What is a Character Profile?

So, usually one of the first things an instructor will present in a character development class is the character profile sheet, but I tend to delay this because of my own belief system, which is probably something I shouldn’t admit, but it basically comes down to this:

I care more about my characters’ insides than their outsides. Yes, the demographics of who they are and how they grew up and their physicality absolutely impacts who they are, but I want their yearnings, wants, big lie, human worth and flaw to be the things that matter the most to me as the writer and the reader.

But character profiles are beautifully concrete tools and approaches that can truly help you nail down your character (not literally, no hammers involved).

A character profile is basically a tool that:

  1. Helps you not get confused with the details as you write.
  2. Helps you round out your character’s psychographics and demographics.
  3. Organizes your thoughts.

Writerswrite.com says,

“A Character Profile is just meant to be a guide where you can list facts and details to help you get to know your characters, especially if you get stuck on one character who doesn’t quite seem real. You also want to be sure you don’t create a Mary Sue character. Maybe he needs a new characteristic — a hidden trauma, a fabulous skill or a deadly secret — something that will make the character come alive for you. If you are having trouble coming up with character details try to see how your character performs using a writing prompt or walk them through a situation known well to you.”

When I was in fourth or fifth grade, I loved character profiles, filling in all the blanks on the sheet, but what I didn’t know then is that while the profile is a fantastic organizational tool that helps you think about your character, it isn’t what makes your characters believable or lovable or be the kind of characters that readers want to invest time in.

Bringing life to the character doesn’t happen in the outline or the profile, it happens on the page as that character deals with conflict, goes after their yearnings, takes action, interacts and moves across the story, guided by their own yearnings that we readers can relate to.

Those yearnings are a much bigger deal than demographics because it’s those yearnings that make us (and our characters) human.

Resources/Links

https://www.writerswrite.com/characters/character-profile/

https://blog.reedsy.com/character-profile/

NEW BOOK OUT!

It’s super fun. An adult paranormal/mystery/romance/horror blend. Think Charlaine Harris but without all the vampires. Instead there are shifters and dragon grandmothers and evil police chiefs and potential necromancers and the occasional zombie and a sexy skunk.

It’s out November 1, which means you can buy it now, and I seriously love it. So, it would be cool if you bought it so I can be all motivated to write the next book.

Oh, and it’s quirky.

This is because most of my books are quirky.

Be ready to resurrect your love of the paranormal in the first novel in the Alisa Thea series—the books that give new meaning to quirky paranormal.

Alisa Thea is barely scraping by as a landscaper in small-town Bar Harbor. She can’t touch people with her bare skin without seeing their deaths and passing out, which limits her job and friendship opportunities. It also doesn’t give much of a possibility for a love life, nor does her overbearing stepfather, the town’s sheriff. Then along comes an opportunity at a local campground where she thinks her need for a home and job are finally solved . . .

But the campground and its quirky residents have secrets of their own: the upper level is full of paranormals. And when some horrifying murders hit the campground—along with a potential boyfriend from her past who may be involved—Alisa starts to wonder if living in a campground of paranormals will end up in her own death.

Join New York Times and internationally best[selling author Carrie Jones in the first book of the Alisa Thea Series as it combines the excitement of a thriller with the first-hand immediacy and quirky heroines that Jones is known for.

It’s fun. It’s weird. It’s kind of like Charlaine Harris, but a little bit more achy and weird.

best maine paranormal carrie jones
Almost Dead Series – Meet Alissa Thea, a sexy skunk, a haunted campground and a lot of quirky

How To Begin To Develop Character In Your Story?

The character in your story is pretty much the key to make it all work, to inspire the readers to keep turning the page or scrolling down the screen.

Dwight Swain writes:

“A character is a person in a story.

“To create story people, you grab the first stick figures that come in handy; then you flesh them out until they spring to life.”

So, the question becomes how the heck do you flesh them out, right?

Matt Bird writes, “Character is the human element of your story, the aspect that the audience actually cares about.”

And that’s the big deal.

You can have the best plot in the world and most of the time, it won’t matter because people want characters that they can cheer for, commiserate with, worry about.

Bird believes that there are certain elements that need to be there for readers to care about your character:

  1. They have to identify with them (the character).
  2. The character needs to be resourceful.
  3. The character needs to be active.
  4. The character who is misunderstood is more lovable than the one who saves the cat.
  5. The character doesn’t have to be likeable to be lovable. Go for lovable.
  6. A character who is vulnerable is good and even a badass can be vulnerable.

In the Secrets of Story, Bird brilliantly splits three aspects of hero/protagonists into three needs:

  1. Believe – They have to feel like the character is real.
  2. Care – The reader has to be emotionally engaged with the character’s journey.
  3. Invest – The reader has to be into the character. Bird says this comes from active characters who are resourceful and aren’t like the other characters in the book.

Bird further goes on to say:

Matt Bird from his blog (link here). http://www.secretsofstory.com/2017/07/how-to-create-compelling-character.html

But it’s his first bit that interests me the most right now.

Humans are stunningly complex. We contradict ourselves. We don’t always make sense and to encapsulate all of that in a novel is pretty impossible, so we have to pick and choose the contradictions and details to highlight. How do you deal with that?

Swain writes,

“A story is a record of how somebody deals with danger. One danger, for a simple story; a series of inter-related dangers, for one more complex.”

He advocates developing your character only so much as it is needed to deal with the story or to ‘fulfill his function in the story. You give an impression and approximation of life, rather than attempting to duplicate life itself.”

Swain believes that character begin with a fragment and then the author adds more and more on to that character, individualizing her until she becomes more real, more believable.

That individualization occurs through free association and layering in observations and details. What begins as a fragment of an idea (guinea pig hero) becomes a believable, lovable character as the author “supplements” that fragment with “Thought and insight.”

And that can be hard.

Swain thinks it’s hard because in real life, we tend not analyze people’s behavior and motivations. We take them and their actions for granted, he says.

“Consequently, when we try to build story people, we find that we lack a grasp of mental mechanisms: motivations.”

And motivations? They are a big deal. They are why characters go after goals. They are the yearnings that we readers connect to.

So, Swain says this is where the imagination steps in.

“To understand a man,” he writes,” you have to grasp the essence of that wholeness . . . its gestalt, the totality of its configuration.. . Each of us is an entity, a personal and private whole that transcends its components.”

I advocate taking a journal or diary when you’re really lost developing a character and go somewhere safe and observe people, think about why they might be acting the way they are. What is it that’s going on with them. Practice trying to understand people and you build those character development skills. 

NEW BOOK OUT!

It’s super fun. An adult paranormal/mystery/romance/horror blend. Think Charlaine Harris but without all the vampires. Instead there are shifters and dragon grandmothers and evil police chiefs and potential necromancers and the occasional zombie and a sexy skunk.

It’s out November 1, which means you can buy it now, and I seriously love it. So, it would be cool if you bought it so I can be all motivated to write the next book.

Oh, and it’s quirky.

This is because most of my books are quirky.

Be ready to resurrect your love of the paranormal in the first novel in the Alisa Thea series—the books that give new meaning to quirky paranormal.

Alisa Thea is barely scraping by as a landscaper in small-town Bar Harbor. She can’t touch people with her bare skin without seeing their deaths and passing out, which limits her job and friendship opportunities. It also doesn’t give much of a possibility for a love life, nor does her overbearing stepfather, the town’s sheriff. Then along comes an opportunity at a local campground where she thinks her need for a home and job are finally solved . . .

But the campground and its quirky residents have secrets of their own: the upper level is full of paranormals. And when some horrifying murders hit the campground—along with a potential boyfriend from her past who may be involved—Alisa starts to wonder if living in a campground of paranormals will end up in her own death.

Join New York Times and internationally best[selling author Carrie Jones in the first book of the Alisa Thea Series as it combines the excitement of a thriller with the first-hand immediacy and quirky heroines that Jones is known for.

It’s fun. It’s weird. It’s kind of like Charlaine Harris, but a little bit more achy and weird.

best maine paranormal carrie jones
Almost Dead Series – Meet Alissa Thea, a sexy skunk, a haunted campground and a lot of quirky

Sangria of Thanksgiving Awesome for Writers Who Need Some Magic, Damn It

In the summer months, the Portuguese part of my family really loved their sangrias, which they usually made from Tempranillo from Rioja, but if things were desperate, they would use Bartles and James.

One of my aunts would shove all sorts of sliced fruit in there, something orange (sometimes booze, sometimes an orange, sometimes both) and put a ton of ice and some sort of soda water. I always thought it was magic. Sometimes I’d get to suck on some of the fruit, which was probably illegal now that I think of it.

This is a more Thanksgiving take on that same thing.

Sangria of Thanksgiving Awesome for Writers Who Need Some Magic

Recipe by CarrieCourse: Uncategorized
Servings

4

servings
Prep time

5

minutes
Cooking timeminutes
Calories

ha

kcal

Stuff That Goes In It

  • 1 cup apple cider

  • 1 750-ml bottle dry white wine

  • ¼ cup orange juice (about one navel orange)

  • ¼ cup brandy, if you are fancy — Calvados

  • Sparkling water or club soda to put on top

  • One apple, cut into ½-inch cubes

  • ¼ cup pomegranate seeds or another apple or pear

How to Make It

  • Look, you’re a writer, you deal in magic. You create worlds and story and happiness. Take a deep breath. It’s your time to have some magic.
  • Find a pitcher that can contain six quarts of fluid. Look up what a quart is. You’re a writer, you’re used to researching things like “how to kill a demonic pixie;” this should be easy.
  • Put fruit in that pitcher. Look at that. Fruit is sort of magical isn’t it, like a narrative arc that makes sense. Gorgeous.
  • Put wine in there because it’s the most important magical ingredient. Think about writing a book with alchemy. Tell yourself you are practicing it right now.
  • Put in the apple cider, juice, and brandy. Wonder if any of your characters drink apple cider. Decide not to worry about it. THIS IS ABOUT YOU AND YOUR NEEDS, WRITER! Not those demanding characters.
  • Put it in the fridge to make it cold. Wait impatiently.
  • Stir it. Top it off with that sparkling water. Drink it and let your mind take you to magical places that do not include dialogue punctuation, character motivation, or plot.

Notes

  • This beautiful, magical recipe is adapted from the fantastic site, Wine Mag, and it’s from Emily Saladino. Hit the link and you’ll get to the real thing. 🙂

YOU’VE GOT CHARACTER FLAWS, HOW DO YOU USE THEM?

If you checked out this post, you’ve spent some time figuring out your character’s flaws, and now it’s time to actually use those flaws to make a better novel.

And the first thing you need to do is let the reader know about that character’s flaws and where it came from.

  1. HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?

You want to show the reader why the character is the way they are.

Can you blame their childhood? Or something terrible? A lot of times our negative scripts in our brains or something horrible happening to us characters creates that flaw that is currently keeping us from having a nice, happy story.

Can you blame conditioning? Not the kind of conditioning you do for being fit, but the kind of conditioning that teachers, parents, the robots, the authority figures put you through. Is the flaw or negative belief system inherited via education or example?

Is it just your character’s brain? Sometimes our characters are not the smartest tools in the shed and they have big lies that motivate them or big flaws in their thinking or their logic because they make wrong assumptions because of things that they’ve experienced or seen in the past.

  • MAKE SURE THE FLAW WORKS

You want your character’s flaw to flow well with the character. Most of us don’t know that we have flaws and we might ignore it (and bristle when someone brings it up) or think it’s actually a strength. A Slytherin doesn’t think cheating on a test is a bad thing. They think it’s being cunning or ambitious. A Carrie Jones doesn’t think being self-deprecating is annoying. She thinks it’s being authentic.

  • REMEMBER THAT ONE FLAW LEADS TO ANOTHER

A lot of times you have one specific flaw destined and planned out for your character, but then they go and add more. That’s good. Most of us have more than one flaw.

How to Give Your Characters Humanizing Flaws

I’m teaching a class over at the Writing Barn about character and we’re half-way in. I’ve talked about character motivation and goals, yearning, making them memorable, human worth, stakes, and the big lie. But one of the most important factors in creating a character’s inner landscape is the humanizing flaw.

The humanizing flaw is about where your character is messed up.

It’s part of what’s holding them back from getting their goals and yearnings.

It creates conflict. It keeps them away from that Superman perfection.

NowNovel writes:

Character flaws serve multiple purposes. Often, they’re the faults and shortcomings that create conflict between key players in a story. Yet flaws are also useful for creating attraction between characters. Without them, characters feel wooden, ‘too perfect’. Without them, attraction might seem too instant.

I have some issues with this term from a disability perspective, honestly. And the first type of flaw that editors/coaches/teachers will cite is:

THE PHYSICAL CHARACTER FLAW OR DISTINCTIVE DETAIL?

This might be about a character’s appearance. It might be about something that goes against society’s “beauty norms.” It might be about something in their physical nature that makes them different and potentially judged negatively for.

The way your character deals with/thinks about/relates to this “flaw” is important. Is it a positive attitude? A negative one? An impartial attitude? Their perception of their flaw helps build their character.

So, both I and author Libba Bray can’t see out of one of our eyes. Libba usually talks about this in a jocular way. I usually blurt it out, unthinking, while I explain that I have a horrible time seeing people raise their hands in Zoom sessions. How we handle our blind eyes helps define who we are as people. It’s the same thing for characters on the page.

NowNovel talks about finding “beauty in the eye of the beholder,” saying:

“The common phrase ‘beauty’s in the eye of the beholder’ reminds us that attraction is often highly subjective. One character might joke with another, saying, ‘What do you call a potential boyfriend shorter than six foot? A friend’ The friend, on the other hand, might have a strong attraction to shorter men.

“Often someone’s ‘flaws’ – a mole, some or other detail – is also what gives them their ‘them-ness’. It’s the distinctive detail that another character associates with them. It represents them in the other’s mind’s eye.

“When writing romance between characters, think about physical details a character might dislike about their own appearance. There could be a ‘too much’ or ‘too little’ that a lover wouldn’t have any other way.”

THE PERSONALITY OF POOPINESS OR EMOTIONAL FLAW

These are big ones, really. And they can be confusing. Think of going on a date with someone. It’s your first date and then you have a few more. They text you a lot. They want to hang out with you all the time. You think, “Oh, what a cutie!” But then it turns out that if you don’t text them back within the hour, the send out an all points bulletin looking for you.

Aspects of personality that seem lovely can be turned around into a negative and vice-versa.

Or, as NowNovel says:

“The imbalances in people are often the things that attract and repel others.

“This push and pull between finding emotional flaws or imbalances attractive and frustrating makes relationships interesting. The character who ‘chivalrously’ holds the door for the other could easily become irritating in their determination to hold up gender ‘roles’ or traditions.

“These double-edged character qualities are especially useful when you want to show how characters pass from hating to loving each other (and vice versa). An extrovert character who finds another’s shyness off-putting, for example, might find themselves getting drawn more and more to their quiet or gentle quality.”

It’s hard to manage those flaws sometimes.

And finally, we have . . .

THE IDEALOGICAL WHAT THE HECK IS WRONG WITH THEM FLAW

Just like each of us, our characters have an ideology. There are values that they live their lives by. They have beliefs.

It’s a bit like going on Facebook or Twitter or TikTok and seeing a bunch of memes that lean a certain way politically. You quickly know how a person on your friends’ list stands if they share those things, right?

When your characters have different ideologies, one might decide the other’s way of thinking is a flaw. One might be a vegan. One might be all about meat and potatoes. One might love STAR WARS. One might think STAR WARS is a capitalistic venture creating bipolarities meant to dumb down the world.

Sometimes a character might think another’s idealogical flaw or difference makes them hot. The difference in belief systems can help a character in a young adult novel rebel against their family if they are expressed in a potential love interest. It can be a place to insert humor and conflict in your characters, but it can also repel characters.

SHEET PAN DINNER RECIPE FOR WRITERS WHO ARE FEELING OUT OF CONTROL

SHEET PAN DINNER RECIPE FOR WRITERS WHO ARE NOT DOING WELL

Recipe by Carrie
Servings

8

servings
Prep time

25

minutes
Cooking time

45

minutes
Calories

280

kcal

Stuff That Goes In It

  • 2 (15 ounce) cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained

  • ½ butternut squash – peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch pieces

  • 1 onion, diced

  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes

  • 2 large carrots, cut into 1 inch pieces

  • 3 medium russet potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper

  • 1 teaspoon onion powder

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1 teaspoon ground fennel seeds

  • 1 teaspoon dried rubbed sage

  • 2 green onions, chopped (Optional)

How to Make It

  • It’s happened.

    You have realized it, little author.

    Writing is a f-ed up business and it’s not all in your control. You’ve gotten rejected again because the market allegedly isn’t into time-traveling hamsters for YA novels. Pshaw!

    So go, preheat the oven 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).


    Find a large sheet pan and grease it. Pretend it’s your readership. You want them to be prepared.

  • You gave up on traditional publishing and have done everything you could to sell books. Bought Publisher’s Rocket, joined Facebook groups, read a million craft books. And you’ve sold two. To your mom.

    It’s okay. You’re a writer not a marketer.

    Put the chickpeas, potatoes (both kinds), squash, carrots and onions on the sheet pan.

    These are your books. They are all there. They are beautiful. Now drizzle some oil on them and toss them around so the oil is everywhere.

    Wish them luck.
  • Combine the spices (salt counts) in a bowl or something. God knows.

    Sprinkle onto the veggies.

    Toss it all again
    , damn it. Cry. Think about pen names.
  • Think about Chuck Wendig’s latest post about dealing with the writing business where he says:

    “I cannot control geopolitics and global pandemics. I cannot control whether the editor who’s had my novel on their desk for nine months will happen to pick it up on a day they ate some bad charcuterie and can’t focus because they need to run to the loo every ten minutes. I can’t control markets, reviewers, who else publishes the day my book comes out, or even (very frequently on the trad side of publishing) my covers and titles.

    “But I can control other things. I control the effort I put into my craft. I’ve now written twenty-two novels, and by the time you read this, it might be twenty-three. LOOK TO THE SUN was my tenth.

    “I can control whether I keep going or take a break, whether I give up altogether or come running back to the game. I am responsible for whatever ends up on my pages.”
  • Put the pan in the oven for 25 minutes.

    Stir it.

    Cook it 20 minutes more. Your novels should be done. The effort was worth it. The chickpeas are a little crisp like a good plot. The veggies are lightly browned like some nice emotional development. Call it good.

    Write again tomorrow.

    Add salt or pepper and green onion if you feel like it. Call it good.

Notes

  • This recipe is much more readable and inspired by the lovely recipe here by Kim on Allrecipes.

Be Brave Friday

It’s Be Brave Friday and I’ve not had the bravest of days, really. That changes now with this post, right?

Here’s a painting on wood (a board from a bookshelf originally from a wonderful woman’s house, which was previously owned by a family of other friends of me).

It’s raw like my feelings right now. It’s a bit haunted like the world right now.

But it’s there–created. And like me, probably not done.

As most of you know, sharing anything I’ve painted is really hard. But I’m all about rewriting those negative scripts and rewriting new ones and cheering each other on while we do. If you are trying, thriving, grieving, becoming, celebrating, evolving? I’m rooting so hard for you, for all of us.

And if you want to support me, please buy one of my books (links above in the BOOKS category) or join my Patreon, it’s really fun! <3

I Blame it On My Wife aka Carrie

On Thursday, my co-podcaster, Shaun, and husband guy, takes over the blog.

He’s adorable. I hope you’ll read what he says even if he does occasionally sound like a surfer dude from the 1990s or Captain Pontification. And no, we don’t always agree. 🙂

best podcast ever
Here’s Shaun

It is 7:25 p.m. in Bar Harbor, Maine and I still haven’t written my blog post! You know what that means? That means Carrie can’t relax until I have it written and she can then post it. I feel so bad right now, but also very lucky.

I feel lucky because I have an incredibly understanding wife! I would love to lie and tell you that she is pacing back and forth in the living room, smoking a cigar, and swearing at me like some old salty newspaper editor waiting for a reporter to turn in a story. But, I can’t. She used to actually be a newspaper editor. Did you know that?

It is partially her fault that I am running so late. I had been running plenty late on my own and told her that I would get it done right after dinner. When we sat down to dinner, an informal affair tonight in the living room, in front of the tv, we started to watch a romantic-Christmasy movie.

I feared the worst, but as it turned out, the movie was not bad at all and much better than I imagined it would be. That, my friends, is why I am so very late, instead of just late. The movie was just too good!

So, I blame it on Carrie. I blame it on Carrie that I have such a wonderful life. I blame it on Carrie that I wish that I had the ability to replicate all of the romantic words and actions in that movie so that I could make her feel loved in just the way that I do love her.

I wish I could show her how I love her in the same manner that makes people watch those silly Christmas romance movies for the entire month of December! The kind of love and romance that somehow makes her eyes leak when she is just lying on the couch watching a silly movie.

Alas, I can’t. Try as we may, in real life you don’t get to script your words, actions, and emotions. But you can keep trying and keep learning and keep apologizing.

I am lucky!

Remember to learn, apologize, keep trying and always, Love Your Way Through it!

Shaun

How To Deal With Your Inner Critic So it Stops Sucking Out Your Soul

You suck. You will never be good at anything. Wow. You just equal ew.

A lot of us have a critical inner voice. We might call it our internal editor or our internal critic, but it’s a bit of a destructive bastard, honestly.

It criticizes.

It thinks only of the worst case scenario.

As J’aime ona Pangaia writes:

“If you take some time out for yourself, an inner voice tells you that you are lazy and/or selfish and that you’ll never amount to anything. When you work hard, keeping your eyes on your goals, this inner critic will lambaste you for not having a life, or quality relationships, or for being a 2-dimensional workaholic. Your inner critic will get you coming and going.

“Most people are so used to hearing their inner critic monitor and judge their every thought, word, action and appearance, that they don’t even realize the steadily eroding effect it has on them until they are plunged into a flat-out depression. A common approach these days is the decision to “not indulge in negative thinking”, so ‘affirmations’ are chanted as if they were magical mantras that will somehow eradicate the messages of the inner critic.”

For a lot of writers, that internal critic or inner editor makes us completely blocked and unable to write on the page.

According to Lisa Firestone Ph.D. for Psychology Today,

“Getting to know and challenge this “voice” is one of the most essential psychological hurdles we can overcome in striving to live our version of our best life.”

So, how do we overcome that voice. Where does it come from? Why does it torment us like this?

Again, Firestone:

“We can start by understanding one major concept: we are, in many ways, ruled by our past. From the moment we’re born, we absorb the world around us. The early attitudes, beliefs and behaviors we were exposed to can become an inner dialogue, affecting how we see ourselves and others. For example, the positive behavior and qualities our parents or early caretakers had helped us form a positive sense of self as well as many of our values. If we felt love, acceptance or compassion directed toward us, this nurtured our real self and the positive feelings we have about who we are in the world. However, the critical attitudes and negative experiences we withstood formed and fueled our anti-self. Early rejections and harmful ways of relating affect a child’s budding self-perception, not to mention their point of view toward other people and relationships in general. These impressions become the voices in our heads.”

Firestone details a few steps:

  1. Pay attention when the critic pops up. Realize it’s the critic being an insulting troll.
  2. Write down what that critic says, but use the YOU pronoun rather than the I pronoun. It gives it less power and sometimes writing things down makes us realize how silly they are.
  3. Give a hot second to figuring out what your inner critic sounds like. Your mom? Dad? Brother? A teacher? Who does it feel like is talking to you through this voice? Does it sound like your avo?
  4. Stand up to the critic. I do this by creating an internal cheerleader, but you don’t have to be that extreme. When something self-hating happens, says, “Shut up. Look at all this awesome I am. I do this and this and this and think this and this and this, you inner critic dork.”
  5. Try to look for patterns that happen. Does your internal critic’s voice only speak up when you’re writing? Trying to revise? When you’re studying? Want to try something new? Look for when it happens and if you are limiting your actions and behaviors because of that damn voice.

Tasha Harmon has a great PDF all about taming that inner critic and what she suggests is remembering this, the “inner critic’s job is to protect you from harm/ensure you are okay.”

It’s interesting to think of The Inner Critic as Trying to be Helpful–but failing.

That inner voice is trying to keep us safe, but it’s overactive and does too good a job. So it creates worst case scenarios and tells us what those scenarios are. Then we often believe them and that’s where the stagnation happens.

Tasha suggests “seeing the inner critic as the scared child; recognize the fears, acknowledge them with compassion.”

It’s a different approach than Firestone’s. One is about facing them down. One is understanding them and controlling them with empathy and love.

Harmon also suggests trying to visualize your inner critic.

I do that all the time. Mine is John Wayne. My inner cheerleader is Grover from Sesame Street. You can draw a picture to do that if you need to. Or you can write out dialogue where you and the critic chat. Ask them why they won’t stop talking about certain things and what they are trying to accomplish with their negativity.

According to Pangaia,

“Give an ear to your inner critic; it would love to lose the weight of all that under recognized vulnerability! The power of its insults have been in direct proportion this vulnerability. Your inner critic is just trying to help you become more aware of who else you are inside so you can take better care of all of your selves”

How you deal with those negative internal voices and scripts is up to you, but I hope that you’ll look them in the eye or hug them or whatever you need to do to give them less power over you. That power that they have? They don’t deserve it and you? You deserve to live as big and full and amazing a life as possible. You deserve that inner cheerleader. Grover says he’s totally good with me loaning him out, but I bet you can find your perfect one, too.

What is a Character Arc?

This little baby (the character arc) is how your character evolves or doesn’t after she/they/he go after their yearnings and goals.  It’s how they change during the story.

Do they start off confident and end up scared?

Do they start off scared and end up confident as all get out?

That’s a bit part of the change that happens to them (the character) because of the things (events) that happen in the novel.

If they end up in a better place? That’s a positive change arc.

If they end up in a worse place? That’s a negative change arc.

If they end up in the same place? That’s a static arc.

Usually you have:

  1. A character wanting something.
  2. A character trying to get that something.
  3. Things getting in the damn way as they try to get that something.
  4. A big climax and oh-la-la they have changed.

So, for all that to happen, the character has to have some goals or wants. And they have to have the motivation to get that goal/want.

You have to make your character want something and give them a reason for wanting it. Then your awesome readers read the story to see if they can get it. That’s why you throw in obstacles because you don’t want it to be too easy, right?

Obstacles can be events (hurricanes), other people (bosses, spouses, fathers, kids, vampires), or the character’s own self.

The thing is that these obstacles have to eventually make the character grow in one way (positive) or another (negative).

Then at the climax—poof!—the character is different. They are no longer who they were on page one and they’ve become something cooler or less cooler, their world is better or it’s degraded into a dystopian hellscape.

NEW BOOK OUT!

It’s super fun. An adult paranormal/mystery/romance/horror blend. Think Charlaine Harris but without all the vampires. Instead there are shifters and dragon grandmothers and evil police chiefs and potential necromancers and the occasional zombie and a sexy skunk.

It’s out November 1, which means you can buy it now, and I seriously love it. So, it would be cool if you bought it so I can be all motivated to write the next book.

Oh, and it’s quirky.

This is because most of my books are quirky.

Be ready to resurrect your love of the paranormal in the first novel in the Alisa Thea series—the books that give new meaning to quirky paranormal.

Alisa Thea is barely scraping by as a landscaper in small-town Bar Harbor. She can’t touch people with her bare skin without seeing their deaths and passing out, which limits her job and friendship opportunities. It also doesn’t give much of a possibility for a love life, nor does her overbearing stepfather, the town’s sheriff. Then along comes an opportunity at a local campground where she thinks her need for a home and job are finally solved . . .

But the campground and its quirky residents have secrets of their own: the upper level is full of paranormals. And when some horrifying murders hit the campground—along with a potential boyfriend from her past who may be involved—Alisa starts to wonder if living in a campground of paranormals will end up in her own death.

Join New York Times and internationally best[selling author Carrie Jones in the first book of the Alisa Thea Series as it combines the excitement of a thriller with the first-hand immediacy and quirky heroines that Jones is known for.

It’s fun. It’s weird. It’s kind of like Charlaine Harris, but a little bit more achy and weird.

best maine paranormal carrie jones
Almost Dead Series – Meet Alissa Thea, a sexy skunk, a haunted campground and a lot of quirky