While some are already in school again, some of you had to go to summer school or had to simply pass the bloody state testing…I realize I go a little deeper into a lot of different things here, but if you can grasp this, you can write stories that will have your teacher going crazy–so be careful not to spend too much time on death and destruction like 3 of you that emailed me did! Most of you that I talked to can put a sentence together…The art you have to figure out is how to put 5 of those sentences in a sequential order that will enable you to pass the essay part. Of the 8 of you that emailed me last week, 7 of you can write coherent sentences and paragraphs. However you had your paragraphs out of sequence. I am going to give you and example of what I am talking about before go any further into this character thing…
Let’s start with this one: “I like Thanksgiving.” Okay…There is your first sentence and they want 4 more to follow…So here goes an example:
“…I like Thanksgiving a lot. During Thanksgiving I get to go to my grandmother’s house and visit my family. I also get to enjoy a turkey dinner and all kinds of desserts my aunts make for the family! I also get to play my guitar and sing for my grandfather who really loves music, but cannot play anymore. It is a holiday for which I am grateful that I get one more day to be with the ones that I love the most!…”
There…Did you notice how I did this? It covers your 5 W’s in that darned book too. Now…That is your INTRODUCTION…Next is the other paragraphs, right? Check this out.
“…I like going to my grandmother’s house for Thanksgiving because it is big enough to hold all the relatives that show up, and there is plenty of room at her table for us all to sit. Grandpa sits at the head of the table, and we take turns helping him to get to it since he is not used to moving around in his new wheelchair. When he’s there we all eat until we’re stuffed and then we all just want to take a nap so we go to sleep on whatever beds we find! Grandpa goes back into the living room and watches T.V. with my mom and Grandma…”
See what happened there? The reader knows what happens just before, during and after dinner. Now let’s go further…
“…I woke up at 3:3o and sang a song I wrote just for Grandpa. As I was strumming the guitar and getting to the last verse, I looked up and saw a tear rolling down his cheek and he was smiling. He has been sick for about three months, but he always makes time for me. We could have lost him earlier this year, so I am so grateful that we had this time together. I hope to have many more of them because my Grandfather has been a very important part of my life!…”
Do you see what happened there? It became less about the food and the holiday and more about the love this child has for his/her grandfather, right? THAT is what those test graders love to see! That last paragraph can also be used as a great closing, can’t it? You should practice writing ONE sentence about something important to you every day and practice building on it in a journal. It does help!
NOW FOR THE OTHER STUFF that 3 other people asked me about:
”Even in the most oppressive of regimes, the spirit of no man can ever be caged…Just as the mustang roams this valley, man has to go freely where his spirit directs or he becomes a slave to his own shadow, which repeats lies to him constantly about how past errors are his own fault …” Prelude to Awakening –Ch 1
This is the opening lines of a book I am working on. My characters are slowly evolving, but I will use a profiling method to make sure the fit is right for the rest of the stuff I’m putting into it. Yes, you read it correctly…I’m profiling…To profile a character, you literally have to create a ‘life” for them. Who are they? Where were they born? What about family, IF they have one? What do they like to listen to music-wise? Food? Pets? If they are evil, why did they become corrupted? Were they abandoned, abused, or just hardened to the core? Childhood memories–build them for your characters. It does help…YOU LITERALLY create an identity from scratch and make it real enough that even if you don’t specify–let’s say–that they hate liver, it will come out in the story in another way.
Question one: Could this person really exist? If you need to ask that, watch “Stranger than Fiction“. THAT will blow your mind. Your character’s profiles should be so believable that a stranger would think you were speaking of a real people if they saw your notes lying about. God help you if you are a student and it is your mother (who cleans up your room because YOU never do) that finds a particular passage that mentions how a fictional character likes to sunbathe nude, but your mom actually thinks you’re writing about the minister’s wife two doors down because of everything else you’ve got thrown in there! If you are writing something based on ANYONE around you and you are still attending school, I only have three words to share until it’s finished and someone you know you can trust reads it for you: “Hide that crap!” I didn’t and ended up in the counselor’s office at least 3 times a month all through High School. This is especially true to you young men and women who love to write rap songs. God knows what they’ll think–especially if you live below the 36th parallel.
Just remember one thing when you are putting your heart and soul into anything you write: “…Every moment that arrives you’re the greatest thing alive…” and it might get you through the day…Thank Duran Duran for that song “All You Need is Now”. Give it a listen. It’s about NOT giving up…If you’re ready to toss your manuscript or your paper, essay, etc…Then you do need to give this song a shot! If you are writing for your own enjoyment, it’s even better because you don’t feel pressured to come up with the wording all the time–eventually, it will flow.