How to Meet Your Characters Without Doing Tons of Character Worksheets

If you’ve been writing for any length of time, you’ve probably come across that one blog that suggests character interviews is the solution to every writer’s writing block. Then they’ll give you a long fill-in-the-blank worksheet that has questions entirely irrelevant to your character’s interests. Why do you want to know about their love life? Who cares if they have a theme song? And they don’t have time for sports — the world is at stake, for Pete’s sake!

I will say that Charahub is a pretty legit place for these kinds of questions, but I personally think interviews are mostly useless unless you’ve already got a pretty good grasp on the character’s main interests that pertain specifically to the plot of your story. Only after you figure out their most immediate concerns (saving the world), can you focus on love lives and sports.

That being said, over the years I’ve discovered different ways to learn your character’s psyche — and some of these ways I’ve never heard recommended anywhere else.

Know Your Characters

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My Review of the Heritage Foundation’s Young Leaders’ Program

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As I’ve occasionally mentioned in the past few months (admittedly, quite sporadically), I’ve had the tremendous opportunity to work at the Heritage Foundation in Washington D.C. as a video editing intern. Going into the program, I had little knowledge about what I was going to be doing, who the people were, how I was going to like them, and frankly, how I was going to cope with losing the majority of my summer to a 9-5:30 job.

But for anyone who might be thinking about the intern program, or have already submitted the application and been approved, I decided to do a full review of the goods, bads, and uglies (but trust me, they’re mostly goods) of Heritage’s program.

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Mastering Internships: Time Management

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Fellow Heritage interns pay their respects to the Washingtons at an intern field trip to Mt. Vernon.

Whenever a friend of someone at church would ask me how I was enjoying my summer, most of the time I would let a dreamy smile wash over my face and assure them that the summer was absolutely wonderful, relaxing, and all-around lazy.

Well, not this summer!

This summer has been the busiest I’ve ever had. Mornings start at 7:15 with a Pop-Tart and a ride into Washington via the slug line, and I have successfully mastered the art of the Metro station.

Before applying for the Heritage Foundation’s Young Leaders’ Program, a paid summer internship practically on the steps of our nation’s Capitol, I couldn’t really picture what I would be doing. I knew I wanted to apply for something related to graphic design or video editing, but I simply couldn’t see myself working a 9-5:30 weekday office job.

Now the fogginess has cleared and I’m sucking up knowledge and information as fast as I can. Yes, I’m learning valuable skill sets that will help me in my future career, but that’s just the beginning of it.

During the summer, I’ve discovered that time management is everything.

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Sentinel Summit Promo (Heritage Action)

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This past summer has been the busiest summer of my life. The Heritage Foundation offers a paid internship practically on the steps of the Capitol in Washington. With an only 14% acceptance rate and hundreds of applicants, I wasn’t sure what would become of my resume and application.

After my interview with Heritage’s VP of Communications Rob Bluey for my journalism class (which you can read here if you missed it), I received an acceptance email from Rob and an offer to join him for the summer at Heritage.

I said yes.

Since then, I’ve been working every day to help Heritage’s multimedia news outlet, The Daily Signal, produce conservative videos and Facebook Lives for their website and social media pages.

My first project was editing a promotional for Heritage Action’s Sentinel Summit, which required me to learn Adobe Premiere within a week’s time. And yes, I loved every minute.

How to Make a Professional Cover Photo Without a DSLR Camera

When I launched my blog last Christmas, the most comments I got were directed toward my cover photo at the top of the screen. Friends that were heavily into photography and videography nodded their approval, and several asked just exactly how I did it.

Well. I’ll tell you it definitely wasn’t with a Canon Rebel and a light studio, that’s for sure.

Imagine a nineteen-year-old college student alone in the house and an ambitious project in her head. Oh, and a random pile of boxes, books, and her brother’s school supplies stacked on a chair across the table. Imagine a large hole puncher propping up her iPhone on the top of the makeshift tower. Yeah, that’s my “studio” for you.

DSLR Thumbnail

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Behind the Scenes of “Faint Not”

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Several people have asked me how I put together my Scripture For Life chapel challenge video (If you haven’t seen it, you can watch it here!) So I thought I might take the night alone in my room to write a basic tutorial explaining how I made the animations using just Photoshop and Final Cut Pro X.

I started out with the idea. My roommate suggested doing an animation versus a live-action video because I wouldn’t have to feel bad about collecting the prize scholarship when so many actors would have helped with the project. With a cartoon made completely from my computer, I would have done the entire video myself.

The first thing to do was come up with a verse I’d like to center my video around. That was easy, since my college verses are Isaiah 41:10,13. I liked the visual image I got when I read the verses, since it specifically talks about the God of the universe holding our right hand and leading us along through our life’s trials.

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Late New Year’s Resolutions

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Twenty-sixteen has been a year of intense emotional turmoil, starting from even just the first week of January. Several unexpected changes in friends’ families, drama in my community, the most deaths and permanent accidents on college campus in recent history, a cruelly busy semester of my own design, the build-up to elections that left me in such a panic that I could barely keep from crying as I walked to classes because just thinking about the potential future of our country made me physically sick….

Although I’m not a superstitious person, I was really looking forward to 2017. Continue reading