Flawless characters or not?

What is the basic for a good novel – or novella – or short story – or even a fairy tale? Yes, it is the characters.

How do we create a character? Will it be one main protagonist or eventually a group, male, female?

Within all my so far written short stories I created female protagonists. I am a woman and therefore might better understand a woman (or girl) in thinking, speaking and logic. (Yes… females are logical too.)

 

I therefore decided to try and create a female character right here within this post together with you.

 

We are considering that this story takes place in 2015 Los Angeles.

 

Question:

Who is this character? Yes, she is a woman. But what I’m asking myself at this moment is: Is she shy or outgoing? Is she controlled or whimsical? Is she thoughtful or spontaneous? When she talks, how does her voice sound?

 

Answer:

Our character is an outgoing but still controlled personality. She likes contact to other people and is quite social. Still she controls herself very much since she’s got secrets she does not want to reveal. That’s why she thinks nearly every action carefully through before doing something. Her voice is soft in volume but still strong and sometimes even velvety.

 

 

Question:

Where does she come from? Who are her parents? How did she grow up? How was her childhood? Does she have siblings or another person besides her family? How old is she?

 

Answer:

Our woman is in her early/mid-thirties (33), comes from an old rich family and grew up quite spoiled. She had everything she could dream of and so did her brother. Her parents were amazing, even though she had her Dad working most of the time and her mother being nearly obsessed with her beauty, the girl wasn’t missing a thing. She also grew up with her uncle, her mother’s brother, who was a quite unlucky person and living in the guesthouse on the family property. Our girl considered him her best friend.

 

 

Question:

How does our character look like?

 

Answer:

She is tall for a woman, about 5’11”. Her eyes are a warm chocolate brown, her hair is waist long and wavy, the color of ebony. Her skin is a soft honey color. She is slim from nature with small hips and endless legs but her entire body is a little more muscular than a regular female body and her breasts are barely cup size B.

In the middle of her right eyebrow a fine, white, about half an inch long scar cuts her brow bow.

 

 

Question:

What kind of relationships does she have?

 

Answer:

Her parents are dead. She lost them when she was barely 20 years old. Her older brother has his own family and is not very fond of her and wants to keep her away as far as possible. He lives in Tennessee with his family. Her uncle is in prison. She has three best friends, one of them male.

 

 

Question:

What is she doing in our story? What is her ambition? What are her goals, what does she want to accomplish?

 

Answer:

She is a children’s psychologist trying to support misused children. She as well has founded an encounter group and anonymous help line for abused children or young adults.

In many ways she is a very soft hearted and supportive personality. Her need, towards the outside, is to help. But her internal need, unfortunately, is to punish…

 

 

Question:

Is her a character flawless? If no, where is the hidden flaw? Is she going on someone’s nerves with that? Can it be repaired or hidden?

 

Answer:

Yes, she is hiding what was within her childhood. She is hiding that she is not just out of the blue supporting these abused children – she has been going through this herself. She hides murderous rage and this is a secret she may never reveal. Can it be repaired? No, it might be too late for her.

 

 

Question:

Does she know she has a problem she is hiding or that she needs to work on what’s bothering her since her childhood? Is she aware she needs help? Does she show on the outside that she is torn between compassion and rage?

 

Answer:

She knows the secrets she’s hiding, but she has buried them so deeply she is not aware that these problems need to be worked on. She believes strongly the more she supports others with their problems will help her too.

 

 

Question:

Is our character relatable, and if yes, how? Do we recognize a realistic woman who could have faced what she was going through? Can we imagine meeting a woman like her within our friends or even family? Can we identify with her and feel with what she’s going through?

 

Answer:

Yes, she is someone we can imagine interacting with. She is someone we admire for what she’s doing, her work, her compassionate heart, her ability to reach out to the victims. We have no idea who in our real life has hidden secrets, so she wouldn’t be an exception.

 

 

Question:

Is there something that keeps her away from being some sort of super-woman? She is selfless, helpful, supportive, brave… but what with her rage? What is it that is dangerous to her?

 

Answer:

She is an amazing person. One we’d love to be in touch with: an ideal woman in many ways. But there is this one thing that might break her – even destroy her: fear. Her rage is born within the darkness of her being scared to go through abuse again. She’s trembling to meet her worst nightmare again. her abuser.

 

 

Question:

What is her name?

 

Answer:

Her first name is “Danica”, the Slavic word for “morning star”. (I found this fits since she is like the first morning light to many she supports)

Her last name is Baldwin. Derived from the Germanic elements „bald“ (bold, brave) and win (friend).

(Names and meanings taken from: http://www.behindthename.com/)

 

Hello, Danica Baldwin:

 

 

I do create most of my characters this way. Since most of my short stories are paranormal romance or fantasy I am free to extend the one or other character strength or flaw a little bit and do the same with the look of my protagonists.

 

You might ask: Do you have a list? And I will reply: Of course I do. There are uncountable lists of how to develop characters. One that works for me and which I used for this blog post is to find here:

http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/guide-to-literary-agents/the-9-ingredients-of-character-development

 

I hope you do like Danica Baldwin and let me tell you: it was so much fun creating her together with you. Thanks so much.

 

AJ Alexander

 


 

This post was published first time as a guest post on Val Rainey’s blog June 15, 2015. Thank you so much Val!!

 

I am so proud to announce that I was invited to write a guest post for the blog of Val Rainey. I decided to write about how I create a character – and that’s exactly what I do within my blog post, together with the readers.

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Fear of the Big Bad Wolf

 

 

Thinking about my childhood means to remember Fairy Tales. My Mom loved reading us the Tales of Brothers Grimm, like so many other parents did to their children; without realizing how cruel those myths were.

The ones I heard when I was a child. How many Fairy Tales of Brothers Grimm were written where a big bad wolf is eating the Grandmother as well as seven baby goats? We are talking about Red Riding hood and the wolf and the fox. There are several others as well. One thing I remember was that my sister was in never ending terrible fear of the bad wolf. I played the tough one, but I can now admit I wasn’t always happy to walk over to my bedroom all by myself as a kid.

Brothers Grimm History

History and research teach us that the Brothers Grimm studied law at the University in Marburg. After their University time they focused on their secret obsession of exploring the historical development of German literature (legends, documents and poetry). Within their studies they defined the scientific basics of this work field. They did not limit their studies to German documents but included English, Scottish and Irish sources. But Brothers Grimm as well extended their work area to Scandinavia, Finland, The Netherlands, Spain and Serbia.

Mainly it was Wilhelm Grimm who we have to thank for collecting the mutual delivered stories, sagas, legends and myths. He was the one setting the basics for the so called ‘Fairy Tale literature’. He wrote them down, polished the edges and removed or re-described the lore hinting to erotic contents.

Many of the Fairy Tales weren’t for the fainthearted and created for adults to read.

Between 1815 and 1819 Brothers Grimm published a “cleaned up” version of the German Fairy Tales for children. In 1823 they published an English version of ‘Fairy Tales for children’.

At this place I don’t want to continue with the life of Brothers Grimm, except to clear up one historical misbelief. Brothers Grimm never traveled through the world collecting their Fairy Tales. Wealthy and well-traveled people within their circle of acquaintances carried the greatest part of their myths and Tales to the Brothers.

Getting rid of the wolf trauma:

As an adult I did research on the ‘bad wolf’ to lose my fear. I was surprised to find out that my Native American Totem symbol is supposed to be the wolf.

Wolves have a high sense of loyalty and are social creatures. They are known to be incredible communicators by using touch, body movement, eye contact and many vocal expressions. People with the wolf as their Totem animal are often natural talents in speech as well as creative writing.

The meanings of the wolf as a Totem symbol means: loyalty, cunning, generosity, intelligence, friendliness, compassion and communication. The Totem wolf symbols are amongst the ones who understand that the wolf is a representative of deep faith, deep emotion and high intellect.

(Thank you very much W. J. Barnett who told me what my Native American Totem is, and I never thought it is a wolf. And thank you, Jackie Barnett-Wilder for explaining me what the symbol means. You both are amazing)

 

******

 

________________________________________________________________________

This post was published first time July 21, 2015 on Val Rainey’s blog.

I was invited to guest post over at Val Rainey’s blog, where I wrote about the fear of wolves children may develop while hearing the old fairy tales of Brothers Grimm.

I hope you will like White-wolf-A-Jthe post and I’d be honored if you will leave a comment.

 

Thank you very much Val Rainey for the chance to guest post!

AJ Alexander

 

How important is the book cover? (Guest Post)…

I am very lucky being a guest on Chris, The Story Reading Ape’s blog today. He published my guest post “How important is the book cover?” I’d be delighted to see you checking out the article and leaving your comment. Thank you so much!

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

After trying to find answers to so many other questions, I tried to find out, how important the book cover is for a book.

Considering the common saying “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” I was told that this might apply to people, clothes, situations – and whatever else, but doesn’t apply to books in general!

How do we buy books? Let’s say, we’re trying to find a new author we heard of but don’t know yet. We read a book review we liked; we were told he/she was a good writer, his/her name isn’t generally known. What is next we will do?

Check out his/her books, right?

From what I imagined, the eye does have an influence on our decision. It’s a little bit like with meals:

Let me ask you: Which plate would you prefer eating?

EzV3OD

Picture courtesy of:anonymekoeche.net/

I read that a book…

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#Read about Guest Pre-Published #Author Aurora Jean Alexander

Today I’m a guest on Chris, The Story Reading Ape’s blog. I’m so grateful he took the time to publish this post and I’m quite happy how it turned out.

Please read about it here and enjoy. 🙂

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

Aurora Jean Alexander LogoWho am I?

Hello,

I am Aurora Jean Alexander, a romance short story author, and poet. Right now I am working on my debut novel. When I’m not writing or at work, I’m into sports like traveling, extreme reading or going for long romantic walks.

Important keystones in my life are the support of my boyfriend and the affection of our four cats.

I have an extended bio on my Website, and I’d be happy to welcome you there anytime.

What does writing mean to me?

I started reading at a very young age. In many ways reading wonderful and mysterious stories was something to tickle and develop my fantasy. One day I read a book I never forgot. That day I felt the need to write stories. I wanted to create people, tell their stories, and build worlds and adventures. I one day wanted to write a book telling…

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