Tag Archives: Fantasy

Character Change Vs. Character Growth

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Hello everyone, I do hope you are having a great day.  To catch you up on my activities since my last blog write. I’ve sent Thomas Gomel Learns About Bullying to the publisher for approval.  I also did an upgrade on Princess Adele’s Dragon and had it republished in ebook form. I’ve kept myself busy writing and entering contests on Fanstory. After the article below I will be posting a short story called The Lake. I do hope you enjoy this week’s blog.  Until next time have a blessed week.    Shirley

PS. By the way, you can possibly win a copy of Princess Adele’s Dragon by following the link, especially if you like medieval dragons, kings, queens, and knights.

Link: https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/065f308c42ab7cba

 

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Main characters don’t have to change to grow.  They can grow in their resolve.

It is a common misconception among authors that the main character in a story must change in order to grow.  Certainly, that is one kind of story,  as in A Christmas Carol where Scrooge alters his way of looking at the world and his role in it.  But other stories are about characters overcoming pressures put upon them to change their viewpoint and holding on to their beliefs, such as in Field of Dreams where main character Ray Kinsella builds a baseball stadium in his cornfield believing the old time players (and eventually even his father) will come to play.  In the end, he is not dissuaded from what appears to be a quixotic plan of a misguided mind, and his steadfastness results in the achievement of his dreams.

It is essential in any novel or movie for the readers/audience to understand whether or not the main character ultimately changes to adopt a new point of view or holds on to his beliefs.  Only then can the story provide a message that a particular point of view is (in the author’s opinion) the right or wrong way of thinking to achieve success and personal fulfillment.

But not all stories have happy endings.  Sometimes, the main character changes when he should have stuck with his guns in regard to his beliefs and becomes corrupted or diminished or fails to achieve his goals  A good example of this is in the movie The Mist(based on a Stephen King novel) in which the main character finally decides to give up on trying to find safety from monsters and shoots his son and surrogate family to save them from a horrible death only to have rescuers show up a moment later.

Other times, holding onto a belief system leads to tragic endings as well, as in Moby Dickin which the main character, Captain Ahab (Ishmael is the narrator), holds onto his quest for revenge until it leads to the death of himself and the destruction of his ship and the death of all his crew, save Ismael who lived to tell the tale.

Though writing is an organic endeavor, when you make specific decisions such as whether your main character will change or remain steadfast and what outcome that will bring about, you strengthen your message and provide a clear purpose to your storytelling that results in a strong spine in your novel or screenplay.

Melanie Anne Phillips


 

 

The Lake

lake2The last time I saw Charlie, he laughed as we drove into Crystal Springs Lake. I knew we would have hell to pay for sneaking out, but I never imagined how this fun evening would end.

Charlie and I were friends from the first grade. We were neighbors, and as adventurous boys, we spent every second together we could manage. We were as different as two people could be. I’m quiet and shy, and Charlie was the fellow that drew people to him like June bugs to a light. Maybe it was his good looks with his coal black hair and that cleft in his chin. He was muscular, athletic and all the girls flirted with him every chance they got. He didn’t care. The only thing he wanted besides our friendship was the full football scholarship at Harvard.

We had a good time throughout school. As this was our last year at Grady High School there was a lot of pressure on Charlie to perform. He actually did it to himself, but if I tried to talk to him, he wouldn’t listen. “Charlie, you have to lighten up a bit. You can’t go on at the pace you’re going. It’s been weeks since we’ve done anything together. You study and practice football. Take time to relax. Quit worrying about that entrance exam. You have it aced.”

“Sure, I do, but it doesn’t feel like it. I feel like everything inside of me is about to explode. I have to keep pushing myself to keep the pressure down, but I’m ready for something different. I’ll listen to you just because you’re my best friend and I love you like a brother. What do you want to do?” Charlie asked.

I had to think of something we would enjoy together and take the pressure off of him. “I’ve got an idea. Let’s go to the lake after dark and go skinny dipping. We haven’t done that in a long time.”

“Are you crazy?” Charlie asked. “We haven’t been skinny dipping since we were twelve years old.”

“Yeah, I know, and it’ll be fun. Just like old times.  What do you say?”

We were both laughing, and Charlie said “Let’s do it. I want to be twelve again and forget all about school and football. I’ll be at your house at 7:00 and you can drive.”

“Sounds good to me. I don’t mind driving at all, and I’ll even bring us snacks and cold drinks. See you then.”

I left his room and went back to my house. I got everything ready and packed it in my car. Since my mom and dad weren’t home, I left them a note so they wouldn’t worry about me. Charlie was at my door promptly at 7:00.

It was a great drive out to the lake. We had the windows down and the radio up. We were laughing, singing and shouting at the top of our lungs as we drove to our spot. We were trying our best to be twelve-year-olds again.

It was dark when we arrived, but we didn’t care. We unloaded the car and set up our blanket right at the edge of the lake. It wasn’t the first time we had swum in the dark. I brought two flashlights, but we didn’t turn them on. We were happy. We liked this spot because we could dive into the lake. It was easy in and out of the water. We got rid of our clothes quickly and then laughed at each other as we stood there as naked as the day we were born.

Charlie slapped me on the back. “Are you ready? I am.” He backed up three steps and ran and dove into the lake. I jumped in feet first, as always. The water was cold and sent a shiver over my body. I didn’t hear Charlie laughing, so I looked around.  I didn’t see him. The lake was smooth as glass. I called his name. He never answered, so I climbed out of the lake slipped on my pants and got the lights. My hands shook so hard I had trouble turning on the lights. I shined the beams over the water, and I still couldn’t see him. I knew something was wrong.  I got my cell phone and called 911. I had a terrible time as I tried to get the words out to report Charlie missing.

I tried to sit but couldn’t stay still. I walked back towards the main road thinking I would meet the authorities. That was silly, it wouldn’t make them arrive any faster. I turned back towards the lake moving the beam of one of the flashlights around. What was that? I brought the light back to what looked like a sign. When the beam of light hit it, I got sick to my stomach. The sign read: No swimming until further notice. Alligator sighting today.

My Introspection

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Princess Adeles Dragon3I am in the final stages before I launch my new ebook on Amazon. It is a Young Adult Fantasy called Princess Adele’s Dragon. Based in Medieval times with Kings, Knights, Castles, Witches and a myriad of other things to make this a fun and intriguing book.
 
I’ve worked on this book since March of 2015. It’s hard to believe next month will be a year. Most hours of my day were spent thinking about some aspect of my book. How was Adele going to deal with the day, Prince Anthony or even the bad guys?
 
Book writing is fun for me. I like getting wrapped up in the stories. I do the same when I’m reading a book if I like it. Since I’m an eclectic reader and writer, I never know what world I’m going to be spending my time.
 
I’m learning new things every day which is a wonderful thing for me. It keeps my mind active. If I didn’t keep my mind active, I would be useless to myself. My learning has added to my guilt when I write. I see the passive voice in my sleep or that voice that says you can write that line better. So many rules but at the same time, nothing is written in stone. A lot of standards change with the wind or who’s writing.
 
When you write, the bottom line is “does it fit you, the author?” Everyone has an opinion and most of the time they are different. That in itself can be confusing, but if you hang on and keep trudging forward you will end up with work that is yours alone. Notwithstanding the help, you received from reading, researching a topic or any other avenue you use.
 
I must be needing to share my introspection today on the almost completion of my book. It’s a fantastic feeling knowing I only have a few little things left to do before my work can be published. The beautiful thing is that it has nothing to do with selling. It has to do with completing the task I set out to do, the best way I know how.
 

Short Story: Darius Figgaro, Legends of the Shoemaker

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I wanted to share a short story out of my book Shirley’s Short’s and Flashes. It is a fantasy/mystery story. It’s not long and I hope you enjoy it.   Shirley

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“I swear it’s true, every single word.”

“I’m sorry, Mr. Giorgio, I’m unable to accept your statement. What made you think a story so far-fetched, would be believed?”

“Why would I lie about something that could cost me my life, Detective Johnson? That man died just as I said he did. I’m an honest man, and I do not lie.”

Detective Johnson got up from the table and walked from one corner of the room to the other. He couldn’t get his brain around the story that Mr. Giorgio was telling. “Do you care if I smoke, Mr. Giorgio?”

“No, I don’t care, Detective.”

“Thank you. Now let’s stop the formality. I’ve known you all of my life. You call me Peter, and I’ll call you, um, um. I don’t know your first name. I’ve never called you anything but Mr. Giorgio.”

Mr. Giorgio smiled as he listened to Peter. “Peter, my first name is Tony. Actually, it’s Antonio, but everyone calls me Tony. I guess it’s easier to remember.”

“May I call you, Tony? I’m sure I will fall back into old habits and call you Mr. Giorgio, but I’ll do my best to call you by your name. Ok, let’s start from the beginning, once again. Don’t leave anything out.”

“I haven’t left out anything, yet. Peter, there is more to this world than what’s here in Summerton. Things people have no idea is happening in this world. Have you ever heard of Darius Figgaro?”

“No, I can’t say I have. Is that the guy’s name we found in your shop?”

“No, I don’t know who that man was. Darius was from the third century BC and a shoemaker as I am. He lived in a small village, in Armenia. He was known everywhere for his excellent shoes. In fact, he was so talented he was chosen to make shoes for the God’s as an offering, when the festival happened, in a few months. Aramazd, and his attendant, Grogh were made boots. For Aramzd’s son, Mehr, he made the softest, kid, leather shoes, and finally for the Goddess Anahit, he made slippers from a new shiny material from China created by worms. Nothing was finer in the entire world.”

“If anything was going to bring the town prosperity, it would be Darius Figgaro’s shoes. The God’s would certainly think of Artashavian as their favorite place. The village leaders were so confident in their plan, they already had a sign made for outside of town. In large red letters, it read: Artasavian, home of the God’s shoes.”

“You’re kidding, towns back in the third century BC didn’t put up signs.”

“How do you know, Peter? Were you there? People are remarkably resourceful, no matter when or where they lived. Think about the pyramids in Egypt, or the great lighthouse in Alexandria. All through the ages, people have accomplished exciting and beautiful things. Now back to my story. Are you going to interrupt me anymore?”

“I’m not planning to,” remarked Peter.

“The time for the great festival of the gods arrived in Artashavian. You could palpate the excitement in the air. Everyone was happier and looking forward to the three days of fun and homage to their gods. Darius’s excitement ended abruptly when he went to gather his offering and found the shoe cupboard empty. I know I put those shoes in this cupboard. What am I going to do now? Darius sat on his cobbler’s bench and prayed to the gods to help him find his offering. A loud booming voice sounded in Darius’s head.

“Darius sweep the floor using your new broomstick.”

Darius stood as he thought a moment where his new broom was located. Once he thought of the location, he walked to his back porch and grabbed the broom. “Ok, god, I have the broom, and I am obeying you even though I don’t know what good sweeping the floor will do.”

Sweeping the dirt floor was not an easy thing to do. You had to sweep but not stir up the dust and yet sweep aggressively enough to remove the debris on the floor. Sometimes Darius would place a course woven material down on the floor is he could buy the yardage at a cheap enough price. It’s been awhile since he purchased any, so his floor was bare.

He swept the center out of the floor but then decided he’d best do the corners. There’s a box here. I don’t remember this. When Darius looked inside the box, he yelled aloud, “Thank You, thank you.” There were all of the god’s boots and shoes. Tomorrow I will present them as my offering to the gods.

Before sunrise, the next morning, Darius gathered his box of shoes and headed to the temple. He felt fantastic and had extra energy. It was a glorious day. There were other people gathered at the temple also. Sunrise was the appointed time for giving of gifts. If your gift was accepted by the gods, you received a special blessing. Darius was hoping they would give him continued good health so he could continue to make his shoes.

Just as the sun was coming over the horizon, Darius placed his offering on the altar. The ground shook and lightning streaked the sky. Woman were screaming and running away, but Darius stood his ground. He looked at the altar, and his offering was gone. Everyone else’s was still there. What does this mean? Have I displeased them with my offering?”

“You have not displeased us, Darius. You have used your talents to make a personal offering to us. Because you have pleased us so much, we are going to bless you for each pair of shoes you made. Kneel Darius facing the sun.”

Darius was on his knees with the sun shining brightly on his face. He heard a female voice call his name. “Darius, my slippers are magnificent and feel glorious on my feet. For this, you shall have eternal life. You will continue to share your shoes with all you meet. Everyone will want a pair of your shoes. My child’s feet are protected with the soft leather of his shoes. Because you have given him protection, I shall keep you safe.”

“Thank you, Goddess, for your blessing. I could not ask anything more. I will continue to work and make my shoes”, Darius said.

“You shall prosper through your work,” Grogh commanded. “You shall never go without food or beautiful housing.”

Aramazd asked Darius if there was anything else he desired. Darius declined. “Then go, Darius, knowing you will be protected, have a long life and will be sharing your shoes with the world for all time.”

Darius bowed his head as the bright light was removed from his face. He stood, not quite believing what occurred. “I’ve been blessed. What more could I want in this world.”

When Tony finished his story, he looked at Peter and asked, “Do you understand now?”

“Understand what? You told me a fairy tale that has nothing to do with the man’s body in your shop.”

“You are no different than the thousands of other people I have told my story to. You go through this life thinking you know everything, and you actually don’t know anything at all. I can’t explain it any further than what I already have. You have to open your mind, and actually listen to what I said.”

“I don’t have enough evidence to hold you for the man’s murder. I’m going to let you return home but do not try to leave town.”

“I’m not going anywhere, Peter. I will be at my shop working on some shoes. I have a particular order from the Pope. He likes his kid, soft leather shoes.” Tony left the room, heading back to his shop.

Peter kept running Tony’s story around in his mind. Maybe when I hear from the Coroner’s office everything will fall into place. Returning to his office, Peter pulled out the evidence folder on the dead man. It was empty, not one thing to go on so far.

“Peter, the Coroner’s Office is on line 1.”

“Thanks, Sam. Hello, Doc, what do you have for me? You are kidding me, not one thing. What was the cause of death? Heart failure, so it’s natural causes. Sure, I’ll let the prosecutor know about the findings. Thanks, Doc, for the info.” Shaking his head, Peter couldn’t believe it all meant nothing. He knew he wanted to talk to Tony again about the Legend of the shoemaker and to tell him about the findings.

When Peter opened the door to go into the shop, he couldn’t believe his eyes. The room was empty. Not one shoe or even a sign anyone had been in the building. Cobwebs hung from the ceiling corners, with thick dust on the windowsill. A desk sat up against the wall. It was polished to a brilliant shine and had a paper lying on top. When Peter walked over to the desk and looked down at the paper, it made him take in a deep breath, before reaching down to pick it up. His name was printed on the folded paper. He opened the document, and he knew his world would never be the same. It read I am Darius.

 

Tamie Dearen

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Hello Everyone, welcome to my Shirley McLain blog. I’d like to intoduce you to my guest author today, Tammi Dearen. Tami is in the midst of doing a blog tour for her book,”Alora.”

I just completed reading book one of her Best Girls Series called, Her Best match.The book was a pleasure to read and I gave it a five star rating on Amazon and Goodreads.

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Tamie author pic
Hi! I’m Tamie Dearen—wife, mother, grandmother, dentist, Jesus-lover, musician, composer, and author (as of 2013). I’ve published four books and a novella in The Best Girls Series, and one Young Adult Fantasy, Alora: The Wander-Jewel. As a relatively new author, I’ve found Rave Reviews Book Club to be a great resource for information and a wonderful place for mutual support.

Work in Progress

Alora: The Portal (Book 2 of the Alora Series)

Alora[1]

So here’s what’s coming up in the next book in the Alora series.

Alora’s father is still trying to kill her, of course. Meanwhile, Stone Clan and Water Clan are racing to find the portal between the two realms. We will meet some characters from Water Clan and find out what it is like to live under Vindrake’s oppression. We also discover the past events that resulted in Vindrake’s complete turn to evil. We meet a man who voluntarily infiltrates Stone Clan to spy for Vindrake, motivated by his own bitter need for revenge.

While accompanying the Stone Clan group on a quest to learn how to dissolve the soulmate bond, Bardamen uses every opportunity to search for a future wife. But instead, he meets a woman whose sharp wit and tongue put him in his place repeatedly.

And even though Kaevin and Alora are soulmates, their relationship has its share of struggles. After all, an emotional and physical bond doesn’t create the perfect relationship. In addition, they’re teenagers who grow and mature as the story proceeds.

We will find a secret place where the clanspeople live in harmony with one another, embracing the very differences that have alienated the clans throughout Tenavae. We also get to meet another soulmate couple. There will be lots of actions in both worlds, resulting in a bit of confusion for the park rangers at Yellowstone. And I still don’t know how I’m going to fit this all in one book!

Follow Tamie online:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TamieDearen

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Tamie-Dearen/1384772145109650

Website: http://tamiedearen.weebly.com/

Flash Fiction

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I love writing flash fiction. It lets me stretch my writing muscles a bit, but not feel overwhelmed. Today I wrote a flash fiction called Football Fantasy. I was required to use six words: alarm, agent, football, song, explosion, and fantasy. I’m posting it for you to read. Please give me some feedback. I love hearing from everyone.   Shirley

Football Fantasy

Can it be true? Has my life long fantasy happened? When the alarm went off this morning, I knew in my heart that it would be a great day. I jumped out of bed with a song on my lips. I’m happy. I’m blessed. When the agent called yesterday about being the place kicker for the Hurricanes, I had a difficult time talking because of my excitement. Me, Amy Jackson, playing football for a professional team.

What is that smell? I don’t know how many times I’ve mentioned it to the maintenance man. He tells me the same thing every time. “I’ll get to it when I can, Ma’am”. I have to take a shower before the agent and coach arrives. That bathroom heater needs lighting. I hate that pilot light. It only works when it wants to.
Where did I put those matches? Here they are.

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On page four of the Tulsa World, Sunday edition, there is a small article, which reads: Amy Jackson, the rising star of the Hurricanes, the first duel-sexed team in Oklahoma, is mourning the loss of their new place kicker. She died in her home yesterday from a gas explosion. No further details are available at this time.

The Find

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I have always been fascinated with archeology. The findings of our ancient world and what they could mean to us in the time. In Mississippi I remember looking at the southern submarine they raised from the mouth of the Yazoo River. Those men sitting scrunched up with their hand cranks. Our forefathers were very ingenious.  I have written a fictional short story that i hope you enjoy reading. You might have figured out by my previous statements it has something to do with archeology, but you wouldn’t have figured it doesn’t have anything at all to do with that submarine.

The Find

I’m falling through the earth. It feels like a giant slide, and I never reach the bottom.  What is going on?  I hear chanting, and I can’t get my eyes open.  I can’t move, what is happening to me?  I can’t open my mouth, but my mind is screaming.  Can I move my hand?  I can turn it slightly but not lift it.  I feel cold stone.  I’m lying on stone. The chanting is louder, I have to open my eyes, but I can’t make them open.

I am Dr. Mary Danvers, from The University of Virginia Archeology Department. For the past three years, I’ve been the Chair of the Archeology Department. I’m in Guatemala studying the ritual sacrifices of the Aztec. My love affair with archeology began as a child, when my father and I found a piece of gold jewelry. It was a gold nugget with a tie, which would let it be worn around the neck.  When my father had the tie radio tested, it shows the age to be AD 620.

My father was strict and extremely straitlaced when it came to rules and regulations. That reason in itself made it difficult for me to understand what my father did the day we found the nugget necklace. He stuck it in his pocket and never mentioned again. The Oxford Archeology Department who was funding my father’s dig made it known that everything found was to be cataloged and turned in. In effect, he stole a nugget necklace that belonged to the university.

My father died six months ago, and as I was going through his safe-deposit box, I found the necklace. I’d forgotten all about it. I’m one of those out of sight, out of mind, kind of people. As soon as I touched it, I knew I’d be returning to the site where the necklace was found.

I made it to the site within three months. There was a force driving me that I couldn’t understand. Everything in my life seems to have led to this moment in time. My years of study about the Inca’s and their belief system would give me information that kept driving me forward.

They worshipped the dead, ancestors, founding culture heroes, their king whom they regarded as divine, nature and its cycles. The worship of nature and its cycles suggest that for them time, and space were sacred, and consequently the calendar was religious, and each month had its own festival.

Another part of Inca religious life was divination. Everything, from illness, to the investigation of crimes, or the definition of what sacrifices should be made to what gods, was all done by consulting the oracles, observing in a dish the meandering of a spider, or disposition of coca leaves, by drinking ayahuasca (a hallucinogen), or even by examining the markings on the lungs of a sacrificed llama.

On special occasions, human sacrifice was practiced, or to ward off a natural disaster. We found where 200 children were sacrificed when a new king ascended to the throne. Adults as well as their animals served as sacrifices also.

My eyes are opening and I can see what is going on around me. I’m naked lying on cold stone. Men and woman are on their knees bowing towards me and chanting something. A man is walking around  the stone. He has to be their religious leader. He has on a robe of bright-colored feathers and a headdress that looks like a crown of feathers. He is holding up the nugget necklace, and a straight blade knife with a gold handle for all to see, then bends down to my face and places the necklace around my neck. Everyone cheers. I know what is happening. I’m going to be their sacrifice. I still can’t speak. This can’t be real the Inca civilization is gone. I know they’re gone and have been for a thousand years. All this feels real, I can’t move my body and that man is coming at me with something that looks like a cockatoo head. No, No, I’m not drinking it, I’m not. He holds my nose, and I feel liquid fire going down into my stomach. The world is fading from sight.

“Dr. Danvers, Dr. Danvers, wake up. Can you hear me, Dr. Danvers?”

One of my students is sitting by my bedside holding my hand as I slowly open my eyes. I could see I was in my tent. What has happened to me?

“We found you by the entrance to the pyramid. You had a high fever and were delirious, ranting about birds and feathers and a gold nugget.”

“I’m wearing a gold nugget necklace that my father found here when I was a child.” I put my hand to my neck but could not find the necklace. “What happened to my necklace?”

“Doctor, you were’nt wearing a necklace when you were found. We did find a gold handled knife by your side.”

“What did you say?”

“We found a knife by your side.”

I know I had that necklace around my neck. Was what happened to me real? It couldn’t have been, but the necklace is gone and the knife is here. The necklace was used in their sacrifices, but so was the knife. What happened makes no sense. Maybe I will find out the meaning in time.

Character Development Part 11

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The main character of comic Oswald.

Image via Wikipedia

How do you get your characters?  Do you think about them for a long period of time and have them fully fleshed out in your mind before you start writing, or do you let them develope themselves.

I believe I blogged in an earlier blog, my characters in “The Tower” took on a life of their own and just were there.  I would come up with a name, and my main character developed as my story went along, plus several others.  I don’t think there is a right or wrong way, unless you tend to have very flat one dimensional characters.

My characters for “The Tower,” was not based on anyone I knew.  When my sister read the book she knew my main character was her.  I just let her go on thinking down that line.  Maybe she was, but it was on a unconsious level from me.

When it comes to your characters development there are questions you can ask yourself that will help the development.  Below is a list of possible questions.

1.  What is your character’s name?  Is there a nick name?

2.  What is the character’s hair and eye color?

3.  Any distinct physical features?  Scar, long eye lashes, birthmark, tatoo, ect.

4.  Who are your characters family and friends?  Who is the character closest to?

5.  Where and when was your character born?

6.  What type of personality does your character have?

7.  What is your characters desires and fears?

8.  Does your character have a secret?

9.  Where does your character live?  What type of abode? House, apartment, tent, ect.

10.  What does your character do when he/she is angry?

The questions can go on and on and with each answer you develop your character.  You man not use all of the information, but you have it, if needed.

If you are writing a story about good versus bad, then you would need to develop two characters, the protagonist(good) and the antagonist(bad).  You want to develop round characters and this can be accomplished with a little bit of thought and time for your characters.

Enjoy the video:  Joyce Carol Oates – On Writing Characters

http://youtu.be/LgJ809QKmas