Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Blog Tour

I am busy doing guest posts for other blogs and interviews.  I will try to keep you all up to date with where I am.

Right NOW, my interview with Jennifer Rainey can be found at her site, Independent Paranormal.  Check it out here:

On May 6th my interview with Jude Henderson will be at

On June 17th, my interview with Jo Ramsey will be here:

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Character Building part 4

The other day, I was reading a short story on Inkpop.  There were more than a dozen teens at a party, and the writer constantly pointed out eye color and hair color.  Every time another character was mentioned, even if they weren't important to the story, she put their eye and hair color until it became ridiculous.  Instead of reading the story for enjoyment, I found myself watching for the next mention of color.  The story gave me an idea for a new Character Building article: How do you describe your characters without annoying the reader?

First of all, I'd like to talk about choosing what your characters will look like.  Other writers have told me they don't do this, but I pick famous people to be my characters.  It's easier for me to picture them in my mind if I am already familiar with them.  In Vampires Rule, for instance, I chose Thomas Dekker (I think that's how you spell his name) from the Terminator tv series to be Jack Creed.  His character on the show, John Connor, had this vulnerability with the untapped potential of great strength that I wanted for Jack. 

Secondly, let's talk about how to describe the characters without making a list.  Writing 'Jane has blond hair and blue eyes' doesn't sound as good as 'Jane's long blond hair flew around her face, out of control, as a violent wind swept in from the Pacific Ocean.'  Then you can describe her blue eyes gazing at something, blinking them rapidly, etc. 

Sometimes it's hard to think of an original way to describe a character.  In one of my books, I described a certain young man from the female character's view.  She was secretly in love with him.  He reminded her of a tropical vacation from his hair, the color of warm sand, to his Caribbean blue eyes.  He had the body of a surfer, lean and muscular, a golden tan, and he always smelled like the sun to her.

I also find it interesting that some readers don't want to have a description.  They ignore it because they already have someone in mind to play the part.  Sometimes I ask people who they picture as my characters after they've read one of my books.  They answers always amaze and irritate me.  Then I spend several minutes trying to convince them that they're wrong.  lol

I don't ask anymore.

Happy writing.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Character Building part 3

Another important part of creating a character is giving them a background story that makes sense.  For example, it is doubtful (although not impossible) that a person coming from an abusive background is going to be a completely stable person with great self-esteem.

Using my book Vampires Rule as an example, I can tell you that I started with the kind of person I wanted Jack to be.  He's a bit naiive when it comes to other people and isn't real good at picking friends.  I wanted him to be drawn in by the villain, but I didn't want Jack to appear stupid.  I knew from the beginning that Jack's parents would be dead when the story started... but what kind of relationship did he have with them?  What kind of relationship did he have with his father?

In order for the book to work, I decided Jack would have had a father who didn't show emotion easily.  He was more likely to slap his son on the back for a job well done than to hug him or say he loved him.  Still, Jack misses that.  He misses having that father-figure in his life... then here comes the antagonist.  Although the villain is in his thirties, he's charasmatic, intelligent, and knows just what buttons to push to get Jack on his side. 

In closing, remember to look at the character's backstory when fleshing them out.  It needs to make sense. Think about it.  We spend our entire adult lives trying to get over our childhood (unless you had a perfect one, which most of us haven't).  Happy writing.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Character Building part 2

I think one of the most important aspects of creating a character is giving them goals.  Every human being on this planet has goals.  We have short-term goals and long-term goals.  Even your antagonist should have a clear goal.  In this post I will talk a bit about setting goals for characters using my own book, Vampires Rule, as an example.

Short-term Goals:  This can be something the character wants to accomplish that day, that week, that month.  In every scene I write I like to know what my protagonist is hoping to accomplish; although, I don't always let the reader know.  Still it helps to have the information for yourself. 

In Vampires Rule, Jack's short-term goals change as we move through the book. There were times when he wanted to make peace with his brother and times when he wanted to save a life.  Knowing where your character is coming from, where their mind is at in each scene really helps.  It works for me, anyway.

Long-term Goals:  These are the most important.  What does your main character want more than anything else in the world?

For Jack, the answer is to be normal.  He wants to live a normal life, catch up on everything he missed while he was living as a vampire. 

Now, what does the antagonist want, and how do his goals clash with what the protagonist is reaching for?

In Vampires Rule, Jack wants to be normal while my antagonist is hoping to turn everyone into werewolves and rule the world.  It would be kind of hard for Jack to live a normal life if the villain gets his way.  So in the case of Vampires Rule, Jack has to go up against the antagonist.  He's the only person who can stop the bad guy, so Jack has to put aside his wants and needs for a while. 

When you give your characters goals, remember to think about the other characters in their lives.  How do their desires clash with those around them?  Also, remember that a character's goals can change.  Perhaps they grow up, learn an important lesson and decide to focus on something else.  Or maybe they try hard to reach their goal and fail.  What happens to them?  Will they keep trying like Scarlett O'hara or sink into a deep depression?

Happy writing!