Setting Touch: #Preptober, Day 20

We've covered all the "S" senses (sight, sound, smell) We've almost covered all five senses now – except for the very last: touch. The sense of touch is powerful, and like most senses can go in either a positive or negative direction, depending on the person doing the touching and the person receiving that touch. Think about positive forms of touching first: shaking hands, hugging, Continue Reading...

Setting Tastes: #Preptober, Day 19

We've covered all the "S" senses (sight, sound, smell), so now it's on to the Ts. Today's sense to ponder is taste. Thinking about your setting, there might be quite a lot to taste, or very little, depending on where your character is and what they're doing there. If your character is in a café or restaurant, taste is paramount! What do they want to eat, and what makes them crave those Continue Reading...

Setting Smells: #Preptober, Day 18

Having covered sight and hearing, let's now turn our attention to something that's as plain as the nose on our face. Let's talk about our sense of smell. The sense of smell can be a bit tricky when thinking about your setting. Many of us tend to ignore smells unless they are particularly bad. For instance, the smell of rotting garbage may alert your character to the fact that today is Trash Continue Reading...

Setting Sounds: #Preptober, Day 17

Yesterday we talked about settings in terms of our sense of sight. Today, let's turn our attention to a slightly under-used sense: HEARING. What kinds of sounds are present in your setting? This could be music, speech, ambient sound, or even deliberately irritating noise. Let's start with music. Writers often like to work music into their novels, whether to set the mood or to use lyrics as Continue Reading...

Setting Sights: #Preptober, Day 16

This week, we're shifting from talking about character development into creating your setting. When choosing your settings, the goal is to put your characters into interesting situations, of course. But another good exercise to try is thinking about the five senses that will be stimulated in these environments. So, today, let's start with our most frequently used sense: SIGHT. Thinking Continue Reading...

Character Hangouts: #Preptober, Day 15

As we finish up with our character development prompts, today's focus is on your character's favorite hangouts. That's right: it's time to start thinking about your setting! Hangouts are a good place to start, when trying to situate your characters in their world. These could be real-life locations, or entirely fictional places, depending on your story. I like to create fictional Continue Reading...

Character Path: #Preptober, Day 14

Happy Birthday to me! Yep, today's my big day, and I'm using it to keep on prepping away. I'm also doing a little giveaway to celebrate, so if you'd like a free copy of my book, NaNoWriMo: A Cheater's Guide, just click here and use coupon code BQ85L. But back to Preptober! Today is all about your MC's current path. What on earth do I mean by that? Yesterday we talked about backstory, Continue Reading...

Character Backstory: #Preptober, Day 13

Happy Friday the 13th! Don't let your superstitions get the better of you today, because it's time to talk about your character's backstory. First of all, what is backstory? Basically, it's everything that happened in your character's past. That means EVERYTHING. The good, the bad, the ugly, and the downright fugly. The stuff they've lived through, the circumstances they've dealt with, Continue Reading...

Character Family: #Preptober, Day 12

Family members are an important part of any story. Even if they're absent, long dead, or unresponsive, our family helps shape us as people. So why would it be any different for fictional characters? As Flannery O'Connor once observed: "Anybody who has survived his childhood has enough information about life to last him the rest of his days." Almost everything we say or do can be traced, Continue Reading...

Character Flaws: #Preptober, Day 11

Character flaws – who needs 'em? You do! Or, rather, your character does. But why would you want to go and ruin a perfectly good character? Because that's what makes them interesting! Human beings, for better or for worse, all have flaws. Sometimes they're pretty obvious. Narcissists, for instance, are pretty easy to spot. (America's current President, for one ludicrously outsized Continue Reading...