Lanetta J. Sprott

Posts Tagged ‘character

Things to do before 12:01 a.m. November 1st!

Create one MS Excel that contains:

  • Worksheet for each main character (pictures, vitals)
  • Worksheet for major scene locations (pictures)
  • Worksheet listing major secondary characters (pictures, too!)
  •  Back up Excel!

Complete character profiles:

  • Morgan
  • Alice (and her twin girls)
  • Blake
  • Gordon
  • Flush out secondary characters and develop mini bio on each.
  • Back up profiles!

Finish briefly plotting storyline

  • Back up plot!

Explain, again, then again, to friends and family why I will be on limited borrowed time to visit while meeting the challenge!

Print out a November calendar and annotate:

  • Doctor appointments
  • Other commitments
  • Birthdays (schedule e-mail Happy Birthday’s by 10/31)
  • *Menu for each day

*Plan menus

Grocery shop

Cook & freeze dinners

Finish reading:

  • Marc McCutcheon’s The Writer’s Digest Sourcebook for Building Believable Characters
  • Linda Edelstein’s Writer’s Guide to Character Traits, in addition to all the wonderful blog articles others are posting!

Select/ready “mood” music: at least 3 different CD’s: celtic harp, classic (some Bach, Beethoven, Massenet, Gluck, and Mozart), Mason William’s classical guitar, and Yanni (as a standby). IMHO, nothing with lyrics as it will distract from what characters are talking about!

Select/ready candle fragrances:  maybe rosemary, white linen, and the soy lavender sounds good.

Ready different scented soaps and hand lotions, to fit the different moods during the writing process!

Locate isotonic fingerless theraputic gloves… don’t want hands to cramp at the wrong time!

Find a timer to use: one hour max typing, then 15 minute break, then back to creating the story!

 What else do I need to do?

Always, repeat over and over: I will do NO editing. I will do NO editing. I will do NO editing.

What do you do in prepping for NaNoWriMo?


On Saturday, I attended the Dallas Area Romance Authors (DARA) regular monthly meeting. DARA is a chapter of the Romance Writers of America. I happened to check DARA’s website a few weeks ago and made plans to attend based on the featured program: Creating Heroic, Believable Characters. The guest speaker was Victoria Chancellor

As a previous member of DARA (it’s been over four years since I allowed my membership to expire), I knew the high quality of speakers they have and expected an informative discussion on the subject of characters. I didn’t realize, however, just how informative it would be! I’m so glad I attended!

Although I won’t do her justice, using her invaluable handout, I’ll touch on some of the highlights:

Heroic does not necessarily mean “good” !!!

As a writer, it is your job to make the reader forget they are reading a novel, but that they are reading a story! Because fiction is not real, it is your job to make them suspend their belief and to make them care about the characters, and that the story could really happen, or has happened (as in the case of historical fiction).

What makes a character heroic?

  • Goal: Define a goal (not a wish) that they are pursuing at the beginning of your story. (Remember: a goal without a plan is only a wish)
  • Set of values: Characters must have guiding principles that are consistent throughout the story.
  • Challenge: Characters need/accept the challenge that will change their life.

What makes a character believable? Reminder given: Characters must be more vivid than people. This entire section was packed full of ideas. This is a brief taste of what she gave us:

  • Identification – the reader can identify with their situation or role;
  • Character Traits – archetypes defined; and,
  • Motivation – understandable to the reader when you reveal either up front or incrementally throughout story. What motivates a character will depend on such things as personality type, family history (birth order, happy, dysfunctional, etc.), society, personal history, and others such as religious or medical.

Why does a reader care about a character? Victoria explained four reasons: Empathy – Sympathy – Suspense – Justice

What must all heroic, believable characters possess?

  • Goal – character must actively pursue a defined, specific goal
  • Motivation – reader must understand the whys
  • Resolution – character must change to get what they deserve in the end. Know the difference between what they need versus what they want
  • Victoria also reminded us that interesting characters can also be atypical, especially in comedic situations.

Some books she highly recommended to read/study while developing/creating heroic, believable characters:

*The Writer’s Digest Sourcebook for Building Believable Characters by Marc McCutcheon

*Writer’s Guide to Character Traits by Dr. Linda Edelstein

**The Complete Writer’s Guide to Heroes and Heroines by Tami D. Cowden, et al

Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass


*I’ve order via Amazon & they are on the way!!!

** On my Amazon’s wish list, in case any one wants to surprise me!

She also did a quick Character Study between two heroes with traditionally non-heroic traits comparing the books: Caleb Jones in Amanda Quick’s The Perfect Poison, Putman, 2009 and Shane in Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer’s Agnes and the Hitman, St. Martin’s, 2007. I don’t even know where to begin to describe the lessons learned from this study!

Concluding the workshop, Victoria gave us some tips and food-for-thoughts on “Naming Your Characters” – another post will follow to share what I learned!!!


I am so thrilled I attended this meeting! Thank you, Victoria, and DARA!

Alternate title: “Letting your character inside your head”.

When I write a story, I totally get in the head of my characters. I touch, smell, hear, see, and taste what they experience. At times, I lose myself and become my character!

I have written of death and dying and, through my characters, I have experienced drawing the final breath. In Finding Closure, I wrote a murder scene. It was not a premeditated act. The “fight or flight” syndrome kicked in for my character so I was able to write the scene without too much difficulty.

A pivotal character in Ella is a killer. How do I effectively and totally get inside this character’s head? How do I plot and plan and write this character’s five senses when kidnapping and committing murder? How do I let this type of character inside my head?

I know authors do so effectively.

Even with chills crawling up my spine, I can only hope to do so as well. Any suggestions anyone can offer about how to work this uneasiness out of my system will be greatly appreciated!

Native Texan living in the Hill Country writing and experiencing life one day at a time.

Novels by Lanetta J. Sprott:

Where Forever Begins Finding Closure

Where Forever Begins, A Simple Love Story and Finding Closure are available online at Lulu and Amazon.


Read a preview of both novels here.


New goal (to finish book): 95,000

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