Sep 16, 2010

Creating Characters (and a prize)

I love creating characters. It's like being a painter, but instead of the end result being a two dimensional masterpiece, it's a three dimensional person or creature that lives and breathes in your mind. And if you write about them so others can SEE them like you do, they become real.

So, just for fun, I'd like to see how you create a character. To help you out, I have two pictures here. Choose one or both and tell me about them. Give them a name, a back story and a genre. What's their story? What conflict would you give them? Are they strong or weak?

 You can be as brief or long winded as you like.

On WritingAND, as a bonus, I'm giving away a prize.That's right. I'll give one entry for each character you write about and throw them all in a hat and draw a winner. That person will get a copy of Steven King's "On Writing."  What a deal, eh?

Drawing ends at Midnight MST on Saturday, September 18th. So hurry and get it posted in the comment section below. I will draw the winner on Monday and post it here on my blog, so make sure you come back to see if I need your mailing address.


  1. I love that first picture. bewitchingly beautiful!

  2. This was fun!

    Her name is Therese. The BG makes her look very paranormal, but I'm going to strike out to be different--let's go end-of-the-world-dystopian. (Obviously, the world is ending because the moon has been thrown off its orbit by a giant meteor, and is now close enough to Earth that it's being drawn in by Earth's gravity.) (P.S. I hate science.) (Also obviously, she's all wet because the tides are totally out of whack--random flash tides all the time.) People treat her like she's weak, but she's one of those steel magnolia types. She's tired of being underestimated. There are only a few hundred people living in her colony, and she can see the leadership (including her very popular, well-beloved father) is taking the colony in entirely the wrong direction. A band of looters roaming throughout the region threatens all colonies in the area, and Therese must change her colony's leadership direction to keep them save from the raiders. In book two, she'll lead the colony to a better settlement area. In book three, obviously, she'll save the Earth. (Whoa... where did all that come from?)

    His name is Gage. I think he looks like an obvious romance hero, but I'm going to again go for my second thought, which would be . . . action. (The five o'clock shadow is really helping that look, otherwise, he'd be way too much of a pretty boy.) He thinks of himself as strong, but he has a bigger soft center than most action heroes. He's American, but he was a victim of a terrorist attack while in Spain on vacation. His wife and son were killed. But now, three years later, he suddenly receives evidence that they survived--and she's hiding a terrible secret. From Gage. He must find her, come to terms with her secret, and hunt down the people who are still targeting them. (A little clichéd, but hey.)

  3. Whoa! You're good Jordan. Way to go. I love both of these.

  4. I'll take the challenge. I've not read what others have written. I'll chose the character of the male persuasion.
    His name is Trent. He is the youngest of four children--all boys. His father was a semi-professional baseball player, but never reached his dream of playing in the major leagues. Trent's father was obsessed with having at least one of his sons play in the majors.
    His brothers, from either lack of skill or injury, were unable to fulfilled his father's wish. It's up to Trent, though his heart isn't really in it. While he has the physical aspects of his father, unlike any of his brothers, he inherited his mother's intellect and sensitivity. However, his desire to be accepted by his father has driven him to be the best baseball player possible.
    He does well enough in high school to earn not only an athletic scholarship to a major university, but an academic one as well. While taking various classes, he finds he enjoys drama and acting. With his natural good looks and charisma, his drama teacher strongly encourage him to leave baseball behind and spend his efforts focusing on developing his skills in acting.
    He struggles over which decision to make. To make things more complicated, his father is diagnosed with fatal disease, and only has a few years to live. Does Trent forsake his dream of becoming an actor for a shot at the major leagues to please his dying father, or does he follow his heart, knowing his father will all but disown him and may die with a broken heart?

  5. Excellent Jason! These all sound like real books. And I'd love reading them.

  6. The girl is definitely paranormal. Her name is Annalise and she's 17 years old. She has just found out she's a water spirit, and must come to terms with her powers. She is also being forced to choose between life on land, or life in the sea. If she chooses to stay on land, she'll be lost to her new powers forever.
    There is possibly a love triangle. One of the guys is human, while the other is also a water spirit. She must make a sacrifice, but who will she choose, and what will the choice cost her? ;)

    The guy, we'll call him Cam, isn't as nice as he looks. The mischievous glint in his eye is common with all fairies. Even if he's 7 inches tall, he'll put up a good fight if you make fun of his wings. Something tells me he's madly in love with a normal sized human girl, and he's trying to find a way to beat the fairy system and make himself human. Too bad he can't talk his mother A.K.A. the queen into granting his only wish. Will there be any hope for him? Will he be able to be with his true love? Only time will tell.

    That was quick, so it's very possible it doesn't make the least bit of sense. Oh well! :)

  7. Mariah has been thrust into the unwanted as leader of her nomadic people after her mother and step father, the king, are betrayed and killed. She's to the normal princess found in fairy tales. She has rough hands from working the spice fields with her people as they all try and eke out a living in the desert where they live. She knows how to wield many weapons.
    Mariah must move her people out of danger and away from the desert, which has suddenly become too hot to live (thanks to the moon falling out of it's orbit). Along the journey her people take in many smaller clans who are moving away from the heat and need protection.
    Mariah meets several men who want to become the next king, but she easily scares them off with her overly strong masculine personality. The law decrees she must marry in a year's time or another will be placed on the throne. She decides she must settle for the lesser of the hideous men and not wait for love.
    But as she watches other women and her ladies in waiting educate her in the ways of winning a man, she finds a softer side under her prickly exterior. And she finds Erik.
    Their relationship is put on hold by a war between her clan and another nomadic clan who want to claim a green valley just over the sand dunes. Mariah has to step up and become a commander as well as queen.

  8. Chantele, seriously, you just gave me chills. I'm currently working on a YA Paranormal Romance called Aquatara about a girl who finds out she's a water spirit. LOVE your ideas. The Cam Fairie idea makes me laugh. I'm having a hard time seeing him as a fairie.

    Taffy, WOW! What a great idea. I can totally see her as a commander and queen. I can't believe all the wonderful ideas you guys are coming up with. YAY!!!

  9. So... I just wrote a whole page about the first picture, got goosebumps and loved my idea so much that I'm pretty sure that it's going to be my next novel. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
    My heart rate is up and everything... how exciting this writing thing is!
    Is it okay if I don't put it up on here? I don't want any idea-thieves stealing my idea! (Yes, I'm paranoid, I know. Forgive me?)
    If you want,Christine, I can email it to you (I'm THAT excited about it)!
    Wow, I need to go take some yoga breaths or something.
    Does this happen to any of you? When you have a moment of brilliance that leaves you out of breath and tingly? Please say it's not just me! :)
    Put it on Paper

  10. Jessica, YAY for having a creative muse. I will count your entry if you send me what you've got. And I will NOT copy it or let anyone else read it. Sometimes I keep my ideas a secret too, especially when they ROCK!

  11. Ok, let's see...I'm using both pictures for one story. I hope that's ok.

    The guy's name is Brian. He's a cowboy--you can tell because he's covering his head with a hand. He's not used to being bareheaded.

    One night, as he's looking for some lost cattle, he encounters a beautiful maiden, Lunella, who is of the Moon people. The Moon people thrive under the shelter of the moon and are harmed by the direct rays of the sun. At first, Brian thinks she's a ghost, but after she gives him a warning that saves his life the next day, he searches for her the following night to thank her. He can't find her for a month, since she only appears to humans like him during the full moon.

    Brian learns that Lunella is The Eye, a Handmaiden of the Moon Goddess, as evidenced by the marking on her arm. They fall in love but are thwarted by their different stations in life. Brian's cattle ranch is beset by bandits and his life falls around his ears, but his biggest concern is finding a way to be with his moonlit sweetheart.

    There. Oh, and I purchased On Writing off Ebay a month or two back. It's a great book!

    Thanks for the fun!

  12. Oh yes, and I read too fast and didn't put in enough background.

    Brian doesn't particularly enjoy cattle-ranching; he inherited the ranch from his father and though he loves the land, he wants a more exciting life.

    Lunella is rebelling at having the responsibility of being the Moon's handmaiden, and expresses that rebellion by visiting Earth as we know it as often as she can. She's 19, and when she turns 20 she will be sent to live with the Moon Goddess for the rest of her life. She wants more than that and doesn't consider the honor to be worth the sacrifice.

  13. Rebecca, this is cute. I love how you used both characters in the same story. It sucks that they can only see each other one night a month, though. Brian will have to find a way to lasso the moon when it's full and keep her with him forever, right?

  14. Lol, right!

    I wanted to make her visible more often than once a month, but it's one of those love-at-first-sight kind of things. Seems hopeless, but I'm sure they'll find a way to be together!

  15. Wow, I *love* that first picture. You don't have to enter me into the drawing because I already have that book (loved it), but I still want to tell you what I think about that girl.

    I think that's Lilith, when she learned that she was being cast off by Adam in favor of Eve. Lilith is a child of the moon, and despite losing her lover and her status as the first woman, she still knows who she is, and in fact she's now free to be exactly who she was always meant to be. The mother of the earth, the creator of dreams, the source of magic on earth.

  16. Ali, dudette!! That is so cool. I sooo want to read that story.

  17. This was so fun, and such a great creative outlet. I did both, and they both go together. I have never done this before, so I hope it is what you were looking for. . . and yes I did ramble on! lol =0) so here it goes:

    Nayla Anderlon turns 18 years old tomorrow. It will be the best day of her life. With her dark green eyes with fleck s of gold, long beautiful black hair she is hailed as the most beautiful young woman in all the land. She is kind, loving, intelligent, and feisty. She is regal in her height at 5’9. As High Princess of the Country Zandria she is about to take over the throne as her father steps down upon her wedding in the morning. She will marry her handsome best friend and adjoining kingdom’s Prince Zachariah Crofters and she will then have everything she ever dreamed in her life. She has grown up in the shadow of great love and affection and she is cherished by her country and her kinsmen. All would lay down their lives for her. She has been trained all her life to be the leader of her country, to rule with love and mercy. She has learned all the skills needed to be a high princess, and knows she was ready to step into her father’s shoes and her new life beside the young man who was dearest to her.
    The night before she turns eighteen, an old kind woman approaches her while she is strolling along the edge of the forest and gives her a gift. “For the beautiful new queen”, she say. “It is from the heart of those who look to keep you safe, a token of their love.” Surprised by this beautiful unexpected gift she smiles and hugs her gift giver and slips the elegant necklace of gold and silver interspersed with amethysts and sapphires over her head. “It’ll protect you dearie” the old lady says with a knowing smile. Confused she looks up to ask the woman, “To protect me from what?” Only to find the old woman gone in the swirling mists surrounding her.
    As she goes to enter the castle doors, she is covered by a burlap sack, quickly tied closed by rope and unceremoniously thrown over the back of a horse before she can even get a scream out. Struggling to be free, she kicks and squirms, but the grunts she hears are the only indication that she has from her abductors. She works to slide off the horse only to be dragged back on, as the horse gallops through the night away from all her dreams.
    Nayla is now faced with how to escape and return to the kingdom she loves, looks to defy her captors at every point, and discover the power of the necklace that was given to her by the old woman to protect her in her darkest hour, and the strange powers that she discovers she possesses. But as she works to find her way home, back to her country and the man she is to marry, she discovers that home may not be what and where she always thought it to be and her heart may not belong to who she thought it did after all. All while discovering dark secrets about herself and her country, she stands tall and strong in the face of them all.
    This is a paranormal ya romance of how a young girl discovers the strength to overcome, understand who she really is, and finding the courage to face herself and follow what her heart tells her.

  18. Jeremiah Manfield is 18 years old and wise beyond his years. He is intelligent, cunning, strong and handsome. He has dark blue eyes and short tawny hair, a perpetual five o’clock shadow that drives him crazy and an easy laugh. He is tall, over 6’4.He is the rebel leader of the underground movement to stop the union of the countries of Zandria and the adjoining kingdom Rastreinghton. He is the first born son of the king of farthest adjoining country Northrolun, a country that has been stripped of all honor because of the rash decisions of other sovereign rulers who seek to take their lands, and ignore their royal standing. Jeremiah knows it will spell disaster for all kingdoms if the union between Nayla and Zachariah happens. He plots to kidnap the princess to prevent this from occuring, but the window is short and he has watched Nayla carefully to find where the slip in her routine may be. He must put his life in jeopardy and all his men in peril against the evil kingsmen who would stop at nothing to see the two countries united so that they might control the prophecy of the one who holds the Power of Light that is said to be found in the first daughter of the King with no sons in the uniting of kingdoms. He knows that Nayla is the first daughter of a King with no sons in over five hundred years throughout all the surrounding kingdoms and that prophecy is about to be fulfilled when she pledges herself to Prince Zachariah in the morning on her 18th birthday.
    He captures her with great speed before she enters the castle and throws her over the saddle and climbs behind her and rushes off into the cover of the woods.
    He takes her deep into the woods far from all the countries to the wild unclaimed territories, fighting the whole time to keep her on the horse as she struggles to get free. Once he reaches his destination, he must find the truth of Nayla’s part in the deception, and decide how to keep the underground movement strong as he fights to subvert the evil kings men and keep Nayla from being recaptured, and taking the throne with Zachariah. As he learns about her, he finds that he cannot deny his strong feelings for her, even as she professes herself pledged to the Prince she is to wed.
    Jeremiah finds he can help her and gain her trust if she will listen to him as he tells her the truth that has been kept from her all her life. He wants to help her, then he finds that in spite of all his attempts to prevent it, the prophecy cannot be stopped after all. As he watches the power consume Nayla who is powerless to prevent it, the Power of Light takes over her body. Jeremiah now must help Nayla learn how to control her powers that she holds that have been foretold for centuries and keep her safe from those who want her power. He helps her see how to let the necklace of protection can help her as the darkest secrets are uncovered. He must guard himself and most especially his heart as he helps her to understand the prophecy and her part in it.
    This is a paranormal ya romance about a boy destined to rule a country but instead finds he must stop a terrible prophecy from being fulfilled to save everyone from those who would twist it for their own purposes even if it means kidnapping a princess and putting his life and those who pledge their allegiance to him in jeopardy. Only to find that there is more than he could have ever expected to be gained and lost along the journey.

  19. sorry they are so long, but you did say I could put as much detail as I wanted and well, the characters just took over. I loved this whole exercise! I am going to post it! =0) love you so much Christine!!

  20. oh and by the way, the kidnapping gets messed up by Jeremiah's horse who throws him just beyond the edge of the forest and he has to come up with a different idea- fast!

  21. WHOA!! I'm very impressed Debbie. You have a great story there. You should actually write the darn thing. You've got me hooked. HUGS

  22. thanks Christine, I really think I will =0) and it wouldn't even be in existance if not for you! YOU ROCK!~!