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A to Z Challenge Theme Reveal!

  • Posted on March 20, 2017 at 7:01 am

This year, I’ll be participating in the A-To-Z-Challenge. Which, if you don’t know, is a huge blog-hop where everyone participating posts daily during the month of April. These posts have to be titled from A to Z, and go along with a theme chosen before the month begins! Normally, people choose themes that work well for them, as it’s a very tough thing to maintain a post a day.

I’ve decided to do small posts of only about a hundred words each, in order to make sure that my writing stamina remains pure for my lovely books. But that doesn’t mean my reveal isn’t worthwhile, oh no! If you are a writer yourself, or maybe just a nerd/geek/dork, you’ll jump for joy at the theme I’ve chosen!

 

Official Image – Not Mine

ANIME!

That is to say, I’ll be reviewing animes that all writers should watch. I’ll give a short blurb about what the anime is about, and then about why I’m recommending it to writers specifically. After that, I’ll be providing a short list of warnings, if necessary, for the anime itself. This way you can avoid unpleasantness if you don’t want to see it.

I’ve had a love of anime and manga ever since I was introduced at the tender age of nine to Sailor Moon, Digimon, and Pokemon. After that, the love affair continued with Cowboy Bebop and Outlaw Star, both of which are great space operas. You should try them out! (No they aren’t on my list! You’ll have to wait and see what anime made the Alphabet!)

The anime I’ve watched and the manga I’ve read have really shaped who I am as a person and what I write. So I want to share this list with everyone so that anime can continue to improve the world! Join me, and we’ll learn together!

Have you ever watched an anime and thought to yourself ‘this is a great story! How did they do it?’ Are you new to the anime scene? Do you have a favorite anime you think should be on the list?  Comment below and let us know!

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9 Ways to Fix your Stereotyped Character – A guestpost by Cindy Grigg

  • Posted on August 11, 2014 at 2:08 pm

So You Wrote a Stereotyped Character…9 Ways to Fix Your Story

 

I’ve recently been doing a blog post series on How to Write Well-Rounded Female Characters, which included a list of 19 Female Character Stereotypes to Avoid.

Since Nicohle and I are swapping blog posts today, I would love to take that list one step further and show how I would fix a stereotyped female character (but the same concepts apply to any character).

Why You Don’t Have to Start Over

If your female character falls into a stereotype, it’s not so much that you’ve written her wrong as that you’re just not done writing her.

Writers revert to stereotypes or tropes rather than fully articulating what makes a character unique. It’s tricky because you may not feel lazy as you write a stereotypical character. You’re still sitting in the writer’s chair fulfilling your daily word count or time quota, but essentially you’re being creatively lazy about who you are writing about.

1. Rearrange what you’ve got. A lot of creativity is a matter of how you arrange the disparate parts of something to make a whole. Which aspect of your character is the focal point? By restructuring which personality traits are pivotal, you could create a more fresh character.

2. Add something to the character that scares, stretches, or otherwise challenges you. If writing about a certain characteristic your character possesses makes you think about the world in a new way, it likely will do the same for many readers.

3. Change how long your character stays a stereotype. Maybe your character can start out as a character but be changed by a new event. Maybe reveal they were hiding their true nature for some good reason. Think: Scarlet Pimpernel.

4. Look around you. Think of the most unique people you know and add some part of their personality to your character.

Rarity gives you an example reaction.

5. Add more weaknesses, flaws,  fears, and losses! I like the trick of thinking, What is the worst thing that could happen to my character? Then consider adding that to your plot so your character has to really solve and struggle.

6. Put your character in strange situations. Brainstorm several seemingly unrelated scenes and put your character in them. Consider crossing genres with this exercise. Put your fantasy heroine in a murder mystery and see how she behaves, etc. You may stumble upon an interesting nuance to add to your story.

7. Change your character’s past or future. If the character seems flat or one-dimensional, hook the audience into caring based on something terrible or wonderful they went through or will go through.

8. Give your character a unique motivation. Most of humanity is motivated to some degree by love of family, romance, personal gain, or moral/spiritual paradigms, for example. But what if you made your character also motivated by something kooky like a love of snails, and wanting to save those snails from extinction, for example?

9. Create personality contradictions. I love giving a character two characteristics that seem paradoxical or at odds with one another, then showing why they are this way.

Both fixing characters or scrapping them will require a lot of editing, so I figure you might as well refurbish your stereotyped character rather than starting from square one.

While it takes more effort, it’s more fun and interesting to write well-rounded characters. For me, this comes down to asking, But who else is she/he?! By consciously steering clear of stereotypes, writing becomes more adventure. More fun.

Cindy Grigg

Cindy Grigg writes speculative fiction and instructional non-fiction. She is the author of the HULDUSNOOPS series, a middle grade mystery and fantasy adventure about Icelandic Huldufolk or “hidden people”. As About.com’s Office Software Expert, Cindy also writes about technology and productivity (www.Office.About.com). Find her writing advice, blog, and other projects she’s working on at www.CindyGrigg.com.

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