Archive for October, 2007

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100 Character Traits You Can TOTALLY Steal from Me: Part II

October 22, 2007

Okay, well, it’s time for me to finish this list, or at least try to take a bite out of it, right? I said that the first 50 were mundane traits that people might have, and I intend to make the second part of the list something that might be considered extraordinary or supernatural. I hope you enjoy these as much as you enjoyed the first list.

  1. Can turn electronic appliances on and off with his or her mind.
  2. Can walk two inches above the ground (it’s levitation, Holmes)
  3. Can alter the chemical make-up of any food or beverage and change it into any other food or beverage
  4. Upon hearing someone speak, he or she can immediately know their greatest fear and greatest joy.
  5. Knows who were the last five people to handle an item just by holding that item.
  6. Is able to locate any person he or she has met face-to-face.
  7. Can think words onto paper (don’t we all wish we could do that?)
  8. Sees and can communicate with the spirits of trees and plants.
  9. Can recite and play any parts of a song, composition, or speech.
  10. Can change his or her face to look like any person they have seen.
  11. Can ether-walk (become incorporeal).
  12. Can memorize entire books within fifteen minutes.
  13. Can create autonomous copies of him or her self.
  14. Can summon invisible guards or scouts.
  15. Can speak and understand any language.
  16. Can put people to sleep with a thought.
  17. Moves through bodies of water as small as a puddle or a birdbath.
  18. Can replicate any sound, flawlessly.
  19. Is immune to the effects of toxins, drugs, poisons, etc.
  20. Has bones that cannot break.
  21. Is not burned by fire.
  22. Receives visions from smoke or steam rising from cigarettes or cups of coffee.
  23. Can make people say anything he or she wants them to.
  24. Is marked to ascend into a greater being.
  25. Can increase size and strength by up to fifty percent.
  26. Cannot be cut or stabbed.
  27. Gains powers from finding fossilized stones.
  28. Gains control over things by knowing their true name.
  29. Always has the precise amount of money to purchase any specific thing.
  30. Can draw sickness out of other people.
  31. Is able to see through others’ eyes
  32. Can focus a single sense to exponential levels.
  33. Mends broken objects.
  34. Can change his or her hands into any object he or she has touched.
  35. Can travel through dreams.
  36. Can alter the genetic structure of plants and animals the size of a dog or smaller.
  37. Can see patterns and sequences and decrypt codes easily.
  38. When standing stationery, can see up to one million years worth of the history of all the land within sight.
  39. Can instantly imitate any skill he or she sees.
  40. Can tell if someone is telling a lie or the truth.
  41. Can travel through mirrors.
  42. Is able to communicate with someone by holding a picture of them.
  43. Can cause mutation in people or animals, causing them to evolve into an extra-sentient state (i.e. granting them powers)
  44. Can deliver an electrical shock by touch.
  45. Can walk through any terrain without leaving a trail, physical, or scent.
  46. Can sense the onion skin of a person’s aura. (This one’s tough to explain. In movie editing, and onion skin allows you to see multiple frames at one time which is really helpful in animation. This allows the character to see where a person has just come from and where they will be heading by seeing them there.)
  47. Can interface mentally with any electrical network.
  48. Knows the exact nutritional content of any food or drink.
  49. Knows how any device functions just by handling it briefly.
  50. Can gain complete control over any muscles or organs in a person’s body.
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Plugging Ahead

October 19, 2007

I think it’s amazing how creating ideas inspires you to create other ideas.  I added just over 1,000 words to my Shadowgrove story for the 70 Days project and had a couple more ideas that just had to be started.  One is a modern fantasy and the other is a futuristic story which may or may not turn into fantasy or science fiction.

You can see my progress in these stories on the sidebar to the right, so I won’t add the redundant data here, but the whole thing has me working on new ideas for weblogs that I can research, write, and publish for other authors so that my experiences are added to the collective at the same time that I’m using those of others.

Right now, I’m working on the outline and/or thesis of a weblog that I’m going to entitle “Receiving the Muse” all about grabbing influences and ideas from the mundane around you.  Something as simple as spilled flour on the counter can give me ideas (and has recently), so I want to explore that idea a little, perhaps research the inspirational process of other authors and make a post on it.

If you’re a writer and you have a special way for “Receiving the Muse,” then comment here or contact me directly so that I can include you in my, um, study?  Yeah.

In addition to that, I think that I may start working on my remaining 50 character traits, provide a different look at character sketching, provide a few sketches, and then a brief one on coming up with enticing names for characters (mundane, futuristic, or fantasy).

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Character Sketches

October 18, 2007

Do you ever wonder how far you should go with you ideas about a character before you actually dig in and start writing? Sometimes I completely ignore any character pre-work and just start letting the ideas spill through my fingertips and onto the keyboard. Other times, when I have a more specific goal in mind with a character, I find that I prefer to jot down some notes, make a sketch (not a drawing) of the character, and explore some ideas. Believe it or not, this can also be helpful in finding some direction for a budding story idea and provide the opportunity to think more about the back story and how it may affect the character you’re sketching and others whom he or she encounters in the story.

Here are some categories of things I have included while sketching up a character as well as an example of a sketch that I’ve done recently for a new story that I’ve just begun writing. I hope that you find it useful, and feel free to steal as many of these ideas as you like. I pray they’re good enough to be stolen. 🙂

  • The Givens
    These are the things that you almost NEED to know about any given character to even be able to put him or her on paper (or into your word processor). They give the general descriptive attributes of a character. Obviously, this sketch template is designed more toward a modern fiction character. You’d adjust these for using historical, science-fiction, fantasy, or other drastically different character.

    • Name
    • Age
    • Height
    • Ethnicity
    • Hair Color
    • Hair Style
    • Eye Color
    • Profession
  • Details
    A great deal can be said for the details. Knowing some of these things about your character can really help you get in their mind, understand how they see the world, and create engaging dialog, scenes, and descriptions.

    • Facial Attributes
      Here, you can lay out some more specific notes about the size, shape, color, texture, or other pinpointed detail about a character’s face.

      • Nose
      • Mouth
      • Chin
      • Cheeks
      • Skin condition
      • extras (e.g. freckles, dimples, moles, beauty-marks, and more)
    • Body Attributes
      How is your character built from toe to neck? Is she skinny, ample, fat, tall, short, gargantuan? Does he have broad shoulders or hunched ones. Are her arms long and lithe, or short and stubby with flying squirrel flaps?

    • Where does your character buy his/her clothes?
      This actually says a lot about the character and in most instances, you can take a day and visit the local mall to scout out potential duds for him or her.

  • The Weird Stuff
    For this, I recommend checking out my 100 Traits weblog to get a good idea of what I mean. These are the things that MAY really make your character pop. They will certainly create an intimacy between you and them. These are better laid out as questions you can ask yourself about the character rather than things you can pick from a list. I really recommend sitting at a crowded place (sporting event, local mall, orgy) and WATCHING people to pick some of these up. We all have our idiosyncrasies, but you can find some wicked quirks by looking no further than the mirror.

    • Behavior Traits: How does your character approach life? I like to break this down between nature and face. The nature is the underlying truth of the character, but the face is what others may see. This will help you distinguish between what the character says, thinks, and does.
    • Quirks: Like I said above, everyone has them. Maybe your character’s eye twitches when he or she lies. These add tons of flavor.
    • What does your character think about death or the afterlife?
    • Does your character believe in aliens?
    • Does the character put his or her socks on before or after their pants?

Anyhow, this right here should be a great start to get the feel for your character(s). I know that I can do a lot with a new character on far less than this, and when I think about my characters a list like this is going on somewhere in the background.

I hope you’ve enjoyed it and I encourage you to StumbleUpon Stumble Me!

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Writing Challenge: Day Three

October 18, 2007

Well, I’m still not really happy with the first four pages because I don’t think they start as quickly as I’d like the story to, BUT I am really into the next six that have been poured from the leaky pitcher that is my imagination.  The story and characters are already starting to take some form even this early in the composition.  That makes me happy.  I feel like I’ve really stepped into them and I enjoy living vicariously through my characters.

Okay, so when I stopped writing on the third day (my days are different than yours because I work third shift), I ended at 3,001 words.  That’s friggen cool.  I’m happy for it.  It’s a lot to have done in three days of a seventy day challenge especially when I started a day late.

I’m contemplating whether to stay on track with just this story or work on some of my other  unfinished stories.  Well, my brother is here, so I’m gonna take off.

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100 Character Quirks You Can Steal from Me

October 17, 2007

Okay, well, I decided that I wanted to contribute and as part of my new commitment to writing more and being more involved in the writing of others, I thought that it might be neat if I can come up with a list of personality quirks or traits that someone might find useful in fleshing out a character. I mean, even though the plot is important, it doesn’t mean anything without a character that the reader can sink into and relate to.

Here goes.

Normal Traits/Quirks

  1. Carries a large coin which he or she is always rolling over his or her knuckles.
  2. Is a habitual sniffler even when he or she is healthy.
  3. Regularly looks up at the sky to check the position of the sun/moon and comments on it.
  4. Always knows the direction he or she is traveling in (which really annoys my wife).
  5. Corrects people when they use colloquial speech.
  6. Is never seen without a baseball cap or stocking cap (except, of course, in bed or the shower)
  7. Whistles the Scarecrow/Tin Man/Cowardly Lion song at random time and refuses to stop.
  8. Ends declarative sentences with in interrogative inflection?
  9. Is a mush mouth.  Think Boomhauer of “King of the Hill”.
  10. Is an incessant fidgeter and is always touching his or her face or head.
  11. Dots his or her i’s with a smiley face or heart (respectively or inversely for humor’s sake).
  12. Is unable to digest proteins correctly and gets very ill if too much protein rich food is consumed.
  13. Compulsively interrupts people telling stories to interject facts about the story that he or she only knows because they have been told the story before, not because they were involved with it.
  14. Makes up random lies about unimportant things for no reason.
  15. Has a weakness for rescuing stray animals.
  16. Gets physically angry when people mispronounce a certain word (e.g Illinois, precedent as president, especially as expecially).
  17. (cheat) Regularly mispronounces a certain word or uses redundant terms (e.g. PIN number, ATM machine, Hot water heater–if it’s hot, does it need to be heated?).
  18. When stressed or lying, speaks from the corner of his or her mouth.
  19. Profusely sweats even when at rest.
  20. Is unable to take advice from anyone because he or she thinks that they know it all.
  21. Uses mundane items as toys (e.g. bottle caps, straws, chopsticks).
  22. Cannot drink anything with ice in it.
  23. Is strongly susceptible to “brain freeze.”
  24. Doesn’t wash his or her hands after using the bathroom.
  25. When dining out, always tidies up the table and resets the condiments.
  26. Walks in the middle of any aisle, sidewalk, or other shared walkway causing people to have to move around him or her.
  27. Drags his or her feet.
  28. Only drinks from plastic or paper cups and cannot stand the feel of glass in his or her hand.
  29. Draws random doodles on any piece of paper in front of him or her and always carries a pen or pencil to facilitate this habit.
  30. Wears only new socks.
  31. Has several hidden body piercings or tattoos that regular clothing conceal.
  32. Always stands with his or her hands behind their back, sometimes in an “at ease” position, though he or she was never in the military.
  33. Excessively uses initials or acronyms for common AND uncommon phrases and doesn’t bother to explain them.
  34. Doesn’t eat green things.
  35. Strongly dislikes the sound of chewing and hums a quiet song while eating.
  36. Has the ability to speak in a cartoon-like voice which sounds little or nothing like his or her real voice.
  37. Is thrifty nearly to the point of obsessive or compulsive nature.
  38. Is always at least ten minutes early to any meeting or appointment.
  39. Can calculate the total of any items put in a shopping cart and tax to within $0.05.
  40. Generally submits to the ideas and suggestions of others without thinking of his or her own needs.
  41. Readily puts him or her self in the way of danger without careful consideration.
  42. Always has change in his or her pocket to give to beggars or homeless.
  43. Is always trying to recruit people to his or her religious/philosophical beliefs.
  44. Constantly quotes favorite movies and can usually identify the movie that a quote may come from.
  45. Overly honest person, always telling the truth even to his or her own detriment.
  46. Takes stupid bets/dares for small amounts of money.
  47. Has several parts of his or her body that are double jointed and bend or flex in an unnatural or uncanny manner.
  48. Writes with left hand, but does everything else right-handed.
  49. Can only see out of one eye or hear out of one ear.
  50. Is susceptible to malapropisms or spoonerisms.

Okay, well, I said 100, but that’s only 50.  I was going to write a list of supernatural or extraordinary traits/quirks, but I’m going to save that for later.  I hope you’ve enjoyed this list, and feel free to add suggestions.  I’ll put the good ones in the post and give credit for them!

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Shadowgrove: The New Story

October 17, 2007

Okay, well, I’ve made my first start into a new story. Whether this will be a full-length novel or a short story remains yet to be seen. I started it as part of this 70 Days of Sweat thing that Jambrea turned me on to. I’ve gotten about 500 words written already and I’m stoked about finishing my first day’s assignment.

At this point, the story is flowing out well, but I’m not getting a major sense of drive.
I thought that I had a good idea for the opening, but I think that my need to identify the characters has put a bosh on the action or suspense or discovery that I wanted to feel right off the bat.

I remember when I was writing Sybur (my first complete manuscript; as of yet unsold) that it popped right away. This one isn’t doing that, even though the story pops in my head. I’m thinking that perhaps I will need to eventually write a new introduction or perhaps a prologue. I feel that the opening event is where I want the story to start, but I know that I’ve often times read novels that had a two to five page prologue that set some major action or event or setting into place prior to the actual meat of the story.

Anyhow, that’s the progress as of right now, and I felt that it would be a good idea to share it and keep my involvement flowing. I’m sure that I’ll be writing here more often.

Oh, and as an aside, I took a minute or two to actually sketch some things about the main character before I started writing. I did both kinds of a sketch: writing down ideas and characteristics and actually drawing an image of the character and some of his possessions. It’s helped to give me a far clearer image of him as I am writing the story, but I wonder if it will hinder or help my description of him in the text. Normally, I find that I’m discovering the character as the potential reader would and that helps me to make sure that I am painting the picture in my mind that I want to convey.

Regardless, it’s time for me to get off of here. I’ll see you all later. Um, the one or two of you who even know this exists or care to read it.

AO

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Welcome to my Weblog

October 16, 2007

Welcome to the happy hunting grounds of my imagination. I’ve created this weblog here to help keep myself on track with my writing and to promote myself in this wicked crazy market. I write science fiction, fantasy, and non-fiction and I’ll try to include as much as I can here.

Thanks for stopping by and I’ll be back around soon!