Story Starter Boot Camp: Settings

Now, I know what you’re thinking.

About food, most likely, or I don’t know, on the off chance you’re thinking about me posting…

Well…

I’m a teenager who takes a lot in, being a drill sergeant isn’t really my niche.

But you know what is?

Running this story starter boot camp!

It’s time to delve deep into the world of settings, and when I say world, I mean more then just your settings or world-this is becoming more complicated then it should be.

Sharpen your pencils, have a test “Clickety-clack” on your keyboard, and let’s “clickety-crack” down.

(I am SO not sorry).

*(Yes, I really am).

Settings can be complicated, especially for yours truly, often times I leave alot to be desired, and I think it’s something several writers can attest to having trouble with.

Especially when writing about a place you don’t know too much about, which is, when starting a story and setting the scene, I’ve got a few tips to get the inspiration grooven’ and the general information and fundamental’s moven’.

(Again I am both sorry, and not sorry).

1. Bust out the travel guides.

When creating a story, it’s often said that you write what you know-where you’ve been, what you’ve done, but if you’re anything like me, this concept can be a little awkward, as you try to write your stories furthest from reality. However, while writing what you know is a definite contender, I suggest you break out the travel guides, to get an idea of where you want your story to take place, and get some general information.

2. Map your place.

Now that you’ve chosen your place, whether it be city direct, or just a general providence/state, get a general idea of where your story is taking place. Are you creating a town in France? Where in France? Is it set permanently in France, or do they travel around? While these are things you might nowt have planned out just yet, it’s important to think about, and get a map set up of where you think the city, whether imaginary or real, is, and what opportunities surround it.

3. Dive into History

Now, I’m not a personal fan of History, I could never memorize dates, and to be honest, events don’t fascinate me as much as humans interactions.

*AHEM*

Psychology.

I digress, it’s still very important to have general information and history on this town, whether that’s something you have to create (I will release a blog post on this topic following boot camp), or a history existing. This will give you some description to play with, a possibly something to revert back to, should your story need it.

4. Research Cultures, Traditions, Religion, Population, and any other social aspects of things that occur in the country/area that your story is set in. It would be very strange to have a prominent Jewish community if it were actually Catholic or possibly Buddhist community. Make certain to note the struggles that your characters might have. Don’t forget to research the industry, and social status, as this information can also play into your character.

5. Research the Architecture, as well as the people’s responses to outsiders, and in general their responses to social situations.

I’m not sure how logical a Tudor home in predominately traditional Spanish style villas. It would also be strange to have the characters open to outsiders, if they were struggling after a war.

Of course, while this is just the general idea for setting the scene, a few more tips for this will be listed down below with your prompt of the day, and your tip.

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As always, I hope to see you back next week, pencil ready, thinking caps on, because we’re not even close to finished on your work of art.

Writers Boot Camp: Side Characters

Of course, with any good story, comes the side characters to support it.

Let me put it like this:

Support walls are taken for granted until the ceiling falls in.

Now the image is in your head of your side characters (that you most likely haven’t created yet), are stuck in a wall, I’d just like to say, welcome back to Week Four of Boot Camp.

You seem to be shaping up very nicely.

You’re story is slowly starting to come along, and now we’ve reached a key part.

If you couldn’t tell-it’s our side characters, the important best-friend, but not the main character.

Of course, every story has the following Side character:

The bully

The best friend.

However, your story has to hold more then these two bits of information, so let’s explore the world of creating your characters.

1. Start with the supportive role-the Best Friend

Or at the very least, the key influencial person in your main character’s life.

Try to pick out traits that your character doesn’t posses, and add them into the story. Perhaps your main character is a bit more impulsive, however the advice-giving character would most likely be a little bit more thought out, or perhaps it’s the other way around, either way, make sure that there is a chance for conflict, even if the characters lack that later on the story-this gives a few opportunities to help cut back on writer’s block, if need be.

2. Note the Important Characteristics

While you won’t need to know specifically if your Supporting-side-role is a Crest toothpaste fan, or not (unless you have a seen for that, planned, in which case, I chime in to say the whitening tooth paste does not, in fact, work), you will need to have an idea of characteristics that stick out in the character’s personality, such as being an eternal optimist, or having a dog fetish (I NEED TO KNOW, for scientific reasons, of course).

3. Don’t forget the negative traits – Just to sprinkle in the drama….

*spills vat of quarks and qualms into character*

Make certain that the side characters aren’t just very wise, and incredibly in tune with emotions and life itself. (Or in some stories cases, completely ignorant with a splash of annoying). Perhaps you’re character is an eternal optimist, toward everyone else, however, they make self-deprecating jokes. Or they are incredibly confident, and have a tendency to be over baring.The choice is yours, just avoid over-exaggerating.

4. Don’t be afraid to give your side-characters as much depth as your main character. Harry Potter wouldn’t have been as good with Dumbledore, or the Weasley twins. The same concept goes for Guardians of the Galaxy, or even Little Women.

5. Build a back story for your character. It can be easy to let it slip by (or even over build), a back story for your side character. Perhaps their parents are divorced, or they have a good home life, but something is still holding them back? Why is that?

*To avoid over-building, try to get the basics, but don’t go from age one to their current age, as nice as it might be, you’re characters side characters also should not take up ALL or even a majority of the story. This could also be helpful, should you decide that you want to write a book surrounding a side character.

Okay, now this is just a general run-down of how to build your side characters, understand that they aren’t an under-rated main character, they’re just as important.

I expect to see you back next week, ready to take on the next part of this boot camp.

Be practicing.

Stay Ginchy!

HaziWords