Archive for April, 2011
Work on VTS has stalled for now so I have returned to my pet/epic project of KOIS for a bit, I don’t really want to start writing it yet until I’ve completed a few projects first to cut my teeth. KOIS is my flagship story and I want to make it the best I can. My storytelling is strong but my writing technique is weak. The only way to improve my technique is to write, write, write!
I wish I had something completed on the table for my efforts. I’m just going to have to keep working at it… *sigh* Sometimes I wish I had a writing partner to kick my backside.
I love today’s #diymfa exercise! Instead of laborious character sheets to fill in you are twenty questions to answer with two possible options. This is great for thinking about your characters and getting information about them but gives your muse room to move and explore. Instead of writing a scene I have chosen to brainstorm a character profile. What follows is not is not a polished profile but a rich reserve of material I can shape into one. I know there are too many ‘she’ in it. This material gives me depth and insight without becoming a form filling or tick box exercise.
For full instructions go here.
- Male / Female
- Old soul / Young at heart
- Left brain / Right brain
- Glass half-empty / Glass half-full
- City / Country
- Big spender / Penny pincher
- Loves water / Can’t swim
- Glasses / Tattoo
- Dogs / Cats
- Hybrid car / SUV
- Bites nails / Always manicured
- Chocolate syrup / Hot sauce
- Coffee / Tea
- Overgrown garden / Plastic plants
- Always tells the truth / Lies when necessary
- Organic food / Fast food
- Straight hair / Curly hair
- Soft-spoken / Loudmouth
- PBS / Reality TV
- Motto: “Do or die” / “Look before you leap”
Character: Molly Mackenzie Mitchell
Story: KOIS series
Molly Mitchell is a young girl aged nine. Despite feeling lonely since the death of her grandmother she is still a young soul at heart and loves life. She is very creative and whollistic in her world view. She loves exploring new worlds and loves books as they allow her to meet lots of interesting people and places. She is usually very optimistic but that is becoming harder since she lost her grandmother and is forced to listen to her mother who is very pessimistic. If she had the choice, Molly would love to live in the country so she could lots of space to run around in and trees to climb. Molly likes to save for a rainy day, but her big weakness is buying books from the local bookshop. Molly does not wear glasses although she would secretly like to as she feels it would make her look more intelligent and suitable to be a librarian when she gets older. Molly does not have any pets but prefers cats to dogs because of their independent nature. She cycles everywhere but when she’s older she plans to buy a hybrid car as it better for the environment. Her nails are always dirty from exploring and climbing trees as her grandmother’s house backs onto fields. Her favourite drinks are orange and pineapple squash and she adores having a hot chocolate at bedtime as it reminds of when she was little and her grandmother would tell her stories. Molly does not possess the skill with plants that her late grandmother. She hasn’t yet developed the patience necessary for anything high maintenance. She always tries to tell the truth but lies when she thinks it is necessary. She loves making salads using vegetables from the allotment. Molly has dark curly hair that she has inherited from her father whom she has never met. She doesn’t even know his name. Her mother won’t tell her. Miss Mitchell is quite the tomboy and certainly makes her presence felt. However, she prefers quieter pursuits of walking, cycling and swimming, but especially reading. She doesn’t like watching a lot of television and is often found with her nose buried in a book. Molly is confident in familiar surroundings but that soon disappears and she becomes scared if she strays outside her comfort zone.
I’m taking part in DIY MFA 2.0 this month.
Today’s exercise is to choose a scene, either your own or someone elses and draw a character compass. A character compass is drawn using the TADA method:
More information can be found here.
I didn’t draw the compass shape as I am unable to, I used highlighters to define the different bits. This is from a piece I am currently working on ‘Visions That Shatter’. I have no qualms about sharing thi as the scene will not survive in its current form once I move onto the next draft, even if it survives at all.
Extract from Visions That Shatter:
June 21st. Summer Solstice or for those who follow the old tradition, Lithia. It was a cool evening and Jo Bellini and Ryan Cresswell were enjoying a picnic in the park after work. In love, they were laughing and joking, enjoying each other’s company. The picnic was consumed inbetween bouts of laughter. The trees above them were still casting shadows but the sun was now setting.
It was not only the night sky that was turning into darkness as Jo and Ryan were greeted by a middle aged man jogging through the park who asked what was happening with Lenora’s case. Something in Ryan snapped and his eyes hardened in anger and sorrow. Seeing the look in Ryan’s eyes the man realised that he shouldn’t have asked the question. But the damage was done. Ryan took several moments to compose himself, struggling to keep his emotions at bay.
Jo took over, realising that Ryan is unable to continue. “It’s moving slowly… like all these things do.” This was punctuated with a hard glare that warned that no more questions would be allowed. The man muttered his condolences and hope for a speedy resolution before jogging away away at a brisk pace mindful of Jo’s glare.
They sat in silence now, Jo was at a loss as to what to say. His sister’s death had wounded him deeply, and he was showing little sign of healing. She tried talking to him gently to ease his pain, in hope that he might start opening up to her but all she received was a piercing glare that showed his anger. Ryan was so tense that his eyes were bulging and knuckles were white. Determined to let him know that he could confide in her she took one of his hands and caressed its knuckles. “I’m here when you’re ready to talk.” Silence. “I’m not going anywhere.” This was acknowledged with a nod before he bowed his head. This was a sure sign that tears were threatening to spill. Jo wasn’t surprised that he started picking up the picnic things and leading her out of the park in silence. Jo hoped that he wouldn’t realise how stiff her joints were as he helped her to her feet. She was holding on to Ryan tightly for support, a little too tightly, fearing she was going to slip and fall over.
Neither of them were aware of a man watching them as he took a drag of his cigarette. He followed them as they moved through the park.
Nearing the park’s gateway Ryan’s cell phone rang. He motioned for Jo to go and sit on the bench near a near a trimmed hedge, acutely aware how hard his girlfriend was finding it to walk tonight. Ryan answered the call with an annoyed sigh. It was Sorrell demanding his immediate attention, making Ryan’s mood even more sour. He didn’t want to deal with him tonight. Jo closed her eyes trying to use willpower alone to make the pain and stiffness in her legs go away. She caught snippets of Ryan’s conversation. “I’ll be there as soon as I can…” “I need to sort Jo out first…” The phone clicked off and Ryan growled. Without looking at Jo he dialled for a taxi. Once finished, he took a glance at his girlfriend. “That was Manny…”
“Why the taxi?”
“To take you home.”
“I can walk home.”
He responded with a look of pure disbelief and sat beside her on the bench. “Uh huh. You’re as stiff as a corpse honey. It would take you a good couple of hours to walk home.” Inwardly Jo cursed at her inability to hide her stiffness from Ryan. Without thinking Jo placed her head on Ryan’s shoulder and he began caressing her back hoping to remove some of the stiffness. They sat in silence until the taxi arrived. Ryan helped Jo into the cab and watched it leave. As soon as it was clear, he pulled out his phone again. “Evening Jac. Listen I haven’t much time. I need you to do me a favour…”