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, [...]
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
Oh, characters. You are the reason that we read books in the first place. We love you, and we love to hate some of you.
Sometimes, folks will ask me which comes first—the character or the story. Like everything else when it comes to writing, it just depends.
In my Mythos Academy young adult series, one of the first thoughts I had was this: what if there was a girl who went to a school for the descendants of ancient warriors like Amazons, Spartans, and Valkyries? What if that girl discovered that she was more of a warrior than she ever thought possible? What if she discovered that she was the key to defeating the bad guy? In that case, the character of Gwen Frost and the overall story and setting of Mythos Academy sort of came to me at the same time.
But, since I write in first person, [...]
Continue reading Jennifer Estep — Characters, Oh, Characters
I mentioned in my last post that character story arcs are extremely important to me as a writer. I want my characters to change: I want them to start somewhere and end someplace else. It can be a significant change or a subtle one, but I want to put them through those paces.
But then there are the characters who surprise you. Characters you might have plans for who go totally off the rails–and if you want to know the truth, practically all of the Walker Papers characters went off the rails. I’m going to talk mostly about Gary, Joanne’s 74-year-old cab-driving sidekick, behind the cut, although I can’t talk about where it all ends because it gets Too Spoilery.
Continue reading Committing Series: Characters
Happy release day to me,Happy release day to me,Happy release day, dear D.B.!Happy release day, to meeeeee!!!!!
Tenors, you were a little weak on that last part. We’ll need to work on that in rehearsal before we take the performance to Carnegie . . .
So, yeah, today is release day for A Plunder of Souls, book 3 in the Thieftaker Chronicles, and I’m very excited. Also nervous to the point of debilitation. But that’s another story. Suffice it to say that if you have any inclination to buy this book, and/or any of the others in the Thieftaker series, now would be a great time to do so. You won’t miss anything; we’ll wait.
Ah, good, you’re back. Moving on . . .
Any successful series is going to have a number of crucial ingredients. The Thieftaker books are set apart by their blend of Revolutionary Era historical background [...]
Continue reading D.B. Jackson: On Character — The Enemy of My Enemy . . .
Two years ago, I went to my first ConCarolinas and had the great good fortune to meet several of the MagicalWords.net authors, as well as several fans and MW participants. One group of us in particular really hit it off and agreed to meet up again the next year. At the end of *that* con, as Melanie described, our final gathering resulted in “let’s have a writers’ retreat next year”. Like you do.
Imagine my surprise – all of our surprise, I think – as we started trading emails and beginning to discuss plans, and everyone remained enthusiastic. Along the way, a couple of people had to withdraw from the retreat itself for different reasons, but they stayed active and encouraging in the discussions all the same.
And what a real thrill to learn that Faith would be able to join us, both for some much needed post-con [...]
Continue reading Writer’s Retreats — Our Thoughts, Part Two