Containing the Rebellious Character in Fiction Writing

I find the task of creating fictional characters a fun experience, for the most part. I determine their physical aspects, personality traits, background information, aspirations, fears, joys, and so on. No-one can tell me how to design a fictional character, because each one is created by me.

But what if the character takes a life of his own…I mean, that’s great, right? It drives the story along, creates a more natural piece of fiction. But what if the character becomes uncontrollable?

It doesn’t happen with all of my characters, but every now and then the odd boy (or girl) seems to take it upon himself to reveal an idiosyncrasy or personality flaw that bends and twists my story-line in a fashion that redefines it. It’s not always a negative awareness. Sometimes it’s a good revelation, but one that ultimately affects the story in some way.

Still, I allow him to let loose, because I give it all to the Lord and my God may have a plan that I’m yet to comprehend, and all I can do is follow His lead, hoping that the character behaves as best he can. Should the revelation be a negative one, -one that is simply rebellious and obviously not a gift from the Lord, I find myself in a bind. In order to maintain the integrity of the story, I am forced to lay down the law.

I have to remind my character of what’s expected of him, to a certain extent, of course.

I’m like a controlling mother, with more children than the ones I gave birth to physically. These are the babies I gave birth to creatively, and they had better behave, or they’ll be put in a time-out…which, of course, means I’ll save them for when another story, more fitting their rebellious nature, is conjured up.

Have you ever had a rebellious character take control of your fictional story?

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Book Trailer for “Saving Faith,” Bk 2 -Faith & Kung Fu Series

Hey friends! Check out my book trailer for my recent release, “Saving Faith.” Enjoy!

 

You may also be interested in:

Freeing Tanner Rose-Book Study Questions for Homeschooling, Youth Groups, and Book Clubs

The Destiny of Sunshine Ranch-Book Study Questions for Homeschooling, Youth Groups, and Book Clubs

 

Saving Faith-Book Study Questions for Homeschooling, Youth Groups, and Book Clubs

*Note to youth leaders and teachers: You can pick and choose the questions depending on the purpose of your instruction and the age group of your students/readers.

Character development:

Characters-specific: Determine which characters you wish to discuss, either from the list given or others- Gabriel, Faith, Christian, Nina, Adam, Miss Ruth, Tanner

How important was self-control in this novel?

Compare and contrast the characters Faith and Nina.

Explain the relationship transition between Faith and Christian.

Compare and contrast how Gabriel and Christian used Kung Fu.

In what ways did Gabriel struggle with his own advice?

Describe how Christian’s lack of control was destructive, specifically when it came to kung fu and his relationships with his father and Faith.

Describe the struggles of each of the following characters and how they relate to each other and the theme of the book as a whole- Faith, Gabriel, and Christian.

Why was Faith’s transition so difficult for Nina to endure?

Do you see any similarity between Faith’s struggle with her faith and Gabriel’s? Explain.

How do you feel about the return of Tanner Rose?

Which character was your favorite and why?

Which character do you feel was the strongest emotionally and why?

Characters-general:

Were you able to relate to any of the characters portrayed and in what way?

Were the characters believable?

Was there any experience in the novel that you feel you can apply to your own life experience?

Do you find this novel valuable? Explain your response.

Which character made the biggest transition, in your opinion?

Which character made the smallest transition, in your opinion?

Spirituality:

How is the verse Romans 12:2 reflected throughout this story?

In your opinion, how well does the author portray the presence of God in the everyday lives of the characters?

Is the author successful in presenting faith in a relevant and relatable way?

Give an example of each of the following Catholic values and explain where they were best presented in the novel: chastity, temperance, charity, diligence, patience, kindness, humility

 

Book Structure:

Discuss some of the narrative devices that the author uses? E.g. Flashbacks, foreshadowing, third person narration, plot twists, dialogue, and imagery. Do they work?

Do these narrative devices help move the story along or are they just distracting to the story?

Style:

What can you say about the author’s writing style?

Discuss the narrative style.

What are some of the noticeable themes in the book? How did the author develop these themes? Were these methods effective?

The Author:

How well did the author take you into the story?

Was the use of description effective?

Could you envision each character?

Could you envision the setting?

Did you find this novel enjoyable?

Would you recommend it to a friend? Explain your response.

Does this book prompt you to want to read more from this author?

 

Quotes:

Which character quote did you find most effective?

Which character quote do you feel is the defining message in the novel?

 

.PDF VERSION of book study for Saving Faith

Image Credit: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net

You may also be interested in:

Freeing Tanner Rose-Book Study Questions for Homeschooling, Youth Groups, and Book Clubs

The Destiny of Sunshine Ranch-Book Study Questions for Homeschooling, Youth Groups, and Book Clubs

Book Reviews and More on “Saving Faith”: “Another Great Book”

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Saving Faith is featured on Book Reviews and More. If you’ve read the book or like my work, please leave a comment and share it with others.

Sometimes when you return to a series, especially if it has been more than 2 years there is a little trepidation. I have read many series that ended up going downhill after the first book. Especially if the first book, Freeing Tanner Rose, was so good that at the time I considered it one of the best Catholic Young Adult book I had read. That was not the case this time. And returning to the small town and characters in the Faith and Kung Fu series was like visiting with friends that you have not seen in a long time.

Like book 1 in this series this is an intense read but for very different reasons. Instead of being about someone who has not ever really interacted with people of faith, and helping them turn their life around. This book is about a girl named Faith, who has always been a Christian, a good Catholic girl. He brother is a Catholic and her parents raised her well. But all of a sudden she is making some bad choices, some very bad decisions. She has started blowing off her closest friend. She is making jokes and disparaging remarks about things she believed and was committed to previously. She is interested in a guy with a wicked temper and who has hurt her and left bruises. The boy she is interested in named Christian, is on a Kung Fu Scholarship at their Catholic school. He does not have any faith, and a lot of anger. When he is suspended from school for fighting, Faith has the idea that he can continue to train with Gabriel at the local dojo. And like his namesake the angel, maybe Gabriel can save Faith, even from herself, and maybe, just maybe even be able to influence Christian to help his change course.

There are a number of strengths to this book and the series. First are the characters. Gaouette does an excellent job fleshing out her characters. They are real, and very well written.   Read more of this review and others at Book Reviews and More

New Release! Saving Faith. Book 2- (Faith & Kung Fu Series)

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“Saving Faith” is the second book in my Faith & Kung Fu series and it follows the first story, “Freeing Tanner Rose.” In this new novel, we see more of Faith who is feeling very confined in her faith. The story explores many subjects including worldliness, self-control, friendship, dating, and forgiveness, among many others. I will be discussing this novel further and including a list of book study questions.

You can find free book study questions on my previous novels: Freeing Tanner Rose and The Destiny of Sunshine Ranch.

Blessings, TMG

If you loved this, then you’re sure to like…

 

Freeing Tanner Rose-Book Study Questions for Homeschooling, Youth Groups, and Book Clubs

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*Note to youth leaders and teachers: You can pick and choose the questions depending on the purpose of your instruction and the age group of your students/readers.

Character development:

Characters-specific: Determine which characters you wish to discuss, either from the list given or others- Gabriel, Tanner, Miss Ruth, Alicia, Nina, Faith, Adam

How did temptation affect each character?

How was temptation dealt with as the character developed?

How important was modesty in this novel?

In how many ways was modesty presented?

Compare and contrast the characters Miss Ruth and Miss Alicia.

Explain the relationship transition between Gabriel and Tanner.

Explain how kung fu helped Gabriel remain focused on his faith.

Why was Gabriel not interested in competing?

In what ways did Gabriel live his faith?

Did Gabriel ever struggle with his faith? Explain.

Why do you believe that Gabriel continued to have a recurring dream about his father?

Why was it so difficult for Tanner to return to Hollywood?

Do you believe that Tanner could continue in her career without compromising her new found faith?

Which character was your favorite and why?

Which character do you feel was the strongest emotionally and why?

Characters-general:

Were you able to relate to any of the characters portrayed and in what way?

Were the characters believable?

Was there any experience in the novel that you feel you can apply to your own life experience?

Do you find this novel valuable? Explain your response.

Which character made the biggest transition, in your opinion?

Which character made the smallest transition, in your opinion?

Spirituality:

In your opinion, how well does the author portray the presence of God in the everyday lives of the characters?

Is the author successful in presenting faith in a relevant and relatable way?

Give an example of each of the following Christian values and explain where they were best presented:
forgiveness, strong faith, honesty, loyalty, perseverance, purity, charity, compassion, tolerance

 

Book Structure:

Discuss some of the narrative devices that the author uses? E.g. Flashbacks, foreshadowing, third person narration, plot twists, dialogue, and imagery. Do they work?

Do these narrative devices help move the story along or are they just distracting to the story?

Style:

What can you say about the author’s writing style?

Discuss the narrative style.

What are some of the noticeable themes in the book? How did the author develop these themes? Were these methods effective?

The Author:

How well did the author take you into the story?

Was the use of description effective?

Could you envision each character?

Could you envision the setting?

Did you find this novel enjoyable?

Would you recommend it to a friend? Explain your response.

Does this book prompt you to want to read more from this author?

 

Quotes:

Which character quote did you find most effective?

Which character quote do you feel is the defining message in the novel?

.PDF VERSION of book study for Freeing Tanner Rose

Image Credit: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net

You may also be interested in:

The Destiny of Sunshine Ranch-Book Study Questions for Homeschooling, Youth Groups, and Book Clubs

Including T.M. Gaouette Novels in Your Teen’s Home-school Reading Program?

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This is a note to all homeschooling parents looking to include my novels in their home education program. Surprisingly, many parents don’t take the time to read first the books they assign to their children. I feel that this is a great disadvantage to them and their children. My suggestion before assigning any of my teen novels to your children is to take the time to read them yourself for the following reasons:

  1. You can determine whether the novel is appropriate for your child. All my novels are great learning tools for teens, but some do introduce controversial themes. I’m not graphic in descriptions of controversial topics, but I do touch upon those issues enough to get necessary perspective. And so, I do feel that only a parent can decide if their child is ready to learn about certain issues. For example:
    • Themes for The Destiny of Sunshine Ranch include: Past adversity, emotional abuse, and loss.
    • Themes for Freeing Tanner Rose include: Addiction, loss, immodesty, and purity.
  2. You can set up a lesson plan that meets your current curriculum. Because of the many themes intertwined in each book, it offers many opportunities for learning. Whether you want to introduce a topic or work on writing techniques, you can establish a plan that’s unique to your child’s personal needs.
  3. You know what your children are reading and can respond to their questions accordingly. This would go hand in hand with number two. In setting up your lesson plan, you should also have the answer to the questions that will inevitably arise.

If you’re looking for feedback from readers and information to help set up your reading curriculum, check out some of the following links:

THE DESTINY OF SUNSHINE RANCH:

What Are People Saying About The Destiny of Sunshine Ranch
Amazon Comments
Author Profile 
Book Reviews and More (also posted on Catholic Dads Online)
Guest Post @ CatholicMom.com
Interview @ProjectInspired.com

The Destiny of Sunshine Ranch- Chapter 1
The Destiny of Sunshine Ranch-Book Study Questions for Youth Groups, Schools, and Book Clubs

FREEING TANNER ROSE (Bk. 1-Faith & Kung Fu Series)

Review @Ourvillageisalittledifferent.com
Amazon Comments
Guest Post @ CatholicMom.com
Interview @ProjectInspired.com

I will try to keep this page updated. And don’t forget to “Like” me on Facebook for updates, news, and reviews of my current and upcoming novels…just click the “like” button on the right panel!

If you have the time, please share your feedback on lessons for any or all of my books in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you.

Best and blessings, and happy homeschooling. TMG

Image Credit: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net

Author Interview: “A Nagging Desire to Share God’s Grace…” – An Interview with Catholic Novelist T.M. Gaouette

Following is an author interview by Catholic Fiction.net. Check it out!

CatholicFiction.net: Why do you write?

T. M. Gaouette: It’s inevitable. Hemingway famously stated that, “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” He wasn’t kidding. Writing is as much thrilling as it is draining, and there have been times when I’ve been so disheartened that I’ve contemplated giving it up. But I can’t imagine not writing. I have stories to tell and a nagging desire to share God’s amazing grace within each one. So, I’ll plug away and pray that God gives me the words and the aspiration to continue on. At least until I’m no longer consumed with stories to tell.

CF: What first inspired you to become a writer?

TMG: I don’t recall that first moment, but I can’t remember a time when I didn’t write, whether it was my own thoughts in a diary as a child or short stories and poems.

CF: If you were a critic writing about your own books, how would you describe the defining characteristic of your writing style?

TMG: Deep, descriptive, and refreshingly pastoral.

CF: Is there a favorite place you have to write?

TMG: I’d love to share some romantic image of myself gazing out at an idyllic afternoon scene as I blissfully tap the keys of my laptop, but the reality is that I write late at night when my four children are asleep. I’m usually sitting on my couch with my laptop burning my lap. I do have a more attractive schedule that seemed feasible at the time of its conception, but parenting, home-schooling, working, gardening, canning, farming, cooking, and cleaning have since extended beyond their allocated timeframes and pushed my writing into the wee hours.

CF: What is your cure for writer’s block?

TMG: Read the work I’m writing or focus on another novel. I always have a few books on the backburner and sometimes writer’s block is an opportunity to take time away from the current novel and work on another. When I’m ready, I’ll return my focus to the current novel with a fresh approach.

CF: What is your cure for procrastination?

TMG: I don’t get much time to write, so when I’m at the computer, I just get down to it.

CF: Describe in your own words what the “Catholic imagination” is – or alternatively, what it means to be a “Catholic writer.”

TMG: When it comes to writing my novels, I have a desire to write about God-loving people in a tainted world. I feel that my need to write is my God-given gift, and all gifts should be used to glorify Him. And so as a writer, I present the world, with its messy and complicated and destructive nature, and then I introduce the characters, some of whom know Christ and some who don’t. And then they meet. The rest is…well, you have to read my novels to find out the rest!

CF: What three writers – alive or dead – would you like to invite to dinner? Why?

TMG: Undoubtedly, Tolkien, Lewis, and Chesterton, and for numerous reasons. But primarily for the conversation. Such an interaction would be awe-inspiring. We’d talk about writing and faith. I’d have loved to hear Tolkien’s compelling arguments with Lewis that caused the latter to convert.

CF: What is the “best thing” about being a writer?

TMG: Clearly, the best thing is when my readers are inspired by my novels. When they find comfort in them. I honestly see my work as a ministry and when the final product brings someone closer to Christ, that’s an awesome feeling.

CF: What is your latest book about?

TMG: Freeing Tanner Rose is about a Hollywood teen diva who is uprooted from her celebrity lifestyle, as a result of her destructive vices, and sent to the boonies to stay with her mother’s friend who’s a devoted Catholic and mom to a gorgeous and Godly, Kung-fu loving teenaged son.

CF: What inspired you to write this story in the first place? Where did the story line come from?

TMG: Our pop culture prompted me to write about the immorality of Hollywood, as well as the desire to introduce young, attractive characters who are beautifully Catholic. I feel as if Hollywood, and its sexualized nature, has taken such a hold on our young people. I’m disturbed that it’s so appealing, and Hollywood entices our children with everything immoral. And so, I wrote Freeing Tanner Rose to demonstrate that God and His way are so much more appealing, and in essence, we are all imprisoned without Him. This is the first of four novels that will touch upon issues that our teens and young adults have to deal with today.

CF: Did you hold onto the idea for a long time before giving it shape, or did it come together in a flash?

TMG: All my ideas are written down immediately in a notebook or flashcard so that I don’t forget them. And then the plot develops over time. I continue to write down my thoughts, but when the story begins to take shape with a plot and characters, that’s when I write down a layout and synopsis. Freeing Tanner Rose took a few years to take shape.

CF: All fiction comes from a mix of past influences and impressions –things we’ve lived, seen, imagined, or read. Can you talk about some of the elements that came together to shape this particular fiction?

TMG: It was a culmination of things lived, seen, and imagined. I’ve studied Kung-fu, so I’m familiar with the art. My own personal voyage toward a more devout existence also influenced the novel’s journey of faith. And the destructive nature of our pop culture inspired me to write about what would happen if Hollywood was stuck in a small town.

CF: How does this book differ from either a) previous books you’ve written or b) other writing work you’ve accomplished?

TMG: I have been told by some readers that Freeing Tanner Rose differs greatly from The Destiny of Sunshine Ranch. I believe that primarily it’s the dynamics of the relationships that make a difference. In the former, there is more focus on Tanner and Gabriel’s developing relationship.

CF: What was the most challenging aspect – a character, a plot point, etc. – of writing this book?

TMG: The biggest challenge, when it comes to writing in general, is in creating a work with both plot and characters that are appealing to the youth of today. And when their usual literary intake is comprised of bad boys corrupting good girls or gorgeous vampires in compromising positions, all set in a godless world, it makes the challenge all the more difficult for authors seeking to offer edifying novels that glorify the Almighty. However that’s a challenge I accept willingly.

CF: Which characters in this book did you find most challenging to work with, and what was it like to write with them? Conversely, do you have any characters that came particularly easily to you?

TMG: I knew my characters before introducing them. Knowing them came easier than describing them in words in some cases. When it came to Tanner Rose, I wanted my readers to gradually change their feelings for her as the story and her faith journey progressed. And the transition that she experiences had to be realistic. Gabriel was equally challenging. He had to be an authentic character. He had to be pure in his beliefs and actions, even though he wasn’t perfect. And he had to be unruffled in his demeanor and unapologetic in his piety.

Read the whole interview at Catholic Fiction.net.

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Book Reviews and More on “Freeing Tanner Rose”: “One of the Best Catholic Fiction Stories for Young Adults I Have Ever Read”

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T.M. Gaouette – Author Profile Featured on Book Reviews and More and CatholicDadsOnline.org

 

Don’t Let Editing Get in the Way of Writing!

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It’s easy to do. You’re in the middle of writing your manuscript and you stop every now and then to fix a typo or add punctuation. You want your writing to be perfect, after-all, right? But what if editing your work while writing it is actually harming your masterpiece? How can that be?

Well, consider these points regarding the process of editing as you write.

  • It slows you down – When you’re in the mood to write and your inspiration is flowing, you don’t want to stop to fix your punctuation or spelling. When you’re inspired and motivated, you really need to take advantage of those opportunities. So just write, no matter how messy it looks. The point of this stage is to get your ideas on paper.
  • It’s distracting – How can you focus on what you’re writing when you keep stopping to edit? And how can you meet a daily writing goal if you’re distracted with edits?
  • It’s not necessary – At least not while you’re still writing your manuscript. And editing requires as much attention as -actually more than- writing. 

So, when do you edit?

When you’re not motivated to write -unless, it’s time to edit, of course. Yes, when you don’t feel like writing or worse, you feel as if you can’t write. Use this time constructively by editing. Not only will this effort be a way to continue forward with the completion of your manuscript, it may just inspire you to actually write!

What are your thoughts about editing while writing?

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Image Credit: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net

Freeing Tanner Rose: Chapter 1

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1

THE music pounded within the constraints of the dimmed room, pulsating through the bodies of every dancing person. It was a large, extravagant room, packed far beyond capacity and marred by the quality of entertainment. The crowd created a thick, stuffy heat in the space, along with a stench that was a culmination of cologne, perfume, and sweat. But to the guests attending, it was a paradise. It was a place of refuge for some, and a place to hide for others. And you had to be someone special to be invited.

Tanner threw her head back and laughed, spilling her cocktail and squealing. She was sitting on her friend Emma’s lap, experiencing the perfect level of euphoria, and she didn’t want the feeling to end. As she looked around the room, she was suddenly aware of the fact that her life would probably never get any better than this. The thought seemed ridiculous, since she was only fourteen. But the idea that she could feel even happier than she felt at that exact moment, seemed even more inconceivable. She let out a content breath and scrambled awkwardly to her feet.

“I want to dance!” She yelled her announcement over the music and turned to Emma. She reached out to her friend, who let out a short scream.

“Watch your smoke!” Tanner had forgotten that she was smoking.

“Oh, my bad,” she said and giggled. She dropped the cigarette butt into an unfinished beer bottle and attempted to pull her reluctant friend off the couch. A hand grabbed her arm and spun her around, and almost off balance. She was suddenly face to face with Jason Allen. His brown eyes sparkled.

Tanner Rose, I’ve been looking for you.”

“I’ve been here,” she said, laughing and gesturing to her surroundings. He spun her again and the move caused her vision to swirl. She let out a screech and grabbed him for support. “Cut that out!”

“You look amazing,” he said, taking advantage of her backless dress and caressing her bare skin. “I was looking for a dance, but now I’m thinking we should take a little time alone.”

“Are you undressing me with your eyes, Mr. Allen?”

“Kind of,” he said and laughed, “but you haven’t made it too hard, if you know what I mean.”

“Whatever!” She laughed too.

“So, what about it?” he asked with a wink. “Wanna make out?”

“I want to dance!” she said sternly and grabbed his hand. She dragged him through the mob of people.

Tanner pushed her way in among the mass of bodies on the dance floor and closed her eyes. And then she lost herself. She lost herself in the music, the movement of the crowd, and the warm and fuzzy sensation that was consuming her. That was the last thing she remembered.

 CONTINUE READING