Category Archives: Character Development

Thoughts about how characters come alive.

More Pod People Seeded in my Brain by Aliens – Being Taken Over is Exciting!

So long as they’re giving me something and not taking… Hmmm. Or are they? Well, what I don’t know won’t hurt me.

Meanwhile, characters, aka my Pod People, are bursting out of me and burgeoning all over the pages, and I now have two amazing Works in Progress, which I’m having a hard time putting down and seem to want to work on simultaneously. Anyone else getting some great new ideas for stories this summer? Let me know in the comments. Meanwhile, enjoy some quirky and intriguing alien artwork by William Louis McDonald

Art by William Louis McDonald

Bursting! Or Consuming?…

Just too many cool things going on here…

Now I Know Why My Pod People Aren’t Introverts… or Are They?

Many writers classify themselves as introverted because they are part of a select group of people who can create new worlds in their head, work in isolation for hours on end, and persevere to get every word just right all at the same time.

Louise Waters

Ms. Waters also writes:

Writing is hard. Not everyone has the capacity to create stories or articles out of thin air. More often than not, writing is an activity that requires solitude, which is why some of the world’s best writers are also introverts. As famous YA author John Green once said, “Writing is something you do alone. It’s a profession for introverts who want to tell you a story but don’t want to make eye contact while doing it.”

Is this why my pod people often start out as loners, then become part of a pack? Hmmm…

Having selected those snippets above that leapt out at me from researching on Google, it should be noted that Ms. Waters, guest blogger for Jennifer Kahnweiler, declares herself an ambivert.

am·bi·vert

/ˈambəˌvərt/

noun

PSYCHOLOGY

A person whose personality has a balance of extrovert and introvert features.

I’ve done a lot of those personality tests over the years during “team building” work meetings, at conferences, wherever. But, for some reason this short blog went a long way towards helping me figure myself out. Wait! I haven’t figured myself out yet? Am I the only one who’s still working at it in their 50s? Does anybody ever figure themselves out completely?

I would still be in the dark if I hadn’t started writing novels two years ago, and writing every day since. Because now this resonates in me, big time. I used to think I was more of an extravert. Maybe I was at some point. Now, I want nothing more than to tell stories from the place I’m happiest in. My solitude.

As in everything in life, there are no absolutes. I believe we all become something different at different stages of our lives, choosing different combinations that help us cope with our surroundings at any given moment. Sometimes it’s because we’re growing, sometimes it’s because we’re taking a step backwards. None of it matters so long as it gets us where we want to be eventually.

Camera shy guests

I’ll be putting this to practice over the next months with my fellow indie writers. My colleagues are happy to step up and let me interview them. However, I’ve been getting a pretty consistent message. Camera shy to the last! So, stay tuned to see which ones I can coax (including myself) into a video, or which ones are happy to chat with us in a blog. I’m just excited to see where this will go, and willing to be inspired by them however they want to share.

My goal with reaching out and talking with other writers and all kinds of creative people is to let all of you know that we’re in the same boat, struggling to become better writers, artists, crafters, creators… who want to learn and share what we’ve discovered.

Top resource for today’s blog

Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, PhD, is a bestselling author and one of the top global leadership speakers on introverts in the workplace. Her pioneering books, The Introverted LeaderQuiet Influence, The Genius of Opposites, and Creating Introvert-Friendly Workplaces have been translated into 18 languages. The Introverted Leader was named one of the top 5 business books by The Shanghai Daily.

Artwork by Ryan J Neal

My Pod People Get my Music!

Do you insert references to your favorite music through the lives of your characters? (I fondly refer to them as my pod people. After all, they’re extensions of my alien-seed-planted mind, so why wouldn’t they love my music?)

I love doing this. It plunges me into the atmosphere of my scene, and I hope it does the same for the reader. I have extremely eclectic tastes in music, so it’s a lot of fun peppering my writing with just the right note to insert at the right moment. Check out book one, Ursus Borealis, for a great scene with Andras and Selena, while she’s wearing a t-shirt with SRV’s beat up Stratocaster stretched across her… chest.

My husband and I were going down memory lane over breakfast and discussing the concert-going highlights of our youth. He has vivid flashbacks of “Terrible Ted” at the Sacramento Memorial Auditorium in ’79. Yes, decades later, he is still grateful for witnessing in person Ted Nugent leaping 15 feet off stacked amplifiers as they swayed precariously under him, landing in clouds of backlit smoke, while tearing out “the riff of all time.”

As we talked and he described it just today, I found this newspaper clipping and it reports it just like he remembers. Made his day. Who said music doesn’t leave a life-long impression? Of course, our parents did not in any way think this was music. “You’re going to see Terrible Who?” (Actually, I think that moniker comes later in his career. His personal life was as shocking as his music. If it still is… I wouldn’t know. But he’s still killing that riff.)

From the Concert Database

Granted, our combined excursions weren’t extensive, which makes the handful we managed to partake in more special. I think my highlight was David Bowie at the Oakland Coliseum in ‘83 for his Serious Moonlight Tour. We were smack in the middle of the huge field, and Mr. Bowie was a speck, but his penchant for drama came through… Bowie performing MacBeth… and singing? Oh yeah!

Photo by Paula Parisi

My Horror Story Pod People are Redeemable… maybe… they haven’t decided quite yet.

Or is it that they are tortured souls? No matter how dark the pod person is that was seeded in my brain by alien’s with questionable intent, I can’t seem to allow them to be pure evil. Is that a flaw in me, the creator, or just the way my pod people want to grow? Are the aliens in the universe trying to tell me something?

No matter the reason, my vampires, faeries, shifters, or megalomaniac aliens are a hell of a lot of fun to write.

Is there a rule that they must always be the monsters humans are driven to slay? Or can they simply be tortured souls forced into circumstances requiring evil deeds, always searching for a way out? An inspiration to the human struggle? I don’t think I’m alone in the desire to make my pod people redeemable. So many fabulous characters in fiction follow that path. So, I won’t feel guilty if my fingers push out a story over my keyboard with a light at the end of the tunnel… but the story isn’t finished yet…

Click here for a wonderful poem encapsulating the human experience by Dr. Marie Dezelic that I just happened to find in a Google search. A snippet follows:

In that lonely place where no other human can actually accompany him. He is never fully understood to the capacity he wants or imagines he can be.

dr. Marie dezelic

I am excited to share that I submitted my first attempt at pure horror in tiny bits for a 100-word horror short story submission to Shacklebound Books, a small press that publishes anthologies and collections in the science fiction, fantasy, and horror genres. Check them out. I have no idea if my three stories about vampire brothers will be accepted, possibly not dark enough, but I’ll keep you posted and share them when I’m able.

It was a totally fun exercise, never-the-less. Fingers crossed!

For my published stories populated with redeemable… maybe… monster pod people, click here. I’d love to know if you think they should have a light at the end of their tunnels.

My Pod People Don’t Like Mondays

How can I keep Mondays from being the imagination killer? It’s an awful feeling when that first alarm clock of the week goes off, and my pod people (otherwise known as my developing characters as illustrated in my previous blogs), who have been living full lives and acting out full scenes in my mind all weekend, run screaming into the shadows at that annoying claxon, cringing from the harsh light of the “day job.”

My ten-hour shift seems endless until I can return home and try to coax them out again. But they’re usually too traumatized from the violent interruption to their existence.

Every Sunday afternoon, dread for the Monday alarm builds like a weight on my shoulders. My pod people start milling around, searching for their best scenes, which means Sunday afternoons are my best writing day, all of us striving to get the most on the page before the Monday death knell.

Sigh… Enough of that. I’m going to finish my allotted 16 ounces of coffee, engage with the real world for ten hours, work hard, maybe go for a walk before it’s blazing hot, and be grateful for my three-day weekends.

For more Writer’s Life musings, check out my blogs. You can find my thrilling, fun fantasy romance adventures on My Books page. Have a great Monday!

Burgeoning Like a Pod

Close up on young pumpkin flower on dark blur background. Blooming. Bud. Burgeon. Vegetable. Courgette, squash, gourd. Farming, gardening. Nature. Plant. – 10 August 2020, Montreal, Canada

This week, I’ve been discussing the concept of creating characters like so many alien pods left to seed in my imagination by some random galactic force… Maybe the god of prose? In other words, faceless golems waiting to be molded by words on a page. It’s only the words that have the power to animate them, get them to act and interact with their fellow pods. But wow, when they take form and start living, there is no end to what they can do, the trouble they can get into, the bonds they form.

It occurred to me that I’m not so different from them. I was just as featureless when I started writing, until my pods developed, jump started my sluggish imagination, and gave me life. I had no idea when I sat down to write my first book that all these words were in me, all these pods waiting to sprout into characters with a myriad personalities.

Is this why they call us burgeoning writers?

When you sit down to your keyboard and a story comes to life, do you feel like a plant pod opening under the sun? Drop me a comment and let me know.


Just my random pod people ramblings…

I’d love it if you took a moment to check out my Books rich with so many pod transformations, characters I know you will love.

Don’t Make Me Leave My Pod People!

I recently explored the concept of my characters sprouting from alien spoors, seeding my mind with featureless golems that come to life through my fingers and spring over the keyboard. Yes, I live with pods in my head. I really like it in there, and they depend on me.

What I don’t like is having to leave them behind when I come out to do all the mind-bending, endless labor it takes to publish and sell books. Too much time getting headaches when all I want to do is add dimension to my pod family! …And maybe find some time to relax with the hubby. That seems to be a hard-won bonus these days. I mostly get to see him when he comes to visit my pod people. He’s very amenable that way.

But I’m being honest here… I mostly want to run screaming back to the confines of my imagination. There are scenes needing to be written! More characters that lay dormant waiting for the words to make them whole. Why must I go down a million internet vortexes that lead to galaxies, that lead to universes where it seems I might never find my way back out, just to get them out into the world?

Do they really need to go into print? Maybe my pod people are happier where they are.

The bottom line is, I tell their stories for my readers to enjoy.

So, grow pod people, take shape, and fly off the page and into cozy reading nooks everywhere.

***

This was inspired by my recent time spent on Draft2Digital loading up my books. Soon, they will finally be available in all the stores, and not just Amazon. Sigh of relief…

Artwork above and below by:

Vic DeLeon Art Director, Ark II, Studio Wildcard – ArtStation.com

Characters, or alien pod people?

Since I started writing a year and a half ago, and somehow decided that my first story would become a three-part, 900-page novel, characters have been sprouting, growing and taking on life like so many alien pods. My life is truly no longer my own.

The featureless entities shed their membranes and take on dimension as they flow out through my fingers and over the keyboard, then burst onto my screen. But part of them keeps growing inside me, their tentacles wrapping firmly around my consciousness, and oozing out through my senses. Then they become entangled with my emotions.

I would choose to live no other way. Their stories must be told. Telling them is my reward for being their host.

Soon it will be time to let them go into the world on their own, to make room for my imagination to be seeded again, maybe from a different part of the galaxy. But I’m not quite ready for that yet.

How do you deal with your pod people and the sense of becoming an observer in your own head, loving your characters like children who will leave you and maybe never look back? I’d love to know. I think readers get it.

I’m sharing some artwork by Artist Timi Honkanen. I think artists get it, too.

Artist, Timi Honkanen, ArtStation.com catalog

Timi Honkanen 2D artist