Wednesday, October 19, 2016

How Hogwarts Houses Help You Know Your Characters Better

Characters are my absolute favorite thing about writing. Naming them, coming up with what they look like, their personalities, and writing their backstories is all great. I love it, but my favorite part is when they spring to life on the page and disregard everything I have written in my outline.

Even when I love coming up with characters, I get stuck on getting to know them on a deep level. I’ve tried character interviews before, but they have to stay in character and most of mine wouldn’t answer blunt questions. A great way, I learned, to get to know characters better is to take quizzes from their perspective. Specifically Hogwarts House quizzes from J.K. Rowling’s fantastic Harry Potter series.
Image result for hogwarts logo
How Hogwarts Houses Help You Know Your Characters Better

Your Results
At the end of the quiz, your character will be sorted into one of the four houses: Gryffindor (values bravery and chivalry), Ravenclaw (values intellect and wit), Hufflepuff (values hard work and loyalty), or Slytherin (values ambition and cunning, which does not necessarily mean evil). Being sorted into a Hogwarts House shows what your character’s core values are. One of my main characters in my fantasy WIP is a Hufflepuff because loyalty is important to her.

The Questions
Okay, this really depends on what quiz you take. I personally try to find one like the official Pottermore sorting hat quiz that has vague questions so you don’t really know which answer goes with which house. Questions like “You enter an enchanted garden. What would you be most curious to examine first?” can bring insight into what piques your character’s interest.

It Opens a Whole New Door of Wizarding World Related Questions
After knowing my character’s Hogwarts House, I usually wonder what they would be like if they lived in the Wizarding World. What class would they like best? Would they play Quidditch? What would their boggart be? Their patronus? What would they see in the Mirror of Erised? Asking yourself even more questions about your characters helps you know more about their interests, fears, and desires.
Links to Hogwarts Quizzes

Sunday, October 9, 2016

How It All Began

I’ve always loved stories. Listening to them, reading them, and now writing them. Although there was a time in the dark years of tweenhood where I hated everything- including stories. So I’ve almost always loved stories. I did when I was little. I love them even more now.

When I was little, I used to play out stories with my Barbie dolls. They were cheesy. They often involved relationship drama that I knew nothing about. Most of them were basically Barbie, who was usually a princess living in modern day, being in the center of a love triangle between Ken and another Ken doll who I called Ryan. Barbie always chose Ken right away because he was everything a good Prince Charming should be, while Ryan was always despicable from the start.

I got too old for Barbie, Ken, Ryan, and Barbie’s friends when I was ten. They were put in a tote and put in the storage part of my basement, someday to be played with again, but not for a long, long, time. After an “I hate everything stage” I decided I needed something to do with the ideas still floating around in my head.

That’s when I started writing stories.  

Like most of the Barbie stories, the ones I wrote in my spiral notebook that was supposed to be used for school, these stories were about cheesy relationships in both modern and fantasy settings. They also had hordes of grammar errors that anyone would cringe at. I cringed so much reading them that I ended up throwing them into the garbage. 

Even though I wrote stories cheesier than macaroni and cheese covered in a twelve-cheese cheese sauce and the occasional prompt-based story for school, I wasn’t really interested in writing until my friends were. It was a phase most of them went through that I was still stuck in. I was part of a writing club one summer- and loved it. Loved spending time with my friends, creating fantasy characters, discussing writing, actually writing, and seeing my not-so-secret crush every week. I learned a lot just over that summer. The best part was I enjoyed it.

I had an entire binder full of character profiles after that. Then I lost it. When I found it again, I started making dialogues, more character profiles, and a fantasy world.

Then I started writing.