Monthly Archives: November 2011

I LOVE THEM BOTH FOR DIFFERENT REASONS


About a year ago my husband bought me a Kindle for my birthday. I was thrilled. Getting a Kindle meant I was going to be able to purchase a book faster than it would take me to walk from one room to another. I would no longer have to wait until I got a chance to get to the book store. I had stories at my fingertips. Before getting a Kindle, I often wondered “Would it feel natural? Would I be distracted by the fact I wasn’t physically turning a page?” I was happy to discover that nothing about it felt awkward.

One day in the middle of reading a great book it happened. My Kindle died. (I hadn’t realized the battery was low). I stared at the black screen and cursed it and myself. Now what was I going to do? I wouldn’t be able to get back to that great book until I charged the Kindle. As I walked into my writing room to retrieve the charger I glanced at my beautiful bookshelf and instantly became sad. I realized that I still loved the traditional book and felt bad for abandoning it. I sat in the chair and thought about all the books I have read and started to make a mental list of why I loved the traditional book. First off, I simply love what they look like. I love seeing them lined up together on a shelf. I love the book cover (yes on Kindle you can see the cover but I still don’t think it’s the same). I love the colors of the covers (I know now I’m sounding “out there,” but I do.) Other than the appearance I love the feel of a book. I enjoy turning the pages. I love being able to see the thickness of the pages I have already read. I like flipping ahead to see how far I have to go and wondering how long it will take me. I especially love how worn out my book looks by the time I’m done reading it. I am always surprised when someone loans me a soft covered book they already read and it’s in impeccable condition. My paperback books are frayed, bent and ripped. Looking at them reminds me that I escaped to a place that someone else created. It’s concrete. It’s there as a reminder for me and as an example for my children. A worn book shows them that it was read and may inspire them to wear out some books of their own.
You see, I love them both. I think I can be loyal to both of them do you?

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QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR CHARACTER

Characters usually present themselves to me by name first. Once a name comes to mind, I start envisioning my character. I imagine their features, I hear their voices, I think about what their habits may be, how their minds think and countless other things. A great way to get to know your character is to set up a questionnaire. Below is a list of questions that may help you get to know your character better. Try asking your character these twenty questions and see if you discover anything new about them.

1. What is your age?

2. Do you have any siblings?

3. Are your parents alive? Are they married? Are they divorced?

4. If you were sent to a deserted island what three things would you take?

5. Do you have a hidden talent?

6. Do you have a habit you wish you could break?

7. What features do you like the most about yourself?

8. What feature do you dislike the most about yourself?

9. Do you have a hobby?

10. Do you have a guilty pleasure?

11. What kind of music do you like?

12. What is your biggest pet peeve?

13. What is your favorite food?

14. Do you have a passion and if so what?

15. Do you consider yourself and introvert or extrovert?

16. What is your idea of a perfect day?

17. Who is your favorite author?

18. What would the first thing be on your bucket list?

19. If I asked you to write an entry in your journal what would it be about?

20. Tell me something no one else knows about you?

Building a character is fun but takes time. Your reader needs to feel like they know the character intimately and in order for that to happen you must first know the character intimately. Why not give this list a shot and see what you come up with. Are there any questions that you ask that I haven’t listed? If so leave a comment and let me know. I’m always looking for new questions to ask my characters.

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Filed under character, character building, Fiction, writer's life, writers, writing, Writing