Tag: story development

Embarking On Vree’s New Journey

I am preparing to write stories about Vree Erickson and her friend Lenny Stevens again. Lenny is a character I created 48 years ago. Vree soon followed. The above statement makes it seem like I have written for a long time. I have not. I spent most of that time painting and creating art. Even

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Recap and What’s Ahead

2018 is a year of do-overs for my Ridgewood characters and their stories. Forget everything about them. Forget all of it. This is the year that began with a blank slate—a book of blank paper where anything is possible. Like many writers, there are times when I dread starting the blank paper because, well, if

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Merging Similar Characters

Changes, Part 6 During a break from writing, I continue discussing the changes I have made to my Ridgewood characters. Sometimes it is necessary for authors to reduce the number of characters entering and exiting their story’s scenes. This is a good time to look for characters with similar personalities. If two characters have similar

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Julie

Changes, Part 5 Today is my birthday. I find it fitting to feature a character I created on my birthday many years ago when I was a teenager. Julianna “Julie” Michelle Douglas, 13 In the beginning, I named her Lucinda after an older sister I almost had. She was big sister to Kenny (named Lenny

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Vree

Changes, Part 4 Verawenda “Vree” Renee Erickson, 13 Upon her creation in the 1970s, Verawenda Erickson was the same age as my other teen characters. She was an only child, nicknamed Vree, and lived with her parents down the road from Dave and Amy. Years later, when I decided to write about Vree again, I

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Amy

Changes, Part 3 Another change (and more to come) to strengthen my characters. Amy Elizabeth Conrad, 15 As a teenage male in the 1970s, the hardest part of writing was understanding my female characters. I had plenty of girl cousins to study, but I grew up in a household of six males and one female,

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Kenny

Changes, Part 2 Another change (and more to come), which I feel is necessary to strengthen my characters, is my old buddy, Lenny Stevens with a new name and personality. Kenneth “Kenny” Jeffrey Douglas, 15 He, as Lenny Stevens, is the second person I created. He buddied with Dave Evans (now, Dave Conrad) in high

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Into the New

Changes, Part 1 January has been a month of stepping back and observing the past, seeing what I can take with me into the new year and what to leave behind. As an artist and writer, it is also a time when I look at the parts of my art and writing I can change

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New Ridgewood, 2

Wherever Vree was, she could not see much, just gray darkness similar to the warm and safe kind beneath her blankets when she and Zoey used them for tents in her bedroom. But she was not beneath her blankets. The grayness was infinite here, wherever here was, and she floated and rolled and swam in

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New Ridgewood, 1

Ridgewood continues to change. The same goes for her characters. After all, real-life 2017 is a bizarre, stranger time than 1970 when I began creating the place and her residents. And no matter how fictional they are, they need an essence of reality to make them current and believable. I have told Vree Erickson’s story

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Get On With Telling More Stories

Hi. Lenny Stevens here. You may remember me from my last post, Help A Guy Out. I think Steve Campbell is making a mistake rewriting the Margga’s Curse story so that Vree Erickson’s parts are in first person point of view—aka 1p POV. He’s trying to be trendy because many young adult books today are

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Developing Characters and Story, Part 4

My Psychic Abilities, by Vree Erickson A girl with psychic abilities is sometimes called a witch or sorceress. I am neither. I do not practice witchcraft or sorcery, though I do have a book that contains magic spells … when the book reveals them to me. Lightning struck me and unlocked psychic abilities in me.

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Developing Characters and Story, Part 3

My Friends and Neighbors on Myers Ridge (So Far), by Vree Erickson Leonard “Lenny” Stevens Lenny is my age—15, born July 5, a day that was known as Margga’s Curse because of a witch’s spirit that tried to kill his family on that day every year. Lenny works helping my maternal grandfather Jack Lybrook fix

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Developing Characters and Story, Part 2

The Magic in Me, by Vree Erickson My Family Tree Joseph and Hendrika Groot (my maternal great-great-great-great-great-grandparents); begat 2 children. Their daughter Mina Groot (my great-great-great-great-grandmother), married Baltisar Andersson; they begat 7 children. Their daughter Ruth Andersson (my great-great-great-grandmother), married Jonathan Kaufmann; they begat 2 sons. Their youngest son Joseph Kaufmann (my great-great-grandfather), married Helen

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Developing Characters and Story, Part 1

Sketches and Anecdotes About Me, by Vree Erickson My Origins and Family My name is Verawenda Renée Erickson. I have straight, shoulder length blonde hair that I usually part in the middle. Mom won’t let me get a pixie cut like hers, though I’d really like short hair so it’d be easier to dry when

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Backstory of Margga’s Curse

My last blog post dealt with changing the title of my e-novel Night of the Hellhounds to Margga’s Curse. As I said, the novel began forty-some years ago as a short story called “Ghost Dogs.” I was in high school and enjoyed writing fiction from the perspective of two teenage male protagonists, Lenny Stevens and

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My New Heroine Sketch

Yesterday I wrote about creating characters, putting them on the story stage, and watching them act. In that post, I included a watercolor sketch of my current main character, Vree Erickson. Today, I drew a different sketch of her with a pair of HB and 2B pencils. While I drew, I studied her facial features

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Dealing With Characters

During a bout with the flu in January, I began constructing the story outline for Verawenda Erickson’s next story. I saw her with both new characters and old ones—the latter familiar to me. The new ones were sketches, barely walking and talking those two months ago. Some didn’t have names. I put them together and

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Another Story Revelation

Here is an unedited chapter of my novel, Night of the Hellhounds. Enjoy. Vree was glad the blueberry patch was behind the house and not far from the back door. Even though the day was sunny and birds sang merrily and flew across the kind of sky summers are famous for, she had read that

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A Possible Book Cover

Happy Fourth of July time of year to my American readers! I’m making a quick touchdown here before I zoom off again into my active imagination. If you follow me at Facebook (sorry Google+ fans—I have been absent there for a while), you know I spent a full day (right up to midnight) last week

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Looking Forward to Autumn

People who are in direct contact with me know that I am busy planning a special 2014 re-release of my e-novel, Night of the Hellhounds. “Night of the Hellhounds” began more than 30 years ago and has gone through various rewrites because the story continued to talk to me, especially when I was trying to

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Ridgewood Revisited, Part 4

The Quest Around us in air, water, land and fire, there are realms that for the most part go unseen by many. These strange and fascinating worlds exist beyond the fabric of our periphery, dwelling within the wilds of every race and culture, and revealed by the greatest unknown, to them with minds utterly open.

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Ridgewood Revisited, Part 3

Revealing the Dragon The beautiful and single Lisa Franklin revealed to him that she was merely a Sunday painter. Still, he gushed uncontrollably about art and favorite artists. Somehow, he managed to impress her enough to exchange deliberations about society’s perception of artists in the twenty-first century. Spinning merry fancy inside his overactive mind, he

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Ridgewood Revisited, Part 2

Revealing the Dragon They had met in August at Ridgewood High School while he was preparing the art room for another year of teaching. She was the new English teacher and had been touring the maze-like building with an entourage from the welcoming committee when she walked into his room and sent him back to

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Ridgewood Revisited, Part 1

It has been a month since my last post, so I am breaking my silence to let you know that I’m returning to Ridgewood to look around and try to catch glimpses of things missed during my last visit, which I reported here in 2011 and 2012. There may be some retelling of past events,

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Vanishing, Chapter 3

Author’s Note: Vanishing is an alternate version of Kismet, a story now available at Amazon. I tried to get the attention of book publishers with this and the two earlier chapters. I never had any takers, but I never gave up on the story. Heat had blanketed David when a bolt of lightning struck the

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Vanishing, Chapter 2

Author’s Note: Vanishing is an alternate version of Kismet, a story now available at Amazon. I tried to get the attention of book publishers with this and the previous chapter (along with a third chapter, which I will post in the next few days). I never had any takers, but I never gave up on

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Vanishing, Chapter 1

Author’s Note: Vanishing is an alternate version of Kismet, a story now available at Amazon. I tried to get the attention of book publishers with this chapter (along with two more chapters, which I will post in the next few days). I never had any takers, but I never gave up on the story. “Don’t

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Sinkholes

My fictional Myers Ridge has sinkholes. Oh my.   Since childhood, I have been fascinated with sinkholes, the idea of bottomless pits, and traveling in time. My stories touch on these fascinations, along with lightning strikes, the wonders of electricity, the mysteries of crystal rocks, and the uncharted powers of the human mind. My stories

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A Deleted WIP Excerpt

I do not usually share deleted parts of published works, but I had a lot of fun today reading this again. Deleted from Night of the Hellhounds, © Steven L. Campbell. Lenny Stevens had seen Vree Erickson follow/chase after the green fog to a section of woods behind Mr. Evans’s barn. [WHY?] He entered the woods

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The Ridgewood Story, 26

The first childhood characters to crawl from my mind were Morty Twitchel (whose only appearance was brief and at the beginning of my Ridgewood tales) and Ademia Savakis. Now grown up, Mort meets Ademia, an unidentified woman in the story who now possesses magical power, from which he discovers there’s a devilish price to pay

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The Ridgewood Story, 25

Ridgewood, 1999: After my navy discharge I married and settled down to raise a family. Factories were leaving the country and jobs offering good wages were hard to find. I enrolled at college in 1986 and majored in art for four years. Along the way I wrote a few short stories for English classes; none

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The Ridgewood Story, 24

Starting Over, 1973-1975: The days of Creative Writing classes were over. Worse, I had lost my two best friends—the real-life models of my Lenny character. One had dropped out of school during our tenth grade year after a long illness; the other had turned to drugs, axing our friendship and banding together with a handful

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The Ridgewood Story, 23

The Pink Fairy. Five. Inside the hole, the air changed to a miserable chill that slid around me like a thousand icy knives moments before they stabbed into my body. Dim green light from crystals along the walls revealed a boxy chamber no bigger than my bedroom. Dave’s fall had been short, but far enough

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The Ridgewood Story, 22

The Pink Fairy. Four. Lisa caught up to where Dave stood and she saw that the house was gone. “How?” She looked at the empty lot that was now a large hole where the cellar had been. “I don’t know,” Dave said. He sounded stunned. “I—I really don’t know.” Lisa bit her bottom lip. After

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The Ridgewood Story, 21

The Pink Fairy. Three. “Maybe it’s your brother,” Dave said. The person who entered the hall was not Matthew Kendall, but he was another teenage boy. He was short and stocky, and with black hair cut close to his head. He had on a gray-blue T-shirt, black jeans and black and white tennis shoes. He

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Tell Us, Show Us, When and Where

Telling is narrative summary—no specific setting, characters, or dialogue—written by you, the author, because you know the story and its scenes and characters, so you end up telling us your story by communicating facts. • The bad guys shot out the tires on the good guys’ SUV. • Clarion was a mean warrior. • Anna

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The Ridgewood Story, 20

The Pink Fairy. Two. Inside the woods, the air cooled even more. Lisa pulled the damp towel around her. The path they were on was well trodden and it went past dense undergrowth and bushes and wound around curves made by hillocks and tangles of vines and thorny horse brier growths that sometimes seemed to

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The Ridgewood Story, 19

The Pink Fairy. One. Matthew Kendall fell to his oars to control the rocking boat. His sister had jumped overboard and was swimming to shore. Once the rocking stopped, he rowed to shore. Lisa was talking to a boy who appeared no older than them, though Lisa was fifteen months younger than Matthew’s sixteen years.

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The Ridgewood Story, 18

Margaret “Peggy” Louise (Garrett) Evans: Peggy Evans was 50 when Dave and Amy were born in 1957. She had deep blue eyes, red hair becoming gray, and was 5’ 4” when I met her. She had a lean physique and a pale complexion, and she was often smartly dressed in colorful dresses. Peggy was born

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The Ridgewood Story, 17

Changes, 1972–1973: The leap into the light took me home, back to my desk and typewriter inside my bedroom. I returned to the sinkhole right away, but the light was gone. I quit going on lengthy visits to Ridgewood after the police began investigating. To my knowledge, no one told the investigators how Vree had

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The Ridgewood Story, 16

Changing the Future. Four. Suppose lightning struck a place seventy years ago. And let’s say lightning struck the same place today. Would that create a time tunnel? “Believe in things much greater and far more mysterious than we can explain,” Nancy Pennwater Stephenson told me after she came from the house with Dave and Lenny

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The Ridgewood Story, 15

Changing the Future. Three. The next day, Dave’s two-person tent was up behind his dad’s place on Myers Ridge. He and Lenny were inside the house. Vree and I sat inside his tent where I shivered from the unseasonal fifty-degree weather despite a rich July sunshine that hurt my eyes as it glared off Mr.

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The Ridgewood Story, 14

Changing the Future. Two. I hoped the crowd didn’t notice I looked more nervous than usual when I took the stage and played the rhythm guitar intro to ARC’s first number, a cue to the band to take the stage. Vree was last from the storage room behind the stage as she followed Dave and

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The Ridgewood Story, 13

Myers Ridge, 1972, Fourth Visit: ARC was scheduled to play a Fourth of July gig at The Roundhouse, the old roller rink now owned by Vree’s parents. On paper, I played better harmonica and rhythm guitar than in real life, so I wrote myself as a visiting member of the band. Vree liked to sit

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The Ridgewood Story, 12

A Quick Look at High School: My Ridgewood visits lessened when ninth grade English class made demands on me beyond writing stories. When I found a few minutes at home, I wrote some very short stories about Lenny and Dave … and Vree. She became my imaginary confidant on paper, as well as my girlfriend.

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The Ridgewood Story, 11

Myers Ridge, 1971, Third Visit: Vree Erickson, the pretty girl who lived atop Myers Ridge, became my favorite fictional person to write about during the 1971-1972 school year. It was also when my stories took a turn for the unexplained. After our first meeting at Parker’s place, I saw her again one early November Saturday

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The Ridgewood Story, 10

Michelle: Michelle Evans was 25 when Dave and Amy were born. She was born and raised in nearby New Cambridge and moved to Ridgewood when she married Parker Evans. She dyed her auburn hair blonde (worn short), had blue eyes, was 5’ 6”, and had a fit and trim athletic physique, left from her days

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The Ridgewood Story, 9

Life at Alice Lake: Since Dave and Amy’s folks were separated, their mother chose to keep their childhood house at Alice Lake. The lake community was as large as the town north of it and once held the stature of being its own municipality, complete with a town hall and post office. Alice Lake became

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Oppressors and Villains

I just finished reading a how-to-write-like-me book recommended by a friend who, like me, wishes to become a published writer. The wonder-tips I gleaned from the essay made me consider that I may need to increase the meanness of my antagonists to a 90 score or higher on the Downright Meanness Scale. We all know

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The Life of Fictional Characters

I see in today’s print market for fiction that story characters react more to frustration than any other emotion. Frustration is not getting what we want. And frustration is the carriage that drives all of us along the road of life. How we handle it determines what kind of person we are. Writers who deal

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The Ridgewood Story, 8

Myers Ridge, 1971, Second Visit: Myers Ridge was well-known for its caves, abandoned mines, precipitous hillside, and sightings of Norman Myers’s ghost. But long before that, the ridge received its official name in 1801 when Jonah Myers purchased the property from the state. Jonah Myers and his family were sheep and goat farmers during a

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The Ridgewood Story, 7

Parker: Parker Evans was 28 when twins Dave and Amy were born. He was born in Ridgewood and raised solely by his mother Peggy Evans after his father died. His hair and eyes were brown. He was 5’ 11” and thin. He free-lanced as an illustrator for periodicals, and his proudest accomplishment was doing the

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The Ridgewood Story, 6

Amy: After I graduated eighth grade, I spent the summer discovering the ups and downs of playing baseball. I shared this passion in a story where I meet Dave’s twin sister, Amy. Amy had blue eyes; brown hair worn long past her shoulders and sometimes in a ponytail; never grew taller than 5’ 5”; and

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The Ridgewood Story, 5

Dave: David Nicholas Evans and his best friend Lenny were in the same grade at Ridgewood High, home of the Fighting Eagles. Dave began as my doppelganger before I gave him his own personality. He had blue eyes, medium brown hair, which turned dark and curly by 1973, and had a passion for drawing and

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The Ridgewood Story, 4

Myers Ridge, 1970, First Visit: I developed Lenny’s character further and discovered after several visits that he didn’t care for “Len” as a nickname, although his dad called him it all the time. I also learned that several pretty Ridgewood girls found his full, dark brown hair and light brown eyes “dreamy looking” even though

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The Ridgewood Story, 3

The Official Ridgewood Map and Town History: Over the winter I drew several maps of my fictional place and gave it a history. After several tries of cutting and pasting from local road maps, I settled on an arrangement in 2005 that would become my official Ridgewood landscape/topography map. At my typewriter in 1970, I

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The Ridgewood Story, 2

The day I created Leonard Campbell Stevens, I played no sports. Fishing and listening to baseball games on my transistor radio were the only things close to being sports active for me. I fished to relax and have fun; so did Lenny, which is how we “met” in the first story I wrote. Lenny’s first,

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Writing Backstory

According to many that teach the craft of writing fiction, the backstory consists of events, sometimes traumatic, that have happened to your character(s) before the opening of the story. In novel construction, back story often holds the key to character motivation. It isn’t necessary that the reader know it, but it’s essential that the author

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Round and Flat Characters

Round Characters: A writer’s major characters and major supporting characters are called round characters, as they are well-rounded people in the context of the story. They are complex, emotional, and have many layers of different feelings. And each has strengths, weaknesses, and qualities that distinguish them from the rest of the characters. The lead character

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