Friday, May 22, 2015

My Life in Stitches: Sacrifices

A parent makes many sacrifices for their children. Early in their lives, I thought I was making my biggest sacrifices for them, like giving up on having a career and becoming a homeschool mom. I must admit, however, I was looking forward to the day where my sacrifices weren’t so big. Deep in my heart I longed the days when they would make their own sacrifices. What I didn’t realize that parents continue to sacrifice for their children, no matter their age. Even though the sacrifices come less frequently, they still occur. Which brings me to what’s on my needles right now.

Next weekend, the DC Metro area is hosting a huge event for the cosplay world. It’s called Awesome Con. If you don’t know what it is, here's a short explanation. According to their press release, Awesome Con is a comic con and pop culture convention. If you want a more in depth explanation, find your nearest self-proclaimed geek, gamer or cosplay fan and ask him or her some questions. I have one such person in my house: my nineteen year-old son.

Link from Legend of Zelda
A big part of this event for him is the cosplay (costume play), which means he gets to dress up like his favorite characters during the convention. My son decided to go as Link from Legend of Zelda, and I must admit that he’s done a good job on his costume. The only thing missing was brown fingerless gloves and of course, he asked me to knit some for him.

This is not a big deal for me. I’ve been knitting for my family for years. But for the sake of durability and cost, I have to knit these gloves with ACRYLIC. Yes, this girl, who loves her natural fibers, is being tortured by every stitch. Yes, I know, some of the acrylic yarn is now very soft, but that’s not what my son gave me to knit with.

So I’m sacrificing for my son…because I love him…a lot. Yay, parenthood.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Indie Life: Fifteen Minute Break-Character Vitals

I am continuing with the next installation of my series, Fifteen Minute Break. Today, I want to talk about characters.

Fifteen minutes is more than enough time to create a character development sheet. A character development sheet is a form used to record the attributes about your characters. It covers everything from physical features to occupation to family, all your characters vitals. Vitals is a good way to think about what's on this sheet.

Think of the vitals taken at doctor visits. The information recorded on the sheet may be very brief but very important. There is no arbitrary questions, not even height and weight (by the way, these are important for medication and dosing). These things give a snapshot of you, the patient and guides the doctor through his decisions.

You're character development sheet does the same thing for your character. They help guild you as the writer to properly develop your characters. You may not have long answers, especially if you're working in fifteen minute increments, but all of the information is important. Let's take the example from above. Your character's height and weight are very important because it will govern how they act and respond to the events in your book. If you have a character who is going to fight the bad guy to the death, you need to make sure he's physically up to the challenge.

Feel free to download my character development sheet or create your own. Take fifteen minutes and fill one in for each character in your book, but minor characters might not need as much work as main characters. Also remember this is just a starting point. As you get into your book, you may realize that some of the attributes that you've given your character actually don't work. That's okay.  Make the changes on the sheet as you go.

Creating a character development sheet doesn't only help you shape your character, it can also be used when you begin the editing process. Your character development sheet will remind you that your character's eyes are brown, not blue. It will remind you of any habits that you've given your character and of their personality. By keeping this sheet nearby when your editing, you can ensure that your character stays consistent throughout the whole book.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

This Is Who I Am

On Monday, I hosted a post on my upcoming dive into NaNoWriMo. In it, I talked about how I've learned what kind of writer I am by doing this challenge almost every year since 2011. But as I thought about that post, I realized that I've also learned what kind of person I am. And it only took forty years! My musing about my life began with something very simple: I bought a small whiteboard for my refrigerator to keep track of my work schedule.

That whiteboard reveals a couple of truths about me. First and foremost, I don't have the greatest memory. As a matter of fact, my husband started managing my work schedule after I repeatedly went to work at the wrong time, sometimes late and once, a full hour early. So I started texting my work schedule to him and he posted where we both could see it on a notepad on the fridge.

Second truth the board reveals is I am an out of sight, out of mind kinda girl. If I don't have a very visual reminder, I will forget. I actually have a bigger whiteboard in another part of the house to remind me of all my writing and graphic design projects. That way I can see everything I need to do with a glance. Third truth is that I am a visual person. I need to see things and they stick in my mind better when I do.

These are truths that I know about myself. I've known them for years. The difference between now and then is that I have finally accepted them.

I used to hate that I needed all these reminders. I used to hate feeling like I was disorganized (and honestly, I am. My husband calls my life organized chaos). I had an idea of the person I wanted to be in my head and I never quite measured up. I would often say in my head, If I could just be more whatever like whoever. Sadly, the things I wanted to change about myself weren't bad or sin, they just were. Of course, I didn't see it that way. I couldn't accept that I'm a slightly disorganized person unless I strictly manage my time.

 But now, I recognize that this is who I am and instead of fighting against it, I need to learn to work with the person I am. With that acceptance, I've found that I far more organized that I've ever been and I have a lot less self-loathing. This who God created me to be and if I could have changed it, I would have before now.

This is who I am. I've accepted that and now I can move on.