Wednesday Writing Warrior: T.G. Campbell

Welcome to another edition of Wednesday Writing Warriors! Today I have crime author T.G. Campbell.

TSW: Tell us a bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

Campbell: I’m the middle child of five and, as we were growing up, it wasn’t uncommon for my siblings and me to watch a crime drama on television with my mother. We would all discuss, and try to figure out, the mystery unfolding on screen. As I grew older, and I’d exhausted the young adult’s section in the local library, my mother introduced me to Agatha Christie’s books. I was hooked from the very first word.

It was Christie’s books, and the many years spent watching police and crime dramas on television, which birthed a dream  in me to become a police officer. Unfortunately, due to various reasons, I was unable to realize this ambition. Rather than dwell on something I couldn’t change though, I decided to turn it into something positive. If I couldn’t be a police officer I’d write about one instead.

My first attempt at writing was actually a series of (short) scripts for a crime drama called the Sunsdale Murders. It featured a broody, female Detective Chief Inspector, called Colette Campbell, at its center. Needless to say, these scrips have never seen the light of day since!

My best friend, Jenny, always had words of encouragement for me whenever I’d produce a new ‘Sunsdale’ script for her to read, however. I wanted to repay her for this unconditional support by writing something especially for her. I also wanted to challenge myself to write a mystery like one of Agatha Christie’s. I therefore borrowed Writing Crime Fiction by H.R.F Keating from my local library, studied the mechanics of the classic detective story which were outlined within, and wrote Death of a Kindred. It was only forty pages long—and featured detectives with ludicrous names—but it was, nonetheless, a complete murder mystery. I presented it to my best friend for her sixteenth birthday—much to her delight—and discovered a newfound addiction for writing mysteries. My friend and I are still best friends to this day and, yes, she still has her copy of Death of a Kindred.
TSW: In which genre do you classify your writing?

Campbell: Primarily crime fiction. My current works are all set in London in 1896 though, which gives me a compulsion to provide as much of an accurate portrayal of the clothes, real-life-places, technologies, etc., as possible.  I want to transport my readers back to the era in addition to challenging them with the puzzle of a good murder mystery. As a result, my writing may also be classed as Victoriana, crime-historical fiction, and historical fiction.
TSW: What books/short stories/novellas/poetry have you published, or what projects are you working on?

Campbell: Currently, I have two published books featuring the Bow Street Society: The Case of The Curious Client and The Case of The Lonesome Lushington. They are volumes one and two, respectively, in a long series I have planned.

There are also three short stories, currently published in eBook format only, which also feature the Bow Street Society. These stories form a sub-series of mini mysteries, designed to be read on the go, called the Bow Street Society Casebook. The aforementioned stories are, in order: The Case of The Shrinking Shopkeeper, The Case of The Winchester Wife, and The Case of The Perilous Pet.

I’m currently working on the third book in the main series—to be published in 2018—and a Bow Street Society Casebook short story collection. The collection will include the published stories above in addition to two, previously unseen, stories. There will also be a ‘notes from the author’ section, explaining the inspiration behind the collection, the real-life historical context of the plots & places, and my reasoning behind the mysteries’ creation. This bonus feature also appears in The Case of The Curious Client’s second edition, and will feature in the forthcoming second edition of The Case of The Lonesome Lushington.

Aside from my fiction writing, I also write a regular, monthly feature for Fresh Lifestyle Magazine. I was invited to write for the online magazine after The Case of The Curious Client won the magazine’s Book Award in April 2017. My feature has covered a wide variety of topics since it begin in May, including the tradition of street food in the Victorian era, Victorian era haircare techniques, and interviews with fellow authors John Bainbridge and Richard Jones. John writes Victorian era-set thrillers, while Richard has written numerous books about the paranormal and conducts regular historical tours and ghost walks around London.

Using some of the material from my extensive research, for my Bow Street Society books, I also wrote a list for Listverse entitled Top 10 Little Known Facts about Victorian Era Scotland Yard.

TSW: What is your favorite writing resource, be it a book, website, program…?

Campbell: The Queen’s London: A Pictorial and Descriptive Record of the streets, buildings, parks and scenery of the great metropolis in the fifty-ninth year of the reign of Her Majesty Queen Victoria by Cassell & Company Limited. It is a vast volume containing photographs of Victorian era London, along with descriptions to accompany each image. The reason why this is my favorite writing resource is because it was published in 1896—the very year my books and short stories are set! This was pure coincidence, but this source has been invaluable when forming a picture of a real-life place for the reader—specifically a picture which is true to the Victorian era incarnation of that place.

I found this source on Lee Jackson’s Victorian Dictionary website. The website itself is a veritable mine of literary and journalistic sources, from the Victorian era, about London.

 

TSW: Are you a plotter or pantser?

Campbell: I am, without a shadow of a doubt, a plotter. The crime fiction I write follows the classic “clue-puzzle” blueprint of the crime fiction golden age of the 1930s/1940s. Agatha Christie was the Queen of this type of crime fiction. It places as much emphasis on the puzzle, i.e. the mystery, as that which is placed on character development, setting, dialogue etc. It’s very important to me that my readers are able to follow the various clue trails and, in doing so, have the opportunity to solve the mystery. Rather than constantly dupe my readers into believing false information and/or leading them to a false solution, I strive to give my readers enough information so they may make an educated guess by the time they reach the “big reveal”. When the readers’ suspicions are proven right, the reader may be given a tremendous sense of satisfaction and enjoyment from that satisfaction. For me, this is what classic “clue-puzzle” mysteries (or cozy mysteries, as they’re referred to today) are all about.

I therefore have to plan out the mystery for each book/short story I write in order to ensure the reader can follow the trails. It also helps me organize characters’ alibis, red herrings, and the detectives’ journey from problem to solution. For me, the crime scene is the departure point for the reader and detectives alike. From there, I guide them both along various paths in the garden, i.e. the mystery. These paths may converge and separate at various points along the way but, ultimately, they will all flow into one path which leads both the characters and detectives to their final destination—the solution.

TSW: Can you give us a glimpse into your writing routine?

Campbell: I rarely write an entire first draft before I start the next stage of self-editing my work. I used to write an entire first draft and then start to edit it into a second draft but I, honestly, found it too difficult. With the many twists and turns a mystery story may take, I found I couldn’t hold the entire draft within my head while editing it. When I started writing The Case of The Curious Client, I decided to make things easier on myself. I wrote each chapter within its own Microsoft Word file. Within each file I’d write the various sections (or scenes), following my master plan.

After writing the first draft of a scene I would leave it, go away from my computer, think about the scene’s various elements, e.g. character developments, dialogue, descriptions, clues etc., and iron out any inconsistences in my head. When I returned to the computer, I would make the necessary changes. I would keep doing this until I was satisfied it was complete enough for me to move on. A lot of my ‘writing’ is actually done away from the computer and within my own imagination. Even though it sometimes feels like I’m watching a scene from a television program on repeat.

After all the chapters are complete, I put them together and take a day to do a full read through from start to finish. After this, it goes to my Beta Readers, followed by my editor. More editing and tweaking always follows, right up to the point where I hit ‘publish’.

I know a lot of other writers may frown upon my methodology when it comes to my initial drafting but it’s the method that works best for me. Due to the fact I write my chapters in separate files, I don’t keep a running tally of my word count. Actually, I have no idea of what my final word count will be/is until I put all the chapters together into a manuscript. I find keeping track of a word count as restrictive as trying to hold an entire first draft in my head!
TSW: What do you find to be the hardest part about writing?

Campbell: The technical side—that is, formatting. I’m very fortunate to have found an excellent editor in Susan Soares though. She’s taught me a great deal about this side of the process. I think I find the technical side the most difficult because everyone has their own opinion on what it should look like. Style manuals, articles, blogs, vlogs, even Facebook writing groups all have rules on how a page should be laid out and the whole show vs tell debate.

While I do agree quality should always be paramount —and that there is a minimum standard of quality all authors should strive for—I’m reluctant to automatically bow to the ‘rules’ of others simply because “everyone else does it”. Popularity doesn’t always equal quality. I therefore analyze the advice/rules I’m being given and decide if they make sense and/or are something I’ve seen done in traditionally published works. 9 times out of 10 I roll with the advice/rules. The rest of the time, I go with my instincts.

TSW: What does success look like to you?

Campbell: Someone who is so engrossed by my writing they feel the suspense and intrigue, smell the scents of Victorian London’s streets, know each character intimately, and feel a desperate emptiness when they finish reading my book/short story. Even if just one person experiences this while reading my work, I would’ve achieved success.
TSW: Are there any writers who inspire you?

Campbell: Agatha Christie —of course! I’ve also recently discovered the books of John Bainbridge. His Victorian era thrillers, about an avenger called William Quest, keep me on the edge of my seat from start to finish. John’s works don’t get the widespread readership they deserve, which is a shame. I’d recommend the William Quest books to anyone who enjoys action, intrigue, and adventure—even if history and the British Victorian era aren’t their usual go-to topics for their reading material.
TSW: What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned on your journey as a writer?

Campbell: Negative—even brutality harsh—feedback/reviews can be just as important, if not more important, than positive ones. They have the power to guide a writer back onto the right path by helping them identify what’s not working in their writing. Sometimes, pride can blind us to reality. Putting aside our pride and accepting we were wrong—despite our best intentions and hard work—can be the hardest thing to do, especially when you’re an independent writer. If you achieve this though, it can be very enlightening and very rewarding. It will also make you a stronger person and a better writer in the long run. Remember, failure is only an option if you choose it to be.

About T.G. Campbell:

T.G. (Tahnee Georgina) Campbell is the creator of the Bow Street Society—a fictional group of amateur detectives operating in Victorian London in 1896. Each of its civilian members has been enlisted for their unique skills or exceptional knowledge in a particular field, e.g. illusions, architecture, art etc. The Society feature in several published books and short stories. T.G. Campbell also writes a monthly feature for Fresh Lifestyle Magazine, covering a variety of topics from Victorian haircare to street food. She has published Top 10 Little Known Facts about Victorian Era Scotland Yard on Listverse. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature from the University of Winchester (Jane Austen is buried in that town’s cathedral). She’s previously worked for a charity supporting witnesses attending criminal court, and a project assisting current and ex-offenders into paid work or training. She enjoys doing extensive research for her writing, including visiting museums and locations in and around London on a regular basis. She currently lives in a city just outside London with her canary, Tweeps, and an extensive collection of souvenir cups.

Connect with T.G. Campbell at:

www.bowstreetsociety.com

www.twitter.com/BowStSociety

www.facebook.com/BowStreetSociety

https://listverse.com/2017/01/15/top-10-little-known-facts-about-victorian-era-scotland-yard/

http://www.freshlifestylemag.com/book-award-the-case-of-the-curious-client-a-bow-street-society-mystery.html

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Wednesday Writing Warrior: Danae C. Little

I’m happy to have connected with the author behind the amazing story, Finding Home, Danae C. Little!

TSW: Tell us a bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

Little: Being the oldest girl in a large family who also did foster care meant that I had many younger children to help care for and entertain. Creating stories and make-believe scenarios became an enjoyable necessity to keep the little wildlings calm. Also, writing and reading gave me the much needed escape from the chaotic world I lived in.

As I grew older, journaling became the way I coped with my ever-changing life. I would also dream up short stories, children’s books, novels, and poetry. I once craved to be the youngest published novelist!

Dreams may not turn out exactly as we hope, but the dream still exists. With wonderful, encouraging pushes, my friends and local writing group counterparts have blessed me with the confidence to finally do something on a professional level with my writing. Over the last four years I have published several books, journals, and a novelette. My debut novel, Finding Home (released Nov. 28th), is actually my tenth book!
TSW: In which genre do you classify your writing?
Little: As my bio suggests, I live a very eclectic life. I try to touch a bit on all my experiences which is why I have a conglomeration of books including non-fiction, baby journals, marriage journals, and fiction. My fiction normally classifies as romance or literary fiction – romance.

 

TSW: What books/short stories/novellas/poetry have you published, or what projects are you working on?

 

Little: 

Non-fiction:   Carson’s Gifts: A journey through love, loss, and finally hope

Interactive Classroom Management: Interactive Tools

 

Journals:        Did You Hear That?

Did You See That?

Baby Blessings

Write Your Marriage Back Together (series of 3 guided journals)

 

Fiction:          Misplaced Love – a novelette

Finding Home (Book 1 of Homestead series) Released Nov. 28th

I am currently working on Book 2 of the Homestead Series as well as a short story from the perspective of a character from that series

For a complete list go to www.amazon.com/author/danaelittle

 

TSW: What is your favorite writing resource, be it a book, website, program…?

Little: There are so many resources out there! My absolute favorite resource is my local writing group. Without those strong, supportive, and talented women, I would not be where I am today! There are many authors I follow like Jay Boyer who has a long list of resources and gives the best informational trainings including pdf sheets that go along with them! Katelyn Silva and E. Ardell have also assisted me tremendously, especially with marketing know-how.
TSW: Are you a plotter or pantser?

Little: I love this question! I happen to be both. When I write my non-fiction I am definitely a plotter. I detail very specific outlines to the point of practically having it written before I actually start writing. My fiction, on the other hand, is definitely written as I go. Many of my short stories and novelettes actually are born from dreams I have had. I wake up with them and the emotions they create within me, sit down at my laptop and write. Misplaced Love is an example of that.

Finding Home, the first novel I have published, started from a personal rant not meant for anyone else’s eyes. From there, Cora, the main character was born and the story unfolded on its own accord. There were times I lay in bed at night and wondered where my characters would end up, but almost every time, once I put my pencil to paper (yes, I did write the entire length of Finding Home by hand) I became the witness rather than the creator. Or at least it felt that way!  Much of the rant is now dispersed throughout the book, but it just shows how a quick free-write can create something so much more!
TSW: Can you give us a glimpse into your writing routine?

Little: The stage in life I live in the moment does not grant much routine or writing time. When our miraculous son was born, my husband and I decided for me to give up my teaching position so I could be home with him full time. It has been the best job, but also the hardest and most time consuming. I wouldn’t change it for the world!

That being said, I used to utilize my son’s nap time to write. He no longer naps, but we have instilled a “quiet time” in our routine where I sometimes get a chance to work on my writing. Pretty much at this stage in my life I write whenever, and I mean whenever, I am blessed with the time. I have been known to jot down notes or a scene at stop lights or while my husband runs into the hardware store to grab a few items.
TSW: What do you find to be the hardest part about writing?

Little: Right now the hardest part of writing is having enough time to get it all down. I sometimes wish my brain was a computer that I could download into a document. I would be unstoppable then!
TSW: What’s the first book that made you cry?
Little: The first book I remember that made me cry was Where the Red Fern Grows. It broke my little 8 year old heart!

 

TSW: What does success look like to you?

Little: What a complicated, deep question! Success has the face of happiness to me. If I and my family are happy and full of love, no matter what we do—that is success!

My dream though? I would love to be able to earn enough with my writing to travel the country with my husband and son or move to an even more secluded cabin higher up in the Sierras.
TSW: Are there any writers who inspire you?

Little: Every writer I have been honored to talk with inspires me. I know that sounds corny, but it’s true! Writers have such a distinctive and individual way of viewing life. Each one has something unique to offer this world!
TSW: What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned on your journey as a writer?

Little: The biggest lesson I have learned on this journey is to trust myself. It is so easy to give in to self-doubt and criticism. The beauty arises, though, when we can truly embrace our own voice and trust what it says.

 

About Danae C. Little:

Danae Little takes real life and wraps it up neatly into something beautiful you can hold in your hands.

Life is dynamic and ever-changing and Danae embraces that, bringing an eclectic array of expertise to her readers. Checkout her author page, www.amazon.com/author/danaelittle, for a full list of her books and journals.

Danae lives in a small town at the base of the majestic Sierras with the adventurous love of her life and their miraculous son. She spends her days feeling blessed to be chasing imaginary dragons in their magical forest and finding any quiet moment possible to put pen to paper.

 

Connect with Danae:

https://www.facebook.com/DanaeLittleAuthor/

Wednesday Writing Warrior: Lucy Summers

Welcome to another edition of Wednesday Writing Warrior! Today I’d like to introduce fantasy writer Lucy Summers. You can samples of her upcoming work, Storm of Thieves, on Facebook. Click here to check it out!

TSW: Tell us a bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

Summers: I think I’ve always loved writing. Ever since I was about 10 years old, I would dabble with short stories that I now cringe at. I enjoyed the freedom in writing and loved that I could design the world and shape the characters any way that I wanted to. I have a bucket full of old musings that I still keep, just as a document of my creative worlds. The passion and ability to shape something from nothing is an art that I have fallen in love with.
TSW: In which genre do you classify your writing?

Summers: I have played with romance and thrillers when I was much younger, but after watching Lord of the Rings, my passion for fantasy was kindled deep within me. I went as far as learning archery because of it, and later got good enough to become an archery coach. I coached for 3 years before I had to quit due to work, but I will still shoot recreationally. I think it’s the freedom of fantasy that I love most, because in a world that doesn’t exist, anything at all can happen. There are no limitations put on it by the rules of our world. I mostly read fantasy as my go-to as well, but I will read just about anything.
TSW: What books/short stories/novellas/poetry have you published, or what projects are you working on?

Summers: I’m currently working on an epic fantasy story that will eventually be a trilogy. I have not yet published, but for all my musings in writing, this is the first piece I’ve written that I truly believe in. I am nearing the final stages with it and hope to eventually find an agent to help me share it with the world.

(See below to learn about Storm of Thieves!)

here is a brief synopsis: Ryale Stromstorm is a notorious thief in the land of Ashtrean, where magic has ceased and crime is spreading. Her latest mission: a high-risk heist to steal from one of the very lords ruling her city. Miscalculating the brevity of her attempt, she lands herself in the custody of the very man she tried to steal from.
Thanifear has been owned by Lord Saydor for as long as he can remember. He knows little of the outside world and doesn’t know what it’s like to be free. When Ryale enters the mines, his chance at a new life starts to take hold.
Daemon Arroyan has unparalleled abilities. The multitude of daggers on his belt and dark glare are enough of a warning. He has little issues killing any who get in his way. Forced to accompany Ryale and Thanifear as they make their escape, he just might be their only chance at surviving, as Ryale didn’t leave the city empty handed…

It is written in first person with 3 POV. The book is broken into 3 sections, each told by one of the three.

TSW: What is your favorite writing resource, be it a book, website, program…?

Summers: I haven’t really used alot of writing resources, per se, but I have taken creative writing classes in college by a crazy professor who taught me more than I realized. Styles, point of view, learning better vocabulary, thinking of seeing and communicating a scene without telling are all points that I developed through those classes.
TSW: Are you a plotter or pantser?

Summers: Absolutely a pantser. I don’t like outlining. Even for high school papers, despise it being a requirement, I wouldn’t do it. It is all unknown to me. I write to discover. I write because I’m curious and need to see how the story unfolds. Small bits get revealed slowly, one scene at a time. If I plan and outline it, I already know the story, so I don’t have the same motivation for it.
TSW: Can you give us a glimpse into your writing routine?

Summers: What a fun question! For me, I like to be completely alone when I write. I’m not the type who can go to a cafe or public place and sit down and work. I don’t have the same level of focus. I usually keep to my room and lay on my back with my laptop propped against my legs, the same position I’m currently in as I write this. And I need silence. I used to be able/prefer to listen to music while I worked, but I find now that it can drown out the characters at times and I want to see them clearly. I am a firm believer that somewhere, on the other side of the veil, their voices slip out and find us. How they choose us, I don’t know, but it is our duty to write their stories. I picture myself sitting in a fairly dark room, one table pushed against the northern wall, a single light source from above. I sit on the far end, my back to the wall, and my 3 MCs sit on the other side. They talk to me, tell me scene by scene how things happened. I stay silent and write, unless I have a question. And they can be so moody, especially my assassin, Daemon. Sometimes, they just aren’t in the mood to talk. And I have to try and motivate them to reveal what happens next. This is the same reason why I can’t outline.

As the story progresses, I force myself to keep on writing. If I try and edit each scene, I get stuck in an endless loop and never am able to move forward. For the first draft, I don’t even allow myself to edit typos or spelling. The editor in me will take a mile if I give an inch: edit one word, it will be a sentence then a paragraph then the whole darn chapter, and then I’m just focused on making it tighter, instead of on the events of the story. I’m currently well past that point now, and making my final changes to the story. I have such high hopes that the world will love my characters as much as I do.
TSW: What do you find to be the hardest part about writing?

Summers: Not editing as I go is definitely one of the issues I’ve found. I have seen my characters pretty clearly and don’t really have problems finding the next scene or how they’re connected, but thinking around the plot and finding plot holes, then filling them, makes it difficult at times. And then of course, there are the words themselves. Creating a sentence to be perfect is difficult. I will be pleased with one paragraph, look at it, tell myself, “this is good!”, then read it a week later and rewrite every single word. Writing is hard. We, as writers, have to see everything. We don’t get the luxury of the movies, where visual effects–not even special effects–come in. If a wagon pulls down a dirt drive, we, in a movie, see the wagon, the horse, the driver, hear the hoof falls, see the dust rising behind the wheels. In a story, we have to not only see that all in our heads, but communicate those details to the reader, all without cluttering up the story. It’s not easy. But it’s so much fun.
TSW: What’s the first book that made you cry (if there is one)?

Summers: Oh geez, I don’t remember. But I can tell you this much. I’ve only ever cried during 3 movies. I just don’t get sucked into movies the same way I do books. Number of books that made me cry? Lost track a long time ago. You just get so much more out of a book that a movie lacks.
TSW: What does success look like to you?

Summers: There are two levels I see as success. Professional success and personal success. On a professional level, it would be to have my work published. I intend to get there. I believe in fulfilling dreams, and this is something I dream of doing with Storm of Thieves. I will get there. Traditional or self publishing, one way or another, I will get there. Personal success, though, comes with what we do as writers. Finding that “a-ha!” moment when things slip into place, finishing a scene that was hard and struggling (my current ch. 13 was like this, hardest thing I ever wrote) to get right, or, my favorite, writing that very last sentence and being able to pause, stop, and look at it and say, “It is finished!” Those are the moments we strive for. There is no feeling like it.
TSW: Are there any writers who inspire you?

Summers: Absolutely! Patrick Rothfuss is an incredible author whose work has given me more passion. His way with words is incredibly beautiful. Ernest Cline is another. He is the author of Ready Player One. This book is actually a funny story. I’m not a big gamer. I’d rather be reading. I also am not a big sci-fi fan at all. Futuristic stories, science, aliens, space, etc. are just not my types. I only picked up this book because it was laying on the floor of our house and I was told it was good, so I grew curious. I expected to only read the first page. I read the whole thing in two days. I couldn’t put it down. His writing is incredibly clear, without questions of uncertainty. The writing in it alone inspires me to do better with my own, but the fact that I not only read the whole thing, but loved it, in a genre that I normally wouldn’t read…that is some serious inspiration.
TSW: What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned on your journey as a writer?

Summers: I would say that writing is now a part of me. Developing my characters, or as I think of it, letting them tell me who they are, is a really big change. They are now constantly in my head, living there almost, and will talk and express themselves in the oddest times, like at work. I think no matter what I do now, the three of them will always be part of me. I think writing has taught me to think more analytically as well. I need to see the scene myself before I’m able to convey it. Every little detail matters. I now read books with a new look and a new respect. I never really knew just how much time went into writing. Now that I do, I have to appreciate a story more. I also read with a more critical eye. I have found a few typos in stories as well as thought of a few different ways to express parts of it different than the author did. I see differently now. Even in my everyday life, things I see I think could be a good story, or be part of a future story, or make a good setting, etc…

Check out the first two chapters of Storm of Thieves on Facebook!
Ryale Stromstorm is a notorious thief in the land of Ashtrean, where magic has ceased and crime is spreading. Her latest mission: a high-risk heist to steal from one of the very lords ruling her city. Miscalculating the brevity of her attempt, she lands herself in the custody of the very man she tried to steal from.
Thanifear has been owned by Lord Saydor for as long as he can remember. He knows little of the outside world and doesn’t know what it’s like to be free. When Ryale enters the mines, his chance at a new life starts to take hold.
Daemon Arroyan has unparalleled abilities. The multitude of daggers on his belt and dark glare are enough of a warning. He has little issues killing any who get in his way. Forced to accompany Ryale and Thanifear as they make their escape, he just might be their only chance at surviving, as Ryale didn’t leave the city empty-handed…

About Lucy Summers:

I am a fantasy fiend. I’m the type of person who has no problem expressing what I love. I will go out in public wearing a cloak, hood up over my face. I love reading and have been a reader since before kindergarten. I have my mom to thank for that. She quickly instilled in me a love for books. I am an archer and horseback rider. I have been riding since I was 9 and have an amazing horse who I ride 3-4x a week. I have shot my bow off her many times as well, usually dressed up as one of my characters. My passion for fantasy stories was always there, but after seeing Lord of the Rings, it was the spark the really fed the fire. I live in California, USA. I love to travel, anywhere and everywhere. I always have a striving desire for adventure.

Guest Post: How to Make Your Characters Interesting

Guest post by Joshua Robinson

How to Make Your Characters Interesting

The secret to a successful and engaging book lies in its live, realistic and interesting characters! Bright characters attract readers. What should the character be to cause interest? All good authors understand that the heroes of their works should be just as unique, inconsistent and contradictory as real people because all of these contradictions are exactly what creates a character personality. This is what allows you to breathe life into your heroes. Besides, such contradictions make a good character an interesting personality that readers want to know more closely, striving to “live” through the book’s plot together with him and share experiences.

How to make a character interesting? From this article, you will learn about the basic principles of story writing and find some of the best character ideas that will help you create an engaging book that people will love!

How to Create Your Character

This is a long process that will require lots of creativity and brainstorming, but if you follow the tips provided below, you will handle this task easily and quickly!

  • Define the genre that is close to you – the first step of your process requires you to determine whether you are going to create a dramatic, fantasy, love, humorous or adventure story. Why is this important? The main rule is to keep the harmony between the plot and your characters, and this is why you need to have at least a general understanding of the plot before you can come up with some good ideas!
  • Define the hero’s role. Will it be the main or an auxiliary, positive or negative personality? If you can identify the role of a new hero in advance, it will be easier for you to create a personality suitable for this role.
  • Think of the main traits. At this stage of the process, you should define what good character traits your person should have and also think of his appearance (age, hair, eyes); try to consider him as a new acquaintance, which you are trying to learn more closely. Make these traits relevant to his role. Then add some character flaws – but again, always try to keep the balance or you risk making your hero too unnatural.
  • Think over the hero’s past. Your hero will only look complete and wholesome personality if you tell the reader about certain past events that determined his present. To make him more mysterious – he may keep a terrible secret from his past. Try to add as many details as possible. Without hesitation, add new traits and details, even if you are already in the process of writing a story – the main thing is not to forget to go back to the very beginning and change everything that does not fit to the adjusted character.
  • Develop the hero along with the development of the plot. The events that take place in the story bring your heroes new experience and memories, influence their thoughts, actions and attitudes.
  • Don’t tell; show! Do not be too straightforward! Instead of telling the reader who is the particular person directly, use his actions and dialogues to give readers the clues that will help them to find the answers on their own. If you devote a long paragraph to describing the nature and appearance of the hero, this can make your story unnatural and thus, you should try to make every personality an organic part of your story.

What Are The Main Tips To Keep In Mind?

If you follow the steps described above, you will easily create a unique and engaging hero for your story, but here are a few more practical tips to keep in mind:

  • Visualization is a great creativity-booster – if you have such a possibility, try to draw every person that you want to include in your plot;
  • No one can be absolutely negative or positive – it looks unnatural and uninteresting if your heroes are either bad or completely good, and that is why you should always keep the balance;
  • Seek inspiration in people who surround you – often, observing the behavior of those who surround you is the best source of inspiration and fresh ideas for your story;
  • Try to pay special attention to conversations – make sure that the personality of your hero is clearly seen in his manner of speech, it is not easy to create such connection but if you manage to do this – you are doomed to succeed;
  • Be attentive to details – do not allow your characters do or say something that contradicts with their life goals, values, beliefs and personality or it will not look realistic!

Follow all of these tips and the whole process will get much simpler! And, after some practice, you will gain the literary flair that will help you make your stories even more natural and live!

 

Author’s Bio: This post is written Joshua Robinson a creative writer, who also works part-time as a professional academic assistant for students at https://australianwritings.com.au. Joshua has written several short stories and books. He claims that one of the hardest steps in creating a good story is making interesting characters. In this article, Joshua shares his own tips and tricks that will help you create original and creative characters with ease!

Wednesday Writing Warrior: T. Haven Morse

Welcome to Wednesday Writing Warriors! This is a new feature I’ll be doing every Wednesday. If you’d like to be featured, please email me at allison@thesentrancedwriter.com.

This week, I’m happy to introduce T. Haven Morse, poetess and Sci-Fi/Fantasy fan fiction author.THavenMorse1

You can check out her collection of poetry, Flooded By: A Persona Poetry Collection on Amazon.

TSW: Tell us a bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

Morse: After a twenty-year career as a stage and improv actress, on a whim, my husband and I moved to an 18-acre farmstead in the middle of a national forest. Needless to say, I was no longer near a theater, so I retired from acting. After a few weeks, my husband noted that my eye was starting to twitch and I had better find a new creative outlet soon or I might explode. Over the years, I’d written some stage plays and sketched out a ton of characters, so writing seemed the natural choice. Something I could do from anywhere and fiction was a realm I already knew well.


TSW: 
In which genre do you classify your writing?

Morse: Poetry is my main category of work, but I also write flash fiction and am about to start the edits on the rough draft of book one of a fantasy novel series. Within poetry, I have one collection of persona poetry that came out in March and a science fiction/fantasy fan fiction book that comes out later this month called “Beam Me Up, Yoda.” My flash can be found in a handful of journals, mags, and anthologies.


TSW: 
What books/short stories/novellas/poetry have you published, or what projects are you working on?

Morse: Oops, guess I jumped the promote-my-work gun on the last question! You can purchase my persona poetry collection “Flooded By” on Amazon in Kindle or paperback. It’s a unique book that contains sixty individuals writing on topics they’ve been flooded by – sorrow, wonder, adrenaline, and more. I also have pieces published in “In Medias Res: Stories from the In Between”, two anthologies put out by the Woodlands Writing Guild, and a handful of poetry journals. “Beam Me Up, Yoda” is my latest literary baby and it’s a collection of poems written by and about one hundred of the most iconic science fiction and fantasy characters of all time like the Wicked Witch of the East, Han Solo, Captain Picard, Katniss Everdeen, and ninety-six others. It’s a fun poetry ride that will hit shelves and Amazon by mid-to-end of October.THavenMorse2


TSW: 
What is your favorite writing resource, be it a book, website, program…?

Morse: I’m old school and love actual books in my hand. A few of my constant “go-to”s for craft tips and inspiration are “Steering the Craft” by Ursula Le Guin, classic Strunk/White “Elements of Style”, and “The Story Behind the Story” from Norton Press. However old school I may be, I’m also a podcast junkie. Some of my faves are the Write Now podcast with Sarah Rhea Werner, the Writership podcast, Story Shots with C. Steven Manley, and the Writer’s Almanac with Garrison Keillor. Check all of these out! They make my commutes into the city worth driving and my writing always improving.


TSW: 
Are you a plotter or pantser? Do you outline your stories, or do you write them as they come to you?

Morse: Being a former improv artist, I’m an observer and tend to get the spark of an idea from something or someone I encounter. Then it depends. Sometimes the story or poem outline hits me first and I develop it before the rough draft words are written. Other times, I just let the muse run and see where she/the characters lead then do the cleanup, organizing, and polishing after the fact. So, a bit of both, I guess.


TSW: 
Can you give us a glimpse into your writing routine?

Morse: I usually have, at least, four of five writing-project coals stoking in the creative fire at a time. When it’s the writing hour, I sit down, take a breath, and see what kind of mood I’m in. Given my current mindset, day’s events, or level of energy, I decide which project would be best. Sometimes I have deadlines to meet, so one will win due to time constraints. But usually, I pick based on the moment. I will note that location and music are also important for me in setting the tone of my writing time. The right Pandora station or playlist can alter my work for the day, as can being at home on my balcony at sunset or inside a coffee shop watching a summer storm rage outside.


TSW: 
What do you find to be the hardest part about writing?

Morse: Knowing when to say, “It is finished.” Being the daughter of an editor, I could knit-pick a piece to death for eternity. Drawing that line of “good enough” is tough for me.


TSW: 
What’s the first book that made you cry (if there is one)?

Morse: “Angel Unaware” by Dale Evans Rogers. Dale wrote the story as a way to deal with the pain of her infant daughter’s death. Written in first person from the perspective of Robin (the daughter), it’s a tiny book that made a huge impact on me – at nine-years-old. “Bridge to Terabithia” was the next one that got me!?!


TSW: 
What does success look like to you?

Morse: Connections achieved. My “why” for writing, and for living, is to connect with others. Whether we share a deep conversation over lunch, someone is moved to tears (or laughter) by one of my poems, or a complete stranger returns my smile in the grocery checkout line, these are my moments of success in life and in writing.


TSW: 
Are there any writers who inspire you?

Morse: Tons! I’m all over the board with writers I adore – Elizabeth Gilbert, Dean Koontz, Brene Brown, Ken Liu, Neil Gaiman, St. Catharine of Sienna, Maya Angelou, Thomas Merton, Stephen King, C.S. Lewis, Tracy K. Smith, and those are just a handful of the well-knowns. I also love to read and support my local writers and new, emerging writers like Holly Walrath, Diane Prokop, Curt Locklear, John Bernhard, Chantell Renee, Eloisa Perez-Lozano de Castelan, and Cassandra Rose Clarke.


TSW: 
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned on your journey as a writer?

Morse: Listen for the gauntlets to be thrown. That’s when I know a project is worthy of my efforts, skills, talents, and attention. When someone says, “Poetry can’t make money.” Gauntlet thrown. When I’m standing at a comic book convention and my muse says, “Sci-Fi/Fantasy people need more poetry.” Gauntlet thrown. When I hear people say, “Writing in first-person is bad.” Big time gauntlet thrown. I always listen and watch for the challenges then head to the war room and start strategizing.


About T. Haven Morse:
Character-driven, emotion-evoking stories and poems that brand a lasting impression on readers, these are the type of writings T. Haven Morse pens. Some are literary, some are genre, but they all aim at the amygdala with a balance of intrigue and entertainment. She has a persona poetry collection available, titled “Flooded By”, and other pieces published in numerous journals and anthologies. Find her on social media @THavenMorse and at http://www.BountifulBalconyBooks.com/thavenmorse. Also, coming out in October 2017, “Beam Me Up, Yoda” – a SFF collection of fan fiction fauxetry.

You can connect with Morse on:
Twitter

Facebook

https://www.bountifulbalconybooks.com/thavenmorse