Knowing Your Characters

Posted: January 29, 2018 in Uncategorized

The questions I get sometimes regarding my characters of new stories sometimes throw me. I have no idea if they are left handed or have a mole on the right side of their face.  That’s not what is important. They are still in the baby steps of my writing. To know a character is to write about a character. You have to know how they have reacted; you know what they’ve done in conflict-their mistakes, their strengths, and their reactions. You won’t know your true character until you practice with them. If you are a comic artist or graphic novelist, you must draw them for months before you nail their expressions and attitude. If you are a writer, you have to write them in every situation and learn the feel for them. Most of my characters tend to be women. I relate to them so much more (obvious reason why).

I have to write the story like I was recalling it from my memory. Like it actually happened. Story building is so much more for a character. I know a girl that I grew up with and every single one of her characters has a million years worth of backstory. It’s incredible. That being said, she knows this character inside and out because she practiced with them. Think of your character like a new friend. You know some obvious traits; you may even know about them because they have a reputation and someone has told you about them. My belief is that you can get along with anybody if you are in the right circumstances. Not all people are one dimensional or only known for two or three traits. There is so much more to them than that. The more time you spend with your new friend and the more stuff you both go through, the more you get to know them. You may start to dislike them if they have some irritating overruling trait. You got along with them for a moment for a reason. Now pinpoint why they irritate you. Then remind yourself of why you may have been drawn to them in the first place. Manipulative people have more traits than just being manipulative. Liars too. Doormat sweet friends have more. They have interests and they have personality quirks. Know your character like your best friend. Spend time with them. Talk to them. Go through experiences together.

I’ve heard many writers tell readers or their following that the characters tend to write themselves. We may have created these creatures but until you write about them, you may not know how they would react when their grandmother gets kidnapped. Does your character have a personality that cuts people to the quick and is very blunt? Does she cave when she shouldn’t because she has an attention disorder? Conflicting personality can sometimes turn you off of a character but it also is what makes them more human.

xoxo,

Ella

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The Cliche: To Be or Not to Be

Posted: August 21, 2017 in Uncategorized

I was thinking on my next book and rehearsing what I wanted to accomplish/ what themes or challenge I wanted to create and kept coming up with cliche characters and subpar subplots. I have no good ideas that I’m fully pumped about after fairytale and as much as I want to rewrite these stories and delve back into them, I feel as though I need another story while I rewrite just so that I can continue creating. I’ve been in such a funk lately as to original content and keep pulling up the same couples and the same love story and extremely over the top, anger driven OC’s. I can’t stand cliches but I also began thinking about some great books I have read before that really made a cliche work for them.

So my real question is can you write a cliche and make it work for you? 

I touched back on the hero vs. heroine character choosing and choosing some cliche in the world that you’ve entirely made up as fantasy. The warlike princess or woman who changed the course of World War II is a cliche. But how many times has this actually worked out?

  1. Wonder Woman-a fantasy retelling of a superhero demigod that changed the course of the war by fighting Ares. 
  2. Game of Thrones Sansa Stark- a spoiled princess who falls in love with the king to be and looks down to those who aren’t of noble birth. She learns her lesson and begins to wise up and act out of self preservation while maneuvering herself into potential safety. 
  3. Captain America Peggy Carter- once again a superhero retelling of the World Wars and her involvement. There is a sense of belief behind this as a woman in this time because so many women were becoming more and more vital to the cause and because it was already unbelievable that a scrawny little man could become a nearly invincible man with incredible strength. It fit with the fantasy world that people could advance despite the early prejudices because of their strong leadership and inspiring behavior much like Carter.  She stood out and became a little more believable since she was already in a fantasy world of impossibles. 
  4. Seven Realms Raisa ana’Marianna- a princess who fights for her people and  the divide between her father’s people and her entitled people from her mother’s side. She becomes believable through the fact that she actually wants to rule versus the runaway princess syndrome of many fantasy books yet she still fights the common cliche of princesses being feisty and hard to control. Cinda Williams Chima uses the cliche to her advantage and puts a new twist on her to make her stand out from the crowds of other fantasy princesses. 

My verdict is that you can use a cliche just as long as it is believable in that world you’ve created. If it makes any sense, use a cliche and don’t make it cliche. (HA! Confusing I know.)

If you want to create a character that falls in love with the boy next door or that becomes best friends with the unlikable kid, go right ahead. But make it stand out. And make it believable in your genre. Cliches are fine in the right genre. Don’t just insert a character into a random plot of your choosing just to “make something different”. If using a cliche, make it worth the reader’s time.

 

xoxo,

Ella

heros

 

 

Do you choose a hero as your main character or heroine? Why does it matter which gender? Does it affect the genre you write in or even challenge how you might think behind the main character?

The choice I always face when starting my books is finding whatever spark is that inspired it. Sometimes it’s a name that I’ve added onto; sometimes it’s a scene from a movie that I get so pumped about that I wish that I had written something similar or gives me an idea on how I could have done it differently with that premise. Sometimes it’s a person walking along the street with some feature like a colorful turban around wild curls that just fascinates me or a younger girl struggling to be taken seriously when she lacks height in a tall room or a strong voice. Something always triggers this for writers. It’s not always a character-but the question I want to ask myself after I write the premise and outline for the story is not what is next but who is going to be starring. Sometimes I fall in love with a good side character and end up realizing that I want a different main character to accompany them and partner up. I choose hero or heroine based on this: do I want to challenge myself and write from a guy’s perspective-something that I’m not familiar with since I’m a girl but yet know their actions from growing up with boys? Or do I want to appeal to that genre that I’m writing in or certain time period when a girl just wouldn’t have been included or doesn’t fit in? I ask these questions when writing a book because accuracy is so important even when writing for yourself. A girl just wouldn’t have been included in too many spy or war films long ago unless you want to step outside of the realistic world and dip into a sort of fantasy you create. Presentation for these books and historic knowledge will enhance your story and make it more believable to more than just a small crowd. Why not appeal to all sorts of audience with accuracy in your story? Everyone enjoys it when the writer takes time and research to carefully construct his story and tell a realistic tale. People want to be sucked into a world that they might live in. They need to be able to get lost in your pages if you want to become successful.

I recently went to see Wonder Woman in theaters and got a taste of that warlike image that women can be powerful and they can make a difference. It was refreshing without being heavy handed and enjoyable because it had enough historical accuracy to might have happened in that fantasy world. They set the bar with superheroes and long forgotten Greek mythology in a world where anything is possible if granted these powers. There is enough accuracy in the abnormality of a woman in a war and having no qualms about showing as much skin as she does that make this movie both funny and relatable.  It wouldn’t have been half as enjoyable if they had not described the time period like they did. It set the mood. It appealed to the genre. But it also appealed to more than just one audience.

This is why you need to be asking hero or heroine when you write your next novel. Which would accurately describe your story and fit in with their job and world they live in? If they lived in the past World Wars, perhaps the girl pretends to be a man to fight alongside her brother or avenge her lost love. I keep harping back to war, but it is an easy way of getting lost when writers insert random character unrealistically in worlds they don’t belong in. If they don’t belong, then explain why the oddity should exist in that world. Don’t just use a gender just to fit back into whatever you are comfortable with and continue the same cookie cutter character in an unrealistic role for them. Appeal to the genre. Appeal to the audience. And don’t be afraid to challenge yourself. Writers don’t become authors just by writing stories. Writers become authors when the audience lives their story.

When you start your next book, ask yourself: hero or heroine?

 

xoxo,

Ella

 

Behind the Author

Posted: March 16, 2017 in Uncategorized

For those of you who don’t understand writing, writing can be an extension of your creativity, your feelings, or just a what if something happened. Midnight diary is a blend of all of them. Some are based on fact. Some are based on feelings. Some are based on what if situations. There is no inbetween or someone trying to interpret what they mean. They are not aimed at any one person or intended for a certain audience but merely an invocation of some words on my mind. Some are even written as a point of view of what I imagine others to think. It’s more of a dramatic staged reading than most anything else-exercising my writing muscles and having some sort of homework to get me to think a certain way. I’ve succeeded if I make you feel it too.

 

xoxo,

Ella

my Wattpad: http://my.w.tt/UiNb/FB3fV9PWyB

 

I’ve been obsessed with graphic novels/comics recently and been really wanting to get into one as soon as I’m done with Fairytale. I’ll be working on Freefall in the process as well since it’s such a long story that I keep coming back to. I have been keeping up with some favorites on the WebToon app on my phone and found some good comics on there to inspire me. I’ve been playing around with an idea about a historical fiction novel and working on getting a notebook to draw in. Because of my job, I won’t have time to digitally draw them every day but I do want to start a sketch notebook and kind of map out with sketches what I want for this graphic novel. I bought a graphic novel program for digital art but I have been completely lazy on it and haven’t used it but maybe twice since I last got it, ha! Anyway, if you have any tips for me for drawing/sketching/graphic novels/ comics, or anything, then definitely comment below. I linked my Pinterest account, my business page, Twitter page, and my Wattpad (where I post most of my short stories) below under my name if you want to check it out!

 

 

 

xoxo,

Ella

 

http://madeupandcuttinup.com/

https://www.wattpad.com/user/wattsyourstory

 

 

 

Some of the best advice I ever read was to always make the reader feel the emotions instead of just using words like “She was sad”. Let them feel the sadness, feel the despair welling up inside of them. Have them relate instead of just telling them how it is. Let them describe the moment as sad.

I wanted to start off with this topic. What is the power of a word? Obviously it has some power, otherwise books wouldn’t exist. They wouldn’t be enjoyable or readable if nothing made any sort of impact on the reader. The book would remain flat and dull. The power of a word is how you use it and where you place it. I can say “He loves her very much.” and place “only” in front of most of the words and it would mean something totally different. Does he love only her? He only loves her sounds ominous as if someone’s jealous and wants him to love them too. Let’s change it around a little. “Only, he loved her.” This reflects a sort of curious observation like someone just remarks upon this fact as if just realizing it.

The question I want to ask you next is this. How powerful are your words? Are you using difficult words that people have to look up to make yourself seem smarter? Are you using words dumbed down enough that every crowd can read them and the more sophisticated reader might reject as being easy reading or childlike? You should use words to target your specific type of audience. A murder mystery can be more adept at wordplay, throwing in the occasional word to look up in your dictionary, because children won’t likely be reading them. Is your book adult themed or child themed? Who is it targeting and why? Will that age group enjoy that book if you wrote to a different category? Dystopian will most likely draw the young adult range while stories of children’s adventures will target kids. Sci fi may appeal to more boys than girls; romance appeals mostly to women. Now use the wordplay that these audiences will identify with. Use the words to make these people imagine your world. Murder mysteries are complex, throwing you a loop every time you’ve thought that you’ve caught the killer. They are tricky, more adult, and more dangerous in the theme. They have more risk. You can take risks with the wordplay as well. It shouldn’t be a mystery who your main audience is. (pun intended, HA!)

 

Learn your audience; learn your motive; learn how to play your audience and keep them on the edge of their seat because John is about to jump off that cliff. Make them feel the fear of the gun pressed against his back. Learn the power behind the words.

 

xoxo,

Ella

 

 

Finding Time to Write

Posted: January 29, 2017 in Uncategorized

I know we are all guilty of it and sometimes it may just seem easier to quit while we think we are ahead and just ride it out until the procrastination season ends and you realize that you’ve completely wasted valuable time that you could’ve been writing.

 

My tip is simple.

 

Find a time in the day or week that you have some down time and just give yourself a grace period during this time and bring up your laptop or notebook and snuggle up with your favorite mug with tea, hot chocolate, or coffee, and just let the words just start flowing from you. They may not be good, but eventually they will be.

 

You can write to your heart’s content when you start and then have that time every day or week that you look forward to. I love planning so when I bring out my planners and notebooks that I’ve written down my weekly plans and day by day, I feel productive and like I want to complete that list. Give yourself a goal, maybe 500 words or so and just watch the results pile up. I am highly competitive and I freaking love lists. I love crossing things off lists as well and I love getting new notebooks and scribbling in them. You don’t even have to be a writer to have an obsession with notebooks although I’ve noticed that’s a trend with our type of people.

 

Be organized. Messily if you want or need to be, but organized.

 

xoxo,

Ella

Check out my Pinterest for my storyboards for all my ongoing or finished stories about all that inspires me and maybe give me a follow if you are interested. I pin almost hourly at this point, let’s be real. (Don’t pretend that you don’t do that either.)