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?

followers

From The Archives: Frances Caballo on Why You Should Never Buy Twitter Followers or Facebook Likes

I don't often feature guest posts on my blog, but today's post from the archives was an exception. Back in 2018, social media guru Frances Caballo graciously accepted my invitation to write a guest post. Here's a link to the the original post, but you can read her...

How Do You Write A Book?

This past week I had the chance to talk to a fair number of business owners. That's normal for what I do, but the interesting thing this week was the similarity of the conversations. Not all entrepreneurs ask me the same things. Some ask me what I do. Many of them end...
ebook

Are Stories Inevitably Autobiographical?

Recently, I’ve been writing quite a bit about writing, providing some explanations about why I write what I write. I’ve even got an upcoming podcast appearance talking a lot about my background and history in relation to my works of fiction. In the case of my short...
no more for the road

No More For The Road

I took my last drink 32 years ago. Hard to believe I’ve reached that many years of continuous sobriety. If you’d asked me the day before I stopped drinking whether I had an alcohol problem, I would have said No. Mainly because I didn’t think I did. What I had was an...
punches

Roll With The Punches, Baby!

Today is just one of those Mondays. I got a letter from the IRS that said they "believe there's a miscalculation" in my return. So that big $300 refund I was planning on receiving? Fuhgeddaboutit. But hey, at least I don't owe them anything, and they're not auditing...
disturbances

New “Writer Problems” Series, Topic #9: Distractions, Disruptions & Disturbances

This week's blog post has three sections: distractions, disruptions and disturbances, as if they were three unique items—which, of course, they can be. There’s a common “writer” meme that reads, “Being a good writer is 3% talent, 97% not being distracted by the...
artists

Calling All Artists

This week's blog post is going to be super short: if you've ever read the blog, you’ll know I'm posting often about my upcoming book launch. I’m releasing my fourth novel in 2019, and I’m putting a lot of emphasis on finding artists first. I put out a call for graphic...

“Narratives of Transcendent Origin and Power”

Somewhere around a million years ago, I received a gift from a fellow writer, a book called Walking on Alligators by Susan Shaughnessy. I wasn't familiar with Ms. Shaughnessy, but the book is subtitled A Book of Meditations for Writers, and it has a format similar to...
fictional world

Creating a Believable Fictional World

When it comes to writing fiction, many authors sweat the small stuff. "Do I have what it takes to write realistic dialogue?" they wonder. "Am I creating a believable fictional world?" Or, most dire of all, "Will anyone care about my books?" These concerns are all...