Sunday, February 11, 2018

Have You Ever Wanted to Kill Someone...?


Of course I'm talking about Characters in your stories...
I did a presentation for Young Willamette Writers in Portland, Oregon and  thought I'd share my class notes with any other writers out there who might be interested.
Killing Your Characters

Workshop project:

Here are two options for you to choose between:

Think about Harry Potter, Katniss Everdeen, or any Disney Princess.

1)      Now, take a few minutes to write what might have happened in the story if your favorite/main character had been killed off early in the book.

Or

2)      Give three plot examples of how you could change the story with compelling narrative options for killing off your favorite character without ruining the story.



Writers have lots of different reasons for killing off their characters. But before we decide to kill anyone, we want to have a good reason to do it otherwise all we’re going to do is put your readers in a rage.



1)    Resurrections. Of course we want to create tension but not to the point of killing off characters and then having to bring them back to life – say with a dream sequence.

2)    ShockNADO or not another Shock Attack. Don’t simply kill off a character to create shock value. This will turn readers off and we want to keep them reading to the last page.

3)    Emotional Hostage. Don’t be a sociopath and kill for no reason. Any character’s death needs to be worth the cost. Readers are attached to the main character…or should be. So remember, no writer should kill off characters like a serial killer…for no reason. Make sure every death packs a punch that’s worth the price.

4)    Stop, Look and Listen. And make sure your other characters are in tune with the emotional timing. These characters are now not simply backup singers to your story. They are going to have to carry your show so make sure they take a moment to Stop…and process what has happened. Your minor characters are now the ones who will display the heartfelt reactions we are feeling from our loss.

5)    Make sure you have a Backup. I mean another character who can step into our Hero’s shoes. If there’s no other character for us to love, worry about or at least care for, we’re going to close the book and that’s the end of the story. Not a good way to end a story. We want our readers to want to read to the very last page. So, we have to give them a reason.  



There Are Good Reasons to Kill…Off  Characters.



1)    Remember the Alamo or at least the Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. There would have been no story or plot without killing off a lot of wonderful main characters in this trilogy.

2)    No Guilt Over the Bad Guy No one cares if we kill off the bad guys but remember good guys die too and for our stories to ring true to our readers we have to have authenticity and sometimes our loved ones have to die.

3)    The Disney Delusion. We can’t always have a prince (or princess) ride to the rescue. Not every story has to have a happy ending. Sometimes the most heartfelt stories are the ones that stick with us long after we close the book. (The Lovely Bones, The Fault in Our Stars, and even the classic of The Diary of Anne Frank).

4)    James or even Jane Bond. Unless you want to tell an unrealistic story just for the pure fantasy or the excitement of the ride, we have to be honest with our characters and the way they live and/or die.

5)    Die with Dignity. If you do decide to kill off your character, the death needs to be a crucial part of the plot. Let your character have death with dignity. Whenever we lose a loved one, we want to make sure we understand what happened, how and why. Don’t let an emotional moment be lost by rushing through it. If it must be done, do it “write.”











 If you have any questions, let me know. And If you want to see what else I have to say about writing, check out my website or connect with me on Facebook.



www.kimkasch.com
If we were all the same, life would be boring.
Visit me on Facebook: Kimbra Kasch




Thursday, February 8, 2018

HAVE A HEART - NOT JUST AT VALENTINE'S DAY


HEART is a program offered through Cascadia Behavioral Health that intends to start the conversation about mental health.


Heart uses art and weaves storytelling together to open up new opportunities for healing.


Cascadia Behavioral Health cares for the whole person.

Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare is the organization behind the Heart movement. The desire is to help women face mental health challenges through community-based programs, including peer-to-peer services. The intention is to teach people how to reach out and help each other.

At the Heart Gala on February 7th, Senior Director of Peer Wellness for Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare, Meghan Caughey talked about how art changed her life. She said art gives hope. And
Heart intends to offer this hope by highlighting the crossroad between art and health, with a focus on women.

The gala was a celebration and evening of sharing...while raising community awareness and perhaps  a little money for the program.

While you may think men are the ones who face trauma from war and are the people most effected by PTSD, the truth is women are more than twice as likely to suffer from mental health issues. Research is still out as to why this is but perhaps it has something to do with women living in a world where they are not in control. 

Statistics say that 80% of the personal impacts of war fall on women and children and between 16-50% of women will face violence in their lives.

Heart hopes to create an atmosphere of healing by building a circle of support for women dealing with mental health issues. The plan is to combine health, wellness and art to build strong peer support groups. And through art and storytelling, doors will open up to discussions about mental health that wouldn’t otherwise exist.




Monday, February 5, 2018

STOP Motion with Laika at The Portland Art Museum

Stop Motion is a type of animation and no one does it better than Laika with their award winning shows like Coraline:

With the creepy Other Mother who is a giant spider with  needle hands and horrible intentions.

But there are other awe...some shows Laika  has created, like the Box Trolls
And Paranorman
Kubo and the Two Strings
But if you want to see it for yourself,  visit The Portland Art Museum before the Laika  exhibit leaves in May and you miss the chance  to see how they animate life 

with beautiful bugs

To Fantastic Gardens

And don't  miss  the spectacular  settings they create

There's just so much to see,  you won't want to miss a thing because believe me,  it's out of this world.



At least we thought so....