Creating Memorable Pagan Characters

Writers are artists, in the truest sense of the word. Painters have the benefit of their audience being drawn in by the most immediate sense: sight. Regardless of whether or not the viewer understands the piece, they can see the colors, the intent and mood the artist is attempting to display.

Other artists use charcoals, clay, paints, and carvings, while writers have only our words to express ourselves, to drive an idea or a mood across. We have to use our language to seduce a reader’s mind; we create art and paint pictures with our words.

It is the details of a scene, the description of our character’s that draws a reader in, enwraps them in our fantasy world. And as an author, it’s very difficult at times to know when you are giving too much, or not enough description to satisfy the reader. You want to give enough so that the reader can see your vision of the character, but not so much that the reader can’t personalize the picture. The goal is to leave clues about the character’s looks, personality, etc; not to just tell the reader “this is who this person is.”

For example, if I were writing a story about a man who is insecure about his looks, I could say:
Trevor is a heavyweight boxer. His last fight had broken his nose and left a huge bump on it. The fight before that had cracked his front teeth. To top it off, he also had bushy eyebrows. He had a shaved head and a muscular body. Trevor liked his neighbor Geraldine and was trying to hook up with her, but he was self consciousness about his looks.

Now, this section gets the point across, but it’s not exactly interesting. These sentences don’t pull a reader into the story, or make them want to continue. I’ve laid it all out, and left nothing to the imagination. In this example, I am simply telling the reader what I want them to know.

Now, let’s try the same thought, but in an active voice:
Trevor ran his hand over his face, wishing the bump of his nose was slightly smaller. He brushed down his eyebrows as he ran his tongue over his teeth, wondering if the dentist would be able to correct them as promised. He was sick of not being able to smile at Geraldine when he passed her in the hallway. Not that it matters, he thought. After last night, the only thing that can help my face is surgery.

See the difference? In the first example, the author uses a passive voice, and tells the reader everything they need to know about the character. In the second example, the author uses an active voice ie, showing the character in action. The author doesn’t give all the information about Trevor, but leaves subtle clues to his personality and looks, as well as the plot of the story. Now the reader is wondering: “What happened to him last night?” “Who is Geraldine?”

The author has used words and language to create a picture, to draw the reader in. Now the audience wants to continue the story, to find out more about Trevor and Geraldine.

One of the biggest issues I have faced in writing fiction is learning how to use an active voice in the description of my characters. I’ve learned how to let the information slide into the story and plot without the big neon signs (HEY! THIS IS WHAT HE LOOKS LIKE!! HE’S CUTE, RIGHT?) I’ve also studied how to make my fantasy/pagan deity characters more personable – as odd as it sounds, I had a habit of making them too Godly, which then made them completely distant from other characters, as well as my readers. What helped me clean up my character writing was completing weekly assignments. I’ve included the one that served me best, in hopes that it helps some of you out there!

The assignment:
Choose one of the following pagan characters/deities: Isis, Odin, Merlin, Aphrodite, Medusa, Shiva . Write a paragraph describing this character, using active language and imagery. Your goal is to make this fantasy character seem real and alive; with real life, real problems. It doesn’t matter if you usually write fantasy/paranormal or not – the purpose is to create a true to life character. And if you can do that with one of these suggestions, you can do it with any character you create.

Good Luck!

Time for the Crone!

Seasons are changing, the air growing colder and crisp, and we are entering into the time of year ruled by the Crone Goddess. The Crone is the aged Goddess archetype, a symbol of wisdom and magick. She is the Divine aspect which helps us during transitional periods – and autumn/winter is the prime time for these types of workings. The sun goes to rest, and darkness prevails; this change signals the time to let go of the ideas and situations which no longer serve us, to allow them to be transform into prosperous and useful things.

To connect to the power of the Crone, journal these questions and answers:

* What has been my most magickal experience to date? (an experience or situation which showed you the power of Goddess/God/Spirit)

* What relationships do I need to change in order to be whole?

* Make a list of the things you currently fear. Whether it is something in the physical world, spirit realm, or in your psyche, it all belongs on this list. When are finished, examine your answers one by one. Ask yourself, and/or the Crone where this fear springs from. Write the answers down as they come.

The Crone lives inside each of us; She is our inner wisdom and holds the answer to all of our questions. Sit in a meditative silence, with the aid of a dark blue of black candle to connect with Her. Burn an earth scented incense. Ask the Crone what it is you need in order to live to your highest potential.

Blessings!

Brandi Auset

Who Are You, Anyway?

One of the problems I have when I am starting a fantasy/paranormal story is getting to know my characters. I usually have a vague idea of who they are, and the different types of situations I’m going to put them, but sometimes when I’m writing it’s difficult to stay in that character’s mind.

A friend gave me the suggestion of using character stats sheets from role playing games as a note page for my characters’ and their inner workings. I put together this list, and every time I start a new story, I fill it out for each character – even minor players. I may not use all the information I list in the play of the story, but referring back to the sheet keeps me in mind of who my characters are, and how they would react in certain situations, etc.

So here is the list I use. It’s an all purpose list, whether your characters are contemporary, historical, paranormal, etc.  Hope this is of help to all the writers out there!

Character Statistics Sheet:
NAME
BIRTHDAY / AGE
RACE
HEIGHT
EYE COLOR
HAIR COLOR
SKIN COLOR
WEIGHT
PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION
TRAITS / HABITS
WEAKNESS / FATAL FLAW
PERSONALITY
CLOTHING STYLE
BOOK KNOWLEDGE
MORALITY
COMMON SENSE
WORK HISTORY
DREAM JOB
EDUCATION
WEALTH
POSSESIONS
REALTY
SIGNIFICANT EVENT IN YOUTH THAT SHAPED WHO THEY ARE TODAY
RAISED WHERE
RAISED WHEN (era)
FAMILY (who are they)
FAMILY (background, race, etc)
FAMILY (relationship)
FRIENDS AND ALLIES
SIGNIFICANT OTHER
NATIVE LANGUAGE
SOCIAL SKILLS
FIGHTING SKILLS
WEAPONS SKILLS
COMBAT SKILLS
MYSTICAL SKILLS
RESISTANT TO
GOODS CARRIED
PHYSICAL STRENGTH
THEME MUSIC