Language

Language

Language is something we take for granted, learning it at a young age and continuing to learn and use as we grow through our lives. We use it daily with so many around us that we don’t really think of what it entails.

But what really is language and why do we need it? Keep reading to find out!

WIKI

  •  A body of words, and set of methods of combining them (called a grammar), understood by a community and used as a form of communication. quotations
  • The ability to communicate using words.
  •  A sublanguage: the slang of a particular community or jargon of a particular specialist field. quotations
  •  The expression of thought (the communication of meaning) in a specified way. quotations
  •  A body of sounds, signs and/or signals by which animals communicate, and by which plants are sometimes also thought to communicate.
  •  A computer language; a machine language.
  •  Manner of expression.
  •  The particular words used in a speech or a passage of text.
  •  Profanity.

 

Dictionary.com

  • A body of words and the systems for their use common to a people who are of the same community or nation, the same geographical area, or the same cultural tradition
  • Communication by voice in the distinctively human manner, using arbitrary sounds in conventional ways with conventional meanings; speech.
  • The system of linguistic signs or symbols considered in the abstract (opposed to speech).
  • Any set or system of such symbols as used in a more or less uniform fashion by a number of people, who are thus enabled to communicate intelligibly with one another.
  • Any system of formalized symbols, signs, sounds, gestures, or the like used or conceived as a means of communicating thought, emotion, etc.
  • The means of communication used by animals

What Is It and Why We Need It?

Language is an essential system of sounds and characters whether used through gestures, symbols, written or typed words to associate forms and meanings, which are transmitted by the speaker and decoded by the receiver. Depending on which actual language or dialect you communicate in, you are still connecting with others on a deeper level as you grow. It’s our main source of relaying ideas, thoughts, feelings and more as we move throughout life on the journey we’ve chosen.

Language

Image by Taken from Pixabay

Have you ever noticed that language doesn’t discriminate? It may be used to discriminate, to put down, too insult or offend, but it itself does not. You are able to learn any language you wish, you just have to put in the effort to accomplish learning that new language. Language is also used to encourage, lift up, and inspire, which is why this post is being written.

We need language to connect with those near and far, but we also need it to express our thoughts, feelings, imagination and even our identity. Through words and sounds we convey our happiness, our hurt, our imaginations and creations. We impart information, influence others and so much more. It’s really amazing if you think about all that language does.

Types of Language in Writing

Since this is a writing blog, we are going to keep this within that realm. So let’s get to it.

As writers, we find ways to incorporate different types of languages within our writing, it’s how we connect with our readers on a deeper level, to create a specific reaction.

Expository

The use of explanation through writing, providing facts and figures within our writing to tell about a specific topic.

Descriptive

The use of great detail to offer better understanding and imagery of a topic such as characters or settings.

Emotional

The creation of an emotional connection within the reader caused by the events of the story. eg. happiness, anger, fear, excitement, etc.

Intellectual

When one discloses ideas or impressions onto the reader, giving them suggestions as to what’s happening, what’s going to happen or how they should be feeling during a certain section of writing.

Persuasive

Persuasive language is used to convince you, the reader of something. It contains the opinions and biases of the writer to provide justifications and reasons for those thoughts and opinions.

Imaginative

The impressions of visual and possibly auditory affects on the reader as they are reading the work.

Narrative

The telling of a story in words to provide the reader with entertainment.

Aesthetically

To involve the readers senses as to what is beautiful through writing.

Physical

The reactions readers get when they read something that causes a physical reaction, such as goosebumps or shivers. The use of particular words, phrases or impressed images that cause the reader to experience the physical repercussions of the intended sensation.

Transformational

To the reader, the words written affect them so much that it is life changing.

How We Use It

We, as writers, use language to communicate through words, emotions, and imagination. We take those words, twisting and forming them until they create characters, settings, plots, journeys, conflict, relationships and more.

Writing

Image by cocoparisienne from Pixabay

Writers use language to communicate with others, too relay our thoughts and feelings. Writers take that language and form new worlds, epic adventures, creepy horrors, romantic relations, action packed fight scenes, sorrowful heartbreak and more.  Language isn’t just words, it’s sounds, images, and the adventures of characters; the ability to create such an experience that the reader will enter our worlds, leaving their reality behind. They forget the issues of their own life and slip away to the created land on the page, losing themselves to the story.

Not only do we use language to communicate with others within the business, we use it to interact with readers; continuing our journey with those we’ve impacted through our words.

 

September’s Writing Theme: Favorite Character, Power, Creature, Etc.

Most of us have favorites: Our favorite food, our favorite drink, favorite candy, movie, song, etc. This month’s theme is to write about your favorite. Your favorite character, your favorite power they have, your favorite creature, or anything of that nature. Read my example below and comment!!
Favorite fantasy items

 

Example: This one is actually really hard for me because I don’t have favorites. If you ever asked me my favorite thing, I would tell you I don’t have one. My daughter asks me that all the time. “Mom, what’s your favorite movie.” I’ll say ‘Dragons’ just so she’ll have something. My kids know I LOVE “How to Train Your Dragon”, but then I think about it and I also love LOTR, The Hobbit, Big Hero 6 and I just couldn’t choose one. 

I love the fantasy from LOTR and The Hobbit, the characters and what they bring to the group as a whole, the fight to keep going when all seems lost. It’s inspiring. Big Hero 6… I was so emotional during this one and the fact that Hero comes out to find a way to keep his brother’s memory alive while not only catching the man responsible, but also saving a life in the process is a fantastic story. Dragons, I absolutely love the diversity of the characters personalities. Not to mention that there’s dragons!! 

So, what is your favorite character, power, creature, etc and why?  I’d love to hear about it. Comment below!

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What is a Story?

As I sit here typing this, I originally had a different topic to provide, but while reading a few nights ago, this came to mind and stuck so there has been a little change in topic for this post. Let’s get to it.

What Is a Story~

A story is a depiction of a character’s journey as they pursue an object, person, act of revenge, etc. while battling obstacles and challenges along the way.

Stories are here to entertain, educate, inspire and intrigue the masses with their tales of wonder, adventure, creative learning, and more. No matter what type of story created, there is someone out there ready to read it and many more endeavoring to write them.

Where They Come From~

They have been an intricate part of life, of history, and of dreams since we learned how to communicate long ago. It’s how we learned vital information that’s been passed on throughout the ages.

Stories grow from the every day. They are created to make a point, to imagine a possible future, to remind us of our past, the actions we’ve taken (successes or failures) as well as to comfort and entertain. They also have a tendency to blossom from daily lessons, random objects, experiences, and pain/emotions of the creator. Stories grow from everything around us.

vintage-1722329_640

How They Are Created~

Ideas and thoughts are taken from events, activities, actions, objects of things we experience everyday. Stories are told from family member to family member on traditions, proper behavior, cultural history, moral values and more.

They can be told around a campfire to exhilarate, frighten, or enchant the young and the old of legends long past.

Stories spoken of ever day actions of every day folks, whether it be good deeds or bad, an adventure or overcoming of obstacle. Things others can relate to on a physical, emotional, or psychological level.

Others are created from memories of times past. Family vacations, celebrations, tradition, and more. One that goes around our family has to do with a fruitcake from 1998. Yep, that sucker is still being passed around! I’ll be posting on my Patreon page about that each year. Check it out!

Imagination is another source of stories. There are so many stories out there created solely on the writers imagination, their thoughts of how the characters are, how they react to different situations and obstacles they throw them into. It’s amazing what the imagination can create when you really sit down to put it together. While the inspiration can come from those who came before or the things around us. A story can be created from literally anything.

What Makes a Good Story~

Really, this is the opinion of the writer and of the reader. But looking at stories, the all have things that are in common to create fantastic stories.

  • Well-crafted characters
  • Experiences
  • Trials, obstacles, and challenges
  • Goals and motivation
  • Effective narrative
  • Pivotal turning points
  • Resolution
  • Resonating with readers

If you think of tales and stories today, think of what the author created to make the story one you come back to time and time again. Those aspects that make you want to revisit the characters, setting, and to journey once again along the path they choose to reach their destination. That’s what makes not only a good story, but a great one.

There are many types of stories told within fiction, non-fiction, through pictures, movies as well as art. Everything around us tells a story, you just have to look closely enough to find it within the chaos of life.

What is your favorite story and why? What is the best part of it? 

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Creating and Planning Characters

I posted on social media last week about how you come up with your character’s names and that got me thinking how I create and plan my characters. And because I love to share, I thought I would post it here to provide an inside to my thought process and possibly help those who are struggling in some areas.

So, let’s dig in.

Naming my Characters:

When I start a new story, I tend to have an idea for the main character in mind before the story actually starts or is planned out. What they look like, their personality, etc. Whether the character is timid and will grow in strength, or they are strong, but realize that showing weakness makes them human. Or maybe something different all together.

So, then comes naming my character(s). I really don’t like writing a story and not knowing my character’s name. It seems so impersonal. So, I think of a name and I tend to use the same technique to come up with their identity.

Letter(s):

I tend to, well I can’t say tend to, because I alway have a letter or a few letters in mind for the beginning of the first name. It’s hard to explain how that works, but I think of the characters, how I want them to be portrayed throughout the story, and a letter usually presents itself.

I will use the characters of my Conquer Series for examples:

  • R – Raylynn
  • B – Blessing
  • J – Jazzmine
  • B – Brandon
  • J – Jynx
  • K- Knight

Syllables:

As with the letters, I usually know how many syllables the character’s name will have. Most do have two syllables with a nickname, while others have one or even three. Again, I can’t explain this, but I know how I want the names to work, so why not know their syllables? 😉 I didn’t realize it, but most of the names fit the characters so well they actually tell something about the characters.

Examples:

Raylynn, who’s nickname is Ray can be a “ray of light” (You’ll have to read it to get that one 😉 )

Blessing, who doesn’t realize she is not a nuisance or burden, she is a blessing

Jazzmine, well her personality fits her nickname.

And these were totally unintentional!

Visuals:

My next step is to find a visual for my characters, a picture to put with the name. I use sites like Unsplash, Pixabay, and Pexels to find my photos, because most likely I’ll be using them to create their covers and photos from those site are completely royalty free.

Here are some example of photos I’ve found and how I used them:

Raylynn:

 

Ray of Light Final         pexels-photo-247203

Jazzmine:

design-10        girl-2097003_1920

I may change their features a bit to fit the character better, but usually there isn’t much that needs to change. They are quite similar to what I’m looking for in my characters.

Physical Description:

This is one area I do stick to the norm and fill out a list of descriptive qualities such as:

  • Hair color
  • Eye color
  • Weight
  • Height
  • Build
  • Skin tone
  • Distinct feature(s)
  • Clothing
  • Age

Visit my Writing-Education or Writing- Character Inspiration pinterest page for great ideas to help in these areas!

Personality:

This is another area I have a list for:

  • Likes
  • Dislikes
  • Personal Goals
  • Struggles/Challenges
  • Accomplishments
  • Future Expectations
  • Future Reality
  • Internal and External conflicts
  • Quirks
  • Flaws
  • Secrets
  • Pet peveves
  • Personality type (I use the list from 16personalities.com)
  • Character archetype (I use The 12 Common Archetypes by Carl Golden)
  • One more thing I add to this category is their Ability. Most of my characters have some sort of power that makes them who they are so I mention that here.

Now the characters may not fit the personality or archetypes exactly, but that gives you a chance to use that as weaknesses or lessons they’ll learn throughout your story.

Habits/Mannerisms:

This is where I list quirks, things they do that make them… them. Make them real. (Link previous post) Things like running their hands through their hair, tapping their chin, tapping their fingers when their arms are crossed. Maybe they carry something with them always or rely on something for security.

Background:

Here is where you can add things like:

  • Family
  • Ethnicity
  • Education
  • Occupation
  • Residence
  • Brief Life History
  • This is where I like to give a little about how they ended up where they currently are when the story begins as well.

Looking Forward:

This is where I like to give a little about the Character and where they will end up at the end of the book. It’s not a bad I idea to know where your characters will be by the end of their tale.

 

So, what are your thoughts? Anything I don’t have you think I should? What do you have and how do you plan your characters? I would love to hear from you!

Creating Characters - Questions

Creating Characters

Creating characters can be a daunting task if you have no plan in place to guide you. Especially if you have more than a few characters and plan to continue on to a series. Planning their internal and external makeup will help to keep your characters original and unique.

Below are some techniques/questions I use when creating my characters. Please feel free to use this information along with the worksheet provided below for your own characters.

Before you start thinking of your character as a full blown person, you should ask yourself some much needed questions. Now, this is what I do in a sense (I follow the outlined character sketch attached) but here is a more in-depth description.

Now, if you have an idea of what your character will look like by all means, fill in that information. Some of my characters I have an idea of what they will look like before even giving them a name. If not, let dive in so we can create a fantastic character!

Here are some questions to ask yourself when thinking of your characters. This relates to main characters as well as secondary characters.

Note: I will refer to my book Raylynn, the first book in the Conquer E.S. Series as examples.

What have they gone through?

What events have brought them to where they are at the beginning of your story? What has lead them to the position they hold or the quest they are about to embark on? What cause and affect relate to the events now crossing the path of your characters?

Ex. As the story begins it tells how Raylynn has grown up being told the accident that stole her memories was the result of a simple car crash, but she is about to find out that, that is not the case as an event causes the memories to flood back into view.

What are they trying to accomplish?

What is your character trying to accomplish throughout the story? Is it emotional satisfaction? A journey of revenge? A quest for peace and closure? What does your character want by the end of their journey?

Ex. Raylynn has believed she was in a car accident, but when she finds out that her accident was something far more horrific, she becomes determined to exact revenge for what really happened.

Who are their friends and family?

Give their family and friends names and ages even if they are not in the story. This will give you a better idea of how your character will react around those they interact with.

Ex. Raylynn has a brother who she sees often and has kept the real events of her memory loss a secret. Knowing my character will tell me if she will show anger, sadness, frustration, or forgiveness when he finally explains why he kept such vital information to himself.

What do they do for a living?

What occupation will they have? And how will it impact the story as it plays out?

Ex. To be honest, Raylynn was originally intended to be the secretary of a large firm, but eventually and by choice of the character while writing decided to become a nurse at a local hospital instead, which explains her role further along the story as well as within the series.

Are they human, half human, another species entirely?

This I believe gets put on the wayside when creating characters of the fantasy/paranormal realm. I fully believe what your character is (if not human) should also be mapped out before writing to flesh out quirks, abilities and emotions/reactions associated with the Other as the story/journey progresses.

Ex. Raylynn discovers that she not only holds that of a fox shifter within her DNA, but also that of another surprise species she is just learning to adapt to by the end of book 1. Her actions and emotions resemble that of the fox she holds within, which is a vital part of who she is.

What are their quirks/abilities?

What quirks, abilities, habits, mannerisms does your character have as a person as well as their Other (if applicable)? Do they react or have quirks like tapping their fingers when in deep thought, running their hands through their hair when frustrated, or babbling/biting their nails when nervous? If they are of another species, what characteristics show through?

Ex. Since Raylynn is a fox shifter her body adapts as such. Her quirks and abilities consist of stretching her fingers, the ability to move her ears and nose, heightened sense of smell and sound.

What are their flaws/pet peeves? 

What qualities do they posses that make them appear realistic? No one is perfectly created without flaw, so what flaws do your character posses? What things do they find irritating, annoying, frustrating?

Ex. Raylynn is very insecure at first, fidgety and paranoid. She also hates when others continually tap on surfaces and snap their gum.

Are their any unique qualities to their description?

Does your character have any distinguishing marks or qualities about them?

Ex. Although Raylynn was born with brown hair and brown eyes, when her fox shows through her appearance shows deep red hair and amber eyes. Along with the uncontrollable appearance of claws on occasion among other aspects of the fox.

What conflicts are they trying to overcome? 

This should be specific with internal and external conflicts? What is happening on the inside and outside that is getting in the way of your character accomplishing their goals within the story?

Ex. Raylynn has to deal with the fact that her family lied about her accident even if it was to protect her while having events of her past rear their ugly heads to cause more conflict to her everyday life.

There are many more aspect of a character you can flesh out, but I believe these to be some of the more important ones.

If you’re looking for a guide to assist in fleshing out your characters click HERE to download the template I use in Scrivener or the PDF version.

If you are dying to read Raylynn now that you’ve had your interest peeked, you can download it for FREE HERE!

What is one thing you believe is important when developing a character? Something I could add to this list? Share it below!