Finding The Characters For Your Novel

black people

In writing any book that will become a trilogy or epic novel, you need a couple of regular and complex characters.  It would be nice to write a book about only two people but can you imagine how boring that would be.  What are they going to do? Drink coffee and watch movies for the next 350 pages?

In a mystery novel, you need to develop characters with backgrounds, hobbies, glitches, and etc.

My character Natalie has a past.  Her past has no part in the murder of her husband but it gives you insight as to who she is.  If you understand her, you can relate to her.  Even though, how she was raised or where she was raised had nothing to do with why her husband was murdered, it challenges the reader to toggle with the fact that she may have done it.

In order to deflect the obvious, more people needed to be involved.  Surely if she was to claim her innocence, other characters had to come into play.  Someone needed a motive or a reason to murder her husband but where do they come from and how do they look?

To invoke inspiration, I searched different images of people.  Once I decided the type of people I wanted to use, I did an exercise.  I  used the web searched images to help build characters.  The images allowed me to add depth to my story.

Here is an exercise for you.  Listed below are three images.  

  • Who are these people?
  • How can you relate them to your story?
  • What type of descriptive words can you use to describe them?
  • What is their story and how do they affect your main character?

No matter your writing genre, a good/evil character, can make or break your story.

Character roles can be small or enormous, it doesn’t matter as long as they correlate with the main person in some form or fashion.

Happy writing to all my new novelist and bloggers!

 

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Fat People Can’t Eat

 

 

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If you know me, you love me…Well most people do.  But you also know that I am chubby.  I have always been chubby.  My chubbiness is not a side effect of medication, genetics, or an illness.  I just don’t exercise.  It’s not that I do not want to exercise, I just have a hard time getting started and finding time in my day to do it.  I used to be a fitness fanatic.  Believe or not, I used to live to exercise and then my youngest son burned down my house.  Kinda of hard to get back on track after that.  That incident was 15 years ago.  I have had many things take place after that and have not quite found the space where I was the Jane Fonda of my family.

I do try to lose weight.  I know more about nutrition than anybody I know.  So I do not need unwarranted advice on how to be thin.

The other day at work, I was starving.  I hadn’t ate breakfast and I was up all night with my grand daughter.  I was tired.  When I got to work, I spent most of the morning and early afternoon drawing blood on the floor.  Unable to get coffee or food, I found a candy bar in my locker.  Needless to say, I devoured it.  What I didn’t know was that a co-worker was watching me.  He found me eating so funny that he shared it with the other staff.

At first I was angry.  But then I remembered, I am intelligent, smart, talented, and the best worker in this place.  I have things going on in my life that I am proud of.  I am grateful for each day that I wake up and each night that I sleep.  If I get angry, they take my power.  My power and strength is mine not theirs.  I refused to give them the satisfaction.  When asked about it, I simply said “I was hungry” and continued working.  The joking stopped when they did not get a reaction from me.

The women that work there all have had gastric bypass.  So in essence, they were chubby too.  They suggest that I do it because of my weight.  I don’t knock anyone who chooses to take action to become healthy but don’t suggest to me about losing weight if you still eat like you haven’t had your stomach cut in half.

And they did all of that for who?  One of the women cheats on her husband.  The other woman’s husband cheats on her.  The guy that works there is still single and he is 50 years old.

Yeah, I’m fat.  But I am happy and I am working on me.  I need to get my shit right so it takes time.  I want to do it the right way and not rush into shit and fuck it up.

My advice is to love yourself, ignore those who don’t know the true you, and keep being beautiful…  What God has for you is only for you.

 

 

 

 

 

Sistah Girl..Stop With The Pettiness

petty

The best thing about creating a novel is using your own experiences and thanks  to an evil co-worker, I am able to evoke a certain emotion or characteristics into one of my characters.

Being petty is a relatively new word.  I have seen pettiness all my life, especially from women.  Nowadays, petty is a synonym for strength or assertiveness.  I highly disagree with this latent concept.

My co-worker embodies petty.  If you look in the dictionary you will probably see her smug face, rolling eyes, and pursed lips beside the word.  I call her Ms. Petty.  Ms. Petty  is also my acting supervisor.  Compared to everyone else that works there, she is the new kid on the block.  8 months into her new role and she has already managed to rub the seasoned phlebotomist the wrong way.  Her knowledge is supreme, meaning she assumes that she knows more than any of  us with a combined 25+ years of experience working for the company.  Because of her position, she is arrogant and cocky.  Each day I watch her dictate, be rude to people, and carry on with a snarky attitude.

In the midst of her reign, she managed to find a friend.  A fellow co-worker who often comes in to help when we are short-staffed.

The complaint about her is always the same.  She doesn’t like to work.  She doesn’t like to do this or that and she is mean to the elderly patients who come in. The co-worker, who comes to help, sees this despite of their new burgeoning friendship.  Being the fair person that she is, she wrote a detailed email to the chief about the behavior and habits of Ms. Petty.

A meeting is called.  Ms. Petty is reprimanded harshly.  Ms. Petty was not happy with the one she thought was her only friend.  She devised a plan to make the young lady’s life hell each time she visited.  It started subtle at first.  Saying slick comments indirectly when she was around.  Sticking to rules she was usually relaxed about and finding little things to write-up disciplinary actions.  Ms. Petty even wrote her up for scrolling through her cell phone.  A crazy reason to find fault with someone.  The office was empty that day, except for the staff, we were all bull shitting but Ms. Petty had it out for the young lady and scrolling through your cell phone was against policy.  Whatever the young lady did that was slightly out of policy and procedure, Ms. Petty wrote and emailed to the chief .  After three write-ups, there is a verbal and after the verbal, termination.  Ms. Petty had the young girl written up three times in a week.  She is now on the verge of losing her job.

Tired of the cattiness, the young girl immediately complained about Ms. Petty to the president of the company.  Her world of evil reign and ugly behavior is coming to an end.  I am loving every minute of watching Ms. Petty squirm through karma.

Reflecting on the situation I often wonder, what makes a person turn into “Ms. Petty”.  Logic dictates that there is a catalyst behind certain behaviors.  As part of my novel, I chose a character, based off of Ms. Petty, to be the trouble maker for Natalie.  A character that has nothing more to do than to make Natalie Dupree’s life uncomfortable.  The character is not happy with themselves and find joy in being mean and spiteful to Natalie.  The underlying catalyst would be jealously and envy.

Being petty is childish and ridiculous.  It is the main reason why women argue and bicker with each other.  Everyone wants to be a kid.  No one is willing to be an adult in the situation.  No one has the courage to be happy for someone else even if their life mirrors defeat and stress.  No one wants to be the bigger person.  An eye for eye is a petty person’s favorite biblical quote.  We cannot grow as women if we do not learn, uphold, and appreciate one another.

So without further ado, I will not look down on Ms. Petty.  As a matter of fact when I get to work, I may thank Ms. Petty.  It takes a special person to be selfish, crude, disgusting, lazy, and mean for the sake of seeking pleasure in another person’s demise.

She has given me the greatest antagonist for my character Natalie and after weeks of searching for one, I am thankful.

Thank You Ms. Petty!

 

 

*Important: #1 Rule for Writing a Successful Novel*

 

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Rule # 1

  FIND THE FREAKING TIME TO DO IT!

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I work a 9 hour work day.  I get up at 4:15 am every morning, get dressed, drink coffee, and be out the door by 5:20 am.  I stand most of the day on my feet.  When my shift is over, I spend another 45 minutes fighting traffic before making it home.  My 18-year-old daughter lives with me and so does my 2-year-old grand-daughter.  My daughter is a young mother.  She does not have her license and depends on me to get back and forth to work.  She has to be at work by 4 pm.  I pick her and the baby up from my house and drop her off at her job.

I get home and try to clean, finish laundry, and feed the baby at the same time.  My fiance gets off of work around 5:30 pm.  He insist on telling me how his day went and questions me about my day.  I listen to him vent while chasing the baby, cooking, and washing clothes.  I give her a bath around 7 pm and she is asleep by 8:30 pm.  By the time I get the chance to take a bath and relax, it is 10:00 pm.  I have just enough time to get to bed and hopefully be asleep by 11:00 pm to get at least 5 hours of sleep….If I am lucky.

Only one issue, I chose to become a writer of a great mystery novel!  The one caveat that I am learning as a novelist is how to carve time out of my day to actually write.

Like most people, I am a creature of habit.  The humdrum of my routine has become…. routine.   And if I want to become a great writer, I have to break out of this cycle of nothingness.  Don’t get me wrong.  Working is productive, helping my daughter gain independence is important, spending time with my grandchild and fiance is important but it is not going to get me where I need to be if I do not change.

As  women, we often neglect ourselves to take of others.  It is ordained in our DNA.  But how can we take care of others if we do not take care of ourselves?  Starting this novel has caused me to reflect on some things and become more active in progressing my goals.  If I can take the time to write, I can take the time to exercise and meditate.

In my early morning routine, I am learning to write while I am drinking my coffee at 4 in the morning.  As I drive to work, I daydream about my characters sitting through stifling bottle-neck traffic.  On my lunch break, I write.  Even if I misspell words or there are fragments in my sentences and grammar mistakes in my paragraphs.  I still write.  After I put the baby to bed, I shower and then I write.

 

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A dream is only a dream until it is acted upon.  Success does not come easy.  You have to be willing to sacrifice time, sleep, and other pleasures to reach your destiny.  Rome was not built-in a day and a great novel will not happen overnight.

Key Point:  FIND THE TIME TO WRITE… All good things take time but you have to start NOW.

God forbid the day comes and you are 90 years old and never finished your book.  Do you really want to reflect on how you could of, should of, or would of?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Have Decided To Write a Mystery….So What On Earth Is The Plot About?  

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The good thing about writing a mystery is that murder is not the only key to a plot.  I could be an art curator assisting a detective about a stolen Picasso in a famed museum in Paris.  I could be a private detective hired by a family searching for a loved one.  I could be part of a FBI task force on the hunt for a bank robber.  The best thing about being a writer is an avid imagination.  I can be anyone in the world I choose to be!

Only one problem.  I have never been to Paris and know very little about Picasso’s work.  I have never experienced having a loved one disappear and the only thing I know about the FBI is what I have seen on TV.  In other words, great ideas but no platform of experience to build on.

Once again, I struggled with this.  My mystery would have to hit home with familiarity  and of course a huge imagination to make it appeasing.  After much thought, it hit me.  The heroine or villan of the story would be an amplified version of me.  After a  day of tearing up rough drafts, plots and outlines, Natalie Dupree is born.

Eagerly, I began to create her world.  5’3 caramel complexion with hazel green eyes.  A rich husband, who is a successful lawyer at a prestigious law firm in Baltimore, Maryland.  Two children and a life that any woman would die for.  I have birthed a woman whose life I would have envied.  But of course in a mystery novel, nothing is ever as it seems.

The joy in creating this novel will be the chaos that ensues.  Scenarios and visions began to flood my mind so fast, I could not type fast enough.

The bliss and artistry of writing is euphoric and daunting.  A task that I am more than eager to carry out.

God Bless my fellow authors and bloggers….Our world of imagination is the true art of our creativity!

The First Step In Writing A Great Novel

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I sat at the computer watching the cursor blink.  A white space glaring at me awaiting a key stroke of a letter, a word, a sentence, or a paragraph.  My mind circled with questions.  Who do I write about? What do I write about?  What am I trying to convey to my reader?

In my pursuit to write a novel, I became flustered.  Too many questions and nowhere to start.

I searched the web and found my impeding answer, What is my novel’s genre?

Bloggers, poets, and authors all have something in common, we are gifted and can write with great ease.  Horror, mystery, romance, sci-fi, or biographies, it doesn’t matter.  To a talented writer, this is a fun playing field.

I pondered all day about what genre to showcase my novel.  I like romance but sometimes get bored with it.  I love being in love but often times feel it is overrated.  My boredom would eventually convey in my writing and lead to a disaster. Horror is great, but it was 2 am in a dimly lit quiet room and I was alone.  My brain was not ready to write about ghost, demons, or deities.

After two cups of coffee and a cold slice of pizza in the wee hours of the morning,  I decided to go with a mystery.  There is a certain joy in trying to figure out who done it.  The reader takes on the persona of the detective.  Interviewing potential witnesses and looking for clues at the crime scene. I poured through books by James Patterson, Walter Mosely, Steven King,  Chester Himes, and Attica Locke.

I needed inspiration from best.

So with a third cup of coffee brewing, I sat at my kitchen table and began to type the first page of my great mystery novel.

 

 

 

 

Where Are Our Black Novelist?

wirting your book

A sweet white lady writes an ebook about fantasy.  Sells over a million copies.  A white guy writes a book about Tesla ( What the hell is that?)  earns millions.  The stories they have written seems interesting enough but where are our talented African American writers and why is there no buzz about them.

I took a break from blogging because on top of working full time and creating a business, I was becoming overwhelmed and thought I was going to lose my mind.  In the process, I decided to read a good book.

I go into my local bookstore.  I love all books but this time I wanted to read something pertaining to the trials of my own culture.  Sadly, I was bombarded with books that concentrated on hooker, hoes, drug dealers, and black mafia…. What the hell is this shit?  Not saying none of the books are good.  They are probably juicy and full of surprises.  But it angered me.

As African Americans, our culture has written some of the greatest books of all time!

The Color Purple

I Know Why The Cage Bird Sings

The Darkest Child

How Stella Got Her Groove Back

The Bluest Eye

And I hate to say this but the books they displayed gave a ratchet type of vibe.  Don’t get me wrong.  I am sure these are great books but what is going on?  Anger permitted me to speak to the book store manager.  He stated those were his top selling books and there was not a specific genre for African American writing.  Meaning, lets just group them all here and hope they (African Americans) buy them.  What an Idiot!

We write mysteries, romances, science fiction, history, biographies, in essence, we are the shit in this game!  I just do not know what happened to our culture of books.  It seems as though Love and Hip Hop has delegated a whole new set of boundaries and voice to the African American culture.

Forgive my rant, but I have decided to write a book and help other black authors along the way.  We are so talented in many things.

I pray this a journey we can take together!