What Would I Say To My Younger Self?

Picture courtesy of Google.com

Dear AJ

In only a few short days it will be 2019 and I decided today, that it might be time to look back to your life and maybe help you out living it by sending you some advice. You’re 16 years old and I think it’s time you get some hints.

Just in case you think someone plays a trick on you, believe me, nobody does! Look at your desk. The lowest drawer, in the very back, there is a little envelope, glued to the bottom of the drawer. You remember you hid a love letter, a dried red rose and a silver necklace with a heart from your very first ‘boyfriend’ ever? How would I know about that if I wasn’t you? Let me tell you: one day you will regret the decision to throw that envelope away, after keeping it for more than 15 years. One day the world will be drowning in so-called ‘cell phones’ where you can talk on the phone and send messages all over the world, anytime, at any place, and secret love letter such as this one will cease to exist. Keep it in your heart, him, who has made your first kiss an unforgettable experience and, despite the age gap, treated you with utmost romantic respect, making your ‘relationship’ one of childlike innocence with no pressure and no demands.

But that is not the reason why I’m writing to you. I would like to tell you that your life is not going to be as easy as you thought it would be. In many ways, you are too trusting and if you don’t quit to believe every story people tell you and try to help them with whatever you own, early enough, you will go through quite poor times. Be a little trustful, be a bit more careful and please, be the tiniest bit more selfish. You will always do everything for everyone and too often you will face broken promises, downright lies and a hell of an empty bank account. You know how you grew up – with the natural helpfulness your Dad gave you, the sense for the responsibility you were taught and sensitivity you will find out years later, you have. You’re strong, you’re a fighter, but your nature makes it easy for people to use you. Don’t let that happen and set a ‘stop’ early enough! It’s easier to stay strong and say stop than using your strength to fix later what others did to you. Remember: If you are making yourself a doormat, don’t be surprised if everyone keeps wiping their boots on you!

Remember that several of your teachers mentioned that you are a talented writer? You love writing, poems, and stories equally! Essays are easy for you to write, and you love to build stories, fairy tales, and fantasy worlds. Keep it up, girl! Use this gift and start writing early. One day you will be able to publish by yourself! I know you write regularly, but don’t hide what you are writing! Soon enough you will see it’s a good idea to start letting people see it! One day, I promise, you will publish a book. I only wish you would do that earlier!

Other than that, I refrain from going any deeper into your life. You are emotional, passionate and stubborn. Who says which one of these is a virtue or a weakness? I found out, each has its place in your future. Things are going to be the way they were planned for you. Everything happens for a reason, and there is rarely a bad situation that doesn’t result in something good.

Just one more thing: If you are offered a great chance, take it! It’s good to balance the pros and cons, but if you keep balancing you might miss the chance! Don’t be too scared. Take the step and see where the path leads you to! You must know, there is nothing worse in your life than the regret about the opportunities you didn’t take!

Now take care, be a good girl and keep smiling. Your humor is one of the things in your life and personality that make you who you are!

With love, hugs and the best wishes for your (our) future!

AJ

Character Names – Worth A Research?


Lately, I met an Irish woman whose first name I simply love: Mairead. She told me it’s the Irish version of the name Margaret. I was fascinated. Margaret is a great name, but to my ear, Mairead sounds mysterious and a bit magic.

After a little bit of research, I found out that it’s believed the meaning of the name is ‘pearl.’ I’m convinced in one of my books a character called Mariead will show up.

That coincidence is one of the very few occasions so far that I met a person whose name I plan to use in one of my books.

Most of the time I have a ‘rough plan’ about a particular new character in my head already. Before the ‘fine tuning’ I most of the time need a name. In my head, I can only imagine a character as a person if he or she has a name.

XY is often in a fit of violent temper.
XY is well trained in controlling himself and playing a peaceful and prudent man.
XY occasionally twirls his beard when…

and so on. These things don’t work for me if I cannot address the person properly.

Erik is often in a fit of violent temper.
Wilbur Carstairs is well trained in controlling himself and playing a peaceful and prudent man.
Grandpa Ben occasionally twirls his beard when…

That’s much better. My head has a picture of Erik, Wilbur and Grandpa Ben now.

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Imagine now I created a beautiful Irish woman with light skin, black hair and bright blue eyes. She’s filigree, but no matter how tender she looks, her magic makes her strong. Nobody knows what powers slumber inside of her.

Before going deeper into her character, find out her flaws, build her in detail, I want to be able to think about her as a person, not merely a ‘picture’ or a ‘draft.’ I have a good basic idea of how she will be. What I need now is her name. A name that in my opinion, matches her looks as well as her character (and what I have hidden inside of her).

My research will look like this. First names on the left, last names on the right. I researched the names and the meanings.

After taking notes of the basics, I’ll leave the paper for a while and later on I’m trying to figure out what I like about the names, how they match. I keep scribbling onto the note until it looks like this. (And of course my favorite is red).

And here we go: Welcome to my book, Aideen Brady.

Do you think this is too complicated? What is your process to find your character’s names? Are names really worth such efforts? Let me hear your thoughts, please.

Interview With One Of My Characters – 2


 

Hello, welcome to ‘Writer’s Treasure Chest.’ I’m honored you took the time to visit us.

It’s my pleasure to be here. Thank you for the invitation. I am, however curious, how you found out about me. Only a handful of trusted people know who I am and where to find me.

 

Yes, I know, you are someone unique, and you were quite difficult to find. But we’ve got our connections. It seems you adjusted quite well to the human species. Please, tell us who you are.

My name is Eavan Delaney. Dr. Eavan Delaney. I studied at the university and work as a psychiatrist with patients who have PTSD. I am, what you would call a distinguished expert, being invited to many medical congresses, talking about my field of expertise and consulted by colleagues to assess their cases. I also teach as a guest lecturer at the university.

 

As I mentioned: you blend in excellently. But this isn’t your true nature, right?

No, it isn’t. I am, indeed a magical creature. When I was still little, my parents had to flee their hereditary court and duties. They left me with people they trusted and disappeared. I was brought up like a human, educated and developed and I am now trying to continue what I was left to do.

 

Which is?

My people are at strife. I am supposed to unite them against our common enemy. It seems my time as a human being has taken its toll. I am delayed in what has to be done, and I need every help I can get.

 

Who is your enemy – or let’s say, the enemy of your people?

I am very sorry, but I cannot tell. I am the last guardian of our secrets and every word I speak about who I am, every single time I’m in danger to expose myself, is dangerous, not only for me but all of my people. I am our last hope.

 

Are your parents still alive?

I don’t know. I was told they disappeared and nobody has seen them ever since. The highest caretaker of our Nature is supporting me, and he told me he searched for my parents but had no chance of finding them. At one point their trace took him to nowhere and disappeared. He now tries to support me within his possibilities.

 

Do you have more relatives, siblings?

I got a half-brother. But we aren’t close. I was informed he too was hidden after my parents disappeared. He’s my father’s son, but I know him barely.

 

I like your hair. This rich, wonderful dark shiny brown. It’s beautiful.

Thank you, but I admit, it’s carefully colored. My hair color is quite unusual and would give me away immediately. I like this color too. It’s part of a mask I’m wearing to keep hiding and still working on my duties.

 

Now I’m curious: What happens if you’re too late – or you cannot fulfill your duties.

Oh, I don’t want to think about it. See, the conflicts between my people are that significant they forgot their original task, and we all suffer from this negligence. The storm is already raised. If we get any weaker, our enemy will be successful. If this happens, the war will annihilate our people, and the entire world is going to drown in fire and ice.

 

That is a grief-stricken prospect.

Nevertheless, it’s true. I would love to be positive about the outcome. Now that I got help the chances are better. But still, I need to hurry up before it’s too late. Better keep your fingers crossed, A.J.

 

Yes, I will. – You seem to be nervous. Do you need to go?

Yes, I’m afraid I have to. I will be picked up soon.

 

Thank you very much for being my guest Eavan. Please, take care, and I’d be happy to see you soon.

It was my pleasure. Thanks for the chance to visit you.


 

“Fire & Ice” – courtesy of http://www.google.com

Character, not caricature – written by Lisa Hall-Wilson

Lisa Hall-Wilson on Kristen Lamb’s blog writes about creating strong female characters, a blog post I read with interest and find worth sharing.

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Character, not caricature.

Portraying strong women authentically is tricky. Most of the time, I find strong female characters are caricatures of an extreme: the dim-witted blond, the stock-in-trade man with boobs, the femme fatale. These are stereotypes sure, but what they really are is extreme examples of real life. Can you find an example from history of a female warrior in a male-dominated society – sure, but she’s an outlier. If you want to write an outlier character that’s fine, but let the traits that make her an outlier be the source of her strength not her ability to wield a sword.

Let’s look at a real-world example, Malala Yousafzai. She’s a strong woman, but is she strong because she survived a bullet wound to the head? Yes, partly, but moreso she’s strong because of the choices that led to her being targeted, and the friends and family who empowered her to follow her heart.

Are you able to portray women without these extremes that’s both likable (or at least worthy of cheering for) and surprises readers? That’s the tricky part.

 

Please continue reading here:

http://authorkristenlamb.com/2017/08/the-write-stuff-creating-strong-authentic-female-characters/

 

Back to School – New W.A.N.A. Classes for September! – written by Kristen Lamb

Kristen Lamb has posted the new upcoming W.A.N.A. classes for September 2017! Thank you Kristen!

 

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It’s back to school for everyone – not just kids. Vacation’s over. Fun’s over…or maybe the fun is just beginning.

This fall, W.A.N.A. is back with new classes, new instructors, and lots of exciting announcements coming up. Bookmark W.A.N.A. and make sure to subscribe to my blog to stay up-to-date with all the news!

Don’t forget to hop on over to the W.A.N.A. Tribe to join in our daily writing sprints in the chat room! The Tribe is a thriving community, and we are planning on some awesome upgrades to the entire Tribe experience this fall.

NEW CLASSES FOR SEPTEMBER 2017(click the link for the classes)

 

http://authorkristenlamb.com/2017/08/new-september-classes/

Fashion For Characters III

This is the third time I venture to lay hands on fashion for our characters. In my first blog post I dared to talk about the difference between some Historical Romance book covers and the truth; in my second post I showed some past and maybe current and future fashion in the Science Fiction genre.

Right now I decided to peek into ‘my own’ genre, Paranormal Romance. It took me a while to find out what genre I write in. According to Wikipedia, Paranormal Romance means, I write about “Supernatural behavior, abilities, and creatures in our current existing world’. I think this covers it pretty much. I’m sure there are similar or other explanations, telling us more or less the same thing. But this is right. At least that’s what I do.

Let’s take the existing world, mixed with ‘supernatural abilities and creatures.’ These creatures might be all kinds of characters, from trolls to orcs, to fairies, ghosts or even, as I introduced you to: shadows like Rapha Golden, demons, like Ethel, or even this one, unique and mysterious humanoid beautiful ‘Simin Arnatt.’

Let me pick Simin as an example. Simin is mysterious. She holds many secrets, and I am not the one to reveal them, except one: Simin is no spoiled princess. She’s a warrior, a fighter, even a hunter, and exceptionally good at what she does. That’s why, during her work, I dress her into something like this:

 

Picture courtesy of http://www.google.com
Picture courtesy of http://www.google.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Of course, Simin is a business woman as well, after all, she’s a freelancer in… – never mind. But occasionally she meets clients, agencies or her lawyer. In such a case she has been seen wearing similar outfits like the ones here:

Picture courtesy of: http://www.pinterest.com
Picture courtesy of: http://www.pinterest.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Picture courtesy of: http://www.pinterest.com

 

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Simin has the right to be on vacation like other people as well. For these occasions, she has outfits for summer…

Picture courtesy of: http://www.pinterest.com
Picture courtesy of: http://www.pinterest.com
Picture courtesy of: http://www.pinterest.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and winter.

Picture courtesy of: http://www.pinterest.com
Picture courtesy of: http://www.pinterest.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Simin is a unique person, in more than one way. Her life is adventurous and at times dangerous. And still… she’s everywhere and nowhere. She hasn’t known a home for a long, very long time. Her wardrobe is limited. But this doesn’t mean she has no taste or is not fashionable. But I promise, one day, you will find out more about her.

What would you dress your paranormal romance characters in? Do you have published a book in this genre already or are writing one? What are your characters wearing? Please let us know in the comments below.

Fashion For Characters II

In my blog post ‘Fashion For Characters I’ I showed the difference between certain book covers of ‘Historical Romance’ books and the ‘reality.’

This time I decided to talk about how to dress ‘Science Fiction’ characters.

I have to admit; I can only talk about what I would dress them into, rather than what I do make them wear because Science Fiction is not my genre. Science Fiction is probably the perfect genre to read for technics and computer lovers, Star Trek, Star Wars and Star-whatever’ fans, which I’m deeply ashamed to admit I’m not.

But let’s see if I still can endeavor to find something decent to wear for these characters. At this moment I depend on what I remember. When I was little my Dad loved to watch the old Star Trek show, and I find their ladies fashion irresistible and I cannot and will not deprive you of seeing what people back then considered decent fashion for female Science Fiction characters:

Picture courtesy of: http://memory-beta.wikia.com/wiki/Harry_Mudd
Picture courtesy of: http://bit.ly/2ovFAQt

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Nowadays I figure our imagination of a Science Fiction Princess on a formal event might more be dressed in something like this:

Picture courtesy of http://www.pinterest.com
Picture courtesy of: http://bit.ly/2oyXMI9

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Or if there is a technical computer war in some space ship, we could dress her in this?

Picture courtesy of: http://www.pinterest.com

Or do we like it a little sexier? Maybe this would be more (in)appropriate for our story?

Picture courtesy of: http://www.pinterest.com

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Right here, I preferred dressing ladies in my imagination of Science Fiction characters. I would be very curious what kind of ideas you would come up with. I’m a woman “dressing” women. But what would a male writer do in such a case? Aren’t mainly men writing Science Fiction after all, or am I very wrong with this guess?

Let me hear what you think.

Conflict is More Important than Character

This is an eye opening article, written by Steven Capps. It is quite controversy to what many think. But I guarantee, read the post, and it will make you think. thank you Steven.

Bard & Books

I know that this is an unpopular opinion. Truthfully, there are countless people who are smarter and more successful than I am, who believe the exact opposite. Up until a few days ago, I believed that of all the elements of a story the concept of character was, by far, the most integral element of a narrative. I am not saying that it is unimportant, but rather the idea of conflict has more power in creating a compelling narrative. It drives tension, creates depth, and is pervasive in every element of skilled storytelling. To kick off this discussion, I want to present my view of character.

Character: The Lens of the Reader

pexels-photo-186675

Characters are representations of people who have a role in a story. I argue that in order to qualify as a character, the person depicted actually has to engage in some sort of activity relevant to the Point of View…

View original post 1,973 more words

Interview with one of my characters

shadow_demon
Picture courtesy of: http://standarddeviationclothing.blogspot.com/2011/08/shadow-walker-7th-man-magazine.html

What is your name and can you tell us something about you? 

I’m Rapha Golden. You could call me a “shadow.”

 

 

What does a “shadow” do? I mean, you don’t look like someone incorporeal. You stand here, and actually, look pretty handsome. 

Oh – thank you. – Well, to be honest, all of us “shadows” are handsome. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be able to do what we’re doing.

 

 

You said “all of us shadows.” You mean, there are more than “just” you? 

–laughs–

Of course, there are more than just me. There are thousands and thousands more. Let me think. At the last counting, we were 496’722.

 

 

How can you keep track of all of them so exactly? 

This is a secret. I’m sorry, but I’m mandatory to keep certain things to myself.

 

 

Of course. But can you tell me what a “shadow’s” job is? 

Yes, this I can.

We are living amongst people. Most don’t see us – but some sense us. For the ones who can see us and even talk to us, we are handsome, friendly, amazing strangers. To the ones that sense us, they just take in our friendliness and what we “let them feel.” For all others, we are designed to get as close as possible and whisper into their ears.

 

 

Wait a second: You are “designed” to whisper into human ears? Do I understand this correctly? 

–laughs again —

This is correct. But we don’t whisper nice things… it’s more the opposite. With our whispering, our influence, our advice and silent suggestions, we are steering humans into the dark direction; onto our side.

 

 

You are talking about the “dark side”… evil things? You are influencing humans to do bad things that might cause them ending up in hell? 

–sardonically grinning–

Of course, dear lady. I could even do this with you.

 

 

HA HA HA – Yes, sure! Like I would let this happen! 

There’s nothing you can do Aurora Jean.

 

 

Of course, I can. Don’t forget: I can sense you, I can see you, I can talk to you, I made you and I can easily make you disappear again. 

What?

 

 

Oh yes, Rapha Golden…. you are my creature. You are one of my characters, and as handsome as you are – It wouldn’t cost me more than a couple of mouse clicks to let you disappear. 

F%$#*

 

 

Would you mind not using words like this in my office? We are not in your favorite cave here. 

You! You b^%$*

 

 

That’s what I mean… this interview is over. Oh – you are sooooo going to pay for this in my book!


My apologies for Rapha’s inappropriate language. I just “discovered” him and thought it would be kind of fun to introduce him. Apparently he screwed it up.

I hope you had at least a little fun “meeting” him.

A. J. Alexander