Character Development

Character Development

A challenge in writing..

by Thomas Stephan on Unsplash

If you’re a writer, then you’ll be very familiar with the idea of character development. It’s drummed into us as one of the most important things. Without character, we don’t really have a novel, or a short story, or a piece of writing, in general. I mean, I know that we can have plot — driven stories, but without characters, we don’t really give the reader anyone to identify with, or root for.

But it’s not as simple as having a character. Anyone can invent a character, but as writers, we are expected to inject an entire personality into that character’s mind. We need to be creating characters who are realistic. They need to have flaws, and foibles. They need to have strengths and quirks. They need to be developed almost as much as we are, as human beings.

The thing is, it’s not always easy to develop a character. Sometimes, as a writer, we may have ideas of where we want the story to go, and we might try and shape the character in the aim of moving the story forward, but in reality, it doesn’t always work out as simply and neatly as that.

At least, it doesn’t for me… if it does for you, please share your secret ;). I have been having a series of minor disagreements with my main character for about the last week and a half. We’ve been plodding on with the story, but it’s been hard going as I try and write words, which she then informs me are incorrect. So I go back and try to say things in a way that is acceptable to her, which, in turn takes away from the story that I planned to write.

In the end, I guess what I’m saying is that it comes down to compromise. We reached a stale mate, and whichever way one of us moved, the other mirrored, and we seemed to be locking horns in a never ending battle.

So, yesterday, I sat down, and basically tried to push my views to the side, to allow her to tell me hers. I know all of this sounds crazy, but it’s worked, and I’ve written more so far today, than I have in over a week, so I’m chalking that up as a success.


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.

Offence

Offence

And why we’re so quick to take it.

by Dollar Gill on Unsplash

Lately in Church, the Pastor has been doing a sermon series about being truly unoffendable. It’s a really good series, and I would encourage you to check out the podcast at http://abclife.org/listenonline/

The thing is, it’s made me think an awful lot. There are so many things that we can find to take offence at nowadays. Sometimes I think it could almost be made a competitive sport. People choose to be offended, often by the smallest things. We take people’s opinions to heart; we make judgements on what people say, we just can’t seem to help ourselves, and rather than just agreeing to live and let live, we get offended.

This can often lead to massive disagreements, even within families, where these can cause rifts, and years being lost to family feuds. We’ve become a nation of keyboard warriors, where it’s okay to say anything online, and yet, if anyone dared to say some of the things we post online to our faces, we would become very deeply offended.

The fact is, sometimes, we really need to look at what we post online, and assess whether we would say it to someone’s face, because if we wouldn’t, then, really.. we shouldn’t be posting it online.

I absolutely hate the title of ‘snowflake’, but in some ways (although it has been massively misappropriated), it is true. We have become a society where we masquerade as ‘snowflakes’, whiter than white; not saying aloud, half of the black, festering things that we think, because if we don’t speak them, then they’re not real.

So, I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m going to try and make sure that anything I say online from now on, is also something I would say aloud “in real life”. I know that there are some times when this won’t be possible, but for the most part, I guess what I’m trying to say is that I aim to be the most authentic version of myself that I can be, both online, and offline.


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.

Desensitised

Desensitised

Are we becoming people who just say the ‘right’ thing, rather than actually feeling it?

by Thabang Mokoena on Unsplash

(You may not like what you’re about to read, but they are my views. My opinions. And as this is my blog, I ask that you respect my right to express my views on here. Any abusive comments will be removed).

There are so many people nowadays who hold positions of power over other people. A lot of these people are truly trustworthy, upstanding and exemplary people, who have every right to be in such a position of trust.

However, there are some people who take their positions and abuse them; using their assumed authority to act in a way that is neither responsible, nor ethical.

The news is filled with such stories. We hear and read about them every day, to the point where, I’m sure, they don’t actually impact us in the way that they should do.

How many times have we heard of another natural disaster taking hundreds, if not thousands of lives, and we say “Oh, that’s terrible”; playing lip service to someone else’s tragedy without really connecting with what is happening.

We have become so desensitised to these things that they don’t really touch us any more, and it is only when something truly horrific happens, that we are able to really connect with it.

Take, for example, the situation in the US that began a few months ago, where children were ripped from their parents’ arms at the border and placed into detention camps, while their parents were arrested.

There was shock, outcry and horror on all social media platforms, but did it really hit any of us as it should have? Or was it just another tragedy that we noted, before moving on.

I’m ashamed to admit, that I was one of those people. I felt angry, and sad, yes, but when it came down to it, my life moved on, and in that moving on, the thought of those children was pushed to the back of my mind.

That was until one of the most recent episodes of Law & Order Special Victims Unit, very bravely tackled this exact storyline. Seeing the pain, trauma, and anxiety on the faces of those brave actors that played the mother and daughter, separated for months, truly broke me.

The truth is that it is the individual stories that actually reach us. The looks on those actors’ faces will stay with me for a long time to come, and I am determined, that each time I remember them, I will remember all of those real life families, torn apart.

I absolutely despise the Trump administration for allowing, and enabling this to happen. Donald Trump is no more than a man child playing at a grown ups’ game, with no vision past his immediate wants and needs. He is quite clearly completely controlled by his ‘Id’, and really shouldn’t be in any position of power at all.

So, to the families that I brushed off as “just another sad news story”, I’m sorry. To the writers and actors of SVU, thank you.

Please, let’s become a people where we see the individual people behind the stories, and not just the larger picture, which pales in comparison to the plight of real people, dealing with real problems.


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.

Thinking Thoughts…

Thinking thoughts…

When your mind won’t shut up!

by Bekir Dönmez on Unsplash

I’m nursing a particularly bad TMJD flare up this afternoon. My teeth hurt. My face hurts. My head hurts. My ears hurt. My neck hurts. I’ve taken all the painkillers I’m allowed to without overdosing myself, and it’s making hardly any difference.

Added to that, my badly behaved brain keeps thinking about things; a never ending, spinning vortex of thoughts that seem to have no answer and no solution.

Thoughts about the future. Thoughts about this next week. Thoughts about all the things I need to do. Thoughts about writing. Thoughts about crafting. Thoughts about arting. So. Many. Thoughts.

None of them make sense in my pained state. The best I can hope for is an Alice inspired “as little nonsense as possible”. I love Alice in Wonderland for the craziness. Let’s face it, as crazy as your day is, you can always turn to Alice and know that your life is most definitely less crazy than hers. At least that’s what I do. I think if I didn’t, I’d possibly go completely mad.

This last week has held a lot of thoughtfulness and contemplation for me. Actually realising that I got through and survived this last year was actually a huge shock for me. It wasn’t expected. To be honest, there were more times than I can count where I thought that the grief would kill me.

Now, I’m looking to the future; at the beginning of my second year without her, and part of me is consumed with crippling guilt at the thought of moving on, and part of me knows that it’s the right thing to do. I can’t just press the pause button on my life forever more. I have to move on, no matter how hard that is to do.


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.

She

She

is not defined by her past…

by Zohre Nemati on Unsplash

Yesterday I went to the first meeting of “She”, the women’s ministry that my church is launching. I was very nervous about going, as it is the first time in almost three years that I have been able to attend without having any specific ‘job’ to do in the service.

The thing is, I like having a job to do, because it gives me less time to think over things and to over think things, and not having that worried me. Anyway, I went there, and tried to keep an open mind, determined to enjoy my night off. We started with worship, which was amazing! And then a game of handbag bingo, before the word.

The word, or sermon, if you want to get strict about it, was called “Another Brick In The Wall”, and was largely talking about how we, as women see ourselves. The speaker talked about how women tend to take everything upon themselves. They think that anything that happens is their fault, and tend to take the responsibility of the world on their shoulders. They allow the words of others, spoken over them and their lives, to begin to build up a wall around them, and if they’re not careful, this wall can get so tall that it traps them.

We also don’t help ourselves at times, because there are words that we speak over our own lives. Ones like weak, broken, ugly, and failure, when what we should be doing is speaking words like strong, powerful, loved, beautiful, clever, talented.

We often allow our past to creep into the present and define us in a way that it really shouldn’t. We take on things that have happened; words; emotions; feelings… all these things can work together to truly break us.

At the end of the word, the speaker gave out post it notes and encouraged us to write some of the words that we speak over ourselves, and then come out and stick them to a ‘wall’ at the front. The sight of fifty-plus women, all writing their own bricks, and placing them on the wall, where they were vulnerable, and there for all to see was an immense experience.

I wrote words last night, too. I won’t put them here, but know that they were just as bad; just as damning as the ones written further up on this post.

Then, as the worship team played and sang, the speaker walked over to the wall and tore it down; ripping it to shreds in a symbolic gesture that these words are lies, and that they do not define us.

It was truly an amazing night. Tears; many tears, were shed, and the sight of all of these women coming together was so powerful.

We need more of this in the world. Women, you are loved, and you are enough. No matter what you feel, please remember that you are doing the best that you can, right now, and that best is enough.

What are some of the bricks in your walls? If you want to, drop them in the comments, and imagine that you’re tearing your own wall down, because you don’t have to hide behind it.


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.

Guilty Pleasures

Guilty Pleasures

And why they’re stupid!

by Kristina Flour on Unsplash

So many times in society, we hear people say that they have a “Guilty pleasure”, and every time I hear this, I want to smack the person saying it. I don’t understand what it is with people that they feel they can’t express their likes openly without trying to put those likes down.

How many times have you said that you like something and then sort of laughed it off, saying that it’s your guilty pleasure? When did life become about only liking what is currently in.

I hate this attitude. It happens with movies; tv; games… pretty much anything you can think of. The fact is, if you like it, then you like it, and that’s all there is to it. People can try and tell you that you shouldn’t like something, but if you do, then that’s okay and if your friends disagree, then maybe you need to re-evaluate your friendships.

I’ve been through the motions of hiding the music and tv that I like, and you know what? It made me miserable. So now, if someone asks me what music I like, I tell them (and believe me, it’s an extremely eclectic mix, ranging from Britney Spears to Linkin Park, to Hillsong Worship, and everywhere in between) and you know what? I don’t care if they think the music I listen to is rubbish. The fact is that I like it, and I am going to carry on listening to it, and the people who might be tempted to cringe can like it or lump it!

Of course, it goes the other way, too, where you get the people who will listen to something and rave about it until it becomes ‘mainstream’, and then put it down and say that it’s rubbish, even though they actually like it. That seems crazy to me.

People, if you like something, then like it! Don’t feel like you have to hide it. I mean, sure, there are going to be people who judge you, but if they’re going to judge you, are they really people that you want to be associating with?


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.

Writer’s Block

Writer’s Block

When your characters go off piste..

by Steve Johnson on Unsplash

I’ve been struggling with writing lately. I have my story all planned out: this perfect road map of where the story needs to go, which is great and all, but what happens when your characters decide that they don’t want to follow the road you’ve mapped out for them.

I’ve spent the last few days cursing Joey for throwing me this curveball, and it really put a block on my writing for a couple of days, but today I finally sat down and thrashed it out with her, and I was able to come to an agreement and move the chapter forward.

The thing is, that sometimes this happens. You get in a funk. Your character gets in a funk. Sometimes all you need is a little distance.

I’m not saying that writer’s block is an excuse for you not to write. If you’re a serious writer, then writer’s block isn’t something that you can allow into your mind.

What I am saying is that sometimes putting the actual writing part of writing to the side for a day or two while you think it out and negotiate with your characters is not necessarily a bad thing…


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.

In Autumn

In Autumn

A Poem

by Veliko Karachiviev on Unsplash

Leaves fall from trees,

Floating on the breeze,

They glitter in the sun,

Seem to be having so much fun…

Sun’s rays shine through trees

Warm upon my skin,

As I tip toe ‘cross the leaves,

Watch at Autumn’s begin…


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.

Looking Forward

Looking Forward

A time for everything…

by Alain d’Alché on Unsplash

Yesterday was very much a day for looking back. I needed to think on what happened over the last year, and get it out of me and on to the page. Sometimes we need that, and we need to learn that that’s okay.

Today, however, I am choosing to look forward. She wouldn’t want me to be living with one foot permanently stuck in the past. She would want me to go on and to live. I fully believe that she’s still with me, watching over me, and that all the while that I’m moving forward, it means that she is, too.

In this next year, I have a number of goals. I want to have finished the first novel in the QuickSilver Chronicles, and to have begun the second. I want to be at least half way through my Illustration and Photography diplomas, and I’d like to have worked up to Module five in my writing course.

There are some days when these goals will seem too steep for me, and I think, on those days, I will probably have to just do the bare minimum (because that’s how it is with depression and anxiety), but the fact is always, that tomorrow is coming; and tomorrow is another day. A new start.

Things have already gone differently to how I’d expected them to, but I’m learning to just trust. There’s a reason why some things don’t work out, and sometimes that reason is because we’re not ready, and we just need to wait a little.

I’m also going to be continuing with my Pet Pawtraits (if you want one, please hit a sister up 😉 and I’ll be happy to answer any of your queries), and fairy doors, and other creative endeavours.

This year, I want to focus on positive, creative things that might make this world just a little brighter, because we really need that.


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.

Missing You…

Missing you…

One Year On..

My sister, and my best friend.

This is going to be an extremely personal post. I make no apologies for this. Sometimes, there are days when you need to just write what’s on your heart.

One year ago today, my life was ripped apart, when I found my sister and best friend, in her bed, having passed away. That day will be forever imprinted on my mind as one of the worst days of my life. I felt like my heart was literally breaking.

I did all the things I was supposed to do; calling the ambulance, and filling in all the paperwork; the notifications to friends and family; calling the funeral directors. That day, it felt like everyone wanted a piece of me, and all I wanted was to curl in on myself and hide away and never come out. I watched as the police were called and the house was declared a crime scene. We were asked to leave while they decided that there weren’t actually any suspicious circumstances.

I kept thinking that this had to be some kind of crazy nightmare and all I needed was to wake up, but this nightmare wouldn’t end. Seeing the coroner’s report; planning the funeral; organising the financial affairs, and executing the will.

She had a plain wood coffin with no lacquer and we decorated it with photos, and messages from her friends and family. My Mum painted wild flowers all around it, and I used pyrography to put the details into it.

The day of the funeral passed in a bit of a blur. I stood up and gave my tribute. I don’t know how I got through it. I honestly don’t. I certainly don’t know how I got through it without my usual coping mechanism.

After the funeral, life sort of just goes on. People go back to their own lives, and I was left with all of the grief and all of the pain, and no idea of what to do with it. I finished up the business affairs, and got through Christmas and New Year, only to be confronted by the news that an inquest had been called. I had to give a statement to the police. Four hours later, and emotionally exhausted, I was done. Then all I could do was wait for the date of the inquest.

When that day came, I was terrified. I think I spent most of the day in a daze. I was called to give evidence under oath, before the coroner finally gave a verdict of accidental death.

I was finally able to collect her official death certificates two days before my birthday.

I miss her every day. I remember things; stupid things, and I wonder if there was something that I could have done differently; if there was something I could have done to save her.

The pain of missing her is so intense and acute, and sometimes I wonder if it will ever stop, or whether it might eventually kill me, but then I realise that I have to carry on. I have to live for us both now. I have to do all the things we were going to do.

I so wish that I could have saved her. The only thing I can hope is that she is now at peace. She never truly was during her life, but I have to believe that she is now happy, even if that means not having her here with me.

So, Kiri, one year on, I just want to say that I love you. I miss you. There won’t be a day that goes by when I don’t think of you, and that I really hope that you’re pain free and at peace now.

No more pain. No more hurting. No more trauma.

Just joy. Lots of laughter. And plenty of love.


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.