Thursday, September 1, 2011

Character Questionnaires

Character questionnaires can be a great way to get to know your characters and to add depth. There are so many different types of questionnaires available, that I thought I would share several with you over the next few posts.

I have probably seen a dozen or more different types and have tried them all, from the exhaustive to the very simple. Everyone has a different way to write, so you can take from these or add to them as much as you would like.

I have found that I really enjoy the very in-depth questions with many questions. I have so much fun fleshing out my characters...too much fun. I have had to learn to find out some of the basics...what I think could be important in the beginning because I never get around to writing.

These questions can become a major distraction for me.

But asking the questions is like interviewing a potential new can weed out all the wrong people for the position.

So choose wisely what works best for you and tweak it a little for a perfect fit.

These questionnaires come from my personal collection.

Where does s/he live
Why did s/he choose to live there
Does s/he live in an apartment or a house
Does s/he live by himself or with others
What kind of vehicle does s/he drive
What are his/her important material possessions
Give a brief physical description
What are his/her hobbies
What kind of music does s/he enjoy
Does s/he have pets
What are his/her favorite foods & drinks
What is his/her education
What is his/her job
How does s/he feel about his work
What does s/he want to be doing in twenty years
Is s/he married, single, divorced
Does s/he have children
Who are his/her parents
Does s/he have brothers and sisters
Where was s/he born and raised
Who is his/her best friend
Who is his/her worst enemy
Which one event in his/her life has made this person what s/he is today
What trait does s/he have which s/he wants to keep secret from the world
What does s/he like most about his/her life
What does s/he dislike most about his/her life
What is his/her most likable character trait
Who is this person’s love interest

This is a handy list but there are still other questions that I will bring you in futrue posts as we get more in depth with our characters.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Things That Go Bump In The Night

G'day folks! I didn't forget my book this time. Yay me.

But first I need to make mention of Camy Tang's blog today over at Seekerville. If you haven't checked it out yet....go NOW! She is always so informative. She doesn't just talk about galleys..she shows you examples. How cool is that?

Today I'm going to bring you some crazy headllines. This hits home for me, since there is a collection of them where I work. All written by our talented copy desk team:) These however are the work of others:

"Woman Missing Since She Got Lost" (Chicago Sun-Times, 5-17-2011).

"Teen Dies of Shaken Baby Syndrome" (Chicago Tribune, 3-9-2011).

"Man With Clown Nose in New Cumberland Poses No Serious Threat" (Patriot-News, Harrisburg, Pa., 7-3-2011).

Gotta love it.

Now....who doesn't love a good horror, eh? I know I sure do. Today is my last post in the series of genres...lets look at horror.

Dark fantasy: usually less graphic than other horror subcategories and features more traditional supernatural or mythical beings, i.e. vampires, werewolves, zombies etc..

Hauntings: stories of ghosts poltergeists and spiritaul possessions.

Psychological horror: a human monster with horrific but not necissarliy supernatural aspects.

Splatterpunk: very graphic depction of violence, often gratuitous.

Technological horror: monsters in these stories are the result of science gone wrong.

There you have it folks. The different categories within genres. I hope this has been helpful. I'm not exactly sure what my nest series will be about. If there are any suggestions...let me know.

Don't forget to check under your bed tonight ;)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Footloose and Fancy Free

I didn't really have a good title for this I picked what popped up in my head.

I don't have the book to continue my post for today, so I will have to do it tomorrow. I know, I know, what kind of blogger am I?

So....let me entertain you with a list of some of the dumbest iPhone apps available.

Fat burner app: well if it was that darn easy.....

Stop hair loss

Kissing booth

How high can you toss your AT&T phone...what in the world?

Rate a fart

An app that lets you search for the nearest pay phone in the UK???? Genius

Beer opener


See how long you can hold your finger on a button on the screen


I don't know about you guys, but I sure am glad someone is sitting around all day racking their brains to come up with this stuff.

What's the dumbest app you have ever used?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Fantasy Categories

Mary Connealy posted at Seekerville the importance of getting your name out there. She is so right, but sometimes I feel that I'm talking to myself on here.

But alas I will push through and keep entertaining myself.

Weird news of the Day:
A deaf man has accused a nudist park in upstate New York of violating federal law by refusing to provide him with a sign-language interpreter at an annual festival.

Hmmm...interesting. Doesn't seem like he would need much of an interpreter for that...but that's just me.

OK...on to business. Fantasy. Fantasy categories are:

Arthurian: reworking the legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.

Contemporary or urban: elves, magic, etc... incorporated into modern settings.

Dark fantasy: closely related to horror but not as graphic. Characters are like the darker fantasy types: vampires, witches, werewolves, demons, etc.

Fantastic alternate history: set in alternate historical period where magic works and frequently feature actual historical figures.

Game-related fantasy: based on a particular role-playing game.

Heroic fantasy: equivalent to military science fiction, stories of war.

High fantasy: emphasis on fate of entire state or nation.

Historical fantasy: any era in which the belief in fantasy was strong.

Science fantasy: blend of traditional fantasy elements with scientific or pseudo-scientific support.

And next time we will take a look at the last category: Horror. Who doesn't love a good horror?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Science Fiction

Hello, hello, hello. I'm back for another post.

I just love the writers over at Seekerville. They inspire me so much!

But on to some fun and interesting facts. I've got some weird news of the day to share.

Real life British superheroes find crime hard to find.
Two self-styled superheroes – The Dark Spartan and his sidekick The Black Void – have vowed to fight crime and deploy justice to their neighbourhood.

Just when you thought all the good guys were gone.

Sometimes odd news can help with a story idea, not to mention its pretty darn interesting. I once read about a woman who had sat on her toilet for around a year. Never leaving it. Her boyfriend would bring her dinner and everything. How's that for weird. I will be sharing odd news from now on....I think:)

OK, now to continue with genre descriptions, here is science fiction categories.

Hard science fiction: based on real science in the future. Scientific background may be as or more important than the characters.

Social science fiction: focus on how the character reacts to their environment.

Military science fiction: about war that feature traditional military organization and tactics in the future.

Cyberpunk: characters are tough outsiders in a high-tech society where computers have changed the way society functions.

Space Opera: traditional good guys vs. bad guys western. Puts emphasis on sweeping action and larger-than -life characters.

Alternate history: fantasy and sometimes some science fiction elements that changes history.

Steampunk: specific type of alternate history science fiction that is set in Victorian England in which characters have access to twentieth century technology.

New age: deals with subjects such as astrology, psychic phenomena, spiritual healing, UFOs etc...

Science fantasy: blend of traditional fantasy with scientific support.

Science fiction mystery: can be a traditional science fiction story with a mystery as a key plot point.

Science fiction romance: another blend with romance aspects threaded in.

Next up will be fantasy categories. Stay cool everyone. I know I'm trying...but it's not working. 109 degrees today :(

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Alright, continuing from last time, lets look at romance subcategories.

Category or series: These are published in “lines” from individual publishing houses. Each has its own requirements.

Christian: With an inspirational, Christian message centering around faith and relationship with God. Sensuality is played down.

Glitz: Feature wealthy, high-powered characters in careers considered to be glamorous and set in exciting or exotic locals.

Historical: Can cover any historical period.
Gothic: Strong element of suspense and feeling of supernatural events although these events usually have a natural explanation. Dark, moody, and suspenseful.
Fantasy: elements of magic and magical beings, frequently set in a medieval society.
Early American: Usually Revolution or Civil War, set in New England or the South, but frontier stories set in the American West are popular.
Native American: One or both of the characters are Native American; conflict between cultures is a popular theme.
Regency: set in England during the Regency period from 1811-1820.

Multicultural: Most currently feature African-American or Hispanic couples.

Paranormal: Containing elements of the supernatural or science fiction/fantasy.

Romantic comedy: Has a comic premise or perspective in the author’s voice.

Romantic suspense: mystery or psychological thriller subplot in addition to romance.

Single title: longer contemporaries that do not necessarily conform to the requirements of a specific romance line and therefore feature more complex plots and nontraditional characters.

Young adult: focus on first love with very little, if any sex.

Next we will take a look at Science Fiction categories.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Genre Definitions

I saw a great sign today posted at a church:
Honk if you love Jesus. Text while driving if you want to meet Him.

Isn’t that great?

Now on to business. As I was searching through the lists of agents that might be interested in my writing, I came across several genres that I wasn’t familiar with. I thought there might be other writers out there who might be confused as well, here are some definitions from Writer’s Market. These are just a basic definition.

Classic Mystery, the whodunit: A crime is solved…mostly murders. All the clues are available to the reader.

Amateur detective: Detective is not a pro.

Courtroom drama: Takes place primarily in a courtroom. Protagonist is usually an attorney trying to prove her client’s innocence.

Cozy: Frequently features a female protagonist. Less violence. Protagonist usually quirky or eccentric. Plot is often wrapped up in a final scene rather than the detective identifying the murder and explaining what happened.

Espionage: International spy novel.

Heists and capers: The crime is the focus. Its planning and execution are detailed. There is one obvious leader of the group.

Historical: Emphasis is on setting and details. Research is very important.

Juevenile/young adult: written for 8-12 age group. Or 12+ age group. The protagonist is the same age as the reader. No graphic violence.

Medical thriller: Involving doctors or medical professionals involved in a medical treatment or can be a patient, family or friends who uncover a plot and try to bring down the villain.

Police procedurals: Conflict between the detective’s partners or his or her superiors is the most common plot.

Private detective: When described as hard boiled, violence is more prominent, characters are darker and there is open resentment toward law enforcement.

Suspense/thrillers: Deals with the intricacies of the crime; what motivated it and how the villain is caught and brought to justice. The crime may not involve a murder. May be a threat to the global economy or technology gone wrong.

Technothriller: These are replacing the espionage novels and feature technology as an integral part of the plot.

Woman in jeopardy: Focus is on the woman or her children that are currently at risk because of murder or other crime that was committed.

Next time we will look at the categories under romance….my favorite ;)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


It has been over a year since I last blogged. I had several upsetting things happen in my personal life and I needed to take some time off.

But I am back now and hope things will run more smoothly this time. My apologies to my one follower. Thanks for following.

I will not be accessing the internet everyday. Therefore I will only blog once per week at this stage. I figure it would just be a hodge podge of different things. Thoughts, complaints, information.

I don't have anything planned for today, but will try to be better organized next time. It's time for me to hit the blogs and chat with fellow aspiring authors and already published author's again as well.

If there is anyone out there that you think I shouldn't miss, please let me know. I am very very new to the business. I haven't completed a manuscript, entered contests or been to any conventions. But that will all change this year (fingers crossed).

My writing experience comes from the journalism world - a daily newspaper close to where I live. So, I am a writer, but the world of fiction writing is new to me.

I was surprised one day when I was on my way to work and God was prodding me to write a different story then the one I had already started and been laboring on for a long time.

It was one of the many ideas that I had written down and thought that I might revisit one day. But God had put it in my heart to start that book now. This threw me for a loop. The new novel was a different genre than the previous and in a different era.

I have always written historicals, but they have always been in the nineteenth century. This one would take place in the roaring 20s. Something I knew little about. So, researching all over again, I had to learn all I could about the jazz age and begin anew.

And, here I am. At the beginning of that journey. Researched up and ready to go.