Posts Tagged ‘art’

Covers and Artwork


I do write my own books, my stories, my plots, and do most of my own editing. I have my friends read my books and works and tell me what’s wrong with it on first impression and I’m in the process of editing a novel I wrote a year ago, titled: The Honor Code. It’s about pirates, soldiers, the war between Britain and America and all set on the high seas. But during all of this work and sketches that I’ve drawn, I figure at some point, I need a cover for my books. Very rarely do I use someone else’s pictures for a cover-in fact, I’m not even positive that I have done something like that since I had first begun.
Even if I only placed words on a colored piece of paper, I usually only used something that I had made for the covers. The only book that I have seriously considered publishing, really the only book that I felt like it was worth my time and effort to go through the painstaking editing and re-writing and plot fixing and such, was The Honor Code. During the writing of this book, I wanted to have visuals.

Pinterest, as well as other medias might I add, has really helped me see the world of my stories or help me gain inspiration to keep writing and keep plodding on. I love to draw and sketch and flesh out my characters. Really the only reason why I began drawing was to gain my own private view of my characters.

Even if you describe what you are thinking of in your head to anyone else, a friend, another artist, or family, they will only imagine it so closely to your own view of the character. I wanted to show other people what I saw. So I began drawing faces and profiles of my characters. Terrible at first, and even terrible now (although I have improved drastically since the days of flat Stanley), they are still my characters that I’ve wanted to show people. During my writing of The Honor Code, I wanted a visual,or at least, several visuals that I could choose from for the cover. My first thought was of a girl-one of my main characters from the story. Most of the story revolves around her past and what has shaped her to be the person that she is today. But even as I drew her, sketched whatever picture I wanted, it still didn’t convey the right picture that I wanted for the cover. I used Pinterest to find a silhouette of a soldier-the main character of my story is a soldier named Bayard- and thus, my cover began to take shape. I drew his silhouette but it still lacked what it needed to make it fit perfectly within my story. I added a second, lighter gray silhouette of my second main character and it was perfect. With creating your own cover and book art, it is definitely cheaper than hiring any number of amazing artists. You may want other artists to draw your characters and covers, and that is perfectly fine. But if you plan on selling your book and do not want to create more cost for yourself or more hassle if the pictures do not turn out perfectly, you may want to do them yourself. With a cover, you give your readers and fans something visual to latch onto. They remember that far more than they will ever remember a certain flash of words sketched across the top of a page (whatever font you choose to do).
I encourage you to create your own art, or at least experiment with the rough idea of what your characters will look and act like. It can even help with their personality creation if you have a visual of some sassy character with her hip jutted out and her arms crossed over her chest. It’s the little things that can all add up, and I hope this will encourage all of you to further your writing and drawing abilities in your- as my friend, S.G. Baker would say- quest for publishment.




Hey, y’all! Blog post for the first time since I wrote either a In the Works or an interview. I still plan on posting a few more interviews every now and then but nothing like the theme that we just went through.

My newest projects, school, basketball, ballet and social life have kept me extremely busy-too busy to even come up with something entirely decent for this blog and all of you amazing followers.

I’ve been improving drastically ( I think and hope :P) my writing with a new school curriculum One Year Adventure Novel and have been learning all sorts of necessary plotline and goals and such that I’ve needed to map out for my books for years. I know this sucks to hear but for some of you writers who are actually pleased with your writing, you probably still have a great deal more to learn. There is never anything that you can possibly know everything to, and writing is a difficult path to take. There are just so many ways that one can improve and become a better author that it can get discouraging sometimes that you (and I) are still in the beginning stages of writing.

But don’t give up!

What I wanted to talk about today was something that I know I struggle with.

During my school curriculum, it speaks about not using anything other than “he/she said” because it can distract the reader’s attention if you continue to embellish absolutely every sentence with different verbs for describing how one said something.

While I admit that it is distracting and absolutely unnecessary to flower the words “he/she said” into “he/she annunciated” or something more elaborate, I do think that one needs to break the repetition of always using the exact same phrase after each sentence spoken.

“He/she replied,” “he/she asked,” “he/she remarked,” “he/she yelled,” can add a layer of explanation and bring life to how the character said it if the sentence itself is lacking the meaning that you wish to portray. This can be fixed with a simple verb change and/or rewriting the dialogue to further express their meaning.

That being said, I was reading an English writing book about the basic rules of correct English, and I came across a passage.

“11. Do not explain too much.

It is seldom advisable to tell all. Be sparing, for instance, in the use of adverbs after “he said,” “she replied,” and the like: “he said consolingly”; “she replied grumblingly.”  Let the conversation itself disclose the speaker’s manner or condition. Dialogue heavily weighted with adverbs after the attributive verb is cluttery and annoying. Inexperienced writers not only overwork their adverbs but load their attributives with explanatory verbs: “he consoled,” “she congratulated.” They do this, apparently, in the belief that the word said is always in need of support, or because they have been told to do it by experts in the art of bad writing.”

(The Elements of Style: Fourth Edition. Strunk, Willaim. White, E.B. 2000, 1979, Allyn & Bacon, A Pearson Education Company. 75 pg.)

All of these opinions stated, it may even be better to leave off the entire “he/she said” every sentence if the dialogue is understood as to who is speaking. For example, in my newest project, the two bantering back and forth are my main character and her best friend. It is obvious how each indented paragraph enclosed within their own set of parentheses and the words and thought patterns shown who is speaking to whom. Thus, I left off the obvious who is speaking and continued the dialogue uninterrupted by these minor details.

“You’ve got the worst timing in the world.” I replied, still not able to keep an amused smile from creeping over my face.

“If a boy liking you just makes you happy instead of going after him too, Dani, you’ve got an issue that needs more action than a-“

Here I cut her off of one of her bizarre comparisons that never made much sense except to her.

“Jasmine Goulding, if you so much as breathe a word of this to anyone outside of this little circle of trust we have going on here-“

I held up a finger.

Jaz gave me a wicked smile.

“Oh, well if you don’t want me to say anything after this, then I won’t but I cannot promise that I haven’t already said something of the sort to another.”

“Who? Hollis?”

I rolled my eyes. I swear that the walk to my locker was becoming longer by the minute of Jaz’s torture.

“Well, duh, I tell him almost everything. I’m not talking about him though.”

“Then who?” I groaned, unable to keep my curiosity at bay.

“Well, I might have spoken a little to that new kid who may or may not have broken up with said girlfriend of another high school last week and is totally available.”

I glared at her for a full minute.

None of which seemed to kill her ridiculous grin that she got whenever she got something that she wanted.

“You didn’t.”

If Josiah had wandered out aimlessly of whatever stupid class he was taking, I would have fully smacked him in the face despite my anger being more directed toward Jaz.

“I did.”

“So about this mall trip-“

I had just unlocked my locker and was gearing up to haul around my next heavy load of textbooks when she spoke.

I whirled around and dropped my book bag. The contents were scattered from one side of the hallway to the other.

“No, you didn’t!”

Jaz beamed at me.

I was going to murder her.”



p.S. If you agree or don’t agree, please tell me why down below in the comments!

When did you get your start?:

When I was a wee lass, my father’s uncle’s daughter asked me write a story about her cat. Since I kind of like this obscure relative I obliged, and thus a writing monster was born!

The first two stories I wrote for myself (I started them at the exact same time) were these terrible monstrosities that I posted on my Facebook. One was about a group of kids who could turn into wolves (very heavily inspired by Maximum Ride… shudder…) and the other was about this pair of kids who washed up on this island overrun by mythological creatures. I hated these stories a lot, I hated the characters even more. I think at this point my writing was only fueled by competition and the belief that I liked writing… even though actually I didn’t like writing.

I got my start with character creation while administrating a roleplaying group. I had to kill off somebody’s character (the somebody was breaking the rules or something) and resurrect someone else’s character (who knows why), so I made up this character with one purpose in life: kill one roleplayer, resurrect the other. My character Jake Thomson was born, and after I realized I actually loved making him up, I went on to create some 200+ more.

How many books have you written?:

Two. One I wrote for school when I was like eleven– I never speak of it because I hate it. One I wrote over several NaNoWriMo months– it is called Dreamcaught, is like a bajillion words long, and I never speak of it because I hate it.

What kind of experience have you had in writing?:

A frustrating one, filled with characters that won’t obey me and plot holes you can drive a shoal of giant squid through. There’s definitely a love-hate (but mostly love) relationship between myself and my writing utensils.

Do you participate in any challenges?:

NANOWRIMO, WHOO. That’s pretty much it, except occasionally I enter Figment contests to see how wacky I can get with two hundred words and a lot of rules. I love challenges, because I’m very competitive. Competition makes me write more than anything else. Also, I love finding loopholes in rules.

What kinds of writing do you do?:

Well, I used to only write novels. I would still very much like to finish a whole novel, but I have discovered that my true calling is script writing. My number one project right now is my murder comic, which is in typical graphic novel style, plotted like a novel but in comic form. My procrastination project, my pirate comic, is written in typical webcomic style, which just means that it isn’t plotted much at all and instead just sort of… happens. Next November I’m going to be writing a series of scripts in graphic novel form.

I write about pretty much everything under the sun. High fantasy, urban fantasy, sci-fi, modern young adult lit, superhero stories, murder mysteries, zombie stories, vampire stories… um, folk tales. I also mix genres kind of a lot.

What kind of themes do you use?:

Depressing ones. Murder comic, which is definitely the most thematic thing I’ve ever written, has many, many different themes all rolled together: at its core, it’s about the damage done to your soul if you disobey God. It’s also very theatrical– one of the characters is acting in the play Macbeth, and from it resonates the theme that power, even the seemingly small powers of being friends with a person or being trusted to be home alone, can corrupt you if used wrongly. From one character’s obsession with the musical Les Miserables comes the theme of redemption, which wars with the fact that blood (and blood guilt) cannot be washed from Lady Macbeth’s hands. Plato’s “is a thing good because the gods love it, or do they love it because it is good?” pops up a good bit.

I try to use themes that not only fits the plot, but also fits the characters. All these themes apply to each character in a separate and incredibly important way. Like… like, my depressed and secretive character Lucky Østergaard with the blood of Macbeth kills me every time. And Lucky’s very violent foil, Eliot, with the blood? Totally different effect, still totally exciting. I could write essays about how thrilled I am by themes.

In your first interview, Monica Bond quoted Mark Twain’s opening to Huckleberry Finn: “NOTICE. Persons attempting to find a motive in this narrative will be prosecuted; persons attempting to find a moral in it will be banished; persons attempting to find a plot in it will be shot.” She brought it up to illustrate her own no-nonsense thematic story-writing. I am the opposite. I love nonsense. I hope everything I write is over-analyzed by English teachers in the future.

What is your writing method?:

1.) Have a really stupid and crazy idea. (i.e. thousands of years after the zombie apocalypse, myths written during the first years after the outbreak suddenly becomes important to the budding romance of a pair of people who have never met in person.)

2.) Plot like two thirds the book. (Only the interesting stuff, of course. None of the boring in-between stuff.)

3.) Write the book. Probably during NaNoWriMo. (Make up the boring bits as you go along or, even better yet, ignore them completely and just write yourself notes where they belong.)

4. Go back during Camp NaNoWriMo in April and try to write all the boring bits. (Spoiler: always ends in failure.)

5. Consider book finished.

6. Print book out and put it in fancy binder.

7. Never look at book again.

What’s the latest project you’ve been working on?:

Uh… a comic about a team of idiots who form an illegal smuggling company. They live in a world where the President of the United States is more like a Roman Emperor than a democratic leader. I usually call it my “super ridiculous post-apocalyptic pirate comic”. It started as a joke. It’s currently sixty-seven pages long.

Do you have any undercurrent themes (thematic elements) to your story? If so, explain:

In pirate comic? The single most unplanned thing I have ever written in my entire life? Uh… seagulls and engineers do not get along. And you also shouldn’t get an innocent and extremely feisty Scottish redhead sent to prison if you want to have peace after he gets out. I suppose it is mostly about the fact that literally everybody in the entire world is a person separate from every other person… that sounds appropriately professional, I guess.

What view do you position your characters in? Ex. First Person, narrative, etc.:

I’ve written almost everything. For a long time I wrote first person. Both of my novels are third person, with Dreamcaught being third-person omnipresent. (Seriously, Dreamcaught can’t stay focused on the same character for one page.) I’ve written stories in haiku. I’ve written stories with multiple point-of-view characters. I’ve got one that’s a series of myths, lectures about the myths, emails, and news stories, all stitched together. (I get bored really easily and like to have a lot of variety.)

What does your character’s voice sound like in your head?:

They all sound like crazy people. Voices vary a lot. My favorite voices belong to a vampire huntress with a lisp and an inflated opinion of herself and her brother who has a very even toned and logical way of speaking. Her voice is a little bit throaty, and she tends to talk quite loudly. His voice is deep, but he always sounds a little bit like he has a cold. I also have a really sweet teenager who happens to be vegan and usually talks about weird recipes and rescuing spiders and flies and his telepathic baby brother. He has a typical eighteen-year-old guy’s voice– it cracks periodically and is not very articulate– but I always enjoy listening to it.

Is this a creepy paragraph? Why yes, yes it it.

What accents do they have? Do they have any speech quirks or characteristics?:

Ha, depends on which character, of course! I’ve always been the type of person who liked giving my characters “exotic” speech quirks… my gateway drug character, Mr. Jake Thomson, had a strong English (Mancunian, to be precise) accent, and I am convinced that his accent alone saved him from the trash heap of my brain.

Since I’m talking mostly about my pirate and murder comics today (as always), I will point out that most of my stories have at least one character with a distinctive accent: in Pirate Comic, it’s Ginger with his thick Scottish accent, in Murder Comic it’s Lucky with his slight Carolina accent and his mother with her… not so slight one. Usually all the other characters have various nondescript American accents, although I keep a careful book on what kind of nondescript accents they have.

Also, when you’re writing a script of any sort, it’s always important to give all the characters distinctive speech styles– Pirate comic’s Richard Parker is unfailingly polite, Ekat likes to draw out her sentences in dramatic ways, Matt says “uh” kind of a lot.

Besides typical speech patterns which sometimes take a bit of time to pick out, there are also slightly more noticeable speech irregularities that immediately identify the character. Murder comic has the borderline gimmicky quirk of Rawlings’ stutter (which is secretly a plot point, which is why I don’t just go ahead and call it a full-blown gimmick), as well as the far less noticeable quirk of Orwell’s lack of the ability to use contractions. everybody who’s read my murder comic (namely my siblings) have immediately noticed Rawls’ stutttering, but nobody has noticed Orwell yet.

Can you describe their body structure/how they move?:

I have so many characters it would take a lifetime to explain everybody. Similarly to voice, body structure and movement is very important when designing a cast for a comic– I always want everybody to be district.

Pirate Comic’s Richard Parker is very large-boned. He’s very tall, has big hands and feet and tends to be a little on the chubby side, but despite his frame he always moves quietly and indiscreetly, usually in the background. Matt is tall and fairly muscular, his cousin Stanley is average height but gaunt, and yet both of them move in much the same way, with large and violent hand gestures, lots of bravado, and a lack of respect for other people’s private space. Richard Parker would never move with as much force as the cousins, but they’d never be able to be as unassuming as he is.

Murder comic has Lucky, who’s skinny to the point of severe unhealth, but due to his powerful bone structure he doesn’t look as thin as willowy-boned Rawlings. Lucky doesn’t react outwardly to much, but his friend Colette is a total drama queen– his rigid body and her curvaceous one accentuate it.

The reason body structure and language is so important in graphic novels and comics in particular is because most of your character development comes from watching how the characters act, even when they aren’t speaking.

Do any of them have siblings?:

Practically all my characters have siblings. I just really love sibling relationships. In pirate comic, for example, before I’d even come up with actual personalities for any of the characters I was already naming their siblings.

Stanley Yorick is the sole only child in the cast– Ekat had a sister named Natasha, Khan has a brother named Peter. Ginger, who is really named Miles Ambrosias, has two elder siblings named Nelson Aristotelis and Tabitha Octaviana, respectfully called Nelly and Topsy. Richard Parker has two sisters and a brother, all named boring stuff like Mary and David (I can’t remember what their names actually are. Sue me.). Matt has five elder sisters named Constance, Annalise, Tanya, Rebecca, and Megan.

And this is just one cast. Think of all the siblings I have in my other casts! (GASP. THE HORRORS.)

My most challenging/favorite set of siblings is obviously Murder Comic’s Eliot, Rawlings, and Orwell Barns-Myeong. Trust me when I say that playing with family dynamics for a set of three siblings is waaay harder than playing with two siblings.

How does your character show affection?:

Depends very, very strongly on the character. I can’t think of any two of my characters who show their affections the same way… just as they’re all their own separate people, they all react to things differently. Similarly, they all show their affections towards different people in different ways… so, affection takes a long time and a lot of work to write.

For my rambly example, let me talk about Lucky Ostergaard and Colette Baker from Murder Comic. Lucky and Colette are best friends and to the outside observer they’re complete opposites. Lucky is rude, sarcastic, cripplingly introverted, tends to spend his time bundling up in hipster clothing and hiding behind newspapers. Colette is friendly, optimistic, a loud and boisterous extrovert, and likes to follow people around chattering about clothing or set design or how much she loves acting. Writing the very loving, very platonic relationship between these two is a challenge, but it’s a fun challenge.

Lucky tends to show affection very quietly. He’ll pay for her coffee, give her a new set of pencils, texts her at random times telling her that her hair looked nice at school. Colette is very noisy. She screams that she loves him in the middle of the coffee shop. She buys him a set of used books and wraps them all up and then gives them to him at lunch in the cafeteria. She tries to hug him every time she sees him. At the same time, they are veeeerrryy platonic, which means most of the time they’re not showing affection: they’re being rude and picking on each other.

How well do they take criticism? How do they react to others noticing their flaws?:

It depends on the character. (I say that a lot, have you noticed?) In pirate comic, Khan and Ekat don’t really care, Matt gets all high and mighty, Ginger gets frustrated, Richard Parker gets extremely mortified and apologizes profusely and kind of panics, and Stan laughs it off and then later goes and hides in a closet to cry.

I think one of the ways to test how well developed a character is, and certainly the manner I use the most, is to run them through any and all scenarios you can think of– even highly impractical ones– and see if they react in a way that seems natural to them. How they take criticism is one of my favorite scenarios.

Last of all, how much do you work on your books on a weekly basis?:

I would say I work on planning/writing them for perhaps three hours a week, although I think about my books constantly. It’s actually really hard to say because most of my work isn’t writing, it’s drawing. I spend hours and hours and hours drawing my stories and characters every week. Today, so far, I’ve spent half an hour writing character information down but close to two hours drawing (and I haven’t even gone to Starbucks yet, and that’ll be another three or four hours of doodling.)

Do you have any advice for any aspiring writers?:

Writing is hard and stupid and it isn’t always fun, but if you decide to do it anyways you are awesome. Also, don’t spend too much time on Pinterest.

About the interviewee:

Chloe Cunningham was born back in 1792 and promptly began life as a crazy person. Obnoxious, overly enthusiastic about everything, and probably the happiest person on planet Earth, Chloe spends most of her time drawing comics and spouting random facts about her 200+ characters. Things to note: she is friends with a Pomeranian named Beowulf the Hero who can teleport, and is suffering from addiction to chocolate milk. She thinks she’s funny, even though she really isn’t.

Chloe has lived in six different states and nine different houses. She has been a hostess in an Asian restaurant, a docent at a French Colonial historical site, a bed-and-breakfast maid, and was once President of her 4-h group, despite the fact she never ran for president. All this has contributed to her terribly wacky creative nature.

You can read her practice comic about smugglers at it’s website: Rocking Boats and Making Waves. You can also be her friend. You know, if you want.






A question that every writer should ask himself is what are his limitations?

Do you use curse words in your work or do you believe that it cheapens the writing style? In some cases, I believe cursing does cheapen your writing style. If you have a very formal writing tone, it can come as a surprise and give the affect that you do not know how to write very well. On the other hand, it can also give a mood to the characters’ tone and attitude when they speak. It can give to the ambiance of the setting and give the reader the feeling that they really are in that situation. Perhaps your character does not normally cuss, but tends to swear when they are feeling horribly pressured or let it out in a string of sailor tongue if they have something horribly dramatic like losing a limb happen to them. Maybe there is an innocent girl in a rough neighborhood and the cusswords add to the feeling that she really is out of place there. She doesn’t swear and every filthy word slaps her across the face at the newness of their raw, uncontrollable attitudes.

Do you cheapen the story with smut and lemon just to keep your readers occupied or is there a reason behind the dirty scenes in your book? Is it merely there to keep the reader occupied with your lack of plot or reason for keeping the characters together? Why would it be considered necessary? Is there a dark character in the book that steals the innocence of a girl and it is vital for the story to see the dark side of how evil the man can become if pushed too far? Regardless of your reasons, there is very little cause to add details of that kind into a story. It can cheapen it and also take away some of the reader audience. It depends on age or maturity or even a religious reason for parents to allow their children to read your novel if it contains these elements. Some adults won’t even read books with scenes that explicit and can warn others about your book. Don’t include these scenes in your book without a just cause.

How much time are you willing to take out of your day to improve on your writing skills and exercise your abilities? Do you merely catch in a few minutes whenever you feel particularly inspired or do you force yourself occasionally to write when there is nothing rolling around in your head? Do you give off excuses that you are too busy or don’t have any ideas? Those are merely that-excuses. A true writer loves to scribble down constantly. They live to type out furiously whenever they have an excuse or the time to write. They live to bring their characters to life and pour out their ideas into colorful splashes on the page. They breathe the same air that their characters’ breathe. They fight the tears when their character dies tragically. But even if you don’t have time to write, even if you think you don’t have time to write, make time.

If you think of writing as more than just a hobby, if you are truly a writer, then you must ask yourself, what are your limitations?

If your limitations are that you don’t have enough time, get your work done and finally settle down to relaxation with your notebook in Starbucks.

If your limitations of your story are the love story, don’t just cheapen it with steamy scenes where all the characters do is fall in love after one night of pointless sex. Become a writer and steel yourself for the truth. People don’t fall in love with the passion. It is fleeting. They fall in love with the way the person acts; how they think; and what they accomplish. They might fall in love with the passion that the other throws into everything that they do,  but “Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain:” (Proverbs 31:30, KJV Bible.) Beauty is not everything and it will eventually fade, leaving the person not in love with the other but in love with the passion, the feeling or rush of excitement that it brings. Don’t write your love story off with pointless fluff which does not enhance the actual love story between the characters. Make their story original and make it less about passion and more about an actual chemistry between the OC’s and develop the characters without the cop-out of smut.

Don’t place random cussing in your story just because “everyone cusses” in this world. Develop your settings and add to the mood perhaps by setting these certain tones and the way that they talk in your story. Don’t cheapen your story with cop-outs in these areas and merely force the attitude that you are trying to convey with these scenes. A good writer-in fact- an excellent writer must be able to actually write out a story without throwing in random tidbits of something that they think is “realistic” in the hopes that it will seem natural. If realism is what you are searching for, think before you place that chapter or scene in and really live it out as if it happened to you on a daily basis or if you had been stuck in that position. A man’s attitude should not be considered scary if all he does is rattle off cusswords. Most cowards use this as an escape and a poor attempt at forcing the impression that they could stand up to anyone. Know your limitations and improve your writing by thinking about the scenes that may cheapen your story and make it generic. Make it original and make it your own.



Don’t make your characters like this guy.


Just how well does a writer know his characters?

Does he know them backwards and forwards or does he hardly even know their full name?

Main characters to any successful story must be fully developed. There may only be one of these special characters but in order for the book to fully develop, the character must somehow be relatable to the audience and create a feeling in the reader. If the protagonist is not well thought out or developed, there is an empty feeling in the entire tale. The writer must make the character believable and have substance. They must begin at the beginning.

Names are the beginning to every character. Some have meaning behind them. A brunette might have a name meaning dark one or it could reflect parts of the character’s soul. Perhaps the brunette is dark souled as well as having dark hair. Perhaps, she had cruel intentions behind what she does. While names can be the beginning of the character, now the writer must flesh him or her out.

The writer has to add the character’s strengths; but more importantly, he must know what their flaws are. The total population of the world is made up of flawed people. The writer must use real people as an example for his books in order to make them relatable. Any writer will automatically begin with what his character’s strengths are. At first, he will begin to slowly rattling off their various talents, habits, and sweet things that they might do on occasion. Then the next question comes. What are they bad at? What is that one quality that drives everyone around the character crazy? The flaws to the character must be more than their strengths. If the writer is hoping to make a semi-relatable character for the audience to latch on to, then he must make the character as human as possible. People tend to have more flaws than good traits, and your character in your story should too.

How well does the writer know his character’s story of life? Does he know what the voice sounds like? How does he move and what is his body type? Does he limp when he walks or struts? Characters, main characters especially, must have a backstory and a distinct personality. A solid character must have a beginning, middle, and an end. He must have a story within himself. All characters cannot all be alike or manifestations of the writer. No one is exactly alike. Even twins have differences. The writer must improve his characters and know exactly who they are backwards and forwards. They should have a backstory as well as a consistent attitude through every part of the tale.




Give them character like this little lady up above. To give her a little personality, she kind of embodies Monday because she’s forever a wet blanket and constantly angry all of the time. She mostly gets good grades but is forever getting no recognition for it so that feeds her horrible attitude. She doesn’t really have very many friends; she likes to think that she’s too busy for them but in reality, nobody very much likes her sulky attitude and grumpiness so they stray far away from her. She’s become weirdly close with the librarian since the librarian sees her as a younger version of herself-therefore, actually gives her the benefit of the doubt that she’s a nice enough girl when not doing any sort of schoolwork. She’s also pen pals with a few British girls who remain her only friends around her age throughout high school.

You can tell this girl has character from her outfit and her attitude. She’s grumpy from the umbrella popping open and soaking her with the cold rain. Her school doesn’t allow hats; so her hair is getting ruined from the rain and also soaking the rest of her.

She was part of an art project that a few friends and I were doing as a challenge but you can also use this as a practice for adding a background for these characters. Draw a simple character that flows from your imagination and practice adding character in the still picture. Make them unique. Everyone doesn’t always have to particularly like the character either.


Dream up whatever you want to and keep practicing!


xoxo, Ella 🙂



One thing that I’ve never gotten before in writing books was the theme.

Sure, I had a theme of pirates and sailors and all that sort of swashbuckling action, but the theme that I’m talking about has nothing to do with that. It makes a difference where the setting is for your characters but it usually does not affect the meaning behind the story.

In the beginning of my novel, The Honor Code, I did not really have any sort of clear idea what I was going to do. I had two, very tentative characters that I made up a week before November and a shaky plot of what I wanted to do. As I’ve said before, I love challenges and wanted to do different things with this novel. I began to see what was going on with Blaze’s life. Have you ever felt that you’ve created a character only to have them begin to write their own life through your pen? Almost as if you have no control of their lives anymore. Like you’ve been chosen to write out their story completely at their mercy?

Blaze was this character to me.

Blaze has been my baby for a month. She’s a spoiled, little brat who has always gotten her way through backstabbing and running away from her real problems. Through her, I wanted the challenge to show the inner theme of my book.

The theme was love.

I wanted to express how oppressive love can stifle an unruly soul. It can crush one’s soul. It can become like a prison around a bird. Birds want to be free, just like oppressed souls want to be.

One of the other characters in my story has a rare gift-the gift to see past one’s wrongs and see only the good in people. It is a trait that has long been lost on this generation.

It is not love to overlook the misdoings of someone and blindly follow them into the darkness of their own souls, but it is love that brings them back into the light.

In my story, the love is tentative. It is hesitant to reach out to the lost girl but there is one character, Bayard who sees past that. His inner love inside his soul reaches out and drags Blaze back into the light. His inner strength is his love and it is indeed powerful. Because of his strong will and desperate desire to see the love in her, he pulls her back into her right mind. He matures her with his actions and he humbles her. She sees what she’s done is wrong and puts the idea that she needs to change into her head.

The theme for a story does not need to be necessarily love. It can be any theme that you wish to write. Good stories revolve around the moral consequences that the characters does. If there is no point to the story, then why does it need to be published for the world to see? You want the entire world to know why your character does what he does. In most writers’ cases, they want to change the world’s opinion with what they have written.

Thematic elements are important in a story. It gives reason behind the character’s actions and it gives a life lesson once the reader has finished. They need to able to relate to the characters and feel the passion that they are feeling. If you wish to create a solid novel, you must make the reader feel the passion of the character and feel as they are feeling. If you engage the reader with your characters, if you make them journey through the protagonist’s adventures and make them feel every single tear that rolls down their cheek, every bit of rain hit their bare skin, feel the heaviness of dread as they venture into the dark forest, you must be able to create the atmosphere and give them a sense of accomplishment once the book is done. Thematic elements give the story a background, a setting that is entirely different from the main theme of the book. It gives an end game and it gives the stuff to the story that sets it apart from others.

The theme for my book was described as love, but the opposition was greed.

Blaze is a selfish brat but through the story, she gradually begins to grow up through the love from Bayard. The Honor Code is a coming age of story where love trumps the evil, greed. It is an inspirational tale of how one act can change the heart of the worst, blackened soul imagined.

Make your story something to be remembered.

Make your story leave the reader wanting more because they felt, they believed, and they fought through the demons that your characters did.

Give your story something worth fighting for or show the horrors of this world. Set your story apart from the rest and give it meaning.

For that, is the reason why a good writer will use themes within their books.


Xoxo, Ella 🙂


I’ve always had confusion when it comes to people finding out that I actually enjoy writing. “What?” They always say. “You mean that you don’t just live for basketball and ballet?”

It surprises most people and often their immediate response is, “Well, why do you write?”

That is a good question.

Why do I write?

Why do you write?

I write because I love making up worlds for myself. I write because the art of creating something that someday might cause someone enjoyment while they read is special. I write to relieve stress, to vent out my anger, to express my joy, and to show an example of the inside workings of my mind. I want to open up the world’s eyes to what I see. If the authors that wrote the books that I enjoyed so much as a kid, and even now, realized what an impact they had on my personal enjoyment, I would think that they would find a personal pride in causing so much of my thinking and imagination.

If I was frustrated or mad or tired, I would pick up a book and get completely lost in their world that they created. It is not good to constantly want to escape real life but sometimes that’s all we need. We all need just a brief escape from the toils of real life to dive into something completely new and exciting. It can refresh us.

That’s my goal.

I have always wanted to bring as much joy as those authors did in my life with what I write. If someone out there reads my stories, sees my pictures, and that causes them to brighten their day, then I have accomplished what I set out to do.


Now, the second question that pops up is, how do you write?

They might ask you what your favorite genre is. But they are really asking how do you write?

I write with my emotions, and with inspiration. I write from my experiences, from my friends’ experiences and I write with the sole intention of sharing my work with others. Sometimes, it is good to write for yourself. Sometimes, that’s the only reason why you write. That’s not bad at all. But that’s not why I write.

They ask about your favorite genre but your genre reflects what you value in life. They are asking the question to what makes you tick. If your genre is medieval, perhaps you have a fantasy about princesses being saved by knights in shining armor. They want to know if you are the kind of person who values gentlemen in this world. They want to know if you value a strong leader like a princess who is willing to sacrifice herself for her people. When they ask you about writing, they may not realize it, but they are asking about you.

Writing is a reflection of you. There are some writers who believe that they write completely untainted by their works. It doesn’t work that way. Whatever you write is a reflection of some part of yourself. Non-writers most likely could not understand this. They do not realize that when a writer pours themselves into their work, they pour a little of their soul, their fire, their love into that writing. A writer isn’t separated from his work as if he is uncaring. If they don’t care about their writing, then they most likely aren’t writing something terribly good. It will seem forced and stiff without the fire of the writer.

My question to you is this. Why do you write? And how do you write?


Xoxo, Ella 🙂