29 December 2013

Working on Characters

As some of you may know, I bought a book Writer's Guide to Character Traits by Linda N. Edelstein, PH.D. which I've been faithfully reading for the past several days.  I skimmed through it in October in preparation for NaNoWriMo.  After the rush of Thanksgiving and Christmas, I was finally able to read it.

"I cannot teach anyone how to write; I am providing lists of reliable information that came from the thousands of studies I read in order to put the book together.  The dictionary has all the words you need-- it does not write your sentences.  The refrigerator has shelves of ingredients--we cook them up differently.  You can find the depth and uniqueness in your character.  I have provided some people elements; as writers you will put them together in ways that create stunning, fresh characters.  Enjoy!"  

And she is right.

One can take all the courses in the world that teaches mechanics of writing-grammar, sentence structure and how to put a story together via outlines.  There are about 400,000 words in a dictionary.  Thus, it's fairly obvious that a writer such as myself, needn't lack for words.  Heck, I write 50,000 words in November.

And that refrigerator full of ingredients does provide plenty of meals, especially when combined with ingredients from a pantry.  Now, there are about 24,000 cookbooks published in the year 2005 according to my source.  People pick and choose the ingredients for their refrigerator and pantry according to a cookbook or recipe, even one that's handed down generation to generation.  Now, a cook such as myself, will always make sure that staples are handy for those recipes.  Ingredients such as flour, baking powder, manomin (wild rice), white rice, macaroni, meats as I'm not a vegan/vegetarian and fruits and vegetables are always put on my shopping list.  Upon occasion, I will experiment and get unusual ingredients to try out.

So, I've been able to look at my stories in another context.  I've been able to see what I needed to do to get those stories told in the manner that I wanted them told.  Luckily, there's not that much revision.  I'm just happy I didn't hit the publish button on them yet.  I've already made revision notes on three of them and will be checking the structure on the rest.  So, yeah, this book has been a great help to me.

*I've not been paid in any way, shape or form by the author of the book.  I thought it might be of some help to others as it has been a help to me.

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