Creating characters can really get the inner furnace a-fire. But here you will find some useful and helpful info on what you can do that won't get you frustrated or fired up.
Character charts area always good to keep on hand for those spur-of-the-moment character ideas. Here is the link to that chart:
Quick: How many times do the words "he thought" appear in your latest story? Or are there more Italicized lines of character-think than unitalicized narrative? Neither situation works to pull readers into the action of your story, but there's an easy way to clean up your manuscript before an editor rejects your book because of it.
Use the Keep In Touch method-KIT for short-because I have found that it keeps me in constant touch with my character's thoughts without once using the words he thought. Too much italicized text distracts the readers’ eye from what is really happening in your story, and disrupts the flow of their reading. This is what you need to do: Just before writing down the thought, have your characters perform some kind of physical movement. Preferably something to do with his head. Sound stupid? Idiotically simple? Then check out these two examples:
Before KIT: What in the world was that? Mary thought as she stared at the bright object in the sky. Is it an airplane? One of those big weather balloons? Maybe even a real UFO? She felt a chill race through her body. Will it abduct me?
With KIT: Mary's hand went to cover her mouth as she stared at the bright object in the sky. What in the world was it? An airplane? One of those big weather balloons? Maybe even a real UFO? She felt a chill race through her body. Would it abduct her?
Nobody's idea of great writing, but see what happened? Mary performed a physical act-put her hand over her mouth-and prepared us for what she did next: think. That act also makes clear who is thinking. Notice, too, the change of tense and point of view. Before KIT, Mary's thoughts must be in the present tense and first person, the writing jumping between present and past tense and first and third person. With KIT, we happily remain in the past tense and third person the whole time.
Another great tool for getting around blocks, or just starting something new is by using a Tarot Deck. By using the 'Constructing a Story Tarot Spread' by Geraldine Amaral found at Tarot Passages website, it is easy to get a short story going. Progress the story futher when in a jam by using the 'Story Telling' spread by Riccardo Minetti. Though this needs a base knowledge of the Tarot, all tarot decks come with a pamplet or even a small paperback book that explains what what each card represents both in inverted (unside down) and Up-right. Always trust your instincts and write down your first impressions of the cards. If you cannot get anything from an inverted card, turn it up-right, interpret the meaning as you see it, then invert the card and see if you get anything out of it. Most times, the meanings are opposite of the up-right card meaning.
The Tarot can be a valuable tool to those who are dedicated to learning and working with it. Don't foget to thank your deck once you have a good story going...it may give you something bigger to work with next time. :) I have more information on another site of mine, 'My Wiccan Corner', on the Tarot Page.
A valuable and affordable place to link to and shop. :) I would recommend shopping here for your first tarot deck if you really are not sure if you wanna get into it and spend $30+ on a brand new deck. Try a used deck and move from there. :)