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

Continue reading

Advertisements

To Fix a Rubix Cube (Children’s Story)

For Advanced Creative Writing, we had to write a children’s story. I decided to go with a subtle allegory with this one, the Rubix cube representing life, and Ada (short for Adam) representing mankind. Mr. Joshua (derived from Yeshua) represents Jesus. Inspiration may or may not have come from Max Lucado’s You Are Special. At the end of the semester, our teacher is going to require us to submit this story to a publisher, so I guess I’ll see what happens!

Rubix Cube


Ada’s favorite teacher was Mr. Joshua. He was her only teacher, but that just made picking favorites even easier. Every day he would let her play with the toys on his desk, which were also favorites. Mr. Joshua let her swing the marbles on his Newton’s Cradle and press her hand in his pin art toy.

But Ada’s favorite favorite toy on Mr. Joshua’s desk was his Rubix cube. It had six colorful sides that could turn however Ada’s fingers wished them to go. She loved watching all the colors spin together into wonderful patterns and jumbles, and when she was finished, Mr. Joshua always knew how to put every color back in place.

Continue reading

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

img_5303.jpg
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.

Continue reading

Writing Sample: Novel Excerpt

I’ve mentioned that I’ve been writing a book series for basically my entire teenaged life, but I rarely share any of my writing — for multiple different reasons. Recently, though, I’ve found part of a chapter that I enjoy submitting to writing contests on occasion, and I thought I might share here. The excerpt, although not heavily weighted with the story, I imagine to be a piece that represents the spirit and feel of the book fairly well.

Character names and events are mine and cannot be used without permission.

Division Excerpt

Continue reading

Mastering Internships: Time Management

18891479_1443450835722553_286239671206695326_o

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.

Continue reading

New film hobbies amongst young people have creative and educational benefits (Editorial)

For my journalism class this semester, we had to write what our teacher called a “packet project.” A packet is a collection of different news stories on one broad topic. I chose my topic to focus on the impact of online videos, which was both fun and challenging. We had to write a feature story, profile, and an editorial, which took us about half a semester.

This is the last of my packet stories. For my editorial I got to interview high school filmmaker Elijah Perry, a founder of Coming in the Clouds Productions, who’s a YouTube friend of mine. Through our common ground of filming, we’ve gotten to know each other a little bit and hope to collaborate with one another in the future.

For my feature story, click here.

For my profile story, click here.


15896341_1666248373673425_5229209634908768782_o

Perry as his lead role in CITC’s short film, Paladin’s Conquest.

PENSACOLA. Fla. —In the late ’80s, the average cost of a camcorder was about $1,500, according to Videomaker.com. Modern young people, however, have access to video and multimedia content wherever they turn. If a child or teen doesn’t have a smartphone, tablet, GoPro, or camcorder of his own, his parents or friends probably do. With the rise of the digital era, young people are adopting a new hobby to fill their post-school evenings and hot summer afternoons: filmography.

Continue reading

Teenager creates online presence with YouTube (Profile Story)

This is the second of my packet stories. For my journalism class this semester, we had to write what our teacher called a “packet project.” A packet is a collection of different news stories on one broad topic. I chose my topic to focus on the impact of online videos, which was both fun and challenging. We had to write a feature story, profile, and an editorial, which took us about half a semester.

For my profile story, I got to interview Kenneth Knight, a high school teenager who enjoys video editing and spent long hours building an online presence through YouTube.

For my feature story, click here.

For my editorial story, click here.


15250959_1158488234220506_6502939634728446986_o

Knight: “I liked YouTube because I could put up whatever I wanted and I also could get feedback from anyone in the world.”

PENSACOLA. Fla. —It’s one in the morning with everything silent in the house save for a single voice coming deep from within a walk-in closet on the second floor. Inside the closet is set up like a studio, complete with cameras, a large desk and computer, and even sound panels mounted to the back wall. At the desk is a teenager known by YouTubers as KnightDukeGaming, RestartBurger, and ActualKenny — depending on the name of his YouTube channel at the time — as he busies himself with filming his newest YouTube upload. With giant noise-canceling headphones clapped over his ears, a Blue Yeti microphone, a webcam hooked up to his computer, and several empty Mountain Dew cans scattered around him, he cracks jokes and talks video game lingo to his online viewers.

Kenneth Knight, an eighteen-year-old high school senior, has enjoyed video editing and creating YouTube videos for several years. With nearly 4,000 subscribers on his channel, Knight is just one of many teenagers who have delved into the current YouTube trend, a trend that allows anyone to establish an online presence by filming videos, creating content, and voicing opinions for others to enjoy or learn from.

Continue reading