Charlie2Inspiration has bitten you hard! You have a grand idea for a novel…maybe it involves a guy, let’s name him Charlie McAllister. Charlie finds himself waking up in the middle of a desert with no idea where he is, or how he got there, but he’s quick to notice his entire left arm and shoulder are throbbing in pain from a freshly inked tattoo—elaborately applied and looking like a fierce dragon. Some of the scales of the dragon have names written in an ancient language on them.

 

Yikes! Who is this guy? What has he done? Is he the good guy or the bad guy?

If, at this point, you feel a bit stuck, simply run a background check on Charlie to evaluate his potential to be the protagonist or antagonist in your novel. Yes, I do realize a background check is usually used by employers before hiring someone to discover facts about his/her employment references, character, gaps in employment history, identity and address verification, credit history, and probably one of the most important areas of a background check…the criminal history report. Also of interest might be a person’s driving record, litigation record, citizenship, and military history.

Character building can be a tricky thing. If handled as though Charlie is a real person, then the pieces will fall together quite easily. Pretend you are about to hire Charlie for a position in your company, called Prime, which writes computer code…secret code, for the US military. No way would he be hired on the spot.

So, Charlie got a background check that is revealing. Hum…maybe he knows it will be and doesn’t care for some reason because this is all part of his plan. Would you hire him?

Here’s some of the information CEO of Prime, Ethan Cromwell, has to ponder about…

BC1

*The STATE BY STATE criminal background check turned up a criminal history in four states: Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. Offenses included Driving Under the Influence-DUI’s 3X, Aggravated Assault 2X, Driving With Suspended or Revoked License, and Disorderly Conduct.

*Educational background checked out with a Graduate Degree in Computer Science earned from Michigan State University in 1990. Military service in Marines from 1993-2005 ended with a dishonorable discharge, no other details provided.

As you can see Charlie’s life has been anything but ordinary, especially since the background check also brought to light he was buried in debt for over six years with four credit cards, a car loan, and a hefty mortgage. Then within a four month period, that debt was paid in full. Where did he get the money to pay off everything?

BC3A

Looking at the details about Charlie make shaping him into a memorable character much easier now because motivation for some of his actions can be instigated from his background. See! He is shaping up.

BC3C

  • He’s a loner, and does not play well with others.
  • Charlie is not an honest person.
  • Frequently, he was found where he should not have been at work…sneaky.
  • He is a dangerous man with a criminal past.
  • Is it possible he has a grudge against Prime somehow connected to his military service? Does he want to steal code to sell it?
  • According to this report, he was “Kind of a scary guy.”

Continue adding details to Charlie’s background check until he becomes so real you’ll feel like you could pick him out in a crowd. Use neighbor references, other social references, psychological workups found on him, anything to give this guy depth. It may be possible he has been undercover for years and is actually the good guy!

How do you make your characters interesting? Please feel free to share!

Good luck building strong characters, and thanks for visiting the Noracast.

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Imagine Dragons

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Reality bites. It kills the highly sought-after sense of contentment we desire and strive for as monthly bills arrive, gas prices soar at the pump, and air-conditioning bills shock us making sure to deposit a feeling of dread within home sweet home. Stress from family, friends, and work-related issues can all have a way of sucking dry one of the most precious things in the world—our imagination. Whether you’re a writer, artist, musician, or a lover of books and of the many spellbinding options the arts have to offer, be mindful to feed your craving to escape reality with all things found in the realm of impossibility…your dreamscape that adds spice to life. The way I look at it, reality does bite, but I can sink my fangs right back into it while lost in new musical adventures and undertakings that explore the arts.

So, let’s go! Imagine Dragons…of the musical kind for an adventure in sound that may take you far away from the everyday, ordinary routines which smother to let you enjoy a talented band that definitely uses its imagination. Dan Reynolds, lead vocalist for this Las Vegas based indie band makes the job look easy, but from their bio, lots of hard work and a “near obsessive work ethic” went into the making of this band.

Ready for some fun? Listen to these songs from Imagine Dragons…

It’s Time: This song begins slowly…quite moody, and then it builds to sound mystical. My favorite line is “I’m never changing who I am,” and (for me) implies a person standing for what’s right, who will not give in to pressure, or the need to become what others think he/she should be. It’s time…time to live a good life. Love this song! It’s a very hypnotic, addictive song that gets “stuck” in your head, and since imagination is unique to each one of us—find out what it means to you.

Demons: Beautiful lyrics depicting the pain of inner demons, and how they affect this individual’s relationship with the one he loves is fantastic. Demons has a way of provoking the past while inciting wishes for a better future.

My Fault This song takes you into a melodic land where pondering about one’s fears and assigning blame for missing each other causes anguish.

Imagine Dragons explores the gamut of emotions that wreak havoc upon mankind, and for better or worse, cannot be ignored. Besides, who would want to ignore a dragon of any kind? They bring to mind power, and a fierce will to survive against all odds. For thousands of years, dragons have been part of our history, and the myths and legends about them still entertain and inspire us today. Animal Planet has a new film about them that may be of interest to you. It’s simply called Dragons.

Dragons in Books

Dragon Rider by Cornelia Funke- A dragon. A boy. A journey. Firedrake, a brave young dragon, his loyal brownie friend Sorrel and a lonely boy called Ben are united as if by destiny. Together, they embark on a magical journey to find the legendary place where silver dragons can live in peace for ever. With only a curious map and the whispered memories of an old dragon to guide them, they fly across moonlit lands and seas to reach the highest mountains in the world. Along the way, they discover extraordinary new friends in unlikely places and a courage they never knew they had. Just as well, for the greatest enemy of all is never far behind them – a heartless monster from the past who’s been waiting a very long time to destroy the last dragons on earth. (Amazon.com)

How to Train Your Dragon Book 1 (Heroic Misadventures of Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III) By Cressida Cowell: Chronicles the adventures and misadventures of Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III as he tries to pass the important initiation test of his Viking clan, the Tribe of the Hairy Hooligans, by catching and training a dragon.

Osric’s Wand: The Wand-Maker’s Debate [Kindle Edition] By Jack D. Albrecht Jr. & Ashley Delay: While the world leaders of Archana gather, tragedy strikes, and rumors spread of war.  Osric is thrust into the chaos and must journey far to save his home.  His understanding of magic will be challenged, and each day will uncover more unanswerable questions to torment his mind.  Why was the signing attacked?  How do you read a book with no words?  What is so special about his wand?

Today, let your inhibitions go and do something…anything creative! Stress will dissipate as you marvel at the complexity of your imagination. Feel free to leave a comment or an interesting link about what you do to explore the arts.

Thanks for visiting the Noracast!

Creative Motivation

Dream Catcher Contest!
Prize is one PRINT copy of Dark Gothic Resurrected Magazine.
Send your best dream to noraweston.nw@gmail.com. Keep the content clean, please. Entries will be posted on the Dream Catcher page at Nora Weston. Winner chosen on September 1, 2010. Good Luck! Congrats to Kelsy…winner of the Dream Catcher Contest.

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Creativity is not merely the innocent spontaneity of our youth and childhood; it must also be married to the passion of the adult human being, which is a passion to live beyond one’s death.  Rollo May

Breathe life into your artistic endeavors….spark imagination by saturating your mind with the abundance of creativity found near and far, but still accessible. If your creative juices have evaporated leaving you thirsty for inspiration, then drift into bliss as you open your mind to new music, mood-setting photographs and artwork, and links of interest to encourage creative motivation.

Sometimes, all it takes for a story idea to pop into my head is listening to music or surfing through various photographs of distant lands. Paintings, landscapes, cityscapes, and ghostly-looking computer generated artwork can provoke interest that leads to poetry or stories.

Take note of this painting by Carl August Oesterley, completed in 1865, of Holy Spirit Hospital in Winter. The dark colors are ominous, the sticks twist looking like claws of a beast, and the snow adds a deathly atmosphere to the painting, but light in the golden sky shimmers with hope. This beautiful painting makes me wonder about who may have escaped from the hospital, or what may lurk inside of it. It definitely makes an impression.

Holy Spirit Hospital in Winter

Holy Spirit Hospital in Winter

This photograph of the Brooklyn Bridge, taken by Rachael Croft, is a perfect example of how something seen in daylight can became quite frightful once the moon comes out. Just thinking about crossing this bridge at night stirs the imagination since questions arise as to the people I’d encounter, and if the bridge would falter causing me to fall into dark cold water, plus this photograph certainly makes me question if I’d ever reach the other side.

Brooklyn Bridge

Brooklyn Bridge

The elegant beauty of a side street in Rome intrigues me because I must wonder who I’d meet in this charming location. Would a local resident, engaged in a heated discussion with a waiter, capture my attention? Maybe a flashy tourist, wearing a sequined skirt, and holding too many bags would be the one to pull me into her world, but it might be the child sitting at a table by himself…with a dirty backpack, no shoes, and a story to tell who would win me over. As you can see, stories abound thanks to Rachael Croft’s discerning eye.

Side Street in Rome

Side Street in Rome

Cape Town’s beach provides ample opportunity to let the imagination run free. Crystal clear water, glistening with cool greens and blues, has the capability to wash ashore treasure, mystery, pirates, romance, and ancient artifacts, plus a long lost ship could suddenly emerge from the fog.  What is hidden in the depths of the ocean, or buried in the sand, is but a few moments away from discovery if your imagination is daring enough to dig.

Cape Town Beach

Cape Town Beach

Scary stuff this is! This watercolor painting not only evokes a sense of dread, it reminds me of how dangerous sleep deprivation can be. Completed while I was in college as an assignment for a painting class, this one manages to push the boundaries of realism far away and allows me to enter a fantasy world where nothing is impossible. Looking at her face, I wonder who she is while trying to decide if she’s the protagonist in my story…or the beguiling antagonist.

Dream Catcher Face

Nightmare in Blue

At times, music is the way to go for inspiration to soar. Take a minute and visit the links to see if anything captures your interest. Don’t miss Johann Pachelbel’s Canon in D Major. It is an amazing piece.

Three Days Grace

Johann Pachelbel Canon in D Major     

Decaying Tree

Breaking Benjamin

Mendelssohn

Johann Sebastian Bach   

Jason Miraz

Emerson Drive   

The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus

Matt Nathanson

Train

Thanks for visiting the Noracast. Feel free to leave a creative motivation suggestion!