...  Publishing New Writers  ...
Opt-In Publication for AuthorMe.com, GalleyProof.com, StoryThread.com, SlushPile.biz

 March, 2003

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 at tritt@wvadventures.net for permission and additional resources at no or limited charge.

   Keep writing!

Sandy Tritt

Inspiration for Writers tritt@wvadventures.net

Go Back in Time!...

Check out our new all - immersion Life of Jesus (Part 1) from David C. Cook III.  You'll become a true believer. Visit... 

Religion Category

AuthorMe.com is dedicated to the memory of David C. Cook III.

This Just In – From Paul the Apostle

 Chosen Instrument

By Kurt Schuller

 Another inspired work recreating

Bible times.



Writerly Websites...


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 relations/advertising/marketing 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!


Critiquing Special

  • Limited time special, one cent per word.  Just mention Publishing New Writers  Newsletter (March, 2003).

    Critiques by Sandy Tritt

  • 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 writers.

  • 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 grammatical and spelling errors and suggesting alternative wording where appropriate, line-by-line.

  • 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 strengthened.

  • 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 email.

  • Provide my telephone number for a personal follow-up, if you desire.

For Sandy's success stories, see http://tritt.wirefire.com/Manuscript_Critique.html

Write Sandy at tritt@wvadventures.net

(See Sandy's article above.)























Wither AuthorMe.com

by Bruce Cook

AuthorMe emerged 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 them.”

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 the efforts of our editorial 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 story.

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 staff.

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 the world.

Click here for more info...


Visit our sister websites...





Publishing New Writers,

March, 2003 (no. 403)

Publisher Bruce L. Cook, P.O. Box 451, Dundee, IL 60118.  Fax (847) 428-8974.

Submissions and comments to cookcomm@gte.net. Links are welcome.

To subscribe and/or  review our archive of past newsletters, go to













Join The Library: See The World


by Kenneth 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 goers.


Go V.P!


And now that they have gone, I have to ask you, why aren't you?


'Why aren't I what?'


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 research.


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.


Even the 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 dreams.]


What it does have is solid, in your hands, books. To have there or take away (fries with that?)


And what Magnificent things books are.


Remember? They're lots of sheets of paper, sandwiched between two pieces of cardboard, and they are written by WRITERS.


Yes. Exactly what you want to become!


Go join a library. Feel, smell, read, drool.


Book-stores are great too, but you have to pay.


Libraries are FREE.


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.


Well there's this little thing called 'application', it goes along with 'patience' and….


Darn! Out of time again!


Ken Mulholland

Country Editor - Australia

AuthorMe.com Group











© Cook Communication 1999 - 2006     (not affiliated with Cook Communication Ministries)