Friday, October 28, 2011

Homeless Statistics Aren't Just Numbers, They Have Faces

        The numbers of homeless people continues to increase every year. In the 2008-2009 school year the Hearth Project identified 2,038 homeless students in Polk County, FL. In the 2009-2010 school year the number increased to 2,289. For the 2010-2011 school year it continued to increase to 2,453.

         We must never forget that these are not just numbers. Each of the 2,453 has a face. Most of the homeless are single moms with small children.

         My soon-to-be-published novel, Address Unknown, speaks to this issue and encourages discussion. Perhaps it will lead to more being done to assist those in this very difficult situation. That is my hope.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Tips for Young People Who Want to Write: Building Strong Characters

     To write strong characters requires that you know them well. One way to do this is to write out a description of your characters before you begin writing your story. This means your description will include how they look and act as well as details of their background. 

        Much of your description may not be used in your story, but it will help you to know them. By doing this, you will know how they will react to the various situations they face in the story. 

        Make sure each character has their own personality and they are "real" people. By this I mean that they have some good traits and some not so good traits. For example, none of us are perfect. Most readers want to read about someone who struggles through difficulties, not someone who is perfect and solves every dilemma easily. 

        Likewise, every villain should have some good qualities also. Most of us aren't all good or bad.

        Here is a list of some things to consider when  developing your characters. The list is far from complete. See what you can add to it. 

Birth place
Educational background
Physical description
Left or right-handed 
Siblings and your character's relationship to them
The culture in which they grew up
What their parents were like and your character's relationship with them.  

What else can you think of?

Knowing these details of your characters will help you to know how they will handle the challenges your story throws their way.