I looked at my writer’s toolbox of writing books and I pulled The Weekend Novelist off my shelf. My copy has a copyright date of 1994. There are newer versions, but this is the one on my bookshelf. A bird in hand.
This book has created book clubs, writers groups, Blog posting and the creative fuel to start a writer, writing. I figured it would make a great post and it may just add fuel to my creative muse. Hear that muse! I hope you are paying attention!
According to the book, the first weekend I am to do a character sketch.
The last time I pulled this book off its shelf, I made tiny marks along the side margins pointing to books to read. Some I have read and will read again and again. I still have a couple left to read. For this post, I listed out those books referenced in the ‘getting started section’ page 3 thru 10. I may have missed a few.
- Woman of Letters: A life of Virginia Woolf by Phyllis Rose
- The Accidental Tourist by Anne Tyler
- Timetables of History ( An author wasn’t specified. See below for the links I found)
- The Art of Fiction by John Gardner
- The Craft of Novel Writing by Oakley Hall
- Writing Fiction by Janet Burroway
- The Woman’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets by Barbara Walker
- Screenplay and The Screenwriter’s Workbook by Syd Field
- The hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell
- The Heroine’s Journey by Maureen Murdock
- Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg
- Max Perkins: Editor Of Genius by Scott Berg:
- The Writer on Her Work by Janet Sternberg
- If You Want to Write by Brenda Ueland
For the first weekend’s instructions are to do a character sketch. In my 1994 copy you are told to make up a character by using a real person, maybe using someone you see at the store, use specific details; height, sex, hair all the basic descriptions, then go on to how they move, walk, sit then go into your imagination and wonder at where they live, their favorite things, hobbies, vehicles, motives. This is where you are to imagine and let your drama mind take over.
If you read Lesson 3 of David Mamet’s Masterclass, or you are taking that class, then you’ll get this. It is all drama to me.
My thoughts on creating a character: What are your character’s extraordinary talents? If you are writing a fantasy story your character may be able to read minds, or fly, or is telekinetic. Maybe they can solve puzzled, or a mystery. Maybe they are just very nice and can talk to everyone they meet. They can climb trees, whittle, great with babies, or gardening. Keep in mind that no character sheet is set in stone. Feel free to make it up as you go along
Try to imagine what makes them tick, or ticks them off in their own world. By the time you finish the sketch your character should become real. In the meantime that the person who you are staring would have gotten the heebie-jeebies and moved on. Wouldn’t you if someone was staring at you and frowning, tsk-tsking then laughing?
If a year is too long, and you want to write faster, I found this great link at The Guardian for ‘How to write a book in 30 days’. This link will take you to a page with authors; you have to scroll down to find all the links to the book. How to write a book in 30 days’ Each page provides you parts of the book and a free PDF of the worksheets from the book. All for free.
Extra links I found online.
Timetables of History: Have fun searching through these