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Posts Tagged ‘how to’

Split Personality #2When characters do the unlikely, impossible, or uncomfortable, they’re called Contorting Characters.

Characters often contort when you create compound sentences.  Sometimes the contortions aren’t horrible, and the reader will probably understand what the writer intended.

For instance, Jim walked across the room and looked out the door. By using and, it’s implied that Jim was looking out the door at the same time he crossed the room, which is certainly possible, but perhaps not what the author intended.  At best, it’s unclear, since the author could have meant that Jim crossed the room TO look out the door, or crossed the room and THEN looked out the door.

AND implies things occur at the same time.

TO and THEN imply a chronological order to events.

In our example about Jim, it probably isn’t a big deal if the reader misconstrues our meaning.  After all, whether Jim looks out the door as he’s walking, after he’s walking, or is walking across the room with the purpose of looking out the door may not make that much difference.

Sometimes, however, authors can have their characters doing the impossible.

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3d clown - puppet, juggling with color ballsWriting poems is a lot like juggling – you have to remember to do so many things all at one time. If you are writing a rhyming poem, Rhyme Zone can definitely help.

www.rhymezone.com

It is an online rhyming dictionary that gives rhymes by number of syllables and indicates the more common rhymes.

You can also find synonyms, definitions, and much more.  Check it out.

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Orange Man Talking BubbleSPEAKING OF DIALOGUE…

I have a friend who speaks easily and with lots of expression.  It’s as if the thoughts swirling in her head are pushing the words out of her mouth. She can do this for a long time! Her husband however, doesn’t say much.  When he does, I lean in to listen. He speaks so quietly and so carefully that sometimes I want to finish his sentences.

When writing fiction, it’s important to make your characters sound different from each other.  But how?

One way I do this is to give characters certain expressions that they repeat fairly often. In my novel, BLUE, Bessie Bledsoe responds to bad things by saying, “Have mercy.”  That suits her personality because she’s the sort of neighbor who comes in with hugs and an apple pie to cheer up my other characters when they need it.

In THE WEDNESDAY WARS by Gary Schmidt, 7th grader, Holling Hoodhood often starts his sentences with, “Let me tell you”. This opening phrase is perfect for Holling because his life is full of drama and he is going to tell about it. (My advice? Get The Wednesday Wars and read it!)

Humor, sarcasm, and moodiness are also tools for creating unique speech.  And of course, some characters will be educated while others might use lots of poor grammar or maybe just one incorrect speech pattern that sets them apart. Making use of speech that reflects a region or ethnic group, is also highly effective! (But it’s tricky – proceed carefully.)

If you need help making characters sound individual, try listening to your family or a group of friends while eating pizza or watching TV. You might even want to take a few notes. Just don’t tell your brother he’s about to show up in your first novel.

Joyce Moyer Hostetter

Author, Historical Fiction

COMFORT (Blue sequel)

BLUE

HEALING WATER

BEST FRIENDS FOREVER

http://www.joycemoyerhostetter.com

http://www.joycemoyerhostetter.blogspot.com

TALKING STORY (E-Newsletter)

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Every story needs a strong main character.

How do you create a good protagonist?

  1. The protagonist is usually the character who has the most to gain—or lose—in the story.
  2. A protagonist doesn’t have to start out being a good guy, but more often than not he becomes heroic by the end, because we like to root for the good guy.
  3. The protagonist should be someone you—and your readers—can like and/or admire.

Find out more about creating strong and sympathetic characters in the members’ section of the YAAGroup.org.  Visit:  www.yaagroup.org

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showdonttellSomeone recently asked about “Show, Don’t Tell.”

Once you get the difference, it’s easy.

Let’s say you’re writing a story where it rains. If you’re telling, you’d say “It is raining.”

If you’re showing, you’d describe the sound of the raindrops pattering on the roof, the way the lightning lights up the room or the rainbow as the sun comes out, the smell of the wet leaves or the way the dampness makes your hair frizz.

Showing is description, but it can be emotion too.  An example of telling would be “I’m scared of the lightning.”

Showing would be “The flash of lightning lit the room.  A shiver ran up my spine and my heart stopped for a moment while I counted the seconds until the thunder roared.  Three seconds.  Too close.  My heart pounded and I dove under the covers.”

There’s lots more information on this topic in the Member’s Section of the YAAGroup.

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Perspective is a technique artists use to depict distance and three-dimensional depth on the two-dimensional surface of their paintings.

If you look down a straight road, you will notice the road gets narrower and smaller until it finally disappears.  This point at the end of the road is called the vanishing point.  It has been used in art, since the 1400’s in Florence, Italy, when artists realized this added realism to their paintings.

Members of the YAAGroup will find instruction on drawing perspective and projects to work on to improve your artisitc skills.  http://www.yaagroup.org/join.htm

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Alfred University in Western New York state offers two Creative Writing Institutes for students entering grades 10-12 who love to write and want to improve their skills.

Each institute provides an introduction into a variety of genres: poetry, short fiction, drama, and creative nonfiction.

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