How Characters Can Save Your #Writing (Part 2)

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The most exciting book ever can quickly became aggravating, and even incredibly boring, without well-developed characters. Last week, I wrote about the importance of a physical description of characters. This week, I want to highlight something that a lot of authors overlook: history.

How many of you know the histories of your characters? How many of you know their birth dates, their habits, their deepest desires, quirks, and obscure family members? How many of you are aware of their eating habits, the types of plants they like, and their world views? The reader doesn’t have to know everything – sure, I’ll admit it.

But you do.

The reader needs to feel like you know. And there need to be hints. Some of the literary characters that are hardest to get into are those that do not have a well-developed history. The reasons are pretty clear. The reader can’t get into their heads. Also, it seems like there’s very few logical motivations for the characters’ actions.

Overall, it’s not about the reader knowing every little detail, because that makes a book boring as well. It’s about the aura that your characters have. Do they feel like they began before the book did? Do they feel like they go on after the book shuts? If they don’t, you have some work ahead of you. Go to it! Every drop of sweat is worth it – take it from someone who is still doing a lot of sweating.

Here’s a link to help you get started:

http://www.writersanctuary.net/blog/how-to-avoid-the-flames-developing-your-characters-histories-part-2-writing

How Characters Can Save Your #Writing (Part 1)

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Ever had negative feedback on your work? Ever wondered why people didn’t seem to find it as exciting as you did? Ever wonder why you had to work so hard at getting the words out?

Chances are that your characters weren’t real enough. Characters are an author’s imaginary friends. But if they don’t captivate the audience, then your audience won’t be hooked – no matter how much action you throw at them. And if they don’t feel real, then you will find writing scenes much harder work than it should be.

How is an author to create a character that the reader will remember? A character that the reader will want to hold in their mind forever?

Over the next four weeks, I’m going write about one facet of character development each week. And this week, I’d like to bring physical appearance to your attention.

Can you remember your character’s eye and hair colour? Can you remember what they wear? What their mannerisms are? Do you reference these regularly in your writing so that your reader can see it?

A character’s physical appearance and body language can help drive a scene.

Don’t let your reader be blind. Open their eyes. Introduce them to new people. Show them why they read.

http://www.writersanctuary.net/blog/how-to-avoid-the-flames-four-ways-characters-can-save-your-book-part-1-writing

I Don’t Want to Be

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I don’t want to be alone forever.
I don’t want to have fifteen cats.
I don’t want to spend all my time writing
And buying fancy hats.

I don’t want to be alone forever.
I don’t want to sing myself to death.
I don’t want to teach until I’m
Over-caffeinated and completely out of breath.

I don’t want to be alone forever.
I don’t want to be rolling in cash.
I don’t want play piano till I lose fingers.
I won’t study literary trash.

I won’t give up praying for one second.
I’ll wait and I’ll work and I’ll write.
Maybe one day I’ll have someone to share it with
If that’s God’s will for my life.

Fantasy and Christianity: Is the Genre Immoral or Not?

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You may never have met them, but there are people out there who believe fantasy is immoral. And perhaps you’re a die-hard fan like me. You’ve read Harry Potter (repeatedly); you quote the books and movies to everyone who doesn’t shut you up; you enjoy Lord of the Rings; you’ve spent some time in a wardrobe, and thoroughly enjoyed films such as Prince Caspian. And in your spare time, you write fantasy and imagine you’re riding a dragon.
So you’re having a fabulous time enjoying a genre you’ve never really questioned or been concerned about. And all of a sudden, someone you respect walks up to you, and you’re having a nice casual chat, and suddenly you mention something by mistake. And now the person you’re talking to says:
“You do realise that particular book is connected to the occult, don’t you?”
“Whaaat?” you say slowly.
“Look up this website. Read this great mind on that particular book. You might want to be more careful in the future.”
They finish with saying that fantasy is an unhelpful genre – even a harmful genre. And then they walk off, and you’re standing there, torn whether to go with the opinion of someone you trust and respect, or go your own merry way.
Which is why it pays to have thought through the issue yourself. There’s nothing wrong with having something to say. If you’re a Christian, you’ll be happy to know that there are some decent arguments for your pro-fantasy position … Take a look at Job 38 the next time you’re flicking through a Bible. God Himself is speaking, and there He talks about “stretching a measuring line” across the earth, “shutting the sea up behind doors when it burst forth from its womb”, and “the earth taking shape like clay under a seal”. None of these things are to be taken completely literally. They’re a picture for something true.

Which is exactly what good, healthy fantasy is.

So if you’re worried when people tell you fantasy is wrong, take a look at the following article. Spread the word.

http://www.writersanctuary.net/blog/fantasy-fiction-is-it-evil-fantasy-fiction

Limitations

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With history we can tell what was;
With science, we can explain what was;
With linguistics we can say what was;
With geography we can show where it was;
But no man can say how it began.

We can tell stories.
Everyone tells stories.
Authors tell stories.
Politicians tell stories.
Scientists tell lots of stories.

But no man
Can say for certain
How it began.

You’d think we’d take the Word
Of Someone who was there.

Wordiness: the Ultimate Reader Turn-Off (#Writers and #Readers)

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Ever picked up a book, noticed its thickness, and been dubious? Maybe you even put it down for good. Or perhaps you started reading a book and discovered it was full of sentences like this:

“Wordiness, tautology, needless repetition, general garrulousness, and extensive reiteration make a string of words joined by clauses unusually abstruse, difficult to understand, and opaque for the average reader of ordinary circumstances and background.”

And that sort of thing killed your interest.

You wouldn’t be alone. It kills the interest of literary agents and publishers as well. And yet, writers continue to do it. Why? It’s an example of lazy writing – when the author cannot be bothered to sharpen their meaning – or an example of ego-stroking: the author thinks their literary abilities are dazzling. Perhaps that sounds nasty, but I effectively chastise myself by saying it. I, too, have written books that were twenty thousand words too long.

I suppose the difference is that I cut them substantially before they went anywhere. No reader deserves to have their time wasted.

Let’s beginning writers think a little bit more about our readers. Sure, we may be clever. But we can save that big word for later. It’s time to write considerately.

And it’s going to help us sell ourselves.

The following article has more this topic:

http://www.writersanctuary.net/blog/think-youre-clever-save-it-for-later-writers-and-wordiness

My Rights

Gay Rights are Human Rights
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In the twenty-first century,
It is a human right for me
To kill my unborn baby,
Because I simply
Don’t want the child.

In the twenty-first century,
It is a human right for me
To become a man,
Though I’m biologically a woman.

It’s okay for me to make large demands
Of my government, family, friends,
And the general public,
For the sake of my own ‘comfort’.

I will refuse to bear children.
I will lead a life centred on me,
Down to what toilet I use.

In the twenty-first century,
It is a human right for me
To marry a woman
And adopt children,
So I feel good.
It doesn’t matter what they want.

In the twenty-first century,
It is a human right for me
To decide whether an old person
Lives or dies.
It’s about their comfort now.
It’ll be about mine later.

It’s taken a long time for progress to appear.
Now we’re more educated.
We know babies are foetuses
Until we say they are human.
We know I can be whatever I want,
Even if it’s apparent I’m not.

We know I can have whatever I want,
At whatever cost to society.
We can choose our genders;
We can define marriage, life, death, and humanity.

Now we finish what we started
In a garden long ago.
We are gods.