The Universal Mary Sue Litmus Test Stuck with a case of massive writer's block? Has your muse gone on indefinite hiatus? Or are you just bored? Check out the random generators - with a click of a button, you can create characters, names, settings, items, and more for your creative works! The Universal Mary Sue Litmus Test How to use this test: First, if you're unsure of what a Mary Sue is, please read this page. Answer all questions for which the answer is 'yes' or 'technically yes' unless the item mentioned is so commonplace in the universe you are writing for that it doesn't really make your character remarkable or unusual. If your character is a role-playing character and the only reason you can answer 'yes' is because of other players acting of their own free wills (IE, everyone has their characters throwing themselves at your character's feet and you've done nothing to force this) do not answer yes to the corresponding question. Part 1 - All Characters Questions that pertain to all characters everywhere.
What's in a Name? How To Choose Character Names for Fiction what’s the big deal about naming your character? I mean, a name is a name, right? Everybody has one. Whether you realize it or not, everyone associates names with people they know. To test this theory, what’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of the following names? There are always exceptions and these names can possibly be used within the right story and setting. The more characters involved in your novel or short story, the more carefully you will need to consider their names. Names depend greatly on the era in which your story takes place. According to Babynames.com, the top American names in 2007 included Emma, Madeline, Hailey, Ava, Olivia, Caitlyn, Jacob, Ryan, Caleb, Ethan, Aidan, and Connor. If your character’s parents are involved in the story, consider what type of people they are, or were, when your character was born. Also bear in mind the readers you are targeting. Other famous names could be used sparingly. Variety is always a good thing.
Seven Common Character Types Seven Common Character Types by Terry W. Ervin II Fiction writers employ a variety of characters while weaving their tales. Beyond the standard definitions of protagonist (the main character in a literary work) and antagonist (the main character or force that opposes the protagonist in a literary work), recognizing the types of characters and the parts they play while reading an interesting story can add to the experience. In addition, a fuller understanding of the character types and their uses can increase a writer’s effectiveness in weaving his own fictional tales. Below is a list of common character types, followed by an explanation and short example. Confidante- someone in whom the central character confides, thus revealing the main character’s personality, thoughts, and intentions. Example: In a story, Melvin Sanders is a detective on the trail of a serial killer. In this example Chops is a confidante. In this example Ebenezer Scrooge is a dynamic character. Copyright © Terry W.
10 Days of Character Building: Wrap Up Character Bio Sheets A bio sheet is a way of keeping track of a character’s physical description, traits and attributes. This method is familiar to anyone who enjoys role playing games such as Dungeons and Dragons. Using a Bio Sheet gives you an excellent reference point to go back to when you need to remember key information about your character. Defining Characters By Their Roles There are specific roles that characters fall into when you are writing a story. Building a Character Using Multiple Perspectives This technique helps you to build relationships. Key Questions This is a simple list of questions that provide insight into your character and how your character fits into your story. Basing Characters on Real People We often draw inspiration for fictional characters from people we know in real life. A Day in the Life Once the events of a story kick into motion, main characters are pushed outside of their boundaries and comfort zones. Interview Biography Possessions Brainstorming
Handling a Cast of Thousands - Part I: Getting to Know Your Characters by Will Greenway Few writing challenges are greater than doing justice to a large cast of characters in a novel or story. In fact, the difference between simply doing them justice and handling them well is a significant level of effort in itself. Sadly, this is one of those writer conundrums that is often best resolved with a "Don't do that if it hurts" solution. Getting a grip on your cast Cast members are reoccurring characters who are pivotal to your story. Aside from your main cast, there will be supporting roles, and often dozens of walk-on or cameo characters. Least significant, but always necessary, are walk-ons and cameos. Because of the limited time these characters spend in the frame, writers tend to make them more exotic, giving them odd quirks or ticks in order to make them interesting. Beware of "extras" with aspirations of star status. Don't promote these exotic latecomers to cast status. Casting couch -- criteria for success A viewpoint character carries a heavy onus.
Surname Meanings and Origins - Find the Meaning of Your Last Name Have you ever wondered about the meaning of your last name or where your family surname came from? What your ancestors did, how they looked or where they lived? Surname meanings can sometimes tell a story about your family, one handed down for hundreds of years. By tracing the possible origin of your last name, you can learn more about the medieval ancestors who first bore the surname and, ultimately, handed it down to you. Select a Letter to Find Your Surname Meaning To learn more about your last name meaning and ethnic origin, just browse to the appropriate letter in the Surname Meanings and Origins Glossary for your last name. When searching for the origin or etymology of your surname it is also important to consider that your last name may not have always been spelled the way that it is today. Can't find your last name in the Surname Meanings Glossary?
Web Resources for Developing Characters When developing characters, many writers use personality traits that they see in themselves and in others, such as friends, family and celebrities. A new source of material and information that can help you develop characters is the Internet. The Internet offers some unique resources for character development, such as psychological testing websites, baby name databases and other reference sites and databases. These websites certainly weren't created for writers developing characters; nevertheless, these site are extremely useful for writers. This article will help you locate some of these useful resources, and give you some tips about how you can use them to develop your own characters. Psychological Resources Psychological websites can help writers learn the underlying principles of behavior that motivate or cause people to act as they do. Biography Resources Biography resources can be a great help to writers. Naming Characters Other Resources Developing Characters
Here to Create & 102 Resources for Fiction Writing UPDATE 1/10: Dead links removed, new links added, as well as Revision and Tools and Software sections. Are you still stuck for ideas for National Novel Writing Month? Or are you working on a novel at a more leisurely pace? Here are 102 resources on Character, Point of View, Dialogue, Plot, Conflict, Structure, Outlining, Setting, and World Building, plus some links to generate Ideas and Inspiration. Also, I recommend some resources for Revision and some online Tools and Software. Too many links? 10 Days of Character Building Name Generators Name Playground The Universal Mary Sue Litmus Test Priming the idea pump (A character checklist shamlessly lifted from acting) How to Create a Character Seven Common Character Types Handling a Cast of Thousands – Part I: Getting to Know Your Characters It’s Not What They Say . . . Establishing the Right Point of View: How to Avoid “Stepping Out of Character” How to Start Writing in the Third Person Web Resources for Developing Characters Speaking of Dialogue
It's Not What They Say... by Mary Cook In fiction writing it's the dialogue that lifts your characters off the page. You must ensure your writing is strong enough for the task. It's not what they say; it's the way they say it Speech has a natural rhythm, like music. You can tell a lot about a character by his verbal mannerisms. One person might use "you know" a great deal, while another opens nearly every sentence with "Well". Punctuation is almost as important as the words. Punctuation is also important from a style point of view. Don't use the exclamation point too freely. You can learn a lot about realistic dialogue by eavesdropping on other people's conversations. Don't be tempted to write with a regional accent by introducing strange spellings. Anyone who has read Somerset Maugham's Liza of Lambeth will know what I mean. For example, the following dialogue on the subject of childbirth could lead the reader to think Maugham couldn't spell or was writing in a foreign language: Cut out the superfluous words.
How to Pick Character Names: The 7 Rules of Choosing Names for Fictional Characters Choosing a character name for your novel is as pressure-filled as picking a name for a baby. It has to suit the character’s personality, makes sense for the era and, most important, be super awesome (sorry friends, the awesome name of Brian A. Klems is already taken by this guy). Names like Harry Potter, Holden Caulfield and Stephanie Plum are memorable not just because of the amazing stories they navigate, but also because these names “fit” those characters so well. You need a name that “fits” your character too. I stumbled upon these seven great rules for choosing character names offered up by popular mystery writer Elizabeth Sims (the Rita Farmer Mysteries). This guest post is by bestselling author and writing authority Elizabeth Sims. 1. It’s better to call a character Caleb, which means “faithful” or “faithful dog,” than to overkill it by naming him Loyal or Goodman—unless you want that for comic/ironic purposes. 2. 3. 4. Need an idea for a short story or novel? 5. 6. 7.
Character Chart FAVORITES Color: Music: Food: Literature: Expressions: Book: Quote: Expletive(s) (swears): Mode of transportation: HABITS Smokes: What? How often? Drinks: What? How often? SELF-PERCEPTION One word character would use to describe self: One paragraph description of how character would describe self: What does character consider best physical characteristic? Immediate goal(s): Long range goal(s): How does character plan to accomplish goal(s)? How character react in a crisis (calm/panic/etc.)? Jewelry? Owns a computer? © (c ) copyright 1990-2011 Rebecca Sinclair ALL RIGHTS RESERVED Authors Note: I worked hard on this. ~ Permission is granted to LINK TO the Fiction Writers Character Chart. ~ Permission is granted to print out a copy of the Fiction Writers Character Chart FOR PERSONAL USE ~ Permission is NOT granted to copy and/or use the Character Chart in print and/or electronic form (including the internet) without express written permission)
Establishing the Right Point of View Establishing the Right Point of View: How to Avoid "Stepping Out of Character" by Marg Gilks Return to Characters, Viewpoint, and Names · Print/Mobile-Friendly Version "Dalquist was shaking with rage, tears streaking down her face. 'Get out,' she whispered. Yikes! If you can see what's wrong with this excerpt, congratulations. What's wrong with the above excerpt? Paragraph one is ambiguous. Every scene should have only one POV character, and everything must be filtered through that POV character's perceptions. But, isn't it so much easier just to tell the reader what character X is thinking, rather than trying to show it in ways the POV character (and thus, the reader) can see and understand? Let's look at that again, and we'll see a hint: isn't it so much easier just to tell the reader what character X is thinking, rather than trying to show it in ways the POV character can see and understand? Yup: "show, don't tell." Yup: characterization. "Lexas didn't turn around. Find Out More...
Character Questionnaires - Get to Know Your Characters Receive more writing tips and advice (along with special offers and other Gotham news). One of the best ways to get to know your characters is to ask questions about them. Many writers do this as a kind of homework before they actually start writing a story. The more you know your characters, the fuller they will be. This might also make your story easier to write. The following questionnaires may be downloaded so you can work with the actual documents. Character Questionnaire 1 This questionnaire is found in Gotham Writers Workshops Writing Fiction. You might start with questions that address the basics about a character: What is your characters name? What is your characters hair color? What kind of distinguishing facial features does your character have? Does your character have a birthmark? Who are your characters friends and family? Where was your character born? Where does your character go when hes angry? What is her biggest fear? Does she have a secret? Look at your characters feet.