Before I wrap up our month on Characterization, I wanted to put in a plug for the 2nd Annual Peak Writing Conference.

If you haven’t heard about it, it’s fantastic one-day conference that will be taking place on Saturday, February 27, 2010. Three amazing speakers are set to share their wisdom and knowledge, and with a multi-author book signing, some of the newest releases from the many authors present, and the delicious food prepared by our very own Kimberley Woodhouse, the day promises to be a fun and informative one for all who attend.

Three sessions, two snack breaks, one scrumptious lunch, and a Q&A session with our speakers at the close of the day. All of that for just $50 if you’re an ACFW member or $55 if you’re not. But you must pay by Sunday, January 31st to secure the early bird price. After that, the fee jumps up $10. It will be $60 for members and $65 for non-members.

For more information, check out the Events page on this site.

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Now, back to characterization. Evangeline posted on Monday about being a seat of the pants writer. I am as well, although I tend to call it “intuitive” instead. 🙂 Regardless, it usually means you jump into a story and let things happen as the story unfolds rather than planning and plotting every scene.

Earlier in the month, I shared a sample list of questions I sometimes use to interview my characters, but I confess. It’s not often that I make it all the way through that list I have. Don’t get me wrong. It’s an excellent way to learn a lot about your characters, but in all honesty, knowing that much about a character can be boring. 🙂

It’s far more entertaining to take a character, throw him or her into a situation and see what happens. Wouldn’t you agree? I mean, what if you have a character walking down the street, when all of a sudden a dog chasing a cat both run in front of the character. Fairly par to course normal occurrence, right?

But, let’s amp up the situation a bit, shall we?

What if that character had an unfortunate encounter with a dog and a cat during childhood? Perhaps a bad bite or scratch that left an indelible mark on the memory. Ever since, the character has avoided cats and dogs and doesn’t even like to be in the same room with either one. So, revisit that simple, everyday walk, and all of a sudden, it takes on an entirely different meaning. The character would scream, jump or run in the other direction. Might even be scared stiff and unable to move. And if that walk was one of purpose, this delay could set forth a chain of events that could alter the entire scene or chapter…even the story.

And see? If I had planned out that background for the character, the scene wouldn’t have been as much fun. *winks*

So, are you an intuitive writer or a plotter? Do you know everything about your characters before you sit down to write the first sentence? Or do you let things happen as they will? Maybe you write with a combination of both? Feel free to share your style with us.


Tiffany Amber Stockton is an author, online marketing specialist and freelance web site designer who lives with her husband and fellow author, Stuart. They have 1 daughter and a border collie. She has sold eight books so far to Barbour Publishing, is a columnist for the ACFW e-zine and writes other articles as well. Read more about her at her web site: http://www.amberstockton.com/.

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