Jenna’s Going Surfing…

Currently: Keeping busy with the baby so as not to think about how I haven’t heard from my editor about FIRST IMPRESSIONS and getting ideas for a new book. So far I have lawyer jokes, wedding cakes, and Dierks Bentley
Mood: Still daydreaming of sleep…

Writing a book isn’t rocket science. Truly, nothing will explode no matter how you mix things up. Since RCRW is look at favorite research websites this month, I think it’s time I showed y’all a few of my infamous writing shortcuts.

Point-And-Click Characterisation :: using the internet to create people

The internet is a wealth of information on how to write. So much, that you can read it all and never write anything! Make your websurfing time work for you, instead of against you.

Google :: The Google image search is the perfect way to get an idea of just what your characters look like. Meet Xavier, the hero of the book I should be revising as I type this, Driven to Distraction.

Monster :: Your characters have jobs, right? Look up their occupation on Monster for job descriptions, salary guidelines, and educational qualifications.

The Colors of Sex :: I get to write steamy, so I think it is good to know how my characters would act BEFORE I have them acting. Xavier is RED: People who like red tend to be tigers in the sack. They are easily aroused and enjoy sex in every way imaginable. Once the sexual spark is ignited, it may take hours to extinguish. When two reds get together, the ensuing erotica could make Lady Chatterly blush. Lovers of red tend to be aggressors and weaker colors should be aware.

Hero Archetypes :: This is a great site for heroes & heroines. It helps solidify their character in your mind. Xavier is a CHARMER: fun, irresistible, unreliable, creates a party, smooth operator, playboy, rogue. Leo Dicaprio. (why does Leo keep coming up? Seriously…here, astrology, ennegrams…I need to embrace Xavier’s inner Leo!)

Emotional Baggage or Internal Forces Keep Lovers Apart :: Inkalicious has great cheat sheets. This is good for making sure you have a handle on your characters’ internal conflict.

Enneagrams :: A lot of writers swear by ennegrams. Xavier is Type Seven: The Enthusiast. However, I use these mainly for motivation. Knowing that sevens “want to maintain their freedom and happiness, to avoid missing out on worthwhile experiences, to keep themselves excited and occupied, to avoid and discharge pain” helps me keep perspective.

After I gather this information online, I turn to two books I can’t create characters without. A simple Astrology book. These are great for basic character traits. Grab one on any bookstore clearance table, they are everywhere. Then, there is a modern relationship Astrology book I adore — He’s Just Not In The Stars. It goes deeper into the nuances of each sign, and therefore, deeper into character description.

See how much work you just got done! Congratulations, you deserve a cookie and a chapter in that novel you’re reading. Don’t let anything scare you. We’re all doing this because it is great fun, no matter how frustrated you get along the way!

XOXOXO — Jenna


Jenna’s Going Surfing… — 4 Comments

  1. Great lists, Jenna! I could go back to Leo a few times myself, and if your hero s like him, I may have one more place to go to look.

    I love that cheatsheet list! So handy for those pesky “stuck” points. I also like going through those lists and comparing my story to them because it helps me to keep my focus. It’s fun to pick out where my story fits in the lists. Right now I’m writing sort of an arranged marriage, but I would call it more a forced marriage between two people who most hate/want to be together. Great fun watching them get waffly at times.

  2. Thanks for the great research ideas, Jenna!

    Some of them I’ve used, but others are new to me. I really charts and forms, even if I don’t fill them out completely. They always trigger ideas though.

    Hope you get some sleep soon!

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