Lifecycle of a Character: Conception
by Sandy Tritt
Conception is the
initial spark, the idea that originally causes us to want to create this
character. Sometimes it is generated by plot—we know a story we want to
tell and we need a character to tell it by. Sometimes we see a setting—a
country porch with a dilapidated swing or an isolated island—which makes
us wonder what kind of person would live there. Sometimes we run across a
photograph that sparks our imagination and we create a personality to go
with the physical features. Or sometimes we see a possession—an antique
spinning wheel or an outrageously expensive emerald ring—and wonder the
type of person who would own such a thing. Whatever the cause, a character
is conceived by an idea.
During the conception
phase, we assign basic physical and emotional characteristics to our
character. Now, later, as our character begins to interact with his
environment, he may (and should) take on a life of his own and he may
adjust our perception of him. But, to get us started, we will still go
through the paces. A reproducible Character Trait Chart is located
in Section 8 of my Tips and Techniques Workbook. This gives
us fundamental facts about our character: Name? Age? Sex? Marital Status?
Occupation/Social Class? Physical Description? How does he feel about
himself? Who are his friends? How intelligent or educated is he? What does
he sound like? Smell like? What is the very first thing you notice about
this character? And on and on.
Section 8 of the
workbook discusses how to fill out such a chart. Remember that the
importance of the different components depends on the type of story your
character will live in. In a romance, for example, physical description is
important and must be detailed. In a literary mainstream novel, it may not
be necessary to have any physical description at all (although I still
think the author needs to be able to visualize the character, even if he
doesn’t reveal all the details to the reader). Also, in an
action/adventure or plot-driven story, character motivations and
backgrounds are far less important. However, the more the writer knows
about his character, the better he can understand and portray his
character, so try to fill out the character trait chart as completely as
possible for every major character in your story. (How much you reveal to
your reader can be decided later.)
By now, you should have a pretty solid feel for the
character you are conceiving. Are you ready to give birth to him?
(from Section 3, Workbook)
Want more great tips and techniques? Our
Inspiration for Writers
Tips and Techniques Workbook is now available. Expanded tips, more
topics, reproducible worksheets, exercises to practice what you learn and
much more--check it out! Free shipping anywhere in the United States.
(c) copyright 2002 by Sandy Tritt. All rights reserved,
except for those listed here. March be reproduced for educational purposes
(such as for writer's workshops), as long as this copyright notice and the url: http://tritt.wirefire.com are distributed with the pages. For use in
conferences or other uses not mentioned here, please contact Sandy Tritt
for permission and additional resources at no or limited charge.
Go Back in Time!...
our new all - immersion Life of Jesus (Part 1) from David C. Cook
III. You'll become a true believer. Visit...
is dedicated to the memory of David C. Cook III.
This Just In – From Paul the Apostle
By Kurt Schuller
inspired work recreating
This is Dianne Ochiltree's
site for children, parents,
teachers and writers for
young readers. Dianne is an
author of books for young
readers (birth to teenage)
and she is also a children's
book reviewer. She's been
writing professionally for
over 25 years---about 18
years in public
and the last 7 years as a
children's writer. Dianne
has two books published to
date, with Scholastic and
with Simon & Schuster.
http://tritt.wirefire.com The Inspiration for Writers website offers help and encouragement to writers of all levels. Tips and Techniques give practical advice about frequent writing blunders. The Writer's Prayer, inspirational quotes, and essays about the writing life add insight and inspiration. The Fiction Showcase offers short stories for the reader's enjoyment. And, for those serious about improving their writing skills, manuscript critiques and coaching services are available. Visit http://tritt.wirefire.com today!
Critiques by Sandy
Unlike most editors, I consider my role
to be a mentor or a coach. Instead of just telling you what is wrong, I
explain how to correct the problem, and I work with you to teach you how
to write effective prose. More than 50% of my business is repeat
business, and I relish establishing long-term relationships with other
Treat you with respect and compassion.
All criticism will be of the "constructive" sort. My purpose is to
improve your writing, not to destroy your confidence.
Mark your manuscript, correcting
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Highlight areas that are especially
well-written, so you will know where your strengths are.
Where appropriate, offer suggestions for
plot development, character development or other areas that could be
Return a two-to-four page written
analysis of your work. This will include evaluation of: plot, setting,
characterization, dialogue, special effects (flash forwards, flashbacks,
etc.), voice, point of view and any other areas particular to your work.
If appropriate, recommend reading or
resources to strengthen your areas of weakness.
Answer any questions you have via
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(See Sandy's article above.)
by Bruce Cook
from a promise I made to my father.
When my father
was within two days of his death, he
told me his Jesus stories were in a
particular file folder in his home
office. “I want you to have this
published,” he said.
Now I had been a
literary agent, but I knew there were
several reasons why I couldn’t place
these writings. So I suggested I might
get them placed on the Internet, which
was already a big thing in 1981.
“Sure,” he said.
“I only want to be sure many will read
Years later this
promise haunted me. I wanted to place
the manuscripts. And yet, since he had
been a publisher, and treasured his
editorial and writing skills, I wanted
to create something worthy of his
memory. Ideally, a website that would
help other writers get a firm start.
So I jumped in on
faith and started AuthorMe.com. These
websites had maybe 50 visits per week
for a long time. But then Yahoo
announced they would feature us for a
few weeks, and we got our start.
Now I watch for
1,000 to 1,200 unique visitors per
day, and average visit times ranging
from 5 to 20 minutes.
For a long time
Author-me was a display site – we
published what we received, within
some content limits. Its role was to
publish the works, mainly in the hope
that readers and other authors would
send feedback to the writer.
Now, thanks to
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department, AuthorMe is offering
editorial evaluation and feedback to
the authors who submit. Often the
authors are revising in accordance
with our feedback before posting the
This is a
wonderful service, and will help in
writer development. And, as this
service develops, we’re seeing more
and more AuthorMe authors get into
print, and we continue to have more
published authors join our ranks.
We are helping
writers improve their works, and we
are counting more readers every day.
This is only possible with the efforts
of our contributing writers. And the
diligent work of a wonderful editorial
And, you know, I
think my father would be proud.
Read... Move Over Maharishi
By Dee Landerman
An ordinary housewife is catapulted into the unknown. For over twenty-five years with one foot in the other dimension, experiences visions, apparitions, and visits from the divine. As a Christian Intuitive with the ability to see into a person’s spirit, she experienced first hand where the departed go.
She shares her life
openly with you, with the intent to
give answers and direction for you to
find power, peace and acceptance in
your own life. Dee reveals the ‘Heart
Of God’ about organized religion and
today’s churches, sharing God’s
concerns and desires for America and
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Publishing New Writers,
March, 2003 (no. 403)
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Join The Library: See The World|
Mulholland (Australian Editor, AuthorMe
"In the library,
you can sail the seven seas.
In the library,
you can read just what you please. (well almost)
In the library,
(I'd like to fit in a rhyme for) it's the bee's knees.
In the library,
In the library!"
Apologies to the
Village People, who were and are still, I have no doubt, devout library
And now that
they have gone, I have to ask you, why aren't you?
'Why aren't I
I can hear you
saying that, and also figuring that I'm just filling up the page with
enough alphabet to get me through this article. (alphabet-article! What
fantastic words! Where's the DICTIONARY?)
Why aren't you a
member of a LIBRARY?
Oh, I forgot.
You're too busy being a writer. It's all coming out of your head, your
soul, your past experiences, your sock drawer.
No time for
No time to go to
a place that's chock full of information that you require if you are going
to be…no, wait for it, not a WRITER... but at least somebody who has the
armoury of information. (I like that-The Information Armoury-)
What was that?
Oh did you say 'COMPUTER?' You mean the INTERNET!
Well of course
there is the Internet. And it's very useful too, no doubt about that. But
it doesn't get you off your butt. Sometimes you need a brisk walk to shake
out the cobwebs, and where better to walk than to the LIBRARY.
Internet doesn't have all the answers all the time. And it certainly
doesn't have the interaction of that cute little librarian and that hunky
book stacker. (Armour-Amour)
[Okay. In my
What it does
have is solid, in your hands, books. To have there or take away (fries
Magnificent things books are.
They're lots of sheets of paper, sandwiched between two pieces of
cardboard, and they are written by WRITERS.
what you want to become!
Go join a
library. Feel, smell, read, drool.
great too, but you have to pay.
And they are
certainly not a waste of time. They are simply a part of 'when you are not
writing.' (Which is hardly ever.)
By the way, have
you thought about 'when you aren't writing? Have you thought about the
dreaded 'WRITER'S BLOCK?' That Monster from the Id that tears at
the hearts of the brave.
this little thing called 'application', it goes along with 'patience'
Darn! Out of
Editor - Australia