Betty's Tips

Happy New Year, dear readers!

I hope your holiday season, if you celebrate, was merry and bright, with just the right amount of food and family and fun.

This year just before winter break, Mrs. Gardener, my son’s teacher gave me an original story the delightful Brussels had written for his language arts class, titled The Great Tomato War. Now, Dear Reader, this may strike a chord in your memory, but THIS yarn was vastly different than what actually happened. (You can refresh your memory here.)  

In Brussels’ the Great Tomato War, he presented a greatly fictionalized tale in which neighborhood children were having loads fun in a tomato garden until a vicious dragon named Betty shrieks in on wicked wings and blows fire all over their games, forcing them to defend themselves with ripe tomatoes.

Mrs. Gardener and my dear husband were so tickled with the dragon named Betty, that I felt it was only fair to share with them delightful Brussels’ tall tales featuring a snarky vampire named Mrs. Gardener and a grumpy giant named Basil.

Neither were as delighted with the stories they starred in as they were with the story I starred in which made me realize that using family and friends and teachers may not be the best way to develop characters for your fiction.

With that in mind, I hunted up some resources for character development.

First on the list is K. M. Weiland’s website Helping Writers Become Authors—How to Write Character Arcs

And her ebook, Crafting Unforgettable Characters, is free if you sign up for her monthly newsletter.

She also has tons of podcasts if you prefer to hear your information.  and you can subscribe to her podcasts for free on iTunes

The next website with resources for character development is Writers Helping Writers from Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi

There is a ton of information on their website, plus they have developed the One Stop for Writer (free membership available but also a paid subscription service for tons more information).

Angela and Becca are the authors of The Emotional Thesaurus: A Writers Guide to Character Expression and five other thesauri to help craft well-rounded characters. These books are well worth buying and keeping on your writing bookshelf. My own are well worn.

Should you, like the delightful Brussels, decide to use family or friends or teachers for your characters, it might be a good idea to come up with different names. One of the coolest websites for finding names is Behind the Name: the etymology and history of first names. ( ) 

If you click on the Tools, you will see a Random Name Generator which gives you the option of selecting first names, middle names, surnames and should you so desire comes up with a life story for your character complete with blood type and date of birth and death (including the cause of death).

Now Novel has a "Character Writing Hub" with different posts covering archetypes, conflicts, description, development, and much more, including tips for developing villains.

Reedsy has "How to Create a Character Profile: The Ultimate Guide" (with Template), but to get the pdf of the template you must give them your email address. They also have writing prompts every week, with a writing contest and just for fun a book title generator and a short story prompt generator—a great way to come up with ideas if you’re stuck or just want to procrastinate. You can find it at:

Jerry Jenkins has The Simple Ten Step Guide to Developing Unforgettable Characters.  Lots of great tips and again for the price of your email, you can get the pdf version to keep on your computer or print out for your notebook.

With all these resources, your family and friends and teacher will hopefully not recognize themselves in the characters you create

Betty Wryte-Goode

Betty Wryte-Goode is a writer and mother who lives in the Lehigh Valley. Her passions include writing, reading, shopping, gardening, and exploring the internet. Betty is always looking for writing tips, so if you have any you would like to share, please send them to her through our Submissions/Contacts page.

Mixed Up Words of the Month

All ready 

and already

These two are often confused because they look like the same word with different spelling. In fact, there is a subtle difference that all readers and writers should know.

The phrase all ready means that everyone in a group is prepared or one person is entirely prepared.  The fourth-grade girls had studied and were all ready for their spelling test.

The word already is an adverb that means by a particular time or soon.  I’m sorry you’re hungry, but I’ve already done the dishes.

Putting it all together.  The little boys were all ready to go outside and play; they already had their coats and gloves on.