March 17th, 2009

Wovels wobble but they don’t let down

All right, the headline is a bad play on words for this toy that was advertised constantly when I was a kid. One publisher in Portland is trying to be very Web 2.0 by putting out “wovels.” “Every Monday, the featured author posts an installment, usually about five to seven pages in length. At the end of the installment, readers vote on which direction they want the story to take, and the author incorporates the readers' decision into the narrative.” It sounds like a very souped-up “Choose Your Own Adventure.”

Learn more here .



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How I create characters (your results may vary)

I’ve read lots of writing books and they all have different idea s for how to create a character. Make a list of all their physical traits. Imagine them getting out of bed in the morning. Etc.

Here’s what currently works for me:
- Background. I write a few paragraphs that cover the important things that happened in their life before they enter my book.
- Current situation. The things they are dealing with here and now.
- Values and beliefs. Does she think you have to grab life with both hands? Do he feel his reward is in heaven and on the earth there is only toil?
- Important people in their life. Friends, relatives, a cat, no one? I also make some notes of how they get along or don’t get along with other characters.
- Myers-Briggs type and how it might influence them. For example, an "INFJ radiates sympathy and fellowship and is persevering, conscientious, and orderly even in small matters. Sees value in others opinions, values harmony to the point of losing their own opinion. Find it hard to admit the truth about problems with people or things they care about. See the goal so clearly they fail to look for other things that might conflict with goal. May not be forthright with criticism." Just looking at those traits helps me see possible plot points. You can find out more about types here, and then once you know your character’s type, you can just search for it on Google. I am an ENFJ who used to be an ENTJ. I’m glad I changed when I became a parent, because the one-word phrase used to describe ENTJ is "commandant."

What are you favorite ways of thinking about characters and getting to know them?



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Reality is cruel

So I just got friended on Facebook by someone I knew in high school. And she sent me this note:

"Just got on your web site and then remembered who you were! I love mysteries. You have a pic of you as a Junior! Somehow I thought you were a beautiful popular girl, but no you were a dork like me. Now I remember!"


The picture her note refers to, from http://www.aprilhenrymysteries.com . I'm pretty sure those are puka shells around my neck. Puka shells! Dorks don't wear puka shells.



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