Tag Archives: character development

Body Language.

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Dialogue can be difficult and writers can be unhappy with their results, they’ve been inside characters’ heads, they know what they want to say and they say it, then they play with those words of dialogue because something just isn’t sitting right – No matter what they do, something is wrong, something is missing and they just can’t seem to clinch it.

It might not be the dialogue at all that’s causing the issue. It might be something that should be surrounding it and is often forgotten by writers more concerned with the message contained in the spoken word. Communication has many layers, so if you’re having trouble with writing dialogue, have you considered including body language?

People don’t just yammer at each other. They move, they stretch, they raise their eyebrows, smile, laugh or frown, fold their arms, slouch, flap their hands around, or drink, smoke, eat. Dialogue often happens on the move, walking down a street, crossing a shopping mall, or in a car or bus.

Adding body language and movement can fill the scene and give the reader more than dialogue alone. You don’t want your readers feeling they might as well be listening through the wall because they are unable to see anything. You want them in the room, at the table, or out on the street or in the taxi. You want your readers to be there. So, what are they going to see if they were present? Who does what while all this talk is going on?

Naturally enough, you don’t want all your characters flapping and twitching and moving and hopping about, but a touch of it here or there can make a huge difference to a scene. It can bring the scene to life. Not only can it reveal some of what is around the characters talking, it can also reveal attitudes and demeanor.

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Middle of the Night – Pure Writing time!

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It’s because you’ve let go of the day, you’re resting, sleeping, and your subconscious is romping along working on the challenges you have thrown its way – And BAM – it has something for you and it can’t wait to tell you all about it.

So there you are, in the dark, your eyes wide open, and you have your answer. Some problem with plot, characterization or dialogue – suddenly you have the words and they are BEAUTIFUL.

The days are full of distraction for writers, family, work, chores, shopping, just dealing with day-to-day issues. It all steals away writing moments, writing time, writing reflection. Those middle-of-the-night moments become treasures to a writer. There’s no distraction, nothing needs to be done. We learn very quickly to take advantage of such times. Tired or not, grabbing it while it’s happening is all important because it might not come again, not like this, here and now, with these words, this picture, this solution.

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Writing Your Book, but it’s Taking Forever!

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So, your story’s not written yet. It’s been years now, and that’s bothering you – Guess what – THAT’S NORMAL!

It takes time to master the writing skill. If you write regularly, you will see your improvement over time, but whether you write regularly or not, improvement will never stop. Growth and development is ongoing and unlimited.

It takes time to get to know your characters. You’re dealing with a lot of people, all of them different from each other. You not only have to discover and portray their personalities but their backgrounds and goals as well. That information will not arrive neatly packaged and at once.

It takes time to get to know your story. As different characters develop and interact, your story evolves. Main areas and scenes might be all worked out, but how they connect and combine adds new flavor and complexity. It takes time for a story to mature and become all it can be.

It takes time to write your book. Deciding or discovering how to express your words, your story, your characters and plot, spending hard time at the keyboard doing it, working it, refining and editing – ALL OF THAT TAKES TIME!

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Keep her? Lose her? Why the Clairvoyant?

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Quite simply, I wanted to tie these two main characters together in a realistic way that advanced the story and complicated (in a good way) the plot – Sturn is royalty, and by that, I mean high up royalty – He can choose pretty well any woman in the Khekarian half of the galaxy as his mate, and his marriage will most certainly be to a Khekarian of royal blood with high connections.

Love was never going to work. Aleisha is from the opposite end of society and Terran, and Sturn doesn’t care about emotion or the mentality of young women. What he cares about is power.

Would lust do it? No. My lead villain would just take her and dump her afterwards. Sturn certainly wouldn’t marry her, and he would have no reason to bring her home with him.

So why else, outside of sex, would an exiled prince be interested in a seventeen year-old wanna-be pioneer? She’s totally beneath him. She has nothing to offer. There is nothing that could be deemed of value to him.

This story evolved over many years. Once Sturn gained high connections, I realized that if I wanted to keep that aspect open, I would need to ditch my main character and make the story about Sturn, or find a reason to keep Aleisha.

It took me a year to find this solution, so – please – enjoy it! :D

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The Hidden Depths of Writers.

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The non-writers around you do not understand the process – to them a writer is someone who sits at a desk every day, producing reams of wonderful prose that turn into a book within weeks or months, to then be quickly embraced by a publisher.

What they don’t understand is the creative process, the time and effort and dedication needed to grow your skillsets – there’s more to being a writer than writing.

Not only do you have to know how to put words together, you have to know how to put ideas together, as well. You have to have solutions, connections, the Why, the How, the What. You have to get character development, plots and backdrops all worked out. You have to have done your research on a multitude of thing, events, professions, and gain some understanding of the psychology and drives of the individuals you are writing about.

So years go by. Your friends and family show support to varying degrees, but they’re not seeing what you are seeing, and they’re not seeing what’s going on beneath the surface. They understand that you have a passion to write, they even see you occasionally scribbling away, but they also see not much actually accumulating.

Instead, they see you staring the skyline, seemingly distracted or noncommittal, which doesn’t look much like dedication. Dedication, of course, is exactly what they are seeing, they just don’t recognize it.

So words sneak into the conversation about how perhaps you should turn your attention to a ‘proper’ career or maybe give up this foolishness. Most writers have jobs, they have ‘proper’ careers, it’s just not where their heart is – and foolishness? These people read books, right? They watch movies, yeah? Why is it ‘foolish’ to think you can produce in this line? It isn’t foolish, and while it might not sound like it, most of your friends and family actually would like you to succeed.

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Hidden Histories and Character Secrets.

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Characters have history, but I don’t always tell it – Some histories are hinted at, some are referred to, some never get a mention even though, when they develop in my mind, I intend there to be a place for them in the story.

Then the story expands and goes its own way and there just isn’t room anymore for that tale to be told. So, it’s discarded from the pages, but not from my mind. Was it wasted? No. That history still guides that character, it still makes that character who he or she is.

Some of those histories will find their way into these postings. I can show you then why some characters are as they are. You can see how I came to choose such a character and how each grew from their untold experiences.

While those histories might indeed be there in my books, although not plainly and not told in words but in deeds and feelings, outside my stories, I can give you a glimpse behind the scenes or, at least, into my mind. I can share some of these character secrets.

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The Flow Begins.

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Sometimes, you just have to do it. Like it or not, you have to sit down, crawl into your notes and write – Anything – Everything – something bridging, something whole or something that’s an outline – you have to push on and get words on the page because from that action, the flow begins.

Sometimes, you really don’t want to, except that you do because if you’re a writer, you’re not complete unless you are writing.

Sometimes, you’ll dodge and weave and do everything you can to escape the call, but you can’t ever really escape because it’s already got you shackled. It’s in your blood. It’s in your every breath. It commands almost every thought.

Eventually you do push on, and always – ALWAYS – you feel better for it. It’s your fix, your release, your song.

More than that, it’s You. It’s your Expression. It’s Who You Are.

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