Month: September 2017

Book Fair

Today I’m off to Sweden’s largest book fair, Bokmässan. It’s honestly just like Christmas for book lovers, and I’m really excited about it. The fair lasts for four days but I will only be going today – which is a bit depressing, since there’s so much I would have liked to listen to. I don’t care much about the big names, tbh, but I have my usual set of fave lgbt and/or horror writers who will be there. Let’s see if I can make it without buying any books this year – I always make that promise to myself and I never keep it. 

This week I’ve written a few short stories, btw. I’ve realised I crave actual writing and storytelling on a regular basis, or I get restless and depressed. Doing outlining and research just doesn’t give me the same sense of accomplishment. Now I can go back to my research books with some new energy!

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Hardships (and roast beef)


Right now this book is what keeps me company in the evenings – “English Society In The 18th Century” by Roy Porter. Such an interesting read! I’m underlining everything, or pretty much everything. I’ve always loved history , and the 18th century has been my favourite era ever since I was six or so. It’s such an interesting mix of old and new, of things we recognise and things that are foreign to us. 

As always, what pains me the most about this century (and all centuries before the 20th) is how hard life must have been for people. The life expectancy was 37 years, Porter writes (in 1700, I think?), and a lot of children never lived past five years of age. He writes that parents of that time weren’t very affectionate with their children and that putting distance between themselves and their offspring might have been a way of protecting themselves from too much grief if the child died. That’s foreign to us today, in the rich part of the world, but it’s still harsh reality for parents in many poor countries. And it’s only been a hundred years or so in my own country, since people were starving and children dying here as well. 

There are so many stories to tell and so much I’d like to use in my story, but I can’t fit everything in there. And naturally, since I’m writing romantic fiction I can’t be historically correct about everything. No missing teeth or unwashed bodies here. 😉

So far, Porter has also mentioned roast beef about five times and written about how it was the favourite dish of the Brits and how the country squires feasted on roast beef and beer. I guess I need to mention someone somewhere wolfing down roast beef, to make things more authentic. My boys do need to eat every now and then, after all.

Character sheets – my template

Right now, I’m doing the last three character sheets I need before I can go into the next phase of novel prep – research. I have a lot of books lined up and I’m looking forward to reading them. In a way, research feels a bit like studying for school, but without the stress of grades and exams. And you get to study only those things that you love.

I’m still working on those character sheets though, and today I thought I’d share with you the template that I normally use. For the most important characters of the first book in the series I did a much more extensive sheet, about ten pages compared to this one, which is about two pages long. I’m glad I did those ten pages for my MC’s, but for the rest of the characters it was a bit much.

Here’s my template:

Basic Character Sheet

Full Name:

Date of birth:

Place of birth:

Where does he/she live?

Is he/she tidy, messy, or average?

Family? (Romantic relationship, children etc):

Height:

Weight:

Hair:

Eyes:

Whom does he/she look like?

How does he/she dress?

How does he/she speak?

Occupation:

Comfortable with physical contact?

Parents:

Siblings:

Most significant childhood event:

Close friends:

Religion:

Sexual orientation:

Hobbies/Interests:

Likes:

Dislikes:

Five good traits:

Five bad traits:

Optimist or pessimist:

Introvert or extrovert:

Which person in his/her life would the person most want to emulate?

Which person in his/her life would the person least want to emulate?

What is his/her biggest secret?

What makes him/her angry:

What makes him/her embarrassed:

What makes him/her scared:

What makes him/her laugh:

What makes him/her cry:

What pains him/her the most:

Goal:

Motives (why that goal?):

Conflict (what is keeping them from reaching that goal?):

Greatest flaw:

 

Do you find character sheets useful?

(Feel free to use this template or be inspired by it, if you like!)

Timeline changes

I had a conversation (er, monologue) with a friend the other day about the book I’m currently working on. Normally I feel that talking about your ideas in detail before you’ve started writing is a bad idea, but I’ve come far enough in the process now to be able to do it. Anyway, as I talked I realized that there were several problems with the timeline. Making any changes at all in a timeline for a trilogy with lots of characters isn’t something you do just like that, but yesterday I sat down and got to work on it. Now I’ve pushed the first events of the second book forward about five months, which works better on a lot of levels. There are a lot of things left to do, but I am feeling optimistic about making it in time for NaNo this year. 

From this to that

Being an author is so much more than just writing. Right now I’d really want to spend more time doing my character sheets for the second Wavesongs novel, but I’m stuck planning the marketing for Entertaining the Sombrevilles, trying to get my printer to work, and registering my company which is something I need to be able to pay taxes. The marketing and the company stuff is one thing, I can do that (sort of)—but the printer, does it really have to make trouble for me right now? Oh, the joys of technology.

The character sheets are working out well, though, when I find the time to work on them. There are lots of new characters for this book and it’s so exciting to get to know them and find out how my MC’s relate to them. Characters and their relationships have always been my favourite part of writing so doing character sheets is a very enjoyable thing for me. The one I did for most characters of the first novel had ten pages for each character, which was very interesting but took a bit too much time. Now I do two pages and I think that’s more manageable.

Do you use character sheets?