Friday, September 12, 2008

It's All About the Characters...

Have you taken a break from reading or writing to watch coverage of the Election 2008 campaign? Most nights you can find me in my rocking recliner in my living room with a book in my lap and watching the commentaries battling each other about their positions on the election. I must admit I love the interplay and aside from listening to the debates, I've been noticing the mannerisms and details of the commentators and guests.

It got me to thinking about the characters we write about. Good stories are all about the characters. If readers connect with characters, they'll stay with you all the way through the journey of the book, no matter where you take them.

Two reference books I have on my exploding reference book shelf are 45 Master Characters and the Writer's Guide to Character Traits. While I love to people watch, either in person or on television, I sometimes like to research different types of characters outside of what I'd normally feel comfortable writing about. And sometimes I just want to color a character I have drawn in my mind just a little more. These two books help me do it.

The first one, 45 Master Characters, is great for helping me define my character, deepen the motivation and help me make the character more believable by not making them do something OUT of character. The last thing a writer wants is for a reader to stop short in the middle of a story and question if the character's actions are believable or not.

The second book, Writer's Guide to Character Traits, helps me get inside the head of a character. If I know my character is suffering from post traumatic stress disorder, I can learn about how that character would react. Or if my character was dyslexic, I could make sure I don't have a scene in my book where the character speed reads.

If you're looking for ways to help round out your characters and make them more believable, you might want to check out either one of these books.

Apple picking season is upon us. Here's a tasty autumn treat for the crock pot! Enjoy!

Baked Apples with Nuts

1 cup nuts, either walnuts, almonds, pecans or a combination
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 egg beaten
7-8 medium size apples, cored but kept whole with skins on
1 cup of sugar
1/3 cup of water
2 tablespoons of butter
1/2 cup water

Place all apples in the crock pot, open core side up. Mix nuts, egg, cinnamon, and brown sugar together and evenly fill the holes. In microwave, heat sugar, 1/3 cup water and butter on 50% power for 1 minute. Stir until dissolved. If you need to microwave again that's okay. Pour sugar liquid over each hole with nut mixture. Pour 1/2 cup water over all the apples. Cook on low for 8-10 hours or high for 3-4 hours. Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Many blessings, Lisa Mondello


Anita Mae said...

Hey Lisa - do you think this will work with those 1 1/2 inch crab apples? I find them too small too peel and too tasty to waste.

Lisa Mondello said...

Oooh, Anita you should try it. I can't see how it wouldn't work. Let me know how it comes out!