Tag Archives: creating fiction

Your Cast of Characters – The Line Up

008-copy

In our efforts to craft a new work of fiction, we writers are faced with the prospect of creating our cast of characters.  This is usually how many stories begin, with the blossoming thoughts of an intriguing personality that begins to stir in our crafty little minds.

Understanding the different character archetypes helps me when I’m putting together my character sketches. I post the different archetypes up on my wall and shuffle around different combinations on paper to get the perfect mix for each member in the cast of my story. I imagine them facing different types of situations and how they will react.

I keep the draft of my story outline close at hand to pencil in scenes that help me frame the story arc. Recalling that we all relate on some level to many aspects of the different archetypes, I set the stage. Following the rise to the climax and, finally, the ending – I create sets of scenes featuring the characters that I believe will pack the most punch and hopefully seduce my readers into becoming emotionally attached to the progression of the story. This is probably the largest element that the readers will take away from the story – how they connected with it, it’s feel.

Character archetypes fill our communities and their individual uniqueness adds to the richness of the lives we live. Archetypes represent a fundamental human collection of the different experiences we may have had in the past. They stir up deep emotions within us. These different types of personalities have been popping up in people’s lives since the dawn of time. Most of us have experienced nearly all of them, or most certainly different aspects of them unless we have been sheltered from social experiences and kept away from our community at large.

Although the following list may be information you’re already aware of, I find it helps to use this list when I’m crafting my characters and maybe you will too. It enables me to more readily imagine their traits individually, to understand what drives them, how they will react in any given situation, and what purpose they serve to the plot and other characters.

Refer to the following list when creating your characters. Supply each character with different levels of each aspect. Have fun with creating a dynamic group that will carry the weight of your story. These are the characters your readers will come to know, root for, pity, laugh-with, worry-about, despise, admire, and even love. Referring to this list can help to make your characters unforgettable.


The Four Cardinal Orientations

the-four-cardinal-orientations-copy

The Four Cardinal Orientations define four groups, with each group containing three types (as the wheel of archetypes shown above illustrates). Each group is motivated by its respective orienting focus: ego-fulfillment, freedom, sociableness and order.


The Ego Types


innocent1. The Innocent
Motto: Free to be you and me
Core desire: to get to paradise
Goal: to be happy
Greatest fear: to be punished for doing something bad or wrong
Strategy: to do things right
Weakness: boring for all their naive innocence
Talent: faith and optimism
The Innocent is also known as: Utopian, traditionalist, naive, mystic, saint, romantic, dreamer.


orphan-copy2. The Orphan/Regular Guy or Gal
Motto: All men and women are created equal
Core Desire: connecting with others
Goal: to belong
Greatest fear: to be left out or to stand out from the crowd
Strategy: develop ordinary solid virtues, be down to earth, the common touch
Weakness: losing one’s own self in an effort to blend in or for the sake of superficial relationships
Talent: realism, empathy, lack of pretense
Also known as: The good old boy, everyman, the person next door, the realist, the working stiff, the solid citizen, the good neighbor, the silent majority.


hero-copy3. The Hero
Motto: Where there’s a will, there’s a way
Core desire: to prove one’s worth through courageous acts
Goal: expert mastery in a way that improves the world
Greatest fear: weakness, vulnerability, being a “chicken”
Strategy: to be as strong and competent as possible
Weakness: arrogance, always needing another battle to fight
Talent: competence and courage
The Hero is also known as: The warrior, crusader, rescuer, superhero, the soldier, dragon slayer, the winner and the team player.


nurse-copy4. The Caregiver
Motto: Love your neighbor as yourself
Core desire: to protect and care for others
Goal: to help others
Greatest fear: selfishness and ingratitude
Strategy: doing things for others
Weakness: martyrdom and being exploited
Talent: compassion, generosity
The Caregiver is also known as: The saint, altruist, parent, helper, supporter.


The Soul Types


explorer-copy5. The Explorer
Motto: Don’t fence me in
Core desire: the freedom to find out who you are through exploring the world
Goal: to experience a better, more authentic, more fulfilling life
Biggest fear: getting trapped, conformity, and inner emptiness
Strategy: journey, seeking out and experiencing new things, escape from boredom
Weakness: aimless wandering, becoming a misfit
Talent: autonomy, ambition, being true to one’s soul
The explorer is also known as: The seeker, iconoclast, wanderer, individualist, pilgrim.


rebel-copy6. The Rebel
Motto: Rules are made to be broken
Core desire: revenge or revolution
Goal: to overturn what isn’t working
Greatest fear: to be powerless or ineffectual
Strategy: disrupt, destroy, or shock
Weakness: crossing over to the dark side, crime
Talent: outrageousness, radical freedom
The Outlaw is also known as: The rebel, revolutionary, wild man, the misfit, or iconoclast.


lover-copy7. The Lover
Motto: You’re the only one
Core desire: intimacy and experience
Goal: being in a relationship with the people, work, and surroundings they love
Greatest fear: being alone, a wallflower, unwanted, unloved
Strategy: to become more and more physically and emotionally attractive
Weakness: outward-directed desire to please others at risk of losing their own identity
Talent: passion, gratitude, appreciation, and commitment
The Lover is also known as: The partner, friend, intimate, enthusiast, sensualist, spouse, team-builder.


creator-copy8. The Creator
Motto: If you can imagine it, it can be done
Core desire: to create things of enduring value
Goal: to realize a vision
Greatest fear: mediocre vision or execution
Strategy: develop artistic control and skill
Task: to create culture, express own vision
Weakness: perfectionism, bad solutions
Talent: creativity and imagination
The Creator is also known as: The artist, inventor, innovator, musician, writer or dreamer.


The Self Types


jester-copy9. The Jester
Motto: You only live once
Core desire: to live in the moment with full enjoyment
Goal: to have a great time and lighten up the world
Greatest fear: being bored or boring others
Strategy: play, make jokes, be funny
Weakness: frivolity, wasting time
Talent: joy
The Jester is also known as: The fool, trickster, joker, practical joker or comedian.


sage-copy10. The Sage
Motto: The truth will set you free
Core desire: to find the truth.
Goal: to use intelligence and analysis to understand the world.
Biggest fear: being duped, misled—or ignorance.
Strategy: seeking out information and knowledge; self-reflection and understanding thought processes.
Weakness: can study details forever and never act.
Talent: wisdom, intelligence.
The Sage is also known as: The expert, scholar, detective, advisor, thinker, philosopher, academic, researcher, thinker, planner, professional, mentor, teacher, contemplative.


magician-copy11. The Magician
Motto: I make things happen.
Core desire: understanding the fundamental laws of the universe
Goal: to make dreams come true
Greatest fear: unintended negative consequences
Strategy: develop a vision and live by it
Weakness: becoming manipulative
Talent: finding win-win solutions
The Magician is also known as: The visionary, catalyst, inventor, charismatic leader, shaman, healer, medicine man.


royalty-copy12. The Ruler
Motto: Power isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.
Core desire: control
Goal: create a prosperous, successful family or community
Strategy: exercise power
Greatest fear: chaos, being overthrown
Weakness: being authoritarian, unable to delegate
Talent: responsibility, leadership
The Ruler is also known as: The boss, leader, aristocrat, king, queen, politician, role model, manager or administrator.

line orange

Related:

Check out Julaina Kleist-Corwin’s video post about the hero’s journey The Hero’s Journey for Writers


DPDb copy

Don’t Be Afraid to Write Crap

004 copy

It’s true, we’ve all done it. Started out on how many books that we never completed because we read back over it and it sounded like crap!

Well it’s okay if your first draft sounds like crap, did you expect your best work from  stuff that just spilled from your head. Drafts are meant to lay the groundwork, the roadmap. They are a means by which we get our ideas for our story down on paper. They are not the finished work by a long shot.

Our job is to take the crap we’ve shoveled out and make a work of art. That takes editing, refining, and reworking the groundwork we laid in the beginning. The important thing is to get that first draft written. It’s worth it.

My best piece of advice. Do whatever you have to do to keep yourself from reading your first draft until two weeks after you’ve finished writing it. So much will have changed from the moment you began to write, the characters will have evolved into themselves and your world will have slowly sprung to life.

Now, after stepping back for a moment, you can approach your story with a fresh set of eyes and begin to sculpt, what may often appear to be garbage, into the masterpiece it was meant to be.

Wednesdays Visual Writing Prompt

horror-21epp8y

Wednesdays Visual Writing Prompt

Use this prompt to think outside the box, to go somewhere with your writing that you had never dare go before. See what kind of magic you can work with that brilliant mind of yours. You are a storyteller so this should be a breeze.

Maybe you could use this prompt to add a scene to the current book you are writing. Maybe you could start a short story that you can give away for free to subscribers of your blog. A picture like this can spark ideas you may never have considered.

The Rules

There aren’t really many rules, just enough to get your blog some attention and get new people interested in your writing or the current book you have to offer.

  • Write in any genre you like – poetry too
  • Tag this post in your post (share this post to your WordPress blog as a new post) so I can find you (it will ping back to this post), then I can check out your work, and promote you on my social sites.
  • If you want, when you’re done, Check which famous writer you write like with a statistical analysis tool, which analyzes your word choice and writing style and compares them with those of the famous writers. Just paste your completed work at  I Write Like – You will be given a badge that says which famous author you write like and you can paste the html into the end of your Wednesday Visual Writer’s Prompt, if you like, to show us all your badge! AWESOME!
  • You have until the following Tuesday to complete this writer’s prompt, then I will be posting a new one on the following day, next Wednesday.

If you have any suggestions for future Wednesday Visual Writing Prompts, please let me know in the comments:-)

I look forward to reading your writing.

(if you post past the deadline I will do my best to read your work and share it on my social networks as time permits).

Have Fun!

Short Form Tale In Response To: Wednesdays Visual Writing Prompt

forest-1031022_960_720

The neighbor boy called and she left the house in a hurry to ride bikes around the neighborhood. She felt a nagging in the back of her mind the instant she saw his face that this would be the last time she spent time with him. She shook her head when the idea came to her, thinking she was weird. She peddled hard and raced him to the end of the lane and passing an elegant but rundown place that almost looked like a plantation house. She immediately sensed something dark lurking there and turned away. It was all she could seem to conjure in her mind since she saw the hand the night before. This place was taking a toll on her imagination and she hated the creeps it gave her.

She was certain after only a short part of the day had passed that she really didn’t like the boy much. At her age she was equipped enough to know a little about character and make a fairly clear judgement on his. He was demanding and rude, wanting everything his way. Penelope was clever and could turn most of their disagreements in her favor. It made him slightly short-tempered and he would decide he wanted to do something else almost immediately. But she remained friendly toward him despite his behavior because of the dull nagging.

They stopped into his house for lunch made by his mother. It was a nice gesture on her part and Penelope could tell that she spoiled him. They ate in his room where her suspicion of spoiling was confirmed. He must have had all the latest toys, she surmised, as she scanned the room. He even had an old Weeble Wobble, something you punched in the face and it would pop back up from the floor to punch again because of the way it was balanced on a round bottom. He had already gotten upset about something and stomped out of the room before they had finished their lunch. She could hear him complaining to his mother.

Like a child he ran to his mother , she didn’t really even know what had made him upset until she heard his whiny voice complaining about his sandwich. She was about thoroughly disgusted with him at this point. But the nagging was there, reminding her to play nice, like she owed it to him. She was starting to wonder if she was going crazy, the world was just turning upside down with all of the recent events and the ideas that were running through her mind just weren’t normal. She had to actually try to come off as a regular girl, not that it mattered to this spoiled boy she was somehow compelled to be around today.

When he stomped back into the room he was short of breath. It was then that she decided she would just let him win because she strangely believed that today was his last and final day. This made her feel bad for him, whether it was true or not, it had set her mood. She sensed that he somehow saw his coming demise and decided that his attitude stemmed from the knowing, it made it easier for her to put up with him. They played video games for the rest of the afternoon and it surprised her that she had managed to stay around him that long. She noticed his anxiety creeping in toward the end of the day and wondered if he was tuned in to what she was feeling and thinking. Whatever the case she felt it was her responsibility to be with him today, up until he no longer allowed it she had decided.

His name was Adam, and it was bouncing from side to side in her mind now that she thought of it, leaving a trailing echo as it went. She noticed how his mouth twisted a little when he dropped to the beanbag chair and grabbed for his game controller. She wondered what he thought about right now in this moment, if he knew that it was precious time he was wasting. If today truly was to be his last day, what were to be the last of his thoughts. Considering him this way, just as a boy, a regular boy, pulled her into a sad and sympathetic place. She didn’t really know him, know what he liked, what caused him pain, what brought him joy. She felt like a heel for her earlier thoughts and held on to this communion she now found herself in.

She felt so awkward. Why was she here and thinking these things? Why did she have to start getting weird all of a sudden? Why was she seeing ghosts and what was this new-found fascination with death? None of it made any sense to her and none of the experiences she was having were pleasant. She wished hard for these things to go away, but the universe had a gift to give and she doubted she could stop it. It felt mostly bad, except for right now, hanging out with Adam.

Even though he was not someone she could easily get along with, she felt closer to him than any other friend she had ever made, whether she liked him or not. It was because she felt like she had crawled inside him, she was occupying that space and was becoming privy to his thoughts and feelings. She was getting to know him better than she had known anyone before and it was sincerity that she felt for him through this connection, tinged with hope for what he would find after death took hold of him. It was strange to say the least, but that was all just crazy thinking, she surely had to be making it all up. She had spent her day and couldn’t escape the grip of where her thoughts had led her, and were leading her still.

patreon SMALL

michellerene00_closeup 03 copy

Published by: M.R. Goodhew

Michelle Rene has been involved in the publishing industry for over twenty years as an author, designer, and illustrator. She is an Indie Author Advocate who volunteers her time to give back to the Indie Author Community by offering her design services four times a year, free of charge.

As an author of nonfiction, Michelle Rene writes books that serve to assist the independent author in developing their platform, discovering their brand, and creating the right look that will draw readers to them. She discusses how to navigate social media and addresses marketing tactics. For the author who sets up their web presence independently and does not wish to hire a designer, her books offer a wealth of start-up information, graphic design templates, and give crucial insight to the designers thought process which assists in the creation and design of the author’s platform.

Michelle Rene also writes fiction which falls under several genres, including: Fantasy, Drama, Young-Adult Fiction, Mystery, and Thriller. She is currently working on a series of novels whose main theme involves the mysteries of death and the afterlife.

line orange

 

My Short Form Fiction In Response To: Wednesday’s Visual Writing Prompt

The foliage hung there, wet and rancid, rotting the log it clung to. Nothing could outlast the grip of the swamp, it would devour everything it touched sooner or later. Anne Alice admired the darkness that concealed small places and the water that would wet her shoes everywhere she walked about. The swamp smelled of moss and decay that suited her morbid personality. She was a courageous eight year old who was rare to fright. She never mourned for the sun, on summer days it showed itself at the brink of morning and she avoided the added heat it brought at all costs.

The swamp was her dreary playground where she dreamed up monsters and played out stories she’d stolen from her mother’s book shelf. A murderous plot made for a fun afternoon when the snails where the enemy and her bare feet were the victims. She’d often wander out to the bogs or to the shack across the stream to visit with her uncle Greg. He was fond of ghosts and had endless tales to tell her. She fantasized what it would be like to come upon a ghost in the dimly lit swamp. How amazed and curious she would be in the fading light, she thought she would be sure to chase it down and force it to answer a barrage of ridiculous questions.

The property where she lived was deep within the murky swamp. She could imagine ghosts out on the bogs, especially with reports over the years of all the people who’d gone missing. She let her thoughts drift to the stories of the lost and looked about for a place that would easily conceal a dead body, and there were many.

Dinner was not far off and her stomach reminded her with a deep growl. They ate chili with cornbread which wasn’t one of her favorites. The chili was bland and the cornbread was dry, but she devoured it thankfully. Her parents largely ignored her presence and each-others as well. It was a typical evening and she was used to the silence. She did her chores with little enthusiasm but tried to remember that helping others and giving were what her father called “two of the best darn traits a person could practice”.

Nights in the swamp seemed to drag on forever since Anne Alice’s parents had restricted her from video games, something about them rotting her mind. So she made the time pass by sneaking books from her mothers bookshelf. It was exciting because her mother had forbidden her to take books from the top shelf, and it was always the top shelf she chose from. She was reading a book called Frankenstein and couldn’t take her eyes from its pages. She fell asleep with her flashlight still lit and the story still playing out in her mind. The night was eerily quiet and the flashlight shone dimly into the corner of her room, blocked out for just a moment by a darkness that crossed the beam. She slept soundly, unaware of who’d come calling.

The shadow moved in silence, creeping close to where Anne Alice slept. It drifted eerily from side to side creating a chill where it lingered. The ray of the flashlight bobbed steadily up and down to Anne Alice’s breathing, almost touching the patch of darkness that had worked its way to the front of the bed. She wriggled under the blankets, her face scrunched in discomfort, she rolled to her other side. The shadow drew nearer still, bending over her tiny body in a smothering fashion.

There was no telling what it came for or what it had in mind for Anne Alice. The creature clung so close as if to consume her very breath. She shivered slightly against the cold and brought the blankets up close to her face. There was a clicking and turn of the door and the air rushed back out of the room into the hallway. The shadow was sucked toward the door with a force and made quickly for escape. Anne Alice’s mother entered the room and found her breath stole away. The feeling lasted only a moment when a movement from across the room had caught her eye. She shrugged it off to her tired mind playing tricks on her and so the shadow was away without much notice.

Across the swamp toward the not-so-far-off bogs it retreated. The mist didn’t stir in its passing but clung low to the watery ground. The moon shone down lighting up the low-lying fog and gave the swamp an unnerving look of gloom. The shadow soaked in the uncomfortable night and grew even darker. It clung closely to the long overgrown path that led to its dreadful residence within the bogs. The air was thick with melancholy and it slowed its forward momentum to a crawl. Weaving slowly in and out of the trees, making for a blackened stretch peat that smelled strongly of lingering decay. Into its murky depths the shadow stopped to stare. In this lonely isolated patch of the bog, within the darkness of the standing water it lay sheltered by the rotting peat. The shadow gazed upon the tiny mummified face of the little girl it once had been. A deep consuming sorrow enveloped the shadow as it looked upon the small body of her six-year-old self. The body shone, reflecting the glances of the full moon between the layers of the clinging mist. Almost aglow in the depths of the water, she resembled a long forgotten doll. If she had the means to cry, her tears would shed for the tragic truth of her fate and might never stop flowing.

In the purgatory of this place her spirit had wandered for years. The man who had abducted her was long since gone. There would be no reckoning for the evils he’d put upon her. What she longed for most was her family who had once kept her safe and warm. And by the grace of all that was good, she might have finally found someone who would acknowledge her existence and get her back where she belonged. Back in the room she had found the young girl, the sleeping Anne Alice, a girl who might hear her plea and take up the quest to find her remains. It was this curious girl who might finally return her weary spirit home. So now she would haunt her without rest in hopes of her rescue.

Again Anne Alice stirred in her bed, dreaming of a little girl who’d come to play with her in the swamp. She smiled in her sleep, she somehow knew she would not adventure alone in the days to come.


patreon SMALL


MichelleRene004Published by: M.R. Goodhew

Michelle Rene has been involved in the publishing industry for over twenty years as an author, designer, and illustrator. She is an Indie Author Advocate who volunteers her time to give back to the Indie Author Community by offering her design services four times a year, free of charge.

As an author of nonfiction, Michelle Rene writes books that serve to assist the independent author in developing their platform, discovering their brand, and creating the right look that will draw readers to them. She discusses how to navigate social media and addresses marketing tactics. For the author who sets up their web presence independently and does not wish to hire a designer, her books offer a wealth of start-up information, graphic design templates, and give crucial insight to the designers thought process which assists in the creation and design of the author’s platform.

Michelle Rene also writes fiction which falls under several genres, including: Fantasy, Drama, Young-Adult Fiction, Mystery, and Thriller. She is currently working on a series of novels whose main theme involves the mysteries of death and the afterlife.