I was recently reading another author’s blog, and saw a post about the writing process, and in particular the naming of characters. I wondered, Are people really interested in reading about this?

I couldn’t help thinking that only writers are so interested in other writers’ processes that they’ll read a whole blog post about it. But who knows, maybe readers are also fascinated by the mechanics of putting a book together. My own work is so character-driven that I figured I’m best off writing about how the characters came to be.

Then I thought about it and realized that all three of my novels had major dissimilarities in terms of the way the characters came about! Brothers’ Hand, my first novel, was very organic: I started the book with no outline, no plan, no character sketches…just scenes that unfolded naturally. It was only after I’d written a scene or two that I went back and did any planning.

My second novel, Jana, is the only one of my three novels that’s in the first person. As I have said to many people, this 24-year-old lesbian character started talking to me in my head and didn’t shut up for about two years. I don’t think I ever wrote out her motives, her character traits…anything. She was (and is) as real to me as anyone I’ve ever known.

For Miles of Files, I wanted to paint with a broader palette, and I actually had a few things in mind. For one, I wanted to have tiers of characters like Charles Dickens did in Dombey and Son: primary, secondary, and tertiary.  The tertiary characters are mainly commentators, who pass on information about primary and/or secondary characters. I wanted to make sure each character was unique and different enough from the others that the reader could easily identify them, so I went through the Myers-Briggs personality types and assigned them accordingly.

Interestingly enough (to me, anyway), my protagonist was not the same profile as me; I’m an INFP, and my INFP character was a female secondary character named Pamela Mae Swenson. I’m not sure if I realized that her initials spelled PMS until later on, but I didn’t change them.

So there’s a tiny bit of insight into character. What about all of you out there? Do you have stories to share about your favorite characters? Or secrets you’d like to share?

team

Come Join My Book Launch Team!

A few months ago, I wrote a blog about book launches where I introduced the subtle difference between a launch team and a street team. Simply stated, there’s usually plenty of overlap, but a launch team may include people not part of your street team – vendors, people...
Cataloging-In-Publication

What’s the Risk to Not Having A Cataloging-In-Publication (CIP) Data Block?

Over the past few weeks, I've been writing about "book-building" for indie authors. By that I mean putting a book together from your perspective as an author. So I haven't covered topics like cover design or interior design - you may choose those, but you're probably...
money

Do What You Love, and the Money Will Follow…Right?

Recently, I was reading a post from an online trainer who coaches authors and other professionals. This trainer discusses the contrast between writing for money and writing for passion. In other words, the age-old conundrum: if you do what you love, will the money...

Short Story Contest Part III

Happy Labor Day, everybody! To celebrate, I’m posting part III of a short story I’m including in an upcoming collection. If you haven’t already played along, check out parts I & II from the last two weeks. The person who sends in the most helpful suggestion or...

Short Story Contest Part II

Last week, I launched a short story contest here on my blog as part of a major national promotion. To recap: this is not a call for submissions; I'm serializing a short story in anticipation of my upcoming release of a short collection. Here's how it works: read it...
meditation

Which Is Better For Writers – Meditation or Exercise?

A while back, I did an interview about creativity, and I talked about meditation and exercise. I also talked about a few other things like journaling, play, and being disciplined about a schedule.For writers, you might think meditation is going to be the number one...
recovery

Recovery 202? Long-Term Sobriety Is Possible

So, the plan for today was to write a post about recovery. Unfortunately, I’m in a different kind of recovery mode today—recovering from a sinus infection. What that means for you, the reader, is I’m going to keep this short. Really short. I took my last drink 30...
Whizzers

Authors’ Pandemic Sales and The Dubious Metric of “Necessities” Vs. “Luxuries”

​Considering everything going in the world, the past week was a pretty good one for me. Almost a year after its initial publication, my novel Whizzers—which had flatlined in the Kindle store—suddenly spiked to #179,500. When one of your babies jumps that much, it gets...
book-building

Book-Building 101

This week's post is called Book-Building 101 because I want to provide my fellow indie authors a little info on the mechanics of putting out a completed book. And I'm not talking about plot, structure, or basics like editing or proofreading. I'm talking about the...
Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones and Storytelling

Writing is a funny game. You make stuff up and it goes from your head to your fingers, then to a screen via keyboard, or a page via writing implement. But of course, we all know that's not the oldest way of telling stories. Really, stories began with cave drawings and...