#MyCharactersAreReal Tag Part 3: The Child Zombie Killers Diary

Every day, I get even more excited about going back to this story!

Check out Part One & Part Two

And, as always, here’s a synopsis so you know what I’m talking about:

Set in a zombie apocalyptic Britain, a forty-year old guy called Al, finds a diary of the twelve-year-old Melanie. Inside, it documents the beginning of the apocalypse and the world she experiences. He doesn’t want it to ever finish; but he can see the un-penned, blank pages at the end. Did she decide she didn’t need it? Did she lose it? Or did she die…

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What Would be on Your Main Characters Bucket List?

Melanie has always wanted to travel, but not, like continuously. She wants to travel for a little bit, experience some of the wonders of the world; and then settle down somewhere that isn’t her home town, get married, have kids and adopt a load of dogs!

She also wants to be a zoo keeper!

What are Your Characters Emotional Strengths and Weaknesses?

Strengths

Melanie has already experience a lot of loss and grief in her young life, so she’s more emotionally prepared for the losses she’s going to experience!

Her father left them when she was six, she lost her grandparents when she was eight,(one after the other) and more recently, her mum miscarried their baby brother eight months in to her pregnancy.

They also lost Bilbo the dog quite recently as well, which, in turn, gave them Tigs the cat!

Weakness’

To begin with, Melanie does have a tendency to depend on others a bit too much. As much as she likes to be seen as a grown-up, she also likes to be looked after and cared for – which can mean she can turn a bit lax on what’s really happening around her.

But, she’s twelve, you can’t really blame her for wanting to be looked after, can you?

What are you Characters Physical Strengths and Weaknesses?

Strengths

Mel and her step-dad used to go on run’s together. She’s good at sprinting, and being able to keep herself at a steady pace! (Which is great when you have to run away from zombies – or other people)

Weakness’

Mel isn’t very strong, or very tall, which can be a little inconvenient when your trying to climb or pull yourself up on to something.

What Does Your Character do When They’re Upset?

Mel likes to write when she’s upset, or when she’s feeling anything at all, really!

Special Skills and/or Weapon of Choice?

Honestly, Mel just uses anything to hand! Shovels, iron crow bars and frying pans are some of her preferred defenses, but it just depends on where she is and how many there are!

The worst thing about being a kid in a British zombie apocalypse is that guns are completely impossible to get a hold off.

What is Your Character’s Greatest Fear?

Melanie’s greatest fear, above losing Tigs the cat, is ending up all alone.

If it wasn’t for Tigs lying on her sleeping bag at night, when their in between groups, Melanie would have lost all hope and got far too careless. Tigs may only be a cat, but she’s the only thing Melanie has left, and her only (semi) constant companion.

Significant Objects or Symbols for Your Character?

Melanie’s Diary!

Her diary is the one thing she has where she can vent, and moan, and ramble, and just write about the day she’s had, the people she’s met, the people she’s killed, the zombies she’s dodged, and the antics that she get’s up to! It’s something that helps to keep her sane, to help her remember who she is and what she’s going through.

She also loves the idea of documenting the zombie apocalypse, and, although, the facts are warped by a twelve-year-old brain, it details all the little happenings of the people that wouldn’t be recorded in the history books!

The diary is also the most important piece, as it connects both Melanie and Albert! It becomes a staple part of both of them! For Mel, it’s an escape, and for Albert, it’s hope.

Next Sunday, the last part of this tag will be posted! It’s been so fun and exciting to get myself back in to this novel! I’m hoping that I’ll have a spurt of motivation to finish off the beta-draft of Tales of Monsters before March comes around, but, we’ll just have to wait and see about that!

Whatever happens though, I’m hoping that both Tales of Monsters is beta reader ready, and DOACZK is at least a finished second draft by the time November comes back around, because, the ideas of what to write for NaNoWriMo are already swirling inside of my head, and I can’t wait!

On Wednesday (21st), I’m guest blogging over at Welcome to Realiti’s, so make sure to check that out! (Or just check him out anyway!)

Until next time though,

Just Keep Writing,

Jade x

Check out Part Four

#MyCharactersAreReal Tag Part 2: Tigs, The Child Zombie Killers Cat

And, here is part two of the #MyCharactersAreReal Tag (hosted by ellerymarconnor) on Instagram!

This is so fun to do, and is really helping me to get a better handle on the motivations and quirks of my protagonist in my 2017 NaNoWriMo project! And is making me delve in to things I hadn’t ever considered!

Check out Part One

And here’s a recap on what my 2017 NaNoWriMo Project was all about:

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Set in a zombie apocalyptic Britain, a forty-year old guy called Al, finds a diary of the twelve-year-old Melanie. Inside, it documents the beginning of the apocalypse and the world she experiences. He doesn’t want it to ever finish; but he can see the un-penned, blank pages at the end. Did she decide she didn’t need it? Did she lose it? Or did she die…

Who Does Your Character Love More Than Anything or Anybody?

Before the apocalypse, she loved her family; her mam, step-dad and her sister Amber. Don’t get me wrong, she still loves them after the apocalypse too, but right now, it’s Tigs the cat! She’s the only one that Melanie has left to remind her of any of them – and, as cats go, she’s quite typical of a moggy who doesn’t always want to be around, and often goes on little adventures when Melanie’s not looking!

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Who Gets Under Your Characters Skin?

Tigs! The cat often makes her mutter and curse to herself when she decides to go off on her own.

Who or What Could Break Your Character (even if it doesn’t happen in your book)

It changes throughout the story. Melanie has to grow up very quickly, she see’s terror, betrayal, chaos, killing, and I think, she’s already very broken by the end of the book. I think what pushes her over the edge, is having to defend herself against what’s left of the people she once knew.

I think, another thing that could easily break her is simply, losing Tigs…

Who or What is a Bad Influence on Your Character?

Before, it would have been her friend – Emma. She could convince Melanie to do absolutely anything – even stick her toe in a fire! Now, she doesn’t have anyone or anything to convince her to do anything, she need’s to make the choices for herself. Although, Tigs the Cat does have a want to get in to things she shouldn’t – and Melanie had to try to get her out! (So maybe Tigs)

Is Your Character the One to Instigate the Fight, Break it up or Stand Back?

To begin with, she was always the peace keeper among her friends. Melanie was always the one to make things okay again, a sort of a go between when two of her friends were arguing. But now, considering the situations she’s in, she stands back. She has enough to worry about than other people’s problems as well!

When Someone First Meets Your Character, What do They Think of Them?

Melanie is young! She’s only twelve! So people just assume she’s naive and young and needs looking after, but then, as the book progresses, people appreciate her more because she is on her own (and she’s still alive). There are still some that treat her like a child, but there are others that don’t.

What Does Your Character Look for in an Ally or Friend?

Before, she just looked for people with similar interests! She was your typical schoolgirl who liked to watch movies, and read books, and enjoyed a game of rounders once in a while! But, now, if she had to look for something, she’d look for trust! Because that’s the only thing that really matters now…


I can’t, like, even explain how fun these prompts are to do! I really am hoping that I’ll be able to finish the second draft of this book by the end of the year so I can get some beta-readers opinions on it!

Part three will be with you next Sunday!

But, until then

Just keep Writing,

Jade x

Check out Part Three

#MyCharactersAreReal Tag #1: Melanie the Child Zombie Killer

So, I’ve decided that instead of posting this on instagram, like normal, I’d turn it in to this months Sunday blog posts instead! It’s not too late to take part! Just check out @ellerymarconnor on instagram for the low-down on this february challenge!

The #MyCharactersAreReal challenge is all about helping you to develop your characters, and the motivations behind them! You can use as many, or as little characters as you want!

The character(s) I’m gonna focus on are from my NaNoWriMo 2017 Project ‘The Diary of A Child Zombie Killer’ – and if you need a small recap on what it was all about:

Set in a zombie apocalyptic Britain, a forty-year old guy called Al, finds a diary of the twelve-year-old Melanie which documents the beginning of the apocalypse, and her experiences dealing with it all. He doesn’t want it to finch, but he can see there’s blank pages at the end. Does she decide she doesn’t need it anymore, does she lose it, or does she die…

Hopefully, you guys will find out…

My Main Character:

Twelve-year-old Melanie

Their Backstory:

Melanies isyour typical school-girl who lives with her mum, step-dad and sister Amber (whose just gone off to university), in a semi-detached house on the outskirts of a welsh town called the Bridges End!

What Does Your Main Character Value?

Melanie values her life (which is obvious considering she’s in a zombie apocalypse) and she values friendship above it all – which is now one of the hardest things to find.

What is Your Characters Most Valuable Trait?

She’s a good listener, and in a world of deception, and shuffling zombies, that’s the best kind of trait she can have.

If Your Character was one of the Deadly Seven Sins, Which one Would They be?

I think she’d have to be ‘Envy’ if she was anything. She envies some of the relationships she comes across whilst trying to find a safe haven, and she envy’s the fact that her sister was able to leave and go to uni and get out of the god-forsaken town they grew up in.

What Makes Your Character Relatable?

I think, nowadays, kids are expected to grow up and mature much quicker than they should, and Melanie does too. She goes through all the thoughts and emotions of a pre-teen, and she hates as well as loves the people around her. She’s moody, whiney and absolutely terrified of what the world can do.

What Does Your Character Consider Immoral?

She considers betrayal immoral above all else. And, she goes through a lot of it…

And What Moral Might Your Character Excuse or Sidestep?

The moral she eventually excuses, is Fairness. In the world she lives in, being fair can get you killed, being fair can lose you your dinner, and being fair can get you turned in to a zombie…


I hope you guys enjoyed reading that as much as I enjoyed writing it! I’ve really missed Melanie and Albert, and I’m glad I have some sort of motivation, and want, to dedicate some blog posts to a story that had been in the back of my mind for eons! Part two will be hitting your screens next Sunday!

But, until the next time!

Just Keep Writing,

Jade x

Whose in Control of Your Outline?

To plan or not to plan, that is the question that we plan to answer today, but hey, who knows what I’ll end up rambling about by the end of this post!

Anyway, lets just imagine you’re sat here staring at a blank page, you have this idea in your head, this event that has sparked something inside of you, and now, you want to write about it. But! Do you sit and plan it, or do you just start writing?

It’s sounds, and feels great having an outline, having a start and an end, but there’s something else there as well. Something that will throw you off your course if your too meticulous, if you never stray from the outline you created. And that is your characters.

Your characters are the first point and call that your readers will know off, their the ones who might tell the story, or show the reader how the story ends up; and most of the time, they grow and stray away from the people you thought they would be, and with that, comes plot holes and mistakes and things that wouldn’t necessarily happen if the characters were allowed to grow naturally with the plot.

Obviously, if your characters are already full developed before you start on the outlining of your plot, it’s much easier to plot it, and to stick to it and not have all those plot holes, etc. However, your characters need to be willing to take control and drive your plot where you want it to go, and for this, you need to know how they will react to certain things, and you have to make them real people.

Obviously, you could sit and write a profile about them. You know, all the basic things – name, age, appearance, personality, but, they also have to grow, they have to develop, because every day changes you, so it should change you’re characters as well. It makes them more relateable, and more real for the reader, and sometimes, you won’t know how a character will react until you’ve written about them going through whatever you want them to go through.

For example, do you know straight off the bat if they: Would give a penny to a homeless man? Would they choose to spend a night in or go out? Would they live without regrets? Would they sacrifice themselves for a stranger? Would they lie? Would they kill? Would they fall in to a depression?

The only way you’ll truly know is if you write about it. You know the events and tests that your character is going to go through, and how they end up will depend on them. With enough planning, it can work, you can flesh out your characters perfectly, and they will do and act the way you want it to happen, but, then perhaps you feel like adding something different, and you don’t want to because you feel like you need to keep to the plan that you’ve written.

It’s good to plan your novel, or short story, especially if it’s intricate and complex (even if it isn’t, its good to plan), but you need to remember that it’s a tool to help you, and the last thing you should do is let it be restrictive. The structure of it has to be flexible, and it has to cater to the people you put in to the plot as it can feel like they’ve completely taken over – which can be hard if you’ve already planned it.

My current WIP is a big quadrilogy, and it’s been planned in the sense that I know what’s semi-going to happen, and who’s going to die, who’s going to live, and how they get from the beginning to the end, but I’ve not outlined it in the sense that I know every little bit of how the story will go. Perhaps I let the characters dictate the plot too much, but, half-the-time, it never wants to go the way I want it to, and, it’s kind of exciting to learn about the characters in their own way then plan out the way I want their lives to go. I think if they have the same mind-set as you, they somehow work towards that end goal you have planned, just a bit differently to how you plotted it out.

So, I think what you really need to is sort of be a planster, which I guess is the word for someone between a planner and a non-planner. The plot needs to be flexible, because you can plan from the beginning to the end and something might happen, you might get a wave of inspiration for a new character who wasn’t necessarily part of the plan, or the end of a character might feel more right than letting them go on.

And whether you plan it or not, editing is horrible, but is also a writers best friend. And, you can start writing even without a definitive plot!

Obviously, it’ll be different for each person, but I know people who have been planning for years and never get to the writing.

Sometimes its better to just start writing and plan it along the way! And that way, you will find whats best for you!

I hope you have a great day, and…

Just Keep Writing!

Jade

My Characters Don’t Know What They’re Doing Half The Time

These last few weeks, as I been going through my manuscript, I’ve been thinking a lot about the personal journeys all my characters are going through. Some have nice cushy lives until some unexpected guests turn up, and some have been thrown in to the wilderness to survive and hope for the best… Half the time, they have no idea what their doing, even experienced Knights have no idea what their doing. I do, I know what their doing and what they need to do, but I hope with this indecisiveness, that somehow, I’ve been able to make my characters feel more real!

For me (and most people, whether your young or old), I still don’t have any idea what I want with my life, not truly. I obviously want to publish books and all that, but there’s a large chunk of my life that I don’t know where its going… Just like my poor characters!

In most of the books that I’ve read, the characters, I don’t think, have enough indecisiveness in their lives and I think it’s really important that they do. I think more characters need to not have a clue what they want, they may have something their given, or are heir too. Say a prince or a princess. But, I want my characters to question these things, to say. ‘Perhaps I don’t want to be one… Perhaps I do… Maybe… Well… I don’t know’

I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with character knowing what they want, perhaps they know it straight away, and that’s fine. My main antagonist knows what he wants, he knows – just about – how to get it and he’s determined to do it. His reasoning may not be the best, especially for some of the things he does, but, at the end of the day, he does have his reasons, and to him, their true.

In my WIP, my characters are all changed by the end of it, some for the very worse, some for the better, but, for a good chunk of it, their not sure what their supposed to do. They don’t know who to trust, or who to follow, or even if they trust themselves. Some get really depressed, and some contemplate killing themselves. Some just walk in to a forest full of monsters and never come back (this happened, and I cried, because I didn’t realise it needed to happen until I edited it, the scene still makes me feel sad now, and it’s been a few months).

So, I guess, it’s a trait of many people in real life that doesn’t always seem to cross over to books, or stories so much. I know it can be a bit frustrating the character not knowing what they want to do, or be, or where they want to go; even when it’s really obvious to the reader, but, the whole point of a book is making this world you created some-what believable, and I think it’s a great way off adding this realistic part to it…

At the end of the day, you know what you want your characters to do, even if they don’t, and your job is to put them through all their trials and tribulations and learn with them; learn what they like, what they fear, how they deal with different things. It’s okay if they changed their mind half way through, perhaps they won’t be that hero you wanted them to be, or they won’t be that sort of villain that you planned, but that’s just the joys of writing a book isn’t it?

You can plan the whole thing, and have a completely different plot by the time you type the end…

What traits do your characters have that make them that little bit more realistic? I’d loved to hear them!

Happy hump day guys

And,

Just Keep Writing!

Jade