Blog Chain: Fill in the Blank . . .

Welcome back for another post along the blog chain. Kate has a say in the question, and since it's Thanksgiving/Nanowrimo, she's taking it easy on most of us writers who are engaged in the challenge (Good Luck!)  Kate has a fun one this round. A fill-in-the-blank...

Books are_________________________.

At least I thought this would be a simple one to do. But as I started thinking about it, I realized there are so many avenues to take with this question. So I will say:

Books are . . . Life.

Stories emulate life. Stories expand lives. These books make us cry, or laugh, or just entertain us. Would the quality of our lives be lessened without books? Yes. They teach us from the day we learn our alphabets into our old age where we pick up a scrapbook of memories and read about those times that brought us joy. Weddings and anniversary dates. A funny tag line about the vacation the family went on to the Grand Canyon.

Books keep us healthy in bodies and minds. Books pass the time when we must wait for that airplane or train to arrive for a business trip. Books can bring families closer together with bedtime stories read within the soft glow of night lights.

Books are life. There won't be a time within our entire lives where we won't read one, even just a high school textbook. Whether we are devout fans of reading, if it's just a passing fancy now and again, or we can't fit something like that into our lives on a daily basis, we will all be touched by books in our lives.

Even if we just sketch a picture of one.

Read Eric's post who came before me. Kat will post her answer tomorrow.

Blog Chain: Dear Character, Who Are You?

Another interesting blog question time! Abby has this go-around with the following:

Where do your characters come from? And once they've been introduced to you, how do you get to know them?

Eric answered this question yesterday. Normally, I post all the links (besides the person who spotlights the current blogchain) at the end of the page, but he brought up the same sentiments I share when I comes to character creation.

I can't sit down and list the character's life story before writing the plot. I don't do character sketches. I don't do character collages (if you want to find out more about those, you can visit the wonderful Stina Lindenblatt and her post about getting an idea of what a character might look like. Sometimes I don't even have the character's name set in my mind. But I'll have the basis of a plotline. As I write along, the characters appear, fitting into every nook and cranny of the story as if I was just walking along the street happening upon scenes that unfold before my eyes.

I don't see creating a work of fiction as sitting and developing anything: not the plot, not the characters, not the story arcs or the dialogue or the pivotal point of the entire story. I see myself as someone happening upon the story with a notepad---you can either think of it as a fly on the wall type or a journalist---who listens and observes and commits to memory what is happening before crafting my story.

So, to make it simple, the characters pop into my head and I type everything down as an eyewitness account before their facts get tainted by my personal opinion. I'm on a tag-along for a police ride like those kids who have dreams of becoming an officer and sit in the back seat, jumping up and down with excitement, wondering (or is it perhaps hoping) something spectacular happens like a bank robbery. With guns blazing and people running, I'm right in the middle of all the action yet protected by the police cruiser's mesh prisoner cage.

The story appears in my head along with the characters. It makes things very exciting not finding out things about them until it happens, as I lean back in my chair and say, "Whoa! Never expected that!"

As I mentioned in the beginning, Eric posted a wonderful answer to the same question yesterday. Expect Kat's answer tomorrow.