Tag Archives: writers resources

Unusual Jobs for Your Characters – Writers’ Resources

I’ve already given you a list of common jobs, which are useful in many genres of writing.  But sometimes you need a career for a character that’s far beyond the norm, and that’s what this list is for!  Some of these jobs pull in a lot of money, and others are just unusual.

Check out more lists like this on my Writers’ Resources page.

If you have an idea that belongs on this page, leave me a comment and I’ll add it to the list along with your preferred link.

animator

archeologist

astronaut

bodyguard

choreographer

cruise ship captain

CIA agent

cryptozoologist (studies legendary creatures)

entertainment lawyer

exobiologist (studies life on other planets)

fashion designer

film director

fountain pen dealer

hemp/cannabis farmer

hunting guide

literary archeologist (studyies ancient writing/literature)

microbiologist

mine rescuer

Olympic athlete

paranormal investigator

paleontologist

professional athlete

professional gamer

puppeteer

royalty

royal aide

snake milker

stunt coordinator

toy designer

TV producer

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Ashley O’Melia is an independent author and freelancer from Southern Illinois. She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University. Her books include The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keeping and The Graveside Detective. Her short stories have been published in The Penmen Review, Siren’s Call, and Subcutaneous. Ashley’s freelance work has spanned numerous genres for clients around the world. You can find her on Facebook and Amazon.

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Volunteer Opportunities for Your Characters – Writers’ Resources

When building a character for your novel, it’s great to give them a few quirks and a job, but a volunteer position can add a lot to their depth.  It not only makes your character more of a real person, but it might also give her a reason to be in the right place at the right time and solve the crime/win the love of her crush/tick off someone who deserves it.

Since I love just these sorts of lists when I’m writing, I’m sharing them with you!  You can find this list and more on my Writers’ Resources page.

If you have any suggestions for this list, leave me a comment!  I’ll add your idea as well as your preferred link.

animal shelter

Big Brothers Big Sisters

blood drive

booster club (athletics, band, etc)

Boy Scouts

Boys and Girls Club

churches

city cleanup

coaching

food pantry

Girl Scouts

Habitat for Humanity

historical society

homeless shelter

hospice

library

literacy program

national parks

park district

political campaign

Red Cross

retirement home

schools

soup kitchen

warming shelter

YMCA

youth center

 

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Ashley O’Melia is an independent author and freelancer from Southern Illinois. She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University. Her books include The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keeping and The Graveside Detective. Her short stories have been published in The Penmen Review, Siren’s Call, and Subcutaneous. Ashley’s freelance work has spanned numerous genres for clients around the world. You can find her on Facebook and Amazon.

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20th Century Timeline for Writers (1900-1999)

This is a work in progress as part of my Writers’ Resources page!  It’s here to give you some help or maybe just a little inspiration if you’re working on any sort of historical fiction.  You’ll find that the links open a new tab so you can come back easily.  You can also check out the 19th Century/Old West Timeline.

Have something that shoudl be added?  Leave me a comment!

 

1900

Hawaii is annexed as a U.S. territory

1904

-both the World’s Fair and the Summer Olympics are held in St. Louis

1908

Scouting for Boys by Robert Baden-Powell is published and will begin a tradition of Scouting around the world

1911

Ronald Reagan is born (Feb 6)

1919

Prohibition (the 18th amendment) was passed on Jan 16.  The country wouldn’t officially go dry until Jan 17, 1920

1929

Martin Luther King, Jr. is born (January 15)

1941

-the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor, Hawaii (Dec 7)

1957

Wham-O introduces the Frisbee (Jan 23)

1959

Hawaii becomes a state (August 21)

1963

Cat’s Cradle (Kurt Vonnegut) is published

1967

-the first Super Bowl is played (Jan 15)  (Green Bay Packers vs. Kansas City Chiefs in L.A.)

1968

Martin Luther King, Jr. is assassinated (April 4)

1969

Slaughterhouse-Five (Kurt Vonnegut) is published

1970

The Mary Tyler Moore Show is broadcast (until 1977)

1974

-Stephen King publishes Carrie, his debut novel (April 5)

1980

Ronald Reagan is elected President and is at that time the oldest person elected for the position

1997

Madeline Albright becomes the first female Secretary of State, the highest ranking female official in U.S. history the time (Jan 23)

 

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Old West/Frontier Timeline for Writers (19th Century)

Historical fiction can be a delight or doozy, depending on how you look at it.  Much of my ghostwriting work has been in this genre, and I find myself spending a lot of time checking facts to make sure I get things right.  To save both myself (and you!) some time, I’ve started this timeline of the 1800s in America.  It will include anything I come across that’s relevant to life in America, even if it’s an invention or publication in another country so your characters will have some news to talk about.  This timeline works well for writers working with frontier and pioneer life, mail order bride stories, westerns, and more.  Each link will open in a new tab so you can explore a little more but still come back easily.  I’ll be updating it regularly, so be sure to check back!

Have an event you’d like to see on the timeline?  Just leave me a comment!

 

1814

British troops burn the White House during the War of 1812 (August 24)

1818

-Illinois becomes a state (Dec 3)

1820

Washington Irving publishes “Rip Van Winkle” and “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” in a collection of short stories entitled The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent.  They’re considered the first American short stories.

1821

-Missouri becomes a state (August 10)

1825

a patent for tinning sardines in America was granted to Thomas Kensett.  The food had originally been invented in 1810 to help feed Bonaparte’s troops.

1834

Fort Boise (Idaho Territory) is established

1837

the Daguerrotype is invented in France  (the first made in the U.S. were in 1839)

1841

-Dallas, TX is founded

1843

Charles Dickens publishes A Christmas Carol (Dec 19)

1848

James Wilson Marshall discovers gold near Coloma, California, sparking the gold rush of 1849

Elizabeth Blackwell is the first woman in the U.S. to receive a medical degree (Jan 23)

the Mexican-American War ends with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo

1850

-California becomes a state (September 9)

1851

-the Australian Gold Rush begins (Feb 12)

Moby Dick (Herman Melville) is published

1854

copper is discovered in Arizona

the Nebraska Territory is established

1856

-Dallas, TX is officially incorporated

1860

the first schoolhouse in Colorado is built in Boulder

1861

the Territory of Colorado is established (February)

-the Civil War begins (April 12)

-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow publishes “Paul Revere’s Ride”

1862

The Homestead Act is signed into law by President Lincoln, allowing Americans to claim 160-acre plots of public land (May 20)

1864

Montana becomes a territory

Jules Verne publishes A Journey to the Centre of the Earth

1865

-the Civil War ends (May 9)

1867

Nebraska becomes a state (March 1)

Lincoln is chosen as the capital of Nebraska (territorial capital was Omaha)

1869

the transcontinental railroad is completed in Promontory, Utah (May 10)

Jules Verne publishes 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (translated to English in 1873)

1871

the city of Boulder, Colorado (formerly Boulder City) is incorporated

1872

Jules Verne publishes Around the World in Eighty Days

1876

-Colorado is admitted to the Union as the 38th state (August 1)

1877

-The University of Colorado in Boulder opens (September)

-The American Museum of Natural History opens in New York

1882

Buffalo Bill Cody starts “Buffalo Bill’s Wild West” show

-Northern Pacific railroad completed in Idaho

1889

Pocatello, Idaho is founded

Montana becomes a state (November 8)

1890

Idaho becomes a state (July 3)

-Wyoming becomes a state (July 10)

1893

Colorado becomes the second state to allow women the right to vote

1912

Arizona becomes a state (February 14)

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Ashley O’Melia is an independent author and freelancer from Southern Illinois. She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University. Her books include The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keeping and The Graveside Detective. Her short stories have been published in The Penmen Review, Siren’s Call, and Subcutaneous. Ashley’s freelance work has spanned numerous genres for clients around the world. You can find her on Facebook and Amazon.

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Character Quirks

Quirks are handy when creating characters and may even help advance the plot. Note these aren’t necessarily bad or good things about a person, but they’re fun traits that not everyone will share. Although it’s by no means exhaustive, here’s a list of quirks you may find helpful while creating your characters. (Looking for more on writing? Visit my Writers’ Resources page.)

  • presses her lips together when she’s angry
  • sticks the tip of his tongue out of the corner of his mouth while he’s working on something
  • picks up rocks and throws them as she’s walking
  • can’t stand to eat a certain food, i.e. always picks tomatoes out of his salad
  • doesn’t like pets or animals of any kind
  • constantly corrects people, either on their grammar or their pronunciations
  • trails her fingers on plants, books, whatever is at hand as she walks
  • has trouble sleeping at night
  • constantly lies, even though she’s terrible at it
  • always has his nose in a book
  • constantly washes her hands
  • afraid to travel
  • hates confrontation so much she won’t stand up for herself, even when she’s right
  • really into science fiction, and it is a part of his life
  • won’t go anywhere without her dog
  • likes to blame everyone else for his problems
  • is neat and presentable, but her house is an absolute wreck
  • insists that his clothes be folded a certain way, but he won’t do his own laundry
  • refuses to take her husband’s last name
  • won’t drink out of a can or bottle, and has to pour it into a glass first
  • chews ice
  • always falls asleep with the TV on
  • talks in her sleep
  • thinks he’s an expert on everything
  • bad with money
  • talks to her dogs like they’re people
  • terrified of animals (or a certain kind of animal)
  • drinks a lot but functions
  • always reads subtitles even when he can understand the dialog
  • must be busy while on the phone
  • gestures with hands while talking, even if on the phone
  • always carries his own pen and refuses to use anyone else’s
  • constantly listening to music
  • drums her fingers on the counter when waiting
  • absolutely refuses to leave the house without full makeup and hair
  • despises coffee
  • obsessed with coffee
  • obsessed with eating healthy and drives everyone else nuts with it
  • obsessed with environmentally healthy products
  • always trying to sell you something (party products like Avon and Pampered chef, handmade crafts, or even a used car)
  • has kept all the porcelain dolls her mother collected
  • literally lives in a fantasy world (cosplay, D&D, etc.)
  • convinced she’s adopted
  • feels Christmas must be exactly perfect or else it’s a disaster
  • is an extreme couponer and hoards pantry and cleaning items simply because she got them cheap
  • always cold (needs blankets, socks, mitten, sweaters)
  • quit smoking and now constantly chews gum or has a toothpick in his mouth
  • always apologizes (could relate to past trauma)
  • constantly knitting things for people, even if they don’t want them
  • loves speaking with an English accent and/or using British terms, even though she’s American
  • loves British television (and thus the accent?)
  • believes in crystal healing and is constantly giving her friends stones that she believes will help them
  • hypochondriac
  • signs up for volunteer positions but never follows through with them
  • loves spending time in nature and is always outside
  • loves fountain pens and ink (this person is likely to have ink on their fingers)
  • still gets up to watch cartoons on Saturday morning
  • insists on having a perfectly clean house all the time
  • abstains from drinking any alcohol, ever (perhaps a victim of alcoholism in some way)
  • always has a book with her
  • waves at anyone who happens to drive by

This is just a handful of suggestions, but it was also a great writing exercise. What quirks have you used or seen in fiction that you think are great? Or terrible? Let me know in the comments! Please be sure to check out my Writers’ Resources page for more ideas, lists, and information on writing.

* * *

Ashley O’Melia is an independent author and freelancer from Southern Illinois. She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University. Her books include The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keeping and The Graveside Detective. Her short stories have been published in The Penmen Review, Siren’s Call, and Subcutaneous. Ashley’s freelance work has spanned numerous genres for clients around the world. You can find her on Facebook and Amazon.

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