Tuesday, April 27, 2010

As a writer have you ever felt like the task of assembling a cast of characters is akin to hiring personnel to guard the President? Often that is what it can feel like if you don’t have a strategy to help you to perfect those memorable, yet fictitious beings.

Developing characters that readers will remember and talk about as if they were real, takes skill, a vivid imagination and WORK. One of the best ways to build your characters is getting to know them, and at times, become them. Get inside their heads and feel what they feel, see what they see, walk and talk like them. Sound crazy? To some it may be, but there is a line from Driving Ms. Daisy that stayed with me. The scene was that of Ms. Daisy making a statement of assumption to her driver Hoke. His simper yet profound response was, “How can you see what I see, lest you seeing through my eyes?”

How can you the writer be true to the reader lest you know who your characters are from the inside out and present them in a way no other author could?

Start with a character chart. You don’t have to marry the first draft, just sketch them out and then take a look at how you have or plan to use them to move the story along.

I once read that the characteristics of a character should be written in such a way that your reader will know who they are even if their name doesn’t appear in the scene. So how do you do that? Add those little idiosyncrasies that may not initially be picked up, but are key to who they are, what could possibly transpire if they show up or you tick them off. Equally as important to building the character is their profession, education, life experiences, family dynamics, personal fetishes and much more.

I will reiterate that building strong characters takes work, but it can also be fun. Bounce their personalities of a few friends or professionals who can help bring clarity to road blocks.

Thanks for stopping by. Hope this has been helpful to you. I invite you to return next Tuesday. Our topic will be Too Much Drama. Until then – blessed and don’t forget to use your words to bear good fruit.


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The End Result

Consumers  have an expectation of a great return on their investment. Book buyers are no differenct. If a reader has invested finances and time to read your work, the least they are owed is a work that is stimulating, insightful and one that offers a feasible ending.

There are other elements of expectation, but today we will deal with that often debated subject of the ‘End Vision Strategy – The Feasible Ending’.

Please note that the ending of your story can make or break the story. If you have guided your reader through a course that is reasonably intriguing only to leave them mystified or disappointed at the end, you may have lost a potential fan. Not only that, but they may not recommend the read to others or (heaven forbid) they discourage others from reading your book.

The ending of your story mus be able to support the action, plot and storyline it was built upon. It must tie up all the loose ends and turn on the light over the expertly placed hints left in previous chapters. Above all, the strong ending must make sense and render an aura satisfaction to the reader for not only their financial and reading investment, but to a degree, for the characters you have created.

In order to achieve that goal, throughout the writing process, take the time to look at the synopsis you have written for your story. Now, look at what you have written and determine if you are headed in the right direction.

Haven’t written that synopsis or determined what the ending will be? STOP right where you are.

They synopsis is vital to what you are writing. It is your roadmap that clearly gives definition to the adage, ‘you can’t get to where you’re going if you can’t see your destination’. Your synopsis and storyline will help you to determine where you are, if you’re on the right track and if you working toward building that strong ending every reader deserves (where you’re going). If you haven't done so, NOW is the time to do so.

Please note that the strong ending does not necessarily mean that it is a HAPPY ending, but it must correlate with what you have built the story to be. In other words, it must deliver the goods.

I hope that you find this information helpful and that it will serve as an encouragement to you as you make your way toward writing that dynamic book the world is waiting for.

Please join us next week when we will look into character development. Until then – be blessed and don’t forget to use your words to bear good fruit.


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Is This Feasible?

How many times have you received promotions for upcoming books that immediately spark your interest? Within days, advertisements of the release land in your inbox, are discussed on popular writing groups and show up on major literary promotion sites. The buzz is all around and rather than wait, you preorder the book and eagerly await its arrival.

The blessed day arrives and without reserve you tear open the cardboard wrapping separating you from that coveted read. Its cover is appealing. You fondle it as if it were a Braille primer. It looks good, it feels good and you carry it to your favorite reading spot. Curled in the reading position your family already knows that acceptable interruption must be in the category of someone having lost a limb or the house being on fire.

Marathon reading has now begun – or has it?

Several chapters in, you’re scratching your head. What? How could that happen? No, that’s not realistic given the timeline, profession. What is the name of this book?

You press on, hoping that it will all make sense in the end and that this read will not become an exercise in futility. But, it is. It is simply because the great idea the story was predicated on and promoted as, never happened. It didn’t due to lack of:

*End result vision
*Character development
*Too much drama
*Too many walk on characters taking up story development space
*Absence of appropriate research

The list of story-maiming possibilities can go on, but for the sake of space we will not go into overkill.

As writers it is our responsibility to give the reader a positive return on their investment. That starts with an end result strategy. What that means is that you see the end the work towards bringing the story to an end that can reasonably support the vision.

If you are willing to follow as we go along, on Tuesday April 20th we will begin working on the end result strategy. Feel free to invite a friend and/or mail any questions you have to lindaonassignment@yahoo.com using Feasible in the subject line.

Until then – be blessed and don’t forget to use your words to bear good fruit.