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Wallflower or Party Animal? Tags: Character development fiction creative writing tools
I'm more the former than the latter, though I'm aware it's a big generalisation. I’ve used the concepts of introversion and extroversion in a previous life as and I don't need confirmation that I'm a loner. However recent events over the last eighteen months have forced me out of my comfort zone, more than once.

So, I hear you asking, what has this to do with writing?

Developing well rounded and three dimensional characters is essential in the story telling business. I favour the theory that characters make plot, but it doesn't really matter which side of the fence you are, a story needs good characterisation. And anything that helps to deepen our characters, put flesh on the bones, expose their bad side as well as their virtues and allow them to live on the page is not a bad thing. But our personality isn't black or white, right or wrong, pure or evil. Personality is multi faceted and complex, we know that.

The Myers Briggs Type Indicator is a tool used to define an individuals preferred character traits. The word preferred is quite critical as it does not mean that a wallflower will never go to the ball but it might explain how we might act out of character if we need to and the effect it may have. I used this tool with individuals and teams to identify where they could develop skills they might lack that would increase performance or improve working relationships. Understanding what makes others tick can be very powerful and there are sixteen personality types identified within this particular spectrum.

Examining our characters through a lens which defines different preferences can help us understand them more and bring them to life and so enable our reader to relate to them and invest in our story. Using the Zodiac signs could do the same. Character development is so much more than hairstyle or eye colour, it's the subtle traits that make us unique and individual. Well, that's the theory anyway and the tool did produce some positive results in real life, so maybe it could transfer to fiction. Worth a try and I reckon I'll always be a wallflower at heart.

Sorry there are no visuals foe this blog but as you know I am travelling and only have my IPad which makes thing a little more also seems to have messed with my formatting so apologies ...😎
This Week Monday 1st May
Category: Site News
Tags: Muse Blog. Meetings

This Week – Monday 1st May 2017

This has been a busy week on Writer’s Abroad so I will start with the Bragging Stool which is almost toppling over with achievements.

Alyson was long-listed for this quarter’s Flash 500 competition.

Lesley was long-listed for the To Hull and Back Challenge.

Sue, Angela and Chris were all successful in the Ad Hoc challenge.

Sue had an essay accepted for a book called Where’s Home?’  (For publication in 2018)

Congratulations to you all, ladies!


Member’s Meeting

Hot on the heels of Angela meeting up with Nicola in Spain, Nicola then met with Jo and Chris.

From all accounts these were great times and the three husbands, Rob, Simon and Rod bonded well too. There are some wonderful photos on site – take a look if you haven’t already seen them.

Another meeting is imminent; Jo, Lesley & Vanessa are catching up in Millau soon.

Monday Muse

Angela has given us some wonderful ideas, including writing about something mythical and including the word Bewitched. Additionally but not only, there is a great photo of Warwick Castle which if you haven’t been has a very scary dungeon! Plenty of choice here for a quick Monday Muse which may take you – who knows where!

The Blog is scheduled to be written by Jo but given that she is away, she may have swapped with someone or set it on the automatic timer facility. (The correct name of which escapes me at the time of writing!)

Challenges & Opportunities

Plenty of choice in this forum! Why not head over there now and take a look?


The next Formal meeting is scheduled for Sunday May 21st at 11am CEST with Vanessa in the chair.


Members, Meetings and…How to Write. Tags: member meetings how to write books

Once again, the blog took me by surprise – how does that happen? It’s on my calendar? So what to write?

I’ve had the wonderful Angela visiting this week. We will be putting her back on the plane today, but hopefully we will see her again. If the pleasure of my company doesn’t pull her back to Spain, then I’m sure the lure of Gencianna, my mare might do the job. Here at Writers Abroad, we all have writing as a common love, but it’s wonderful to find we have other things to share (especially if those things relate to horses.)

We also had the pleasure of lunch with Chris and her husband Rod, which was lovely (and to be repeated shortly.)

I had a great week. We talked about writing (not as much as we probably should have – and I’m sad—okay not very sad—to say I did not get my writing goals for the week done) and discussed some of my favourite how to write books. I’m personally a huge fan of how to write books, though I in no way follow any one method. I just find that they stimulate my brain into thinking along new pathways.

So I thought I’d list my five favourites—these are a little slanted toward structure as that’s what we’ve been discussing the most. I know not everyone likes to plot their novels, but I find a study of structure can also help you at the editing stage. So you have your first draft, you read it though and it’s great…mostly. There’s just something niggling that’s not quite right. Then identifying the beats of your novel (or searching for them and not finding them anywhere) can really help pinpoint problems and make the story stronger. So here goes…

Larry Brook’s Story Engineering – this is probably my favourite at the moment. There is so much information and the structure makes almost perfect sense to me (And I love the way he gives the protagonist a name in each of the four parts; the Orphan, The Wanderer, the Warrior and the Martyr.)

The Writers Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers by Christopher Vogler – this is based on the heroes Journey and “explores the powerful relationship between mythology and storytelling”. It’s fascinating even if you don’t write.

Save The Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You'll Ever Need by Blake Snyder. This is actually for screen writing, but works equally well for novels, particularly thriller/mystery types.

Romancing the Beat: Story Structure for Romance Novels (How to Write Kissing Books Book 1) by Gwen Hayes – for anyone trying to write romance. This is short and sweet and totally nails it!

And finally, Techniques of the Selling Writer by Dwight V Swain. This isn’t just structure, it’s everything, and is one of the best books on writing I’ve ever read. It was also first published in 1965 which makes it almost as old as me and shows that fundamentals do not change.

So that's my current five favourite how to write books. Can you let me know your personal favourite (I recently got an Amazon voucher for my birthday) and I can maybe try a few new ones?


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The House at Zaronza
tagged: writers, abroad, vanessa, couchman, historical, and fiction
Love is All You Need: Ten tales of love from The Sophie King Prize
tagged: writers, abroad, sophie, king, prize, alyson, and hillbourne
Out of Control
tagged: writers, abroad, nina, croft, members, and publications
The Duke's Shadow
tagged: the, duke-s, shadow, louise, charles, debut, and novel
Foreign & Far Away
tagged: writers, abroad, amanda, hodkinson, books, charity, anthology, 2013...
Losing Control
tagged: writers, abroad, nina, and croft
tagged: nina, croft, writes, and abroad
Conversations with S. Teri O'Type
tagged: writers, abroad, christopher, and allen
Break Out
tagged: writers, abroad, ninca, and croft
Deadly Pursuit
tagged: writers, abroad, nina, and croft
The Calling
tagged: writers, abroad, nina, and croft
Big Book of New Short Horror
tagged: featuring, wa, member, alyson, and hillbourne
Tiger of Talmare
tagged: writers, abroad, nina, and croft
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