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Character Fears

Our 8-pound dog is scared of our turtle.

Once upon a time, Raph the turtle was hanging out in our den and Rachel gave her a piece of banana. Chip the dog wandered in, saw the turtle and the untouched banana, and decided that, hey, Raph isn’t eating the banana and it’s on the floor, so it must be up for grabs. Before we could blink, Chip inhaled the banana piece and Raph… wasn’t happy. Apparently Raph was saving the banana for later.

Chip was startled that the turtle suddenly turned and really got going toward her. Despite popular belief, turtles aren’t that slow. When they wanna move, they move. Chip was still faster, of course, but she was startled enough to never want to stay in the den whenever Raph came out of her tank.

It’s a bit of an irrational fear. Honestly, there are no indications that Raph remembers the stolen banana piece or if she holds grudges. But seeing the turtle turn on her is ingrained in Chip’s little brain and makes the pup dash out of the room whenever she so much as hears Raph’s tank open.

Fears help round out characters. Even if they don’t impact much of the story, fears shape a character’s personality and actions. Facing their fears is usually a fantastic make-or-break moment for characters in their stories as well. Does your character’s fear help shape your character’s personality or the other way around?

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Posted by on October 4, 2018 in Home

 

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“Have a Prompt!” Saturday #122

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Posted by on September 15, 2018 in Home, Prompts

 

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Sheepadoodles and Combining Characters

Have you ever heard of a sheepadoodle? It’s a cross between an Old English sheepdog and a poodle. They look like this:

Despite my love of dogs, I have never heard of this dog hybrid before Rachel mentioned that the new family she’s going to be babysitting is going to get a sheepadoodle puppy. It’s a cross that I never would have thought of.

In a wayward way, it kind of reminded me of the more recent revelation I had with one of my WIPs. There’s a character that I had planned but, after scribbling down a very rough outline, realized that I probably had no use for her. Her bigger role was combined with another character’s to give him a bit more to do and to make the plot a little more difficult for the rest of the cast of main characters.

When writing, usually you would just write down everything you know about the story, make the document or notebook pages a word vomit of the story you want to tell. In later drafts, cutting out or combining characters is something that comes from editing.

In one way, I feel as if I’m a step ahead upon realizing this character is not needed, at least not for the bigger role I had originally planned for her. On the other hand, it is a little sad to already get rid of a character that I feel I haven’t known for too long.

We’ll see what happens with the rest of the first draft.

 
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Posted by on August 30, 2018 in Home

 

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Write Shit

Someone on Tumblr asked, “What do you guys do when you feel down about your ability as a writer?”

Write shit.

Seriously. Write whatever comes to mind, make it deliberately bad to torture that little niggling pest in your head that keeps whispering to you that your writing sucks. The further along you go, the more you practice both writing and ignoring that inner pest. There are parts in my WIPs where I felt myself losing steam so I just hit the enter button a couple of times and go off the rails, talking to myself through the page and the story until I’m ready to go back to the actual novel.

Alternately, write something you want to read. Write something that only you will read (unless you later choose to share it), something that is completely and shamelessly self indulgent to get more comfortable with your writing. Try out new styles while writing these self indulgent stories or just use them to practice and bolster your confidence with your current style. I have notebooks and notebooks filled with self-insert fanfiction that will most likely never be read by anyone else but me, and I have a great time writing and rereading them whenever I need a boost.

Breaks are good too! Don’t forget to stay hydrated, to take a look at the sun once in a while, to talk to someone else beyond your computer screen/notebook pages.

We’ve all been there and we’ll all be there again. Self-doubt is the permanent neighbor to creativity because you’re inventing something that has never been seen by anyone else in the world, and it’s downright scary to think that others may believe you’re just crazy rather than seeing what a brilliant gem you’ve just shined. Eventually, though, self-doubt will be like that old neighbor that spouts out conspiracy theories that you’re sometimes forced to hear, and you’ll learn to humor this neighbor, even if they make you a little uncomfortable, before taking a deep breath and going back to do your own thing.

You got this, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, least of all a whispering pest that’s all in your head!

Now I gotta practice what I preach.

 
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Posted by on August 23, 2018 in Home

 

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Shadows

In one of my WIPs, I have this character who is creatively named Dark. He’s basically comprised of shadows, having been magically rather than naturally born. While he can seem stoic and content to stay in the background, he’s more of the type to try to herd everyone that he knows together to be sure everyone is safe.

As far as I’ve seen in the writing, anyway.

Dark’s followed around the protagonist to be sure said protagonist wouldn’t get himself killed because the protagonist really has no idea what he’s doing since it’s the protagonist’s fault that they’re lost. Basically, Dark just wants the protagonist to stay put while Dark tries to figure out how to get them all home. Each time Dark’s plans crack, Dark himself seems to crack as well.

It’s not until the third character — who happens to be a talking beagle — in their party explains to the protagonist, “Dark is made of shadows. He’s been doing better on his own but, like all shadows, he still needs his anchor,” that both the protagonist and I get a better understanding of the usually reserved Dark’s state of mind.

In a way, that tidbit about Dark made me think about how everyone is a shadow, following along in someone else’s footsteps, looking up to those they admire, while also being someone else’s anchor, someone else’s inspiration, someone else to help keep them grounded when they need it. It’s little moments like that that really make me enjoy writing. I’m lousy at getting plots to stay strung together — which I’m trying to be better about — but my characters and world building make me proud.

 
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Posted by on August 16, 2018 in Home

 

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“Have a Prompt!” Saturday #117

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Posted by on August 11, 2018 in Prompts

 

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Sunday Scribble – “Touch”

Touch
(continuation of Autumn)

Our pay was average, but my “findings” enabled us to splurge a bit on dinner. A rack of beef to share, a fresh loaf of bread, and milk to wash it all down gave us one of the best meals we’ve had in a while. There were even leftover coins in Elsworth’s purse when I returned it to him at Luella’s insistence.

“It’s a shame,” Simon said in our room that evening. “That was a nice coin purse.”

“I’m sure the headman thought so too when he got it.” Luella’s words were accompanied with a soft smack to Simon’s arm.

I smirked at the exchange as I folded up my cloak on one of the room’s chairs. It was still rather lumpy with my daggers, bandages, and liberated items from our travels, but as long as no one sat on it, it was fine.

“You alright there?” I asked Brom, noticing he had been over by the wash basin for longer than usual.

He glanced at me before scrubbing at his shoulder with the available cloth. “Elsworth’s touch was sweaty. Feels like the spot can’t get cleaned.”

Simon’s and Luella’s voices stilled from their bickering at Brom’s response, and Simon was by our warrior’s side with a bound. He glanced at the spot, red from continuous scrubbing, and poked it gently.

“Think I have some aloe paste left,” he said, ignoring Brom’s slight flinch. “Want some?”

“I could freeze something for you to use to numb it,” Luella offered.

“Don’t strain yourself,” Brom told the mage. He did, however, nod to Simon. “I’ll try the aloe.”

“Want it wrapped in bandages?” I asked, unfolding my cloak.

“…Sure. Thanks.”

We moved to wrap up Brom’s shoulder, ensuring the bandages weren’t tight enough to hinder his movement or restrict his blood circulation. He swung his arm in a wide circle to test the bandages, his muscles only making a small tear appear by the armpit.

He ignored it, finding the tear insignificant, and nodded. His gaze anywhere but us, he murmured out another, “Thank you.”

“No problem.” Simon’s response was a loud contrast as he sealed up his small jar of aloe paste.

“If it doesn’t work,” I said, “let me know and I’ll get you some of the finest soaps this village sells.”

“Through legitimate means, of course,” Luella said.

“Considering you made me return the rest of the purse, we’ll have to see—”

“Let’s go to bed.” Brom cut us off, a small smile tugging at his lips as he fell onto one of the mattresses. Being the smallest and least likely to accidentally roll over onto his side after his episode, I took the other side of Brom’s mattress. Luella and Simon claimed the other.

I tossed Simon my extra pillow and he placed it on the floor next to his side. With how much he moved in his sleep, he wasn’t a stranger to his bedmate shoving him away only to have him tumble off the mattress. Being a deep sleeper, he tended not to notice until the morning.

The morning came much sooner than all of us cared for it to.

“It’s still dark out—” Simon’s words strangled themselves as a flash of light and a wave of heat washed into our room.

“Easy enough to see what’s gotten the village up at this hour.” Luella reached the window, hearing the shouts and alarms at the dragon’s appearance.

“Did the sands and troughs help keep the fires from spreading?” I asked.

“Difficult to tell with the smoke,” she answered.

“Are we staying to help,” was my next question, “or are we booking it in case the village feels our work wasn’t worth the payment?”

Luella’s eyes rolled and she grabbed her staff. Brom already had his axe in his hands and Simon shouldered his pack of supplies. I sighed as I put on my cloak and touched the hilt of my daggers.

“Here’s hoping chasing off a dragon is worth more than sanding a field,” I said, leading the way out of the inn and into the fray.

 
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Posted by on October 8, 2017 in Scribbles

 

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