in many forms. I’ve written things based on dreams, daydreams, and my epilepsy experience, but I know that at least over the course of the past year a new kind of inspiration is taking over– music. I can hear a song and instantly derive a scene or even an entire book idea, possibly based on the emotion evoked. My current manuscript can be boiled down to a relatively small number of songs– and whole scenes have been derived by them. My original favorite scene in my manuscript was inspired by the song “Rewrite the Stars” from The Greatest Showman, while the hymn “Be Still My Soul” is the song Mallory played when she and Jerome met. Also, the soft, comforting rhythm to a Niall Horan song sparked an idea that led to what became part of Jerome’s birthday scene– a very special and momentous scene for me to daydream about and write about. The possibilities of the partnership of music and plotlines are endless.
What’s your inspiration? Try to put a finger on it– because when you can, you can feed it often– just like I can listen to more music that will feed my story and evoke emotions in Mallory and Jerome while evoking inspiration in me! When you feed your inspiration on the go, you can once again #writewherever !
Keep smiling, reader!
I’m sure every writer reading this has heard the term “write what you know” at some point in his/her career. But what about the characters? Well, I know at least for my book, there are characters based on who I know as well. The key is not to turn them into carbon copies of the people in your life– at some point, they have to become their own. And how do you do that? Well, I believe it happens gradually. In my draft, Jerome had originally been close to exactly the personality of someone I knew. But that person never got diagnosed with cancer (as far as I know)– so how would that person respond to such a life-changing situation? Well, I don’t know. But when Jerome had to face that diagnosis, he had to respond as his own person, not who he was based after. If you are reading this and are not a writer, I’m probably going to sound crazy. But it’s true. Jerome had to become his own person, with his own sense of humor, his own way of romancing his girlfriend/new wife, and his own way of responding to cancer. It was a gradual process– and partly unintentional– but it’s something that had to happen. Jerome had to become his own person. What’s great is it’s fun to see how that happens.
This is your chance, as the author, to change the things about the character’s real-life inspiration that you wish were different– how his/her life turned out, how he/she smiled/laughed/had a mole on his/her nose– and have everything perfect– or, as my boyfriend would say, “perfectly flawed.” Your creativity is wishing to be let out upon that character, so let it. Don’t like your friend’s nose? Well, first, don’t tell him/her that (and I promise my friends that their noses are fine 🙂 ). But here is your chance to change it. Wish he/she talked like a favorite movie character? Make it happen! Our brains compile many things we love and hate, and we have an opportunity to be creative and put many of those things together :-). Here’s your chance, writer! Go and create something wonderful today!! Feel free to leave me a comment or two and tell me something wonderful you can make today using the hashtag #createsomethingwonderful .
If you’ve gotten diagnosed with breast cancer– or any cancer, for that matter– and are looking for a practical yet funny guide on how everything really feels– Andrea Hutton’s book Bald Is Better with Earrings is right for you. It’s a quick read and deals with the nitty gritty of everything from tests, how to tell your children of your diagnosis, and more. Ever been told chemotherapy will make you bald but don’t know how it feels to BE bald? She’s got you. Even without having had breast cancer I found it an interesting and subtly humorous read. She recommends the best flavor of pre-surgery chalky drinks and even funny sensations you’ll feel during a test. Due to her candid remarks matched with medical advice, she’s the friend you’d want to have by your side– and, in a way, you can. Thanks to this first-hand-experience expert on cancer, you can learn how to deal with the disease without (or before) ever having had it yourself. Thanks, Hutton. 🙂