Creating a Character
So, while I was thinking about what my next article should be about, especially after the plot bunny fiasco, I started to think about my next batch of characters and I thought, hmm why not write about those? After all, it isn’t the plot bunny the reader experiences when it picks up a book, that horror is solely for the author’s enjoyment. No, the reader experiences the story through the characters.
Now, there are many different types of characters an author can write about. There are the usual Main Characters, MCs, also known as the hero of the story. There’s the villains, my favorite part of writing. Then there are supporting characters, background cast, and cannon fodder.
I’m going to be breaking the characters up into separate articles, but for now let’s just talk about the creation of a character.
This process doesn’t require nearly as much death, destruction, and gladiator games as my plot bunny elimination process. Sorry, no questioning my psyche in this article.
The best way I have to describe my process for making a character is similar to an artist sculpting a statue. First, you pick your medium! Clay, marble, steel maybe? Perhaps you use something similar to a video game character generator? Once you’ve decided what your character will be made out of, for this I’m going to say clay, you start to shape his or hers physical appearance.
I write MM romance, so most of the time my characters are male. I’ll be sticking to that for this walk through.
Start with the basics when sculpting your clay man, how tall is he? Is he average height, tall, short? I like tall men, but not that tall, so I’m going to say this character is going to be 6’4”. Next, body type! Is he a swimmer? Body builder? Home body? Solider? I’m thinking ex-solider, a marine to be exact. So, he’s 6’4” and an ex-marine. That takes care of my next step, hair! Sometimes the hair step isn’t so easily answered and you have to think, does your man have long hair? Short? Mid-length? Curly? Wavy? Straight?
Okay, I now know that my character is a 6’4”, an ex-marine so he’s fit, and he’s got short hair. Next, I turn to his face. This includes facial hair, eyes, nose, lips, eyebrows, and ears. Anything that would be a defining feature on our clay man.
The character is an ex-marine, so he’s not going to have too much facial hair, at most a well-trimmed goatee, but I’m envisioning more of a clean-shaven man. Eyes? Round, and green. Hair color, something not decided by his job, let’s say sandy blond to light brown. His hair is short, so it’s hard to tell exactly. His eyebrows though will be light brown. Lips? Well, I’m a romantic so let’s go with kissable, lower lip slightly plumper than the top. Nose, average.
We’ve got a clear picture of our character’s physical appearance now. I would normally take the time to decide on any other details that would appear physically. Scars, tattoos, piercings, and perhaps callouses. Our character is an ex-marine so maybe he’s got a tat on his shoulder of the Marine insignia of an eagle, the globe, with the initials USMC. That would round him out.
Time for the fun part! Let’s cut our ex-marine’s head open! I mean that figuratively, or do I? The most important part of making a character is figuring out who that character is. What makes this ex-marine tick? Honor? Glory? Self-desires?
Once you’ve got a few core elements pinned down, start thinking up his history. Now, don’t jump the gun here. Your plot bunny, you know that gutsy little fuck that’s bouncing around telling you to write this guy’s story? Yeah, him. He should have the information you need to fill in those blanks. If not, your plot bunny is incomplete and you need to start playing doctor Frankenstein and piece that evil fluff ball together!
At this point you should have a character, with motives and a history to flesh him out. It is important that you have your character fleshed out before you start writing his story! If you don’t, it is going to be a pain to get them to follow their plot.
The final step in making a character? Naming them! Or, this can also be the first step. I tend to switch it up. Sometimes the name comes to me first, and the rest comes later. Other times, the character’s appearance and who he is develops first, like in this article. Of course, sometimes when your plot bunny arrives your characters are fully formed and ready to be written.
Remember, no matter what the characters and their conflicts are the MCs should be your central force in your stories. You can have the best plot bunny jumping around in your head but if your characters aren’t interesting you’re dead in the water. If no one is there to pilot that plot it’ll just float aimlessly on by.
Bonus round! Say you’ve got a few idea for an MC tossing around in your head and you can’t narrow it don’t. They’re similar, enough to be twins or triplets, but not similar enough to be the same person. What do you do? Well, you could always just give each version their own story, but where’s the fun in that? No, this is a bonus round which means… yep death battle!
Give those clones a weapon and tell them to kill each other off! The last character standing is your new MC.
Of course you could always go the boring route and just turn your characters into siblings, but was that part of their background information? A whole new can of worms has just been opened now!
It’s easier to just make them off each other. Less hassle in the long run.
What steps do you have for creating your characters?
*All images found via Google Image search. If you recognize an image, and it is yours, please message me so I can credit you.
William has watched on the sidelines as his cousins Marcus and Daniel both found love. He’s done his part as a shield for the future king and sacrificed his own heart in the building war between the families. Now, he’s being tested again.
Nevada is the third son of the Gallo family, the closest allies to the Dalrymple family. He comes to Aiden when he’s attacked by the same people that plotted against the House of the Dragon forty years ago. The same faction that would see the balance destroyed.
William volunteers to take Nevada in and keep him safe so he may help them in finding the Blood of Aeon hiding in the Nether. While doing so, he must fight his growing interest and desires in the other mage. His duty must come first. Along the way they must unravel mysteries, fight off ancient enemies, and come to terms with what destiny has in store for them.
Voices, far off at first but slowly growing in intensity, were the first things Nevada processed. His pulse instantly spiked as memories of pain and blood flooded him before his eyes opened and he bolted up, ready to defend himself against an attack.
“Easy there,” a kind, motherly voice soothed him as a firm hand anchored him back down to the comfortable softness beneath him. “You’re safe, Nevada. We’ve sent people to check on your family.”
“No! Call them back.” Nevada panicked. “They don’t know. They can’t know! I need to find Natalie Dalrymple. It’s urgent.”
“Hey, it’s me.” Nevada finally looked over to the woman holding him steady and felt himself fill with relief upon seeing the matriarch of the Dalrymple family. He’d made it. “What’s going on?”
“My family doesn’t know I’m here, or that I was attacked,” Nevada spoke quickly. “They can’t know about this. They’ll be a target, too.”
“Targeted by who?” Mathew, Natalie’s husband, asked. He wasn’t an intimidating looking man, but Nevada knew he was a powerful mage in his own right.
“Eirik Gunvald,” Nevada answered.
The gasps and curses he heard were followed by the sound of someone giving orders to a group of people. Nevada looked over his shoulder and quickly looked away when he saw the four princes looking at him. One in particular, Prince William, seemed pissed by his news. It wasn’t that Nevada wanted to be the messenger. He was just the only one that knew.
“What do you know?” Natalie asked, her voice hard but her touch gentle.
Nevada shook his head. He wasn’t even sure what he knew. All he was certain of was he’d been patrolling his section of the Nether—a separate magical realm from Earth—like routine, and he’d stumbled upon something out of place. Before he could get too close, though, he’d been attacked by a man fitting the description given by Lord Edmond and Prince Marcus during their time in the Nether two months ago.
“I think I found one of their bases,” Nevada said, uncertainty lacing his words.
“You think?” It was Prince William that spoke, his voice filled with rejection.
“Why else would I be attacked?” Nevada demanded as he stood up in defense. Instantly he regretted it. His head swam and his vision blurred before he fell back down to the couch. “I heard people talking, something about pulling someone out and not having contact for a while now,” he continued.
“Okay, that’s enough,” Aiden said, stepping forward and kneeling in front of Nevada. He smiled up at him.
Since the Dalrymples had revealed themselves to still be alive, Nevada and his family had renewed their bond with them. Both the Gallo and the Dalrymple families worked to protect the Nether. The Gallo family, the House of the Rooster, were the watchers of the Nether. It was their job to keep an eye out for any negative influences and act before something could happen.
When they failed to stop an incident, it became the Dalrymple family’s job to quell and contain the threat.
Due to their intersecting responsibilities, their families had always been close. The loss of the Dalrymples had been keenly felt by the Gallo family. Of course now a few things made sense. Like how certain issues were dealt with without outside involvement. Even in hiding, Natalie had continued her family’s work.
Nevada admired her for that.
“Tulia said you need to rest,” Aiden continued. “You and Melody both were severely injured.”
That’s right, his familiar. Looking around the room, he spotted her sleeping in a basket with blankets in it. Reaching for the basket, he pulled it to his chest and cradled it to him. Melody had tried to protect him when one of the men attacked, taking the brunt of an ice spell directly. One of her wings was bandaged and the other was in a splint.
“She’ll be flying again in a few days’ time,” Aiden spoke softly. “Tulia also said you should take that time to recover. William’s agreed to let you stay at his place until you’re cleared and back in good health.”
Dread filled Nevada’s stomach as he looked over his shoulder to see William still glaring at him. Something told Nevada that the prince hadn’t offered his place because he was worried about Nevada and his familiar. No, he wouldn’t doubt if William was suspicious of him.
“Um, a hotel will be fine,” Nevada said, hoping to avoid the uncomfortable situation of staying with a man that obviously didn’t like him. Not that Nevada could understand why. He couldn’t remember ever having a conversation with the man, let alone doing anything to cause him to distrust him.
“No, you need to be protected,” Daniel said, shooting him down. “If what you say is true, and you do know where Eirik and his group are staying, then you are an important witness for us. William will guard you while you heal.”
But would he guard him from danger or would he be guarding Aiden and Daniel from Nevada?
We’ve all heard the term plot bunny, but unless you’re a writer you don’t actually understand the true frustrating horror these little guys can bring to your life. On the off chance you don’t know what a plot bunny is, let me give you a quick definition. A plot bunny is an idea for a story that is so insistent that it will not go away until you write it. It also has a tendency to multiply into future book ideas. If this doesn’t sound frustrating to you, you are not a writer.
For a reader, plot bunnies are a great thing. It means your favorite author gets to put out more stories that you can read.
For a writer more blot bunnies equals more writing. Sometimes it means stopping one book and starting a whole new book, because the little demonic ball of fluff just won’t stop bouncing around in your head shouting “Write me! Write me! Write me!” If this sounds familiar, you’re a writer.
Now, each author has their own way of dealing with plot bunnies. For me, those little annoyances … I mean wonderfully evil sources of inspiration go through several stages. These stages allow only the best, and strongest of my plot bunnies to make it the central plot processing center (CPPC) of my chaotic mind. What are those stages?
Stage One: Inspiration
This is the birth stage of the plot bunny. At this stage something catches my eye, I pick up a piece of a conversation, or I just randomly think something. Inspiration can come from anywhere for me, there is no telling what will cause a plot bunny to spawn. BEWARE! Now, my plot bunnies never spawn alone. There are always two to five individual plot bunnies, sometimes more, that are created at the same time.
Stage Two: Weeding out the Weaklings
As mentioned, my plot bunnies spawn in multiples. This means they must be weeded out before they can progress further. Some plot bunnies end up killing themselves. Like one I had, I think it jumped off a cliff… Yeah we’ll go with that ending. It was weak and couldn’t cut it.
For the most part though, this stage includes mass genocide on the bunnies’ part. Think of something similar to what happens with Great White Sharks in their mother’s womb. Multiple eggs are fertilized, though only one emerges. This is the strongest of the other pups, and it ate the others. My plot bunnies kill off the competition, in less than PG ways. Once this stage is done only one new plot bunny remains.
Stage Three: Getting Passed WIP Bunnies
Before moving onto this stage I want to quickly define what a WIP Bunny is to me. These are plot bunnies that have made it to the CPPC and have been turned into books in my mind. I have either started on their stories, written their stories, or have built the worlds for their stories to return to later. They are no longer homeless little orphan bunnies. They have earned their place within the chaos that is my inner mind.
Okay, now that that’s out of the way, Stage 3 requires the surviving plot bunny to get passed the WIP Bunnies! And these guys are cruel, absolutely merciless, killing machines that will cut down anything that would delay their story being written.
Sadly, half of all surviving plot bunnies from Stage 2 do not make it passed the WIP Bunnies. For those that do, they are one hop closer to the CPPC!
Stage Four: Mega Bunnies
This stage requires the surviving bunny to make it passed what I’ve dubbed Mega Bunnies. These are the bunnies that have spawned all the WIP Bunnies running around. They’re the keepers of my series and all their glory. Now, if this new plot bunny is an idea for an existing series, it need only find its parent Mega Bunny and deliver the plot. Done. No more to do. It officially joins the ranks of the WIP Bunnies.
If this new plot bunny presents an all new thread for a story idea, including a possible new universe and series, it must get passed the Mega Bunnies. Okay, for a quick visual. The plot bunny at this point is about a foot tall. WIP Bunnies are between three and six feet tall. Mega Bunnies are anywhere from ten to twenty feet tall. Like my Itáyu Lake Bunny, he’s huge!
So, this tiny little plot bunny must hop its way around murderous giant bunnies, hell bent on its death. And if they should catch him? SQUISH! No more plot bunny. To be fair though, by the time a bunny has reached this stage it has an eighty percent chance of survival. Fairly increased odds as compared to previous stages.
STAGE Five: CPPC
The plot bunny has made it! It’s survived his siblings, alluded the WIP Bunnies, and dodged the Mega Bunnies! Now it can insert its plot into the CPPC and be added to the ranks of my Works In Progress.
It is at this stage that the plot bunny undergoes a transformation. If the bunny is merely a single book (has only happened once) it will join the other WIP Bunnies in defending against new ideas. The more common occurrence though is that the new plot bunny spawns a whole new series, turning it into a Mega Bunny, and giving birth to many WIP Bunnies.
Now, those WIP Bunnies have their own trials they must overcome. That includes deciding who gets written first! Usually this is carried out in a similar fashion to Stage 2, without the resulting death. Though one or two bunnies have been known to lose their lives in the ensuing battle for series placement.
And that is how my plot bunnies are created and decided upon. As you can see, it is a dangerous thing to be one of my plot bunnies, which is why I always give the survivors my utmost attention. They’ve earned their cries to be written.
What stages do you have for handling a plot bunny? I’d love to know! Until then, writing this has made me think of soldier bunny shifters! I’m off to cull out more plot bunnies!
As a writer of gay erotic romance the portrayal of gay characters in media is a topic of interest. For instance, my favorite part of the TV show Shadowhunters is without a doubt Malec, the relationship between Magnus Bane and Alec Lightwood. More and more shows are including a wider cast of characters, making many people both happy and enraged.
I’ll get to the enraged people later.
First, the positive. Seeing a more diverse cast of characters on both the large and small screen is a huge thing for me. I love seeing romance in all forms, especially progressive portrayals of same sex couples. It gives many people hope that one day they will be given the same treatment as any other couple walking around.
Personally, I find the depiction of homosexual relationship so much more interesting than the same boring song and dance of heterosexual couples. There’s only so many times I can listen to the same tired clichés. Whether it’s a work place romance, or a romantic comedy you can guarantee the steps are going to be the same. The most refreshing heterosexual couple I’ve found recently was from a show called NUMB3RS. An older show I found on Hulu. It was, well, a portrayal of a healthy, developed relationship. Something lacking in almost ALL romantic subplots in shows today… Why is that?
With homosexual relationships, there are more barriers that the couples must overcome so that often times the same clichés, though they do appear, aren’t as glaring. Plus, it makes me smile to know that the cute boy got his guy in the end!
Now, onto the enraged part.
I’m going to quickly say what enrages me about the depiction of homosexual relationships in shows: TRAGEDY! Nine times out of ten they’re going to break up, or one of them is going to die. It is almost impossible to find a movie with a gay romantic couple that doesn’t end on a note of sadness, or hopeful depression. There are also times when, to have a happy ending, one guy goes off with a woman leaving the other alone! Seriously people?
Yes, I understand showing the tragedy of being in a homosexual relationship draws people in, but there’s a reason I’m not a fan of Romeo and Juliet. I don’t want tragedy in my love stories. I want to see the couple I’m routing for to end on a happy note. Yes, life isn’t always going to end happily. But, not every gay relationship in the world ends in tragedy and being alone. The fact people think this way is, for lack of a better word, ignorant!
It’s time that gay romance can have a happy ending. I want to see that happy ending. Many people want to see that happy ending.
As for the people that don’t… Okay fair warning I’m going to start ranting at this point. Again, be warned, I’m not going to be polite below.
So, it was announced that Disney was including an “exclusively gay moment” in the newest live action release of Beauty and the Beast. That exclusive moment? LeFou dances with another guy! Gasp! Alert the media! A man danced with another man!
In a movie about a girl who has Stockholm syndrome and falls for an abusive man-beast.
And, in true modern religious justice warrior fashion, people immediately started crying BOYCOTT! Disney’s trying to force their LGBTQ agenda onto our children! Or, it’s fine if people are gay, so long as it’s not in a children’s movie! My personal favorite: How can I let my children watch a movie that I can’t watch with Jesus? (Though you can watch abusive romance just fine without having an issue?)
FYI: Jesus is dead. He can’t watch movies. Sorry. (Yes I’m aware people mean it spiritually/religiously.)
My point is, these are ridiculous reasons to boycott something. No one is trying to force the LGBTQ agenda onto your children. If you don’t want your kids to watch the movie, fine, but don’t belittle a studio for being progressive and including a gay character. Like it or not people, this is the future. Equality and inclusion is what is coming, deal with it.
If you don’t want your child exposed to “gay stuff” then get rid of the internet from your home, turn off your televisions, and stop letting them go outside. Basically, lock your kid in the basement and don’t let them have any social interactions! (DO NOT DO THIS! IT IS ILLEGAL!!!! AND SICK!!!!)
Also, the idea that by watching a guy dance with another guy, or watching a guy kiss another guy (yes that happens in movies and TV shows too) will make your child gay is hilarious! I honestly can’t think of a more ludicrous idea than this one. How would this scenario play out I wonder?
“Mommy! I saw two boys kiss on TV, so I kissed Timmy! Now we’re dating! That show turned me gay!” said no little boy ever!
I’ve watched multiple movies and TV shows were girls kiss girls. Guess what? I’m not a lesbian. Maybe I’m watching the wrong movies? Is that it? Or, I don’t know, maybe it has nothing to do with the show and has everything to do with DNA! I’m heterosexual by birth, no amount of gay kissing and sex on my TV is going to change that. The same goes for your kids.
If your kid is gay, it isn’t the media’s fault. If anything, the media is just trying to make your child feel like there is nothing wrong with them. That they too can have that happily ever after everyone else is said to get.
So, I ask you, why is it okay for a man and a woman to kiss on TV but not two men, or two women? The answer? Because you’re hypocritical ass-hats.
The only way you have a right to say it’s not okay is if you, the parent, show absolutely ZERO romantic or sexual attraction to the other parent in the relationship. No hugging! Stop kissing each other, you’re going to teach your kid it’s okay to kiss! How dare you hold hands in the park! You should be ashamed of yourselves! I hope you sleep in separate beds, don’t want the kiddos thinking it’s okay to share a bed either.
Basically, practice what you preach. Don’t want your impressionable youth to know about romance and relationships outside parent/child and friends, cut out all interaction that makes your relationship special with your significant other.
Also, no more stories about the prince saving the princess and ending with a kiss! That’s bad too.
Seriously, I’m not kidding. The original fairytales that people praise as being degraded or corrupted in today’s media are horribly gruesome stories. The Little Mermaid? She dies at the end. Sleeping Beauty? She’s raped by her prince while she slumbers. Cinderella? Self-harm is a pivotal part of the original story. Still sound like awesome, wholesome family entertainment? Disney dulled that shit down, a lot!
So, stop. Just stop. Stop trying to throw around the “religion” card to make yourself not look like a bigoted asshole. Stop saying you’re doing it for the kids. You’re not. You’re doing it for yourself, and your own sad pathetic existence. Stop saying it’s okay as long as kids don’t see it. That’s just hypocritical, as mentioned previously.
Kids don’t see things the same way adults do. All they’re going to see is two people dancing, or two people kissing. It’s you, the parent, that warps their minds and makes them see it as something beyond that. No one else. The behavior and opinions of your child is a direct reflection of how you raised them.
End of story.
Now, I’m going to end this on a happy note, because as mentioned I like happy endings in my romance. I’m personally glad that Disney made LeFou gay and gave him a story arc for which to develop with. I plan to see the movie hopefully before it leaves theaters. If not, I will be watching it when it comes out on Digital or Blue Ray. Disney has always pushed the envelope, and this isn’t the first time people have cried boycott at their expense. The fact is, Disney is still around and going strong. So, cheers Disney. I applaud you for taking this step into the future and look forward to more of these moves in coming works.
Again: DO NOT LOCK YOUR KIDS UP! I DO NOT IN ANYWAY CONDONE THIS KIND OF TREATMENT OF CHILDREN. CHILDREN NEED TO BE ALLOWED TO PLAY OUTSIDE AND INTERACT WITH THEIR ENVIRONMENT. DO NOT, I REPEAT, DO NOT LOCK YOUR CHILDREN INSIDE AWAY FROM THE WORLD. IT IS WRONG!
Gin & Wrath
Gin & Wrath is the latest installment of the over top supernatural sexiness to be found at the Twin Ravens MC. Meet this Immortal band of enforcers who ride hard, live free, and love rough as they guard the secrets of the paranormal underworld and protect the human realm in Tulsa.
Born of magick, forged in the eternal fires of Helheimr, to become Odin’s weapon of destruction and shield of protection. Wrath is a dedicated Immortal Enforcer at the Twin Ravens MC, he keeps his inner monster at bay with carefully controlled violence, sex, and utter domination…
Until sweet Virginia shows up at the MC to serve drinks and pick up some much needed cash. Even a capable woman needs a bit of help now and then, especially when someone in Tulsa’s secretive supernatural underworld is gunning for her. Her first encounter with the Tawny Viking binds them together in a magickal connection that won’t be denied!
Can a demi-god with savage desires and life-long domination tendencies find common ground with a sweet, young submissive who has an independent streak a mile wide and triumph over deadly preternatural enemies?
NOTE from the author: This is a tale where the dark side of sadistic sexual needs, dominating tendencies, and insecurities, inherent with human nature, are explored amid an over the top, fantastical adventure involving sexy supernatural beings. This story is for readers over 18 years of age due to explicit content.
Limited Time Offer:
Get your ticket to ride with the Immortal MC of the Twin Ravens for only 99 cents!
Shifters, Vamps, Demi-gods and Guardians of ancient lore! Complex characters, intricate story line and fast moving pace!
The Tulsa Immortals universe was created by Audra Hart, and contains books written by multiple other authors. Each author works in conjunction with Ms Hart to ensure the mythology and story lines meet up without conflict.
Authors in the Tulsa Immortals Universe include:
Find the books on Amazon!
In the last month I managed to get Love or Sacrifice: Mages of the Nether 3 finished and sent to my publisher. The contract has been signed and I should have a new cover to reveal to you soon. I also got Lyle’s Lynx: Itáyu Lake 6 to my publisher for approval, waiting for word back on that. Currently I’m working on Coyote’s River: A Tulsa Immortals Novel. This will be my second installment in the Tulsa Immortals world.
Love or Sacrifice is schedule for release April 12th.
Lyle’s Lynx is still pending for approval.
Coyote’s River is schedule for release April 1st.
When planning out what books to write and when I need to consider length of the story, and how much time I have to actually write. Love or Sacrifice was a huge lesson for me, because I did not manage my time well with that book and it got away from me in a lot places.
That being said, I don’t write out long in depth outlines, usually keeping to minor notes and ideas. It’s worked so far so I’m not going to change it.
For those waiting for the next Galaxia Pirates book after the release of Wrench in the Engine, I am happy to say I’ve got at least two more planned for that series. At current time though I don’t think we’ll be seeing a return to the Galaxia until late summer.
I’ve got a few anthologies coming up that I’ll be part of, more info to come as I work on them. I’ll also be participating in the ManLove Fantasies Spring contest with a short story.
I'm also currently holding a sale for Leo's Salvation in honor of Audra Harts release of Gin & Wrath! This sale is on for a limited time, so check it out and if you haven't done so yet, this would be the perfect time to pick up your own copy of Leo's story.
I realize waiting for new material can be emotional, but I ask people to be patient. I am writing, and I do have books coming soon.
Mondays: Free post days where I post about anything I feel like talking about.