Thursday, March 23, 2017

Taking Time To Read


What you read affects what you write. I've already talked on my blog about how important reading is in the life of a writer. It's something that can't be ignored. If you are what you eat, I'd contend that you are what you read as well.

What does reading do for you as a writer?

1. It stimulates your imagination. Reading creative works will spark your own creativity and get the wheels turning in your mind. It will give you new ideas, get you thinking about new "what ifs," and chances are, it will make you want to write.

2. It ingrains writing mechanics into you in a natural way. The more you read good writing, the more it will be instinctive.

3. It's just plain fun. Reading good books is a good way to relax and recharge, and if you like stories, it's very enjoyable.

So what's stopping you from reading? If you're anything like me, you can probably break it down into two reasons.

1. You don't have very much free time.

2. You feel like you're not being productive when you're reading a book.

Well, I have news for you (and me). Reading fiction books is not a waste of time. Yes, you need to prioritize your tasks, and sitting down to read a book shouldn't be the top priority on that list, but reading should not be a "maybe later, if I have time, which I probably won't." You've got to keep putting stuff into your mind if you expect anything to come out, so reading is an important thing to do.

As far as not having the time... make some time. That's going to look different for every person. Maybe watch less TV and spend less time on social media or dawdle less on chores and home business work. Those are easy/non detrimental things to cut out. Obviously you can't cut work and chores from your schedule, but if you budget your time well (something I'm personally not very good at), you may find yourself discovering time you didn't know you had. Also, don't be a workaholic. If a lot of your work is from home, it can be hard not to let it take over everything. "I can't sit and relax, I haven't met my writing quota or planned next week's music lessons or written my next blog post or practiced music or finished that sewing project or prepared for the next girls' Bible study lesson or..." and the list goes on. No one can go on forever without stopping, so take time to relax and take time to read.

After all, it's an important part of being a writer.

So take time to read.

Check out the rest of Indie e-Con at www.knittedbygodsplan.blogspot.com! I'm sharing my publication story today, and answering questions in the comments.

 Vote for your favorite 2017 Indie e-Con Book Awards picks here!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Creating a Main Character


How do you create a main character? It's one of the most important parts of your novel. After all, your protagonist is essential to the story. I've broken down the process into five easy steps.

Step 1: Choose the right character. It sounds obvious and easy, but it isn't always. Take it from the author who chose the wrong protagonist twice. Your protagonist should be the character that is the most central to the plot. The character without whom there would be no story. Just as there would be no Anne of Green Gables without Anne, your story should be dependent on your protagonist.

Step 2: Give them a backstory that's relevant to their role in the story. Your protagonist should have some reason to care about the story they're in, some reason for them to have the skills they use in the book, some reason for the plot to be relevant to the protagonist. For instance, Meg Murry has a reason to care about tessering about the universe and going to Camazotz because she wants to find her father who disappeared years before. It's a little harder in portal fantasy type storylines, but they still need a reason to care. Like how Lucy made friends with Mr. Tumnus and Edmund joined the White Witch. It involved their family personally.

Step 3: Create a well-rounded, three-dimensional character that's a product of their backstory. Your protagonist should be a realistic person. No one wants to read about cardboard cutouts. No one wants to read about Mr. Perfect. What readers want is a character who is real. Someone with strengths and weaknesses, personality and quirks, likes and dislikes, things they're interested in and things they couldn't care less about. And if a character is real, chances are, readers will care and find something to relate to.

Step 4: Get to know your character as a person. You can't write about someone you don't know. The way you get to know your character will probably be different from the next author, and that's okay. You could make up random scenes, write a character interview, fill out a character profile, imagine you are your character...the possibilities are endless. But you must know who your character is as a person.

Step 5: Write the book. A great protagonist is useless without a great story, so what are you waiting for? Go write!

Check out the rest of Indie e-Con at www.knittedbygodsplan.blogspot.com!

Vote for your favorite 2017 Indie e-Con Book Awards picks here!

Monday, March 13, 2017

Introducing Will

Will
Via Pinterest
Will is the prince of Twisted Dreams. He's an interesting character to work with, though not nearly as interesting as his younger brother.

Conception of the Character

Like Liesel, Will did not originate in Twisted Dreams. He obviously came from the same story as Liesel, as the dad of the main character. He's...quite different later in life, due to not handling certain circumstances very well. There's a reason he's cast as Anthony Head (Uther Pendragon from BBC's Merlin) later in life.

I don't actually remember how I settled on his name. Likely, I just chose a random German name at the same time I chose Liesel--his full first name is Wilhelm. Funny how I remember naming Liesel, but can't remember naming Will. If he has a middle name, he hasn't shared that information with me.

Character History

Regardless of which world we're talking about, Will is a prince, and he has a younger brother.  In the fantasy world, he is a prince determined to rescue the legendary sleeping princess from her overgrown, nearly ruined castle. His brother is with him as helper and sidekick and jester.

In the sci-fi world, we get a little more background. He has no mother, but his father is still alive and ruling the kingdom. He is engaged to Liesel, and determined to rescue her, for even in this world, she desperately needs rescuing. In this world as well, he is accompanied by his brother.

Personality

Will very much has a one-track mind, and that mind is hyper-focused on Liesel. Pretty nearly for the whole book. He's got some serious tunnel vision. However, despite his hyper-focus on a girl, he is a good guy, who is as prepared as he can be to rule a kingdom when the time comes. He's brave, and not usually reckless...though his judgment skills may be off under high stress. He's determined to protect his princess and bring her home to marry her. Liesel is his world.


What do you think of Will? Any speculations on what happens to his character later on?

P.S. Espionage and Crannig Castle are free on kindle this week only as a part of the Indie e-Con book awards. So download your free copies and vote for them on the 20th!

Monday, March 6, 2017

Introducing Liesel

Liesel
Via Pinterest
Liesel is my Sleeping Beauty character, the main girl in Twisted Dreams. She's a character I'm quite fond of, though my favorite character in the book is Matthew.

Conception of the Character

Liesel did not actually originate in Twisted Dreams. She was initially the (deceased) mother of the main girl of another story. She still is, actually, but that's a ways into the future.

Her name was a bit spur of the moment. I'd decided the country of Hanover had German influences part way through worldbuilding, so all characters created past that point have German names. Several created before that point have Old English, Hebrew, and Greek names, which doesn't fit the worldbuilding, but they stuck. I was naming this girl's parents, and I didn't want to do too much work in order to find a German name I liked, so I just went with Liesel. Pretty simple, due to The Sound of Music and the fact that I also know a little girl of that name. Liesel's middle name is Rosanna, a random addition made when I began Twisted Dreams as a reference to Briar Rose.

Character History

Liesel in medieval Hanover is the princess of the land. She was given gifts of beauty, grace, long life, etc. when an infant by the Cantileens and cursed to prick her finger on a spinning wheel and fall into an everlasting sleep by a Wingan named Calandra. (Yes, I am aware that those details differ slightly from the original. I have my reasons.) As it happened, she lived a fairly normal life until she pricked her finger and fell asleep, and that's where things get crazy.

Liesel in sci-fi Hanover is a commoner engaged to the prince. She is the second oldest of five children, having an older brother, a younger brother, and two younger sisters. Her wedding to the crown prince of Hanover is but a few days away...only the enemies of Hanover have sought to interfere.

Personality

Regardless of which version of Hanover Liesel is in, she is still a kind and compassionate soul, very much in love with her prince. She is somewhat fearful, and wants very badly to simply depend on Will instead of doing things herself, but she can't always let him do everything. She's very mature for her age, and though she has fears about ruling a kingdom, she is quite capable of being queen. She is brave and willing to do what's right, but she does have a lot of internal struggles. After all, she's in a rather complicated, intense situation.


What are your thoughts on Liesel? Which version of Hanover do you think is real?