Thursday, June 9, 2011

Testing!

It's provincial testing week in our province, so my students are working hard to show off what they've learned so far. They're not too happy though!

I don't know too many people who love tests, do you?

In our stories, our characters are facing tests of some kind all the time. Sometimes it's a physical test they have to complete. Other times, it's a test of trust. Still others it might be a mystery or puzzle to be solved.


I'm working on that rewrite (yes, still!) and I'm finding although I do test my characters a lot, I let them find the answers too easily. That's why the rewrite is taking so long. I'm having to rip apart and build up my story on every single page. Make it tougher on them, make them really have to work for those answers.

What's your favourite kind of test to throw at your characters: physical, mystery or a matter of trust? Or maybe something completely different?

52 comments:

  1. I like the test of trust as an ongoing part of the story and lots of mysteries to be solved along the way. Great question.
    In real life, the students are right, testing is no fun.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Susan - I like the tests of trust too! Most often I find my characters have to learn to trust themselves. :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. The hardest tests are the ones we give ourselves along our paths. Great post, Jemi. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Debra - thanks! I think those are the hardest - for us and those poor characters of ours :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. The test of trust.
    Torture those students, Jemi!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Alex - lol :) I'm too sappy to torture kids ... for long!!

    I like the test of trust too!

    ReplyDelete
  7. For what I'm working on now, the challenge is physical, emotional and mental. But the mental is the most difficult.

    ReplyDelete
  8. My characters are trying to solve a mystery along with my readers. Everyone has to ask lots of questions and try and work it out before the end of the book. I have two dear friends who read samples of my novel and they are for ever asking questions about what happens next. I hope this is a good sign that my writing is doing what is suppose to.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I think the best test for our characters is not let them get comfortable. Keep them guessing.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I think when I write a story all my characters face a test of one kind or another - even the animals!! I think I like the journey each one takes to resolve (or not) their challenge!!

    My favourite kind of academic tests are multiple choice questions!! Yay! Take care
    x

    ReplyDelete
  11. I like the old formula...a dash of internal challenge and a dash of external. So the cerebral test of a mystery to puzzle through, added to getting pushed in some respect by a personal problem or conflict.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Helen - sounds intriguing! Mental challenges can often be the most difficult for the characters!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Jarmara - sounds like the mystery is doing exactly what it's supposed to! Mysteries are fun!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Teresa - true! If they always know what they're doing, it's probably not much of a plot!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Old Kitty - sounds like you've got a great story on your hands!

    I always hated multiple choice - much prefered when I got essay questions!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Elizabeth - I like that combination as well! It's good when the characters have more than one type of challenge to overcome!

    ReplyDelete
  17. I find that I have to make things tougher in the rewrite too! Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Laura - so glad I'm not alone! It seems to me that sometimes I'm the only one with these strange little problems! :)

    ReplyDelete
  19. Enjoyed the post, as I write mainly what happens to myself and family I write only fact.

    Have a good day.
    Yvonne.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Great post topic. I think it's the emotional tests that are the hardest, though I do like to put my characters in physical danger a lot!

    Ellie Garratt

    ReplyDelete
  21. Ugh, tests! I remember those days. I'm with Ellie - I think emotional tests are indeed the toughest.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Physical danger is my favorite but emotional is also challenging for me as well as the character. Sometimes in the emotional test, I tear up as I write the scenes :)

    ReplyDelete
  23. I like to test their character. Will they do the right thing in trying times. Of course, sometimes a character has to do something they normally would not do for the greater good, such as breaking a law if it saves someone's life.

    ReplyDelete
  24. I love peeling back the layers of my characters. I think they're all artichokes. You have to find that tender heart in the center. (At least for the good guys)

    Terry
    Terry's Place
    Romance with a Twist--of Mystery

    ReplyDelete
  25. Yvonne - but you do have lots of tests in what you write as well! You always find a way to do well and end up on the bright side!

    ReplyDelete
  26. Ellie - I agree! Putting our characters through physicalturmoil is fun, but the emotional challenges are the toughest! :)

    ReplyDelete
  27. I'm with Debra. the hardest test of all is to survive in this life.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Talli - me too! I'm so glad I don't have to do the tests - but they're fun to through at our characters :)

    ReplyDelete
  29. Catherine - me too!! I'm a total sap and I cry when my characters are in turmoil :)

    ReplyDelete
  30. Stephen - you're right! Testing their character is fun! I'm so glad I don't have to do what my poor characters do :)

    ReplyDelete
  31. Terry - great analogy! The tender heart better show up at the end for me too. I like to find the mushy centre :)

    ReplyDelete
  32. Rosalind - so true. Survival through those tough times, through the heartbreak is not easy!

    ReplyDelete
  33. I find my characters are often tested emotionally, relationally, and sometimes physically. The physical is easy to show! Great idea for a post!

    ReplyDelete
  34. Rebecca - Thanks :) I think the biggest test for mine is emotional - they have to learn to trust themselves and each other :)

    ReplyDelete
  35. I like to throw a little bit of everything at my characters, if possible and if applicable. You're so right--the tougher we are on our characters, the better. Great post!

    ReplyDelete
  36. Cynthia - Thanks -- mixing it up for the characters is fun! I've just got to get better at not making their issues too easy for them to solve!

    ReplyDelete
  37. Ugh, my oldest is complaining so much about Provincials!

    I like to throw stuff at my characters that challenge their beliefs and make them question them. To me, this always brings out the character's real personality and moral center.

    Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

    ReplyDelete
  38. Angela - that's a good one! Challenging someone's beliefs makes for good stories for sure!! :)

    ReplyDelete
  39. Oh, I am horrible at taking tests. Naturally, I'm horrible at giving them as well. My characters also get off a little easily, but I'm working on it. My favorite kind of test is all about trust though.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Kari - I like the trust tests best too - although the physical ones are always fun to write about as well! :)

    ReplyDelete
  41. Almost done for the school year?

    My characters' tests depend on the books. Most of the time they're mental.

    ReplyDelete
  42. I prefer physical tests and am almost done with a rewrite where I added in emotional and more personal tests. Empathize with you on the rewrite. Doesn't matter how long it takes if it turns out well. :D Keep at it.

    ReplyDelete
  43. Theresa - almost - another 3 weeks to go :)

    You're right - they do all change depending on the characters themselves and the plot. I like the mental ones!

    ReplyDelete
  44. M Pax - exactly! I'm hoping it will all turn out well. I do know it's stronger & it's not nearly done! :)

    I've been adding some physical stuff to this round - and it's fun. I didn't have much of it first time around so this is better! :)

    ReplyDelete
  45. I love to test my characters trust and maybe some physical tests as well. Can't make it easy for 'em ;)

    ReplyDelete
  46. Lynda - it's fun to throw in a variety of challenges - I'm getting better at it! :)

    ReplyDelete
  47. I like to put my characters through all sorts of things, mainly so they can figure themselves out and gain their independence.

    ReplyDelete
  48. Medeia - that's a perfect way to approach YA! Your approach is part of what makes the YA genre so strong!

    ReplyDelete
  49. I love testing my characters! The one in my current WIP is going to have to show resourcefulness and bravery for what I'm about to throw in her path. Mu hu hu ha ha!

    ReplyDelete
  50. Julie - It is fun, isn't it! I've just got to get better at letting them suffer for a little longer! :)

    ReplyDelete