Tag Archives: imagination

I’m Baaaacccck!

My short hiatus is over, and I am glad to be back in the game. It was a grueling two or three days that I was forced away from daily routine to write 10 pages of fiction for school. I think I would like to recant my statement that school was going to be easy. Even when we don’t meet and only have 8 assignments for the practicum, it’s still tough as balls!

It was rough trying to write 10 pages when my story is coming to a close. If I was writing a novel, I could pump out 10 pages easily. However, I am notorious for putting too much unnecessary detail in my story. This is even more important not to mess up because short stories are meant to say a lot in less words.

On the plus side, the due dates allow me to add significant length to my story without compromising my insane imagination. I feel like I benefit most from having someone give me a specific amount of writing by a certain time to avoid my chronic procrastination. Instead of wasting weeks only writing a few pages, it allows me to get more content out with a goal in mind. I think the process of having someone constantly expecting a certain amount of writing for you makes you a better writer.

It’s not going to be easy when I’m on my own with no deadline other than the imaginary goals I make for myself. This is mostly because I never follow my own due dates, but also because I don’t have someone nagging me to get it done so they can critique it. The importance of a critique fuels me to write my story in a better way than I would have. Sometimes as a writer, you begin writing a story that is more for you than for potential readers. It has those boring parts that only mean something to you personally, and the story has holes only your experiences can fill. If you know you’re going to have someone read your story, it must evolve to an universal story that can apply to more people without sacrificing the integrity of the story. It makes my writing more than a hobby if I can entertain or influence readers other than myself.

So far, I feel good about the progress I’ve made with my writing. While i wait to hear the verdict from my mentor, I’m keeping my head high. Even if she hasn’t seen a change in my writing, I know I have. I can’t make every reader happy, especially one who has been writing for so many years. The useful skills she provides are vital to my development, but the truth is simple. You’re not going to please every reader with your style. Since I’m just grasping my style and purpose, there is room to be molded. However, the fundamental aspects that make my writing unique, won’t be changed no matter how many times I’m told about it.

You see, the magic of writing is that once you have a good set of skills, creative license allows you to make decisions other writers wouldn’t make. This idea appeals most to poets who can defy normal sentence structure. Yet, fiction writers have been changing their personal format since the beginning. It makes our job truly amazing that we have the opportunity to bring our story to life exactly how we see it. Whether or not a publisher wants to sell it is a completely different post all together.

I’m off to my next assignment. Happy reading and writing!

5 Comments

Filed under Idea of the Day

How to Make Realistic Characters

For all the writers out there, here is a helpful blog post dedicated to helping you to write the best quality stories. The post “Why Your Novel Characters Need Real Flaws” describes a way to enhance your novel characters and make them more realistic.

http://www.rachellegardner.com/2012/02/why-your-novel-characters-need-real-flaws/

The post begins by addressing the definition of real flaws in characters. You’re attempting to make real people out of your imagination and addressing the personality of the characters.

“It’s a flaw that affects those around your character in a significant way, a weakness with serious consequences, not just angst or temporary hurt feelings.”

When you realize a character is forming in your mind, usually it takes a life of its own rather quickly. Filling out a character sheet helps you to figure out the finer points of who a character is, but it takes a lot of time to develop flaws in characters. Unless it’s a villain, we don’t want our characters to have things wrong with them. We want them to be good and overcome their flaws without too many obstacles. We don’t want them to have negative personality traits that make them unlikable.  When you allow your character to do bad things, the reader doesn’t necessarily agree and want to continue reading. You’re faced  with the task to either be true to the story (what the character wants to do) and making the reader happy. Ideally, you want to achieve both, which creates a good story from good writing.

Sometimes it helps to have someone show you what makes a good character. By reading other writers, it helps you understand how they develop good characters or bad ones. If you can believe and relate to a character, it usually means that the flaws in the character are realistically written. The post goes on to explain the difference between cosmetic flaws (that writers tend to write) and real flaws that make characters like real people.

Every cosmetic flaw is a victimless half of the real flaw it replaces. Here are two examples:

Cosmetic character flaw: Insecurity. Its real counterpart: envy and sabotage

Cosmetic character flaw: Fearfulness. Its real counterpart: disloyalty under pressure

The cosmetic flaws are petty things. Things that writers think will give the character a realistic personality, but it actually creates an illusion of real flaws. Being “politically correct” or “sugar-coating” the problem masks what is really underneath. They might seem like a nice way to put a flaw so that it doesn’t hurt the reader, but it doesn’t make the character more realistic. The writer is playing God and sticking a mask on the character that wasn’t supposed to be there.

The question the writer of the blog poses is which flaws create good writing. If you want to write fiction that doesn’t affect its readers, write with cosmetic flaws. If you want your writing to create a reaction from the readers that changes their lives, you use real flaws. To put it simply, real is better than fake. Fiction may be created from the imagination, but it comes from the truth of the world around us. We need to tap into the emotions and basics of truth to build the story on. If we use characters that the reader feels are real, the fictional parts of the story are handled with ease.

I immediately felt a need to assess my characters after reading this post and it ultimately changed my mind on character development. I knew that I needed to work on the flaws of a character so the reader accepts my stories better. I was able to focus on what I thought the flaws were in my main character, and change it to create a person rather than just a flat character.

What struggles do you have with characters? Is it in their flaws or in their actions?

1 Comment

Filed under Idea of the Day

Bibliophile or Bibliomaniac?

To most people, neither of the words in the title are particularly familiar. Bookworm is the only word known by all, but even that word isn’t associated with the correct definition.  Both words in the title have the prefix biblio-, which some know to refer to books. But what do the two words mean and how are they different? The first, bibliophile can be broken into two parts, biblio and phile. Philo is the greek prefix meaning love of or to love. So, putting together biblio (books) and phile (love of) gets you a noun describing a lover of books. Most of you following my blog can appreciate a name like that. To love books for what they hold inside each different binding. Bibliophiles are simple creatures enjoying books for the fantastic innovation they have become for story telling.

While  many people think a bookworm would be a lover of books, it is defined instead a branch of the bibliophile. A bookworm is a person who loves books for their content, in other words, for reading. Two seemingly synonymous words actually have a different meaning, just a similar starting point.

Now what do you think when you hear the word bibliomaniac? Sounds like a crazy person, right? Well, you’ve got the root of the definition right there in maniac. It describes a person clinically crazy about books. Now you’re thinking, that can’t be too bad, can it? It’s a version of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) that revolves around collecting and sometimes hoarding books. Again, not that bad, right? Not necessarily. For some people being obsessed with books isn’t a life goal and it’s difficult to live in the shadow of those who make books their entire life.

http://members.forbes.com/fyi/2005/1212/162.html

The above link depicts the life of a man who has oh too many bibliomaniacs in his life.  As I read through the story, I felt bad for both the son and his father. The father was addicted to books like drugs, but loved them honestly. He may have neglected his marriage, but he enriched his children and grandchildren with art and history. Unlike most bibliomaniacs, he didn’t hoard books with no point. He was also a bibliophile. He loved them so much that he bought author memorabilia, visited the sites of the famous authors, and passed on the books to his children.  The sad part of the story begins when the author’s father suffers a stroke and the vultures of the world swoop down and scarf up his amazing collection of rare books and art like he was already dead. It was a shame two generations before the author had been spent collecting this priceless library only to have it taken away in his father’s sleep.

The man had known what his collection was worth in dollars, but it was worth so much more in love and enjoyment. He was devastated to find his priceless companions kidnapped in his absence.  He could no longer pass everything down to his son. Even the settlement was not fair to this lover of books. They returned some art, only a few books, and money. Money? Money doesn’t replace the connection the man and his family had to the books. While bibliomania can be considered a curse to some, I’m sure the author respected and treasured the childhood he had because of the love his father and grandfather had for books.

The author ends the story on a positive note because the experience with his book-obsessed father has impressed an important moral in his life. That although his father’s books are now passed around throughout the world, that is the true beauty of them. To share books is to realize their importance and create a bond with other people based on those books. Collecting and reading books forms memories that surpass the ownership of those books in one’s life, but never leave the person whose read them. It is a lovely relationships between the imagination and the soul. The author ends the article with the beginning of his book collection. It seems that no matter how hard you try, bibliophiles and bibliomaniacs alike understand the value of books. Appreciating them yesterday, reading them today, and passing them on to future generations tomorrow.

 

If my library looked like this, it would be worth going crazy over books!

Leave a comment

Filed under Idea of the Day