A lot of times when I'm plotting a new book, I store all the information away in my head, where, inevitably, something gets forgotten. Sometimes it's not anything very important, but other times I find myself asking, "Wait... how old was that character again?"
When that happens, I wish I had written such necessary specifics down. Something that makes it much easier and organized is a character development sheet. (Sometimes called a character creation questionnaire). It's simply a list of questions that help you nail down little details like a character's age, physical appearance, hobbies, hopes and dreams, etc., so you can refer back to it later, when—imperfect human that you are—you forget your dear character's eye color. (No really, I'm speaking from experience here... nothing's worse than opening up a proof and finding a character's eye color has changed between pages five and eight).
Although the above-mentioned example was largely a lapse in editing attention on my part, it would have been very helpful to have a character development sheet to refer back to whenever I had a question about details like that. And so, I have taken the liberty of creating my own version of a character creation questionnaire. I tried to cover all the bases when I made it, with the result that you probably won't need to use all of the questions—after all, I don't think a fifteen-year-old MC will have grandkids—but I put the slot in anyway, in case you have an elderly main character.
I should also mention that there are two versions of it. My favorite, the one I fondly refer to as "the pretty one," has a header image much like the one at the top of this blog post. The other version is for ink-saving individuals, and is only black and white. :P Feel free to use/print/download however many of these you want. It doesn't really matter which you choose, since they have the same questions.
• Character Development Sheet #1 (The Pretty One)
• Character Development Sheet #2 (The Practical One)
I hope you found these helpful, and if you have any ideas for more questions that I could add into the development sheet, fire away in the comments. I'll try and add them in!
In my last post I provided a list of male Irish names, but since I'm pretty sure you have some female characters too, here's a list for them. Looking at this list you might think, "Well those look cool, but how on earth am I supposed to pronounce them?" If that's you, you can find many of the pronunciations on the website I took the names from. (There's a link at the bottom of this post).
Although Irish names are really cool and full of history, I've also made lists of male and female English names, and male and female Hebrew names in case you're looking for something a little different. Hopefully you'll find this list (or one of the others) helpful for naming your characters!
Aideen – jealousy
Aignéis – chaste
Ailbhe – white
Aileen – ?
Ailís – noble; kind; sort; type
Áine – radiance
Aislin – dream; vision
Aisling – dream; vision
Alastríona – defending men; help
Aoife – beauty
Aran – name of the Aran Islands of the west coast of Ireland
Ashling – dream; vision
Bébhionn – fair lady
Bébinn – fair lady
Bedelia – exalted one
Bevin – fair lady
Biddy – exalted one
Bláithín – little flower
Breda – exalted one
Bríd – exalted one
Bridget – exalted one
Bridie – exalted one
Brigid – exalted one
Brogan – shoe
Brónach – sorrow
Today's blog post is a list of Irish names for writing purposes! Those who know me from this blog or from following my Twitter know I have a bit of a thing for names, and since names are something we writers have to delve in to from time to time, I thought I'd make a list on a purely writerly site. (After all, visiting baby-name websites can get a little... well... awkward from time to time). Previously, I've made lists of male and female English names, and male and female Hebrew names.
Next up: the Irish. This list only contains male names, but the next post provides some for your lady characters as well. Irish names have a unique flavor all their own, steeped in history, so I hope you'll give this list a skim! (Who knows, you might find the one)!
Abbán – little abbot
Aidan – fire
Ailill – elf
Ailín – little rock; handsome
Aindréas – manly; masculine
Alaois – form of Aloysius; famous war; battle
Alastar – defending men; help
Alby – white
Angus – one strength; force; energy
Anraí – home ruler
Aodh – fire
Aran – name of the Aran Islands off the west coast of Ireland
Ardal – high valor
Barrie – fair hair
Berach – sharp
Brádach – large-chested
Bradán – salmon
Bran – raven
Braonán – rain; moisture; drop
Brendan – prince
Brennan – descendant of Braonán
Brian – hill; high; noble
Brogan – shoe
Killing characters. It’s something both reader and writer alike have a love/hate relationship with. Personally, I love it when a character dies—I revel in the sadness, the “what-just-happened,” the emotion more informally known as feels. But at the same time, it has to be done right, and since I just published Healing Scars, Warriors of Aralan #7, I thought now would be an opportune time to write about this subject, because Healing Scars opens almost immediately with a character’s death. (I won’t say who, though… you’ll have to find out by reading it yourself). *writer’s wink*
So, here’s a little list to think about as we move forward.
1.) First of all, is the death necessary? Killing characters just for the sake of it never helped anybody.
2.) This may sound a little macabre, but research the kind of death your character is going to experience. If you're not entirely sure what you're talking about, it'll show.
3.) And don’t forget to think about the aftermath of killing a character. In real life, people who lose loved ones don’t just pick up and move on right away—take time for the grieving process.
I've been talking about "Warriors of Aralan #7" for a while now, and so I'm really excited to reveal three important things about it with this post:
1.) It has a name: Healing Scars.
2.) The cover! (That book-shaped image just to the left of this text).
3.) And a little tidbit of of the story itself in the form of an excerpt.
I'm hoping to release Healing Scars to Amazon later this month, but until then, here's the excerpt. Enjoy!
Update: Healing Scars is published, and can be downloaded off Amazon.
Though Mercy was perplexing, a lazy day at her special fishing hole turned out to be a pleasant experience. Each of the three children caught several fish, and Ben kept two of his biggest to bring home. About midway through the afternoon, Benjamin suggested swimming.
Impulsive as Mercy was, she eyed the choppy water doubtfully. “I don’t know if it’s safe.”
“Can’t you swim?” Ben asked, a challenge in his voice.
Mercy stood up indignantly. “Of course I can! It’s just that daddy said to never swim near waterfalls because they can push you under.”
Had Kenan been quicker to speak, no one might have gotten wet that day. As it was, Ben found his tongue long before his friend. “That’s not a very big waterfall,” he said scornfully, gesturing at it. It was true—but it wasn’t a very small one either. And then, without further ado, Ben flung himself into the water.
Mercy dithered on the bank for a moment, setting her fishing pole and line straight, and then she followed with a much smaller and less enthusiastic jump.
Benjamin broke the surface again, flinging his wet hair out of the way with a roguish grin. “Come on Kenan, the water feels good.”
Kenan sat down slowly and dangled his legs in the water, shaking his head. “I think I’m all right here.” It wasn’t that he couldn’t swim—he and Ben had spent many summer afternoons doing just that—it was that, like Mercy, he wasn’t entirely sure swimming there was a good idea.
Just then Mercy came up gasping for air, and Ben burst out laughing. Her dark brown hair usually formed a perfect frizz all the way around her head, mirroring the spunk of the girl it belonged to, but when wet it went completely flat, draping, soaked, around her head and neck. “What?” she asked, frowning.
Benjamin splashed her. “You look like a drowned rat!” he exclaimed, laughing so hard he went under.
When he came up again, it was to a skillful jet of water in his face. “I do not!” Mercy retorted crossly.
Soon Mercy was pursuing Ben around the foaming pool, and both hurled insults freely. Though perhaps Benjamin’s motives hadn’t been entirely pure when he called Mercy a drowned rat, their insult war became a light-hearted competition.
Kenan stood up and watched their progress anxiously. “Aren’t you getting a little close to the waterf—oh!”
During the last month, I've had the pleasure of joining in a couple of writing-centered hashtag games on Twitter. The first, called #authorconfession, is hosted by @_JM_Sullivan, and the second, called #WIPjoy, by @simmeringmind. Every day participants in either #authorconfession or #WIPjoy are provided with a new question about their work-in-progress or themselves, and they're a lot of fun, besides having really helped me think about my characters in new ways.
Most of the above-mentioned answers come from Warriors of Aralan #7, and therefore offer a sneak peek into the lives of Allister and his son Ben before they hit Amazon later this year. But be warned! Spoilers are contained in the following answers.
#authorconfession Question: Where would your main character find an Easter Egg?
Answer: Right when he [Ben] opened his eyes in the morning. Allister would leave it there, and leave several more hidden elsewhere.
#WIPjoy Question: How would you best describe your setting?
Answer: Fantasy, leaning towards a more historically accurate Dark Ages, in a made-up country of my own invention. ;)
#authorconfession Question: What's your main character's "deadly sin"?
Answer: Ben's “deadly sin” would be greed. It's what drives him to lie and steal—he's greedy for the thrill, not just stuff.
#WIPjoy Question: What was the first thing you knew about your story's world/setting?
Answer: Oh wow. *reaches five years back in the brain archives* Probably something boring like the fact that Aralan is forested.
#authorconfession Question: A book isn't complete without...
Answer: A book isn't complete without three-dimensional characters. I want to see their struggles—not just their reactions.
#WIPjoy Question: Story location you'd most like to visit?
Answer: Aralan's castle... because, I mean... it's a castle! 'Nuff said.
#authorconfession Question: What's your main character's favorite song?
Answer: I don't think Ben has a favorite song. He hasn't heard enough music to know, living in Aralan.
#WIPjoy Question: Share a line that displays your world.
Answer: A description of the field that holds the famous archery range of Linfort, in summertime: Heat waves shimmered and danced across the field, and the whine of summertime insects never stopped.
#authorconfession Question: Find a GIF to describe your work-in-progress.
Answer: You'll have to click here to see the GIF.
#WIPjoy Question: Three unique elements of your world.
Answer: That's hard, because I'm not sure anyone can write an idea that hasn't been thought of by someone else before. But here goes...
1.) The chief weapon of one of my main characters (Allister), is throwing knives.
2.) Warriors of Aralan #7 centers around a single father (single due to his wife's untimely death), raising a son, not a daughter.
3.) Aralan is home to the famed "Tournament of Warriors," which is much like the Olympics, except with only four disciplines: one for Aralan's archers, one for Aralan's sword-wielders, one for Aralan's spear-carriers, and one for Aralan's axe-bearers.
For the last fifteen days I’ve been participating in a couple of writerly hashtag Q & A games on Twitter—namely, #authorconfession (hosted by @_JM_Sullivan) and #WIPjoy (hosted by @simmeringmind). Each day participants are provided with a new question about their work-in-progress to answer, and it’s a lot of fun both to answer the questions, and hear what other authors have to say as well.
So for today’s blog post, I thought I’d treat the last fifteen days of author confessions and work-in-progress joys like the book Q & A’s they are, and list the questions and my answers, which correspond to Warriors of Aralan 7, the next of the series to be published, and its brand-new protagonist Ben. (Spoilers may be contained).
#authorconfession Question: Is your main character a prankster?
Answer: Ben could be, but the story happens at a time in his life when he's too troubled for things like that.
#WIPjoy Question: Introduce your work-in-progress!
Answer: This is the story of a troubled 9-year-old named Ben and his path to reconciliation with his father and the death of his mother.
#authorconfession Question: Are you doing Camp NaNoWriMo? Why?
Answer: I'm not doing Camp NaNo unfortunately. I have more than one editing project to attend to.
#WIPjoy Question: Describe your main character for us.
Answer: Ben is a mischievous, troublemaking 9-year-old with big blue eyes rimmed in dark lashes, auburn hair, and an irresistible smile. (I found this image on Pinterest and thought it looked almost exactly like an older Ben).
#authorconfession Question: Three words a character uses to describe the main character.
Answer: Ben's friend Mercy described him as a cheat, a thief and a liar once. :P (He did deserve it though).
#WIPjoy Question: Share a visual that goes with your work-in-progress.
Answer: Ben plays marbles! (Although the clothes are all wrong in this pic since I write fantasy).
#authorconfession Question: What’s your main character’s favorite school subject?
Answer: Ben's favorite subject in school is avoiding going to school. ;)
#WIPjoy Question: Share a song that inspires you for this story.
Answer: Just Be Held by Casting Crowns. It applies more to Ben's father, Allister, but it's part of the story.
#authorconfession Question: Thoughts on bad language in books?
Answer: It isn't necessary. “Cursing is small minds expressing themselves forcefully.” There are ways around it.
#WIPjoy Question: Share a line of description.
Answer: Allister looking on his wife right before she dies. The moment his heart broke.
He turned back to look at Ava, and his expression shattered into a thousand little creases of agony and grief.
Sometimes there's nothing like a good old-fashioned writing prompt to get those creative juices flowing again. After all, we all have those times where we hit the wall of our creativity, and even though the story is ours, can't think of a way to answer to the simple question, "What happens next?" Hopefully, these prompts will help remedy that.
1.) He still remembered the first time he tasted oxygen.
3.) Being turned into something else by magic is always a punishment. What if someone wanted to be turned into an animal? What would make someone that desperate?
5.) A world where parents can choose one personality trait for each of their children, based on the meanings of the first name they choose. (And for a special fee can add a middle name for an extra bonus).
7.) "I'm not yet eighteen, and I've seen it all—love and hate, peace and war, joy and pain—but nothing has prepared me for the consequences of tinkering with time."
9.) "Hey, wait, you can't just kill my parents like that!"
"I'm the author. Can, and am."
"Great, now I'm an orphan. Haven't seen that done before."
"But you have a rich uncle that will take you in and—"
"Ooh, even better. Let me guess, he has a mansion?"
Here we are, on the last post of the four-part Archery for Writers series. It’s been a pleasure both as an archer and a writer to let the writing world know a little more about the sport, and today we’re going to talk about the compound bow. It is possibly the most complicated type of bow to manufacture, and doesn’t show up much in pop culture, but it is by far the most popular with today’s archers.
(Again, before we get started, if you ever find yourself confused by archery terminology, you can refer back to part one of this series. At the bottom of the page is a quick glossary of words and definitions).
Origins: Though the compound bow is far and away the most commonly-shot bow amongst both hunters and those who only shoot for sport, it a relatively recent invention. In the 1960s a man by the name of Holless Wilbur Allen¹ invented the compound bow after much trial and error by sawing off the ends of a recurve bow and attaching offset pulleys (cams) to the new tips and fixing it up with an extra-long string. He wanted to create a bow that propelled arrows through the air faster, because the bows available at the time shot arrows relatively slowly, giving deer plenty of time to jump out of the way.
When he had finally succeeded in his mission to create a bow that shot arrows faster, therefore inventing what we now know as the compound bow, he filed a patent for it on June 23rd 1966. In 1969 the patent was granted, and only ten years later two-thirds of the bow models on the market were compound². Unfortunately, he died in 1979³.
With today’s post, we tackle the recurve bow, which has been around in some form since the days of ancient Egypt. The recurve bow is therefore considered “traditional” by many of today’s archers, but it is by no means simple in construction when compared to the longbow we discussed last time. Even though both bows were very popular during the middle ages, the recurve bow was mainly used by the Mongols, while the Europeans preferred the longbow because of its simplicity and ease of creation.
(If you find yourself confused at any point because of archer lingo, you can refer back to part one of this series, which has a small glossary of archery terms and definitions at the bottom of the page).
Origins: As stated above, the recurve bow has been around for a very long time. Though it was used in ancient Egypt, it was often imported from other parts of the Middle East instead of being made there in the land of the Pharaohs¹. The Mongols², however, were really the ones that perfected the recurve bow, and were frighteningly accurate with it. (Well, frightening if you’re not a Mongol).
Welcome to Katelyn Buxton books! I'm a Christian author and blogger, with a passion for writing stories that are not just enjoyable, but also lead people to Jesus. Feel free to look around, and enjoy your stay!