Now available, this first book in a Decalogue is currently able to be acquired on the following website.
I would hope that you would read it and enjoy it.
Now available, this first book in a Decalogue is currently able to be acquired on the following website.
I would hope that you would read it and enjoy it.
Mothers, the ones that carry us
Others know not the burdens
Together, in their heart and souls
Heroes, unsung by the masses
Easily the most courageous
Relishing the love bonds
Shaping, showing, loving.
Most important, for life to be
Offering care and support
Tenderly, lovingly caring
Helpers, healers, our comfort
Easing the pains, so easily wrought
Rushing to our aid
Standing proud, strong.
Making the days a blessing
Overly protective at times
Trusting heart and soul
Holding the hearts
Evolving the soul
Remembering when we are weak
Silently giving love.
Mothers the world over
Only a call away
Taking the lead
Hoping for the best
Echoing our lives
My mother said to me
Only remember that I love you
Take my gift of life
Hold it in your heart
Ensure that you never forget
Regret not our time together
Sleep in peace
Many days will pass
Often they will be hard
Take no heed of the evil that abounds
Hear the voice within
Echo my heart for you
Relish out time together
Save our memories
Make the most of your life
Obtain nuggets of wisdom
Treat others with honor and respect
Helping those in need
Enter into life with joy
Run to happiness
Stand strong and proud
When writing a story, you create the characters, the story-line, the background, you create everything. The place where your story unfolds is just as important as the rest of the story. While this piece is mostly directed toward fiction authors, the basis can also have relevance to other genres as well.
It is important to note that the setting you create for your story be just as well established as the characters within the story itself. Fiction authors have great leeway in setting the foundation of their story and being able to adjust it to fit their needs within the story they are creating. There are multitudes of examples of creating fictional settings, some are based upon realistic settings, whereas others are entirely created, and finally you have a mix of the real and the fantasy.
Another way to think of the world your story is in, is to be able to look at it as another aspect of the characters you create. Your world determines who and what your character is, how they operate within the confines of your world. Manipulating your world allows you to advance your story telling without actually adversely changing the makeup of your character.
So how can the world created have an effect upon the character created? The world is the environment, and as such, it is a shaping force. Magical lands, bleak lands, tumultuous lands, these will shape the creation of the character and the story itself as these will add elements that the character and the story respond to as they progress through the life you give them. If there is no effect, with a justifiable explanation, your story will not have the synchronicity, that is the blending of the of the story to the world and you create an odd juxtaposition that will not be able to fully harness the reader’s interest.
You want your world to be believable and credible to the reader. A fantastic world can be created, but if you have elements that do not fit in with a plausible explanation, you are removing the ability to have the best story you can. Now this is not to say that you cannot have a changing world, as long as you are able to lay the groundwork for the transition.
Remember, your world is where your characters must live and die. Characters move the story, your world moves the character.
When drafting a character, an important element to remember to add is emotion. Emotion in a character will bring the character to life and fill the pages with substance. Creating a three dimensional character with the use of emotion is the difference between having a story fall flat or a story that succeeds.
How can one put emotion into a character without it seeming to be placed there?
There is where the adage of *Show, don’t tell* comes into play. What this means is that you want to be able to present your characters in such a way as they seem natural in their environment. Showing surprise, happiness, fear, wonderment, etc., are much better than telling the reader what the character is feeling or experiencing. As stated in our earlier post about characters, the emotion is what brings the character to life for the reader.
So how exactly can you show the emotion that a character is feeling to the reader without actually telling the reader what the character is feeling? This works by being able to tap into the readers’ humanity, so to speak. You base your writing off of how you think the reader will react to what you write. The easiest way to accomplish this is to base it off of yourself. After all, what you write comes from within and the characters that you present are apart of you whether they are good or bad. An example of showing vs telling follows.
Jake felt like he was on top of the world today. The sun was shining, his career was doing extraordinarily well, his love life was beyond imaging and good prospects were forecast for the future.
In the above example, you know that Jake felt good because I told you he did. So how to show you how Jake felt is what we want to do now.
Jake bubbled with joy. Nothing could remove him from his mountain. His energy was bursting forth and he stood above all obstacles. The sunshine was warm and welcoming as it showered about him. The gratitude from his boss was another mark for him in that he was rising within his company. When he was with his wife, he was complete, two souls that were one. All of his dreams were becoming reality, his future was like a shining star twinkling in the night.
As can be seen from these two example, Jake is either two dimensional or three dimensional. The reader will be more engaged in the second example due to the liveliness of the character.
What exactly is a plot? According to the Merriam Webster online dictionary a plot is a series of events that make up a story. See the url here (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/plot).
So how does one successfully create, construct and implement a plot? One would be advised to create an outline (more on that later), or rough draft of their story. Starting with a beginning then going to a middle and finally coming to an end. Some writers take notes on different things that pique their interest, others simply begin writing and finally some plan out exactly what they want to write and how to write it. No way is better than another way in most cases, though this is dependent upon what type of story one is crafting.
A master at her craft for creating intricate plots was none other than Agatha Christie. Her mystery novels show an excellence in being able to weave together numerous events to create a final plot with many sub-plots along the way. Her stories intentionally created misdirection to keep the reader guessing as to the outcome of her stories. She used deep plotting to keep her stories alive.
Others that shall remain unnamed use barely any plots to keep a story alive. This is most notably seen within the movie industry, though not always. The point is, a plot can be extremely well thought out or it can be rather shallow.
Whether one uses a thin plot or a thick plot, it is best to remember that it is the lifeblood of the story. Without a plot, the story is a random collection of events that have little to no correlation to one another. This ends up being a rather bad story. Imagine if you will, trying to have a conversation about something and the people you are speaking with keep jumping from one subject to another. This makes it extremely hard to stay focused on the conversation at hand and ends up being disjointed.
Methods that one uses to create a plot are taking notes, writing out multiple scenarios and joining them together and starting from the beginning and going through to the end. Each has their advantages and disadvantages.
This is a method that perhaps allows for a wide variety of disparate events notated that can then be woven together to make a meaningful story. The key to this method is to have an idea of what one wants to write first and taking notes from sudden ideas or events that occur throughout the day or night. This is not to say that all of the notes taken will be incorporated into your story, yet it is entirely possible, depending upon how they are structured together.
This method actually allows for creating different stories and being able to weave them together to make a cohesive construct. A more expanded method of the taking notes method above. Rather than random thoughts and events captured, these are actually mini stories that are woven together. This is a great method to employ when one is writing a mystery story, though one must take care to be able to see the final product before it is started.
Beginning to End.
This is where the most extensive use of the creative process comes into play. Here we have a method that does not rely on notes or scenarios crafted beforehand, nor even an outline of a sorts. This is a method that actually has the most rewarding effect for the author of the piece. This is accomplished by way of being able to allow the subconscious mind to work through the conscious mind. Everything is done behind the scenes of the perception of the author. The use of this method actually increases the creativity of the author in that it allows the free flow of ideas.
This method of writing is where the author creates a rough draft of the story, a synopsis, if you will, that lays the foundations for the plot, the character development, and the overall story in general. The way an outline works, is the author has an idea for a story, and fills in milestones of the story and the characters of the stories. Using this method allows the author to formulate the story to their liking before actually committing to a larger endeavor. This can be a great tool to create multiple stories in a series, building upon one another. Beginning with the first, it can create a direction, and as each outline is formulated for the following story, they can actually build up to a quite divergent and enthralling series of books.
While each method noted above has its pros and cons, one thing that any author must do while employing any of them is to be able to look at their work afterward critically and trim or expand it where need be. This is mostly left up to editors, though the author would be wise to look objectively at their creation and see where and how it can be improved. This is not to done to such an extent that the author immobilizes their ability to craft.
Whichever method that is utilized, once the author creates their story, it is wise to sit back and do something different then come back to their story later and polish it up. This gives a fresh outlook on the story and allows one to see how well the plot is crafted.
Remember, a good plot will keep the reader interested and keep coming back for more. A weak plot is a jumble of words on paper that end up being a waste of space and actually hurt the author in the long as they shall have less of an audience.
Heal Me, O Lord
Unto thee, I lift mine eyes
Unto thee, mine heart flies
Grasp me within thine palm
Give me comfort, make mine spirit calm
I stand here, waiting, waiting
Heart and soul hanging heavy
For love sought, for love sought
Within mine spirit, I am twisted
Seeking, yearning, needing, feeling
Seeking love, yearning comfort, needing solace
Feeling only emptiness
O mine heart doth beat low
Heal me, O Lord
Lift mine soul to the skies
Let this despair become quiet
Let this unrest cease from me
I cry to thee Father
Lifting eyes and arms up high
Pleading, seeking, begging
For a release
This misery, oh so heavy
Crushing me, troubling mine heart and soul
The weight, lift this weight
Lighten mine heart, cleanse mine soul
Chase away this fear, darkness and despair
Leadeth me O Lord, unto still waters
Let not the world overcome me
Let thy light guide me
I cry upon mine pillow at night
Wishing for an end to this pain
Yet it continues on and on
Arrows of darkness piercing deeply
For love, love sought
I did love, O Lord, with mine heart
The spear of betrayal did plunge deep
Piercing mine bosom
O Lord, I have loved thee
Why do I feel so forsaken?
Why are the days gray?
Why are the nights black?
I hold thee in mine bosom, O Lord
I crieth unto thee
Seeking for comfort
Where art thou, O my Lord?
Should I stand alone?
Should I shun all?
Hearken to mine plea, O Lord
Heal mine soul
Lift me on the wings of an eagle
Let mine spirit soar high above
Let thy love hold me and heal me
Let thy light guide me
Thou art mine fortress, my rock and shield
Thy banner I lift high
Thy spirit dwelleth within me
Causing mine pain and sorrows to fly away
My hope is in thee, O Lord
My trust is in thee
My life is for thee
My love is for thee.
Sean Michael Supsky
Saturday, February 11, 2006
Characters are the main driving force in most stories, though there are exceptions. The purpose of a character is to provide a focal point in a story and to use that character to drive the story along. A character can be anything within a story that adds substance. It does not have to be human (or some variation thereof), rather it can be an object as well.
How can an object be a character? This may seem unusual on the surface, but there have been instances where the main character within a story has been a house or some other structure. The object itself is not a living breathing thing, but rather what the writer imbues the object with, what emotional states the object creates with other actors within the framing of the story. One can see this most famously played out in stories of haunted houses (Amityville Horror comes to mind) wherein the house itself was the object of characterization.
A couple more examples would be the Computer in Star Trek and the Com-Pewter in the Xanth novels by Piers Anthony of objects being characters. These are all characters in the classic sense, though maybe not the normal sense. They are imbued with feelings, emotions, thoughts and actions.
There can be many classes of characters within a story-line. There are the Protagonists, Antagonists and secondary characters. The difference between them is seen as being good (Protagonists), being bad (Antagonists) and being fillers (Secondary Characters). Though there are cases where the roles are reversed and the Antagonists are seen as the good characters, otherwise known as Anti-Heros.
Whatever the case may be, the meat of a story involves good characterization to move the story along and to bring about a desirable outcome for the writer and for the reader to enjoy.
The importance of characters, what class they are within a story, is very important to give a story continuity that is seamless. Bad characterization will make a story disjointed and pretty much unreadable and not very enjoyable to your reader.
So what makes a good character? Characters that are fleshed out, that have more than two dimensions within the confines of a story. Characters that readers are able to connect to as individuals, connect to emotionally (that is the best type of characterization, when your readers care about what happens to a character) and that readers can connect to intellectually.
How to best create a character that can meet the above qualifications is largely up to the writer of the story (this seems like a natural sentence, when in fact it is not) as there are at times outside influences that can create a character beyond the writer’s control. Two known cases of this happening are Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot character and Ron E. Howard’s Conan character. In these instances, the writer lost control of the characters and outside forces influenced them as opposed to the writer influencing them. While this may sound good on the surface, it is the writer that suffers the most from out of control characters. But I digress.
Back to creating a good character. As stated before, this is largely up to the writer. Taking all of the learned experience of oneself and being able to apply it to a character is a great way to fashion a character that is likable.
Remember, you as the writer, are creating something that appeals to you on some level. You have an emotional investment in the character, an intellectual investment. These are what you want your reader to feel for the character as much as you do.
Writing a good character can and should come from within oneself so that you are satisfied with the character. Are you comfortable with the way the character is turning out, is that what you would want your character to do in certain situations? What happens if your character were to make a mistake? Thinking in these terms allows you to flesh out a character to be more than just words on a page.
Your character is an investment that will help your story to grow and be worthy of more than just printed paper (though in today’s world, that is becoming a rarity as a lot of publications are becoming electronic). Your character will sell your story to the most people.
To recap on characterization. Have solid characters, ones that are fleshed out. Let the reader of your story have an investment in the character. Most importantly, let your character have a purpose for being. Creating a great character is an awesome experience, but if your character has no purpose, there is no reason for the character in the first place.