Character Development (Part 1)

Character Development:

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(My character Dridona from an earlier series drawn by Spenser T Nottage)

 

 

 

When starting a story, everyone has a different way of developing characters. Some writers just jump right into the tale and see what happens whereas others write character sheets or biographies. I’m going to discuss a couple of ways that I, and friends, develop characters. Hopefully this will help some of you new writers or even some experienced writers who need further guidance.

Learn as You Write:

For the first series I worked on (note picture above), I really had no guidance for my characters. I may have created two paragraph character sheets, but otherwise, I just let them do what they wanted to do. This may sound strange to non-writers, but sometimes the characters just write themselves. You may have an idea of how a character will act, but once you start writing about him and letting him interact with other characters, you may realize that this person is completely different than what you had originally expected.

The more you write about the character, the more you get familiar with him or her. Sometimes I write short stories involving the character to see how she’ll act in certain situations. My favorite way to explore the character though is through roleplaying with friends. I’ll start an IM story and ask my friend if I can throw in one of my characters. As we write together, it forces me to explore how this character is going to see the world, feel, and think. It really helps me see if I know my character. Doing this also enables you to see if some of your characters are way too similar. Right now I have two characters, Elmaris and Kep, who seem too much like each other. What I may do is write a quick scene with just the two characters together and see how they act around one another. If I can’t differentiate between them, then I know I need to change one of them…or else merge them into one character.

Now, even if you create a biography or character sheets, that doesn’t mean that your characters are not going to change. Characters grow as you write about them, so don’t be afraid to write more with the characters even if you think you have them completed.

Biography Sheets:

For my first series, I just learned as I wrote. With my current series, I decided to take a different approach and wrote biography sheets. Some of you may ask, what’s the difference between a biography sheet and a character sheet? Really nothing, but for me, a biography sheet is more heavily “story” oriented whereas character sheets are more “logistics” based. I’ll explain what I mean in both sections.

My biography sheet is pretty simplistic. It just has the basic information describing a character to help me stay consistent during the story, but it also has the biography of everything that has happened in this character’s life.

Format:
Character Name:
Character Appearance:
Biography:
Magic/Special Facts:

Like I said, simplistic. I use maybe two sentences to describe the appearance, but that’s it. The biography can be anywhere from 1 page to 5 pages, depending on how detailed or important my character is. I also like to include “avatars” of the character. I pick actors that I think would work well and throw a picture in there to help me remember what my character looks like.

The benefits of writing a biography is that you know exactly what your character has been through. Some of the questions you may ask yourself are: Where was she born? Who is her family? What was her childhood like? What’s her adulthood like? What important things have happened to her? And so on and so forth. It’s good to know where your character came from so you know how she should act. So, if a character might have almost drowned when she was a kid and developed a fear of water, you don’t want her happily splashing around in a stream. If anything, the biographies help with character consistency.

Character Sheets:

There are plenty of character sheets out there that you can use to construct your cast, but for the sake of this blog, I’ll share one that I’m currently using. A.E. MacKellar shared this with me as we started writing our characters for our joint book. I’ve modified some of it to prevent SPOILERS from happening, but this is an example of what you can use to help you develop your characters in a more logistic fashion:

Character’s Full name:
Reason/Name Meaning:
Nickname:
Reason for Nickname:
Age:
Birth Date:
Birth Place:
Current Address:
Education:
Occupation:
Past Occupation(s):
Theme Song:

                                      PHYSICAL APPEARANCE:

Eye color:
Glasses or contacts:
Weight
Height:
Type of body/build:
Shape of face:
Distinguishing Marks:
Predominant Marks:
Hair color:
Hair Type:
Character’s typical hairstyle:
Are they healthy:
If not, why not:
Physical disabilities:
Tattoos:
Portrayed by:

                                               FAMILY:

Spouse:
Relationship with him/her:
Children:
Relationship with them:
Family:
Mother:
Relationship with her:
Father:
Relationship with him:
Siblings:
Birth order:
Relationship with each:
Most important childhood event:
Why:

                                           PERSONALITY:
Character’s greatest fear:
What is the worst thing that could happen to them:
A Single event that would throw life in complete turmoil:
Why:
Depressive or SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder):
Mental Illness:
Priorities:
Philosophy:
Greatest strength in personality:
Greatest weakness in personality:
How character reacts in a crisis:
How character faces problems:
Kinds of problems character usually runs into:
How character reacts to NEW problems:
Temper:
Phobias:
Best friend:
Worst enemy:

                                             HABITS/LIFESTYLE:
Daredevil or cautious:
Smokes:
When and how much:
Drinks:
When and how much:
Allergies:
Health Issues:
Habits/Quirks:
Hobbies:
How character spends a rainy day:
MISC:
Character’s favorite color:
Character’s least favorite color:
Favorite Music:
Least favorite Music:
Favorite Food:
Use of expletives:
Can character defend self:
Can character use firearms:
Can character handle knives:
Criminal Record:
Space for Extra Notes:

Looking at it, the list can appear a bit daunting, and at first, it may be hard to discern what information is really needed versus what’s just extra fodder that you might be able to use down the road. The great thing about character sheets, though, is you can keep track of the character’s appearance. You know his family and what events influenced his life. You know simple things like if he drinks or smokes. What I also find exciting is how you develop particular quirks that your character does. For example, maybe Ray runs his hands through his hair when he’s stressed. Perhaps Melody bites her nails or starts to count during trying situations. Even including that a character is allergic to milk can be interesting because it adds something unique about him or her.

The character sheets keep all of your information in one place, too. You can add to it as you write, or refer to it to make sure you remember eye color or hair color. You may think that it’s easy to recall physical things like that, but once you have 10+ characters, it may be difficult to remember who has auburn versus red versus mahogany hair, etc.

This enables you to see how characters feel about each other a well, which I think is important. I like to know who my protagonist considers her best friend or worst enemy. It makes building relationships around different characters that much easier for you.

Conclusion:

Character development takes a lot of time, and if you really want to create a well-rounded character, it’s important to take steps to finding what sort of path is best for you. Do you wish to learn as you write? Do you want to focus on a biography? Do you want to write a detailed character sheet. Or, do you want to do as I do and combine everything together?

Frankly, I don’t think you can ever truly know your character until you write about her. Some characters I have spent days developing and tweaking only to begin writing and realizing she’s not the character I had intended to create. You want to be consistent with your character’s actions, yes, but also don’t want her to do something that may be contrary to her character just because you ‘think’ she should act this way.

Writing about characters is very personal. These are people that you have created, people you must mold into something unique and beautiful. In the end, remember to give your character the time and patience she deserves because you want to create someone readers can relate to as well.

I think that will be all for now. I do have some other things I would like to discuss about character development, primarily the do’s and don’t’s, but I’ll save that for another entry. For those of you who still aren’t sure where to begin, here are a few other tips:

Don’t know where to begin? Here are a few other exercises you can try.

Write a biography or character sheet about yourself:
What would you want people to know about you if someone had to write a book about you? What features define you and what parts of your history were important in your development? What people were important in your life? This should be easier to do since you yourself are a character in this world.

Write a Scene:
Don’t know anything about your character? Try writing a scene, like I suggested. Grab a character that you want to create and throw him into an environment. Toss random events at him or different kinds of people. See how he’ll react and what feels “right” for the character. You might learn a lot more from 2 pages of writing than from trying to write a biography.

Purpose:
Ask yourself, what is this character’s purpose? Is he a protagonist or an antagonist? Is he a main character or a minor character? Do you want him to represent a “good” friend or a “funny” friend. Once you realize the purpose, you can start to build off of that character. If he’s evil, maybe bad things happened in his childhood that made him that way. On the flipside, maybe bad events made the character want to be good and make the world better so no one else would have to suffer as he did. Find a starting point and branch out from there.

As always, if you think of things you would like me to write about, leave a comment and I’ll do my best to write a response.

 

Collaborative Writing Part 1: AKA- Kill ALL the Plot Bunnies!

This entry is actually rather personal, dear to my heart, and also currently in process, so I have a feeling I’ll be writing several blogs about this topic, hence, Part 1. Sometimes two writers come together to create an intriguing story in which they share both the joys and pains of writing with another author. This is called collaborative writing. I’ve tried this method with people before, both professionally and fanfiction wise, and normally it falls apart after a couple of months (though we try to pick the book back up). I’m hoping that the project I’m working on now will last a little longer than that, provided my fellow author and I don’t fly out and, in her words, “stab each other in the eye” over literary frustrations.

I’m going to talk a little bit about our story and discuss some of the pros and cons of working with another writer. A lot of these come from personal experience but also from what I’ve heard other writers discuss. The writer I’m working with is A.E. MacKellar, whom is working on a series of her own.

Yes…we’re both trying to collab write and create our own series. I’ll discuss this as both a pro and a con because, really…there’s no better way to have your brain explode than to work on too many projects at once.

 

  • ALL the Ideas:

Pros: What could be better than having two writers together to share a mesh of ideas? Each person can bring something fresh to the table, and if one writer has a mental block, the other one may be able to break through that by fixing plot holes or taking over a chapter. This allows you to bring all of your own personal knowledge into the book and share it with your fellow writer. While I’m a little more inclined to write the “creative” aspect of the book, my friend prefers to do the research so she focuses on that while I help create our world. We have the ability to bounce ideas off of each other and make the story unique with our own personal experiences. Some of the ideas my fellow writers come up with just astound me, and I know that I could never think of them in a million years, or at least not in that night’s writing session. It’s invigorating and exciting to see what your friend has in store for the story and how it might change the actual direction of the book.

Cons:The cons? ALL the ideas. Not only do you have to endure the nonsensical rambling of the muses in your own head, you have to suffer through those in the other writer’s head as well. Ideas may clash, and when you bring something to the table that your fellow author completely shoots down either with logic or a negative reaction to the idea, that can cause rifts. Good writers can find a way to work through these problems and compromise, but sometimes a difference in opinion of ideas can really ruin a collaborative team’s creative abilities. In the case of what’s happening with my friend right now, we both have our own ideas of how the history of characters and worlds came about. This is perfectly fine because we’re working together to solve it. However, when you have several e-mail trains going at once with inquiries about how this would work over this and you’re trying to solve the issues with your own ideas…the process can become rather overwhelming. I’ve literally gotten a headache when I’ve tried to separate one idea from another, and when I’ve tried to sit down and write out character sheets, I’ve blanked out because I have way too many ideas in my head.

Advice: It’s good to have all of the ideas, but take baby steps. Don’t try to slap each other across the face with a fist of ideas. Focus on one idea and work your way up instead of trying to do everything at once. It’ll help keep you both sane. Also, remember to compromise. Not everyone is going to share your same views, which is a good thing. Other ideas will challenge you to make your own plots and plans better. Try not to take offense, and work calmly with your other writer because chances are you’re going to want to adjust her plans as well. Be kind and be considerate.

 

  • Distance:

Pros: Most collaborative writers don’t live in the same household, which can actually be a very good thing. If you don’t see each other everyday, you’re less likely to get annoyed with one other. It gives you some space to work on ideas by yourself and also gives you alone time so that you can get your section of the story done. Most importantly, if you manage to tick off your fellow writer (which I’ll discuss in further detail in the Plot Twists section), she can’t easily fly out to stab you in the eye with a fork…you know who you are.

Cons: Obviously it’s harder to keep in touch with a writer who lives far away, especially if she’s in a different time zone. You might get home one night and decide you really want to write, but either your writer friend isn’t available, or you just can’t work on the plot well enough without talking face-to-face. I miss the idea of having my collaborative friend come over and sit with me while we work through plot issues or world building. E-mail, texting, skyping, and calling work, of course, but there’s something really invigorating about having a fellow writer next to you. While my former roommate and I never wrote anything together, we were able to bounce ideas off of each other’s heads because we were sitting in the same room together, writing our own stories. She really helped me get through some of my blocks. Again, we can still do that over the phone or internet, but it doesn’t have the same feel. You’re a bit disconnected from the other person, especially if you’ve never actually met that person in real life.

Advice:  Try to find a way to work with each other in regards to the distance. Maybe set up a time to write so you both can make a stable schedule (in some cases, you may unintentionally do that anyway). Keep in contact and don’t be afraid to share ideas. However, try not to flood your fellow writer’s inbox, facebook, or phone with messages and ideas. For some people, that’s perfectly fine and enjoyable. For others, they may see that as an invasion of privacy, so work together to find a healthy balance.

 

  • Plot Twists:

Pros: I love those moments when I have no idea where the story is going and my friend throws a plot twist at me that knocks me off of my chair and into the next state. That feeling is so euphoric because your own story ends up surprising you, and if the twist can surprise the writer, it’s definitely going to surprise the reader. One of a writer’s biggest enemies is that dreaded writer’s block, so working with someone else helps lessen the blow of the block. If you can’t think of something, then likely your collaborative writer actually can. It keeps the story moving and keeps it fresh. It’s set in two views with plenty of ideas and twists to draw from.

Cons: While plot twists and startling new ideas are all good, sometimes they aren’t entirely what the other writer might have expected. Surprising plot twists can lead to “minor” frustration when the story doesn’t go in the same direction that the other writer expected. For example:

Friend: holy crap!

Friend: what the hell?

Me: lol

Me: had fun with that

Friend: *kills your bunnies*

Friend: Stab them all!

Me: THAT has been what has been lurking in my head this entire time

This is an actual conversation I had with my collaborative writer when I threw a twist into our story. She wasn’t pleased with me, and then she followed this up with a plot twist of her own which caused this reaction:

Me: (you suck lol)

Friend: (You started it!)

Yes, sometimes professional writers can turn into petty children squabbling over a new toy, and I say that with humor. Writers might try to ‘get back’ at one another by creating rather crazy ideas or new plot twists. This is all fine and good until it starts upsetting the actual story. When that happens, writers need to step back, take a breath, and try to regroup.

Advice: Plan different plot twists to keep the story interesting and alive. It’s fine to throw in surprising elements, but be considerate of your other writer’s feelings or plans as well. Remember, the story does come first, so if you plan a plot twist just to get back at a writer, reconsider your plan, especially if it’s going to ruin your plotline.

 

  • Character Sharing:

Pros: Character development can be different between sets of writers. For some collaborative teams, they may create a character together and both write about that person. For others, like my team, we create our own characters and mold them to our own liking. This is good in that we’re both extremely familiar with our own personal characters. When we share them, (maybe my friend has to write a chapter that includes my character), I can offer her advice on things my character may do. This gives you the opportunity too to write your book from different characters’ points-of-views. While my chapter might begin in “Sarah’s” view because she’s my character, my friend’s chapter might begin with “Taylor’s” view, because that’s her character. Sarah and Taylor appear in both chapters, but the focus is on one character over the other. It makes the story a little more interesting because you’re not just focusing on one person.

Cons: The downside to this is the fear of offending your fellow writer by making her character do something she doesn’t think is plausible. How you think the character may react to a situation may be completely different than what she would expect. This can cause clashing of opinion and some frustration on both sides. It can also cause a little anxiety for the person taking charge of the shared character because she’s afraid of doing something wrong.

Advice: My best advice is to just talk about the character. Share character sheets so that both writers know exactly what the character is like, his likes, dislikes, his appearance, etc. (I’ll be including a blog about character development in the coming weeks if you need suggestions.) Don’t be afraid to explore with the shared character, and if a writer doesn’t like what you did, just talk it through and adjust the story as it needs to be adjusted. The more you talk and work together, the more familiar you will be with a character. Also, discuss if you want to write chapters from a particular character’s point of view to make your life easier.

 

  • Multiple Projects:

Pros: When you start writing a story with someone, you have to realize that both of you may have your own private projects that you’re working on. In my case, I’m writing a separate series, as is my fellow writer. Doing something new can actually be very good for both writers. A new project allows your brain to rest and take a brief break from your usual series. Breaks are good because then you can go back to your own series with a clear head and hopefully with fresh new ideas. Also, when you work on your original project, it gives you a break from the one you’re doing with your collaborative writer. If my friend is responsible for writing the next chapter and I have to wait, that gives me plenty of time to work on my other series and not feel guilty about ‘abandoning’ our project.

Cons: There are actually a few serious cons when it comes to multiple projects. 1. Which story is more important to you? You want to make sure that you have your priorities figured out so that you’re not completely abandoning one story over the other. Make sure you don’t leave your writer hanging because you want to work on your series, but at the same time, don’t neglect your series too much because you want to work on the collaborative book. 2. Blending ideas: Make sure you can draw a fine line between both projects. Don’t take ideas from your series and put them into your collaborative story and vice versa. You might start to realize that you’re modeling a character in your series after one in the collaborative book. Also, don’t take elements from one book and throw it into the other. For example, in my series, I have “mages.” In the other series, we have magical folk as well, and I wanted to try to make them different so the two books weren’t so similar. In the end, we used a different term for our magical humans. Another problem I’ve run into is that when I have two projects going, I’ve actually taken scenarios and plotlines from one book and put them into the other by mistake. Honestly, I think I’ve just prevented myself from continuing the old series because of the similar plot lines. Make sure you have a clear path on how you want to write your book. 3. Confusing stories: We’ve had this happen where we’ve worked on our collaborative story and then got confused when we’ve gone back to other projects because plot lines started to blur. Or, in during the crazy idea we had, we took our current plot line that’s filled with magic and supernatural people….and we eliminated ALL of that. We made our characters human and then also rewrote some of their stories and relationships. So we had both that plot line and the original one going at the same time. Let’s just say we had several panic moments where we were like, “Wait! But isn’t he her son? Aren’t they related to these other people?!” only to realize we were thinking about the wrong project. I completely blame that on A.E. MacKellar…it was her idea.

Advice: Establish boundaries of all the projects you’re working on. If you notice similarities, put a stop to them immediately so you don’t have merging plot lines. Be sure to talk with your collaborative author so you both reach an understanding that you still need to focus on your own personal project along with the joint book. Try to do something to clear your mind before you shift from one project to another. This could mean taking a walk, watching a movie, or just surrounding yourself with research pertaining specifically to that book series. If you have too many ideas from both books yapping in your head, it’ll be that much harder to work on the other project.

 

  • Writing Styles:

Pros: As is expected, writers are going to have their own type of writing style. For me, I’m much more focused on detail and magic while my friend is very ingrained in scientific writing. I’m long-winded. I think she has a better balance of writing, but that’s just my opinion. It’s nice to incorporate  different writing styles in a novel. She can cut out some of my excessive writing and I can add more detail or flare to hers. We also have the ability to edit each others’ writing, which is always a plus. I learn a lot from my fellow writers, and I find that I adjust my style depending on who I’m writing with. It gives me the opportunity to hone my abilities, and it also forces me to edit more because I don’t want my partner to realize how error-filled my writing can be in the very beginning.

Cons: Unfortunately, having different styles may cause, as expected, problems while writing. Authors may argue about the language of the story, the pacing, the description, the length of chapters, and so on and so forth. Understanding of editing and grammar may vary, so a sentence I think sounds perfectly correct may sound like nails on a chalkboard to my partner. I have noticed too–and this may not necessarily be a con for the series you’re working on but rather for your own project–that sometimes your writing style might overall change to accommodate your collaborative writer. This change will make your joined project sound smoother, but it may also influence your other project in a negative way. .

Advice: As with most of the other topics, just talk with your fellow author. Learn about each others’ strengths and weaknesses in writing. Both of you should edit each others’ work, but be respectful and understanding that you may have a difference of opinion. Try to adjust your style a little so that you can match each other; you don’t want to make the story jarring for your readers after all. Most of all…just have fun.

 

Phew, that was a bit longer than I expected, and it’s only part 1! I hope that this helps some of you who are thinking of working together to produce a novel. If you have any other experiences in collaborative writing that you want to share or have me write about, let me know!
As always, if you think of any topics that you would like me to discuss, please post below.

 

Note: Art is provided by A.E. MacKellar. These are the first 1,000 pages in our series.

World Building

One of the most exciting and most frustrating tasks of starting a book series is world building. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, this is something writers have to do when they write a book that’s set in their own world. They have to create everything about the world, from the appearance and agriculture to the politics and government. Maybe you have a race you want to create, or a brand new religion. Sounds simple, right? I’ve read on blogs before that non-fiction writers believe that fiction writers have it easier because we don’t have to look up historical facts to back up our literature or world. Quite honestly, I think fiction writers have it the hardest. At least non-fiction artists have a base point from which they can start. They have a timeline and a culture already created for them from which they can draw history. And in truth, many fiction/fantasy writers do a ton of research to create their books. Right now I’m looking at a huge shelf of books about medieval history including blacksmithing, herbal medicinal uses, the medieval city/castle/town, and even ship facts. Some of us writers do try to keep our stories somewhat historically accurate so that there is some truth in our craft.

Outside of researching, we also have both the pleasure and burden of creating our own world. When I was little, the facts that truly concerned me about world building were: what color is my sky? What color is the grass? What kind of creatures will I have? Will there be different food? And that was it. Today, I realize just how much more in depth you have to get to accurately create your own world. This will actually result in reconstructing an entire series I’ve been writing.

But I digress.

World building can be as simple and as complicated as you want to make it. For the medieval books I’m writing, I’ve tried to create a map of what my world looks like. Where are the provinces located? What kind of agriculture is in that area? What marketing can they do and what is their main import and export? What are their political standings? Do they have natural enemies and allies? What is the landscape like? What kind of powers do mages possess? Can they control water? Are there rivers, or streams, or oceans? It’s always fun when you have a character try to cross a river in one chapter, and then you have a group of characters jaunt merrily across the land without the fear of a river…because their belligerent author forgot all about it.

World building can get even more confusing and complicated when you take myths from around the world and try to bastardize them to your own liking. My friend and I have been writing a series that includes multiple mythologies included, but not limited to, Greek, Arthurian legends, and various other beliefs and cultures. Now, we could stick strictly to what we know is “historically” accurate, but we’ve twisted the tales to make them all match what we want our story to be. Of course doing this, we realize, we have to create a brand new timeline to make sure we stay somewhat true to the old myths, but so we can tie them together with our own stories. Likewise, something as simple as writing about werewolves and vampires can become even more tedious when you get into the questions of, “species vs race, what are they?” Follow this with what bites can do and how likely it is for hybrid children to be born followed by the percentage of whether a child would be more vampire or werewolf if the two were to mate, and you’ve got a headache waiting to happen.

Needless to say, I keep Tylenol, chocolate, and tissues close at hand. One of these days I think I’ll need to add a pillow to my arsenal so I stop putting dents in my wall with the Tylenol bottle.

As painful as world building can be, it’s exciting and entertaining at the same time. There’s something very special about watching this world come to life and realizing you created it, or twisted it in such a way that you can call it your own. You can add as much color and flare as you want, or make it as murky and dark as you please. It’s not as simple as saying the sky is green and the grass is yellow, it’s so much more than that. Some writers go even into the scientific possibilities of how their world could actually be possible. Honestly, some of the science fiction theories people have come up with during their world building experiences have actually lead to the possibility of “science fiction” technologies becoming real.

There are a plethora of templates out there that people follow to help themselves create their own worlds. I’ve used some myself, and I’ve gotten half-way through and realized I had no idea what in the world I was trying to write about. That’s what happened with the first series I wrote. Fortunately, I don’t seem to have the same dilemma with my current series otherwise I’d be chucking more than a Tylenol bottle at the wall.

The advice I give you is make your world your own. Make it as amazing or as simple as you want it to be and then let it grow. Sometimes if you confine the world you’re building to one set of laws, it will crash and burn and leave you with a smoldering pile of charred dreams. But if you allow yourself to question your world and let people throw more and more questions or ideas at you, you may create something beautiful and wonderful that you can be proud to call your own.

Start small and work your way up. Make sure you actually know your world to some degree before you write your book. It’ll help you to better describe what’s going on and will help make the readers feel at home in your world. Now, as you write, you’ll find parts of your world you’ll need to revise or take out. You may find halfway through that the world you’ve created has completely evolved to something new. This isn’t a bad thing; it just means that you’re becoming more familiar with your world. Some people ask, why create the world before I start writing if I’m going to change it anyway?

Well, you have to start somewhere. Walking blindly into a story is easy for some writers, but for a person like me, I need to know what to expect before I begin, otherwise I’ll get lost…and if a writer gets lost in her own universe, how can she expect her readers to keep up?

For those of you interested in some templates, here are a couple you can try out:

Template for Creating and Building a New Fantasy Race for your Fictional World or Story

5 Tips: World-Building Template

How to Create a Fictional World from Scratch

Worldbuilding

That’s all for today. If you have any questions or writing ideas you’d like me to address, let me know below.

 

My Journey

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Welcome to my blog! This is my official greeting to you, and a little bit about my journey as a writer.

I’ve always been an avid reader, and I’ve loved writing since I was very young. Well actually, that’s not entirely true. I remember when my mother tried to teach me how to read and I fought her tooth and nail because I preferred her reading to me instead. Funny how I can’t stand having someone reciting a story in my ear these days.

The first book that got me interested in writing was Dragon’s Milk by Susan Fletcher. This began my love and my obsession with dragons and lead me to write two books…on lined paper. I still remember waking up early in the morning and scribbling down the story before I went to school. I still have my Lisa Frank folder with the story tucked safely away from the light of day. May it rest in pencil-streaked pieces.

In middle school and high school I dabbled in books such as Harry Potter, Sword of Truth, and the Valdemar series. But it wasn’t until I read Redwall by the late Brian Jacques that I realized I wanted to turn my love for writing into a profession. He was the one who taught me how to hear, taste, feel, smell, and see everything in his stories. His descriptions of food left me drooling…his music left me humming false chords to myself. I even figured out how to write a clarinet piece for the Redwall show. I loved every single book, and he became my role model. Because of those books, I joined the Redwall Online Community (ROC), and met other book lovers. I learned to role play and was introduced to so many wonderful people and writers like myself. When Brian Jacques died, the ROC died with him, and so did a little bit of my creative heart. I wrote an ode to the bard, and I still miss waiting for his next books to come out. I actually have yet to read his final book because once I close the back cover, I think it will really hit me that the bard is gone.

I really started getting into the feel for writing when I worked on my anthropomorphic wolf stories during high school and college. I wrote a few books, which are currently sitting on the back burner, waiting desperately for me to recreate the world and make the stories and characters come to life again. I decided about three years ago to put a halt to the books when I realized that I was losing my passion for the characters and the plot. I didn’t want to resent the stories, so I let them rest while my creativity tried to get back on track.

Thus entered what I will fondly refer to as TOTC (no, I will not be giving a title yet, because it may not stay the same). One night I had a dream about a character and a storyline that I thought would be rather interesting. It was a book set in a medieval world with my own lands, nobility, and warriors. Initially I thought the book would be about 22 chapters and would be perfect as a first book to get out to the public. Hopefully it would pave the way for my wolf series.

Three years later, and the book is currently 3 books long with about 70 chapters, and counting. I decided about a year ago that if I wanted the whole story to be told and every character to be heard that I would have to bite my tongue, take a breath, and split it into three books. It was frustrating, and I kicked and screamed for several months before I finally relented. This forced me (in a happy way) to rewrite a lot of book 1 and to include an additional 100 pages. Book 1 has been rewritten and is in its second draft. Book 2 is in the process of being edited and rewritten. Book 3 is about 100 pages in with quite a few left to go. I’m hoping that within the next couple years I will be able to publish these books and actually call myself an author.

Granted, I can say I’m a writer since I have had work published, poetry primarily. I’ll list my publications as they happen in case you, my dear readers, are interested in checking them out. Here, I intend to blog about various writing techniques and experiences I’ve had. If you have any writing questions for me, I will try to blog about those as well. I might try to offer you writing exercises as well in hopes that I can find the inner writer in all of you. I intend to get a post out once a week…hopefully more.

So welcome to my page, and enjoy!