GENREALITY

Archive for September, 2009



Wednesday, September 30th, 2009 by Sasha White
Everything’s better with sex.

As an erotic fiction author it goes without saying that sex and sexuality fascinate me.  I love writing erotica, not just because of the titilation factor (of which there is much) but because lust and desire are such base emotions.  We are all sexual creatures, of different levels and tastes, but it’s something that ties us together. I think thats why all stories are better with sex. :)

Sex births so many emotions within us. Arousal, of course, but also joy, satisfaction, and love just to name a few. Can you imagine what life would be like without sex? I’m not talking about when someone chooses to abstain for whatever reason, but society in general. Say, in a futuristic sense, if sexual activity became a ‘virtual’ thing instead of a living thing.  Would we get the same benifits?  Mentally, pschologically, and physically?  That’s what books without sex make me think of. Sure life can be good without it, but is it truly living?

The Stephanie Plum books by Janet Evanovich are among my top 5 favorites of all time. I love them. I love the humor, the quirky characters, the mysteries, and the writing. But in my opinion they would be soooo much better if Ms.Evanovich didn’t shut the bedroom door after a kiss.  Same with all the Lee Child books. I adore them. I like the writing, the story-lines, the minute details Mr.Child puts into each one …except the love scenes.  The hero, Jack Reacher,(Whom I lust after myself.) gets laid in every book. It’s usually clear it’s not love. The hero is a true loner, but he is a man women find attractive.  Yet, there is never an actual sex scene in any of the books. The fact that author ‘closes the bedroom door’ on the love/sex scenes leaves me feeling ….incomplete.

I understand why some writers choose not to put sex scenes in their books. Just because I’m comfortable writing them doesn’t mean every one is.  Some might not like to write them, might not feel confident  in their ability to write them. Then there is the fact that some stores won’t carry books that contain “certain content”. The local Chapters store in my area won’t even let me do a booksigning because of “the content of your books” *direct quote*  They sell them, they just don’t want to promote them, or me.

It also occurs to me that the T.V. shows that are the most talked about or popular (Both with friends in my daily life and writer friends) are ones that rarely fade to black. Not when it comes to sex, or violence.  It’s one of the reasons HBO and Showtime have so many hit shows, because they don’t cut out ‘the good stuff’, and those shows are often touted as gritty, realistic, dramatic, engaging and amazing.

Am I making any sense at all? I’ve rewritten this post so many time to try and get my point across whithout sounding like I’m saying sex is the be-all and end-all of things. It isn’t. But it is part of us as humans. A large part of us. And I find it very discouraging when I read / hear people denigrate  romance or erotic fiction simply because of the sex scenes or heat levels.  It makes me wonder if those people don’t ever have sex.  I mean, as writers we want our characters to feel real to readers, right? We want readers to connect with them on some level, more than one preferably.  So why wouldn’t we include sexuality as one of those levels? Why deny such an integral part of being human? (And I’m not even going to get into how there is so much more to erotic fiction and romance novels than the sex.)

I know this post is sort of a ramble, but I’m curious to know what y’all think.  How important is sex to a story? Does it matter to you if in that book (or movie) the sex scene ends with a fade to black?  Think about your favorite book/series/movie….does it include sex scenes, or does it fade out when things get hot?  If it does fade out….do  you think you would enjoy it more if it didn’t?

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009 by Joe Nassise
Drop Your Stuff with Dropbox

(I’ve got only a few days to finish up the final edits on the next Jeremiah Hunt novel, so I’m pulling one out of the vaults for this week. This post has previously appeared at RockYourWritingCareer.com, but I think some of you might find it useful as well.)

dropbox

When I’m writing I often split my time between working at home on my desktop and working somewhere else (often the library or the local coffee shop) on my laptop. As you can guess, this use to create a issue with keeping the various versions of the manuscript straight and up-to-date. At first, I would email the files to myself and load them up on whatever machine I used next. When that became a bit of a hassle, I tried keeping one single master file on a thumb drive and carrying that around with me wherever I went. That worked for a while, until I misplaced my thumb drive for three days and nearly went out of my mind.

Then I discovered Dropbox and I’ve been using it ever since.

To get started, all you have to do is visit the Dropbox site and create a free account. Through this account you can manage your Dropbox service – upload and download files, share files, create public and shared folders, and more. Once your account is set up you can download and install Dropbox on as many computers as you want to use, linking them to your account as you do so. The software will create a “My Dropbox” folder on each computer as part of the process.

That’s when the magic begins. Anything you put in that Dropbox folder will be instantly shared and available on your other computers.

dropbox_mydocs

So I can work on my latest novel on my laptop at the coffee shop, save the file to my Dropbox, and then open it up again later that night on desktop knowing that I don’t have to worry if this is the latest version or not. It has all been taken care of behind the scenes for me.

Dropbox also lets me access my files from a public computer as well, simply by logging in to the website.

web_interface_files

When I save the file back to the website, it will automatically update the version in the My Dropbox folder on my computer’s hard drive the next time I fire it up.

Another very cool feature of Dropbox is the service’s ability to save your revision history. If you delete a file, or decide that an earlier version is more acceptable to your needs, you can go into the Revision section and restore it.

revision_history

Dropbox will also let you create public and shared folders, so that you can collaborate on a project, and it even has a photo sharing utility if you want to go that route as well.

Basic accounts are free and provide 2 gigs of space. You can also get premium paid plans that offer up to 100 gigs of storage a year. Either way, I wouldn’t do without it at this point.

Monday, September 28th, 2009 by Carrie Vaughn
Mindful Reading

It’s so self evident that most people forget to mention it.  To be a writer, you have to read.  You have to love reading.  Most people start writing because they love to read.  But it still needs to be said because sometimes people want to be writers because they love a TV show and want to break into Hollywood but writing a book is much easier than being a filmmaker/screenwriter, or they thinks it’s a fast way to riches (because we’re all just like JK Rowling!).

One of the best ways to become a better writer is to become a mindful reader.  At its simplest, mindfulness is paying attention.  What’s happening around you, what your body is doing, what your mind is thinking.  It’s often associated with Buddhist meditation practices, as well as western psychological analysis.  What are you thinking/feeling/doing?  Why are you thinking/feeling/doing this?  How can you change it?

My Masters degree is in English Literature — not creative writing, like a lot of people assume.  I have an MA, not an MFA.  (There’s a whole other essay into why that is.  I’ll save it for later.)  Basically, I spent two and a half years reading, and analyzing what I read.  It’s a bit more complicated than that because the academic study of literature incorporates a whole history and tradition of critical theory and analysis.  But I always started with my own emotional reactions to a text.  Did I love a poem/story/novel?  Did I hate it?  Why?  How did the work I’m reacting to get this way?

As a writer, you can study your emotional reactions to a story and use that to get better.  Do you love the novel you’re reading?  Hate it?  Why?  Is it something about the character?  The plot?  The writing itself?  This is why it’s so valuable to read books we don’t like as well as books we love.  If you have to read a paragraph, a page, or a whole book over again to figure out what you loved about it, or what you hated about it, or what about it is bothering you, then do it.  Make notes.  Pay attention.

Then, whatever you learn, do it.  If you hate books where the heroine has a really low self esteem and keeps thinking about how plain and ugly she is — even while half a dozen super hot men are trying to get in her pants (not that this is a personal pet peeve or anything), then don’t do that.  If you hate it when an author uses exclamation points all the time — and not in dialog — then don’t do that.  If you fall in love with a book — why?  Is it the characters?  The plot?  The way it all comes together and the end?  How can you make that happen in your own work?

Two of my early inspirations were Ray Bradbury and Robin McKinley.  I learned a lot about writing from them both.  In fact, I’d read their books and be in awe, thinking how do they do that?  How can I do that?

With Bradbury, it was his descriptions.  Dandelion Wine’s main character, twelve-year old Douglas, contemplates the first day of summer in his small Midwestern town:

“A whole summer ahead to cross off the calendar, day by day.  Like the goddess Siva in the travel books, he saw his hands jump everywhere, pluck sour apples, peaches, and midnight plums.  He would be clothed in trees and bushes and rivers.  He would freeze, gladly, in the hoarfrosted ice-house door.  He would bake, happily, with ten thousand chickens, in Grandma’s kitchen.”

–Ray Bradbury, Dandelion Wine

Bradbury taught me that prose can be poetic, that finding descriptions that are new and stunning — not clichés — can kick a reader in the gut and draw them in.  A vivid setting can weave a spell.  Simple, direct, concrete descriptions are best.  Just a couple of descriptions — the right descriptions — can build a whole world.

Robin McKinley taught me about protagonists, and making your reader fall in love with them.  That giving them the right weaknesses can help the reader put themselves in the character’s shoes.  Weaknesses we all share, like insecurity, isolation.  Couple that with admirable qualities like courage, kindness, intelligence.  When it’s done well, readers will follow that character anywhere.

Warning:  This will ruin a lot of books for you.  And movies and TV shows.  You’ll start picking apart everything.  The ability to get lost in a story will become a rare and valuable thing.  This is why so many fiction writers read a lot of non-fiction.  But the ability to analyze what you read — to read mindfully — will make you a better writer.

What fabulous lessons have you learned from your favorite authors?

Saturday, September 26th, 2009 by Candace Havens
An Excerpt From Dragons Prefer Blondes

DRAGONS PREFER BLONDES

by Candace Havens

Prologue

Guardians protect Earth from other worlds. We are the first line of defense against those who want to harm humanity.

Add in the fact that we put our lives on the line every day and that the rest of the universe really doesn’t care for humans, and you have to figure only a crazy person would be a Guardian.

That’s definitely true. But I get to face down dragons, so it’s not all bad. These aren’t the dragons of myths and legends. The Ahi, which is their scientific name, come in all shapes and sizes. They are intelligent beings for the most part, but they have a warrior attitude that makes them hardheaded beasts.

It’s my job to make certain they behave—and take them out if they won’t. I’m not alone. My sisters are also Guardians who protect the rest of the world from creatures that would scare the pee right out of you.

We’re a tight-knit group, which comes in handy, since we’re in the middle of a big battle with evil trying to take over the universe. I’m talking darkness like we’ve never seen before. It hides in the most innocuous places and strikes at will. Scary stuff.

Don’t worry. We Caruthers sisters have a plan. Extinguish the evil and put its sad, sorry ass in a sling. Trust me, we can do this. Anyone who can run in four-inch Prada heels and kill a dragon can certainly save the world from the big bad.

Chapter One

“Alex, I’m getting married.” Aspen Randall screeched in my ear, her voice so high I could barely understand her. It didn’t help that I was holding the cell between my shoulder and ear as I pulled a dragon carcass out of the snow and into an industrial-strength trash bag. I was in front of a beautiful cathedral in Montreal, and thankfully, the streets were empty.

When Aspen called I thought it was one of my sisters, so I’d picked it up without looking. I mean who the hell calls in the wee hours of the morning if they aren’t family?

It dawned on me that I hadn’t responded to her comment. “What a happy surprise. Who’s the lucky guy?” I pretended to be excited. Aspen went through men as fast as she changed shoes, so I couldn’t be sure who had been either brave or stupid enough to chance going down that path with the woman.

“Silly girl, Lord Huffington, of course. That means a big ole royal wedding for me.” She squealed again, and I wondered if I might need a hearing aid after this conversation. “We’ve been dating for three months, and we just can’t wait to get married.”

I sighed—on the inside. From what I knew about him, Huff was a stuck-up aristocrat who probably wanted to marry Aspen for her money. Everyone knew that his family had been struggling for years. His father’s investments were rot, and Huff had seemed more intent on living the playboy life than saving his family fortune.

Then again, Aspen probably knew all that. She just wanted to be called Lady Huffington. I’d met her ten years ago at a birthday party for my sister, Gillian, and Aspen declared us instant pals. My mother insisted I be nice, so I went along with the charade, which turned out to be a huge mistake.

Aspen was as shallow as they came, but she was one of those poor little rich girls. At the ripe old age of fourteen, I’d figured out pretty quickly that her parents had given her everything except love. I felt sorry for her, so when she wanted to hang out, I always tried to be there for her. “Wow. That’s—wow. I don’t know what to say.”

“I know, right? Beyond cool. Daddy says we can have a wedding in the States and at the castle in England. I can have the fairy tale twice.”

Oh, my God. My heart went out to her wedding planner. “Well, that is wild.” I slid the dragon, which was still warm to the touch, into the garbage bag. Thankfully, he’d been in human form, except for the talons, or he wouldn’t have fit. I had caught him inside the cathedral stealing a gold cross from the altar.

Dragons, demons, fairies, and a variety of other creatures had been giving my sisters and me hell the last few months. They were after treasures on Earth, and it was a constant battle to keep them from stealing. None of us knew exactly why these creatures wanted the valuables, but we felt certain it had something to do with the darkness trying to take over the universe. We are all Guardian Keys, and while it’s our job to protect Earth from these jerks, lately it had turned into a full-time occupation.

I had the element of surprise on my side and was able to sneak up on him while he was busy stealing, but he went scaly fast. He managed a couple of good strikes against me before he died. With dragons it was almost always a fight to death. They never backed down.

The snow swirled around me, wet and cold. The damn dragon was slippery and almost too big for the bag. I had to shove it down with my boot.

“Soooo,” Aspen trilled. “Since you are the premiere party planner and one of my dearest friends, I want you to do it all. Everything down to the last detail.” She squealed again, and I dropped the phone into the bag with the dead dragon.

No, no, no. The last thing I needed right now was to plan a wedding for a woman who had to have at least six choices of outfits for each day. She had two full-time stylists who could barely keep up with her. Planning Aspen’s wedding—I’d rather fight a cadre of dragons with my bare hands.

I fished out the phone and wiped off the dragon goo. Pushing the speaker function so I didn’t have to hold it close to my face, I prepared to put her off. “Oh, Aspen, hon, really I’d love too, but—”

“I knew you would.” She cut me off. “Oh, the jet’s here. I have to run. I’ll e-mail you with the dates. Did I mention we want to do it before the end of the month? And my color choices. I’m in a strawberry mood right now, so think luscious red with lots of white, and maybe some pink. Oh, I don’t know, maybe more of a sapphire since it’ll be a winter wedding. I’ll think about it on my way to London to see the castle. Ta! Oh, listen to me, I sound like English royalty already.”

The line went dead.

I snorted. Aspen was in for a rude awakening when she saw that castle. The last time I’d been there was four years ago for a charity event. I’d stayed in the dusty, drafty hunk of stone for one night and swore never to do it again.

NOTE: If you want to know more about this book or any others, including my biography on Joss Whedon, check out www.candacehavens.com.

Friday, September 25th, 2009 by LViehl
G-words

I still use it, but over the years I’ve gotten tired of the word gaze in both the noun and verb form, and now I’m actively avoiding it. Any writer will tell you that there are a very limited number of synonyms for the noun/verb look, and one of the great minor inconveniences in writing is having to come up with an alternative.

Gaze is a dislikable word for me because we don’t use it that often in modern speech (when was the last time you said, “Hey, gaze over here” or “I don’t like the way you’re gazing at me”?) It also has the letter z in it. Z is an eye magnet letter – it’s so uncommon that (for me, anyway) when it appears on the page in any word it acts like a reading speed bump and disrupts the flow. That’s probably why I avoid using the word zipper whenever possible, too. But I still resort to gaze now and then because sometimes there is no better option.

Gasp is one of those words I see, mainly in romance novels, that annoys me. I’ve used it, unwillingly, but to me it’s really a sound word, not a synonym for said. A gasp in my mental dictionary is that quick, indrawn breath sound you make when you’re startled or shocked, or a fast sigh/exhalation for the same reasons. It’s breathing, basically, not speech. Romance writers seem to love it as a said synonym and pair it with an exclamation of some sort, which makes it emote like a bad actress:

“You can’t do that!” Muffy gasped in outrage.

Buffy gasped, “Oh, my God!”

“But you can’t leave me,” Fluffy gasped out in horror and terror. “Our wedding is tomorrow!”

Groan is another g-word that gets a real workout in most romance novels, especially in sex scenes as a synonym for said. My problem with the word groan is two-fold: I instantly associate groaning with people who are in pain, and on the page it looks a little too much like groin, another g-word I’m not too fond of (but I have no problem with using crotch, so go figure that out.) Like gaze, I use it unwillingly, but I’ve never much liked it. I think I’ve heard too many real groans, all from people in various states of pain, during my years in the medical field. So unless it’s a BDSM scene, every time I use groan or see it in a book it feels inappropriate.

Guffaw is simply an ugly damn word. It looks ugly on the page, and it sounds ugly when you pronounce it. I’ve never used it in a book (I think an editor stuck it in one of my early romances, though.) To me it’s definitely a loud, twerpy-sounding laugh, uttered by someone who when amused brays like a jackass, usually the skinnies, nerdiest kid on a television sitcom. The last thing I’d have a hero do is guffaw – I think I’d make him gasp or gaze first.

Obsessive as writers are with word choices (and yes, I am not unusual in my aversions – most of my colleagues feel the same about other, unsightly-to-them words) not everyone will have the same attitude. I think readers have to be very forgiving about word choices, or they’d end up with nothing to read. Editors on average are more concerned with technical blips like word repeats/echoes and rarely object to a word choice unless it’s completely inappropriate. Whenever I read someone else’s work and run into one of those g-words, I tend to be more tolerant, too (although the gaze thing still bugs the hell out of me, especially when I catch a talented writer overusing it.)

I can guarantee that no matter how explicit I write, I have never used and will never use the word G-spot in any of my novels. I flat-out hate that word. It’s clunky, stupid-looking on the page, and it doesn’t even come close to describing that particular region of the anatomy. It’s a goofy word, too. G-spot, come on. Haven’t we been saddled with enough unsightly or unpleasant-sounding words to describe the most fun parts of our bodies?

There are some words in the English language that are deal-breakers for readers. If you use explicit language in your fiction, for example, be prepared for some e-mails from readers who didn’t like it. I once received a three-page rant from a reader who became seriously upset over a single word in one of my novels (not a g-word, but a c-word.) Evidently employing that word made me (in her view) vulgar, ignorant, anti-feminist, and in general a traitor to the women’s movement. By the time I finished reading that e-mail she almost had me convinced I was going to burn in hell. But you learn early on in this biz that you can’t make everyone happy, and if you try you’ll go crazy or end up writing stories that are as interesting as library paste or cream of wheat.

I do think it’s a little odd that so many of the words I dislike or refuse to use in writing start with the letter G, though (not that I object to the title of our group blog, which I think is perfection — but then, I was the one who thought it up.) Maybe I was traumatized as a child by the Goodyear Blimp or the Good Humor man. I never really liked Green Lantern as a superhero, either. You get your superpowers from something as mundane and easy to lose as a ring? Give me a break . . .

What are some of your g-words? Have you noticed any similarity among the words you don’t like to use? Let us know in comments.

Thursday, September 24th, 2009 by Candace Havens
Give me a “M” for Muse

I don’t have a muse. Well, not like some writers I know.They have names for their muses and talk to them regularly. I scream at my computer a lot, and my dogs look at me like I’m crazy, but I don’t really have a muse to chat with when I’m having a bad day. When people talk about muses my first thought goes to Sharon Stone in that Albert Brooks movie, and then my mind moves to fairy-like creatures with wings. The fairies sprinkle dust on you and you write a NYT’s best seller.

Maybe that’s why I haven’t hit the list yet. I have a serious lack of fairy dust. Plenty of dust bunnies hanging around, but none of the sparkly stuff. BUT I do have ways to stimulate creativity. (Is it just me or does the word “stimulate” always have some kind of sexual connotation?) Anyhoo… I have many things I do if I hit a creative slump. I don’t believe in writer’s block. That’s a term we all made up to explain FEAR of failure when it comes to writing. But I most certainly have days with it’s tougher to write.

I teach a class on my free Write_Workshop loop (you can get to that through my website) called Out of the Box and On the Page. My friend Heidi B. turned the class into a workbook for me (http://www.lulu.com/content/paperback-book/out-of-the-box-and-on-the-page/7671329). What I talk about is the need, as a creative entity, to constantly stimulate your brain and to try new approaches.

As writer we often get so caught up in the words and scenes that we forget there’s a whole big world out there that could bring even more to our stories. Some of you know I started Grad school this fall, and though it’s hard, it’s taught me so much about looking at the bigger picture. I’ve also discovered that time consuming as it is, this class is bringing something to the table creatively. It’s opening my mind to new ideas and helping me see things in a different way.

But you don’t need school to make that happen. In the workshop I talk about using art and music to get you going. I know there are certain songs I can listen too that will help me write. One album in particular, and I talk about it a lot, Joss Stone’s “Body & Soul.” I pop that sucker on the iTouch and I’m off and running when it comes to the writing. Each of my books has its own soundtrack. I know many writers who do this.

When I really feeling frustrated art is a big stress reliever for me. Well, looking at is. I don’t have artistic bone in my body, though I do play with water colors from time to time. My favorite thing to do is to go to the museum and lose myself in a couple of paintings there. I let my mind wonder and make up stories for the scenes I see. I mean imagine you are looking at daVinci’s Mona Lisa for the first time and you don’t know the history behind the painting. Who is this woman? Is she happy or not? What is that beautiful scenery in the background?  And, dude, what is with that hair? She so needs a bumpit.

I can’t always get to the museums (which are also awesome places to people watch) so sometimes I just start typing various artists into a search engine and see what pops up. My point, and yes I do have one, is that it’s sometimes it is important to get away from the writing. Even if for an hour or so. I can’t believe I’m admitting this, but one day I was stuck on a scene and couldn’t seem to write my character out of the corner I had her in. I stopped to take a nap, but ended up playing Animal Crossing on the Wii for an hour. One of the characters on the game said something to mine, and all of the sudden something popped in my brain and I knew what I needed to do with the scene. I was so excited I forgot to save my game. :)

No matter what your creative outlet might be, we all have those moments of incredible frustration. I’m curious what you do to get your muse in order? Do you have a muse? Does she/he/it have a name an fairy dust? (Can I borrow some of that dust?) What stimulates you creatively?

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009 by Sasha White
Give ‘em personality!

When breaking down how I create my characters I have to admit that all of my characters have a bit of me in them. It’s true. Even the heroes and the secondary characters all have certain aspects of me in them. That’s how I connect with them enough to be able to write their story. If I can’t identify with them, or connect with them on some level, they’re not real to me, and therefore it’s doubtful they’ll be real to my readers. And you really want your characters to be real to the reader.

They question is, how do you do that? My advice is to start by taking look at the people around you. What makes them who they are? It more than what they look like or what they do for a living. What makes them a real person instead of a one dimensional character?

Personality is what makes a person real. And a personality is made up of personality traits.

Example.
Vanessa is one of my very best friends. I think of her and I think loving, loyal, and spoiled. LOL Yes, she is a bit of a princess. But hey, that’s a personality trait. One of the girls I work at the bar with, we’ll call her Sara, is a bit ditzy, but very hardworking and energetic. Then there’s Amy, who’s pretty, smart, and bitchy.

Do you see a pattern there? The pattern is that when I’m thinking of/describing these people I tend to use at least three traits. That shows you three different sides of them, a fairly well rounded picture. Well rounded because two out of the three traits tend to be positive, with the third maybe not being so positive. After all, nobody is perfect. We all have negative traits, and our characters should too.

Does three sides make a complete picture? Not at all, there’s so much more to people than the first three things that pop into your mind when you think of them. But that’s the key to developing your characters. Start with three basic traits, and as you write make sure you’re showcasing at least one trait in each scene with your characters actions. Before you know it, when you’re really into the story, your character will develop traits that you didn’t deliberately imbue them with. They’ll grow organically. (For pansters this tends to happen after you’ve been writing for a bit-often around a third of the way into the story. For plotters this magic tends to happen as they’re lining up the scenes and seeing the story play out in their mind.) Either way you work, if your character will start to feel like more than a name and description on a page, they’ll feel like real people with real personalities.

Staying away from clichéd characters.
Falling into clichés is an easy trap, so how do you make your character stand out? Once again I urge you to look at the people around you. Not just at home, but at work, at the grocery store, the movie theater, even the clerk at the gas station. Pay attention to them. Do any of them stand out to you? What is making them stand out? It could be a mannerism, or a personality trait. Is it an accent or twitch? Or perhaps the fact that every time you see them they have specific piece of jewelry, or clothing on?

Notice these things, then let them guide you into creating a backstory/character.

I know a guy named Larry who works nights as a delivery driver for a pizza place. He has long hair, glasses and a mustache … and he always wears a fedora. The man must have close to 100 of them because it’s rare to see him wearing the same one twice. He has pin striped ones, plaid ones, dark ones, light ones, and every shade in between. But they are all fedoras, and when I look at him it’s easy to imagine him sitting in a smoky jazz bar either listening to the music, or even on stage playing.

That’s pretty clichéd, right? What if I told you that Larry’s day job was as a nurse?
Not so clichéd anymore is it? That’s because he’s a real person, and not just a character.

So next time you’re questioning if your characters are flat or one dimensional, don’t be scared to mix up their traits. Or give them more than three sides. Three sides is a triangle, not a circle (In this analogy a circle would be the well rounded character). But creating that circle is easier if you have three or four Strong sides to build on. Then you use lesser traits to round out the corners until you have a well rounded, or well developed character.

Below is a list of personality traits (in no special order) to get you started. By no means is it a complete list, just some traits that are popping into my head right now. Please feel free to add more to the list by putting them in the comments, then we can all have a nice long list to refer back to when we want/need to.

Honest                        Loyal

Funny                         Quirky

Loud                            Smart

Scattered                     Immature

Aggressive                  Sneaky

Lazy                              Bitchy

Loving                         Friendly

Intelligent                    Soft hearted

Educated                      Snotty

Superior                       Athletic

Sexy                            Sexual (not the same as sexy)

Caring                         Control freak

Devious                       Hyper

Generous                     Boring

Quiet                           Malicious

Driven                         Emotional

Curious                       Disciplined

Angry                          Responsible

Compassionate        Adventurous

Patient                        Creative

The above list is simple. It works for me, because I enjoy learning more about my characters as I write. I’m not very into analyzing them too deeply before I start writing. However, not everyone likes to wor the way I do. So…for those of you who do like to plan and plot, or interview and analyze your characters, here are some links you might find useful.

*Emotional Competency

*The Big 5 Personality Factors (Defined ‘Supertraits’ and ‘subordinate traits’)

*HumanMetrics

*Discover Yourself (A great way to learn more about personality traits and fine tune your characters personality)