Nicola Pallas is not one of the main characters in the Libriomancer series, but to me, she’s one of the most important.
In the world of the books, Nicola lives outside of Chicago, where she serves as the Regional Master for the Porters, a magical organization founded by Johannes Gutenberg. She manipulates magic through song, and is powerful enough to knock you on your ass just by calling you on your cellphone and singing a little tune. She raises chupacabras, which she’s been trying—with some success—to cross-breed with poodles.
She’s also autistic.
I began writing this series shortly after one of my children was diagnosed as autistic. This is one of the reasons I decided to write Nicola the way I did, and one of the reasons I was so invested in getting her right.
What does that mean? For starters, it means I wanted her to be a [...]
Continue reading Jim C. Hines: Inventing Nicola Pallas
One of the hardest things, for me, when writing a book is keeping the plot straight; by which I mean keeping track of it and making sure it makes sense. Which is probably why I always, and I mean always, wonder why I persist in writing series. And series with lots of characters with intersecting plot lines. The book I’ve got coming out now, Betrayal, is the second in my epic fantasy series, The Twins of Saranthium. It’s set in a world of deserts and jungles, and has a vast cast of characters, including ancient resurrected gods seeking to enslave an entire people, warring desert clans and serpent riders who have lost control of the beasts that once protected them. Plus of course the main characters, the twins, who must find a way to stop it all. It is also the middle book in the trilogy and gave me more [...]
Continue reading Lara Morgan: Plot Wrangling and Highlighter Love . . .
Did you read NEVILLE LONGBOTTOM AND THE TERRIFYING VULTURE HAT?
No. You didn’t. Because even though Neville could’ve been the Chosen One, Voldemort decided it was Harry instead and set about killing off his parents and giving him a scar.
It all comes down to choices. Your choice, as the god and writer. And the choices your characters make.
First of all, let’s determine if your story is character-driven. Consider your main character. Does that story revolve around who they are, specifically, in such a way that it wouldn’t exist without them? Are their history, back story, and skills integral to every mile marker of the story? Could you replace them with another passerby and have the same end result? Could you have the same story if you made Neville the hero?
If you can’t replace your protagonist with a [...]
Continue reading Delilah S Dawson: How To Plot A Character-Driven Story, or Why Harry Potter Should Probably Be A Complete D-bag
Diana Pharaoh Francis
Hello Everyone! I’m so glad to be back. I’ve missed you all. Okay, really I’ve been reading and lurking, so I’ve been here, but I did miss getting a chance to talk and visit with you.
I’ve been busy with a lot of projects, but the one I’m here to talk about today is titled Trace of Magic. I’ve been describing it as an alternate-history, urban-fantasy, noir, romance thing. You might ask what that means. It’s set in a never-existed Colorado. Diamond City sits on the ege of an ancient prehistoric volcano where the diamond mining outpaces that in South Africa. The town is largely run by competing magical mafias (called Tyets), who are in the middle of a major turf war. Riley Hollis is my main character.
obligatory and updated author photo
I love Riley. I had such fun writing her. In fact I’m still having [...]
Continue reading Talking about character–Trace of Magic
Last week I began the discussion of keeping books and story lines fresh as we move through a series, by talking about character, and in particular shaking up familiar dynamics between (among) two (or more) characters. I focused my post on the core relationship found in the Thieftaker books: the rivalry between my hero, thieftaker and conjurer Ethan Kaille, and his nemesis, the brilliant, deadly, and beautiful Sephira Pryce. The basic dynamics of their relationship had long since been established in the first two books of the Thieftaker Chronicles, Thieftaker and Thieves’ Quarry. Now, in the third book of the series, A Plunder of Souls, which was released a week ago today, I fundamentally altered those dynamics by introducing a new adversary for Ethan, Captain Nate Ramsey, who antagonized Sephira and forced her into an unlikely alliance with Ethan.
But there are other ways to keep a storyline fresh, even [...]
Continue reading D. B. Jackson: On Plotting — Keeping Things Fresh
Welcome back Laura Anne Gilman (aka L A Kornetsky)!
We all work differently. The first time I heard someone say that they sat down and worked out all the aspects of a character, deciding who they would be and how they’d act [and, in at least one case, using an actual CHART], I suspect my jaw fell open, not only in surprise, but utter envy.
“Oh god,” I was thinking. “How? How do you do that? Teach me your dark ways!”
Because I? Am totally not in control of my characters, not even for a minute. Plot, yes. Setting, absolutely. But characters?
First, there is a voice. It may be quiet, or strident. It may not yet have an accent, or a particular point to make. But there is a very definite voice. Hi, it says. I’m here, where should I stand?
Oh hi there, I say in [...]
Continue reading Talking to Myself for Fun and Profit
SHATTERING THE LEY: Character: Taking Control
Welcome to my second guest post here at Magical Words! Thanks again for having me, guys.
I’d like to focus on characters, now that the main promo push is over. (You did run out and buy SHATTERING THE LEY, right?) As I said in the previous post, when I described the setting for LEY, having a great idea or setting isn’t enough for a story. The world of LEY had been simmering inside my head for quite a while, but it’s necessary to take that cool idea and make it come alive with the intervention of some cool characters. For this world, I knew that one of the main characters would have to be someone who could manipulate the ley lines that powered the city. If that’s the central element that makes my world different, I needed someone who would be working intimately [...]
Continue reading Joshua Palmatier — Character: Taking Control