Category Archives: Character

Wednesday and Prompt #23

In free verse, and taking no more than 1000 words, rewrite your novel.

Remember forward movement, characters, and use words with power. Find out what’s most important in your novel and put it in this Spark’s Notes Version.

If you need, take a few days to do this writing.

Then ask yourself, Can I do without certain things that I’ve added? Does everything I write move the story forward? Are there unnecessary characters? Does my character burn time? What can I do without? Do I go off on unnecessary trips with my character? Is my writing too flowery? What words that carry no weight can I throw out?

Really knowing your story can help you write the best novel.

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Filed under Character, Exercises, Plot, writing process

Friday–What’re We Gonna Write Today?


You spend 24 hours with your main character.

What do you do?

What do you talk about?

What do you notice as quirks?

How does she make you cry?

What stories about her past does she tell you?

You go shopping. What does she buy?

What does she eat?

Can she cook?

Name three nice things she does for you.

What does she want you to do for her?

What does she read?

How does she surprise you?

Worry you?

How does she sleep? On her back? Curled up? Does she toss and turn? Snore? Talk in her sleep?

Does she want breakfast?

At the end of the day together, does she thank you for telling her story or curse you?



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Filed under Character, CLW, Exercises, Family, Life, Plot, Uncategorized, Voice, writing process

15-Minute Monday

Last week I was served papers.

I don’t know why, but this feels like the last big bump with this individual. Like, if I can make it through this, if I can be dignified, honest, and do my best to protect myself and my family, this will be gone for good.

Of course, life always has ‘things’ in it, right?

‘Things’ that make us stretch and hurt and worry and laugh and rejoice and wish and pray and talk to our friends and write blog pieces.

We’re different after each battle, after each joyous occasion.

Just like our characters should be.

Once I got a book on someone’s recommendation. I remember the title but I won’t tell you.  There was a lot of buzz from the publisher. The writer was gonna go places. Make tons of money. I have to admit I was both excited and jealous. So I opened the book and read. To my disappointment the feisty main character never changed. She started out a smartie-pants who wanted something, got this something, and was neither better nor worse for it. She never struggled. Never failed. Never really won or lost.

The deal is, by the end of the book our characters must change.

They cannot be the same at the end of the novel as they were in the beginning. They have to have ‘papers served ‘ to them. They have to have hard times-even if this is a funny book. There have to be obstacles that the character has to get over, on her own. As we read and watch a character stumble, get back up, try again, grow, change, become more exciting, we root for them, weep with them, love them.

What I find really cool as a writer is that I change, too, as I work on my books.

When I start a new work, I am one person. By the end of the novel, if I’ve done my job as a writer, I see the world a little differently. I’m more compassionate. Want better things for my friends and for those I read about in the news or see on Facebook that I only know there. I’ve learned things about people and places and events. A topic I may have felt fiercely about–I see it differently. Maybe more fully? It’s an exciting to see I am what? better? more human? because of my work.

Writers can change bits of the world.

We start with our characters, move to ourselves and hopefully touch our readers.


A deep breath, now, as I step into a scary part of my life.

I’ve got a few obstacles to overcome.

Let’s see what happens.


Filed under Character, CLW, Life, Point of View, writing process

Three Things Thursday

 Last week Carol gave us 5 prompts to help us get writing.  I always “promise” myself I’ll do them.  Then, good as they are, I let it go all too often.  So I have a new plan:  I wrote down her 5 prompts for the week.  I knew she’d done this before, so I combed through some of the most recent blogs for more. I took many from Carol.  Some from AnnDee, some from Cheryl; I even re-wrote some of them that I’d sent in.  And took a few more from my old blog ( for the ABC Writers Guild.  I think many of us have favorite places to go for prompts when we need/want them.  I made a list for April 1 thru 30. I even threw in extras for March 29-31.  I signed up to do the 750words dot com in April (made myself say I’d pay the site $5 if I missed even one day). Then last night I added to my “pain for failure” by signing up for April’s NaNoWriMo Camp.  I WILL do each of those prompts, aimed toward writing the book I planned for NaNo.  I’m going to try to make 2K per day.  That would give me a 60K book by May 1.  I’ll also post daily whether I made it or not on ABC Writers Guild . . . and all y’all who want to help push me can follow my progress (even if nobody does, it will make me accountable!)
Anybody else need a little PRESSURE to be sure you get it done?  Make yourself a month-long list of prompts!
For those of you that follow Shannon Hale, you know she’s been discussing the ratio of men versus women in the top grossing animated movies. 

The numbers are pretty shocking. Most hover around 17% female. Apparently, if more than 30% of the characters are female, the audience feels that the “women are taking over.”
The psychology behind this fascinates me. The world is made of half men and half women, but our fiction isn’t.
I’d love to hear some theories about the reason behind this. Why don’t we have equal numbers of male and female characters? What do you think?
Today I want to thank those people who help Ann Dee and me with this blog. It’s hard to come up with something every day of the week. But Cheryl and Brenda, two people I admire and love, always are here helping. Always prompt. Always thinking, adding new ideas and thoughtful work to TUW.
Want to be a successful writer? Have good friends in your corner.
You can be accountable to them, be in a critique group with them, commiserate with them etc. Just knowing you aren’t alone in this mostly solitary writing world we live in, can give you hope and help you succeed.
Thank you Brenda and Cheryl.
You have no idea how much I depend on you.
Love, love, love.


Filed under Character, CLW, Writing Marathon

Happy December!

I spent a week plus of November–when I was supposed to be NaNo-ing–ill. To the doctor twice, mishandling of meds, trying to fix that, then the headache came. Today is the first day I’ve felt okay.

How did you do with NaNoWriMo?

Please let me know so I can be happy for you. I’m already cheering for many of you in my heart.


My Advent Calendar is All about Writing and Remembering and Preparing.

What will your 24 days till Christmas be?


1. Each night we’ll watch One Holiday Special.

Last night was ELF. I love ELF.

We’ll also watch: How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Miracle on 34th Street

Mr Krueger’s Christmas

The Snowman

It’s a Wonderful Life


Nightmare Before Christmas (I’ve never seen it)

Edward ScissorMan (With a REAL Edward!)

Rudolf the Red-nosed Reindeer

A Charlie Brown Christmas

watch The First Presidency Message

And probably a bunch of TERRIBLE holiday shows, too. They’re out there. Believe me.


2. We’ll read the Christmas books–one per night– I’ve collected over the years, ending with the Story in Luke.


3. The girls are wanting to do something a little different this year as far as gifts. We have everything. Even a home we shouldn’t have to move from! What is better than that and being together and reading and eating and watching TV and writing?

We’ve thought of giving money to the following places, instead of presents to ourselves:

St Jude’s Hospital

Wounded Warriors


And a couple other places I can’t remember the name of.


I’ll keep thinking of things we can do as we count down the last days of December and 2014.

Maybe I’ll come up with 24 things you could write in less than five minutes for each day of the month.


Sure! I’ll do that!

Here’s today’s:

Your character opens a window on the Advent calendar. There’s something she never expected. Take three minutes. How is your character changed by what she finds?


Oh, and here’s this:

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Filed under Character, CLW, Exercises, Family

Miss America Announced Yesterday!


Now I didn’t watch this last night. I only love a contest when it’s like the opening shows of The X Factor or American Idol.


what kind of Miss America ‘girl’ would your novel be?

what would her talent be?

how would she stand out?

what would make her different from the other girls?

Your job, as a writer, is to make your novel compelling, different, moving–memorable.

Words choice needs to be new–let your character see things in original ways.

Scenes need to be fresh–nothing redone.

And the plot needs to have a twist to it that people don’t figure out.

When this happens you’ll have an editor saying, “It’s a three-peat” about YOU when you continue to sell your books!



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Filed under Character, CLW, Voice, writing process

More Writing Hints

Character One
Dave Munk

Sometimes secondary characters are flat and stale. This can create an odd balance in the story which will tip the reader towards the alright-I’m-kinda-bored side of the scale. There are many ways to develop characters, all of which can be used for main characters and secondary characters. For example, you can interview them or write their back story. But I suggest one exercise that can truly benefit the secondary cast in a story: write a scene or two from the perspective of the minor character. Learn how the he thinks and reacts. What does he pay attention to? What things in his environment does he recognize? What does he feel and how does he describe it? What are his motivations? How does he view the others around him? As you get to know your minor characters they will become interesting. Dialogue will improve and the sense of place will be enhanced. And most important, people will want to continue reading.

Character Two
Tamara Leatham Bailey
When I fall in love with a book, it is because I adore the main character.  That character becomes my BFF.  I don’t want our time together to end.  I can’t resist turning the page, but I never want to turn the last one. So, why is the thing that I love deeply in my favorite books the aspect of writing that, for me, remains one of Scooby-Doo’s unsolved mysteries.
One component that I’ve studied to strengthen character is giving the character an objective.  Each character must want something, and that character’s actions are determined by her goal.  For example Velma Dinkley, in the Scooby Doo series, wants to solve mysteries, so she asks questions and searches for clues.
Besides a story objective, the character must have a ruling passion.  That passion is the central, motivating force that drives the character.  The driving force may be to be loved, revenge, or to protect themselves and others. Velma is ruled by her passion to be a genius.

Whatever the ruling passion, it must be powerful and unchanging, enough to motivate the character throughout the story, or stories.
For Velma, it has motivated her for forty-six years.


Filed under Character, Character