Tuesday, September 29, 2020
Sunday, September 20, 2020
Paint a Picture Don't Tell a Fact.
Ansgar enters the bathroom. He combs his white hair and beard and washes his face. He lifts his red peaked cap from the hatstand and places it firmly on his head. His bulbous nose twitches as he smells breakfast.
Monday, September 14, 2020
Number Four in our steps up the Elephant Ladder is Plots!
Monday, September 7, 2020
😃😃😃😃Number Two Step is Characters
Now, we get into the fun stuff. The Characters!
Characters can be animals such as Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter, or the animals in the forest such as in Rory Gumboots by Eileen Moynihan (both told in the third person) or Black Beauty by Anna Seawell (told in the first person). Characters could be about wizards as in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling, or the characters could be about children in the Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner. The characters could be space aliens, or dragons, or robots or private detectives or ordinary people getting caught up in a mystery, a drama, an adventure, a romance, or a dilemma. The character could be YOU. Whatever you dream up for a character is wonderful.
HOWEVER, the characters, even the fairies, the monsters, the good and the bad ones must be BELIEVABLE. The reader must be able to relate to the characters in some manner. The reader needs to see human qualities in the characters even if the characters are not human. If the reader does not see something they can relate to, they will not understand what the struggle (the conflict) is about and why it is important.
Characters give the story meaning and make the reader care about the events that happen.
We, as writers, need to know what the main character wants and how far he/she or they will go to get it. We also need to know what the obstacles are that stand in his/her, or their way and what will happen if he/ she or they fail. This we must show to the reader.
Erma Bombeck was a humorist and wrote in the first person. The reader would laugh at her take on the life situations as she saw them. The reader could relate to those same situations in life. We all have life struggles and she showed the reader her take on the conflicts in a relatable manner.
This is also important in working with our characters. We must decide how the characters change as they battle their way through the obstacles. If they do not change we need to show how they learn to accept the situation and continue on.
The protagonist is a fancy word for the hero, and the antagonist is a fancy word for the villain. If you use the protagonist and antagonist you sound very smart.
Most stories have a hero (the protagonist) and a villain ( the antagonist). We need to show that both major characters and the minor characters are relatable. They are not perfect, and they are not entirely evil.
Only part of the information above is true if the villain is nature, earthquakes, tornadoes, wildfires, etc. that the hero is battling. Of course, these villains would not have, in themselves, relatable concepts. But, still, there would be plenty of action and obstacles. (And human nature being what it is, there will likely be some human obstacles as the hero encounters these natural disasters).
The main characters, hero, and villain need to have emotions and motives, and actions. They need to express them in their own way. We will look at how to do that in another blog soon. It is an important concept of writing, so don't skip that blog.
💣💣💣💣💣Number Step Three is Conflicts
Conflicts, we all have them. For the characters in your story, the conflicts can be real or maybe the character is imagining a problem. The house is still, and dark. Everyone, except little five-year-old Susy, is asleep. She lays in her bed with the covers close to her head. Sh-Sh-Shuffle. The monster living under her bed is coming out. Her parents have shown her many times there isn't a monster under her bed, but Susy knows better.
Our Imaginations are powerful!
There are internal and external conflicts; we all face both, and so will the characters.
Some conflicts are at the beginning of our story and others could pop-us later.
An external conflict could be with another character or a group of characters, or weather, a bully, poverty, looking for a missing person or trying to solve any problem that is important to the character.
Characters and conflicts and solving them make the PLOT. If at the opening of your story there is a murder you need to show the reader who was murdered, how it was done if it is known at the beginning, how does the hero find out about the deadly deed, what is the motive, are there red herrings (things that are considered clues pointing one way but turn out to be false), is the correct person arrested? How is everyone's life affected?
I wrote a short story, "Maze", where a man died in his house, in his favorite room where he grew exotic flowers. The police decided it was murder. There were three suspects, all with motive and opportunity. There was enough evidence for all three but only circumstantial. Then a police officer's wife looked at the crime scene photos and made a few comments which led the officer to look at a suicide where the victim staged his death to look like murder as he did not like the three people who would benefit from his death. So, was it murder or suicide?
I was chuckling and grinning all the time I wrote the story. And I topped it off with the detective fantasizing he would kill his boss. He thought about it so hard he began to believe one day that he did. He didn't. His internal conflict was with his boss and his over imagination.
The internal conflict could be a secret that is kept, a fear, self-doubt, going against ethics or morals or religious code, guilt, phobias, anger issues, disappointments, depression, loneliness, lack of self-confidence, embarrassment, etc. The list could go on and on.
External conflict can lead to internal strife.
Internal strife can lead to external conflict.
You could even put in sub-plots with some minor characters. More on that another time.
Conflict is the main point of the story. It drives the story. To be interesting, the story has to be about characters striving for something while other characters or circumstances try to keep them from getting it.
Erma Bombeck put a humorist view of her conflicts in life. Ordinary, mundane things in life can be conflicts for us, especially now in the days of Covid-19, Things grow out of proportion in how they affect us.
Next week we will look at Plots. "Wait," you say. "Aren't conflicts plots?" "Yes, they are, and some of today's information will appear next week but more will be added. So, stay tuned, as to a soap opera. You ain't heard or seen it all yet," I say. Characters and Conflicts are part of plots so we are well on our way in working on it, but we will look a bit deeper next week. But don't wait. Write, and write, and write.
Enjoy the writing. Write for Fun!
You may print this blog if you wish to do so. I can't print from my blog directly, maybe you can. If not, try to select all, right-click, copy, open a blank word page, and paste. I hope that works for you.
Please send me any questions, suggestions, or comments. Love to hear from you. Pat.
Monday, August 31, 2020
Number One Step is POV
There is Third Person Limited POV which is about one character. This is very confusing and I will skip it unless someone emails me or writes in the comment section they want more information on it. I don't use it.
There is First Person with I or we as telling the story. Examples would be a story with all the sentences like this one. I walked up the steps to the top of the building and took out my binoculars. We took out our pencils and began writing our stories. This is used in memories and autobiographies. Charles Dickens did write a fiction novel Bleak House, where every other chapter was in the first person. Black Beauty was written in the first-person point of view of a horse. It revolutionized the treatment of horses in the Victorian age.
The second Point of View is not used in fiction. It is used in historical or political books or commentaries. If you want more information on it let me know. This blog is written in second point of view as I am writing to you.
By the way, I have never had a reader ask me what POV I write in. So why is it important for the writer to know. It helps to know POV to not head-hop. We will discuss that another time. No head-hopping!.
Take a look at what you have written and decide what POV it is in. If you need help let me know.
I am told writers should not use the word VERY, as it gets overused.
Very noisy could be deafening
Very often could be frequently
Very old could be ancient
Bonus Tips: Showing how the character feels (this will be discussed later).
Looking forward to something could be shown by the character by her rubbing her hands together, licking her lips, unable to sit still, grin.
The character is amused could be shown by thrown the head back in laughter, clap hands, shake with laughter, the character holding his sides in laughter.
Write in the comments section or send me an email if you have any questions or suggestions.
You have my permission to print this posting. (The blog will not let me copy it so I highlight the post, I right-click and choose copy, go to my desktop and open the folder, pull up a new page, and right-click paste.