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?

process

Create A Process That Works For YOU

This week’s topic: create a process that works for you. I can’t tell you how many times a fellow author’s quote has upset me for the simple reason that their opinion is presented as fact. Here are a few examples: “Write every day, line by line, page by page, hour by...
remember 80s

Remember The 80s? Placing Scenes in History in My Most Recent Novel

Remember the 80s? How about the 70s, or even the 60s? Of course, I know the old expression: if you remember the 60s, you weren't there. But in my house, it was different. I was born in the 60s, but in my house it was pretty much like the 50s. No discussion of the war...
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...
guest blogging

Guest Blogging: To Post Or Not To Post

So it’s Monday, and as always my calendar says “New Blog Post Due.” My mind, on the other hand, says, Add a quick blog post. This is slightly different, because I have a couple afternoon appointments, and not enough time to write a post between them. Can you say...
short blog long video

A Short Blog Post, But A Long Video Interview

Most of my Monday blog posts are a few hundred words long. Sometimes that's because I'm just plain long-winded (hey, I'm a novelist!), but usually it's for SEO purposes. The Google machine tells you that your "content" should always be at least 300 words long. In a...
next book

Whizzers: The Next Novel

Recently I sent out a subscriber-only newsletter about my next book launch. My fourth novel, Whizzers, is my current Work-In-Progress, and I plan to launch it in 2019. I was pleased to get some email responses to my newsletter, as I am looking to build the largest...
biscuit

“What Do You Want for Nothing—A Rubber Biscuit?”

Readers who are old enough to remember the Blues Brothers’ cover version of The Chips’ Rubber Biscuit will no doubt understand the reference in today’s headline. For everyone else: just shorten it to “What do you want for nothing?” I guess that’s my way of saying,...
Twitter

6 Twitter Tips for Authors

Those of you who follow my blog probably connected with me via Twitter, whether you’re a fellow author or not. Now that I’m closing in on 25K followers, I feel like I’ve got a little experience I can share that will be helpful. And with that, here comes today’s blog...
ebook

Another Monday Blog Post – And a Special Offer

One of the great things about WordPress websites is the ability to schedule blog posts. So Happy Monday to you, but you're probably reading this while I'm taking my wife to DisneyWorld! Last week was "Happy New Year" time, so now we're into good old regular blog...

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...