Word of our group Tea & Ink has begun to get around and requests are coming in from hopeful new members. Luckily, we still have sufficient seats for everyone. We even Skype in a member now and then.
At the March meeting, we welcomed Natalya Patz, student and author, as our special guest. Although she is only a young teen, she already has three published books to her credit. Natalya chose to speak about how to build a fictional character – and that means inventing characters, not just describing their looks.
We learned about dreaming up character temperaments, skills, likes, dislikes, strengths, weaknesses and even their weirdnesses. To make it easier for us, Natalya encouraged us to consider three basic aspects for each one from “Write! Shoot! Edit!”: a skill; a weakness; and a quirk.
For an activity, to help us absorb the technique, she guided us through a game similar to the game Consequences. We were each given a slip of paper and instructed to invent the name of a character, fold the top of the paper (to hide the name) and pass it to the person beside us. Next, write a skill for the character, fold again, pass again, and add the weakness, fold, pass and then the quirk. Now we had complete character descriptions. After passing the papers around the circle a few times, each of us read out the imaginary, compound character. It was amazing the range of characters we had invented. The game was fun, and we learned a lot, too.
Upon closing, Natalya read a passage from one of her published books, and then treated us to a preview of a work in progress: a high action fantasy adventure that swept us away.
We are all grateful that Natalya came to speak with us to speak about this important part of creative writing. It was delightful of her to share her talents and to be so encouraging to us in our efforts.
Books by Natalya Patz (published by CWC):
- The Dragons of Earth (2014)
- Tyria Trouble (fan fiction, 2015)
- The Magic of Shadow Memories (2016)