Character Outlining, and why it is Important

Character Outlining and why it is important

I used to believe I could conquer the world; I used to believe that the world outside childhood was so much healthier and lively. Yet, as I sit here today, I know that I will never conquer the world; it is an unrealistic dream because honestly, the world sucks. So, instead of the world I was brought into, I create my own and conquer those. It is not easy to create a world of your own, but it is doable. Like I have said in previous posts, writing for me was an outlet. It was a way for me to escape and let my dreams come alive; but allowing your characters to have every dream they possibly could imagine come true, well it is unrealistic too and no one wants to read about perfection. People love misery, destruction, and drama. And that is only half the fun of writing.

Your characters are one of the most important parts of your story, that is, if your story has characters. Characters bring life to the world you have created in your story; they can either ruin your story by being really awful or they can make it the best possible story by making them the best they can be! I know what you’re thinking, “Of course, characters are important, Kat! Who would think otherwise?”

Well, it just so happens that I read a lot. “Oh, well we all do.” No, I mean, I have read a hefty amount of stories produced by friends, family, and/or coworkers, and a lot of them lack something. It took me awhile to figure it out. It wasn’t that the story wasn’t good! But there was always something that I would feel they were missing.

You can send so and so on a mission, making it nearly impossible, show a ray of sunshine, keep me on my toes, have the end looks bleak, and then suddenly,throw in deus ex machina and it all ends well! But, even though I felt the whole climax of the story and enjoyed it, I always felt like I never really knew the characters.

Now, I don’t have any of my own printables to share with you all. But, with my own writing, I research or find inspiration through others blogs. When I say inspiration, I do not mean a whole plot or where to go next with my story-no. This type of inspiration comes in handy when I’m writing because it keeps my mind working. My laptop, when out and about writing, has about twenty tabs going and I am utilizing all the space on my 15 inch screen to have a constant strain of words. It may seem cluttered but that is what works for me and so, that is what I do.

Pinterest is my lifesaver-no really, it is. The amount of information on Pinterest that you can find is amazing; so many bloggers who are so willing to help out fellow writers and to me, that is kind of magical. The issue with this is trying to filter out what is actually helpful, and what is a waste of time.

Eva Deverall has a quick character outline on her blog, which would be useful for a short story where you need a meaningful character, but you don’t have the length to develop them completely. Eva also has so many other resources floating around on her blog and has a specific section just for us writers!

Another one of my favorites, is Fuck Yeah Character Development (FYCD for short). It is a blog that is 100% dedicated to character development, which is pretty freakin’ awesome if you ask me. You can find almost everything you need for character creation here. FYCD is my go-to site when I really need to sit down and think my characters over.

I try to think of my characters as my own children; I want them to be well-rounded and no detail should be left out. Don’t get me wrong, if something isn’t meant to be told in your story, then that is totally fine! I don’t expect every writer to go out and give me this person’s entire life story from the day they were born, because that would be ludicrous and most likely redundant. I want to believe that this character is real when I read a story. I want to be able to feel what they are feeling completely and I want to be emotionally attached to these characters. Creating a character is hard work, which means a lot of effort needs to be put into them to make them as beautiful as they can possibly be!

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

It Takes Some Time…

The fact that my last post said “Till tomorrow” bothers me because I opened up my blog for the first time in ten months and realized I have left my readers with nothing but a summary of the first four years. If that isn’t disappointing, then this will be even more so- I have absolutely no excuse as to why I haven’t written anything for you guys. Isn’t that just pitiful?

I will tell you first and foremost that, along with a couple of adventures here and there, my life has taken a complete turn towards the road of positivity! Who would have thought?! I mean, ten months ago I was in a dark place, and maybe that was why I stopped writing my blog, but again it is no excuse and I have started a story for you all, so I am going to finish it!

road1-675x320

Once upon a time… skip the first four years of my life (because, if you`re really interested in the first four years, you can read the post There is Always a Beginning and catch up, but that is 100% up to you)… and voila! We arrive at a scene I specifically remember; the day we moved into the apartment.

I mean, it was not a fancy apartment by far. It was definitely geared for low-income housing, but my sister, mother, and I, we all made it work. There were three bedrooms, which means I still didn’t have to share. We had a lot of space for activities, at least for I believe there was. Everything is bigger when you’re younger. For the first time, I felt like I had a home with no drama, no issues, no fear. But that doesn’t last forever and when you’re father is late to pick you up on a Friday night and your mom packs you and your sister into the van to go and find him, the drama begins again. Dad would almost always be at the bar; he would go right after work, have a drink with the guys, but one drink was never one drink and time would start to fly by and he would forget about the two daughters, sitting there, waiting for him to pick them up.

The choices my father made, I didn’t understand them then. I would be angry, upset, and aggravated. I would cry because I didn’t understand why he didn’t want to see me or how he could forget about us like that. But now that I am older, I’ve come to realize that it is very easy to give in to temptations. It is easy to go to the bar after work. It is easy to want to rant with the alcohol. And, it suddenly becomes easy to forget.

That was what my father wanted to do. Forget.

He didn’t want to forget my sister and I; sometimes it just happened. He wanted to forget about all the insecurities and pains life has to offer. And I see that now. I am not defending him because alcohol and drugs are not a good relief but I can say that I have come home, and after a long, stressful, and tiring day of dealing with bullshit, I like to have a drink. My personal choice is a glass of white wine and a relaxing bath, but that wasn’t his cup of tea, now was it?

I want to say my mother was the best mom in the world; we all make mistakes, and she did too. Sometimes she was extreme but I believe that I turned out alright in the end so she couldn’t have made too many awful mistakes. We could be closer now, but there are reasons as to why we are not and I am sure I will get to that eventually.

Now, let us fast forward a few more years. Nothing seriously interesting happens in my life, at least, anything important telling. A couple broken bones, a couple burns, bruises, but that was because I was a kid. I started to slowly become my own person; I enjoyed a wide range of hobbies (Video editing, writing, painting, reading, soccer, eventually baseball, and running), I was very independent, and I enjoyed very much being alone to do the things I felt I need to do.

As I said in my last post, I can tell people I like all of these things, but no one knows how I started or how I came to love doing them! I am going to stick with the theme of this blog and tell you how I started to write. And it all started out with my obsession to create!

Before I got heavily involved with computers, I was the kid to spend my whole day and night in bed. I would literally force myself to sleep so I could dream up a whole new world and if I wasn’t in bed doing it, I was on the old desktop computer creating Sims to make them try to live out my dream. I would spend so much time trying to make everything perfect that I would be exhausted after building the house; I wanted it to be exactly how I pictured it in my head…but it never was.

I then found out that I could record videos through The Sims 2. This is where the video editing gig started, and I actually got quite good at it. When I figured out how to pan the camera and manipulate the Sims through different cheats and caches, all I needed was a story. I started to screen write and I loved it. But I was a novice and my characters were matte. I look back at it now and roll my eyes; how did I ever think I was any good? I was never any good at writing screen plays because I didn’t practice enough. And I never did practice because something magical happened.

I got grounded.

I will always love my mom for grounding me this one time; I believe it was because I let my perfect grades slip. I spent all my time practicing my video editing and filming Sims that I never focused on my homework anymore. So, as most parents would, she took away my laptop, my stereo, and my books. Maybe taking away books was a little extreme, but the didn’t want me to be distracted. This was when I seized the opportunity to write my first novel. Well, what I thought was a novel. It can now be characterized as a short story, but to me, the thirteen year old girl back in the day, it was a novel.

I wrote two sequels to that novel/short story as well! And they are pitiful, awful, and horrendous! But I still have them. I still keep them with me, put them on every computer I own, and I read them from time to time. I read them because it reminds me of the passion I once felt in that moment. That moment when I found my source of creating.

Writing has become my antidepressant, my drug, and my absolute life. But I still have more to share with you all. I did not become great overnight; I do not see myself as great. There are still struggles therefore, I am not done with this story just yet; I promise you that I will not take ten months to produce another post.

See you all soon 🙂

 

 

There is Always a Beginning

Telling your own story is always hard. It’s like that first day of elementary school and the teacher asks you to write a quick blurb about yourself so you, and all your classmates, can get to know each other. You scramble to come up with words and in the end, you say something like “I like sports, reading, and writing”. I love all three of those things but what they don’t write is; How did I come to love sports? What kind of sports do I like? Do I play sports or simply enjoy watching them? What genre do I enjoy when reading? Did I always love reading? How much do I read or do I simply say I enjoy reading? What do I love about writing? What do I write? How often do I write? Did I always enjoy writing?

That simple sentence that was, at one point, a jumbled mixture of words in ones head, can literally be so much more than what is actually written there. And that exactly is my point; I love all three of those things but at the same time there is so much more that I love to do besides those three things. And those were not always my favourite things to do and I want to explain why they are three of my favourite things to do. Therefore, I want to start at  the beginning. Not the beginning of my existence, but the actions leading up to it. And I know I told everyone yesterday that I was taking you back twenty years but without the actions leading up to my existence, I wouldn’t be here.

Now, since I wasn’t even a twinkle in my fathers eye yet, this blurb about my parents is what I have managed to piece together from both of their stories. Each of their stories varies a little here and there, that most likely has to do with the hate they have for each other now, but either way, any retelling is only one persons point of view and a thousand other things could be happening around them that someone else may have noted.

Here it goes: A twenty-four year old women decides to go out one night with a group of her friends. She gets a ride with them to the bar, she has a good time, and suddenly, she sees someone she vaguely knows. A thirty-three year old man sitting at the bar, who is dressed like he is at a rock concert, notices her as well. They both begin chatting, her already knowing that he works for her father, and he already realizing that she is his bosses daughter, and by the end of the night, they are hooking up. My conception.

I mean, good for them! They had a great night, they started to chat here and there afterwards, and then my mother realizes she is pregnant. They decide to work it out for the sake of their child; a decision that many people come to when they are in this situation. And for some people, it works. Which is great! No judgement to them whatsoever. They did it and I am proud of them. But for these two people, it was a mistake from day one. These polar opposite people give birth to a daughter nine months later and then, in the bliss of it all, get married five months after she is born. Within that year, they manage to get pregnant again with my little sister. I will never regret being alive, nor will I regret the life of my sister, she is one of my best friends, but the hardships that my parents put us through when we were younger, I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. It didn’t take long for my father to show his true side, but he is not all to blame. My mother is a very good actor as well. My father, who never really amounted to much, is a typical alcoholic who would rather reach for a beer than his own child. His bouts with drugs didn’t help the situation either. My mother suffers from a B12 deficiency, causing depression. Now, she only recently found out about the deficiency and all the side effects. She was on so many medications that it caused the depression to actually worsen and also gave her other side effects. Back then, it caused major mood swings for her the majority of the time, and when you add a drunk to the equation, its not pretty. By the age of three, I was fully aware of everything that was going on between the two (besides the technical stuff, I’m three, lets be real). I would sit there and comfort my sister all night in the small room we shared. She would ask me to make them stop so I would get up out of bed and interrupt their fight by asking for a glass of water. This happened almost every night until one night I found my mother packing up all her belongings. I remember looking at her, the pain smeared all over her face. She had been crying for hours, her eyes puffy and red. I sat down beside her suitcase and asked, “Are we leaving for good this time?”

She took us to my grandmothers house and within a month, the divorce process started. Its hard to share so much detail about something I don’t clearly remember completely. Being so young, the memories are faded and most things I remember were dramatic events. But no memory that is recollected and told is exactly how it happened. As a child, those moments were awful. But they only got worse.

At this point, we are at the age of about four years old. A little less than a quarter of my life summed up in a little less than a thousand words. The older I get in this story, the more I will be able to share and things will become clearer. You guys still don’t know why I love sports, reading, and writing. Till tomorrow 🙂

Making an Obligation to Myself

I keep looking at the time; I have watched it tick by all day. And now that I have finally decided to do something with my time, I realized I had forgotten about something important. I do not plan on being late for this obligation, I simply feel obligated to writing this as well. It has been almost an entire year since I have even thought about this blog. And it crossed my mind on my recent road trip. The truth is, I’ve been having problems. I’ve had some problems finding myself; a part of that self is writing. Writing used to comfort me, it used to be my go-to place where I could escape everything going on in life and now… now I sit here trying, but not succeeding. And there is very good reason for it; I have lost it. I have lost that part of me and it is going to take a lot of work to get it back. At the moment, I want to track my journey back into writing because I need to practice. I need to practice doing something daily that will help me get back into my habit of writing. I have lots of ideas, do not get me wrong, but putting the words on paper or typing them does not seem to be as easy as it once was.

Not only am I tracking my journey, I want to help. I am no expert but the events of my summer seem worthy of sharing. These events have changed me and have made me grow as a person and I know for a fact that there are people just like me out there. They are fighting for something and they just don’t know what it is. I cannot tell you what that is either, everyone needs to find that out for themselves. But maybe, just maybe, my story can help others realize what their battles mean, or where to go with their battles.

This summer, I went through the heaviest bought of depression I had ever had. I used to always tell my friends and family, as a joke at the time, that I would have a midlife crisis at twenty. We would all joke and laugh, giving it the name of “Quarter-life Crisis”. It’s not twenty-five but twenty seems to be that year where its suddenly different. Some people probably don’t agree with me, they would probably be technical about it, or have some cruel thing to say about it. After this summer, I can joke about it because I am ok. But at the time, when my “Quarter-life Crisis” hit me, I was not ok. Not one bit.

My crisis consisted of a lot of things and listing them all at the moment would make it too simple. Saying one thing simplistically is boring and there is so much more to tell than giving you all one sentence on the subject. So, starting tomorrow, I’m going back almost twenty years, to share my story with all of you. It’s upsetting that I don’t have many followers and if I gain anymore, they may never read this specific write up, but that shouldn’t matter. What matters is that I am trying to better myself, and hopefully by sharing the journey, I can help a few others in the process.

Recommendation #2

There is no specific genre I absolutely love. I read whatever catches my attention; I have a bad habit of judging books by their covers. I know that is an awful thing to say, but it is sometimes hard to look past a cover of a book. I have been getting better. My last recommendation was “A Song of Fire and Ice”, also commonly known as “The Game of Thrones”. I was not attracted to the covers at all, but I was hooked the moment I started to read it. My advice for everyone who judges books by their covers is to take a second and pull it off the shelf. Read the back of the book, if it peeks a bit of interest, open it up to a random page and read for a few minutes. It does wonders and you will actually find yourself opening up to different genres.

Today, I am going to recommend a book series called the “Millennium Series”. The books include “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”, “The Girl Who Played with Fire”, and “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest”.

Image

 

It follows a Swedish journalist, Mikael Blomkvist, and a troubled girl names Lisbeth Salander. It is a super good series, it has a lot of action, mystery, and politics. The first book could stand alone if you aren’t interested in taking it any further than the first book. But the action, and the story of Lisbeth, continues to develop the farther you read and you’ll be amazed at what one person, dubbed as an outcast, can do. It can get graphic so if you aren’t very good at handling such things as rape, violence, blood, and crime, then this is not the series for you.

Happy reading everyone!

Writing Tip #2

Somewhere down the road the education system decided that they should throw away the idea of outlining and have students free-write. There is a time and a place for this and when it comes to writing, (depending on what you’re writing) free-writing is not the right choice.

You need to know what you’re going to be writing, for example: a novel, short story, essay, poem. There are many other categories of writing but these are the ones that come to mind. You should outline for almost anything–except free-writing. That may be confusing but if you read my first tip, you will understand that writing is not easy. Neither is outlining.

Outlining is so very important. When you write a novel, some people believe that they can simply write it. They don’t have to organize themselves, they will remember it all–every detail of every scene, character, plot. But we are human, and we forget. Without outlining, things will get messy. You will find later that it is hard to cut out the parts you don’t need. You will find it hard to attach every detail of the plot into one conclusion. Again, this is for a novel.

A poem can work in the exact same way. Without the outlining of ideas, the brainstorm, the organization, your poem can look pretty, but it really doesn’t mean anything or stand out.

I am not saying that outlining is necessary for every piece of writing you decide to produce. But it is a good tool for everyone to use and it isn’t used enough.

Free-writing can be beautiful; I have created some amazing short stories just by free writing, but imagine what I could create by outlining every detail so it fit perfectly? Or if all my ideas were organized first before I simply threw them on the page in a writing spree.

Outline. Outline. Outline! You’ll never regret it, you’ll just hate doing them. You may feel like outlines are destroying your creativity. It is only destroying your creativity if you let it. Besides, if you sit around waiting for inspiration all day, you will never be a writer. Writers plan, and if you aspire to be one, you should too!

Writing Tip #1

There are the people who fantasize about writing; the idea that writing is simple, fun, and easy. These people talk about writing as if it is a God. It isn’t. Writing is hard. It can get easier; it can get tougher–true writers know that it can have its ups and downs.

Therefore, my first writing tip for everyone who aspires to be a writer is… write.

You will never get anywhere if you don’t pull out that pen, pencil, laptop (whatever your choice to writing utensil may be) and write. Many people romanticise about the idea of writing. They dream of themselves sitting in a dark lit café, their pen held high in the air, waiting for that perfect inspiration to hit them. Others, the ones who may write for a living or those who try so very hard to be published, know that writing is rather, well, unsexy. There is nothing particularly sexy or mysterious about sitting at your computer, alone, and writing for hours on end. That person may work on a single sentence for days just to make it sound perfect. That person may edit the same paragraph for months in hopes of perfection. That person may devote so much time to their works that they miss out on important things in life.

Writing is hard but like every hard thing in life, you need to take it in steps. Step by step you will learn, and step by step you will get better. But everything takes time, so keep writing. You’ll get there!

 

 

 

Work in Progress: Poetry

I have neglected this far too long and it is time to hammer down and work on my blog! I decided to upload a bit of poetry to my page. It is not my best work, nor am I good at poetry, but the skill of writing won’t get any better if you don’t practice. There is a lot packed into this small poem; I doubt everything will be noticed. I’m not going to explain it for everyone; it is up to everyone’s interpretation.

You can find it on my “Works With a Hint of Creativity” page, and it is called “A Piece of String”. Enjoy everyone!

Recommendation!

Hello all!

I decided to take a much needed break from studying, as it seems my brain is turning mush. Instead of snoozing or doing something that isn’t productive, I decided to post something! And in this post, I want to make a recommendation for reading to my followers and any new stranglers that come forward within the next little while.

If you have not already heard of the huge commotion about this series, you are completely missing out!

Image

“A Song of Fire and Ice” also well known as Game of Thrones, because of the television show, as taken up much of my spare time. If you are really into fantasy, you will eat these up! If you’ve never taken a stab at something at the fantasy genre, well this is the place to start.

Well, I am going to head back into my study cave (a pile of blankets on my bed, surrounded with notebooks and textbooks). Not like there is much else to do here in the lovely town of Thunder Bay, Ontario where we are currently being snowed in!

Hopefully someone will be tempted to read this delicious and satisfying series. It eyes me from my bedside table every night when I don’t pick it up to read it. Till next time 🙂