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That’s Some Character Quality!

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Hey, everyone! Sorry I haven’t posted for a few weeks! I have new content up now, and today, we’ll be talking about character!

Character means many things when it comes to stories and poems. Today, most people use the word ‘character’ to describe someone in a movie, but character can also mean traits that make up a person or being or someone who possess morality (ex: She posses strong character.) When writing up a character for a story, there a few steps that can help you put emphasis on their traits and abilities.

If you’re like me, creating a character can be a little difficult. You want to make up someone memorable and teaches important lessons through them. Sometimes you may want them to represent something, such as purity, strength, loyalty. This is called symbolism, and it is very important in the world of writing. Many characters such as J.R.R Tolkien, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and C.S. Lewis create memorable and realistic characters that stand for something. Take Aslan from the legendary Chronicles of Narnia series. He’s a wise, all-knowing lion with power beyond even the most wicked people. It’s clear he represents Jesus, who is omnipresent, powerful, and wonderful, all the same time.

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How do you create these kinds of characters, though?  I have come up with a few steps for even myself that may help put together some characters you can use for your writing. Every person is inspired differently, though, and some steps may not be necessary for you, but this is what has helped me create my story characters.

  1. First, figure out what kind of setting and story line you want your book to have (you can read more about settings and genres in July 24’s post ‘Genres of the Ages.’) and then pick out a character that will help move your book along. For me, it helps to figure out what sort of genre I want my book to be so that I can place characters accordingly. If the character does not fit, the story will not make sense.
  2. Figuring out the personality of your character also plays an important role in your story. A tough character may not be scared of much, so maybe he could work out in a military setting during a war. The personality of your character plays such an important part, because without a character, the story can not be moved along. Characters helps create drama, and if there were no characters in a story, there would be no movement, therefore making your setting pretty deserted.
  3. Once you figure out the character, look for their abilities. Abilities in a character usually distinguish what they are good at. They might be good at consoling others, fighting in the heat of a battle, or they might be brilliant at science and equations. Everyone has a special ability that makes them unique, and the same goes for fictional characters.
  4. After I figure out all these three steps,I like to figure out how the characters know one another. Recently, I’ve went through a list of all the characters I’ve created for my books over the years, and I realized over half of these characters had the exact same last name, so I decided I’d make them a large family. That was one way I bonded the characters. For the others, I selected a few older characters and a few younger characters, making them either great friend, heroic figures, or characters that liked eachother. Your own characters don’t have to know eachother, but it’s important to keep in mind that they probably will affect the main character in some way.
  5. The last step I do is to put them into the story. Trying to match their personalities and abilites up with the drama at hand, I want to make sure that everything makes sense. If I create a grumpy character, he’s not going to do well with consoling a broken-hearted person, but he could maybe go fight in a battle that’s happening at the same time.

Most people have different ways of handling their characters, though. If one step doesn’t work for you, maybe come up with some of your own. Writing is a unique way of showing creativity, so one way isn’t for all. Remember, many stories reveal truths that can be applied into daily life, and that is why characters are so important to what you are writing. They help the story along, create drama, tension, conflict, sympathy, remorse, and joy and that is why even the smallest of characters can produce the biggest changes, just like in reality.

Thanks for reading! If you have anything you’d like me to consider writing about next, comment below one of my posts! Ideas for upcoming posts are appreciated and welcomed!

Have a wonderful weekend!

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During Writer’s Block

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I would say writer’s block is one of the most frequent things that definitely occurs with me. It usually happens when I’m in the middle of a story, and then I suddenly run out of ideas. Pretty soon, I just lose interest in the whole story, and then I’m stuck with another point in writer’s block-what do I write about next?

Writer’s block is a very common thing in the writing and literary world. It’s bound to happen in an author’s writing lifetime, and this is usually the point where we have to stop and think about how we can overcome this obstacle. This is actually not as easy as it would probably seem. There have been numerous times where I’ve tried different approaches to overcoming writer’s block, from writing character sheets to trying to figure out a decent plot that I won’t lose interest in.

Recently, though, I’ve picked up a book called 300 Writing Prompts, which is kind of like a journal, only there are a ton of ideas (300, if you didn’t catch that.) ranging from writing in your diary during futuristic times, reporting on something you think would happen today, and opinions on topics. These may seem like they have nothing to do with your book, but in reality, they are everything.

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What do I mean by this? Well, writing is about looking at the world from a broad-minded perspective. Writing is definitely not easy, that’s for sure, but for those gifted in the area of writing, being broad-minded is important. If you pay close enough attention, it allows you to find inspiration in movies, shows, and even in life today!

So let’s move to some ideas that may help overcome that block we writers so desperately hate:

1.Try Out Some New Books, or Reread Some of Your Favorite Ones.

This is one thing all writers should do; read. Why do I say that? Reading is good for inspiration! Writers all over find inspiration in books. As one author told me, story ideas are not new! Authors learn from one another and create storylines based on the idea they might have gotten from another book.

2. Look Up Some Ideas Off Of Pinterest.

I know, I talk about Pinterest a ton, but there’s a reason for that! Pinterest contains so many interesting inspirational tips, advice, and characters that it’s almost impossible not to get ideas off this site. It’s not just about the food recipes and fashion tips, it’s also about finding inspiration!

3. Grab A Book Designed to Help Authors With Writer’s Block

For the longest time, I had been eyeing that 300 Writing Prompts books, because it looked like a great book to help with the block. You can grab this book (there’s also a book called 500 Writing Prompts in case 300 isn’t enough.) or any other book created to give inspiration and tips.  The same thing for writing books also goes for poetry.

4. Study Your Favorite Character.

No, I don’t mean copy off him/her. Don’t ever do that! What I’m saying is find some characteristics you like from them. Are they cautious? Perky? Maybe slightly arrogant? You can pull lots of ideas from your favorite character(s) just as long as yo do not copy off everything from them! The books do say copyright, after all!

Hopefully some of these tips will help! Like I said, writer’s block is very common, so don’t panic when you realize there’s nothing to write about. (It doesn’t help, I’ve tried.) There are tons of inspirational help out there; all you need to do is look!

Also, if anyone has noticed, I have moved most of my posts to once a week now instead of twice, so as not to overwhelm anyone! Some of the setups are slightly new (like the bolding of words!) because I’ve actually been experimenting with some of the settings on my blog!

Have a lovely weekend!

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Harry Potter

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During the reprieve of no posting, I sat down with my family and watched the first movie of the Harry Potter series. For the longest time, I hesitated on whether it was worthy to be watched. Most of my friends had seen it and loved it, so I decided to give it a go with my family and see how I would enjoy it.

The premises is about a young boy by the name of Harry Potter who lives with his mother’s sister and her husband after both of his parents were killed. This family does not like Harry, so they mistreat him and make him do basically all the work around the house while they enjoyed large meals and watching television. When Harry turns eleven years old, however, he receives a letter (and this kid has never received letters before.), but his uncle snatches it away and tries to keep it from him, therefore making it so even more letters of the same kind are “flown” in. Finally, after some rather severe incidences, Harry discovers that this letter is an invitation to join Hogwarts, a school for magically talented children. Along the way to his new adventure, Harry meets some new friends and discovers a dark secret that could haunt him until the day he dies.

Personally, the first movie was rather cheesy, at least in effects, but I liked the overall theme and the characters’ developments. I have not seen any of the other movies, but I have finished almost all four books but from what I can tell, it seems pretty awesome.

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A lot of people say that Harry Potter is pretty much just like The Chronicles of Narnia and Lord of the Rings. All three of these books teach important lessons that can be applied to life and Christianity today, such as choosing the right path wisely, realizing that evil has no place, and the importance of working hard. The reviews I had seen before starting Harry Potter was that the series encourages kids to lie, do wrong, and rebel against authorities and be rewarded for it. I am not quite sure where that comes from, since there are usually consequences in these actions. Like in most books, there are usually deeper meanings in the story than what is given away.

There is quite a bit of magic used in the books, but not magic in ways some think of it as. Like the old classics such as LOTR, these books hold a world where magic can be used freely and that using only the good magic is the correct path. There are a few curse words and a part I have run into that is rather inappropriate (it literally was one sentence though.), but I am very impressed with the morals teached in these books, and I hope to enjoy them even more as I progress through the series.

And here comes the ranking. For the morals displayed in this series, the admirable traits, timely characters, and important lessons, I give this series a thumbs up and an 8 out of 10!

Have a wonderful Friday!

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The Giver

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Hey, guys! It’s finally August 28! After a few weeks off of writing posts, I’ve come up with lots of new topics to review and blog about, such as more tips on characters in books and writing, reviews off books and movies, and study tips! I can’t wait to post about them!

Today, I’ll be discussing a book I read a few weeks ago called The Giver. The movie for it came out a while ago, and after hearing my brother talk about the book so long, I was curious to see what all the talk was about and I accepted the challenge of reading it.

Smaller than what I thought it was going to be and finishing it in a day and a half (I actually read a total of two books in the last four days.), it definitely was a shocker at the end. I was warned, at least, so I wasn’t quite that shocked.

The story takes place in a community of people arranged according to age, job, and family, and everyone is required to say canned phrases if something specific happens (such as turning up late for class or making a mistake.) Jonas, the oldest of his siblings, is now at the age where he is assigned a job and moved from school to his task. When he is chosen as Receiver of Memory, a rare rank for anybody, he becomes nervous and wonders if he’ll be cut out for the task, but all those thoughts are put aside when he is trained by the Giver, Jonas’ mentor. This task opens up a whole world to him, and Jonas must make a life-changing decision before it’s too late for him to back out.

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This book was actually written  90’s, which surprised me since I had always thought of it as one of the classics. The book had a good theme to it, and the suspense grew with every chapter that was written. Some of the characters seems to be a bit cheesy in their speech, ans that bothered me slightly until I figured out that was probably how they were suppose to be portrayed. Like I said, it’s a rather short book, and it took me not very long before I found myself looking at the back cover.

The book is pretty clean. There is one part that is awkward, however, but there is not detail and it just explains a dream Jonas had. There are no swear words, is easy to read, and is pretty entertaining. For the rank, I would say it would be a 7 out of 10.

Have a lovely weekend!

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Genres of the Ages

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There many genres people work with. Some reading classics, while others like some of the young adult books of today. Many books are written with a medieval air, while others may be futuristic. Whatever the setting is, it’s important to be aware of what kind of book you are writing as well as reading.

Similar to setting up a certain playlist for your music, (See ‘A Musical Writer’s Remedy’.) genre lets your imagination flow with the setting of things. Consider my book, set in a post-apocalyptic world. It’s very futuristic, set in a time when technology can pretty much do anything anytime, but with a certain historical air, where the people of the day can hardly afford such items. Books such as The Hunger Games and Divergent are set up in similar ways, allowing much technology but little use for it by the poor.

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Unless it’s some random time jump, most books tend to keep into their designated environment. Most books mainly focus on the mannerisms, language, and philosophy of the time. Historical books, such as Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, and Withering Heights, do not have computers or any sort of device, but instead, they have to walk or ride a carriage if they wish to communicate with someone. The mannerisms of that time were quiet different as well, which is why sometimes it’s hard to understand a classical book’s style of writing.

If, however, you don’t want to stick to a certain time period, there are always options such as steampunk. Many times have I been asked what steampunk is, and my reply is,”A fiction, futuristic world with a style much like the Victorian age.” Steampunk allows writing the book to be futuristic while adding a touch of old age, as odd as that sounds.

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So how do you figure out what sort of genre you are reading? Many genres have a typical air to them. Does you book have dragons and knights in it? Chances are it might be fantasy. Or how about a book where a man and a woman meet against all odds? That could be considered romance. As my friend and I have found out, many books seem to be a bit too cliche, especially in the young adult genre. Vampires falling in love with mortals, girls falling in love with the most popular boy in school, and love triangles all over the place are rather typical, and those books can get rather tiresome after you read a number of them.

So, hopefully that helped a bit. Genres have developed much over the years, some for better, some for worst, and some have even been created only in the last few years. They help readers know what kind of book they are reading as well as providing information on what style they prefer.

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The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

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Before I go on with this blog post, let me just remind you that I do not normally read these kinds of books. This was most likely a once-in-a-lifetime thing that I tried and……may never do again.
So, this week, I finally started reading this book I got from the library called The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson. When I first saw this book, I seriously thought it was some child’s book, although a quick glance over how small and old-fashioned the words were, as well as some scenes, changed my mind.

*Spoilers*

The story revolves around a lawyer by the name of Mr. Utterson, who has recently heard numerous stories about nearby murders. He also discovers a rather ill man by the name of Dr. Jekyll, who is rather a reclusive person. Countless days did Utterson ponder over this until he met yet another man, a hideous figure by the name of Mr. Hyde.
Further investigation led Utterson back to Jekyll’s house, where the case was uncovered. Jekyll had created a liquid in which he could feel better from his ailments, although, at the same time, he would turn into a rather ugly person, this person being Mr. Hyde, the violent being killing off people simply because he felt like it.

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My opinion of this book is rather low, considering some of the graphic imagery as well as a boring and odd plot. This book was not like the famous Sherlock Holmes as I had hoped it would be like.
Though the book has some fairly clean language ( one bad word was uttered, but the context was not used the same as today it would be.), the wording is rather difficult and some scenes are rather violent.
My review for this book is a huge thumbs down. It was rather a disappointment as well as gruesome, odd, and severely weird.
Thanks for reading and gave a wonderful weekend!

The ‘Positives’ and ‘Negatives’ -It Has To Add Up (Part 2)

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Last week, I gave a definition and examples of what a ‘negative’ character is. As the name suggests, a negative character is one who has a bad view on life, failing to see good in those around them. We call these characters pessimists sometimes, but I don’t want to label them with such a severe title because negative characters don’t have to see the bad in everything. A traumatic experience could cause them to react a certain way (see my post ‘Writing From a Villain’s POV for more details on that subject), or perhaps they have lost something important to them and that caused them to behave a certain way.

The opposite of a negative character is what I also call ‘positive’ characters. These are the sort of characters we see in much literature today. They have a fairly good view on life and they want to do good for others. They don’t have to be the protagonists, just as the negative characters don’t have to be villains. They can be side characters, maybe an added character, or they could possibly be the hero, but this doesn’t exclude them into being just main characters.

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The opposite of a negative character are what I also call ‘positive’ characters.

When I think of a positive character, I imagine something like the Amity in Divergent. Their main focus in life is to be happy and give encouragement and comfort to those that need it. Parties and social gatherings are some of the things that keep them happy, and they actually enjoy life and all it gives them, good or bad. These are some traits of a positive sort of character.

But what do negative and positive characters have in common? They are polar opposites in many ways, sure, but there are also some similarities they share. Maybe they have similar experiences, and they just handled them in separate ways, or perhaps their views of life and humanity are the same, but the beliefs that they keep to themselves are relatively secret. The possibilities could be endless.

Now, the real question is: How do we add such characters into a storyline? What if you don’t want them to be the main characters? How do we handle that? There are also many options, but most authors tend to make these characters friends, bullies, or comrades they work with or know at school or in the neighborhood. For example, Pride and Prejudice uses many side characters that were important for the story, but weren’t really main characters. The story focused primarily on Lizzie and Mr. Darcy, and the sisters acted as either negative or positive characters depending on their personality.

So, negative characters are those who appear grumpy and slightly misanthropic and positive character act as comforters and encouragers, depending on the situation, and the possibilities for how you use them are endless. So feel free to use them as you wish! They’re yours to control.

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Each character has a destiny, even if they are not protagonists.

 

Divergent

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Hello and welcome back to another blog post movie and book review. Today I will be reviewing the book, Divergent, by Veronica Roth. Similar to the scenario of the Hunger Games, this book and movie explains life in a controlled environment with strict rules, a rather severe government, and a choice that could hurt or hinder the future ahead for everyone involved.

Beatrice Prior is sixteen when she goes through initiation with her brother, Caleb. The test determines which of the five groups you are sorted into (Candor, Erudite, Dauntless, Amity, and Abnegation.) and leaves you with a choice on which group to join. For Tris, she is sorted into a rare group called Divergent, which means she fits into more than one category. Her self must be kept a secret, for fear of Divergent is rampant, so Tris acts as normal as she can and chooses Dauntless in the hopes of finding a new life. During her training in her new home, she meets Four, a mysterious young man who acts rather harsh but is hiding his own dark secrets. Together, they must face their worst fears and hide themselves for long enough that they won’t be harmed.

82ade97db63bb5ed3c102f243ae12024So far, I have only read the first of the three books thoroughly, but what I have seen so far has been really good. The first book had their own little test to determine which faction you entered, which is always a bonus to me when there are extras.

I didn’t really have any favorites in this story (yeah….that’s a first.), but I really enjoyed the plotline. Even though it was similar to the Hunger Games, it also covered important truths about the world around us and about ourselves. The book is also pretty clean, with only a little use of God’s name in vain. It is also a pretty good-sized book, but not as large as The Wheel of Time books. Trust me, no book can ever be as big as those.

So, my rating for this is a 4 our of 5 with a thumbs up! The first book stays pretty clean, has a good storyline, and good characters, and usage of words is also appealing!

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Why Fandoms Matter

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It’s all around you.

The internet, clubs, social groups. They dedicate themselves to TV shows, books, movies, anything they love. Sometimes they may become a little insane, but they make up a part of the internet, including Tumblr, Pinterest, and other social sites.

Before I go on, here’s what a ‘fandom’ is according to Wikipedia:

Fandom (a portmanteau consisting of fan [fanatic] plus the suffix -dom, as in kingdom) is a term used to refer to a subculture composed of fans characterized by a feeling of empathy and camaraderie with others who share a common interest. Fans typically are interested in even minor details of the object(s) of their fandom and spend a significant portion of their time and energy involved with their interest, often as a part of a social network with particular practices (a fandom); this is what differentiates “fannish” (fandom-affiliated) fans from those with only a casual interest.

A fandom can grow up centered on any area of human interest or activity. The subject of fan interest can be narrowly defined, focused on something like an individual celebrity, or more widely defined, encompassing entire hobbies. genres, or fashions. While it is now used to apply to groups of people fascinated with any subject, the term has its roots in those with an enthusiastic appreciation for sports. Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary traces the usage of the term back as far as 1903.

Fandom as a term can also be used in a broad sense to refer to the interconnected social networks of individual fandoms, many of which overlap.

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They may sound a bit too obsessive and crazy, but everyone has at least once in their lifetime been like that. I don’t go as far as that definition (I don’t think.), but I am a part of some fandoms such as Doctor Who, Sherlock, The Hunger Games, and The Hobbit.

So why exactly do these fandoms matter?

Reality can be quite harsh sometimes. We often need a break from it, so what better way than to turn to a favorite book! They helps us heal, they point out morals, they help create us. Everything we watch and read develops our character from what we see, whether good or bad. A fandom is a group of people who enjoy the same show or book and come together to discuss what they truly love. We can learn so much from fiction just as much as nonfiction.  Almost every story has a lesson behind it, something we can try to apply to ourselves.

The best part of this is proof that people do actually care for others. So no matter what anybody says, enjoying something that inspires you should be appreciated.

Because we all deserve hope.

By the way, my mom is running an Etsy shop where I am working an internship and she’s trying to sell hats, so any of you interested in a nice beanie or sunhat, this is the perfect place to get those! To check out some of her stuff, go here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/ConradFashions

Also, I have created a Tumblr account. You can find me at: http://deducingdoveinthetardis.tumblr.com/

Have a great week!

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Magic: Considered Pure or Evil?

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One of the most debatable topics for books and movies today is the use (or abuse) of magic in our society. Really, it’s become just a normal thing for us to see, but parents are raising the question everywhere,”Is it okay if I let my child watch a show with magic in it?”

No, I’m not talking about magical princesses and unicorns. That’s a different sort of magic (which I’ll explain here in a minute.) and frankly, I see nothing wrong with that, but what’s with wizardry and witches today? Shows like Lord of the Rings, Narnia, and Harry Potter as well as other numerous books and movies exhibit the use of magic, but is society just trying to make us conform to magic as some type of religious works? Are we being sucked into a world where magic is used for evil?

Well, that depends on how it’s used, I think. Wizardry in the olden days was almost considered a religion, and people built cults around this type of stuff. Violence was typical of them, and frankly, pretty much everything about it was just plain evil, from the devil himself, I’m afraid. Are we any different from that today? To some degree, we are not.

Consider the great writers C.S. Lewis and Tolkien, the creators of Narnia and Middle Earth. Both were devout Christians, and both were writers. If you have ever read their books, you already know magic is used in them. Gandalf is a wizard, and in Narnia, all the animals have an ability to talk. This is not evil. This is a different sort of magic. Not like the crap that happened long ago. This is used for innocent purposes to display a truth or fact to the reader, and is therefore, in no way, as harmful as some would like to think.

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However, there are multiple levels where I struggle with  series like Harry Potter, though. For many years, I have gone back and forth, trying to decide whether or not this would be considered an evil use of magic. I have never read the books, but I have done extensive research on them. I wasn’t looking for the bias,”It’s so good. Why would anyone hesitate to read it?” types. Sorry, I do not like that attitude. I am searching for other people who look at this from a Christian standpoint. I want their opinions based on what the Bible alone says.

So what’s my answer to whether magic is good or bad? It depends on the type of book and the author. Magic today is still used in an evil form, and it’s also used for good, so my answer would be both a yes and a no. I write about some magic in my books, but there is a clear understanding that I have that too much goes too far. Be careful what you watch or read, because it can corrupt even the most innocent of minds.

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