To continue with the on-going project of re-purposing a magazine to a story idea, I used the next pages (which mean to date, I’ve only skipped one page). Have the creative challenge has become how to use the pages in my story.
Since I haven’t done a lot with character developing, I focused on that this week.
For Marchesa – of course I left the eyes because that’s a basic element for my story. When the characters aren’t formed clearly in my head, I’ll often pick a random birth date and use the traits of that horoscope. I picked one thing to link her and Samuel – an interest – they both like Don Knott’s movies – the reason for those pictures and they are both seeking a relic – the map. Her favorite food is chili cheese fries with an egg on top. Born to Die – a Lana Del Ray song goes with the theme of her character and will be on the playlist. I just found the black rose card and will incorporate that somehow. I placed my items around the page to leave ‘words’ I thought added to her character.
For Samuel – must is the same as Marchesa. The motorcycle is the type of bike he rides. He loves hot dogs…. all kinds of hot doges. I’m using the moral on the Queen of Hearts card as his character growth.
What are some of the ways you develop your characters?
In my current WIP – Death Wish, Amberlee is a baker and her specialty are cookies :D. Amberlee is very committed to those around her (including her dog – a mastiff) so she tells Joel, she simply can not die until she has completed the cookies for the local volunteer firemen’s fund raiser. Here is my favorite recipe for Chocolate chip cookies – that I call – To Die for Chocolate Chip Cookies (the cream cheese is the smoking gun)….
To Die For Chocolate Chip Cookies
What you need:
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temp
1/4 cup cream cheese, at room temp
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
What you do:
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, cream cheese, sugar, light brown sugar and vanilla extract until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes, scraping down the sides as needed. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the flour mixture, beating to combine, then stir in the chocolate chips.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate the dough for a minimum of 2 hours and up to 3 days.
When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375°F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Drop 2- to 3-tablespoon mounds of dough onto the baking sheets, spacing the mounds at least 2 inches apart.
Bake the cookies for 9 to 11 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool the cookies on the baking sheets for 2 minutes then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.
I’d look to hear what your favorite chocolate chip recipe is…
I know some writers cringe at bad reviews or rejections. To me this is a reader or editor that prefers Snicker candy bars and I write peanut M&M’s. So while I’m sad they don’t ‘love’ it, I know it is all part of the business and can move along.
My biggest fear is that all the plot bunnies will run and hide where I can’t find them! Just last week, I was presented with an opportunity to do a short novella for an anthology. I would have loved to be a part of it but… not ((1)) plot bunny hopped along. YIKES!!!!
Oh plot bunny… come out of hiding I need a story
So where do I go to find the plot bunnies? I have several ‘tricks’ I use to lure the shy little bunnies out. . I know some writers exercise to coax plot bunnies out – doesn’t work for me mainly because I HATE exercising so I’m focused on how soon will I be done. I have three ‘carrots’ that will usually lure a few plot bunnies out for me to play with.
(1) Character file. This is a manila file folder where I store pictures I’ve ripped out of magazines or printed of the internet of ‘interesting’ looking people. I find if I take the file and sit somewhere quite several of the ‘characters’ will shout at me – “hey, I have a really cool story. Let’s tell it.”
(2) I have several decks of tarot cards and an oracle deck. I select several cards at random and then I begin to write down what elements I want to include in a story.
(3) Pictures of scenery. If you follow me on Facebook, you know that I take a ton of pictures of places I’ve been. So if I can’t lure a plot bunny out with 1 or 2 then I shuffle through my pictures looking for a pivotal scene setting.
I have examples of how I use all 3 over on my ‘nice’ twin’s blog: http://www.tasarlaromaney.wordpress.com if you want to see an example of how I use them.
I’d love to hear from fellow writers on you coax the plot bunnies out.
From ~ 1000 Character Writing Prompts, Villains, heroes, and hams for scripts, stories, and more. By Bryan Cohen.
For this weeks prompt, I had my husband pick a number between 1 and a 1,000. He picked 762 – which is in the ‘partiers’ section, at first I thought it would be fun until I read the prompt. Then I had to fight back the urge to tell him to pick another one by reminding myself the purpose for purchasing this book. To expand my character base. So here it goes…
Number 762…His philosophy was that if he remembered what happened the previous night, he obviously didn’t party hard enough. He was obsessed with drinking when came to a party and he loved trying to drink other guests under the table. He had won more one-on-one shot battles and beer pong tournaments than anyone he knew, and he felt they were some of his greatest achievements, even if he had blacked out and forgotten some of them. He thought he was a much more interesting and attractive person when he was completely wasted and that was often how he thought of himself. Would his party life and identity change much when he has to get a more intense job after college?
My first impression is I don’t like this guy. It’s a cookie-cutter of a person with low self-esteem. The party hard college boy fighting growing up angle is over used.
So how can I flip him and make him someone you’d like to read about and not a cardboard secondary character? After a glass of wine, I decided he’s not a hero but a serial killer. So here he is in a nutshell. He drinks to the point he blacks out to suppress his urge to kill. He thinks he more interesting and attractive when completely wasted because he can pretend to be anything he wants and the evil urges fade. The alcohol relaxes him so he isn’t always struggling to keep his dark side hidden. What happens when he gets a more intense job? He has to cut back on his partying – which has been his ‘killer’ outlet. As stress mounts so does his urge to kill. He resorts to weekend binges in an effort to keep the killer at bay. Finally, when he receives a promotion, he celebrates by killing the person who had also been considered.
Is this a character I’ll use? Not sure but I did enjoy traveling down roads unfamiliar with this one. Taking a character that was very cookie-cutter and giving him a twist. And that’s the purpose for these exercises to stretch my ‘character building’ muscles.
How would you twist this character prompt?