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note to self: i’ll be there for you, always

written june 6, 2021. Photo by Kristine Cinate on Unsplash I have always looked for myself in other people. I think the idea was that they would somehow hold the pieces of me that I felt were missing. That maybe, if I wrapped my identity up in theirs enough, we would somehow make a whole person. It's not healthy to live like this, but I did it anyway — burning through relationships and searching for something I couldn't quite name. It was never enough, not to be myself, but it was never enough to latch my identity to other people, either. I got close, several times — I thought I had reached the pinnacle of self discovery. I thought I had completed myself. But in the end, relying on other people to help build yourself is never a viable way to do things. It's only recently that I've started to become comfortable with the idea of being enough, as I am, on my own. Several years ago, in this same position, I would have searched for another person to attach my identity onto,

Beautiful People: Archive

March 2011
What is their full name?
Does his or her name have a special meaning?
Does your character have a methodical or disorganized personality?
Does he or she think inside themselves more than they talk out loud to their friends? (more importantly, does he or she actually have friends?)
Is there something he or she is afraid of?
Does he or she write, dream, dance, sing, or photograph?
What is his or her favorite book? (or genre of books)
Who is his or her favorite author and/or someone that inspires him or her?
Favorite flavor of ice cream?
Favorite season of the year?

April 2011
How old is he/she?
What does he/she do with his/her spare time?
Does he/she see the big picture or live in the moment?
Is he/she a perfectionist?
What does her handwriting look like? (round, slanted, curly, skinny, sloppy, neat, decorative, etc.)
Favorite animal?
Does he/she have any pets?
Does he/she have any siblings? How many? Where does he/she fit in?
Does he/she have a 'life verse' and if so what is it?
Favorite writing utensil?

May 2011
What type of laugh does he/she have?
Who is his/her best friend?
What is his/her family like?
Is he/she a Christian, or will he/she eventually find Jesus?
Does he/she believe in fairies?
Does he/she like hedgehogs?
Favorite kind of weather?
Does he/she have a good sense of humor? If so what kind? (Slapstick, wit, sarcasm, etc.?)
How did he/she do in school, or any kind of education they might have had.
Any strange hobbies?

June 2011
What kind of music does he/she like?
Does he/she like to go outside?
Is he/she naturally curious?
Right, or left handed?
Favorite color?
Where is he/she from?
Any enemies?
What are his/her quirks?
What kinds of things get on his/her nerves?
Is he/she independent, or needs others to help out?

July 2011
What is his/her biggest secret?
Has he/she ever been in love?
What is his/her comfort food?
Does he/she play a musical instrument? If so, what?
What colour are his/her eyes? Hair?
Does he/she have any pets?
What is his/her favorite place to be?
What are some of his/her dreams or goals?
Does he/she enjoy sports?
What is his/her favorite flower or plant?

August 2011

What is their biggest accomplishment?
What is one of their strongest childhood memories?
What is their favorite food?
Do they believe in love at first sight?
What kind of home do they live in?
What do they like to wear?
What would they do if they discovered they were dying?
What kind of holidays, or traditions do they celebrate?
What do your other characters have to say about them?
If they could change one thing in their world, what would it be?

September 2011
Do they have any habits, annoying or otherwise?
What is their backstory and how does it affect them now?
How do they show love?
How competitive are they?
What do they think about when nothing else is going on?
Do they have an accent?
What is their station in life?
What do others expect from them?
Where were they born, and when?
How do they feel about people in general?

November 2011 - NaNoWriMo Edition
Sum up your novel in five words or less.
Novel title?
Sum up your main character(s) in one word each.
Advice for newbies in three words?
Tell us about your secondary characters, how do they affect the story?
Do you plan to stay up till midnight on the 31st?
How many years have you done NaNo?
What came first, characters, or plot idea?
How much prep do you do before November?
Now be honest, how do you really feel about NaNo?

December 2011 - Holiday Edition
What kind of holidays do they celebrate, if any?
What are they most thankful for?
Do they have any family traditions?
What is their most memorable holiday memory?
What is the most memorable gift they have ever received?
Do they consider it important to be with family during celebrations?
Do they usually wait till the last minute to purchase gifts, or do they buy them ridiculously early?
Favorite Christmas song? For fantasy authors, is music a part of their celebration?
Do they celebrate for religious reasons?
How do they celebrate the beginning of the new year?

January 2012
If your character’s house burned down, and they were left with nothing but the clothes on their back, what would they do? Where would they go?
Are they happy with where they are in life, or would they like to move on?
Are they well-paid?
Can they read?
What languages do they speak?
What is their biggest mistake?
What did they play with most as a child?
What are their thoughts on politics?
What is their expected life time?
If they were falsely accused of murder, what would they do? How would they react?

February 2012
If your character could be played by any actor, who would it be?
Does your character have a specific theme song?
What’s their worst childhood memory?
If your character had a superpower, what would it be?
If your character crashed on an island with a bunch of other people, how would your character help the group survive?
Are they married? If not, do they someday wish to be?
What is a cause they would die for?
Would they rather die fighting valiantly, or quietly at home?
If someone walked up to them and told them they were the child of the prophecy, would they believe them?
Do they prefer the country or the city?

March 2012
(One Year Edition)

The first 10 are normal questions that you answer about two of your characters. Then, there are 5 extra questions focusing specifically on what kind of a relationship they have.

1. Do they believe in anything that most people think is impossible?
2. Are they strong, or the "damsel/knight in distress" sort?
3. Do they have a special place? (e.g. a corner in his/her bedroom, under a tree...)
4. What occupation do they have, or plan on having?
5. Describe their current place of residence.
6. Explain their last crisis. How had they changed when they came out of it?
7. If they could drive any kind of car they wanted, what would it be?
8. How do they deal with change?
9. If they had to amputate one body part, which one would they choose?
10. What would their favorite be at the local coffee shop?

And here are the extra 5.

1. How did they meet?
2. How do these two deal with conflict?
3. Do they have a special song, phrase, item, or place?
4. What kind of things do they like to do together?
5. Describe their relationship as a whole in 3 words or less.

April 2012
1. What is their favourite type of shoes?
2. Do they journal? 
3. What’s their favorite animal? 
4. What does their average day look like?
5. Night owl or morning person? (Optional: What time do they usually wake up? Go to bed?) 
6. Do they have a sweet tooth? 
7. What colors are their bedroom? 
8. Can they cook? 
9. What is their favorite household chore? 
10. Favorite kind of tea?

May 2012 - Evil Edition
1. What is their motive?
2. What are they prepared to do to get what they want?
3. Are they evil to the core, or simply misunderstood?
4. What was their past like? What about their childhood? Was there one defining moment that made them embrace their evil ways?
5. Now that they’re evil, have they turned their back on everyone, or is there still someone in their life that they care for? (Brother? Daughter? Love interest? Mother? Someone who is just as evil as they are?)
6. Do they like hugs?
7. Are they plagued by something? (Nightmares, terrible thoughts?)
8. Who are they more similar to: Gollum or Maleficent?
9. If your villain could have their choice of transportation what would it be?
10. If you met your villain in the street, how afraid would you be? Are they evil enough to kill their creator? And, the most important question of all: Does the dark side really have cookies?

June 2014
1) What is their full name and is there a story behind why they got it?
2) How old are they, and when were they born?
3) Describe their physical appearance. (Bonus questions: 1. What is their race/nationality/ethnicity? 2. Do you have a picture of them? If so, include it!)
4) Describe your character's personality first in one word, and then elaborate with a few sentences.
5) What theme song(s) fit their personality and story arc?
6) Which one of the seven deadly sins describes your character?
7) If they were an element (fire, water, earth, air), which one would they be? 
8) What is their favorite word?
9) Who’s one person they really miss? (It could be someone who’s passed away, or someone they’re not close to anymore, or someone who’s moved away.)
10) What sights, sounds, and smells remind them of that person?

July 2014
1) What’s their favourite food? (Bonus: favourite flavor of chocolate!)
2) What do they absolutely hate?
3) What do they enjoy learning about?
4) Who is the most influential person in their life?
5) What is their childhood fear?
6) What is something they have always secretly dreamed of doing, but thought impossible?
7) What is something he is impractically afraid of?
8) Are they a night owl or morning person?
9) Do they say everything that pops into their head, or leave a lot unsaid?
10) What are their nervous habits?

August 2014
1) What does your character regret the most in their life?
2) What is your character's happiest memory? Most sorrowful memory?
3) What majorly gets on your character’s nerves?
4) Do they act differently when they're around people as opposed to being alone? If so, how?
5) What are their beliefs and superstitions? (Examples: their religion or lack of one, conspiracy theories, throwing salt, fear of black cats.)
6) What are their catchphrases, or things they say frequently?
7) Would they be more prone to facing fears or running from them?
8) Do they have a good self image?
9) Do they turn to people when they're upset, or do they isolate themselves?
10) If they were standing next to you would it make you laugh or cry?

September 2014
1. What is their motive?
2. What do they want, and what are they prepared to do to get it?
3. How do they deal with conflict?
4. Describe their current place of residence.
5. If they were writing this story, how would it end?
6. What habits, speech patterns, etc. are unique to them?
7. How do they show love? What do they like to do with/for people they love?
8. Do they have any pets?
9. Where would they go to relax/think?
10. What is their weapon of choice? (FYI: words, eyes/looks, and fists count as weapons, too.)

October 2014 - Beautiful Books #1
  1. What came first: characters or plot idea? Are you a plotter or a pantser?
  2. Do you have a title and/or a “back-cover-blurb”?
  3. What wordcount are you aiming for when your novel is finished?
  4. Sum up your novel in 3 sentences.
  5. Sum up your characters in one word each.
  6. Which character are you most excited to write? Tell us about them!
  7. What about your villain? Who is he, what is his goal?
  8. What is your protagonist’s goal? And what stands in the way?
  9. What inciting incident begins your protagonist’s journey?
  10. Where is your novel set?
  11. What are three big scenes in your novel that change the game completely?
  12. What is the most dynamic relationship your character has? Who else do they come in contact with or become close to during the story?
  13. How does your protagonist change by the end of the novel?
  14. Do you have an ending in mind, or do you plan to see what happens?
  15. What are your hopes and dreams for your book? What impressions are you hoping this novel will leave on your readers and yourself? (This is your mission statement, one you can look back on when the road gets tough.)
November 2014 - Beautiful Books #2
  1. Be honest: how is your writing going?
  2. What’s your first sentence/paragraph?
  3. Do you have a book cover, and/or pictures that reflect your book?
  4. Do you have pictures of each of your characters? If not, describe them for us! (Be as descriptive as you can.)
  5. What scene are you most excited to write?
  6. Share a snippet or a scene that you really enjoyed writing.
  7. Now that you're writing, have any of the plot details, or the process itself, turned out different from what you planned or imagined?
  8. Is there a character or aspect of your plot that's difficult to write?
  9. What’s your favorite aspect of this novel so far? Favorite character?
  10. Have you drawn off of any life experiences or people you know to create your novel and characters?
  11. Do you have a playlist or certain song for your novel and/or characters?
  12. Let’s have some fun for a moment: imagine you are somehow transported into your book’s world. Which character are you most likely to be found hanging out with?
  13. How do you keep yourself motivated to finish your daily wordcount? (Pinterest? Internet breaks? Chocolate?)
  14. What’s your favorite writing quote or piece of writing advice?
  15. How does this book make you feel so far? Are you laughing? Crying? Frustrated?
December 2014 - Beautiful Books #3
  1. On a scale of 1 (worst) to 10 (best), how well do you think this book turned out?
  2. Have you ever rewritten or edited one of your books before? If so, what do you do to prepare yourself? If not, what’s your plan?
  3. What’s your final word count? Do you plan to lengthen or trim your book? 
  4. What are you most proud of? Plot, characters, or pacing?
  5. What’s your favorite bit of prose or line from this novel?
  6. What aspect of your book needs the most work? 
  7. What aspect of your book is your favourite?
  8. How are your characters? Well-rounded, or do they still need to be fleshed out?
  9. If you had to do it over again, what would you change about the whole process?
  10. Did anything happen in the book that completely surprised you? Have any scenes or characters turned out differently to what you planned? Good or bad?
  11. What was the theme and message? Do you think they came across? If not, is there anything you could do to bring them out more?
  12. Do you like writing with a deadline (like NaNoWriMo) or do you prefer to write-as-it-comes?
  13. Comparative title time! What published books, movies, or TV shows are like your book? (Ex: Inkheart meets X-Men.)
  14. How do you celebrate a finished novel?!
  15. When people are done reading your book, what feeling do you want them to come away with?
January 2015 - Author Edition
  1. How many years have you been writing? When did you officially consider yourself a ‘writer’?
  2. How/why did you start writing?
  3. What’s your favorite part of writing? 
  4. What’s your biggest writing struggle?
  5. Do you write best at night or day?
  6. What does your writing space look like? (Feel free to show us pictures!)
  7. How long does it typically take you to write a complete draft?
  8. How many projects do you work on at once?
  9. Do you prefer writing happy endings, sad ones, or somewhere in between?
  10. List a few authors who’ve influenced your writing journey.
  11. Do you let people read your writing? Why or why not?
  12. What’s your ultimate writing goal or dream?
  13. If you didn’t write, what would you want to do?
  14. Do you have a book you'd like to write one day but don’t feel you’re ready to attempt it yet? 
  15. Which story has your heart and won't let go?
February 2015 - Valentine Edition
  1. How long have they been a couple?
  2. How did they first meet?
  3. What were their first thoughts of each other? (Love at first sight or “you’re freakishly annoying”?)
  4. What do they do that most annoys each other?
  5. Are their personalities opposite or similar?
  6. How would their lives be different without each other?
  7. Are they ever embarrassed of each other?
  8. Does anyone disapprove of their relationship?
  9. Do they see their relationship as long-term/leading to marriage?
  10. If they could plan the “perfect outing” together, where would they go?
March 2015
  1. What is their secret desire? 
  2. What is the best and brightest moment they experience during the story? 
  3. What are the emotional places your characters are afraid to go to? 
  4. Is there a place/city/room where they will never go? Why? 
  5. If they were permanently leaving town, what would they easily throw out? What would they refuse to part with? (Why?) 
  6. What do they want (consciously and tangibly)? 
  7. On the other hand: what do they need (on the emotional, subconscious level)? 
  8. If they could change one thing about themselves, what would it be? 
  9. What is the most humiliating event of their life? 
  10. What things do they turn to when they need a bit of hope?
April 2015 - Sibling Edition  
1. What is the first memory they have of each other?
2. Describe their relationship in 3 words.
3. What kind of things do they like to do together?
4. What was their biggest fight?
5. How far would they go to save each other?
6. What are their pet peeves about each other?
7. What are their favorite things about each other?
8. What traits do they share? Mannerisms, clothing, quirks, looks, etc?
9. Who has the strongest personality?
10. How does their relationship change throughout your story?

May 2015
1. Do they get nightmares? If so, why or what of?
2. What is their biggest guilty pleasure/secret shame?
3. Are they easily persuaded or do they need more proof?
4. Do they suffer from any phobias? Does it affect their life in a big way?
5. What do they consider their “Achilles heel”?
6. How do they handle a crisis?
7. Do they have a temper?
8. What are their core values and/or religious beliefs?
9. What things do they value most in life?
10. What is one major event that helped shape who they are?

June 2015 - Parental Edition
1. Do they know both their biological parents? Why/why not?
2. Have they inherited any physical resemblances from their parents?
3. What's their parental figure(s) dress style? Add pictures if you like!
4. Do they share any personality traits with their parental figures? And which do they take after most?
5. Do they get on with their parental figure(s) or do they clash?
6. If they had to describe their parental figure(s) in one word, what would it be?
7. How has their parental figure(s) helped them most in their life?
8. What was their biggest fight with their parental figure(s)?
9. Tracing back the family tree, what nationalities are in their ancestry?
10. What’s their favourite memory with their parental figure(s)?

July 2015
1. What’s their favourite ice cream flavour?
2. Your character is getting ready for a night out. Where are they going? What are they wearing? Who will they be with?
3. Look at your character’s feet. Describe what you see there. Do they wear dress shoes, gym shoes, or none at all? Are they in socks that are ratty and full of holes? What do they consider comfortable and what do they consider agony?
4. Do they have any birthmark or scars? Where are they and how did they get them?
5. What kind of music do they listen to? Does it change depending on their mood or is it always consistent? (Feel free to share samples!)
6. Do they have any musical talent? Play an instrument? How’s their singing voice?
7. What kind of book would you catch them reading?
8. How would they spend their summers (or their holidays)?
9. It’s Saturday at noon. What is your character doing? Give details. Ex. If they’re eating breakfast, what’s on the menu? Are they hiking, shopping, lazing around?
10. Is there anything your character wants to be free of?

August 2015 - Friendship Edition
  1. How long have they known each other, and how close are they?
  2. What’s their earliest memory of being best friends?
  3. Do they fight? How long do they typically fight for?
  4. Are their personalities similar or do they compliment each other?
  5. Who is the leader of their friendship (if anyone)?
  6. Do have any secrets from each other?
  7. How well do they know each other’s quirks and habits?
  8. What kind of things do they like to do together?
  9. Describe each character’s fashion style (use pictures if you’d like!) How are their styles different/similar?
  10. How would their lives be different without each other?
1. They’re in a crisis: who would they really like to see right now?
2. Are they easy to get along with?
3. Who was the last person they had a deep conversation with?
4. They’re in the middle of a huge crowd of people: how do they feel?
5. Do they believe in luck or miracles?
6. Do they like and get along with their neighbours?
7. If they could travel anywhere in the world, where would they go?
8. How do they feel about their body?
9. What is the cruelest thing someone has ever said to them? How did they react?
0. What’s the kindest thing someone has ever said to them? How did they react?

1. How did you come up with the idea for your novel, and how long have you had the idea?
2. Why are you excited to write this novel?
3. What is your novel about, and what is the title?
4. Sum up your characters in one word each. (Feel free to add pictures!)
5. Which character(s) do you think will be your favourite to write? Tell us about them! 
6. What is your protagonist’s goal, and what stands in the way?
7. Where is your novel set? (Show us pictures if you have them!)
8. What is the most important relationship your character has?
9. How does your protagonist change by the end of the novel?
10. What themes are in your book? How do you want your readers to feel when the story is over?
NaNoWriMo BONUS: Tell us your 3 best pieces of advice for others trying to write a book in a month.

  1. Is the book turning out how you thought it would be, or is it defying your expectations?
  2. What’s your first sentence (or paragraph)?
  3. Are you a plotter or a pantser? Have you ever tried both methods and how did it turn out?
  4. What do you reward yourself with after meeting a goal?
  5. What do you look for in a name? Do you have themes and where do you find your names?
  6. What is your favourite to write: beginning, middle, or end — and why?
  7. Who’s your current favourite character in your novel?
  8. What kind of things have you researched for this project, and how do you go about researching? (What’s the weirdest thing you’ve researched?!)
  9. Do you write better alone or with others? Do you share your work or prefer to keep it to yourself?
  10. What are your writing habits? Is there a specific snack you eat? Do you listen to music? What time of day do you write best? Feel free to show us a picture of your writing space!

  1. On a scale of 1 (worst) to 10 (best), how did the book turn out? Did anything defy your expectations?
  2. Comparative title time: what published books, movies, or TV shows are like your book? (Ex: Inkheart meets X-Men.)
  3. Do you enjoy working with deadlines and pressure (aka NaNoWriMo)? Or do you prefer to write-as-you’re-inspired?
  4. How do you go about editing? Give us an insight into your editing process.
  5. What aspect of your story needs the most work?
  6. What aspect of your story did you love the most?
  7. Give us a brief run down on your main characters and how you think they turned out. Do you think they'll need changes in edits?
  8. What are your plans for this novel once you finish editing? More edits? Finding beta readers? Querying? Self-publishing? Hiding it in a dark hole forever?
  9. Share a favourite snippet!
  10. What are your writing goals and plans for 2016?
  1. What were your writing achievements last year?
  2. Tell us about your top priority writing project for this year?
  3. List 5 areas you’d like to work the hardest to improve this year.
  4. Are you participating in any writing challenges?
  5. What's your critique partner/beta reader situation like and do you have plans to expand this year?
  6. Do you have plans to read any writer-related books this year? Or are there specific books you want to read for research?
  7. Pick one character you want to get to know better, and how are you going to achieve this?
  8. Do you plan to edit or query, and what’s your plan of attack?
  9. Toni Morrison once said, “If there's a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it.” What are the books that you want to see more of, and what “holes” do you think need filling in the literary world?
  10. What do you hope to have achieved by the end of 2016?
  1. How did they first meet?
  2. What were their first impressions of each other?
  3. How long have they been a couple?
  4. How committed/loyal are they to each other? Would they break up over a secret or a disagreement? Could stress drive them apart? Would they die for each other?
  5. List 5 “food quirks” they know about each other. (Ex: how they take their coffee, if they’re allergic to something, etc….and feel free to mention other non-food quirks!)
  6. Does anyone disapprove of their relationship?
  7. What would be an ideal date?
  8. What are their personality dynamics? Similar? Contrasting? Do they fight a lot or mesh perfectly?
  9. What have been their best and worst moments together as a couple?
  10. Where do they see themselves and their relationship in the next few years?
  1. What first inspired this character? Is there a person/actor you based them off?
  2. Describe their daily routine.
  3. If they joined your local high school, what clique would they fit into?
  4. Write a list of things they merely tolerate. Ex: certain people, foods, circumstances in their lives...
  5. How do they react in awkward silences?
  6. Can they swim? If so, how did they learn? 
  7. What is one major event that helped shape who they are?
  8. What things do they value most in life?
  9. Do they believe in giving other people second chances? Do they have any trust issues?
  10. Your character is having a rough day...what things do they do to make them happy again? Is there anyone they talk/interact with to get in a better mood?
  1. How often do they smile? Would they smile at a stranger?
  2. What is the cruelest thing they’ve ever been told? And what was their reaction?
  3. What is the kindest thing they’ve ever been told? And what was their reaction?
  4. What is one strong memory that has stuck with your character from childhood? Why is it so powerful and lasting?
  5. What book (a real actual published book!) do you think your character would benefit from reading?
  6. Have they ever been seriously injured? How severely? How did they react?
  7. Do they like and get along with their neighbours?
  8. On a scale from 1 to 10 (1 being easy and 10 being difficult) how easy are they to get along with?
  9. If they could travel anywhere in the world, where would they go?
  10. Who was the last person they held hands with?
  1. What is their first childhood memory?
  2. What were their best and worst childhood experiences?
  3. What was their childhood home like?
  4. What’s something that scared them as child?
  5. Who did they look up to most?
  6. Favourite and least favourite childhood foods?
  7. If they had their childhood again, would they change anything?
  8. What kind of child were they? Curious? Wild? Quiet? Devious?
  9. What was their relationship to their parents and siblings like?
  10. What did they want to be when they grew up, and what did they actually become?


{The following list is mainly for my benefit.}

Sky's BP archive

Avary - March
Reese - April
Gavin Gray - May
Ben Carter - June
Brian & Violet McGuire - July
Gesparo - August
Torin - September
Silver Tears - November

Ryan - January
Ryan - February
Ryan & Avary - March
Bailey & Sawyer - March
Elleri Cay Bastion - April

Fiona Bartulli - June
Violet - July
Blade - August
Asher - September
Character Letters Archive
Elleri Cay Bastion
A Novel Idea Archive

August 2014
Decker & Beau
All About the Writing Process
Behind the Scenes
The Petrichor Cast
September 2014
Cobie, Fiona, Damian, and Astrid
All About the Writing Process #2
October 2014
Astrid & Cobie
Blade, Astrid, Cobie, Jem, Evee, and Hal

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