Showing posts with label writing characters. Show all posts
Showing posts with label writing characters. Show all posts

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Writing - Sometimes It Isn't Smart to Avoid Cuss Words


By Carolyn Howard-Johnson


Many who know me—personally or as a writer--think of me as that sweet woman with the silver hair (platinum, if you please, but not gray!). However, I can on occasion—and sometimes more frequently—let loose with language you would unfriend me for. So I was thrilled to see an article in AARP: The Magazine titled “In Praise of Cussing.”

It turns out that a few carefully chosen zingers can be “an indicator of intelligence” according a study from Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts and Marist College in New York.

Yay!

And expletives can help “reduce and endure physical pain” as well. That’s from Keele University in England. Yep. And “forge better teams in the workplace” and “communicate more persuasively.”

One survey even says I am in good company (meaning the majority!). Fifty-seven percent of workers swear on the job. (I do try to avoid doing that! And I also almost never swear when I am driving! So there!)

So, I don’t think you’ll ever find an unsavory expletive in my newsletter, but you are sure to find idioms and colloquialisms everywhere. I do try not to let even my foulest fictional characters cuss beyond what is needed for their character and the situation. And, yes sometimes I use words with lots of syllables, too, especially when they say things better than the short ones (which is rarely).

All this is not to encourage writers to cuss. It is to remind them that if the words they use in dialogue are too. . . mmmm. . .staid, they may render them . . . well, let’s say unnatural? Or stilted?

One of your characters may just be the type who must have a potty mouth if she is to seem real to your reader. And sometimes that character won’t be the tough-talking dude cliché. Those who write humor know that tough-talking character may be a fragile woman with gray. . . er. . . platinum hair.


Carolyn has been a proud contributor to Writers on the Move since its inception. Carolyn Howard-Johnson brings her experience as a publicist, journalist, marketer, and founder and owner of a retail chain to the advice she gives in her HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers and the many classes she taught for nearly a decade as instructor for UCLA Extension’s world-renown Writers’ Program. All her books for writers are multi award winners including both the first and second editions of The Frugal Book Promoterand her multi award-winning The Frugal Editorwon awards from USA Book News, Readers’ Views Literary Award, the marketing award from Next Generation Indie Books and others including the coveted Irwin award. Her newest book in the HowToDoItFrugally series for writers is How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically.

Howard-Johnson is the recipient of the California Legislature’s Woman of the Year in Arts and Entertainment Award, and her community’s Character and Ethics award for her work promoting tolerance with her writing. She was also named to Pasadena Weekly’s list of “Fourteen San Gabriel Valley women who make life happen” and was given her community’s Diamond Award for Achievement in the Arts. Her Web site is www.howtodoitfrugally.com.

MORE ON WRITING


Tips on Polishing Your Novel
How to Catch an Acquisition Editor's Attention
Pros and Cons of Outlining Your Novel



Sunday, May 17, 2015

Writing Abundance!


So much written about the fact there are only 7 stories or themes for writers to work with.

1. Man against man
2. Man against nature
3. Man against himself
4. Man against God
5. Man against society
6. Man caught in the middle
7. Man and woman
                        Sir Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch

While there may only be 7 stories or themes, there is an abundance of ways to tell your story.

1. Characters: Create full-bodied characters. This means that while they may be handsome or pretty they could also have a mean streak. Or perhaps they are plain and have a deep reservoir of knowledge or compassion that makes them beautiful. Are they missing a limb, a moral high ground, or an education?

2. Word Choice: Surprise your reader each page. Work to use a little known or used word. Engage your readers. Word choice is the perfect way in which to do that. I find that reading my work out loud showcases the monotony of words and also the monotony of sounds used. Play with language and create something that stands out among the rest. As Ernest Hemingway said, "Use vigorous English."

3. Setting: Create your setting as you would a character. Give it depth. Give it a major role in the story. Work to incorporate your setting over and over again so that your reader never forgets where they are. Keep them grounded. As with all things in life, we each perceive a setting differently. The Wyoming mountains can be majestic or intimidating. The prairie vast or empty. Let your reader know how your character views their landscape in a way that opens your reader's eyes to a new way of thinking.

4.  Sentence structure: Find ways to use sentence structure to enhance your story. Vary lengths - long and short sentences. Vary paragraph length too. Use sentences in a way that they bind the reader to the story. Short sentences can increase anxiety - showcase action. Long sentences can create deep feelings.

Tell a story so that your reader never wants to leave it. Tell a story that engages, wraps your reader's emotions into a ball, pulls them inside out and makes them feel something - anger, fear, strength, love, hope, or promise.

________________________________________
D. Jean Quarles is a writer of Women's Fiction and a co-author of a Young Adult Science Fiction Series. Her latest book, House of Glass, Book 2 of The Exodus Serieswas written with coauthor, Austine Etcheverry.

D. Jean loves to tell stories of personal growth – where success has nothing to do with money or fame, but of living life to the fullest. She is also the author of the novels: Rocky's Mountains, Fire in the Hole, and Perception.The Mermaid, an award winning short story was published in the anthology, Tales from a Sweltering City.

She is a wife, mother, grandmother and business coach. In her free time . . . ha! ha! ha! Anyway, you can find more about D. Jean Quarles, her writing and her books at her website at www.djeanquarles.com

You can also follower her at www.djeanquarles.blogspot.com or on Facebook.



Saturday, December 4, 2010

What is required for a character to be believable?

J.D. Holiday is the author and illustrator of two children’s books: Janoose the Goose, picture book and a chapter book for six to eight year olds, THE GREAT SNOWBALL ESCAPADE. A chapbook of her short stories called, Trespasses was published in 1994 and she has had short stories printed in literary magazines and numerous articles about writing and publishing published. She is a member of The Society of Children’s Writers and Illustrators, (SCBWI) and Small Publishers of North America, (SPAN). J.D. Holiday lives in the Delaware Valley of Pennsylvania.

We chatted with J.D. Holiday about the process of creating characters and how it is so varied. We suspect there are as many methods as there are authors and every writer must do what works for him or her. However, learning each other’s techniques helps us hone our own writing skills.

J.D. Holiday’s Tips on How to Make a Character Believable

A believable character is one that can show human traits and emotions through body movement and dialog. Know your characters well.

Each character must have an identity; name, age, background, a hobby or two and likes and dislikes. Your readers have to see where your characters live what the characters think and feel about the situations they find themselves in.
1. Do they play an instrument?
2. Do they run in the park mornings or in the evenings?
3. Who are their friends? And on and on.

I put myself in their shoes and use myself as a model for all sorts of emotions and problems my characters face. This applies to even emotions I have not felt or traits I don’t have. If my characters have to be something I am not or feel what I have not, I picture myself being or doing what my characters must and write it down.

Do an outline sketch of each one and even with all of that, your characters, especially your main character should standout and for the most part, are likable to the readers.

The characters personalities have to be consistent throughout the story.

That's the basic recipe for character creation. I hope it helps you get your characters off the ground and running. Remember- characters are the building blocks of story- don't forget to spend time on your characters before you dive into your first draft.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~





A little about “The Great Snowball Escapade”:
Wilhemena Brooks’ cousin, Bud Dunphry come to live with her family. Wil, as she likes to be called, finds her pink pencil sharpener is missing after Christmas. Wil knows Bud has it! Who else would have taken it? Her mother told her to be nice to Bud and to treat him like she would like to be treated. If Wil treats Bud nicely does that change anything for her?

Publisher: Book Garden Publishing, LLC
ISBN Number: 978-0-9818614-2-5
Publication Date: March 16, 2010

Places where J.D. Holiday’s book is available for sale other than Amazon.com: B&N.com, Books-a-million.com, Powell's Books.com

E-books on sale at: Amazon, B&N, Scridb, LULU, and soon at Google Editions


Blog Address: http://jdswritersblog.blogspot.com/


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