Amber’s Method on how to create characters and stories.
(Background – Amber is my 9 year old daughter, but she’s already teaching me a thing or two about writing.)
1. Start with a name.
She uses name books to look up interesting male and female names.
I prefer to make names up, another reason I love the fantasy genre, but I often find the names are not unique and are used in unexpected places. My current W.I.P ‘Garrick’ is actually a London theatre and a nearby road I’d never heard of before. ‘Brogan’ has been an ogre in Sherk. ‘Rike’ has been used in Mark Lawrence’s Broken Empire trilogy.
2. Use pictures off the internet to create an Inspiration File
If she wants a particular type of character like a fairy or mermaid, or maybe a dark haired 10 year old, she’ll put in the search and look through the pictures. She then copies the pictures into a file that she can use to describe the character and refer to when she needs to. This also works for settings and objects.
My method has always been looking for faces and places in magazines and plastering them around my wall. Unfortunately my workspace is in the kitchen so everyone has to put up with my mess. Using a computer file would be a lot tidier and I would have it will me all the time.
(Pinterest – I used this to give me inspiration for the cover of Visions of Zarua. It’s a great resource, and one I want to put to better use for future books.)
3. Write the story – don’t edit until then end!
I’ve often said to her are you going to change that word (I hate seeing a word underlined in red) but she says ‘No, I’ll edit it at the end.’
4. Don’t show it to others too soon.
I have not been allowed to read her work yet.
Sometimes it makes sense to show restraint and get the work ready for others to see. Also talking about the WIP too soon can kill the spark of inspiration.
5. If you’re stuck use picture prompts, or read other books for ideas.
My daughter has shown me a picture prompt site called Pobble365.com that has a picture for each day of the year to use for inspiration. It also give you a starting sentence or words, and asks questions that can spark story ideas. It’s used in school, so is aimed more at children, but it’s still a fun way to spark story ideas.
I’m looking forward to applying these tips to my writing in the future.
Tomorrow I’ll be discussing Beta Readers, and then onto some more crafty posts. Right now its off to Hampton Court to spent the day steeped in history and beautiful buildings. I hope to have some interesting pictures to share for ‘H’.
(The pic is of a beautiful fountain at Witley Court, Worcestershire. It’s my picture prompt for the day!)
Please leave comments and I’ll get back to you this evening. I’m looking forward to checking out some new blogs on this challenge.