Friday, March 24, 2017

Writing Characters: Likable, Relatable, Chemistry

  Your characters are the key to your novel. And there are so many details that go into their creation. And those aspects, no matter how small, are important. And honestly, I worry about having fully-developed characters more than anything else in the writing process. And it's not an irrational worry... because it's very important to make sure that a character (I'm talking about main characters throughout this post, so if you ever hear me say, "character", I'm referring to the main character; unless otherwise stated.) So if you're writing a novel, or aspiring the thought, I have a few proposals for you: One, go check out the blog links that I'll be leaving in the comment section below the post! Two, go try out Beautiful People. It's a character building/introduction meme, and trust me, it helps. So go do that. Three, introduce yourself in the comments! I'll start. Hi, I'm Allie! *waves quickly back and fourth* So make sure to check out the links below, try the character meme, and introduce yourself!

"RELATABLE" 


  So basically, your character runs the show. And all there emotions typically drizzle from the pages. So your reader gets to know them like a best friend.

  But just think for a moment what it is you love about your best friend so much? It probably comes down to about two or three things. One, you can relate to them. Two, they're a cool person with a great personality. Something like that, right? Well, reading a book and soaking in the main character is like getting to know your potential best friend.
  So, in reality, the reader's "relationship" with the main character (and/or others) comes down to those two things.

  Your main character does not have to be perfect in any way. I mean, they can totally be the worst person ever when it comes to personality or morals or something. (And, as a note for the future, I'd like to say that you should definitely make sure that your character has flaws, bad habits, and makes bad decisions with an aftermath or any decision in general with a bad potential.)

  Then why should the reader like the main character if they're not... lovable?

Because they can relate. Okay, let's jump into a hypothetical situation.

  Let's say your main character is rather timid and shies away from people. And people think he/she is just a jerk... but then later you find out that that character is just that way because of his/her past or sad situation.
  And let's also assume the fact that said character has lots of bad qualities. Maybe they're always angry and rude. Maybe they're also blunt and uncontrollable and unpredictable. (Gosh, I'd hate to be trapped in that story with the guy! *realizes the sad truth; that's Allie*) Well, there's really only one reason why the reader can like this guy; they can relate. (I've said that a lot now... but it's clear, now, right?!)

  Now, let's move to the reader's POV. Maybe he/she's an introvert, and maybe they don't really prefer
people, and maybe they find themselves slightly angry a lot, resulting in they're
being rude to others. And maybe they posses (to a premature degree) the other traits of said character, too.

Let me just add that this character we're talking about is highly exaggerating humans in general. So as a note for later: Keep your character's personality as believable as possible, and their [bad habits] as normal as possible (nothing completely irregular. Not that you can't have a few of those, too. Just don't go willy nilly with terrible traits unless this guy's a pshyco or a complete cookoo. Which in that case, you won't find me interested, thanks.)

Let's look at one of my favorite heroines, and (for me) a relatable main character.

Suzanne Collins' Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) comes from a futuristic America. Every year, The Hunger Games takes place. Basically, kids are taken from the Districts, and placed in the Games, where they have to compete to... eliminate the other children. it's definitely a disturbing picture, but here me out. She's a good example of an unlikeable-yet-relatable character. By nature she's an introvert. She's not really a people person, and she's quite blunt. She
likes to go against the grain. (She's my twin! Yep, Kat's an INTJ.) And without going into specifics with her character, you can probably guess that a decent amount of people can relate to her. Now, she certainly posses unlikeable traits, but that's okay. As long as she keeps the title of relateable. (Which she did, at least, in the rest of the books. And I'd say her character stayed rather accurate throughout the movies, too.)


"LIKEABLE"

  And then there's the likeable characters. Even though you probably can't relate to them, you can't help but love their amazing personality and personal charm. 
  Honestly, I have an easier time loving relatable characters, but that's just me.
  What are some of the traits that a likable character might posses? 

I'd probably say... funny, charming, kind/sweet, caring, extraverted or a very warm-hearted introvert. Any of those in general. (I'm not saying that all extraverts are nice, because honestly, extraverts tend to be happily-blunt. But, I think it comes naturally easy to love an extravert.)

  We can look at my fictional-crush, now.


I think Thomas is a good example of a not-so-relatable character. In his defense, he's quite... confuzzled? He's in a state of confusion in the beginning of the series... and his personality (sweet, but strong when needed) could be relatable for INFPs... (and those who are similar, I guess) but I just can't relate to him. Basically, Thomas is placed in the Glade, surrounded by a huge maze. I can't say much more without giving spoilers, so I'll just say that things change when he shows up. He has a great personality, maybe slightly clingy... he's kind, but (as I said before) strong when necessary. 
  I can't point out exactly what I just adore about Thomas. He's an extraordinary character, developed to perfection. And while (as I said before) I can't relate to / or understand him, I just am in love with his personality. 

  He's highly likable in my opinion, and of course he has a potential for clingy. Overly-clingy. But nevertheless, he's a fun character.


  I think it might be more effective (if I really study the idea) to have a relatable main character. Why? 
  • The reader can think of themself as that character, which (for some reason) helps them enjoy it more (?!) 
  • Having a relatable character (aka a normal, flawed creature/person) will probably act more truly to the situation (i.g. Global Disaster = Confusion, Scared, semi-timid character) versus having a "likable" character who will be, well, likeable (despite this crazy turn of events?!)
  • Relatable (flawed) is believable. And that's what we're going for.)
  I don't too often see a likable character playing the role of Main Character, and I believe that could be due to the reasons I listed above.

Note for Future: It's completely okay to break the "norms" in relatable/likeable characters. I'm only categorizing what seems apparent to me. It would be interesting to see a likeable character out there, kicking butt. Versus the Relatable character. 

  We can look at a couple examples of Main Characters from some well-known trilogies/series. Tris from Divergent: Relatable. Katniss from The Hunger Games: Relatable.
  And then we can check out their "partner". (I would say sidekick, but come on! Four is NO sidekick... and neither is Peta for that matter.) Four from Divergent: Relatable. Peta from The Hunger Games: Likable.
  When your shaping your MC's partner-in-crime (a term that suits, certainly) it's okay to travel far from the beaten trail.
 Note for future: Never ever EVER try to create the EXACT relationship between YOUR MC and their (the MC's) P-I-C (partner in crime) as one before you (Say, Veronica Roth) has already done. I know it's temping, but please don't. Most who read your book will be able to recognize the congruent relationship... and you really don't want that. It'll degrade your story and characters, and the character's uniqe relationship won't stand out. And that's exactly the opposite of what you want. Be careful.
  Before we go on, I just would like to clear up any confusion. The Likable and Relatable character stances are just categories that I see in books. You've got to admit that in anything there's always going to be a few obvious (or, maybe even vague) types of something. And that's what I see here. So please don't think that you HAVE to follow one or the other. You don't. Really. I'm just stating that readers will adore your character for one of these two traits. You can mix and match the two, creating your own unique character. All I'm saying is, these are what the reader likes. And unless you believe you can successfully brake the character norms and do something truly brilliant that the reader will love, I would consider trying to at least TOUCH one of these areas in your character.


"MORE-THAN-FRIENDS" 

  My amazing friend, Esther, advised me to make Holden and Jave "more-than-friends" in Creation x. Honestly, I have a hard time writing out feelings, that's why I say God Bless Draft #2! But, she stated that creating chemistry between the two "friends" would please the reader. And she's completely write (pun intended XD). So, I tried to warp the relationship to meet the "More-Than-Friends" standard. 
  You might say that it could slightly crush the readers expectations if your main characters fall for other people than eachother. I have no clue how that works, but isn't it a possibility?! So... you could incorporate something like that between the MC and PIC (partner-in-crime). 

  Here's how to do that successfully.

NOTE FOR PAST: I really should have divided this post into three separate posts, since it's so incredibly long. But I didn't. And I probably won't. So... sorry for this terribly long thing!!!!

  I'm sure at least a quarter of you reading this have heard of MBTI (Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator, aka INTJ, ESFP, etc.). For those of you who don't, you can read a little bit about it on the 16Personalities website and maybe even take the test.
  Let me try to give you a quick overview, though. We'll use myself as Subject #1, and a friend of mine as Subject #2.
  Subject #1 (me) is an INTJ. What does that mean? INTJ is an acronym for Introvert, iNtuitive, Thinker, Judger. There are sixteen different "types". INTJ is only one. And, amazingly, only 2% of women world-wide are INTJ.
  Subject #2 is an ESFP. What does that mean? ESFP is an acronym for Extravert, Senser, Feeler, Passive. ESFP is the polar opposite of INTJ. THe ESFP is an outgoing, yet down to earth person. They live off of facts, but they are high-feelers, which means they're more common in women then men, and they are MUCH more touch-feely than subject one. They're highly-passive, compared to the INTJ.

  From what I've learned, the perfect match is an INTJ and an ENFP. And that just happened to work with my story, since I had already planned to have Jave be an INTJ/P (j/p means that she's boarder-line, 50% Judger and 50% passive) and Holden be an ENFP/J. They're probably more compatable as friends (what I had originally anticipated. They would be), but that shouldn't be a problem... hopefully. XD

  So... what does this have to do with "More-Than-Friends"?

  If you're planning to create a relationship between your characters, I'd try to match their personalities. (INTJ & ENFP, etc.). It's might be easier if you research that stuff a little bit on the 16Personalities website, or you could just come up with the type for one your characters, and search on Google, "What is the perfect spouse for a/an ____?"
  It's up to you.
And again, matching personality types is just an idea. It's sort. Of a guideline for me, too. On top of the other great things about profiling your character's with a MBTI.

P.S. As a quick note before we exit into an overview, I'd like to remind you to keep a God-honoring "relationship" in your story if you end up adding romance in. Controversial? Talk to me in the comments.

OVERVIEW

 Expressing Relatable versus Likable in your characters (in my opinion) will help you to write more focused and distuingishable characters. Staying true to their personality types is a plus when using MBTI. Chemistry is a maybe in your novel. You can add it, obviously, but I encourage you to pursue a God-honoring romance in your novel.

Long post, yeah? Can we agree on my Likable/Relatable Stereotype? What about the MBTI thing? Are you writing a romance, and have you been using the MBTI types to focus the characters and relationship? Keeping the fictional relationship God-honoring? Talk to me in the comments! (And apologies for the way-too-long-and-not-very-thorough post! Did you find it thorough. BTW?)




Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Beautiful Books: A Past Edition

  Hey guys! Yep, a new post on The Depth of my Faith! Nope, no new computer cord. And no, I didn't buy a computer.
  I'm thinking that I'll have to go through at most half of NaNo without a computer. But! I got a good temporary solution.



  I grabbed the iPad, hooked up my wireless keyboard, downloaded a few of my favorite writing songs, and made a spot for myself at my desk. I downloaded the Google Docs app to the iPad, and started writing! Now, most of what I can NORMALLY do, like graphics and snippets, have been chopped down to the core of essential elements. Because I'm on the iPad, I have no access to my old files like pictures or anything, so I won't be making graphics for these posts, (besides the ones I already had made and uploaded to the blog's archive) and I can't take segment pictures of my story (snippets)!! *cries* So... I'm happy that I got a FEW snippets ready in a post BEFORE the computer died. (They're in the March Recap post, and that'll be up in days. So don't worry!) As I mentioned, supplies are VERY limited. So, this post will have to do.



And you guys be like...


Okay, before we start, let me just say that this is a WAY old Beautiful Books. Nothin' new. And because it's nearly impossible for me to go track down the Beautiful Books post these questions came from, I won't. Yes, yes, I'm leaving you graphic-less, snippet-less, AND link-less.... maybe even quality-less... But.... I GAVE YOU GIFS SO BE HAPPY. Now... INTO THE QUESTIONS! 



What came first: characters or plot idea? Are you a plotter or a pantser?

  Plot idea, definitely. I had no idea what my characters would be like, besides I small hint with how they should work with the plot.
Do you have a title and/or a “back-cover-blurb”? 

  I've got various nicknames... Facility 52, The Running, etc. But since it has no 'official name' yet, I'm just sticking with Creation x. And do you mean a synopsis??? If so, then yes, sort of. 
"Everything is shattering and it's my mistake."

Jave Revvlyn is placed in a isolated facility among the next generation of the resistance in 25th century tyrannical-America. Things are happening that no one told her were possible. People, places, questions. It was all happening. She had a choice; pretend like nothing ever happened and all is well, and go home safe... or die. 
But among them there's a plan; An escape strategy to run far away and join the Resistance. But there's a cost. She can never go back. Leaving everyone she's ever known and loved; abandoning the society she's learned  to obey; and fighting for a better day. She's told that nothing will ever be the same. The rules are changing, and the game's got to be turned around. But she has to pick a side. And the answer is more blurred than ever.
What wordcount are you aiming for when your novel is finished?

  6o,ooo at least... hopefully more, but you know, work. XD
Sum up your novel in 3 sentences.

  Ummmm.... okay!? 
Jave doesn't want it to change. She's helping the people who do. This is the game They like to play on her. 
ACK IT SUCKS. But whatever.

Sum up your characters in one word each.

  Jave, passive. Holden, true. Cory, trust. Ben, awesome. Will, hardened. Lily, confused. Lisa, heart. Becky, hurt. 
  I think I got them all!!!
Which character are you most excited to write? Tell us about them! 

  Oh, probably Cory. Cory is one of the Imports. He's... sarcastic, original, sweet, courageous (risking his own life way too much, without really knowing it. XD) and just all around the best ESTP ever, in my opinion. I think I'll enjoy writing him, because he adds a stupidly fun touch (at least, that's what I'm going for.) And he's one of the only extra eras in the group, and I find writing them just as fun as being around them. 

What about your villain? Who is he, what is his goal?
So... Protech is the villain. He's not completely evil... he just has plans for development. And his idea of development might not be the cleanest and/or safest way to go about bringing everything back to it's original. He's really just a guy with a dream. (Doubtless of whether or not that "dream" is for the good of the country, or for his own wealth. His goal is to successfully complete his idea of a "Better Country". And anyone who gets in his way is a dead man.

What is your protagonist’s goal? And what stands in the way?

  Jave's goal is to take down those who are bringing about the tyrannically-portrayed "changes". And... her and those responsible for the rebelution want to shape a new country with it's own Omnijust constitution.

What inciting incident begins your protagonist’s journey?

  The kid napping. 'Nough said.
Where is your novel set?

  28th century America. It's been deprived of most inhabitants, due to the 'bug'. Those who are left are trying to bring about a 'solution'. Two groups, two ideas, one nation. Let's go. XD 
What are three big scenes in your novel that change the game completely?

  Um, isn't that technically a spoiler?! Well, whatever. I'm just going to skip this one. I CAN'T TELL Y'ALL THE PLOT TWISTS NOW CAN I. 
What is the most dynamic relationship your character has? Who else do they come in contact with or become close to during the story?

  Hmmm... well, there's the thing between Jave and Holden. Then there's the something between Jave and Will... and of course, the whatchamacallit between Jave and Ben... And then there's an odd bond between Becky and Jave... and of course the sister thing between Jave and Lily. And... yeah. But I think most of those fade away during the mid-section of the first book. XD 
How does your protagonist change by the end of the novel?

  She cherishes her relationships more... she's stronger, smarter, less trusting. And... more deep? Yeah.  
Do you have an ending in mind, or do you plan to see what happens? 

  I don't have anything specific in mind at ALL. I plan to see where it takes me. Like a car ride. Let's see where the story takes me!
What are your hopes and dreams for your book? What impressions are you hoping this novel will leave on your readers and yourself? (This is your mission statement, one you can look back on when the road gets tough.)
  I want to come out of this knowing that I made myself proud. I want to be a young author, with a great, amazing, novel. I want to walk into a store and see this thing sitting on the shelf. I want to leave the reader confused in a good way, and slightly freaked out. I want them to be able to imagine, "What If this was REAL?!" And that's what I'm dreaming about. 



  And... Yeah. That's it! Yes, this post has been in the making for about a week. And I'm sure sure sure sure SURE glad that I got a tiny bit of it done before the computer died. That helped, believe it or not. XD Anyway... I'll insert the Chat image now... so we can get to talking. And JUST BECAUSE I WON'T BE ON HERE AS MUCH DOESN'T MEAN I DON'T READ YOUR COMMENTS CAUSE I DO.

Have you ever participated in Beautiful Books before? Can we both agree that I do WAYYYY too many of these?! Yes. Yes we can. Let's talk gifs, tell me in the comments if you think they were stupid or okay or absolutely hilarious. Okay? Okay. And... do you think my novel's... odd?  Or... can I get Intriguing??? Maybe? Let me know in the comments!!!!