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Tuesday, May 03, 2011

New On the Scene

I had a request to talk about my characters a little bit, but before I do that: In the Darkest Night is a finalist for Best Long Paranormal in the Reader Crown Awards! ::Happy dog dancing::

Characters arrive in a different ways. My personal favorite is when they announce their presence. I've had it happen twice--once with Cai from The Power of Two and once with Mika from Through a Crimson Veil. There's nothing like walking down the hallway and hearing a voice in your head say, "Mika" and then refuse to give any other information like which book she's from. She also lied to me, but that's another story.

Once, as I was walking, I heard a voice say something. At the time, I had a huge number of stories/ideas churning in my head, so I couldn't figure out who this was. I couldn't even tell if it was a hero or a villain. Turned out it's a very dark hero. It's the only contact I've had from him and the idea is on the back burner with others ahead of it.

Mostly, the characters are just kind of there one day. So what is it like in the beginning when they first arrive and I'm not really sure who they are or what book they're from? I probably don't even know their name(s) at this point.

I'm just a little bit beyond that place now. I have this idea for a novella. The heroine actually came in and shared her name fairly quickly. It's Nicole. I had a sense of what she looked like, so I went on an image search and discovered she's Latina. I also know she's a psi tracker and part of the vampire hunters from the Blood Feud world. (If you read Shadow's Caress you'll remember that Malachi fought the psi tracker after him and Cass.)

The hero wasn't around. Not at first. His arrival came with the quote: Revenge is a dish best served cold. Okay then. I did have a sense of what he looked like and I learned after a few days that he was a demon executioner (like Andras from Demon Kissed), but the information stopped there.

My demon characters always seem to lie to me. This guy was no exception. He told me his name started with a K. You don't even want to know how much time I wasted on that wrong turn. After perusing names way more than I wanted, I finally learned his name is Dak. I found his picture.

Now I wait and let things percolate a little bit. I did do some brainstorming on the story and the backstory for Dak and Nicole, and it has to be frustrating for my friends. They suggest and I usually end up saying, no, he wouldn't do that. No, she wouldn't say that. No, that's not right. I don't know exactly what is right, but I know what they don't like. Guess it's no surprise, is it? They don't help, just say no. :-)

Basically, the characters arrive and give me a sense of themselves. I usually try to do preliminary work (if I'm not working on another story) and then I wait. I don't see scenes like a movie. I might have a sense of place or a snapshot of a place, but it's not a moving image. I hear words. I'll hear my characters talk to each other. I'll hear their internal monologue. That's how I get to know them.

This is where I'm at right now with Dak and Nicole. I'm waiting to hear them talking to each other so I can get to know them. The funny thing is that no matter how well I think I know my h/h, they always manage to surprise me when I write. There's something about putting the words down that really finishes rounding them out. Also, if I try to write something they don't want to do or something out of character, all progress will come to a screeching halt and I won't get another keepable word written until I figure out what's wrong (they won't tell me) and fix it.

Um, I'm not sure I answered the question I was asked.