Thursday, April 25, 2019

Character Creation

Character Creation

So last week, we looked a little at developing a character--kind of my spaghetti train of thought as I considered things for the character. 
Since I'm scheduling these posts in advance (that's the only way to make sure they happen) and I'm waiting on the comments to get a last name for my protagonist, I wanted to sidebar and look into character creation as a whole. 

There's a lot of resources out there...

Yep. Tons. And it makes sense because, as I said last week, the characters really do make or break the story. 
I come from a different place than a lot of writers, however, because I have a background in acting and theater. What has always been REALLY cool to me is how much overlap there is. The biggest difference is that for an actor the information is there for the character, they just interpret it, whereas for the writer, we have to come up with everything from scratch.

So I started compiling my resources.

Some of my favorite parts of acting class were the portions dedicated to character development. We got all sorts of sketches, worksheets, and other materials to help us develop our characters. My favorite was probably where we did a study--we picked a person who we wanted to base the character off of, and (sometimes covertly) studied how the person breathed, walked, moved, everything. It was really cool, and it definitely helps you get physically into the character. 
Anyways, I looked through all these notes, and compiled them with some other resources I found on the Internet to make a master spreadsheet. 
If you want to download your own copy, use this link.
It's so cool (yes, I am a nerd). You can expand or collapse categories as needed, and by the time you get all the information together, you have a fully fleshed character. 
I'm going to start working on that now, with the plan of sharing a few other characters while I wait for the winning post with an awesome last name for Carrigan. 

Comment below!

As with all these posts, commenting frequently can earn you a free copy of this book once it's out! If you're an author, you can share your favorite character building tools...and if you're a reader, share some of your favorite characters!

Thursday, April 18, 2019


Main Character

Nowadays, characters are what REALLY make a story. Let's face it, most stories have already been told. What makes them new, exciting, and different are the characters. And since our protagonist is the main character, we really need to like her. We should identify with her, want to be her, and root for her to win the whole time.

This is easier said than done.

Those of you who are writing friends know this. Our protagonist should be awesome...but not too awesome. Because no one likes someone who is perfect. So our character needs a flaw--and a real flaw, not the lame "I work too hard" answer we all give at interview when asked what our biggest weakness is. 
I actually started a spreadsheet just for capturing character traits, including weaknesses, and whatnot. I'll fill that out on my own, but for here, I want to try to capture some high level ideas, and brainstorm a little. 
To be honest, I can't wait to see what your comments are!

The details

So I've already decided to align the protagonist with Morrigan, the goddess of war. In fact, on the name Morrigan means War Goddess. Like most Irish myths, however, she wasn't a one-trick pony (no Ares here). She also cared about sovereignty, and would predict the death of warriors in battle. She appeared often as a crow (but we're going to use ravens, because then I can feel like Poe as I write). She was crafty to a fault, and with her ability to prophecy, she was very powerful indeed.
I like the idea of her as an outcast--she was instrumental in the death of Cuchulain, one of the greatest Irish mythological heroes. So if every druid has a "sponsor" deity among the Tuatha de Danann, the Morrigan's druid would meet with a lot of dislike, hostility, and opposition among the community. 
To me, this makes sense. The person who has to do what is right (protect sovereignty) even if it isn't popular, and who can see and predict the death of brave warriors in a martial society would certainly be...well, not the first picked for the dodge ball game, that's for certain. 

Now for the protagonist

So our protagonist should be sympathetic enough with the Morrigan that they connect, and it makes sense that the Morrigan would sponsor her. But I feel like there should also be some conflict--some pieces that don't connect, as that would make DRAMA (which we need) and help make things difficult for both characters to get what they want. 
The character should also be able to be a druid--meaning perfect memory, able to learn lots of language and memorize codes of law, sing, and just be very smart. 
I think the foil of having the Morrigan not care about death, but just about results as opposed to someone who is sensitive and cares a great deal about life would make for a difficult relationship--but would also make the character a perfect druid (they are, after all, usually pacifist). 
I also like the idea of Morrigan being very calculating, whereas the protagonist is more impulsive. 
But they should both be fighters at heart, who will not back down. 

And for the name:

I'm thinking Carrigan. It's nice that it's spelled like and rhymes with Morrigan, which will help link them together. It also means pointed, or spear, which highlights that she is more blunt, more direct, more impulsive than the calculating Morrigan. It also makes her Morrigan's spear, and an instrument of the goddess's mission to maintain sovereignty and balance. This will tie in well with where I think the plot is going. 

Don't forget to comment!

Tell me what you like, what you don't, what you want to see.
Also, I would LOVE some suggestions for a last name for Carrigan. It should be Welsh, Scottish, or Irish if possible. If I love your idea, you DEFINITELY get a free book, and a note in the acknowledgements!
If I don't pick yours, keep commenting--you'll get that free copy if you interact with enough blog posts!

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Inspiration Strikes

Time to Start a New Story!

So on my dad's side, I'm Scot Irish. Like, completely. 
And I LOVE it.
When I learned this, I started researching and learning all I could about Celtic and Irish mythology. To me, it was MUCH more interesting than the Greek/Roman we all learn in school. 

That was almost 20 years ago. 

Fast forward to now, with the huge success of Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson series, and I want to bring my Irish myths into the mix!
I actually got the idea at lunch at work one day. I worked in this office building that had a few nice outdoor tables. I was out at lunch, and the most beautiful glossy black raven decided to chill out right next to me (by right next to me I really mean about 100 feet away...).
The thing is, ravens are SMART. And very important in Irish mythology. Badb Catha and the Morrigan are both shown with ravens. 
So I got the idea of someone having a raven as a familiar, or a spirit animal, or something like that. 

That was over 5 years ago.

I hadn't done a whole lot with the idea besides note it and move on. I was planning my wedding, then buying a house, then focusing on my career...
When I decided to start writing seriously, I had other projects in mind. But I keep coming back to this idea. So about a year or so ago, I started researching, and developing an idea in my mind.


For those of you who aren't as familiar with Iron-Age Irish and Celtic cultures, druids were the people. They acted as priests, doctors, lawyers, historians...they did everything. All their lore was handed down orally, and they trained for years before becoming an actual druid and being allowed to practice. Even Kings deferred to them, or (if you're familiar with the Ulster Cycle) regretted ignoring them.
So my character with the raven...she would have to be a druid.
Oh, and would have to be a she, because I love writing female characters (sorry guys! I promise I'll have some awesome men coming soon!).

And then I got this crazy idea...

What if druids still existed? What if they served as a tie to the spiritual world? What if they helped keep our planet healthy? And as sacred places were destroyed (that is, developed), they lost the power they needed to keep our planet healthy?
Now I have everything I need to start some serious worldbuilding:
Setting--modern day, in North America, preferably close to my Eastern PA base, so I can do research while on hiking and camping trips (tax write off, anyone?).
Characters: Protagonist would be the up and coming druid, and would have a foot in two worlds--new friends who are also druids, but old friends from college as well. 
Plot: Well, I think a traditional hero's journey and a little saving of the world would be perfect. 

Next Time

I want to start fleshing out this world some--so I'll look at druids some more, and start the plotting part (which is still top secret!).
I hope to have some rough drafts posted in May--so keep checking in!

Don't forget to comment on the post! Commenting on #WIP posts can get you a free ebook!

Thursday, April 4, 2019

New WIP!

Rough Draft Time!

So, how would you (my like, 5 readers?) like an in-person look at developing a manuscript, from beginning to end? Since I really should blog with this account (more than once a quarter) and I really should work on my writing, I've decided to put them together.

What's In It For You?

You'll get to see the start of an idea, see how I flesh it out...and fix it up to make it better and better! And feel free to toss me some feedback along the way. 
If I see you commenting regularly, I'll give you a free copy of the ebook when I publish--just for your help!

What to Expect

I'll start by posting about my inspiration so far--and get into worldbuilding! 
Once I have the background fleshed out, I usually outline--but I don't want to ruin the story for you. So once the outline is complete, I'll go ahead and post the rough draft chapters as I write them. 
Warning: This may take a while.
Warning 2: Rough draft is just that--rough. There will be some issues. 

Start Commenting!

Comment on any of the #WIP posts to get entered for the free ebook. Ideally, I would love to see you commenting on at least 5-6 posts--but depending on how many comments I get, I may have to adjust. 
I want to send as many free copies as possible, so tell your friends!!!