What to do when characters won’t behave?

2041671260_982e088052So, here’s my dilemma. I’ve got my favorite main character. She’s had some rough times, she’s finally found love, come through all the hardships to the other side, but there’s another man in her life. They are like brother and sister and he is somewhat older than her. But it would make such a great pairing if they ended up together, and make for further adventures maybe in the future. Her love interest is a wonderful man, they love each other deeply and I have already written a series of scenes that could potentially lead to his demise, opening up the way for her and her oldest friend to become a couple. Trouble is, I hate to kill the guy off. I’m going to be offing other characters along the way (mostly unsavory sorts) and she’s had a lot of tragedy in her life as it is. I’m trying to lighten it up a bit and not make her such a melodramatic mess, but still the thought nags at me. Death for the current love interest is the only option for the pairing to happen.

My current plan is just to write alternate scenes of the new reality and see what happens. If it’s terrible then I won’t have wasted any time. I can just set the ideas aside in a folder of their own for later perusal. If nothing else it will give me some writing exercise.

::sigh::

Writing Prompt of the day/week/moment…

 

cash

You’re cleaning out your garage and, hidden away in a back corner, you find an old shoebox. The box is heavier than it should be. When you open it up, you find cash—$40,000, to be exact. Where did the cash come from, who hid it there and why?

 

This one came from Writer’s Digest. I’m considering writing this one up from the view of Valerie. She’s in the perfect position to have something like this happen, inheriting the old family house and having to clea out a lot of old stuff. The money would remove some of the angst of her being short on cash, starting over again, but it might prove interesting….

Characters and perceptions of appearance

running1

I wonder if anyone else does what I do. I often have a character spring, fully formed, like Athena from Zeus’s brow, into my story. But I am a very visual person and it helps me to have a pic that represents that person. My userpic on this post is a picture of Rayne, my FMC in my fantasy story (that is probably going to be multiple volumes if I can ever get anything done.) It actually came from a fanfic I wrote long ago and had posted on the Seven Pillars website. They thoughtfully provided an image to go with the  story and she became Rayne. Often I have an actor or such in mind to fit the physical description and then I find an appropriate picture to go with it. But sometimes I have to hunt. I’ve found a couple of places that have pics of somewhat unknown actors looking for work and I peruse them and that’s how I find the faces of my characters. The first couple of pages of my documents are usually pictures of the characters I’m writing about, including the animals if there are any, because they’re important to the story as well.

Am I weird or does anyone do anything similar?

10 Writing tips

Good advice from Darlene Marshall, Florida romance writer.  Read it here.

Getting inside your character’s head

anton_head

Now, I’m not claiming to be an expert by any stretch of the imagination; I’m mainly using this blog to catalog ideas I like that I think might help my writing and sharing them in case anyone cares.;-) I’m totally stealing this idea from a thread on the Compuserve Writer’s Forum Research and Craft folder. The idea states : “Show the reader what your character carries around in his/her pockets.” What a cool idea! So, go on, stand your main character(s) in front of a table and empty their pockets. What do we find?

Rayne, as an adult has a few things. A few coins, a bit of withered carrot, some leather string (dunno why, my brain just kept telling me “put some string in there!”), random seeds or leaves she may have picked off plants or bushes she’s passed in her travels, and a smooth stone from the river that flows past her childhood home. She always carries a small knife at her belt, for eating as much as anything. She has always been crap with a weapon, though she insists on still carrying her father’s cavalry saber even though she is barely capable of not injuring herself on it.

Valerie, from my contemporary story, always carries a pocketknife in the right front pocket of her jeans. The left front pocket probably holds a compact digital camera and/or her cell phone. Keys are on a clip on her belt loop and her back pockets may be empty or may hold something she put there temporarily and forgot about, like a comb or her wallet. She’s a bit absent-minded and loses these things on a fairly regular basis, even when they are on her person.

Lily, from my NaNoWriMo werewolf story, tends to carry very little in her pockets. If anything, it might be some   money in case of emergency. The occasional need to Shift form neccesitates that few valuables are kept in pockets. Clothes don’t change with the Lycan and therefore are left behind. Makes for some interesting transformations if the Lycan isn’t back where her clothes were removed. Lily’s already had one close call; let’s see what else we can come up with!

I’m working on it.

Actually, right now I’m procrastinating, but I did post a question at the Compuserve Writer’s Forum, so that counts as work, right?

procrastination

So, I’m going through Valerie and Daniel’s story, tentatively titled “Old Dogs” (learning new tricks, get it?) and adding a bit here, working my way toward those new scenes I need to add. I really should just jump to those new scenes and add them becuase I keep getting sidetracked, like now, because I’m blogging instead of writing. But I found some new links and added them and thought “Well, since I’m here, I might as well add something…”

So, in the interest of advertising the new link, here goes. One site is an online archive of short stories, always so good for inspiration. Short Stories at Classic Reader is a good place to read some classics of the short fiction genre and maye get those creative juices flowing. If I continue to procrastinate, it might be there, getting some steam built up.

The other site is How To Write a Short Story. Even though I’m far too busy (read ‘lazy’) to write a short story, it doesn’t matter, because these instructions are for writing something of any length. Short stories are harder since you have to introduce characters and setting quickly and resolve the whole thing in far fewer pages.

And a writing exercise I intend to start for all my characters, as a way to keep in the story even when actual story won’t come: Write down everything you know about your character: favorite foods, likes, dislikes, hobbies, medical issues, habits, you name it, write it down. Even if many of these facts never make into your story, they’ll help you remain true to your character over the couse of the story. At least in theory, since I haven’t actually done it yet.

Now, go write something!!!

Arrrgghhh……

writers_block_400

 

So, my writing has stalled. I keep reading over the stuff I’ve written and liking some of it, knowing some of it isn’t right, but not fixing any of it, except for a grammar tweak or a rewording here or there. But nothing new wants to come. I have scenes that are in my mind that are there, waiting for me to add them in, especially in the story with Valerie and Danile (yeah, there I go talking about them like they’re real again, I know…). She inherits an old house that’s going to need a lot of work. A large chunk of their becoming friends and getting close can be contained in the house-fixing proces, but will any of it come out onto the keyboard? Not the first thing…

The forum I usualy hang out at at its best isn’t very active, which is part of what I like, not too many people to post my stuff in front of, you know? But slow has become absolutely stagnant. My posts are almost the only ones there lately and my daily checking for activity has become an exercise in futility. I need a source for feedback, I guess. Feedback that I’m not getting from anywhere right now. My husband doesn’t read fiction at all; if it’s not an instructional manual or a website with some kind of information he’s looking for, he doesn’t read it. No one else I know is someone that can offer anything beyond like or dislike, not the suggestions or constructive criticism that I need to stoke that fire that fuels my inspiration.

And this sitting on my ass all day long staring at the screen waiting for something to happen isn’t doing me any good. Except for going to the grocery store today, the majority of my day has been spent sitting in the very chair I’m pressing with my ass this moment, bitching about my writing. I am a sad, strange person…