Robin Burks on Character Development

Guest Post, Inspirational, Nanowrimo, Writing
Today's author is debut novelist Robin Burks, whose novel, Zeus, Inc. began as a Nanovel. I hope you'll give her a warm welcome and enjoy her thoughts on character development. * * * * What makes a good character in a story? Character development is something every writer has to think about. A good character is key in readers enjoying your work and a good character will keep readers coming back for more of what you write. But where to begin when creating a character? I tend to look at my own personal characters from an actor's perspective because of my background in theatre. I ask myself about their motivations and I put myself in their shoes and try to react to situations in a way that I would if…
Read More

Exploring Character and Setting at the Same Time

Sometimes, either before you begin a novel or between edits of a novel, you realize you need to learn more about your characters or your world before you can dive into the main story. Although it might be tempting to rush into the story, it pays to do this work so that creating the next draft is less painful. In order to maximize efficiency, I've found a way to explore character and setting at the same time. This doesn't include research. While learning about your setting always informs what your characters are like and how they react to things based on where they're from, research rarely leads directly to new realizations about characters. What does lead to new realizations about characters is free writing. But how do you use free…
Read More

Introducing Andre Vonstone

Ordinarily I don't post on Tuesdays, but today is different. Today I'm interviewing Andre Vonstone, main character of Moonshadow's Guardian, brother of the king of Moonshadow, and a newly minted vampire. Andre was banished from the kingdom about a year ago after trying to kill Cameron Graves, High Priest of the Temple of Ashe. He's only just returned to Moonshadow, and I am lucky enough to be the first person to interview him since his return. DLG: Welcome to Dianna's Writing Den, Andre. Can you tell us a bit about the incident with Cameron Graves that got you banished? Andre: Do you make a habit of speaking so directly? It might be wise to remember that I can and will kill you if you piss me off. Then again, I…
Read More

What to do with Your Dear Diary Project

Journalling, Short Fiction, Workshops, Writing, Writing, Writing: The Process
Now that you've finished your Dear Diary Project, there are several things you can do with it. They range from hiding it in a corner in your basement to trying to turn it into something publishable. But before you do anything with the file or manuscript itself, you need to properly extract all the valuable information from it for later use. Extracting Information for your Dear Diary Project Now, I don't know about you, but my character profiles are pretty messy and I usually don't have much room left on the page by the time I've written a Dear Diary Project for that character. So I like to create a fact sheet, which is a simple list of facts about my character. Things like their favourite colour, what kinds of…
Read More

It’s Tough to be a Writer

Journalling, Prompts, Short Fiction, Workshops, Writing
Writing isn't easy. Or perhaps I should say that writing well isn't easy, even for those of us who have an instinctive grasp of grammar and spelling. Fiction is particularly difficult, because you're creating new people and giving them new experiences. A good story is something like a tapestry--made up of many different elements and woven for hours upon hours upon hours. In order to write an amazing book, you need to have a strong setting, strong characters, and a good, non-stereotypical plot. And you're going to have to rewrite, because you'll probably realize that your characters aren't as tough as you thought they were, and your plot's got holes in it bigger than your windows. And after that, you're going to have to rewrite again, because on the first…
Read More

Staying Motivated When Life Interrupts

Goal setting, Inspirational, Journalling, Short Fiction, Workshops, Writing
The last couple of weeks have marked the beginning of school for many of us. Personally I'm very excited to begin the new school year, knowing that it moves me one step closer to graduation and from there I can begin the rest of my life. I'm also excited because I've got some great classes this semester--particularly Aboriginal Studies and Law--but all the excitement in the world doesn't stop me from catching sick. Which is, unfortunately, what happened to me last week. I spent most of the weekend in bed, so this is a very short post. Despite my sickness and not getting much done--I managed to forget my school binder at a friend's house on Friday evening because I was so out of it--I did manage to write a…
Read More

Journalling Prompt #1

Inspirational, Journalling, Prompts, Short Fiction, Workshops, Writing
A journal does not need to be simply a recital of facts. Your character's journal should include facts, some every day things and some unusual events, but it should also include many other things. It's your character's space to explore who they are and what they want. Journals can be very therapeutic and can help us all discover ourselves and reach our goals. Sometimes, when we're having a hard time, we need to sit down and really think about what's causing our problems. Not just the surface of it, but what's really behind it--our own deeper issues. Asking ourselves on paper and then responding honestly can help us reach the heart of the problem and find a solution. Your character might not be the type to do this, but then…
Read More

What is the Dear Diary Project?

Journalling, Short Fiction, Workshops, Writing, Writing
The Dear Diary project originated as a very basic idea I found on the Wriye forums. The idea was to write a character's journal for thirty days. The idea was originally dubbed '30 Days in the Life of' but I liked the sound of the Dear Diary Project. I thought it was a great idea, so I did two by myself and then began turning it into a workshop on my old blog to help other writers. It helped me develop my characters on a deeper level and get used to writing in their PoVs. To top it all off, I had lots of fun. During the month of September, I will be running the Dear Diary challenge once again. The goal is to write one diary entry--it can be…
Read More

Characterization in Early Planning

Novels, Writing, Writing: The Process
This week we are going to talk about character. I know that I said we would talk about plot next, but I decided that we should talk about character first. This is because I believe plot should usually be built upon setting and character; together they are the building blocks of a well written story, and without them, plot means nothing. The greatest story in the world will fall flat on its face if nobody cares, and without a great character-or at least a decent one-nobody will care. For many writers, character is the first thing to appear when they are working on a story. This does not make it the easiest; a character may say hello to a writer days before they give the writer a name, and months…
Read More

Apologies and a Final Note

Prompts, Workshops
On Sunday night, in a park just a couple blocks away from my house, my boyfriend and I (and a friend of ours) were robbed at gunpoint. I spent a couple days away from the computer and I've been too tired to do much other than go to school. The workshop is over not by choice but by necessity-it's the end of the month, time to put the finishing touches on your preparations. There isn't a specific exercise today, but it's probably a good idea to do a general brainstorm for your story, maybe write down a couple of things you're sure you want to happen. Stay tuned for a 'Why Everybody Should Try Nanowrimo' post and a 'October 31st: Preparing for Nano' post tomorrow and Sunday. And get ready…
Read More