Friday, October 17, 2014

Turning Pages {The Creative Process I}

So about a week ago I finished the first draft of my second book--Yay! It's exciting. Because I get to work on my next book. Oooh. While this last book I finished (Fade Out), is the second book in a series called "A Different Kind of Legacy", the next one I'm working on, Blackberry Heart, is not. It has some of the same characters, but it's stand-alone.

And I'm so-o excited about it! Does this picture show you that? :D

Okay, what really is this blog post about? I'm still trying to figure that out.

As a writer, it's good to explore new ideas and get out of the box. That's why I'm taking a break on my series. It helps the creative process.

In the creative process, it's our job to try new things. To get our brain flowing we need to experiment.
This next novel, Blackberry Heart, is going to be different than anything I've ever written. It's going to be pretty SWEET.

Ah *claps hands* I'm excited. Did I mention that already? Well...

I want to challenge you to try something completely different. Try writing from a different point of view, try writing in a completely different style. Try a different genre. There's so many possibilities.

It can be in short story form, journal form, novel form, whatever you feel like doing! Once you're done, I want you to think about how it helped. Did it inspire you? Give you new ideas? Did it help get your juices flowing?

There are tons of other ways to keep your creativity moving and this is just a way to do it through actual writing. I could go on and on about all the cool things you could do, but that could take a while. Maybe it's for another blog post...

Don't be afraid of messing up. You can't mess up. I repeat: You Can NOT mess up. Some things might turn out pretty bad, but it's not messing up. It's just bad. (Trust me, I have my share of those things).
But...it's writing, there are numerous ways to do things. So many ways. There isn't a wrong way. Find your voice, your style.

It WILL be worth it, no matter how many mistakes you make.

I l-o-v-e comments! So:
1. What types of writing exercises do you like to take part in to keep the creative juices flowing?
2. Are you working on anything that's way different than anything you've ever written? (besides the fact that you're writing it;)
3. Let me know if there's anything you'd like me to write a topic about!

{picture thanks to pinterest and pixlr}

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

A Paradoxical Personality { Characters Who Aren't Hanging Over a Cliff I }

In the series I'm currently working on (A Different Kind of Legacy), I follow the stories of some...humans. With super abilities. I have a sound manipulator, light manipulators, a mindreader, an invisible girl, a guy with Sherlock Holmes type powers, and a girl whose families are trait borrowers.

Ruby Cacera's family are experts in the realm of borrowing personality traits from people they touch. It's like they have this little extra container space in their brain for 'stolen' personality traits. They can pull out any trait at any time and combine it with others to create a whole personality. This is handy for undercover missions. They can become a completely different person from who they really are. Expert actors...and it doesn't really require any hard work. It kind of just happens.

As you might imagine, this can cause conflict between characters who interact with this family. My main protagonist, Darcy Wood la Van, often wonders if Ruby's being completely real with him. She can be anybody she wants...so who is she really? She can easily hide things.

Tragedy happens.

Ruby hides what she's really feeling. Everybody thinks she's doing great. She's laughing, having fun--being her normal weird self. Okay, so she's over the bad stuff. She's moving on. She has God and she's all good. That's what onlookers think.

False.

She's actually really depressed. She isn't eating much of anything. She doesn't know what to do or how to get over this. She would love to just sleep and eat cotton candy. But she pretends for the sake of others.

While Ruby has the superpower to become anybody she wants, whenever she wants, I think we can take away something from this for everyday normal characters.

A person can be scared but brave at the same time. A person can also be humble while proud. Somebody could be a cold-hearted killer...but...still be a warm-hearted parent or friend. Hmm.

Ruby's a naturally brave person. She is, at times ( a LOT of times), reckless. I mean, she goes off into the woods by herself. And at night, no less. She gets hurt all the time, but she takes it all. She's seen worse. She's always seen worse. But...that doesn't mean she isn't scared. Just because she has like 100% bravery, doesn't mean she isn't deathly afraid.

There's tons of things she's afraid of. Maybe she accidentally borrowed fear as a trait...and she just can't shake it. Maybe she's just afraid and can't help it. Maybe it's false fear and there's no need for it. But it's there, nonetheless.

Paradoxical Personality Traits are important to keep in mind while forming a character. It gives depth. Instead of being way over the edge one way, it can add balance.
It's something to think about. What does it mean to have paradoxical personality traits? How will that affect somebody?

Does this make sense? I don't know if I had a plan on where this post was going. Anyway...

I LOVE comments!
So I have a question--do you have any characters with paradoxical personality traits?
What are the traits and how do they come into play?

Picture courtesy of Pinterest and Pixlr...:D And, yes, that is Ruby! (In case you were wondering...)

Monday, September 1, 2014

BACK STORY TIME / Creating a Fantastic Villain I

        Gather around the hearth, dears. Today's story is a Back Story. Or, rather, the importance of it.
We focus a lot on the hero's story. The hero's back story. The hero's life.
But...what about the villain's life? What about the villain's story and past? Do we incorporate that into our story?

  • Why does our villain do what he does? Is he just plain evil? Why is he evil? Somebody doesn't just wake up one day and decide they're going to be evil. I mean, some people might, but for the most part...no. That'd just be weird. 
  • Tragedy, loss, heartbreak, revenge...what fuels your villain? Good villains have depth. They have a life, they have a story. 
  • I like to look at Loki as one of my main villainous inspirations. His back story, his life, his motivations (in the Marvel movies). What drives him to do what he does? Frankly, it all started when Odin breathed Asgardian breath onto a little Frost Giant baby...making him...Asgardian. It's all really cool and kind of confusing and weird, but it's all a main part of the story. Loki grows up in the shadow of Thor's hero greatness. Then he learns he's not even Odin's son. He's a Frost Giant. That's pretty awful.

Now, there's a lot more to Loki's story and I would go further in, but it's not really the topic of this post. That was just a small example.
Sadly...
Okay. Try to stop thinking about the overwhelming sadness of the poor alien.

  • Back story is what often drives the will-be villain to being a villain. Somebody who grows up being hurt and hurt and hurt throughout their life might handle it good or bad. Villains obviously handle it badly. Somebody who is brainwashed (why were they brainwashed??), abused/tortured, or lied to--how do they handle that? (Obviously those who are brainwashed don't have much of a choice, if any). Or is there another reason? Does your villain just love to hurt people? Why do they love to hurt people? There has to be a reason. Even when it comes to aliens, methinks. 
  • My main villain, whose name shall not be mentioned here, has a tragic back story. None of h(is/er) friends know about the suffering this person went through until they cracked. Abused physically, verbally, etc. Nobody helped and they felt stuck. Hated the world, hated life, hated God. Now (s)he just wants to protect angel of a mother and get revenge. 

There's more to my villain than that, but I'm trying to not make this an extremely long post.
But when we understand a villain's back story (or anybody's for that matter), if often gives us a glimpse into their soul. Their current beliefs, reasoning, motivation, values, (EVERYTHING) is going to in some way be affected by their past.
There are a few things you should ask/keep in mind/answer when creating your villain:

1. What family structure did the villain grow up in? (A lot of back story starts at home)
ie: X grew up in a family of four. His mother was an alcoholic and more often than not, came home swearing and being physically abusive to X and his two siblings. X's oldest sibling picked on X until X broke. X's younger sibling clung to X. X's father was never around, and when he was, he was never mentally there or he was always fighting with X's mom. (And how will these things affect X?)

2. What was a normal day for your villain?
A normal day for X was being scared of being hit, yelled at, or being taken from his home. Though he was constantly being abused, he still loved his family, somehow (yes, this is possible). He would go to school and pretend he had a normal family to go home to. After school, he'd pick up his little brother from school and go to the library. He couldn't bear to be at home. Later, he would get physically abused because he didn't come home from school right away. At night, he would listen to his mom yell drunken phrases and argue with his dad. (How will this affect X?)

3. What is the worst thing that has happened to your villain?
4. What if the worst thing that your villain has done? 
5. What is it that your villain does that's so bad?
6. Why did your villain go off the deep end compared to somebody who's gone through the same thing but conquers what's happened to them and turns it for something good?
6. Why is your villain so bad? 
(Remember, there HAS to be a reason of some sort...even if it's a weird reason like:
B adored funnel cakes. Until that fateful day...October 8...the day the clown at the fair stuffed his face into her freshly powdered funnel cake. Now B hates clowns and funnel cakes--she's out to destroy all the clowns in the world and put all the funnel cake businesses out of...business. (There must be some psychological damage inflicted by the clown here, otherwise it's kind of extreme...unless B was already heading off the deep end...or this has happened multiple times...maybe a hundred or so?).

No pure evilness. If you want a developed, deep villain that people can connect with and understand, there needs to be reasons.
BECAUSE OF REASONS!


  • You really have to get into the mind of your villain and find out what makes them tick. That doesn't mean becoming your villain. Please don't do that. That would be crazy and WEIRD. (Unless you're cosplaying your villain for some...reason? o_o still weird...).  
  • But, don't forget to leave some things up to your villain. Let them choose! My villain decided he/she is obsessed with pink donuts that have candy sprinkles on them. (That's another post, though.) 

Obviously there's more that goes into creating a villain than this post that delves more into creating a back story. If nothing else remember:

1. How does the back story affect your villain?
2. What are your villain's reasons for doing what they do/being evil?

Let me know in the comments:
+ What do you like to keep in mind when creating a villain's back story? Is there anything really big that I've missed?
+ Do you have any suggestions for another "Creating a Fantastic Villain" post?
+Otherwise, please comment anyway! I love to talk to people! (especially online because I'm horrible at formulating sentences most of the time when talking to people in person. I really should work on that.)

Tallyho!
(photo thanks to stuff on pinterest...and pixlr editing)

Saturday, August 30, 2014

A Time for Driving

     So, on Thursday, I got my permit. Exactly a week from my 17th birthday. On Friday I drove.
Let's make one thing clear: I don't really want to drive. I know I have to and all that because I'll probably be going off to college next year, but I don't really want to drive.

But I did it. And today I'm going to do it again...sometime. It wasn't horrible. I'll admit that much. But it wasn't the best thing in the world, either.

I can't help but think: "If I'm ever in a car crash, I can use it as reference for my writing!" Seriously, that's what I think about, a LOT. Of course I don't want to be in a car accident, but if I ever am...

As in the words of Julie Wright: "What doesn't kill us gives us something new to write about."
There are many ways that quote could go wrong, but let's content ourselves with being comforted by that thought, I guess...

I can make turns, somewhat. I didn't exceed five miles per hour and I hardly pressed on the gas pedal. Once instead of turning on the blinker, I turned on the windshield wipers--then I tried to press the brake so I could figure out how to turn off the windshield wipers but accidentally pressed on the gas pedal.

That freaked my mom out.

But we're okay. No accidents to write about yet. I guess I'll just have to research those more.

/ Rachel Lester /

First blog post, yay! More to come sometime...as long as I don't crash today.
By the way, the picture in this post is not where I get to practice, but I didn't know what else to add so I can link this to Pinterest...