Character Trading Cards


Character Cards

Create Trading Cards For Your Fictional Characters:


     How do you keep your characters physical traits and bios straight ? I have tried so many different ways and have found many that I like and that work for me. I have tried keeping photos and magazine cutouts in a binder located next to each character's photo. I sometimes use a pinup board and place photos next to index cards that give descriptions of each character.
     While writing my last blog post about character sketches using worksheets or templates I remembered a web-site that I stumbled upon about a year ago that had a great idea about making character trading card-like baseball trading cards. I searched the web today trying to find the site again and after a long search I found it. Lynn Viehl, a published author posted an article about creating character cards a while ago on her blog, Here .  I liked the idea then and I love it now.

     I made these really fast at the site I discovered from the pbackwriter. It was really easy and a lot of fun. You should try it.    Create your own character card



     I looked around for other sites that offer the same and found a few, but none that I like nearly as much and none that allowed me to include nearly as much detail on the card. Here is what I found.


     Have you ever considered making character cards? If you have made them or know of any other web-sited where you can easily create your own trading cards for characters, please share.

Lost Blog Content 

Failed to Renew Domain Name- My Blog is MIA


Hello friends and friends I cannot locate & hopefully new friends and fellow bloggers. I took a six month hiatus from my blog so that I could finish my novel. The good news, I did it!! I  finally finished the last revision of my first novel, a legal thriller, titled JUSTICE FOR SALE. It was a lot of hard work, but the feeling of finally typing "The End", is beyond description. Now I must begin the frightening and exciting stage of the dreaded query letter.  

The bad news, while neglecting my family, friends, social life, work, and my blog so I could finish my novel, I failed to renew my domain name, http://fictiontoolbox.com and it is no longer available.













I feel certain that I will be able to find some of the blogs I followed, by viewing my favorites, bookmarks and saved documents. I had a great list of writer related blogs that I simply adored and often looked to for advice and up to date pointers for my fiction writing.

It almost seems pointless to even be writing this post since I no longer have followers. How do I expect this to reach you? I am going to do everything I can think of to locate my followers and the blog writers I simply could not live without before I shut the world out to finish my book. Some of your names and some of your blog names or website addresses will come back to me if I did not completely overwork my brain during my countless revisions of JUSTICE FOR SALE.

My blog design was also treated to a fabulous and quirky makeover, compliments of Tenille at The Cutest Blog On The Block. She is awesome. I was difficult to work with and she never complained. She made countless changes for me and I love the finished product.

I am sure many of you are thinking that my new design by TCBOTB is a little over the top and probably way too funky and busy for a writer and even more so for an attorney.
Everything in my life as an attorney is plain Jane from the color of my boring suits to my letterhead and even my office. This writing blog is not an official platform for the promotion of me as an author and when I get ready to build that platform you can bet I will use Tenille, again. Of course it will be much more conservative and professional. Until then, HAVE YOU HEARD



which can now be found at http://fictiontoolbox.blogspot.com will remain wild, funky, and colorful. It is me and the bright colors and pattern combinations and contrast make me happy and make me SMILE.

Tenille is a life save (or blog saver) as she managed to get this up and running again. If only she had a magic wand she could wave and Poof, all of my contacts would reappear. Well it is close to Halloween. I believe in magic. Don't you?


I have a big favor to ask of you.


 If I am fortunate enough to locate you and your blog, If you have been kind enough to click on my link and have landed on this page, if you were a friend or follower of HAVE YOU HEARD, located at www.ficitontoolbox.com. Please join again. If you are new to this blog, I hope you will join as well. Please forward my new address, http://fictiontoolbox.blogspot.com to anyone on your list that you think I follow or would like to follow.

Have  a great day/night.

Missing you,                              



Character Worksheets and Templates


Character Worksheets? Do you use them?


Get To Know Your Fictional Characters. 





Character Worksheets

    


     How do you get to know the characters in your novel? Do you audition them before you even write your first word? If you want your characters to be believable and well rounded it is important that you know them inside and out. You must be able to determine how they will act or react in any given situation

   
    Do you interview your characters? Do you have a favorite worksheet or template that helps you get to know your characters?  It is easy to come up with your own set of questions for you characters. 


     How much do you need to know about your fictional characters? While you need to quite a bit more about the background, physical features, mannerisms, fears, goals and the likes and dislikes of your major characters, it is also important know about your minor characters


     You will find many articles on-line that cover this topic. The internet offers a plethora of forms and templates that you can download and use as a guide.  The level of depth differs for major and minor character. I find these worksheets extremely useful as I prepare character bios for all my characters


     You cannot write a novel with believable characters if you the author do not know who they are. You need to know more than just hair and eye color or height and weight.  How do other characters view this character?  What is his strongest positive personality trait? Was he brought up in a strictly religious home and how does that affect the choices he will be forced to make in your story?


     Is your impact character a follower or a leader? What are her hobbies? What is her position in the family (youngest or oldest) and how does she relate to her family. Does she keep her friends close and enemies closer?


     How does your protagonist see herself?  Is it basically the same or does it differ drastically from the opinion of others?  What is her greatest accomplishment in life? Does she put on a facade and present herself to others as a competent and confident woman while secretly battling a case of low self esteem


     Did something terrible happen to your villain when he was a child? Did he never recover from witnessing his mother’s brutal murder? Does he act all macho, but is deathly afraid of thunder and lightning?


     Or maybe your antagonist lost her husband and child in a car accident and has a secret agenda to punish all drunk drivers. Perhaps she suffers from borderline personality disorder because she was raised by a single alcoholic mom and she is unable to let go in relationships.


If you don't know your character then you cannot possibly know the choices he or she will make






     Will you actually need all of this information to write your novel? Probably not, but it helps you write believable if not understandable actions and reactions. If you are not intimately familiar with your characters you can't possibly know the difficult choices they will make.



     Characters are just like real people. We all have a breaking point and our history, background, beliefs, morals, strengths and weaknesses help determine where that point is.



     Think of yourself; what or who would you lie for? Steal for? Kill for? Now delve deep into your own history, emotions, experiences and morals, now conjure up some of your lifetime experiences and use them to get inside your character’s head.. Even the most reasonable, moral, law abiding, church going do- gooder can have her moral compass go south. The trick to good writing is to know what it would take for this to happen and to do that you have to know your characters.


     Character worksheets are helpful if you have to put your writing away for a while and pick it back up later. You will have an easy reference for all of your characters so you don’t have to reinvent them or search through your entire manuscript for the details. I also find character worksheets helpful during my revisions when I realize I made a mistake on let’s say, page 233 by giving a minor character chocolate colored eyes when they are actually hazel (or have been throughout my book). You get the point.


     For a basic template that is useful for recording the minimal amount of information needed for your characters, Tabitha, has a great one that you can download or her blog Writer MusingsYou will also find other interesting and helpful articles that are writer related. Check out her blog. http://tabwriter.blogspot.com





     The most detailed character chart or worksheet that I have discovered belongs to Charlotte Dillon. She offers a free download
Here.  Charlotte writes mostly romantic fiction, but her character worksheet works for all genres. I am using it now and I love it. Visit her blog to read other informative post at www.charlottedillon.com 


     I recently downloaded another character worksheet generated by Pamela Dowd.  This is also detailed and works for major and minor characters. I especially like the format.


     Do you have a magic set of questions or a form that you use?  Please share.

Best Blogs For Writers. Top 23


23 Best Blogs For Writers:

When we are not writing what are we doing? Reading. Writers love to read . Bloggers love to read. Don't you just love it when you stumble upon a writer's blog that is jam packed with useful, helpful, interesting and entertaining content? I do. The blog that keeps you up for hours at night as you devour the content, asking yourself, “How in the world did I not know about this blog?”
I am far from an expert in the area of search engine optimization or using keywords in text or seeking link-backs, in fact I feel like a complete idiot when I attempt to understand any of the above. But, even a complete idiot knows that the more popular blogs are the ones that are listed high on the Google search page and I am sure that they deserve to be there. But what about the newer blogs or the blogs with kick butt information and content that have somehow been overlooked by SEO?
Most of us become friendly with our fellow bloggers and make a point of following our followers and we often check out other blogs followed by our favorite bloggers. This is probably the best way to discover new blogs with fresh content that appeal to our needs. I mean you can't get much better than a recommendation to view a blog given to us by someone we know and trust. This is the best form of advertisement.
Every once in a while I come across a blog that I have never heard of and I start reading and cannot stop. Does this ever happen to you? Below is a list of blogs that I have found to be invaluable resources to me as a writer. I am sure that you have heard about or already follow some or most of them, but you never know, one could be new to you and just might be that diamond in the rough that will make you wonder how the heck you missed it.
If you discovered any of your favorite go-to blogs by accident, luck or chance, please share it with us. Please leave a link to your favorite blog for writers in the comment section. Even if it has been around for years with a giant following it just might be new to someone else.
There is nothing quite as wonderful as feeling connected to other like-minded individuals.


    1. When you sign up for fiction writer coach, Emily Hanlon's mailing list you will receive a series of emails over a two month period, including more articles on the subject, fresh writing prompts and writing exercises designed to boost your creativity. http://www.emilyhanlon.com/writing_exercises.htm Emily offers a wealth of resources for writers including her three aisle book store, inexpensive audio cd's or downloads, tele-seminars, tele-conferences and reasonably priced individual writing coach or mentor packages to meet your needs. http://www.emilyhanlon.com/about_emily.htm
    2. The open fiction blog and the open fiction project courseware . The open fiction project is a resource for teachers and writers that provides you with a complete set of materials for an introductory fiction writing course. It is a resource for receiving feedback on your fiction and writing exercises. http://www.tofp.org/
    3. http://www.caroclarke.com/index.html awesome writing advice
    4. http://www.stephaniebond.com/ tons of information and articles for writers
    5. http://www.sff.net/people/alicia/ Alicia Rasley's writer's corner
    6. http://www.autocrit.com/wizardformpage.php need help editing your manuscript? Just enter or paste your text into the box & voila. Amazing
    7. http://www.darkwaves.com/sfch/writing/ckilian/ advice on novel writing from beginning to end to published with EVERYTHING in between. Author leaves nothing out
    8. and this list would not be complete without one of my absolute favorites, my all time number one go to blog when I am writing. http://thebookshelfmuse.blogspot.com/ or also known as The Emotional Thesaurus. Angela & Becca really do have just about every emotion your character can exhibit listed here with several descriptive words & excellent examples. They have also ventured out and now include a setting thesaurus and even character trait thesaurus. Check out the colors thesaurus. This is one blog you want to visit if you are not already one of the thousands of followers. I guarantee you will return to it often to help you with descriptive words, actions, feelings, mannerisms & body language.
    9. http://misssnarksfirstvictim.blogspot.com/ a great blog for aspiring authors

Character Ticks, Quirks and Mannerisms


Character Ticks Quirks And Mannerisms:


     Which Television, film or novel characters stand out in your mind? We will never forget the Kramer of sitcom; The Dr. House of Drama, Phillip Marlowe of film and the Sherlock Holmes of novels. Why? Because they are unique and memorable. What distinguishes the unforgettable characters from the ones who do not leave much of a lasting impression.

     It is vital that you attribute specific and unique gestures, ticks, quirks and other mannerisms to your fictional characters that will leave a lasting impression on your readers. Give your characters certain movements, gestures, habits or manners of speech that are unique and not common among other characters
.
     How do you come up with unique and quirky character traits and mannerisms for your fictional characters? This is the easy and fun part. You already know that as writers we have to be observant of others. Much like a police officer is trained in the art of observing others and being able to recall what they observe, we writers must also perfect this skill. Use every opportunity you get to people watch. Master the art of eavesdropping. You can pick up distinct and believable character quirks and manners of speech by doing this.

     The mall, airport, bus stops, train stations, and coffee shops are excellent places to try out your detective skills. Just like police officers it is important for writers to have an opportunity to observe, a clear unobstructed view and to make sure that nothing hinders your ability to observe and perceive.

     Staking out your perpetrator can be fun. It requires patience and a lot of observing, but you can do it almost anywhere. Try sharpening your observation skills while waiting in line at the grocery store, at the bank, picking your children up from school or dining out. Make a list of unique ticks, quirks and mannerisms. Try to figure out why your target is acting nervous or pompous. This is another creative way to add ideas to your plot bank.

     The unique idiosyncrasies that we give our characters add to their charm and give them depth and believability. They make our characters human and multifaceted. They are also neat little ways to foreshadow an upcoming plot twist or to give your reader a clue toward unveiling a mystery.

Here is a list of ten of my favorite character quirks
    1. Sucks on her teeth when nervous
    2. Extends her leg and sways her knee back an forth until it pops each time she sits down
    3. Greets everyone with a hug
    4. Twitches her nose like Samantha from “Bewitched” when worried or nervous
    5. Always has a chilled iced coffee in her hand with a straw
    6. Clears his throat excessively
    7. Will not go anywhere without several rolls of mentos fruit candy
    8. Eats the toppings off of the pizza, then the cheese and saves the crust for last.
    9. Cannot go to bed without a full glass of water, a glass of orange juice and a diet soda next to her bed but seldom drinks any of it
    10. Has to sleep with both the television and radio on

What unique quirks have you given your fictional characters that distinguishes them from every one else?
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