30 Days of Writing: Day Twenty-nine

The Twirl and Swirl of Letters

How often do you think about writing? Ever come across something IRL that reminds you of your story/characters?

I think about writing nearly all the time. I could be watching a movie and think of a turn of phrase, a description, something to get me thinking. I always am. I keep a journal beside my bed, in case I have an idea while sleeping.

In the movie viewing, a couple of nights ago I saw Doctor Zhivago for the first time. I was completely engrossed in the film, but during the scenes at Varynkino, I found myself entranced by the windows coated in frost. How to describe them? I wondered, before the words “fractured ice” came to mind.

I love plots, symbols, ideas, above all, characters. I observe, I report, I create.

Do things in real life remind me of my work?

Yes, yes, a thousand times, yes.

People on the street will have my characters’ faces (including one fellow in Edinburgh who not only looked like my character, he played the violin, too). Friends will say things that remind me of my characters, so I write them down for future use. Instances (such as my family going for a swim in the Marriott fountain because the pool was closed post wedding) will end up in stories, too…

30 Days of Writing: Day Twenty-eight

The Twirl and Swirl of Letters

Have you ever written a character with physical or mental disabilities? Describe them, and if there’s nothing major to speak of, tell us a few smaller ones.

Yes, I have. One of my characters is blind in one eye (following a rather tragic accident that I continually ret-con), and amongst my sailors I know I’ve got a few missing limbs.

For the most part, my characters make do. The character who is missing an eye hasn’t adapted–understandably. He’s a pilot by trade and has been grounded.

30 Days of Writing: Day Twenty-seven

The Twirl and Swirl of Letters

27. Along similar lines, do appearances play a big role in your stories? Tell us about them, or if not, how you go about designing your characters.

I’d like to say they don’t, but they do. Ish. I don’t devote large amounts of description (at once) to describing how my characters look, but I do have specific mental images for what my characters look like. It’s along the lines of, if someone were to play my character, who would it be? I like to have a mental image of what my character looks like, in order to describe some feature.

While I may know exactly what a character looks like, I don’t describe him or her as though you’re looking at a photograph. I prefer to describe in snippets, say, “rain dripped off of his aquiline nose” or something to that effect. Later I may mention the character’s eye color (if important, in one of my stories it is important to mention that several characters have the same coloring) or general build.

My thought is, we are largely visual beings. We perceive our world through what we see–why should our characters be any different?

30 Days of Writing: Day Twenty-six

The Twirl and Swirl of Letters

26. Let’s talk art! Do you draw your characters? Do others draw them? Pick one of your OCs and post your favorite picture of him!

Do I draw my characters? Were the Red Sox cursed?

Well, yes, yes I do. I’ve drawn my characters for as long as I can remember. I’ve kept all of my old sketchbooks, and some, like Geoffrey, pop up every so often throughout those.

Fortunately, I don’t have my old sketchbooks with me, so you shan’t have to view any of those atrocious images. I’ll spare you that.

Alas, most of my favorite pictures of characters are in my sketchbooks, so you’ll have to make due with a few that I’ve got stored on my computer. They aren’t my favorites, but I like them nonetheless.



(C) Beth


Peter (2010)

And I’ll add more later…


30 Days of Writing: Day Twenty-Four

The Twirl and Swirl of Letters

24. How willing are you to kill your characters if the plot so demands it? What’s the most interesting way you’ve killed someone?

I will kill a character in the first line of a story if the plot demands it.

I have, actually. And guess what? He is a main character, too, of my forever-in-progress RAF tale.

His death is the most brutal one that I’ve written–he dies of burns sustained when his Spitfire is gunned down. I don’t describe his death–no, it’s mentioned as the cause of death, but we aren’t in the cockpit with him as he receives these injuries. We aren’t in the hospital where he dies. We know he dies, we know how he dies, but we don’t see it, like his friends.

When it comes to character deaths, I’m not a ‘kill’em all’ sort of person. If the plot demands it, then yes, a character, even a primary character, will die. But I don’t kill off characters for the sake of killing off characters. I want the deaths to be poignant, I want them to affect the reader.

30 Days of Writing: Day Twenty-Two (Getting back into the swing of things)

The Twirl and Swirl of Letters

22. Tell us about one scene between your characters that you’ve never written or told anyone about before! Serious or not.

Uh. This is the primary reason why I haven’t updated in over a week. I don’t have an answer.

I write primarily by discovery, and while I do plan out (vaguely) what I want to happen in each chapter, I usually write down a scene as soon as I come up with it. Even if it’s just a backstory scene, it’s written immediately. So I don’t have any hanging around the back of my head, waiting (or not) to be written. If I don’t write something down immediately, I’ll forget about it.