Sunday, December 31, 2006

Secondary Characters

From The Desk of Liz Ensley:

     There seems to be very little available, in the way of resources of wha, exactly, the purpose of a so-called "secondary character" is. I decided on a bit of research into the matter. This is my Googled and Clusty'd linky things for later perusal.



If The Viewpoint Characte Is A Secondary Character


More later--but if you're passing by, and you see anything interesting on secondary characters, then please, let me know!

Jungian Novel Writing

2003 "Wrangling wih Writing" Conference

Straight Writers, Tangled Issues

Sewanee Writer's Cnoference Notes

CRAFT: Moron descriptions

CRAFT: First Person Point of View

How To Develop A Growing Fantasy Character

Writing Wonder (PDF) by Brad Strickland

Foil (Literature) on Wikipedia

Building Character, Part 1 by Melanie Spiller

08.21.06 Revising characters Posted in Craft, Characterization at 10:30 pm By Carol Berg

Taking One for the Team: "Memorable Supporting Characters"

Creating a Cast of Characters with Maureen McKade
July Meeting Summary
Tina M. Novinski

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Monday, December 25, 2006

Happy Holly daze

From The Desk of Liz Ensley:

Sunday, December 24, 2006

The Day Before...

From The Desk of Liz Ensley:

The Day Before
by Elizabeth Anne Ensley
[paraphrase of "Twas the Night Before Christmas"
(or A Visit from St. Nicholas)
by Clement Clarke Moore]

'Twas the day before Christmas, when all through the flat
every creature was stirring, especially the cat.
The stockings were were tossed in yon wash-basket there,
In hopes that the laundry soon would be bare.

The Terror was off, doing something online,
while visions of Dir en Grey shone in her eye.
And Terror by her 'puter, and I seated by mine,
were wracking out our brains for a long winter's rhyme.

When on the floor above ours there rose such a clatter,
I sprang from my chair to see what was the matter.
Away to the front door I hobbled with my cane,
tore it open wide, and looked out in the rain.

The lamp-shine on the breast of the sodden concrete
The luster of wet rod beneath all the feet,
when, what to my myopic eyes should appear,
but a diminutive sleigh and eight tiny reindeer.

With a wizened old driver, so lively and quick,
I had no doubt that it must be St. Nick.
Faster than a bullet train, the creatures, they came,
and he called out every one of them by name:

"Yo! Dasher! Hey, Dancer!
Now, Prancer and Vixen!
Yeah, Comet! On, Cupid!
Go, Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the flat!
To the top shopping Mall!
Now run away! Hie away!
Dash away all!"

As dandelion seeds that before strong winds fly,
when they meet with a barrier, soar into the sky
The sleigh to the roof-top, the reindeer they flew,
with a whole bunch of toys, and St. Nicholas, too.

And then, in a twinkle, I heard on the next floor
the banging and slamming of their porch door.
When I drew in my head and then turned right around,
St. Nicholas came leaping down with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, much like a Kzin,
Then took a skeleton key and let himself in.
A bundle of gifts he held, strapped to his back,
made him look like a vendor. He opened his pack.

His eyes were in shadows. His dimples, like holes!
His cheeks red as bloodied, his nose like a mole!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
and the arrow, his beard, was as white as the snow.

A candy cane he held, fastened, with his teeth,
And a garland encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and buttons on his gut,
that danced when he laughed, like a jolly old nut.

He was plump with good cheer, a quite happy old elf,
I his in the kitchen, afraid for myself.
But with a wink, and a nod, and a twist of his head,
Soon let me know I had nothing to dread.

He said nothing at all, going right to his work,
Couldn't find any stockings. He turned with a jerk.
Went out the screen door, behind him it closed
and giving a nod, to the flat above he rose.

I heard his sleigh move, he gave off a whistle,
And away they flew, like a runaway missile.
I heard him exclaim, when they flew away,
"Happy Christmas to you, and to all a good day!"

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

With Intent to Review

From The Desk of Liz Ensley:

     Thank God!
      For a moment, I thought that was my Yahoo blog. *cringe* With the avatar dressed in a -cringe--Santa's Helper suit. No, I like my Yahoo avatar the way it is, thank you very much.
      Bear Daughter by Judith Berman arrived today. I can start reading it. I promised to post a review on my blogs, so I fully intend to post a review on my blogs. I haven't done a book report since I went to college--no, wait, that was a movie report, sorry. Still, I had Professor Rupnick's okay to do a two page review of The Elephant Man (he had wanted newer movies, but it was hard for me to get around without a car, rather than just plain hard, like now), using the terminology we picked up in his class fr the semester (Sociology). I did the report, on the micro-type typewriter in the library. I think I had 4-6 pages worth of text,  on two pages. I think he was ready to shoot me for it. ;-) Still, it was a lot of fun for me to write. I did enjoy the movie, too.
     Ah, anyway, that was back in 1979. This shows you how long it has been, since I last did anything like a review of any kind.
     I had planned to start re-reading The Hobbit, but that can wait, for now. .And Judith, thank you!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Ah, yes. Time Magazine.

From The Desk of Liz Ensley:

You are Time's Person of the Year. And you, and you.

If you care what a dead-tree magazine thinks, says the purveyor of dead-tree narrative art.

I tend to think of it as a digital joke now, since one of the links brought me to my Blogger profile. One click should lead at random, at some point, to the NaNoWriMo site. The person who gets it probably will not understand a word of English, and mat well write cuneiform, or some other form of writing that is not English. I suppose that it was only a matter of time, until...

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The Twin Squid Lodge

From The Desk of Liz Ensley:

     Liz hesitated at the door, scouting out the premises before entering. Twin Squid? Was it a mere name, or was the Lodge actually managed by twin, marine cephalopods? The mind boggled. Well, at least hers did. Still, she mused, looking around, it couldn't be any worse than the one run by pink spiders, on the other side of town.
     Funny. There was no one to be seen. "Hello?" she called out, hesitant about entering a vacant tavern.
     A tentacle waved from behind the counter. "Hoy! A customer! Myrtle!" The squid hauled itself up on something, perhaps a step-ladder. It was hard to tell, from this vantage point. "Excuse the chaos, please. We only opened today."
     Liz shook her head. "That's all right. I'm new here, too. Got anything to help unstick writer's block?"
     The squid paused for a moment. Whether in thought, or because it wanted to, Liz could not say. Then, it must have reached some decision in its internal deliberation. "I don't rightly know if it would be good for writer's block, but we have some coffee liquor that makes a mean cocktail.
     Liz grinned. "Good enough." She went straight up to the bar. "It's worth a shot--or, preferably a whole glass. Fix me up."
     A squid came out of the back room. "What you want, Mortimer?" she asked. Then, she saw Liz. Hoy! Our first customer!"
     Mortimer chuckled. "We need a bottle of coffee liquor from the storeroom. Our customer needs a little something to try to kill her writer's block."
     "Or at least, to numb it up a bit," Liz added.
     Myrtle chuckled. "Whatever works, hon." She undulated, for lack of a better word, back into the backside of the Lodge.

Sunday, December 10, 2006


From The Desk of Liz Ensley:


Not that a lot of the character sheets I see cover this in much detail, but the way your main character interacts with others is important to a story. For example, what was Gandalf's relation to Sauron? What was Bilbo's relation to Sauron? What was the One Ring's relation to--well, you get what I mean. Believe it or not, you can consider the One Ring as a character, albeit a minor, yet powerful one. Sauron created it, and it subverted Gollum, and was on its way to doing the same to Bilbo, as evidenced in scenes in the book. That's how Bilbo and the Ring interacted, even when Bilbo Baggins was more of a background character.

To evidence it to yourself, write a sentence or paragraph about, say:

Harry Potter's relationship to Voldemort.

Harry Potter's relationship to [insert] Dursley [here].

Harry Potter's relationship to Albus Dubledore.

Harry Potter's relationship to Rubeus Hagrid.

Harry Potter's relation to Severus Snape.

Harry Potter's relationship to [insert] Weasley [here].

I could list more of them, but these are good ones to illustrate what I mean by what I think this means. The primary relationships we consider are usually family. We can start with the Dursley's, then.

Harry's relationship with Petunia Dursley. He is the son of her deceased sister, Lily. Petunia's relationship with Lily was not the best. As the books go on, we get the feeling that she was, perhaps, a bit jealous of Lily's being able to do magic, when she could not--maybe she and Lily were very close, before Lily received her Hogwart's acceptance letter. Perhaps she felt abandoned by Lily. What we do know is that Lily would tell her parents what she had been learning at Hogwarts.

Still, there are some unanswered questions there, too. Had they been close, and had Voldemort killed their parents (since the parents are not mentioned in the story--Harry's grandparents). Could Petunia have blamed Lily on some level for that, since Lily was a wizard? It would not even have had to have been Voldemort. From what we know of the Death Eaters, and of some other wizards who were sympathisers to the Death Eaters, well, you know the push for legalization of Muggle hunting that was put through. If we wanted to relate it to the main plot, perhaps they were killed when Pettigrew was trying to hide from Sirius Black and killed a whole bunch of Muggles after biting off his own finger. Black was a friend of Lily's and James. Actually, there are some minor things in the books which might even support that one theory, when Petunia makes reference to one boy who came around to the house. I mean, I had thought "Snape" when I first read the passage, although in all likelihood the most logical one for it to mean was James. Darn, fro not having the book and passage in front of me...

Harry and the Dark Lord. Neither one can fully live while the other survives. The prophecy could have led Voldemort to Neville Longbottom, as easily as Harry Potter. Yet, the Dark Lord marked Harry. That was important to the story. When that Avada was cast, and rebounded, it hit Voldemort. Some of the shock of that reverberation, that might have struck Harry's forehead, leaving that lightning bolt-shaped mark. A piece of Voldemort lodged itself in that scar. It might be that, when Voldemort is dead, the scar will disappear. Voldemort cannot live fully, because that piece of himself that is the scar's essence is a part of Harry Potter ,and apart from him. That part of the scar that is Harry Potter leads to the visions and sleepless nights, and leads to Harry knowing quite a bit--without fully realizing it--of what the Dark Lord is scheming. It interferes with Harry's life because the pains interrupt his sleep, and getting an account, though nor a full one, of what Voldemort is plotting--well, he's got a part of Voldemort's powers, but he also has powers of his own, and a mind of his own, independent of Voldemort.

Ah, anyway, that's a basic springboard to what I mean. I think this could apply to your own writing, as well. Even characters who never meet face-to-face might well affect one another through an object (The One Ring), or through a third person, or even an intermediary, without ever meeting face-to-face. These are the relationships that characterize your novel. You don't need a lot of that to start with (who could keep track?), but a short bit here and there might help your plotting, scheming, planning, and writing--and your characterizations.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The Next One Up Is JaNoWriMo

From The Desk of Liz Ensley:

Janury Novel Writing Month is the next big WriMo coming up. Particulars are on the page. Where it differs from NaNoWriMo is that it allows continuation of previous works. In other words, you can use it to finish your NaNoWriMo. If you want to write over or under 50k, that's also fine, but you're supposed to email one of the administrators for the go-ahead.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

NaNoFiMo, Day Three

From The Desk of Liz Ensley:

I haven't actually started yet, but before I write more than the three or four hundred words I wrote today, I have to write a chapter of a rr original horror fic for theparasitorium, a Yahoo group. I wrote chapter ten, a bunch of people dropped out, and now I have to wrote chapter fourteen. Oh, heck.

Friday, December 01, 2006

NaNoFiMo, Day One:

From The Desk of Liz Ensley:

No writing today. I had to go pay Terror's bookstore bill. Hobbling out, taking buses with the cane and everything, took me six hours with the bus transit and everything. I needed a serious break, so no shopping, that's tomorrow. Writing then. Good night.