Saturday, June 30, 2007

Create a Character

TypingChimp.jpgCreate a Character: You're given several boxes to fill in and it adds some background and personality (determined by Enneagram Personality Type).

Here's an example:
Your Character
Zeni, age 35, is a very perceptive and intellectual person, interested in understanding the world. Most consider him/her a genius, but Zeni knows he/she has a lot to learn. Originally from Willowbrook, Zeni now lives in Fan Hamish to get a tip on the whereabouts of Vengorth and holds a job as a vampire slayer. Zeni is separated from a spouse and has a child. She's rangy, with a scar running down the side of her face."

As a child, Zeni lived among others with incredible skills, perhaps his/her father or mother was a brilliant scientist. Zeni's parents were probably neglectful. As a result, Zeni learned to look to the outside world for answers. Combine this with a more recent loss or disappearance of a loved one, and you get an overwhelming urge to understand and correct some social problem or to eliminate an evil force. Zeni's flaw is the belief that experiences are for learning and not for fun. He/she may not have a lot of fun, but secretly wants to. She wants to defeat Vengorth.
(Their software, Character Pro 5, is a more in depth version.)

Also at Typing Chimp is Character 101.

And articles on character development.
Science of a Good Character.

Simple Motivation--What Would YOU Do?

Define What's Missing.

Relating Character to Story.

Is Your Character an Adult or Child (not age)?

Creating Adult and Child Characters for Juvenile and Adult Fiction

Beginning to Understand Great Dialogue

Fluffing up a Boring Secondary Character

Give Every Character a Theme

What Exactly is a Character Arc?

Finding the Perfect Tragic Past
Top Ten Character Tips.

How to Differentiate Characters.

Using Stress to Reveal Character.

Giving a Minor Character Life.

The Seven Deadly Sins and Character Motivation

And a page about how Enneagrams are used in their character development software. (Which ties in the the post here on Enneagram of Personality)

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Fear of fears

audrey2.jpg Your character has an unusual fear. Choose one of the following and writing about him, her or it for 10-15 minutes.

You could place him in a position where your character is faced with his or her fear (like Indiana Jones and snakes). Or you could convince people that what your character fears should be eliminated from society. Or how your character goes about functioning in life avoiding what they fear without letting other people know they have the fear. Or ...

Fear of flowers.

Fear of air and drafts.

Fear of palindromes.

Fear of stars.

Fear of gravity.

Fear of books. 

Fear of passing a tall building.

Fear of ugliness.

Fear of mirrors.

Fear of snow.

Fear of colours.

Fear of fur.

Fear of chins.

Fear of crossing a bridge.

Fear of vegetables.

Fear of lakes.

Fear of string.

Fear of Mondays.

Fear of large objects.

Fear of small objects.

Fear of clouds

Fear of a specific name.

Fear of fearing.

Fear of tombstones.

Fear of magic or being beaten with rods.

Fear of the number thirteen.

Fear of heaven.

Fear of beautiful women.

Fear of worms.

Fear of jealousy.

There are over 600 fears listed at Phobia Words.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Charming scoundrel

adamandtheants.jpgPlay around with character. Create a charming villain, one that is most cunning, intelligent and handsome, but evil nonetheless. Whether he be murderer, wife beater, robber or some other character, make him as irresistible as you can, with the exception of his one evil habit. Now write a descriptive scene of him doing his worst.

This is from the Writing Sparks creative writing prompts at Once Written.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Squeak quakes

glare.jpg"All the life's wisdom can be found in anagrams. Anagrams never lie." -- Anu Garg

Well I hope the lived/devil anagrams are lying but the Weekly World News keeps reminding us that Elvis indeed lives.

Anu Garg sends out A Word A Day newsletter through He also has the Internet Anagram Server there.

The best anagrams come from phrases and names, like:
Sopranos ends = Snoops snared
Gas prices highest = These piggish cars
Claude Monet, Self Portrait = Coloured paints flatter me
William Shakespeare, The Bard of Avon = He, of silken phrase, at a live drama. Bow.
(There are more at the Anagram Server above and, well, all over the internet!)

But here are some (mostly) one word anagrams. Use each pair in a sentence.
squeak - quakes
ashman - shaman
heroes - reshoe
froth - forth
lived - devil
listen - silent
funeral - real fun
regal - glare
heart - earth
cold - clod
kiss - skis
dog - god
wrong - grown
mashed - shamed
ganged - nagged
mating - taming
wolves - vowels
paging - gaping
thorn - north
Elvis - lives

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Obfuscated polysyllabic philosophies

catbag.jpgTurn the following common proverbs into obfuscated polysyllabic philosophies.

Here's a couple of examples:
Who sums the yet unfractured shells of bipeds gallinaceous
Is apt to find his calculations woefully fallacious.

A futile superfluity of culinary aid
Will mar the gastronomic juice of osseous tissue made.
You don't need to make them rhyme ... but you can if you'd like!
  • A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
  • Beggars can't be choosers.
  • Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
  • Haste makes waste.
  • If you can't beat them, join them.
  • Let the cat out of the bag.
  • Money doesn't grow on trees.
  • Necessity is the mother of invention.
  • Quality is better than quantity.
  • The pen is mightier than the sword.
  • Where there's smoke, there's fire.
  • You can't have your cake and eat it too.
Inspired by the Plethora of Polysyllabic Poetic Proverbs.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Word Imperfect

energizerbunny.jpgAt Word Imperfect everyday the author chooses an obscure word and posts the definition then invites people to make up defintions. There are quite a few participants each day.


A kymograph sounds like an instrument for measuring the sound of high heel shoes on various floor surfaces. It would be used by design engineers to choose the ideal floor surface in places like shopping malls in order to keep noise levels down.
  • Kymograph (v.) To Kymograph is to dance like Kylie Minogue.
  • Kymograph, also Cymograph. A tool used to measure waviness in all things. erived from Greek Mythology as told in the Theogony - a well told poem by Hesiod. Kymo was one of the 50 Nereids who were the daughters of Nereus (The Old Man of the Sea) and Doris (The Daughter of Okeanos who was one of the original Titans. Kymo translates roughly as 'the wavy one' as her hair was so ... well ... wavy.
  • Kymograph (n): device used for measuring the swelling level of pregnant women's ankles. It uses a scale of 1 (not swollen at all) to 200 (about to explode). Example: Mergatroid was shocked to read the kymograph's reading of 199 because in her opinion, her ankles *felt* normal. Then again, she hadn't actually seen her ankles for over two weeks. Ah, well, as they say, Kymographs never lie!
  • Kymograph: Measuring the activity of children. Some are like the Energizer Bunny (keeps on going, and going, and...), couch potatoes (how much time is spent watching TV, playing Nitendo, on the computer, etc.). Many observed a big difference in the kymographs of children at the beginning of summer to the end of summer. Some get restless and bored by the end of summer and some are just as active as usual.
  • Kymograph - an instrument for recording the moment-by-moment stress level of those betting on the Kentucky Derby. Most often used by wives on their husbands to see if they are really telling the truth about not betting on the horses anymore. "Just before Barbaro crossed the finish line, Martin's kymograph reading was off the charts and he knew he'd be sleeping on the couch tonight."


A jobation is a lengthy reprimand. I have a tendency to enter a period of jobation every now and again with my children. However, they soon let me know when I've made my point and the jobation is complete.
  • JOBATION (n): Originating from the story of Job in the Bible; means to bitch and/or moan about your life. An act of JOBBING (v).
  • JOBATION-It originated from the word 'JOB'which means, 'the work done in anticipation of money in return'. I do embroidery as a hobby.. when I change this hobby to a job, that process is called 'Jobation' e.g. I am planning to jobate my hobby of doing embroidery on silks.
  • Jobation: A drink in celebration of a fortuituos turn of events following a season of calamity. "I fancy a jobation, I do. I'm buyin'. Pint o' Guinness. Whadda you boys havin'?"
  • Jobation is the practice, increasingly more common nowadays, of reducing a company's official headcount numbers (thus making them look better in investors' eyes) by laying off permanent employees, and then hiring them back as contractors through temp agencies.


Nonage actually describes being under age, a minor or immature. Quite the opposite of some of today's invented meanings. But that's a good thing in my book.
  • Nonage is your age between the time you were born and your first birth anniversary. So you dont exactly have a number to tell someone when they ask you how old you are. (or you're not old enough to understand the question)
  • Nonage refers to a person with no useful skill sets or academic training, as in "he's a nonage". Derived from the Latin "nonactius" (often used by Julia to describe her grandson Claudius).
  • Nonage is a plug or stopper designed to silence nagging wives. It comes in a larger size for men called a footnage. The kids one is flavoured and called a sucknage.
  • It's what happens when you turn 40 and get tired of getting older so you just stop. I'm a nonagent.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Veggie-Eating Mother has Green Baby

Baby_with_mother.jpgUse one of the following as inspiration for a children's picture book.
  • Veggie-Eating Mother has Green Baby
  • Giant Pigeon Terrorizes New York
  • Saturn is a Giant UFO
  • Dog Gives Birth to Kittens
  • Giant Earthworms Terrorizing Nevada
  • Screaming Houseplant Saved My Life
  • Porcupine Falls Head Over Heels in Love -- With a Broom
  • Plumber goes Down the Toilet
  • Air Force Pilot Reports Seeing Flying Pigs
  • Terror Toads Invading America's Toilets
  • New Beach Peril: Squirrel Fish
  • Obnoxious Kids Drive Ghosts from Haunted House
  • Metal-Eating Bugs Can Chew Through a Car in Just 5 Days
(These were found at Writing Bugs.)

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Meercat with a fear of crickets

meerkat.jpgWhat CAN they do?

This is a random fantasy idea generator. As the author suggests, it's mean as a spark for writing. Try to use as many of the points as possible, but if you head off in another direction, go with it!

Here are some examples to use or go create your own. There are a few typos but the combinations and ideas are quirky and unusual.

Your character is a....
meercat with trouble sleeping and a fear of crickets. Their only goal in life is to destroy the keep! But to do so, they must find the Tattered Rat.


The Black Prince, who is inflicted with an inferiority complex -- has sworn to kill them and take the item. What WILL they do?

What can they do?

Your character is a....
giant with no confidence and a fear of fire. Their only goal in life is to be a parent! But to do so, they must find the Missing Eagle's Feather.


The Mysterious Lump, who is inflicted with corrupt officals -- has sworn to kill them and take the item. What WILL they do?

What can they do?

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Random colorful characters

Legend of Zelda:Twilight PrinceWhen your novel gets to the saggy middle, that's the time to drop in some random colorful characters! This was posted by Fenix on the National Novel Writing Month forums for 2005.
Found some stuff online...

I [Fenix] found a list of possible side stories online, many different sites, decided to put them into categories that I thought would work best:

  • Is on a personal quest for vengeance.
  • Is paranoid and over-protective of the town that cast him out.
  • Cannot stop complaining, and will complain to anyone near them but knows key information hidden among the complaints.
  • Is an outcast in the community for no good reason.
  • has a valuable treasure but does not know who to turn to and trust for the sale
  • Fears being alone because of a recent incident.
  • Is heavily in debt and is fleeing/hiding from creditors.
  • Is a fan (to the point of fanaticism) of a spectator sport of the time (jousting, cockfighting, bearbaiting, whatever) and has gotten into gambling/stalking trouble.
  • Fears he's being watched and is looking for someone who he can trust to recover a valuable object buried nearby
  • NPC has invented a new piece of equipment and is looking for a test subject.
  • Wants PCs to 'lend' him the main plot item after they retrieve it, before they hand it over to the main plot instigator. The motivation could be pure (i.e. item needed to lift a deadly curse) or nefarious (i.e. item used to raise an army of undead).
  • Sells rare and unusual spells.
  • Sells magical equipment that looks fake or non-magical.
  • Has a craving for rare herbs and spices that unknown to the PCs are used to create a powerful narcotic.
  • NPC is a merchant looking to open trade with other races and spot a non-human PC.
  • Is looking for a business partner.
  • Is a pacifist who tries to convert the party to the ways of non-violence.
  • Wants the PCs to promote her business by wearing or using her product prominently whenever possible (fashionable cloaks, very tasty trail rations, a specific musical instrument, etc.).
  • Is an artist trying to sell his works.
  • Is collecting parlor games from across the lands.
  • Acts as a local guide to the PCs.
  • Desperately needs an item only available through the Black Market.
  • Acts as a representative for the Black Market.
  • Sells rice cakes with magic rings inside.
  • Is a wandering amateur chef looking for new recipes and ingredients.
  • Is a pacifist who tries to convert the party to the ways of non-violence.
  • Is a writer trying to sell his works.
  • Tries to pass off lousy equipment as magical.
Wanted man:
  • Is in disguise (for reasons real or imaginary).
  • Has had an operation to change his/her race, but still manifests cultural mannerisms of his/her original race.
  • Is an outcast for forgotten crimes
  • A 'wanted man' sought by a particular non-human good race (i.e. Elves, Halflings, Dwarves, etc.) for some past misdeed or misunderstanding.
  • Has a racial enemy or is banned from racially dominant areas.
  • Is deadly terrified of shadows. He'll only meet with the PCs in places completely devoid of shadows.
  • Was recently injured in a random attack and seeks his attackers for revenge.
  • Is a vigilante who kills in cold blood convinced that the ends (i.e. eliminating a criminal element) justify the means (using excessive force, killing hostages, etc.).
  • Has been falsely accused and has just posted bail and is now looking for proof of his innocence.
  • Is trying to ditch the city guards, who are chasing him for a minor crime.
  • Is a skilled amateur gambler looking to break into the pros or find the 'big game'.
  • Greedy -- always demands first dibs and/or larger shares when dividing treasure troves based on exaggerated contributions to the party's success.
Secretive guy:
  • Has been given a task by his boss and his boss would punish him if it was known he was 'wasting time' with the PCs.
  • Wants the PCs to 'accidentally retrieve' an item while they are investigating clues.
  • Is searching for a lost family heirloom -- the heirloom may not have any value other than sentiment.
  • Is on a secret military mission.
  • Is a worshipper of a death god(dess) or a necromancer who wishes to serve as a mortician of the city but needs documents proving his/her good intentions/standing.
  • Is secretly recruiting for the military or a special guild.
  • Knows of 'lots of great adventures' that are, unfortunately, all dead ends.
  • Is quiet, brooding, and short tempered due to medical problems.
  • Is an informant for the local thieves' guild with nothing to report and is ready to make something up.
  • Is tainted in some way and tries at all costs to keep the taint a secret.
  • Is a failed adventurer with much emotional baggage who seeks to sabotage other adventurers.
  • Is a binge drinker who tends to get in trouble due to violent, drunken bouts.
  • Is trying to find out how to join a certain secret cult.Is a failed adventurer with much emotional baggage who seeks to sabotage other adventurers.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Three for one offer

turkeys.jpgAn ad for a new book says: "What if you had to kill three people to save your best friend's life, would you do it?"

What if?

What if it were a god asking for the sacrifice of three to save one?

What if your friend were a vampire in need of nourishment?

What if your friend needed the body parts of the victims?

What if it were three demons?

What if it were three turkeys?

What if it were three sentient androids?

What if it were a crazed kidnapper trying to see how far he could push you to act?

What if it were three world leaders the kidnapper was opposed to?

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Cats and snakes

snakecate.jpgDescribe a cat fight (with another cat, with its prey, with an attacker) in snake terms. Try to work in as many terms you'd use to describe snake appearance, behavior, attitude into the description.

(Feel free to substitute other creatures but make one of the animals familiar.)

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Myth brainstorming machine

mythmachine.jpgAt Scholastic is a Myth brainstorming machine.

(If you're on dialup it may take a while to load. Unfortunately it doesn't look like it's loading, just sitting there with a yellow and purple screen, so you'll need to be patient!)

There are several settings, gods/goddesses and monsters to choose from, and some special effects to change the time and mood. At the end you have a picture and a word version of the picture (names, mood, personality, ...) (Note, you can click on "Effect" on both the Idea Drawing and Idea Outline.)

Pretty nifty!

To expand on that, in the Writing with Writers section, there are Myth making ideas from Jane Yolen:
A myth is a made-up story that explains the existence of a natural phenomenon — such as where thunder comes from or why snow falls from the sky. Myths — which often include gods and goddesses and other supernatural characters who have the power to make extraordinary things happen — are popular even when people know the actual reasons for natural phenomena.
There is a myth of her own there, plus "Brainstorming", "Write Your Myth" and "Publish Online".

At Scholastic there are several Writing with Writers series:
  • Biography Writing
  • Descriptive Writing
  • Folktale Writing
  • Mystery Writing
  • Myth Writing
  • News Writing
  • Poetry Writing
  • Speech Writing
  • Writing a Book Review

Friday, June 01, 2007

Top 10 tabloid headlines for June 2007

WWN-arnold_alien_wwn.gifTop Ten Tabloid Headlines from JUNE 2005