Right off the bat, it’s important to give your character, well, character. Give them little quirks and habits to make them more realistic. You know, like pushing their hair behind their ear when they’re nervous, or pushing their glasses up the bridge of their nose, rubbing their hands together, tapping their fingers on the table, etc. Try not to just arbitrarily assign habits to a character; try to have them make sense with the character’s personality and back-story. For instance, rubbing their hands together suggests a nervous or anxious-to-please personality, and if your character is more confident, that particular quirk might not fit well. Or, if they used to be a musical performer, maybe they tap their feet and hum while they work. You get the idea.
According to Saul Bellow, ‘You never have to change anything you got up in the middle of the night to write.’ Do you agree? Disagree? And is it just me, or do the best writing ideas come after you’ve gone to bed and are trying to sleep?
Happy New Year to you all! More posts to come…
Merry Christmas to you all! I hope you got plenty of books for Christmas (particularly mine!)!
Happy Thanksgiving, faithful readers! I hope you enjoy a bountiful Thanksgiving with family and friends!
You may notice that this week’s quotation is: “The road to hell is paved with adverbs.” I like using adverbs like a machine gun: I just spray-fire them all over the page. But they’re really more like sniper rifles: one quick, powerful shot should suffice. I would suggest one or two a page at most. Instead of saying, ‘he walked confidently’, say ‘he strode’ or ‘he strolled’ or ‘he sauntered’. This gives an even clearer picture of the character’s attitude and personality, and the mood of the action. So save those adverbs for when you really need them.
Once again, I have the pleasure of wishing my favorite characters, Benjamin Gold, a happy birthday. I’ve had the pleasure of writing his story for four happy years now. Hopefully, by his next birthday, the book will be done. But we’ll see how that goes.
I know it’s been quite a long time since I posted anything; things here at college are crazy. But just recently I started going to a Creative Writer’s Group here on campus, and now that I’ve experienced one, I can say that I highly recommend it. If you can find one, join it. If you can’t find one, make one. It’s incredibly helpful to have other writers’ insights into your work. They can find ways for you get over blocks in your writing, give advice, and help you to see your writing with a fresh perspective. And even if you don’t bring anything in to read, you’ll be inspired and excited by what others bring in. Altogether, it’s great to be supported by a community of people that are as passionate about writing as you are.
Happy birthday to me! I’m officially eighteen. And August is the anniversary of my current manuscript, Season of Betrayal. Happy fourth birthday, book!
Narration is a delicate balance of telling the story and letting the story tell itself. Whenever possible, let the story speak for itself. If what your character is thinking, feeling, or saying is not clear enough, you’re doing it wrong. If it is, then you are just being redundant. Let the characters say what they mean and mean what they say without you having to interrupt and explain it to the reader. This is hard work, and where the real skill of the writer is revealed. (Or the perseverance, which is often the same thing.) You’ll say so much more if you shut up.