Who am I

Writers gather their characters from various places. Some look at people in their own life, some try to create ones opposite of the people they know.

By nature, a writer is a people watcher. It helps to get descriptions and ideas.

Personally, I think that people watching should start with the mirror. Who am I? Look into your own personality traits, character flaws, desires, and fears. That gives you an idea of how to write a character. Practice describing you. Do a “character” sheet for you. In an attempt to show you what I mean… Here is a character sheet for me.

Name : Patricia Lynn Harris

Nickname /preferred name: Patti

Eyes: Chocolate Brown

Hair: natural dark brown /nearly black though she often colors it in shades of purple. Wears it between short and slightly more than shoulder length.

Height 5’2

Weight 290

Body shape pear

{Here is where you decide how in depth you want the sheet to be}

Birthplace – _________

Home – ____________

{Obviously I don’t feel personally I need those}

Strengths: Intelligence, flexibility, resilience, creativity

Flaws: Lazy, chronically ill, sloppy, physical weakness

Fears: severely claustrophobic, mildly Agoraphobia, Acrophobia

Personal descriptors: pacifist, feminist, pansexual, ptsd

Abilities : program in c#, draw, write, paint, resin, jewelry design, digital art, cover design, crotchet, needlepoint, networking, computer literacy, storytelling, sewing, piano, teaching, editing, publishing

Yeah, this is all very dry information. It gives you a skeleton to work with. Then you can take it and create an image of your character. Here’s what I see…

She was not your typical shut in. Patti was creative, and used that creativity to test her boundaries. Her dark eyes sparkled as she made the characters come alive. Running her hand through the lavender hair, she grumbled her frustration about the story not coming easy.

Though she had other projects awaiting her attention, this story was pulling at her. The self imposed deadline gave a reason to avoid doing the housework that she so wanted to avoid.

See how a few dry facts turn into a short and interesting scene? Do that with you and see what you can do. Then expand until you have a good character collection to work from. It will make character development second nature. (Also remember… Villains are characters, too)

Story Ideas….

*image obtained from Google for inspiration only.

From Serena-

So I was reading various things on tumblr… Just for fun. And the suggestion was made that perhaps Medusa always had the snake hair and scales. This got me thinking of her as a possible antihero… So I did a start. Just a teaser if you will. Let me know what you think. If it is well received I will have to try and finish it.

His hand raised, ready to strike, caused her to look away. After a few moments of no pain, Diana dared to look up at him. He was still in the same place, oddly it looked as though he had not moved at all. The light was poor in their home, still Diana could have sworn he was grey instead of his natural tan skin. After a moment more she dared to reach out to touch him.
Shocked at how cold and solid he was, Diana quickly pulled her hand back. Diana turned to see if she could determine the reason for this change. Standing in the doorway was the most beautiful person she had ever laid eyes upon. Long legs covered by an iridescent sheen. A leather skirt that barely covered to her knees. The stranger had a sword, and a dagger hanging from her waist, giving an even more aggressive feel to the lean, muscular frame. The stranger had all the curves that men seemed to want, and none of the modesty that ladies are expected to have. Her large bust was loosely covered by a leather wrap that quite matched the skirt she was wearing. The doorway was too dark to make out the features of the face, but Diana was easily able to see the hair.
At Diana’s startled gasp, Medusa softly whispered. “ Do not fear. I will not harm you. I only am here to rescue you. Gather your things! I will take you somewhere that is safe so you can live freely.” Her snakes were slithering around her face and head slowly as she spoke.

Character interview

So I think that there are a dozen “character development” sheets available on the web. As writers we all have them. We all look for new ways to put the characters together and not end up with crap.

The best way I know of is to decide what your story is about. The core of it. Then you “interview ” your character. Ask questions based upon the plot. You should already know the basic stuff. You need to ask about why they are in your story. What is their role? What does the story mean to them? How does the course of the story affect them? While yes you can look into the character, learning about their favorite music, books, and such… Unless you know the reason why they are in your story it will be fluff and not help you write.

You should understand how they are interacting within the story. With other characters, with the environment, and then with themselves. Is the character self-destructive? Why? You should always know the why of any behavior you give the character. The basic psychology behind their behavior.

Now that sounds scary… I know. Still cause and effect gives you a lot of details. And while the reader may not always see what caused the character to behave like they are, you should.

So I will give you an example. In Serena’s Rust, Gore, and the Junkyard Zombie… Chris is the sort to try to do everything by himself, and tries to be seen as an upstanding citizen. Now we do learn why in the story if we pay attention. His father was the town drunk and his mother raised him and his sisters by herself. Chris grew up basically as the man of his house and bullied by townsfolk because of his father. People who have that background can show it in multiple ways. Chris showed that he could be better than his father, but did not trust others to help him.

So what is the why for your character? And how does it fit in your story?

More Character development

So last week we talked about the basic knowledge that we need for each character. This week… I only have one question… What makes the character unique? This is both the hardest and simplest question that you will answer. Everything else is details and may never be used.

This touches on your original story idea. Why did you choose the character to start with? Where does this character fit in that idea? Knowing this allows you to focus on why the character is unique. You need to know why each of your characters are unique. If you read a story and it has cardboard cutout characters you will be less likely to enjoy the read! So to write characters that the reader will want to read, you need to find their uniqueness.

So what is their reason in your story? This can be something as simple as supporting or slowing the main character or they are the main character. You don’t have to be complicated in how you design the characters.

Once you have this information you are more ready to dive in. And mind you that not all characters need more information than just this. Some minor players just need a purpose.

Next time I will be covering hero/heroine deeper in depth. Hopefully by the time I am done you will be able to write characters that you would want to read.

Character development

All right, we have done the world development. Next we touch on characters. All writing revolves around the characters and how they interact with their world.

Most writers end up focusing some on each of their characters. This is to give you ideas and maybe help you get the details to further your story.

Today I will ask questions that you want to know first about all of the main characters, including the villains. Though during this discussion will include a specific post later on villains. Today is the basics.

Let’s get to it then.

1. What is the character’s name?

That seems like a duh question… But it is a detail where you can enjoy the secret knowledge… Why that name? Does it have meaning? Is there more to their name? Do they like or hate their name?

2. Description?

This is the physical details. Eye and hair color. Height and weight. Hair style, facial hair? Fat or skinny, tall or short? If it applies, what race is the character? Here’s where you can do all of the description you want to do. Whether it makes it into the story or not. Sometimes you need to see the character better, this helps with that.

3. Where is the character from? This includes family… And place? Here is where you work on history. Was the character rich or poor? Was their childhood good or bad? What about their environment, did it affect your story?

4. What do they do for a living? Are they employed? A student? Do they have a side hustle? This also can be affected by something that I think needs answered here… What is their age? Now that may make a difference on their activities. And their race may make a difference in how the age is read, as races that are long lived would see a character who is in the twenties as less than an adult.

5. Sexuality. Now don’t sneer… This is not just do they prefer same or opposite genders. It is are they male or female or even a hermaphodite? How does this affect them? Yes it helps to know who, if anyone, that they are attracted to.

6. What are their strengths? Are they skilled at something?

7. What are their weaknesses? Their fears?

8. What is their pet peeves? What really gets under their skin? Why?

9. What do they love? What brings them joy?

10. Who are the people who mater the most to them? Who is a thorn in their side?

Ok. These are the most basic details that every writer needs about every character they write. There is so much more, but I will touch on them next time. What do you think, are you seeing interesting questions here to help you?

Changes on the horizon

So I have been considering adjusting this blog. I really need to separate Pattimouse and Serena online. There is also a few others who I am possibly going to be working with in publishing.

So there might be a bit of upheaval as I change the main page to Serenity Studios crafting and publishing. Please be patient with me. I will be providing you with more great posts, and I am considering adding a sales page for handcrafted goods as well.


      First off,  I apologize for being a day late in posting. The headache monster visited yesterday,  so I got little of my work accomplished. 

      Villains are tricky.  We as writers often see the villain as a tool,  two dimensional concept of evil…as a reader though I am here to tell you that is the end of a story.  Even worse than plot holes,  a two dimensional villain is enough to ruin an otherwise great story. 

       I have a sure fire way of testing my villains.  I give them flaws,  make them as realistic as I can. Then I imagine them in town and let the mental movie unfold… I as I am watching ask myself three questions… 

1) Is the character sympathetic?  A villain who we can sympathize with will make the story more interesting.  Also I am one who thinks that the story should leave the reader wondering if they are happy with the villains defeat. 

2) Is there a way to defeat the villain?  Though I think that the villains defeat should raise questions about how the reader feels about it,  defeat is usually in the life of a villain. And a overpowering villain is often no fun for the hero… Unless the story is not supposed to get the happy ending. 

3) what are the traits that are showing up most with your villain?  Has s he/ she got flaws or traits that you should pay closer attention to? A good villain often has fears,  and accomplishments that they are proud of.  This makes a far more rounded character. Villains are still characters,  and the story is best when you treat them as such! 

Radio nerves. 

Zombiepalooza Radio Live

So I got the chance to sit down and talk to Jackie Chin from Zombiepalooza.  And I didn’t blow it.  I was definitely nervous but I had a lot of fun!  If you have not checked her out,  then you really should. 

The Junkyard Zombie 

They are definitely not your average family. They live in a junkyard. And they are a big family. But when the dead walk, well, they handle it. Survive first. Figure out why later.

Meet Chris Robinson, former marine special forces, and his family. Shara, his 13 year old daughter. Amara, his wife. Tara, former navy seal, and Lizzie, scientist, his younger sisters. The rest of the family are there but as the dead start to get their rotting asses back up, how many will remain?

Will they be able to figure out the why? And what caused the dead to walk???
*picture for inspiration only. Found on Google *

Aesthetic ideals 

Each person views aesthetic beauty differently. As a writer I tend to struggle with the concept. Physical beauty has a different description depending on the narrator. So describing a character with a flair in many ways requires a narrator who is fleshed out and real in the writer’s mind. The narrator’s voice will also affect the character’s beauty. For example, if the narrator speaks of a woman “Her mouse colored hair hung limply over dull eyes of chocolate brown.. ” most will see her as unattractive.  However,  if the narrator instead says “Her lovely mouse brown hair sheilded her large chocolate eyes,  which were dulled with pain.” we feel an attraction to the character. 

So when writing one must keep the voice of the story in mind. We writers often see our characters as children,  and thusly love them all. My issue is that i am inclined towards gorgeous villains. I usually like to believe that most great villains have a backstory that explains why they are. The readers often do not get to read the villain’s story. Perhaps that’s why we judge beauty so harshly….because we see only part of the tale.