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Saturday, January 21, 2012

Week 2

Work has been terrible this week.  I've had to work longer than usual each day, and it has taken away from writing time.

That said, I've tried to stay focused this week by spending time thinking about specifics.

In the opening scene, I have 5 elves in the forest.  I feel like I need to make sure each one is an actual character and not just a generic prop standing in the scene.  To do this, I have taken notes on general backstory for each character to understand motivation and personality for each of them.  I feel like I have made some progress.

One of my biggest concerns with side characters is how stereotypical should they be?  Is creating a stereotypical extra a good thing?  I get a little annoyed when I read books or watch movies where I see basically the same character over and over.  On the positive side though, it is easy to understand a character if I can quickly evaluate them based on stereotypical behavior.  (i.e. "the fanatical zealot" who is willing to die for his cause and follows whatever evil power he follows even if common sense says that is a bad idea.

I guess in the end, I need to determine how important the character is and their role in the story.  Any writers out there, what are your thoughts on this?  Any good resources you have read that discuss character development?

The other topic I have been researching a bit this week is weaponry.  Early in the story, there is a skirmish.  I want to make sure that as I describe the weapons and tactics of the characters that there is a level of accuracy to it.  Why does a character use that "type" of sword, and how do his tactics then differ from someone that uses a sword that may be shorter/longer, or lighter/heavier?  How does this choice of weapon reflect the character's personality and physical attributes?  I think all of these items questions help make a fight scene more compelling.  So I have spent some time this week looking at different types of swords to see which ones fit my characters.  The fun thing about fantasy is I do not need to be historically accurate.  A fictional world with its own history can have weapons from distinctly different time periods in reality exist together without issue!

I read an interview with a successful author who self-publishes all her books online.  She stated she tries to write 5000 words a DAY!  I haven't even written 5000 words total on this story.  I am trying to keep from getting discouraged.  This is her full time job, and I'm just getting started.  If anything, it spurs me on to spend more time thinking about and writing about these characters.

I cannot end a post without thanking you all dearly for reading and for your comments and encouragement.


  1. As far as stereotypical characters don't look how they are now but where you want them to be at the end. The end should dictate their beginning. If you have your paladin as they usually are and he shines at the end of your story maybe he could have fallen from grace and lost his faith. One of the best Merlin stories I saw was of him never using magic. We don't expect Merlin not to use magic and the story was pretty cool how, in the beginning as a young man, he found magic to be too dangerous and never used it and was then tempted by it throughout the story. I always found building on a character through out the story worked better than trying to give the reader to much up front. How much of the story takes place in your head during the day? This is what you write down. It's your brain storm. Organize later. You'll get your 5000 words.

  2. Some good points there Menace. I am mostly thinking of the side characters that may or may not be in the story for long. How much detail do they need? How stereotypical is too stereotypical, etc.

    My biggest issue, which I'll blog about in more detail in the future, is I end up so critical of the actual words I choose and I just shelve something. I have a large portion of the story outlined, but writing the actual words is where I get over-critical or nervous.