On character development (part VI)

The Twirl and Swirl of Letters

The Character’s Wealth, Power, and Influence.
1. Does this person have much money? Does it provide position or respect from others for him

He’s 19. He only has what he’s earned, and doesn’t get any respect for it.
2. Is your character generous or selfish with their money and possessions?

He’s generous with food, but is a bit of a miser.
3. Is the character socially prominent? Are they prominent from wealth, position, office, family history, ability or accomplishment?

No. He hasn’t done much.
4. Does the character rate high in the “pecking order” within their own household? Town? Area? Nation? World?

Nope. In his household, he ranks below his younger sister (or perceives it as such). In his town, he’s known as his parents’ son. Apart from that, no one has any idea who he is.
5. Does this person wield much clout? Over whom and by what means?

6. Can they command others to do their bidding, by word or manipulation?

Only in his dreams.
7. How do they get their desires?

He goes after them himself, using his own money.
8. To whom are they subservient? Is this submission willing or unavoidable?

He’s subservient to his parents and bosses. It’s unavoidable.

On temperature and weather

The Twirl and Swirl of Letters

We get that it’s cold. Or that it’s hot. Or whatever.

But there can be more description to the weather in books over that. Bitingly cold. Sweltering heat. Boring, dull, cliche phrases.

Today’s assignment: come up with something more interesting to describe what it’s like where you live.

The day reminds me of England. Temperature wise, it isn’t that cold, perhaps 40 or 50. But it’s the damp that gets you. That creeping, gloomy damp that seeps into your knuckles and makes them ache. No amount of polar fleece can keep you warm. You shiver, huddling in a blanket, and wonder when it’s time to go to bed. Tea is the beverage of choice, as it alone can warm your core.

On character development (part V)

The Twirl and Swirl of Letters

The Character’s Emotions and Personality

1. Is your character an introvert or an extrovert?

He is very much an introvert. He doesn’t enjoy party situations and has a difficult time meeting new people. He’s talkative enough, but it is very difficult for others to get to know him.
2. Do they get along well with people? Do they have charm or charisma? Are people naturally attracted to them?

He gets along well with those he knows. He’s a bit charming, but it takes time to find it.
3. Do they have many friends? Any close friends?

He doesn’t have a lot of friends, but the ones that he does have are very close. His best friend is actually his cousin/penpal, who he’s never actually met.
4. Would you describe your character as hot-blooded or cool headed?

He’s cool headed.
5. Do they have a narrow or wide range of emotions? Do they show, or are the emotions concealed? Why?

He’s a very emotional person, but does his best to conceal how he really feels. He doesn’t like the idea of people knowing how to get the upper hand when dealing with him.
6. Do they indulge in emotional peaks, outbursts, or valleys? Often?

He tries to limit the amount of emotional outbursts that he has. Exposing his emotions makes him feel weak.
7. Would you describe them as sensitive or callused?

8. Is your character suspicious, cautions, trusting, or oblivious about people or situations?

He’s cautious and would rather observe a situation than jump into it.
9. Are they an aggressive or reactive person? Act or react?

He’s a reactive person, and waits for things to happen to him rather than seeking out new and exciting things.
10. Do they typically take positive or negative action?

Positive. He likes to be happy.
11. In a dangerous or emergency situation, would they go toward the situation or run away?

He’d hover at the edges, able to help if need be, and just as easily run away.
12. Is the character basically nervous or calm?

He’s primarily calm.
13. Does the character have a sense of humor? Do they appreciate jokes? Can he see humor in any situation? Can they laugh at themselves?

He has an off beat sense of humor based on observation. He likes a good joke, but not the typical teenage sex jokes. He finds Judd Apatow boring. He can laugh at himself.

14. Do others find them amusing? Are they a practical joker? What do they think about tricks or jokes played on other people?

Others find him amusing enough. He’s not a practical joker, but loves when other people (not himself) get pranked.
15. Is their humor ever cruel?

Sometimes it borders on cruel, but it never involves the physical or emotional harm of others. Sometimes his humor falls in the black comedy variety, like the work of Martin McDonagh.
16. Are there any conditions that would cause them to be harmful, mean, or cruel to another person?<br />
17. Are they a loving person? Are they capable of relating to one specific person in a romantic way?

He’s a very loving person, but someone has to earn his trust in order to gain his affection. He’s capable of being in a romantic relationship.
18. Is the character loved by any other person, in what way?

He’s loved by his parents in a nurturing way.
19. Is the character romantically in love now? With whom? Is this a happy, rewarding or frustrating situation for them?

He’s not romantically in love, but has a strong attraction to his friend Linda. It’s frustrating for him, because Linda is dating someone else, and he’s too honorable to make a move.

On character development (part IV)

The Twirl and Swirl of Letters

The Character’s Mind
1. Would you describe the character as smart, dumb, or naïve?

He’s very intelligent.
2. Do they think quickly? Slowly? Are they quick-witted? Dull?

He thinks quickly (though never quickly enough for a good comeback), and is quick-witted.
3. What kind of education do they have?

He just completed his freshman year of college.
4. Does the character possess a knowledge or expertise in a particular field?

Not really. Jack of all trades, master of none. His passion is music.
5. Is the character impulsive or deliberate in reaching conclusions? Would you describe them as being logical, rational, or emotional?

He’s very deliberate and thinks everything over. He’s emotional with a touch of logic.
6. Do they think things out before they speak or blurt out the first thought?

He tries to think before he speaks, but sometimes feels like his foot perpetually resides in his mouth.
7. Are they contemplative at times? What occupies their mind when alone?

He is often contemplative, and finds himself thinking about philosophy when he’s alone.
8. Would they be considered an idealist? A pragmatist? A dreamer? An idea person? An action person?

An idealistic, dreaming idea guy.
9. Are they motivated chiefly by abstract ideals or practical rewards?

Ideals and dreams, mostly.
10. Can your character tell a joke?

Not very well. He makes jokes on obscure subjects, and finds that he has to explain them.

On character development (part III)

The Twirl and Swirl of Letters

The Character’s Voice
1. Does your character speak in a high or low pitch?

His voice is tenor in pitch.
2. Are they a loud or soft talker?

He is a soft talker.
3. Is there a wide range in the voice in volume, pitch, quality, or is the voice consistent and even?

His voice is very consistent, except for when he gets very emotional. Then it gets higher in pitch.
4. Is there good resonance to the voice? Is the voice throaty, chesty, heady, or nasal?

His voice is very full.
5. Is there tension in the voice? Anxiety? Emotion?

He tries to speak tension free, but emotion often seeps into his voice.
6. Is there an accent? Anything unusual in pronunciation? Emphasis? Phrasing?

His voice definitely has an American accent, leaning towards New England. Not quite Boston. He sometimes mispronounces words, like “intestine” as “in-test-teen” or “epitome” as “epy-tome.”
7. Is it a trained voice or just natural? Does the character “try” to speak well or just “however it comes out”?

He tries to speak well.
8. Is the speech clear or muddy? Do they mumble? Are they distinct?

Despite his best efforts to speak clearly, he mumbles a lot.
9. Is the voice comforting or irritating? Reassuring or disturbing? Are they self-conscious when they speak to others? How large a group could they speak to before they become self-conscious?

He is very self-conscious and shy, but has no issue speaking in front of people he’s never met. Through him in front of his classmates and he stumbles over what he says. His voice is pleasant to listen to.
10. What is the first thought one might have after hearing your character speak?

That kid has a voice? He sounds nice, I guess.

Inspiration strikes at the weirdest hours

The Twirl and Swirl of Letters

Early yesterday morning (at about 1:30), I started to write. Its a compulsive habit. I need to before I go to sleep, otherwise I’m all thrown off.

Strangely enough, my mind was rather clear. I started to plan out my next novel. I should be working on See My Way (the current one), but instead I decided to write up a quick background on the political situation in The Other One. No, that’s not the working title. It has nothing to do with the story. I’m just rather guarded about the topic.

But it is futuristic speculative fiction.

I’ve never tried my hand at speculative fiction before. I don’t think I’ve read more than one or two stories in that genre.

But I’m trying something different with this one. I’m going to plot everything out to begin with. With an outline. And pre-created characters (with their own character sheets!).

Sometimes inspiration attacks at 2 am. I guess I have to listen to my muse.