Character Birthdays: Happy Birthday, Heros and Heroines

Happy Birthday Cake for Heroes, Heroines, and CharactersDo you know your when to wish your characters a happy birthday? Many writers neglect the most important day of their protagonist’s life. After all, if she was not born into your imaginary world, you wouldn’t be able to tell her story now. But there are stronger writing issues to consider when deciding your male and female characters celebrate their birthday.

Happy 29th, Again

What is your character’s attitude toward her birthday, and her age? Does she dread every passing year, or does she celebrate with a blow-out party that includes everyone she’s met in her life? When are the birthday’s of your character’s family? If you don’t know, you are missing out on a key area of characterization that you could explore.

More importantly, you may miss her birthday all together! If her birthday falls right into the middle of your story, your character wouldn’t completely forget. At the very least, she would comment to herself about how she is far too busy to go out with her friends this year. Perhaps she’ll miss visiting her parents, because she has now moved halfway across the country to start her new job. Are your character’s kids celebrating their birthdays with a crisis filled birthday party? Her new love interest may forget, and schedule his monthly golf game on the birthday weekend she expected him to take her to his beach side villa. Unless you know, your characters will never age, and gain the wisdom that comes with reflecting over the course of their lives so far.

What’s Your Sign?

Another consideration is that you or your characters may have an interest in exploring what their birthday stands for, in the universal scheme of things. Astrology and Numerology use a person’s birthday to determine their personality traits, and the possible issues they might have to deal with throughout their lives. If you are struggling to flesh out a character, you can look up their birthday, and discover how they might act in their relationships, careers, and home lives. If you don’t like what the results turn up, you can change their birthday to a different sign, and start over. Even if you don’t care about such things, your young college student heroine might read her horoscope every morning, and you ought to have an idea what it would say.

Other uses for birthdays include exploring what happened on that day in history. If your historical hero was born on the day the Civil War started, he would have a different upbringing than someone whose parents raised him during the Great Depression. Many websites and books have such “Day in the Life” descriptions, or you could scan old newspapers near your character’s real world hometown. Even less famous events could play into your character’s life, such as if she were born on the same day the water tower fell and flooded her home.

Planning For Other Character’s Birthdays

Even if your story covers a short amount of time, it is wise to know when all of your characters are born, not just your protagonist. She may be planning a surprise party for her best friend, when she suddenly loses her job and can’t afford to do so anymore. Your antagonist may decide to cause havoc on his birthday every year, because local bullies wrecked his 18th birthday party.

Birthdays are a great rite of passage that everyone goes through each year. It marks new growth, beginnings, and a chance to start life with a clean slate. Your characters could use these same milestones, to take your story in new and unexpected directions.

What do birthdays mean to you, and your stories? Have you explored how your characters react to growing a year older?

Editor’s Note: Know another birthday you shouldn’t forget? Writer’s Round-About! We’re turning 3 this month so come and win some prizes at our birthday bash.

Image credit: Dan Taylor

Win Prizes! Celebrate Our 3rd Birthday Bash!

Win great prizes at The Craft of Writing Fiction - 3rd Birthday Bash!


Guess who’s turning 3?

That’s right!
The Craft of Writing Fiction is celebrating it’s third birthday this month. We’re giving away some awesome prizes. So keep reading to find out how you can win!



Wow, can you believe it’s been three years already? Around this time each year, The Craft of Writing Fiction grows and changes. We reflect on what worked, and what didn’t. We consider you, our readers, what you’ve loved, what you’ve hated, where you’d like to see us go from here, and how you can win prizes. If you have any ideas, suggestions or feedback, we’d love to hear from you.

After a strong three years support from freelancers, I’d like to focus our thoughts this year toward Fiction and the Craft of Writing.

Last year we opened the floor to writer’s from around the world and became a true “collaborative blogging project”. The contributions so far have been fantastic. As we look forward to the year ahead I’d like to extend a special invitation to fiction writers, especially those who are interested in promoting their books. There are so many fantastic reasons to get involved and it goes beyond the opportunity to win prizes. Find out exactly “Why YOU Should Write For The Craft of Writing Fiction“.

Becoming a contributing author isn’t the only way you can promote your books here either. Ask me about our blog tours, author interviews, and book review opportunities.

So, want to know what you can win?

To kick off another year with style we’re giving you fantastic win prizes. Writers will absolutely LOVE these goodies. Trust me, I know, because I’ve loved them all myself and recommend them any chance I get. There are three prize packs and lots of ways to enter so there is no excuse not to get involved and spread the word.

1st Place [valued over $100]

Win Anthemion's Writer's Cafe Software with Storylines


2nd Place [valued over $40]


3rd Place [valued over $19]


How do you get your hands on this booty?

Because I like to give as many people as many chances to win prizes as possible there are lots of ways you can enter. Some methods are worth more than others based on the effort required but it’s worth making a little extra effort to increase your odds.

  1. Leave a comment listing your top 5 all-time favorite CF posts. (5 entries)
  2. Write a blog post on your own blog: (10 entries)
    • Fiction Writers: a fiction story about a birthday
    • Non-Fiction Writers: interesting non-fiction birthday facts

    You must include a link back announcing this contest to your readers.

  3. Stumble this contest with StumbleUpon (2 entries)
  4. Share this contest via Twitter. (max 1 entry in 12 hours totaling 2 entries per day)
  5. Share this contest with Plurk. (max 1 entry in 12 hours totaling 2 entries per day)
  6. Share this contest on Facebook. (max 1 entry in 12 hours totaling 2 entries per day)
  7. Add @laffarsmith on Twitter, Plurk, or Facebook. (1 entry per network)
    • leave a comment if you were already my friend on any of those networks for a free entry.

Remember to come back here and leave a comment to let me know you’ve done any of the above. If you forget you can’t win prizes!

What about rules? Any of those?

Actually, not a whole lot. I’m going to reserve the right to disqualify for unsportsmanlike behavior. But anyone can enter and anyone can win. There are no limits on age, gender, or location. You can tell all your friends and talk them into entering even if they don’t want the prizes so that you can score them. You can bribe people to help you win. You can shamelessly promote the contest. So long as you’re keeping it fun and lively then you rock!

I guess the only really important rule is the deadline. We’re going to rock up those entries for three party-hard weeks! So you still have a chance to win prizes but only if you hurry! Entries close Friday June 25th 2010.

And YOU MUST LEAVE A COMMENT when you complete any of the above ways to enter so that I know you’re entered and can track all of your entries.

One final note before you go.

I’m sponsoring this contest myself but I’m hoping to offer more contests in the future and want to invite prize donations and competition sponsors to step up and help me out. If you’re an author would you consider giving away a copy of your book? Do you make cool pens? Do you ship wicked gadgets and gizmos? I’d love to plug your stuff and your business in exchange for the opportunity to give some goodies to the thousands of CF readers eager to win prizes.

Win great prizes at The Craft of Writing Fiction - 3rd Birthday Bash!

Ok, now bring on those entries!

Let’s get this party started!

Don’t forget to leave your comments below when you enter!

Direction: Google Maps Can’t Help Me!

Making choices and changes in any aspect of your life is never easy. While some decisions can be made in an instant others need to be carefully considered. Which is the best course? Which furthers our goals or creates inner harmony with our needs and desires? I’ve come to that place with Writer’s Round-About. It is time to weigh and measure the future of this blog. Google Maps can’t help me decide which road to take, but maybe you can.

Why Are You Here?

Every time we open our web browser, click a link, or search the internet, we are looking for something. When I read blogs I am usually looking for new information. I want to learn more about a topic that interests me. At Writer’s Round-About I’ve tried to share information about topics that interest me. As such, it’s grown from a blog about writing to a blog that covers several key topics and a diverse range of themes.

What brings ‘YOU’ to Writer’s Round-About? Are you here to learn about writing, editing, web design? Is your interest more specific in freelance writing, writing for the web, writing non-fiction, fiction writing, novel writing? Do you just like the atmosphere or are interested in what I’m doing? Are you here to drop your EntreCard and then move on?

Branching Out Or Breaking In

All blogs go through their individual growth stages. Even the probloggers admit that it takes years before a blog has truly found its feet and millions of blogs come and go. I have to admit that I was proud to say, “Happy Birthday” to Writer’s Round-About. The earliest post dates back to June 2007 making us nearly a year and a half old. We’ve had a good run with ups and downs but a fairly consistent posting scale on average. We survived a domain name change and two or three site redesigns.

Is it time to branch out? I could establish at least two new blogs so those of you interested in fiction writing aren’t butting heads against content about web design.

Do we go on as we are? We could continue to expand to allow for a growing range of interests and information.

It’s Your Blog You Choose

Many other blog owners might say this to me but I’m turning around to say this to you. It is the readers who really make a blog, who really own it. What do you want to see happen with Writer’s Round-About? What do you want from this blogs future? Would you be sorry to see it disappear into the abyss of the web?

At this turning point I’m filled with uncertainty and honestly feel pretty naked putting that out there. Writer’s Round-About needs direction, a path, a future. Google Maps can’t help when it comes to choosing a path on the internet or in our personal future, but maybe you can!

Where do we go from here?

Got An Event Coming Up?

It’s amazing how behind the times I can be when it comes to events around the web and beyond. Today for example, I was all set to tell you all about my friend, Erika-Marie Geiss’s book launch. Then I discovered that it happened a few hours ago while I was fast asleep. I missed out, which also means I didn’t get the word out in time. So, enough is enough, I’m asking you, Do you have an event coming up?

As freelancers there are all manner of events we can attend. National Novel Writing Month begins November 1st, Jen Nipps recently came home from a writer’s retreat in Eureka Springs, Dawn Allcot’s baby Ashley finally arrived, Michelle Goodman launched her book “My So-Called Freelance Life”, Blog Action Day came and went, Anthony Tran won an Australian Festival Award, and as I mentioned, Erika-Marie Geiss launched her latest book, “The Right Words for Any Occasion”. So much is going on around the world and it’s easy to miss out if you’re not in the know.

Do you know of an event coming up soon? Hosting a launch party? Having a birthday? Nominated for an award? Releasing a new product, book, or site? About to set out on tour? Going to a conference? Please share your upcoming events in the comments or send me an email with the details! I’d love to share your news with others and, if possible, get out there to attend local or online events with you. Got An Event Coming Up?