Fictional Character ~ Theme #AtoZ

Character is everything

We build character in kids from a young age, because real-life character is everything.

What about fiction?

The way I see it, fiction contains three elements that divide into many other, but three main components:

1.   Character

2.   Plot

3.   Setting

In my book — literal and figurative —  character is number one.

Sure, there are great plot-driven novels with little character development. Their success isn’t due to lack of character growth but excellent plot that is engrossing from the jump. The Maze Runner, a YA dystopian, is an example. Very plot-driven.

But back to my number one: character-driven fiction.

It’s advertised as a literary-fiction element. But, oh, how I disagree. Character-driven writing works superbly for genre fiction. Take Gone Girl, for one. Relationship drives the plot, sure, but the gradual revelation of characters, that’s what makes the story.

My kind of gig — stories with characters that become complicated people. Where personal evolution and character decisions shape the plot. Where writers develop the heck out of characters traits and together with plot cook up and serve magnificent stories.

And since you’re dying to know my A-Z Theme, here it is:


No lectures, no writing advice.  I’m sure there is enough of that coming at you fast.  Just an accumulation of references, if you will. All in one place, right here.

No long articles. It’s my third or fourth A-Z Challenge. I’m familiar with the craziness about to ensue. There will be images, brief descriptions and examples.  That’s it.

So, come talk character. Add your favorite trait(s), name your fave characters, or simply talk fiction. Or life. Or whatever.

Okay?  Awesome. Onward to the April A-Z, dear blogging friend!


Images: Pixabay




Why do you write?

Because I’m a spider and words are my silk. Because I’m inspired and have something to say. Because writing is crack, and I’m an addict.  ~ Answers from National Writing Month

What do we write?

What we know, what moves us.  About our findings, travels. Life events. Someone else’s story. Eye-catching headlines. Issues.

About curiosities. Questions posted on social media.

The last two inspired a post I wrote and deleted. Too long, too verbose. This shorter, lighter form survived since the question raised continued moving about my mind.


This was the question.

Why did Washington State pass a law on gender neutrality?

This was followed by commentary linking said law to child abuse. Choosing neutral on a birth certificate rather than boy or girl.

 It should be clear enough, right? Boy. Girl. Boy. Girl.

 What about intersex children?

 And who decides?

 The doctor? The parents? Would we like it decided for us?

 Take Jim Bruce, for example.

Jim Bruce was born with XY male chromosomes but ambiguous genitals. After his birth in 1976, Bruce’s external organs and testes were surgically removed and he was raised as a girl. He struggled for years, preferring rough play and being attracted to girls.

Leaving it up to him as adult, would that have been better? Not an option at the time, but let’s just imagine. If you read the article, you’ll see the girl eventually grew into a man.

Or take model Hanne Gaby Odiele

She  was born with an intersex trait known as Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome (AIS) in which a woman has XY chromosomes more typically found in men.

Should life have been decided for her at birth?

Up to 1.7% of the population is born with intersex traits, according to the United Nations — a figure roughly equivalent to the number of redheads.

We like clear answers, clear definitions. Clear lines to follow. Most times we like it all to be the way we were raised.

 We’re also writers.

And writers can provoke a great deal of thought and annoyance and anger in equal measure.  All those wonderful ways with words. All that curiosity. Topics in need of exploration. Taboos. Convictions. All constantly addressed, challenged, written and re-written about.

Confronting, debating, or even discussing firmly established routines and rules can be infuriating. I know.

But is that our concern as writers?


Images: Pixabay


Curiosity is the wick in the candle of learning ~ W A Ward

As children we’re naturally curious – it’s how we grow and learn – but by a certain age that sense of wonder starts to disappear.

Why?  Life. Society. Socioeconomic dynamics.

Answers are more valued than inquisitive thought, so curiosity is trained out of us. Being right is more important than being smart.

Regaining our sense of wonder is important, isn’t it? But if regaining curiosity is even possible, how do we go about relearning such a quality?

Well, wouldn’t you know it, I found a list (what’s a blog post without a list?) In case you’re … umm … curious. 

Habits of curious people:

1. They ask lots of questions.

Curious people ask how, what, when, where and why. This creates openness.

2. They listen without judgment.

The genuinely curious have no hidden agenda. They seek to understand the perspectives of others, and are willing to sit in ambiguity, open and curious without being invested in the outcome.

3. They seek surprise.

We feel most comfortable when things are certain, but we feel most alive when they’re not.

Curious people try new foods, talk to a stranger, or ask a question they’ve never asked before.

4. They make time for curiosity.

They think of scenarios that are three years in the future, question major assumptions, and wonder if they’re doing things they no longer should be doing.

5. They aren’t afraid to say, I don’t know.

Big one. It’s more important for them to learn than to look smart.

6. They don’t let past hurts affect their future.

The problem is that we stop being curious about new experiences and are instead focused on understanding what we’ve already been through.

This is especially true if we’ve been hurt in the past. Curious people, however, are more apt to take risks.

 ~  As for me, a recent conversation with friends on gender neutrality sparked my curiosity so that I buried myself in inquiry — I hope to share findings in next post.

What about you? What are/have you been most curious about?

images: pixabay



Saying goodbye to stories is hard. But writing endings that are impactful is harder.

It’s often the ending that resonates with readers. Endings can make the preceding sixty or hundred thousand words look great (or awful) in retrospect.

We don’t want to leave the reader unnecessarily disheartened. I’ve once thrown a book across the room for having kept me riveted only to end with a kidnapped character die a horrible death that had little to do with the core of the story. Call me crazy, but it felt as though the writer was resolving personal issues and found killing the character therapeutic.

No, thank you. For such reasons, we have shrinks. Courts of law.

We also don’t want rainbows and butterflies and unicorns. Don’t want a feel-good ending for fear of disappointing. No tricks. The ending has to be congruous with the story. Organic. No last-minute solutions popping out of nowhere. 

After having written several endings, I find this attempt no easier than my first. And that is where I find myself at this time, dear reader, with my work in progress — a mystery novel. Near the ending.

I lay awake at night, trying to make the final reveals in various scenes make sense. Trying to tie together loose ends, lay the groundwork for the resolution — a piece that comes after, when everything that’s come before seems retroactively wonderful.

One night I had a brilliant idea on how to do all this, which turned out to suck in the morning after I had two cups of coffee and thought about it some more. Sure I knew where the story had to go from the beginning. Some hundred pages later, things have changed. But the goal remains. I’ve made a promise I have to deliver on.

So, what are my choices at this time?

1. Tear the whole thing up?  Um, no.

2. Simplify. Maybe a little, but not enamored with the idea.

3. Dive deeper into the characters’ heads. Works, but not as a stand alone.

4. Re-read everything. Sure. I’ve probably done it fifty times.

5. Shut up and do the work. Write, write, write. Re-write. Then write some more. And it will all come together. Eventually.

~~ Tell me about endings you’re read, written, loved, hated.

— pixabay