Emotional Wounds Thesaurus: Being Kidnapped (the Aftermath)

When you’re writing a character, it’s important to know why she is the way she is. Knowing her backstory is important to achieving this end, and one of the most impactful pieces of a character’s backstory is her emotional wound. This negative experience from the past is so intense that a character will go to great lengths to avoid experiencing that kind of pain and negative emotion again. As a result, certain behaviors, beliefs, and character traits will emerge.

Characters, like real people, are unique, and will respond to wounding events differently. The vast array of possible emotional wounds combined with each character’s personality gives you many options in terms of how your character will turn out. With the right amount of exploration, you should be able to come up with a character whose past appropriately affects her present, resulting in a realistic character that will ring true with readers. Understanding what wounds a protagonist bears will also help you plot out her arc, creating a compelling journey of change that will satisfy readers.

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Courtesy: Pixabay

NOTE: We realize that sometimes a wound we profile may have personal meaning, stirring up the past for some of our readers. It is not our intent to create emotional turmoil. Please know that we research each wounding topic carefully to treat it with the utmost respect. 

Examples: Escaping or being rescued from being held captive. This entry deals with the long-term effects after having escaped a kidnapping. For more information on the wounds one would experience while being held captive, see this entry.

Basic Needs Often Compromised By This Wound: safety and security, love and belonging, esteem and recognition, self-actualization

False Beliefs That May Be Embraced As a Result of This Wound:

  • If I don’t watch out, it could happen to me again.
  • I’m an easy mark, a target.
  • He’s out there watching me, waiting for another opportunity (if one’s kidnapper remains at large)
  • My life as I knew it is over.
  • I will never be whole again.
  • The others didn’t make it out; I shouldn’t have, either. (survivor’s guilt)
  • My captor wasn’t all bad. (Stockholm syndrome)

Positive Attributes That May Result: alert, appreciative, bold, cautious, disciplined, empathetic, independent, industrious, inspirational, meticulous, observant, patient, persistent, private, proactive, protective, resourceful, socially aware,

Negative Traits That May Result: addictive, callous, compulsive, controlling, devious, evasive, flaky, frivolous, hostile, humorless, ignorant, impulsive, inflexible, inhibited, insecure, irrational, manipulative, morbid, needy, nervous, obsessive, paranoid, possessive, prejudiced, promiscuous, rebellious, reckless, resentful, self-destructive, subservient, suspicious, temperamental, timid, uncommunicative, uncooperative, volatile, weak-willed, withdrawn

Resulting Fears:

  • I can’t take care of myself, much less anyone else.
  • I can’t survive on my own.
  • I’ll never readjust to live in normal society.
  • No one could ever love me now.
  • I’m crippled; I’ll never be able to achieve my dreams.
  • I’m not worthy of anyone’s love or affection.
  • No one is trustworthy.
  • The only person I can count on is me.
  • I need someone else to take care of me.

Possible Habits That May Emerge: 

  • Becoming overly cautious
  • Hyperawareness of one’s surroundings
  • Sensitivity to trigger stimuli (the smell of the captor’s cologne, sounds from one’s captivity, etc.)
  • Withdrawing from friends and loved ones
  • Difficulty trusting others
  • Fatigue due to nightmares
  • Becoming obsessed with security (taking self-defense classes, getting a gun, buying a dog, etc.)
  • Taking steps to leave one’s past behind (changing one’s name, moving, etc.)
  • Depression
  • Losing interest in hobbies and interests one used to enjoy
  • Being overprotective of one’s children
  • Difficulty adjusting to changes that have occurred in the world since one’s abduction
  • Being evasive or dishonest out of a desire to protect one’s privacy
  • Reliving certain traumas over and over
  • Self-medicating
  • Thoughts or attempts of suicide
  • Flying under everyone’s radar so as not to draw attention to oneself
  • Feeling empathy for one’s kidnapper, followed by feelings of guilt over one’s empathy
  • Self-loathing over things that happened or one’s inability to escape or stop them from happening

TIP: If you need help understanding the impact of these factors, please read our introductory post on the Emotional Wound Thesaurus. For our current list of Emotional Wound Entries, go here.

For other Descriptive Thesaurus Collections, go here.

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Critiques 4 U

Well, it’s summertime in my neck of the woods and I’m having a blast—sleeping in, spending time with my kids, and enjoying the weather. Now if only I had some good reading material…Aha!

CONTEST CLOSED!

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Courtesy: Pixabay

It’s Critiques 4 U Time! 

If you’re working on a first page and would like some objective feedback, please leave a comment that includes: 

1) your email address. Some of you have expressed concern about making your email address public; if you’re sure that the email address associated with your WordPress account is correct, you don’t have to include it here. But if you do win and I’m unable to contact you through that email address, I’ll have to choose an alternate winner.

2) your story’s genre (no erotica, please)

ONLY ENTRIES THAT FOLLOW THESE INSTRUCTIONS WILL BE CONSIDERED

Three commenters’ names will be randomly drawn and posted tomorrow. If you win, you can email me your first page and I’ll offer my feedback. Best of luck!

 

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Emotional Wound Entry: Discovering One’s Parent is a Monster

When you’re writing a character, it’s important to know why she is the way she is. Knowing her backstory is important to achieving this end, and one of the most impactful pieces of a character’s backstory is her emotional wound. This negative experience from the past is so intense that a character will go to great lengths to avoid experiencing that kind of pain and negative emotion again. As a result, certain behaviors, beliefs, and character traits will emerge.

evilCharacters, like real people, are unique, and will respond to wounding events differently. The vast array of possible emotional wounds combined with each character’s personality gives you many options in terms of how your character will turn out. With the right amount of exploration, you should be able to come up with a character whose past appropriately affects her present, resulting in a realistic character that will ring true with readers. Understanding what wounds a protagonist bears will also help you plot out her arc, creating a compelling journey of change that will satisfy readers.

NOTE: We realize that sometimes a wound we profile may have personal meaning, stirring up the past for some of our readers. It is not our intent to create emotional turmoil. Please know that we research each wounding topic carefully to treat it with the utmost respect. 

DISCOVERING ONE’S PARENT IS A MONSTER

Examples:

  • A parent convicted of being a pedophile
  • The discovery that one’s parent has committed murder
  • Having one’s parent outed as a serial killer
  • A parent who abuses children (physically, emotionally, or both)
  • A parent who likes to cause animals pain or kill them for fun
  • Finding out one’s parent is poisoning people to make them sick
  • A parent who is a kidnapper
  • A parent who police discover has captives on the property or in a hidden basement area
  • Discovering one’s parent is a human trafficker
  • A parent who exploits vulnerable people for personal gain
  • Finding out that one’s parent practices sacrifice and taboo blood rituals
  • Discovering one’s parent is also a cannibal
  • Finding out one’s parent likes to torture others

Basic Needs Often Compromised By This Wound: physiological needs, safety and security, love and belonging, esteem and recognition, self-actualization

False Beliefs That May Be Embraced As a Result of This Wound:

  • I should have see this about (mom or dad). My judgement can’t be trusted.
  • Everything I know is a lie
  • My (mom or dad) isn’t human. Maybe I’m not either
  • With (mom or dad) as my parent, I am defective
  • I can never lead a normal life
  • People will judge me no matter what I do because who (mom or dad) is, so why try to fit in?
  • My (mom or dad) never loved me–how could they and do what they did?
  • I should stay away from people for their own protection
  • My dreams are dead. I can never go on to do great things with this hanging over me
  • People will only see me as the son or daughter of a (pedophile, serial killer, madman, etc.) so I must keep this a secret from everyone

Positive Attributes That May Result: appreciative, calm, centered, courageous, disciplined, focused, generous, gentle, honorable, independent, industrious, introverted, just, kind, loyal, merciful, nurturing, patient, pensive, protective, responsible, socially aware, spiritual, supportive, wise

Negative Traits That May Result: addictive, antisocial, compulsive, confrontational, cynical, defensive, dishonest, evasive, fanatical, humorless, impulsive, inhibited, insecure, jealous, martyr, morbid, needy, nervous, paranoid, pessimistic, rebellious, resentful, self-destructive, temperamental, timid, uncommunicative, uncooperative, withdrawn, worrywart

Resulting Fears:

  • Fear of genetics
  • Fear of oneself and what one might be capable of
  • Fear of one’s past being found out
  • Fear of being universally hated
  • Fear of reporters, the media, and information gathering systems
  • Fear of the public eye
  • Fear of trusting the wrong person with the truth
  • Fear of becoming a mother or father, and passing defective genes along

Possible Habits That May Emerge:

  • changing one’s identity
  • moving frequently or when one feels threatened (even if it is just in one’s own mind)
  • keeping secrets
  • avoiding relationships
  • keeping to oneself, not engaging with neighbors or one’s community
  • avoiding family members and friends from one’s past
  • avoiding social media
  • avoiding places and situations that remind one of what one’s parent did
  • googling oneself to see if anything comes up
  • beating oneself up for normal urges and thoughts, believing them to be indications of something sinister
  • Refusing to read books or watch TV/movies with situations that hit close to home (Or, obsessively watching/reading in hopes of insight & answers)

TIP: If you need help understanding the impact of these factors, please read our introductory post on the Emotional Wound Thesaurus. For our current list of Emotional Wound Entries, go here.

For other Descriptive Thesaurus Collections, go here.

Image: Isabellaquintana @pixabay

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Great Writing Links You Don’t Want To Miss

This is a bit weird…I’m writing this, but by the time you read it, I’ll be wearing a backpack somewhere in Asia. So, really, it’s like I’m reaching out from the beyond. I’m a ghost!

malaysia*ghost noises* Okay, maybe that’s a bit dramatic.

Anyway, I just wanted to mention that before I ducked out the back door and left Becca with all the work (sorry Becca!) I did a mad hop across the internet, guest posting all over the place.

And heck, there might be some good nuggets out there waiting for you. : ) So I’ll leave a few links below in case you want to check them out.

First up, do you know what the 5 Biggest Mistakes are when it comes to describing the setting? Just head on over to DIY MFA and find out!

Are you writing a protagonist who has been wounded deeply and now has a hard time trusting other people? I wouldn’t be surprised. Many characters have vulnerability issues, and if yours is one of them, you might find Vulnerability In Fiction: Teaching Jaded Characters How To Trust helpful to read.

Are you drafting a new novel and feeling a bit insecure? It’s okay if you are–many of us feel that way at times.  That’s why I designed this writing pep talk:  Be Braver Than You Ever Thought Possible.

And finally, one of the biggest decisions you will make for each scene is where the action will take place. Setting can make or break your scene, so stop by Kobo Writing Life and read Writing Powerful Scenes: Why Choosing The Right Setting Is So Important.

Happy Writing!

Angela

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Emotional Wounds Thesaurus: Being Held Captive

When you’re writing a character, it’s important to know why she is the way she is. Knowing her backstory is important to achieving this end, and one of the most impactful pieces of a character’s backstory is her emotional wound. This negative experience from the past is so intense that a character will go to great lengths to avoid experiencing that kind of pain and negative emotion again. As a result, certain behaviors, beliefs, and character traits will emerge.

Characters, like real people, are unique, and will respond to wounding events differently. The vast array of possible emotional wounds combined with each character’s personality gives you many options in terms of how your character will turn out. With the right amount of exploration, you should be able to come up with a character whose past appropriately affects her present, resulting in a realistic character that will ring true with readers. Understanding what wounds a protagonist bears will also help you plot out her arc, creating a compelling journey of change that will satisfy readers.

NOTE: We realize that sometimes a wound we profile may have personal meaning, stirring up the past for some of our readers. It is not our intent to create emotional turmoil. Please know that we research each wounding topic carefully to treat it with the utmost respect. 

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Pixabay

Examples:

  • Being kidnapped and held for ransom
  • Being kidnapped and held captive for an extended period of time
  • Being kidnapped and sold into slavery
  • Being kidnapped by one’s biological parent or other relative and taken underground

Basic Needs Often Compromised By This Wound: physiological needs, safety and security, love and belonging, esteem and recognition, self-actualization

False Beliefs That May Be Embraced As a Result of This Wound:

  • I’ll never get away.
  • If I had done X (paid more attention, not talked to the person, left work 5 minutes later, etc.), this wouldn’t have happened.
  • I’ll never be safe.
  • I’m a weak person (because he targeted me, because I’m too afraid to attempt escape).
  • Specific beliefs that arise as a result of brainwashing by one’s captor: No one is looking for me/cares about me; this is a punishment for something I’ve done, etc.).

Positive Attributes That May Result: alert, cautious, discreet, nurturing, obedient, observant, persistent, private, protective

Negative Traits That May Result: apathetic, childish, cynical, devious, evasive, flaky, forgetful, hostile, humorless, inattentive, indecisive, inhibited, irrational, morbid, needy, nervous, obsessive, paranoid, reckless, resentful, scatterbrained, self-destructive, subservient, suspicious, temperamental, timid, uncommunicative, uncooperative, volatile, weak-willed, withdrawn

Resulting Fears:

  • Fear of never being able to escape
  • Fear of not being able to adjust to the real world after escaping
  • Fear for the safety of one’s loved ones
  • Fear that the things endured during captivity will cause loved ones to stop loving one
  • Fear of men (if one’s kidnapper is a man)
  • Fear of specific triggers (smells, sounds, etc.) associated with one’s captor or prison

Possible Habits That May Emerge: 

  • Becoming extremely subservient; losing one’s will
  • Wanting to please one’s captor
  • Clinging to one’s captor
  • Withdrawing into oneself
  • Decreased reactions to stimuli
  • Becoming emotionally numb
  • Hyper vigilance
  • Startling easily
  • Impaired concentration, focus, and memory
  • Depression
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Sleeping longer than normal
  • Insomnia
  • Feeling powerless
  • Becoming fearful or anxious
  • Regressing into a childlike state
  • Difficulty telling reality from fantasy
  • Becoming addicted to drugs or alcohol (if one’s captor is using them as a controlling factor)

TIP: If you need help understanding the impact of these factors, please read our introductory post on the Emotional Wound Thesaurus. For our current list of Emotional Wound Entries, go here.

For other Descriptive Thesaurus Collections, go here.

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Some Setting Tips and a Giveaway!

Hi, everyone!  Angela and I are taking a leisurely summer this year, with no big projects or deadlines looming, enabling us to enjoy the weather, spend time with family, and relax. I hope you’re enjoying the season—whatever it is in your part of the world!

That’s not to say we’re just sitting around sipping cocktails and sunbathing. Oh no, my precious. We’re still getting SOME work done. For instance, Katie Weiland has generously allowed me to take over her blog today to talk about choosing the right setting for a scene. Katie is a genius blogger with tons of incredible content—particularly in the area of structure. Have you seen her Story Structure Database? Oh my gosh, people. It’s a must-see. Right after my post, of course. 😉

Angela’s also got a humdinger going up at the Kobo Writing Life blog.

Lastly, R.K Grow is celebrating 20,000 views at her blog, and we’re giving away an ebook of either the Urban of Rural Setting Thesaurus books (winner’s choice!) to celebrate. She’s giving away a bunch of other stuff, too, so head on over to check it out.

 

 

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Emotional Wound Entry: Discovering One’s Sibling Was Abused

When you’re writing a character, it’s important to know why she is the way she is. Knowing her backstory is important to achieving this end, and one of the most impactful pieces of a character’s backstory is her emotional wound. This negative experience from the past is so intense that a character will go to great lengths to avoid experiencing that kind of pain and negative emotion again. As a result, certain behaviors, beliefs, and character traits will emerge.

sad1Characters, like real people, are unique, and will respond to wounding events differently. The vast array of possible emotional wounds combined with each character’s personality gives you many options in terms of how your character will turn out. With the right amount of exploration, you should be able to come up with a character whose past appropriately affects her present, resulting in a realistic character that will ring true with readers. Understanding what wounds a protagonist bears will also help you plot out her arc, creating a compelling journey of change that will satisfy readers.

NOTE: We realize that sometimes a wound we profile may have personal meaning, stirring up the past for some of our readers. It is not our intent to create emotional turmoil. Please know that we research each wounding topic carefully to treat it with the utmost respect. 

Discovering One’s Sibling Was Abused

Examples:

  • witnessing the abuse first hand (seeing or hearing it occur)
  • discovering the abuse after the fact only when one’s sibling opens up about it
  • knowing one’s sibling is taking the abuse to protect oneself or other loved ones
  • hearing a rumor about abuse involving one’s sibling and discovering it to be true
  • being abused and realizing up to this point, one’s sibling has allowed herself or himself to been victimized in order to shield
  • discovering the abuse when one’s sibling attempted suicide and left a note
  • being told by a friend or family member that one’s sibling was abused

Basic Needs Often Compromised By This Wound: safety and security, love and belonging, esteem and recognition

False Beliefs That May Be Embraced As a Result of This Wound:

  • This is my fault, I should have done something
  • I should have protected my sibling
  • I should have seen what was happening
  • I failed as a sister/brother and should have shielded them from this
  • I should have been stronger and taken the abuse myself
  • I am unworthy of love, respect, and trust
  • I can’t help others; I will only fail or let them down
  • I cause other people pain and shouldn’t be close to anyone
  • I am weak and deserve only pain and unhappiness
  • I can never make up for my failure, I deserve the darkness of this guilt
  • I can’t protect the people I love
  • I don’t deserve to feel safe and secure, not when my sibling had that taken away

Positive Attributes That May Result: affectionate, alert, appreciative, courageous, empathetic, generous, honest, honorable, humble, introverted, loyal, kind, merciful, nurturing, obedient, observant, patient, perceptive, persistent, private, protective, resourceful, responsible, spiritual, supportive, tolerant, unselfish

Negative Traits That May Result: confrontational, cowardly, humorless, inhibited, insecure, nervous, paranoid, promiscuous, reckless, self-destructive, subservient, suspicious, timid, uncommunicative, violent, volatile, withdrawn workaholic, worrywart

Resulting Fears:

  • fear of trusting people
  • fear of being responsible for others
  • fear of letting others down
  • fear of one’s children also being abused
  • fear of misreading people and missing a threat
  • fear of being left alone with people who make one uncomfortable or who intimidate
  • fear of helplessness
  • fear of secrets or fear that secrets are being kept from oneself
  • fear of exploitation
  • Fear of people who trigger reminders of the “type” of abuser

Possible Habits That May Emerge:

  • subservience to one’s sibling to make up for a perceived past failing (the character will feel guilt, even if they were not in a position to help or didn’t know it was occurring
  • anger and outbursts, even violence
  • refusing to speak to those who one blames, even if they were unaware themselves of what happened
  • a desire for revenge
  • second guessing one’s decisions, especially when one is responsible for others
  • Growing overprotective of loved ones
  • Digging for secrets if one suspects they are there, seeing even the smallest one as toxic
  • wanting to know where one’s loved ones are at all times
  • placing oneself in risky situations that increase the likelihood one will be hurt out of a deep sense of guilt and believing one deserves it
  • deep feeling of shame keeping one from being around one’s sibling
  • self-harm, medicating with alcohol or drugs, or engaging is self-destructive behavior from guilt

TIP: If you need help understanding the impact of these factors, please read our introductory post on the Emotional Wound Thesaurus. For our current list of Emotional Wound Entries, go here.

For other Descriptive Thesaurus Collections, go here.

Image: 422694 @pixabay

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Taking the Audiobook Plunge? Read This First

Super thrilled to have author Diane Rinella with us today, who has a ton of experience with audiobooks and has put together some great information for anyone looking to take the leap. Audiobooks are a completely different animal than ebooks or print, and this post can save your a lot of time, heartache, and money.

Plunging Into Audiobooks

ACXI love audiobooks. Many find the convenience of listening to them nearly anytime and anywhere a virtue. But for me, the appeal is how I get to listen to another person’s dream.

For years, hearing your book come to life was a fantasy reserved for top-selling authors. But we live in an amazing age where technology makes yesterday’s imaginings today’s reality. Not unlike how Amazon helped drive the Indie ebook revolution with Kindle Direct Publishing, they are at it again with Audio Creation Exchange. However, much like the trials of ebook publishing, sharing your book with listeners is not as simple as reading it aloud. Thus before hiring a producer, or biting the bullet and self-producing, a few things are worth considering.

Before moving forward, let’s define a few roles:

Producer – The person who records and masters the material. This may be the same person as the narrator/voice actor.

Narrator – The general term for the person performing your book.

Voice Actor – May also be referred to as narrator. However, this person can also bring multiple voices to life and expresses emotion.

FIRST, DON’T RUSH INTO THINGS

Take a deep breath, because there are a few things to consider before you look for a producer. Remember everything you did (such as editing and formatting) to give consumers the best reading experience? Now you need to determine how to give them the best listening experience.

Pay Per Finished Hour or Royalty Split

Just like any other project, what you can afford will guide your decisions. ACX offers a great program called Royalty Share. The author provides the book, the producer records it, the author approves it—both split the proceeds. However, some producers will only accept projects paid by the finished hour. (If the producer spends forty hours on a project that comes in at eight hours long, you pay for eight hours.) All sales proceeds go to you. However, a finished hour can range between $50 and $200. Most novels are eight to ten hours long. Will your budget cover $400 to $1600? If not, you might consider a royalty share or self-production. (We will return to that can of worms later.)

Narration versus Acting

ScaryModstersAudiobookWould your book benefit most from narration, or should a voice actor bring the characters to life? Are you dead set about how the narrator, or any of the characters, should sound? These questions led me to a dilemma. Scary Modsters … and Creepy Freaks, was written in three, first person POVs, two of which are male and one of those is from East London.

I wanted multiple actors, not to mention a proper accent.  However, I quickly found my dream scenario required hiring four people and heavy editing. Since the price tag would be at least a hefty $400 per finished hour, the only cost-effective option was to go with one, very talented producer. Fortunately, Hollie Jackson came to the rescue. Hollie is a partner worth her weight in gold. Partners can make or break a project. (More on partnerships later.)

Books Are Meant To Be Read, Not Heard

Writers often give visual clues that do not translate into audiobooks. Are you willing to consider changes that improve the experience, or must the audio version match the original text without fail? Some things can enhance the listening experience, either by adding or removing them. One of those is dialog tags.

listenThe visual characteristics of a quoted sentence ending and a new paragraph beginning with another quoted line is an accepted cue a new person is speaking. If the conversation is two-sided, a dialog tag may not have been deemed necessary. If an actor uses vocal changes to represent new characters, a dialog tag may still be unnecessary. However, in the case of straight narration, where all voices sound alike, adding one would eliminate confusion.

Conversely, when a character’s speech spans multiple paragraphs, writers often add the clue, “he continued.” However, when a character is read with a distinct voice, not only do these clues become unnecessary, they become pace-breaking distractions.

Italics are often used to stress a word or to reflect deep thought. Stressing these items is part of a narrator’s job. However, quoted italics can reflect hearing a person’s thoughts, such as during telepathy. If you did not use dialog tags such as, “he thought”, translating the idea of telepathy into audio may be difficult, and changes should be considered.

Consider making listening-enhancing revisions before submitting your manuscript.

Ready? Let’s Dive In!

Let’s get to the fun stuff! There are many ways to create an audiobook. To keep this simple, I will focus on two methods; using ACX to hire a producer, and the self-production method—both of which I have experienced.

ACX: MAKING HIRING & PARTNERSHIP DECISIONS

Whether you seek a royalty split or to hire someone per finished hour, here are some things to keep in mind when pursuing talent and when listening to auditions:

Reputation – Simply stated, never jump into a partnership without ensuring it will be a strong one, and never hire a person you don’t want to work with. I turned down numerous offers for many reasons—some of which were less than stellar reputations for delivering the basics. Do not be afraid to ask your friends for recommendations or producers for references.

Voice and Characterization – Does the narrator have an appealing tone? Does she “feel right” for the part? Is the accent appropriate yet understandable? Determining voices and narration style before signing a contract is key. While the writer must be comfortable with the presentation, nitpicking over a performance is best saved for the actor. Both need to set realistic expectations. My partner, Hollie Jackson, summed the characterization process beautifully.I truly think the absolute biggest thing is to trust your narrator, particularly in regards to characterization. If an author can provide notes to give us a direction to point our voices, it takes a huge load off of us trying to figure out how a particular character sounds. But by that same token, sometimes a character will strike a particular reference chord, and things might sound a little different compared to the voice in the writer’s head. Being able to work with that is a huge part of the process.”

microphoneQuality/Mastering (hiss, pops, clicks, timing) – Inadequate mastering can ruin a brilliant performance. While ACX has strict submission requirements regarding noise floor (the level at which hiss is heard) and level variation (a whisper and a yell need to be close in volume), there are no stated requirements regarding pops and clicks. Listen for these, along with timing. Timing is not only the pace at which a book is read, but also how lines are delivered. For comedy, the outstanding timing of Robin Williams and George Burns had us rolling in the aisles. Dramatic timing is just as important. The demo’s timing should fit the book’s genre.

Eliminate Surprises – If part of the audition seems unfitting, yet you still suspect the voice actor could be a match, express your concerns and request a new audition. Re-reads are not unreasonable and may save both the writer and producer many headaches.

Building A Partnership – I cannot stress the importance of this enough, especially if you wish to do multiple projects with the same person. I tell Hollie all the important things up front and then let her work magic. As a fellow actress, I completely agreed when she said, “Micromanagement is the hugest creative buzzkill around.” However, she also respects my concerns and will quickly make changes when things go awry. The bottom line is, if you are concerned that a producer will not give you the end results you desire, either find someone else or self-produce.

DIY: SELF-PRODUCTION

I will preface this by saying I have decades of acting experience—stage, screen, and voice. Since my husband is an Indie film director/producer, resources are at my disposal. Still, it took quite a bit of working with sound engineers before I could produce a solid audiobook.

DIYThe absolute basics to home recording include: a room with a low noise floor (I lined the quietest room in my house with moving blankets.), proper equipment (A good microphone, a pop filter, a pre-amp, a Mudguard, and a stand will cost several hundred dollars.), and editing software (I pay $20 a month to use Adobe Audition.).

In a nutshell, recording two takes without outside sounds (birds, pets, kids, cars, planes) generally gets you what you need. Edit these into one good take before removing pops, clicks, and rustling. In my case, I also have to remove background hiss. Top all of this off with balancing the levels. (By the way, you might want to consider that it takes Hollie about two hours to record and master one finished hour while it takes me three or four. Be prepared to invest some time.)

Have I scared you out of the self-production method yet? Learning the recording and mastering process is a hurdle, yet producing audiobooks is simple compared to other types of sound engineering. While I highly recommend ACX’s video series on recording, the installment on mastering falls short of providing usable information. Thus, you might want to consider hiring someone to master your files. However, if you really want to give it a go, ACX does have an Audio Masters class.

HYBRID: SELF-PRODUCTION & HIRING A PRODUCER 

ACX does not offer the option to hire a producer, only to master files. Thus, you will need to pay someone outside of their system. Professional sound services can be expensive and offer more than you need for an audiobook. I strongly suggest contacting local filmmaker groups (Here in San Francisco, we have Scary Cow.) or colleges to seek emerging talent at a reasonable rate. Though there are also services that will perform this task for you, I’ve yet to find an author who has done this, thus I cannot make a recommendation.

 This is a lot to digest, but once you get your head around the process, it’s actually a lot of fun. I have to say that having done this with a partner and now producing myself, I prefer the partner route. Then again, I struck gold with Hollie. With a little determination to find the right person, you can too. Either way, bringing your book to life is a rush akin to the time you held your first novel in your hands!

The benefits to partnering with an experienced producer are no learning curve, a faster turn around, often better talent than an inexperienced performer can provide, and a built-in audience, as many often have their own fanbase. The con is you may not get the creative control you desire.

The benefit to self-production is full creative control. The cons may include steep learning curves in voice acting, recording, and mastering.

Diane Rinella

indexEnjoying San Francisco as a backdrop, the ghosts in USA Today Bestselling Author Diane Rinella‘s one hundred and fifty-year old Victorian home augment the chorus in her head. With insomnia as their catalyst, these voices have become multifarious characters that haunt her well into the sun’s crowning hours, refusing to let go until they have manipulated her into succumbing to their whims. Her experiences as an actress, business owner, artisan cake designer, software project manager, Internet radio disc jockey, vintage rock ‘n’ roll journalist/fan girl, and lover of dark and quirky personalities influence her idiosyncratic writing. Hang out with her on Twitter, Facebook & Goodreads and find more audiobook projects here.

Hollie Jackson

narratrixpicTaking her own love of storytelling, not just for her own work, but that of others, Hollie (aka Narratrix) found her true calling in the vocal booth. From the innocent to the risqué, the snarky to the serious, Hollie’s voice brings characters of all types to vibrant, compelling life, letting you sit back and allow the words to wrap around you and work their resonant magic. With over 300 audiobooks narrated and produced to date, Hollie enjoys an eclectic range of genres and has worked with authors/publishers who are both Indie and NYT/USA Today Bestselling.

ScaryModstersAudiobookWant to check out Scary Modsters yourself? here’s a soundbite:

Rosalyn possesses a sunny personality that is laced with quirks. Although she seeks acceptance in a world where she lives out of time, what she gets is ridiculed for her eclectic wardrobe and unconventional music collection.

One fateful night, Rosalyn bewitches Niles, a stylish man whose offbeat character perfectly complements her own. Unfortunately, he possesses a critical flaw that means relationship suicide for him and pretty much anyone.

While under the influence of insomnia-impaired judgment, Rosalyn summons Rock ‘n Roll deity Peter Lane back from the dead. Not only does he spin her hormones into a frenzy, Peter is also the precarious puzzle piece that brings sense into her world. When Niles learns that he can overcome his life-long challenge by helping Peter avenge his death, how far will he go to secure Rosalyn’s heart?

Have an Audiobook Production question for Diane? Her brain is stuffed with knowledge and experience, so let us know in the comments.

 

 

 

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Posted in audiobooks, Guest Post, Publishing and Self Publishing, Uncategorized | 11 Comments

Making your Character Shine From Page One

Happy Monday, everyone! Angela and I have been so focused lately on the launch of our setting thesaurus books, it feels like that’s all we’ve been doing for months. So we’re excited to get back to the normal Writers Helping Writers routine with a guest post by Kate Foster. She’s here today to talk about how to get readers falling in love with your characters on the very first page.

Plot and characters are both vitally important to a good story, but I’ve always been drawn to the people in the story more than to the story itself. In my opinion, characters are the all-important key to sinking your teeth into your readers and tearing out their hearts. Dramatic, of course, but fundamentally, it’s the reader’s heart you want to win over, and the characters are your bow and arrow. Get them right, and you’re on a pretty smooth course to writing an engaging book.

After you’ve profiled your character and know them better than your own family members – and definitely do this detailed, time-consuming background work; I promise it will make all the difference – it’s time to put pen to paper and let them take over your words. Because it’s no longer you telling the story; your character should be in the driving seat.

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What makes your character different or interesting?

But don’t wait until the end of chapter one, or chapter two, or even page two to showcase their personalities, who they are, and what they do. No, smash it straight in there on page one, paragraph one. Lure, hook, intrigue. Let the reader hear the character and get to know them right off the bat; give your audience an important detail as to who this person is, what he or she does, what’s happened in the past.

To clarify this, here are a few examples of authors who showed readers on the very first page who they were getting involved with.

‘Bradley Chalkers sat at his desk in the back of the room—last seat, last row. No one sat at the desk next to him or at the one in front of him. He was an island.’ (There’s a Boy in the Girl’s Bathroom—middle grade, contemporary— by Louis Sachar)

Bam! From the very first line, we know in three sentences that no one wants to sit with Bradley, and probably because no one likes him. We know how Bradley feels about this too: isolated. And just like that, we’re touched, we’re sucked in. We’re sad. We want to know why. What is it about Bradley that’s so wrong, so terrible that he sits at the back of the class, alone?

‘The door would splinter off its hinges with a swift kick from his boot like the previous dozen he’d blasted in over the years. But bashing in doors was noisy and drew the wrong kind of attention.’ (Poor Boy Road by James L. Weaver)

Straight away we know we’re dealing with a tough guy—someone violent, someone who’s been doing this for a while. Kicking in doors isn’t an unusual experience for this character, which sets him apart from normal people as, let’s face it, most of us use the doorknob. But we also know that he doesn’t want to get caught. So, who is he? Is he working alone? Voluntarily? Is this his day job?

What these authors have done in their opening lines is dropped in sneaky clues to show (rather than tell) that their characters are different—definitely not run-of-the-mill—which prompts the reader to start asking questions. They’ve injected intrigue and interest in their first pages. And this is essential to make a reader keep reading. What authors mostly want is for their readers to invest time, and money, into their characters. Making this happen from the very first page is critical, and with deft characterization, it’s fairly simple.

As the book opens into that life-changing moment, ask yourself:

  • How can I show the reader that my character is different than other characters? What’s unique about him/her, what’s important for the reader to know?
  • How can I show the reader my character’s personality and voice through his or her reactions (physically and mentally) to the current scene?
  • What emotion is my character experiencing as the book opens?
  • What secret is my character hiding that sits at the root of his/her motivation?

Questions like these will help you to really know your characters before you write your book. And knowing them well—their flaws, strengths, habits, speech patterns, every puzzle piece from the past that has created this imaginary person—is important to being able to make them real, make them whole. Only then can they shine from that very first page.

 

Bio

Kate Foster ImageKate is an Englishwoman who lives on the sunny Gold Coast in Australia with her tribe of ‘lads’ – three sons, husband and male spoodle! She is the editorial director at Lakewater Press as well as a freelance developmental editor and loves nothing more than teaming up with authors to improve their raw manuscripts. She has been a writing judge and mentor for numerous writing contests, including Freshly Squeezed Reads, Nest Pitch, Fic Fest and Pitch Wars. Kate also dabbles a little with her own writing! You can find her online at www.katejfoster.com, www.katefosterauthor.com, on Twitter, and Facebook.

*photo courtesy: Pixabay

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Emotional Wounds Thesaurus: A Family Member’s Suicide

When you’re writing a character, it’s important to know why she is the way she is. Knowing her backstory is important to achieving this end, and one of the most impactful pieces of a character’s backstory is her emotional wound. This negative experience from the past is so intense that a character will go to great lengths to avoid experiencing that kind of pain and negative emotion again. As a result, certain behaviors, beliefs, and character traits will emerge.

Characters, like real people, are unique, and will respond to wounding events differently. The vast array of possible emotional wounds combined with each character’s personality gives you many options in terms of how your character will turn out. With the right amount of exploration, you should be able to come up with a character whose past appropriately affects her present, resulting in a realistic character that will ring true with readers. Understanding what wounds a protagonist bears will also help you plot out her arc, creating a compelling journey of change that will satisfy readers.

NOTE: We realize that sometimes a wound we profile may have personal meaning, stirring up the past for some of our readers. It is not our intent to create emotional turmoil. Please know that we research each wounding topic carefully to treat it with the utmost respect. For this particular wound, there is no doubt that some of you have had personal experience with it, either as someone considering suicide or someone living in the aftermath of a loved one’s suicide. If you are suffering in any way due to a past, planned, or possible suicide, there are people who can help. Just call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) and speak to someone 24 hours a day.

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Courtesy: Pixabay

Basic Needs Often Compromised By This Wound: physiological needs, safety and security, love and belonging, esteem and recognition

False Beliefs That May Be Embraced As a Result of This Wound:

  • This is my fault.
  • If I had been X (more available, a better daughter/son/spouse, etc.) he/she wouldn’t have done it.
  • I should have seen the signs.
  • If she had really loved me she wouldn’t have done this.
  • Why didn’t he confide in me? Maybe there’s something wrong with me.
  • I’m incapable of true intimacy.
  • I’m good enough when life is light and easy, but when things get tough, I’m not someone that people turn to.

Positive Attributes That May Result: affectionate, appreciative, nurturing, observant, pensive, private, proactive, responsible, sentimental, supportive

Negative Traits That May Result: addictive, apathetic, callous, compulsive, confrontational, cynical, fussy, hostile, humorless, inhibited, insecure, irrational, martyr, morbid, needy, obsessive, rebellious, reckless, resentful, self-destructive, uncooperative, volatile, withdrawn

Resulting Fears:

  • The fear that one will miss the signs and it will happen again
  • The fear of never being “good enough” for one’s loved ones
  • The fear of never achieving true intimacy with others
  • The fear that one is untrustworthy or incapable.
  • The fear that there is something inherently wrong with oneself.

Possible Habits That May Emerge: 

  • Withdrawing from loved ones
  • Maintaining surface relationships as a way of avoiding potential hurt
  • Becoming overly needy and clingy with loved ones
  • Becoming hyper vigilant with loved ones
  • Obsessively watching for signs
  • Overcompensating for whatever one feels guilty about (being less or more strict, smothering loved ones in an effort to pay closer attention, etc.)
  • Trying to be “better” in whatever way one felt was lacking (paying more attention, being more obedient, etc.)
  • Becoming more observant
  • Falling into depression
  • Having suicidal thoughts or attempting suicide
  • Self-medicating

TIP: If you need help understanding the impact of these factors, please read our introductory post on the Emotional Wound Thesaurus. For our current list of Emotional Wound Entries, go here.

For other Descriptive Thesaurus Collections, go here.

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