Friday, August 12, 2011

My friend Flat Stanley

This is Flat Stanley, the hero of the Flat Stanley books since 1964. Did you hear that they are making a Flat Stanley movie? Well they are! Proof HERE.

It's all good and well that this Stanley is flat.
He needs to be flat.
It's important to ALL of the plots in his stories.

But what about when your characters get flat?
When they don't seem as three dimensional.
When you can't relate to their perfection
or their pure evil.

Well, we're in luck because I've asked Tara Tyler to talk with us today and the topic she chose is creating characters with personality.
Take it away, Tara!

Thank you, Shelly, my dear! Guest posting here is the cherry on my dare-you-to-eat-the-whole-sundae week! Consider me geeked!
My "Writing a book" posts are my journal entries of things I've learned to help my writing on my way to getting published. Here is my latest installment.
Do you ever have trouble choosing characteristics for your characters? The MCs can't just be good looking and intelligent and funny, they need flaws. And the villains can't always be nasty and evil, they need redeeming qualities. Characters need to be plausible and relatable. Think about your MC and protagonist and other supporting roles. What are they like? Are they believable or a little too perfect? Then look around you at the mall. Is your character a movie star, prima donna that would never set foot there? If that's what you're going for, great! But my MC would probably make fun of her behind her back, it's one of his faults =)
SO! On a seemingly unrelated topic, ever play Apples to Apples? I love playing games and Apples to Apples is one of my favorites. It's best with a big group, like with family at holidays and boy do we get carried away. Here's how you play: you are dealt cards with people, events, items, etc (various nouns) and a judge reveals an adjective. You offer a noun that you think the judge will choose to go with the adjective. It's funner in person...(funner?)

But one of the best parts of the game is when we've had enough and are ready to clean up. We added a twist of describing ourselves with the adjectives we've won. For example, I could be shy, miserable, explosive, unusual, cute, and insulting.

Now put all this together. These descriptors could be great inspiration for developing a character! Randomly choose an adjective card or two and there you go, instant personality!

Fun idea, Tara! 
You know what's funny is that my family always reads their cards in their hand at the end, pretending like those are words that describe the holder, as well! Great minds think alike (or it's in the instructions- I dunno?)

Tara week has been a Tara-ific!
One last shout out to Tara


  1. What an interesting, fun way to develop a character. Hmmm We have Apples to Apples but rarely play it because we prefer Boxers or Briefs. This might be a good way to put A to A to use. =D

  2. Loved this post! Thanks for the idea of inspiration!

    Fida (:

  3. Great post - I loved it! :)

    Have a great weekend!

  4. Haha, what a fun post :) I love the game Apples to Apples! I'll have to try out that idea - thanks!

  5. Shelly, it's been an honor to be in your spotlight this week and get to know you in the process too! i look forward to reading your stuff now =)

    and thanks to all the commentors and new friends i've made! and curremt supporters! this is a wonderful community to be in!

    ps, i had to check the directions and Shelly, we ARE great minds =) (and cant wait to see the real you!)

  6. Donna, you need to break out that game! It is SO fun and very creative.

    Tara, I really really like this idea because sometimes I do feel like my characters get a little 'Johnny One-Note' and they have GREAT descriptive words in there.

  7. How totally fun---never thought of using Apples to Apples that way!

  8. It really is the little things we add to our characters that make them the most fun.

    Also - with one kid in elem, and one in pre-school - and with friends who have kids of the same age, I have learned to hate flat stanley . . .

  9. Oooo I love this idea--and I love the game :) Thanks for the tip.

  10. I never played Apples to Apples. I can see from the cards, a writer could have fun with this. Thanks, Tara! Thanks for hosting her, Shelly!


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