Just a side note… This was the transcript I’d written before the wine hit 🙂
Hello, there, all my wonderful creative people!
Welcome back to another episode of Write on In, and once again, just thank you all so much for being here.
I’ve really enjoyed developing and filming and editing these videos over the last couple of months, and I’m super happy to have people along for the ride already!
As I said last Thursday, I wanted to do some bonus tutorial videos throughout the month of October to get us all ready for National Novel Writing Month.
If you have never heard of National Novel Writing Month, or you have and you just don’t know what it is, it’s basically just every interested writer coming together in the month of November, and we all write a book.
Or, if not a full book, at least 50,000 words of a book.
It averages out to about 1,667 words a day, and I honestly think that doing this the first time really helped me develop the habit of writing, and this last July in 2020 I broke my own personal record and wrote 103,000 words in a month, which just absolutely blew my mind away.
There are no “prizes” necessarily, there’s just a word tracker for you to input your daily word count as it pushes you toward your goal, and once you reach that 50,000 words, you just submit a draft of the book so they can confirm there are, in fact, 50,000 words, and then you “win.”
The first time you win, you get access to a bunch of cool discounted stuff that’s basically lifelong, but it’s still fun to participate and it’s what first introduced me to the writing program I use, Scrivener, which I’ll talk about in just a minute.
If you have never done National Novel Writing Month, you can join for free over at NaNoWriMo.org, and by the end of these next four tutorial videos, you’ll be able to input everything they ask for in the corresponding boxes.
I took place in National Novel Writing Month for the first time back in 2012, and while the first book — and probably the book I’m about to produce from these example videos — most likely won’t be that great, unless you’re either extremely seasoned or you’ve already had an idea that you’ve been toying with and just haven’t had the gusto to get going yet.
As for me, as I said, I’m going to come up with a story idea for a novel over the course of this next month with you.
Today, we’re going to go over character development and getting your characters up and running quickly and efficiently.
I’d love it if you feel comfortable sharing one, two, or all of any characters you may develop as a result of this course.
I will also be posting the characters I develop down below, so if you want to read the final products of what I’m about to show you before you share your own work, the link for that is in the description box.
Unless you’re already on my blog, in which case, hello.
Let’s Get Write On In to the first tutorial!
So, if you’re anything like me, the idea of developing and creating a fictional person is extremely daunting.
Likewise, the thought of embodying someone you know personally and worrying they will both read and recognize themselves is equally daunting.
Whether the person themselves is fictional or based on someone you either love or can’t stand, the first thing you’ll have to do is come up with a name.
Now, you may be someone who excels in naming things.
As for me, I feel my forte is in dialogue, which I will cover later this month.
When it comes to naming the people who will lead your story to either victory or imminent doom, there are a few avenues you could take.
Fantasy Name Generators
You can sit and ponder, thinking over names and writing down ones that come to you, especially if you’re good at that.
You can get a baby name book or go to a baby name website, choose a letter, and hope for the best.
You could use a name generator — such as my personal favorite, fantasy name generators, because it gives you options across the board outside of just fantasy and also includes place name ideas.
Likewise, if you have Scrivener, you can just go to Edit —> Writing Tools —> Name Generator and fill out some questions here and it will generate a list of names.
If you don’t have Scrivener, I highly recommend it if writing is something you want to pursue. If there’s any interest in tutorial videos about it, let me know, but as of now, I don’t have any planned.
Another option outside of the Scrivener generator is just the good, old fashioned Name Generator that pops up first on Google, with similar input functions as you’d find in the Scrivener generator.
If you really want to get creative, you can get lazy, then get to work!
What do I mean?
Throw on your favorite movie or TV show, or something you haven’t gotten to in your queue.
Detach your mind for the duration of the video, but the moment the credits come on, keep them!
It’s time to get to work.
There you go, a database of names, scrolling at your behest.
Especially if you throw on the end of the extended edition of Return of the King and all the fan club member names come up, ho wow!
There’s your database right there.
Choose a first and a last name at random as they catch your interest, either write them down or speak them into your voice memo app, and by the end of the credits, you’ll have your list of names ready to go.
This is only something I’ve recently started doing, and to be honest, it knocks out the character name list so quick for those who are indecisive, because you don’t have to worry about first letters, ethnic backgrounds, or anything. Just pick the names you like, and move into the development from there.
Regardless of whatever method you think will work best for you, even if you picked a name from each one of these methods, you’d have at least four or five names and that’s your main characters set right there.
I went ahead and made a full cast list for this book in general, but for this example, I’m just going to develop the top two characters here that will become the main characters of the book.
Moving on to Character Development
Depending on how much time you want to spend on character development, there are a few things you could do.
A more methodical approach, like using name generators or baby name sites, is to get a book like Angela Ackerman’s Positive Trait Thesaurus and Negative Trait Thesaurus.
These books take normal traits like “happy” or “angry” and give you definitions, potential background influences on the trait, and associated behaviors and thoughts to really help you develop a more fleshed out character.
I personally really like the associated behaviors portion, because I think that’s the most direct when it comes to the personality of the character, and everything else is just good for backstory information.
You certainly don’t have to spend those type of hours on this, but I’m going to go through and develop the characters for you to read below.
If you don’t particularly want to go that in-depth with your character descriptions, either, there’s another quick way to grab some quick personality traits.
If you give your characters a birth date and birth place, you can just head over to cafeastrology.com and run a natal chart on them.
I know astrology isn’t everyone’s thing, and that’s honestly not really what this is about, but when you run that natal chart, Café Astrology gives you personality information, supposedly based on the time and date of the character’s birth.
This is a great way to grab some quick personality traits to help flesh out your characters, and if you have any characters who share certain zodiac traits, you can play off of that more in your text as well.
You can see my choices below.
MTBI Personality Tests
Likewise, you can also head on over to 16personalities.com to take the MTBI personality test as your character to find out if they’re an ENTJ, INFP, or any other of the various list of abbreviations.
This is a good alternative if you don’t feel comfortable running natal charts.
The personality test itself takes about 12 minutes to complete, so if you want to do that for every character, please feel free, but be aware that the timing on taking the tests can also really add up.
All right, everyone, there are a few examples of how to get your character up and running nice and quickly.
From here, you can develop a character backstory that is more in line with the plot of the novel, but as of this writing, I don’t yet have that, and these characters have just come from the random ether as of the filming of this video.
So, again, I will spend a little time developing them from here, as well as probably some base plot ideas that will stem from their development.
Again, I will post my personal results down, and I’m actually going to do it for six characters here, since that shouldn’t take me too long because I’m not going to get, like, too crazy about this because I have no idea how important this novel may or may not be to me just yet.
Please let me know what you thought of this little tutorial, especially since it’s my first one! If you enjoyed it, please like, comment, and share this content! Plus, if you haven’t already, please subscribe for more content like this and more! Particularly if you liked this video and you want to get ready to write a book, make sure you hit that little bell notification so you can be notified when the next tutorial is up!
I look forward to going over novel development a little more over the next month to help get you up and running for National Novel Writing Month!
If you’re interested in doing it and this will be your first time, you have my full and total support and I will be here for you as much as possible during this writing journey!
34 • Hardmoure
Role in Story
Main character, trapped in a cave. Cannot see.
Get everybody out of enslavement and figure out what’s special about him and why his memory seems to be altered.
Average size, darker skin, dark hair, and dark eyes, but the dark in his eyes brings forth a golden light. Has a smile that captures people, and his teeth shine out when his lips break open. He’s pretty physically fit, at least when we meet him in the book, but not to the point where “fitness” is something that’s super important to him, his health has just come from his former work, that he cannot remember.
Generally respectable, hard-working, and has a love of knowledge and know-how.
Puts himself into anybody’s shoes with extreme ease.
Fear of loss can lead to possessiveness.
Takes risks and is not afraid to experiment.
Sets aside schedules and routines to focus on what is important.
Looks for someone to blame when things go wrong.
Says one thing but does another.
I think, before he was trapped in this cave and trying to save everybody, that he was working in a blacksmith shop or something… welding, maybe? Something that would allow him to be somewhat creative and work with his hands, but also be able to build up some of that muscle, as well. Like a carpenter? But I’m feeling the idea of welding something, with the little sparks flying about all over everywhere.
Has a habit of doubting himself, even when he knows his intuition is correct. He knows more than he realizes, especially considering his name, but he’s got some nervous ticks every so often. For the most part, at least in this book, he’s pretty laid-back and focused on what he wants: to free everybody.
Grew up in Hardmoure and never knew his father. His mother was relatively absent, but not on purpose. She tried her hardest, but she wasn’t ever able to be there for Vaeda as much as she would have wanted to. He, however, has always been nice and caring about those around him. Has strong empathetic skills, but is also deathly afraid of losing the things he cares most about. He wants to love, but he’s scared about opening himself up.
Doesn’t really remember who he is. Cannot see when his eyes are open and must learn how to connect with his inner wisdom and knowledge in order to complete the journey set forth.
Constantly has someone trying to kill him and prevent him from connecting with his inner power.
This character went from a completely random no one to someone that’s, like, pretty legit, I think.
63 • Valeful
Role in Story
Slave, trapped in a cave
Hone in on his power, and also get revenge on the people who captured him.
Bald, lighter skin, hollow gray eyes. He’s the oldest of the bunch, but he, like everybody else, didn’t know about his little “molding stone” power until they were all trapped.
Known for comparing and thinking in relative terms, instead of in absolutes.
Sociable and friendly, and feels comfortable in crowds.
Confusing mix of lighthearted and serious.
Delegates tasks to others
Takes his responsibilities seriously
Feels trapped inside responsibilities and routines
Avoids situations that negatively affect his comfort levels
Bends and molds stone, which makes him quite useful for digging into caves. Before he was a slave, he was a chef in his home city of Valeful.
His sarcasm isn’t always well received, and he can sometimes come off more arrogant and rude than he means to. He has a habit of seeing the worst in people, even though he feels comfortable around them as well. He’s just always cautious.
Grew up in Valeful, which is one of the nicer cities in the world. His parents were rich, and he was an only child. He was captured and put into the Laniswell Hollow caves in his thirties., partially due to reasons he wasn’t aware of at the time, but that revolved around his future power. He didn’t talk to anyone in the caves until Yaga, the second person down there with him. Others run around the caves, but they rarely come together the way these five do.
Can’t understand his own entrapment and tries his best to maintain a calm and level head, but he’s obviously trapped within the cave and doesn’t always have the ability to keep a level head.
Other people look down on him, and the lack of their ability to see his worth has helped him create the shell he now lives in.
I think he’s going to add a lot to the text once I start to pick at him a little more.
39 • Naikax
Role in Story
Slave, trapped in a cave.
To find freedom and someone to trust.
Stocky, shorter than most, balding but not completely bald on the top. Has piercing green eyes when they can be seen, and his eyes are definitely the window into his soul, considering his power to also read into the minds of others.
Concerned with things that are worthwhile–and that includes his own life.
Affections are strong, deep, and unwavering.
Friend to many, but may stumble a little when things get too personal.
Becomes defensive or angry when people speak out against his country.
Plans ahead to create the right mood.
Researches and investigates a problem from all angles.
Finds comfort in patterns, routines, and old habits.
Expresses interest in the afterlife.
Talks over others and interrupts.
Reads into the minds of others, as both blessing and curse. He’s known about this his whole life, which is different than most of the other slaves trapped with him, but he understands that it is his power that has gotten him thrown into the caves.
Dry washes his hands a lot. Very nervous for his ability to see into other people’s minds — although it is sometimes the thoughts he encounters in those minds that stresses him out. He also knows when people find ways of blocking him or messing around with their own version of the thoughts that he’s reading. Very quiet, hardly speaks, unless there’s something he thinks is worthwhile to say.
He’s almost very monk-like, and I think, as of this writing, that his hometown of Naikax will be kind of the center of whatever religious functioning in this world is. Whatever Hindu basis I decide on will help influence that, but he’s going to be the most connected to whatever “religion” influences this society. In that vein, I suppose he also kind of understands why they’re all at the bottom of the caste system.
Doesn’t really know where he fits or where he belongs. Constantly stuck in a battle of trying to be who he thinks he is, and who he thinks he’s supposed to be.
He’s going to be something of an underdog who comes back as the big ol’ hero, outside of Vaeda.
80 • Zelsuria
Role in Story
Slave, trapped in the caves.
Revenge. Has a secret plot with Surid.
Tall and slender, dark brown-red hair that’s half-curled. Has resting bitch face. Also really old, like Surid, but whatever power I have for her that I still haven’t quite cracked will have something to do with keeping her young.
Urge for self-expression is strong.
Emotional issues take precedence–there is simply no pussy-footing around when it comes to dealing with the feelings.
Not averse to playing games to get what she wants, although even she doesn’t always know exactly what she wants!
Thinks outside of the box.
Believes there’s something greater at work and feels appreciation for that.
Agrees with whoever she’s with at the time.
Reports gossip as facts.
Power still kind of undetermined — she’ll get something better than “can create light” as is currently written in the plot, and it’ll be something to do with the plot she’ll have with Surid.
Has a habit of speaking before thinking, but it’s not always a bad thing. Very head-strong and has a habit of trying to persuade other people to think the way she’d like them to.
Although I have Yaga as kind of the “evil” one in this, I still think there’s going to be some crap going on with Cochava. Something about where she’s from, Zelsuria, makes her just odd. I do like the idea of finding a way to keep her “youthful,” and perhaps her time in the cave has an adverse effect on that power of hers, which is part of what makes her so desperate to get out of the caves. Not too sure about what her life was like before them, at this point, because I feel like she’s been a pretty free spirit who just enjoyed traveling and trying to find her place in the world while always keeping herself young and beautiful.
Wants to stay young and beautiful forever.
Her age is catching up to her.
She’s currently, I think, my biggest question mark character, because I feel like, until I meet her or develop more of the plot of the story, she’s not going to make herself totally known to me.
Unknown • Raelevarre
Role in Story
Backstabber — worked for the king, got trapped, betrays everyone by going back to the king.
Attain power upon freedom from the cave. Her only remorse is toward the king.
I do see her as having wiry hair, but I don’t want her to maintain too much of a stereotypical, like, “Witch.” I guess I maybe picture her more like The Scarlet Witch or something, but not with as much finesse, but she’s not exactly a swamp witch, either.
Love of freedom, and a disdain for routine.
Sense of humor is delightfully silly and a bit odd.
May get over-excited at the start of a task that interests her.
Feels spiritually tied to the earth and its creatures.
Engages in clever word play.
Automatically assumes the leadership role.
Doesn’t work well with others.
Bends and alters minds, perceptions, memories, etc — she’s the reason Vaeda feels so lost and confused and why no one else can tell him who he is, either.
Just has a habit of, you know, changing people’s perceptions and perspectives and forcing them to think the way she wants them to.
She’s a weird character, because in some ways, I almost just feel like she “came into existence.” Like, she didn’t have a childhood, she never “grew up,” she just, like, came into the world as she was. However, in saying that, I think that’s something I’m going to roll with, because, even though I gave her a birth date, I just think that, like Cochava, she just has the ability to kind of stay young. Yaga, however, just “exists,” and I feel like she’s not subject to age, really, but I have yet to really determine what her strongest weakness is outside of her backstab by personality. Even though, you know… she cares for the earth, at least.
Doesn’t really have a backstory, and that, in turn, results in her little identity crisis that makes her so untrustable.
Everybody hates her.
I need to explore her a little more as I get to know her, because she’s an interesting character, especially considering the whole “she just came into existence” kind of thing. Sometimes, I feel like writers treat their characters like that, like there was nothing before them until the text itself started, and I guess, in a way, she’s going to be a representation of that.
Go’Ranashu — or maybe still Goshushu
140 • Hardmoure
Role in Story
Slave, trapped in the caves. One of the only two people Vaeda truly trusts.
Protect Vaeda at all costs. Vaeda is the only person Go’Ranashu trusts, and he will not let anyone cause Vaeda harm on his quest to free everybody.
His race is based on a cross between a ram and a bull — development must take place from here.
As mentioned in the physical description, his race is a cross between a bull and a ram to represent my Aries rising and Taurus moon signs, because I feel like he’s just going to be my favorite character, and for some reason, I really picture, like, a Chewbacca type character that has, well… either bull or ram horns. I also kind of think of the Buffy episode when Giles turned into a demon, but he is kind of soft and fluffy, in a way, and really has traits similar to a German Shepherd in terms of loyalty. He’s not a “pet,” by any means, especially with his Chewbacca influence, but he’s just one of those… great creatures that will murder you if you mess with him. So he’s a great creature to have around.
Pioneer in anything he does, and there is a very basic quality of bravery in him that is unmistakable!
Prides himself being cool-headed, detached, and “above” what he considers more basic emotions.
Attracts the most good fortune when taking the lead, initiating, inspiring, and demonstrating enthusiasm and courage.
Gives just because he can.
Encourages others to explore their originality.
Makes excuses for his behavior
Assumes the worst in others
I honestly don’t really think this kind of idea suits him, outside of maybe just saying… loyal to whoever he’s meant to protect.
He’s an animal, so he has some animalistic tendencies.
As of now, I’m going to have to do some more exploration into his race/species and develop them from there, but I feel like it’s going to be something that comes along more in the story, or at least after I develop the plot a little bit more next week.
Doesn’t know who to trust.
Everyone judges him by his large, beastly appearance.
My favorite character, even though I’m not technically supposed to have a bias. Don’t tell the others.