Time To Write: Show Your Character’s Biggest Pet Peeve

I don’t know what’s up with the character theme this month, but here you go.

What’s the one thing that annoys your character the most? It can be a simple thing that really grinds their gears or something big that annoys most people.

How do the people around your character feel when he/she becomes annoyed?

Feel free to post your story in the comments below. I’d love to see what you come up with. If you respond by Thursday, August 25, I’ll post your story and a link to your blog for next week’s Time to Write prompt.

Happy writing!

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Time To Write: Show Your Character’s Biggest Flaw

Last week’s prompt was Show Your Character’s Biggest Fear.

Nthato wrote a wonderful piece over at his blog, A-Scribe To Describe.

Thanks, Nthato!

This week’s prompt is:

Everyone has flaws whether they like to admit it or not. Sometimes we don’t even know we have a certain flaw until someone points it out to you.

What’s your main character’s biggest flaw? Do they know about it? Are they okay with it?

Feel free to post your story in the comments below. I’d love to see what you come up with. If you respond by Thursday, August 18, I’ll post your story and a link to your blog for next week’s Time to Write prompt.

Happy writing!

rachel poli sign off

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Inspiration Station: First Impressions

inspiration station

I don’t know about you, but when I meet someone new I always take mental notes on their mannerisms and what they say. First impressions are everything.

When a reader meets a character for the first time, how do you want them to feel about the character?

Should the reader love your character? Maybe they’re supposed to hate the character. Or maybe the character comes off sweet at first, but the reader slowly learns to dislike the character and vice versa.

There are many traits you can use to describe the personality and mannerisms of your characters.

–General traits (ambitious, dull, funny, witty, vain, etc.)
–Good/bad habits (social butterfly/anti-social, etc.)
–Hobbies (dancing, writing, loves playing games, etc.)

What kind of emotion does your character typically show? Is he or she cheery in the most dire situations or maybe they’re sad all the time.

What about their knowledge? Do they love learning? Have multiple degrees in various subjects? Do they love palm-reading or anything that has to do with animals?

Do they have any obsessions or quirks? Maybe they collect rocks or have random impulses.

How would any of those show in the first meeting of a new character?

How would your other characters react to meeting this person?

Of course, you can write away and see how the characters turn out on their own, but I always like to think it’s good to have at least three traits of every character figured out–two good, one bad.

These traits may change over time, but that just means your character is becoming more into their own.

Time to Write: Quirks

Last week’s prompt was Gender Reversal.

Nthato wrote a great piece on his blog, A-Scribe To Describe.

Now onto this week’s prompt…

TTW Quirks

Everyone has their own quirks; common or bizarre. Our characters in our story are no different.

Write a quick short story about something odd your character does, but something that makes them them.

Feel free to post your story in the comments below. I’d love to see what you come up with. In addition, I’ll post your story and a link to your blog for next week’s Time to Write prompt.

Happy writing!

Inspiration Station: Looks Are Everything

inspiration station character development

Appearance isn’t everything, but when it comes to describing the characters in your novel, physical looks are important.

You want your reader to see the characters they’re reading about.

Don’t just say a character is pretty because they’re the main character or something along those lines. How are they pretty? Do other characters in the story think he or she is pretty? If so, why? If not, why?

Let your reader have an opinion on this as well. Maybe your reader will agree or disagree whether your protagonist is pretty or not.

There are many different physical characteristics to think about when creating your characters. Do you have to spend a few paragraphs right in a row to describe your character? No. Describe them over time.

Some physical features aren’t even important, but it doesn’t hurt to throw them in; especially in the first few drafts of your novel to help you, the writer, get familiar with the characters.

Physical characteristics can include:

–Body type (bony, chubby, petite, solid, height, weight, etc.)
–Facial features (clean-shaven, wrinkled, double chin, droopy eyes, etc.)
–Skin and complexion (birthmarks, scars, pale, tattoos, etc.)
–Hair (hair’s color, length, cut, thick/thin, etc.)
–Clothing and accessories (kinds of clothes they wear, colors, kinds of accessories such as hats, jewelry, etc.)

A great way to describe someone is to describe yourself first. It’ll give you ideas of what to look for when talking about the physical traits of your characters.

Look at yourself in a mirror and describe your body, you face, and everything you can think of.

In my creative writing class at college, I was assigned an exercise called the Body Portrait. You zoom in on a spot of your body and tell its story. I chose to write about the small scar under my chin.

It’s a great way to look more in depth at yourself and your characters.

List of Last Names

Surnames Character Development

Last names are just as important as first names when it comes to naming your characters. It gives your character a sense of identity.

Yet, you don’t want to just pick any old surname for your character. You want to make sure the last name matches with the first name.

Does your character have an Hispanic first name? You might want to give them an Hispanic last name as well.

That is, if your character is Hispanic. Maybe your character’s parents just liked that specific name, but they’re not Hispanic. Or maybe your character is adopted.

See? A last name can tell a lot of things.

You also want the surname to flow with the first name. You want the first and last name to roll right off the tongue together.

I think that has a lot to do with the syllables in both the first and the last names.

I always found that if one name is going to be longer than the other, it should be the last name. For example, Lee Anderson flows nicely. Elizabeth Smith, does not.

Yet, Elizabeth and Smith both sound alike because of the “TH.” Elizabeth Brown sounds much better.

I basically just contradicted myself, but this is all a matter of opinion.

I wanted to sound somewhat intelligent, but my main reason for writing this post was to give you guys this awesome website:

Names by Mongabay

This is the ultimate list of surnames by rank, race, and in alphabetical order. There’s also lists for male and female first names as well.

So, if you’re ever stuck on what to name your character, this is a fun place to do it.

Did you like this post? You can also read about First Names here!

Inspiration Station: Anatomy of A Character

Anatomy of a character inspiration station

I know some people like to allow their characters to develop naturally through the course of the story. Others don’t know anything about their characters until they write them down. Then there are some who plan and plan and plan their characters out.

For me, it all depends on the novel.

For my George Florence series I had personalities in mind for my characters. Then I wrote them and they turned out completely different.

For my Take Over novel I had their personalities planned and so far they’re sticking to them.

For my Diary of a Lover novel, I let the characters run the show.

So you never really know what is going to happen whether you plan or not.

However, there are definitely a few things you should know about your character before writing them:

1. First and last name
2. Gender
3. Age
4. Career and/or Education

As long as you know those four key points (and I guess number four could be optional) I think your character can wing it for the novel.

Then again, it can be fun to plan. If you are a planner for your characters then I would suggest this:

Character Chart by EpiGuide.

It’s a very in depth profile for your characters. Some information most likely isn’t needed, but a lot of the information is something you wouldn’t even think to include.

It’s fun to try anyway.

How to Name Your Characters

Naming Your Characters: First Names

Your name is part of what makes you you. That’s no different from the characters in your story.

Some people say that names aren’t important. It’s the description and development throughout the story that creates loveable, relateable characters.

I think names are pretty important as well. Plus, they’re a lot of fun.

There are two ways I come up with names for my characters:

1. I check the meanings behind them.

I love to look up various names and check their meanings. It makes the character feel more one with the story, if that makes any sense.

I think it shows that you put thought into the name of your character. It shows that your character is important to the plot somehow. It’s like the Story Gods have chosen that name for your character because they have a big destiny to fulfill–which is your plot.

For example, in the very first novel I wrote, Diary of a Lover, I named the protagonist Venus. Venus is love-struck by a boy in her class. She comes on too strong. She doesn’t know how to take no for an answer.

Knowing that little bout of information about her, I chose the name Venus for a few reasons.

One, Venus is also known as the Goddess of Love. The meaning of her name is literally “love.” Right off the bat, that tells you something about Venus.

Two, Venus is a unique name that you don’t hear very often. This makes her stand out as a character. It tells you she is someone important. Plus, because it’s not a common name, you’ll always think of her when you think of Venus.

2. I do the complete opposite of checking the meaning–I come up a random name on my own.

This kind of contradicts everything I just said, but there are no right or wrong ways to name your characters.

If you create a character and a name suddenly pops into your head… Use it. There was probably a reason that name was your first instinct.

For example, I came up with the name George for my George Florence series because I was trying to think of a “goofy” name. At first, George was a goofy detective, but George Constanza from Seinfeld popped into my head. Thus, George was born. I don’t know what made me think of Seinfeld, but the name stuck.

George’s personality has changed drastically since then, but I’ve written George for a few years now that he has just become one with his name. He’s grown into it and it suits him.

Names can have a lot of meaning behind the characters. Choose wisely.

I have a baby name book that I tend to use a lot, but here are some of my favorite websites to find names:

Baby Names
Baby Name Genie
Behind the Name
Fantasy Name Generator

Did you like this post? You can read about Last Names here!

Time to Write: Introductions

Last week’s prompt was a Sentence Starter: “I awoke to the sound of…”

Nandini wrote a modified piece of the prompt at her blog, Pages That Rustle.

Thanks Nandini!

This week’s prompt is…

Time to write writing prompt introductions

Introduce a brand new character as though you’re beginning a new novel. We don’t need to know any plot or premise of the story, just introduce the main character.

Give us enough background to make us want to follow the character, even if we don’t know what the story is about. But don’t reveal everything all at once. Keep us wondering about this character.

Feel free to post your story in the comments below. I’d love to see what you come up with. In addition, I’ll post your story and a link to your blog for next week’s Time to Write prompt.

Happy writing!

Time to Write: Ambition

Writing Prompt Ambition

Now that we’re a week into the new year, let’s talk about our ambitions and goals.

Write a character that is full of ambition and determination to meet their dreams.

What are their goals? What do they hope to accomplish in the near future? How are they going to go about accomplishing these goals? Do they have any support from family and friends? Maybe they don’t have any support which makes achieving these goals all the more difficult.

Everyone in life has some sort of ambition whether it’s big or small. It helps shape who we are.

Now it’s time for you to help shape your character into who they are.

Feel free to post your story in the comments below. I’d love to see what you come up with. In addition, I’ll post your story and a link to your blog for next week’s Time to Write prompt.

Happy writing!