Tag Archives: Romance

X is for….uhhh…

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It’s April, and that means it’s time for the A to Z challenge. I really must be a glutton for punishment; April is my last month of college, and I’m still an amateur blogger, but I must say, I’m looking forward to the challenge. I’m going to be writing short little blurbs about some retired characters from my DISTANT past up until recently; all of them are failed concepts. Part of me is hoping that writing about these characters will inspire me…perhaps to write more during the summer when school is out.

So…for some reason I thought I had a character named Xerxes… I searched through a pile of notes for what seemed like ages. I asked a friend who remembers more about my work than I do. He thought the name sounded somewhat familiar. We dug some more. I think I had a faint glimmer of a concept once upon a time, but it got buried beneath schoolwork and suffering, so I’m going to do something a little different today. (YES. I can do that. Totally my challenge. I make the rules, so I can bend them…or break them.) I’m going to create a new character, and I’m going to take you through my creative process.

Phase One: The Art of Naming

I usually have no expectations when I name a character. In the past, you can see that I’ve tried very hard to make my names fit my characters perfectly. Now I just search for names I like and names that fit a character’s circumstances. I mean…it’s very unlikely that a character from pre-Revolution France would have a name like Katniss. And it’s probably pretty strange for a kid in our day and age to be named Lysander (even though that’s a super awesome name, and we should bring it back).

So I started out by searching for “X” names, since I need an “X” character for this challenge. I also decided that I wanted a more feminine sounding name. (Note: I’m not a big fan of making up my own names. Every once in a while, I’ll do it, but I prefer to search for names first.) Ultimately, I found that I liked the names Xahlia (no meaning), Xahria (“flower”), and Xandria (“defender of humankind”). At this point, I didn’t know which name I liked best, so I decided to move on to phase two.

Phase Two: Behind the Backstory

I’ve had a vague idea for a character for a long, long time. I get my ideas from a variety of different things. Sometimes I meet interesting people or read/watch interesting things. A lot of inspiration comes from music, and recently I’ve gotten ideas from poetry as well. (Believe it or not, Pinterest prompts are great too.) Because I haven’t had a lot of time to flesh this idea out, I’m going to give you a very, very brief synopsis with a few different directions I’m going to experiment with.

X___ is a teenage girl from a wealthy family. She doesn’t know the meaning of “to want” because she’s always had what she needed. (This is a generic enough idea.) However, while she’s out with a group of friends one day, she bumps into a young man from her school. He’s relatively unattractive, socially awkward, and not interested in making friends with anyone, but she notices that he has something in common with her which forces her to meet with him again. Slowly, the rich girl falls in love with the poor boy, but the poor boy isn’t interested at all. Plot twist: this doesn’t end up a love story.

As I mentioned, I could take this in several directions. I originally thought about it in a modern setting, but I rarely write in a modern setting. I considered a semi-futuristic setting as well simply because I’d like the opportunity to play around with technology. But regardless, the idea would stay the same.

Phase Three: Appearances and Personality

This is actually the part where I start writing little snippets to experiment with the character. At this point in my planning, I have a fairly general idea of how I want this character to act. I want her to be kind and sheltered rather than entitled and bratty. More than anything, she’s a big blank slate, and I want her to experience the world. My favorite way to hammer out a good personality is to practice writing “what if” scenes. For example…

  • What if X___ got lost and didn’t have any way to get home?
  • What if X___ was late for an important appointment?
  • What if X___ was given the opportunity to use three “rules free” wishes?
  • What if X___ was put in charge of a group project out of the blue?
  • What if X___had to choose between friends and family?

All of these questions help teach me a little something about her personality. Is she a leader? Does she handle stress well? Is she a perfectionist? Is she noble or selfish? After spending some time with her, writing these prompts, I get a clearer sketch of her and finally decide on an appearance. (Considering the origin of her name helps as well. If a name is traditionally Chinese, I’d make her Asian.)

Phase Four: Rinse, Wash, and Repeat

Even after I finish all of this, I’m not done. I usually use my characters many, many times before I have them set and ready to go. Even while I’m writing a story I decide to change things. But that’s the beauty of writing, right? We’re never really completely finished with an idea. For now, I’m going to stick with the name Xahria. But that may change!

W is for West

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It’s April, and that means it’s time for the A to Z challenge. I really must be a glutton for punishment; April is my last month of college, and I’m still an amateur blogger, but I must say, I’m looking forward to the challenge. I’m going to be writing short little blurbs about some retired characters from my DISTANT past up until recently; all of them are failed concepts. Part of me is hoping that writing about these characters will inspire me…perhaps to write more during the summer when school is out.

“No one would surrender to the Dread Pirate Westley.”
The Princess Bride

West Braveheart. What a name! Believe it or not, his name is supposed to be a little (or a lot) melodramatic. His real name is Wesley Maddox, not exactly something that makes you quake and tremble, and Captain Braveheart has a reputation to uphold. He’s the captain of the Blood Diamond whose crew is known for wrecking havoc upon the general populace. Of course it’s just your usual pillaging and stealing almost exclusively from the rich. They don’t care much for preying on the common folk. Even though West’s crew is a little too rambunctious at times, his reputation keeps them in check. Rumor has it that he drinks the blood of his enemies, and when he can’t get enough of that, he’ll turn on his friends depending on the time of day and position of the moon. Basically, he’s a ticking time bomb.

But Wesley? He fell in love with a servant girl and after a few months of playing around with her found out that he was going to be a father. He stuck around for a few years, leaving the Blood Diamond in the hands of his first mate, Rory. He was living a happy life at first (even if his girlfriend’s boss was a good for nothing rich kid) until he caused a little bit of trouble in the house. (Let’s just say the boss wasn’t a fan of the burly loudmouth that frequented the servants’ quarters.) The lady’s boss wanted him gone, and Wesley decided to flee for the benefit of his girl. He promised to return, but did he? No. As a result, his son grew up without a father and hated him for never being around. Throughout the course of West’s story, he searches for his son and tries to earn his forgiveness without ever revealing his true identity.

I’ve always liked West a great deal. He’s a combination of every pirate movie/book I’ve ever seen/read, but he still seems fairly unique. At one point, I started developing his crew more, and it made me love him even more! I think I’ll most definitely return to him and write about his adventures sometime soon. He sort of learns how to be a father through a surrogate son.

Guys. I’m almost done with this. I’m so proud of myself. I’ve been keeping up with this. I have three more days. THREE MORE.

 

30 Day Writing Challenge – Day 6

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This is me trying to handle life.

Five ways to win your heart.

Romance is a difficult subject for me because generally I’m bad at it. I don’t know how to do it, and part of that comes from the fact that I keep myself very detached from the world around me. It’s difficult to make meaningful relationships because I want to be independent all the time. It’s difficult to think of someone being there to carry some of my burden when I clearly just want to drag all of it through the mud myself.

For this challenge I could take the easy way out and joke about it. “Be Josh Groban! That’s how you win my heart!” But then I’m cheating myself. I’m not reflecting on who I am and what I want from a soulmate. So…here I go. I’m going to be completely honest about how any man could win my heart.

1.) My ideal man loves God.

This is number one. My pastor said once that when he married his wife the only three things they had in common were, “Mexican food, the color blue, and their love for God.” When it comes to love, I look towards the greatest love story ever written, and at the moment, I’m re-learning what it means to love and be loved. However, I struggle with my faith, with life, and with a plethora of other things on a daily basis. I’m a huge worrier, and even though I want to be a leader all the time, I know I can’t be. If a man loves God with all his heart, I know that he can be a leader for me when times are rough. And I hope I can provide him with the same support.

2.) Cursing is a no-no.

I really hate cursing, but I can tolerate it. People are free to speak however they wish, but I for one do not want to curse, and I certainly don’t want someone I live with to curse. People say that sometimes there is no other way to express (insert extreme emotion here) than with a curse word. But language is a beautiful thing. I promise you that there are thousands of ways to express your frustration, sadness, or excitement without lumping it all together under the f-bomb. I’ve realized that I can find a guy unbelievably attractive, but the moment he curses, the veil is broken. It’s a little unfortunate.

3.) He should understand my lack of skill (Who am I kidding? It’s called awkwardness!) in romance.

Like I said, I’m bad at romance. I’m not good at expressing myself through physical means. I’m the type of person who likes to leave a little note about how much I appreciate someone instead of hugging that person from behind. I’ll go off on my own when I’m feeling sad, so no one will see me cry because honestly, people would make me feel worse. I don’t want someone to constantly dote over me. I want a chance to be independent. I suppose it’s a lot to ask for someone to be able to tell when I do or don’t want attention. (But I’m kind of like a cat and people tolerate them.) I suppose that’s something you figure out after you get to know someone. Patience. Patience is a good word for this situation.

4.) He needs to be creative.

In everything. I love a creative mind that’s constantly thinking of new ways to approach a relationship. Why go to the movies when you can spend the evening cooking dinner together? Why not go on a spontaneous car ride instead of sitting in a stuffy café somewhere? Build a pillow fort, go give meals to the homeless, have a video game tournament… I love surprises. (I also hate surprises, but that’s because I’m complicated.)

5.) I want him to look for more than just intimacy from me.

I’m a little traditional. I want my relationship to be meaningful. I want someone who enters a relationship thinking, “This could be the one” instead of, “I hope I get lucky tonight or next week or in a few months.” I want someone to look forward to more than just the first kiss or the first “time.” I want them to look at me and think, “I want to know every inch of her mind and heart.” I don’t care if they think I’m beautiful. Trust me, if they stick around, they’ll see me in the morning with drool dried on my face and my hair crazier than Gene Wilder’s . That’s. Not. Pretty. They’ll watch that semi-human creature dragging itself to the kitchen for coffee and think, “Gosh. She’s a dork, but she’s my dork.” And then I hope they help me make coffee because I’m useless unless I have a little caffeine in my system.

6.) As a bonus, if you can be Josh Groban…or are Josh Groban, that would be wonderful.

(It had to be done.)