The Many Voices in My Head

The Many Voices in My Head

Judging by the title, you’d think this was a conversation about my need for better medication. But that’s just boring. No, this is about the characters that come whispering to me about new story ideas, and since Rinda and I have written the Unbreakable Bonds series, the noise in my head has gotten quite loud… but only because the boys love to argue. I can’t tell you where my ideas come from. Sometimes I’m flipping through a magazine, sometimes I’m taking a walk, and other times I’m flipping the channels on the TV. It could be an image or a phrase that I hear that’s enough to spark an idea. This time, it was an avalanche of information pouring through my brain. It started as a new Unbreakable Bonds spin-off series idea, but to make it happen, I needed two other books to happen first in Ward Security, and insanely enough, I had two book plots pop into my head to meet that need. So at 11:30 p.m. on Tuesday night, I started writing. I wrote a 3,000-word pitch that gave an overview of two new books for Ward Security along with a new series. It was 2 a.m. when I finally stopped writing, but I’m happy to say that the pitch included: “…, they fall in love, you let me shoot something or set it on fire, yadda yadda…HEA” This is why I love Rinda. She lets me shoot characters and set things on fire. But the pitch for the new series started with Lucas Vallois telling me a story of a secret meeting. Yeah, I wrote Rinda...
Character Design: Take That First Step in Their Shoes

Character Design: Take That First Step in Their Shoes

I have started a new book.  Or rather, I’m planning to start a new book that could be the gateway to a new series.  But something so grand as a series of books tends to require some careful planning.  Well, at least it does require some planning when I am writing the first book in the series. But where do you begin when heading down such a road? I always start with the main character.  I need to know the main character — her voice, her quirks, her habits, her fears, her failures, and her successes. I need to be comfortable with this character walking through my head, chatting when me at the oddest moments. For me, the first step is the character sketch. There are a number of wonderful writing books focused on creating good, strong characters.  I begin with basic details: height, weight, hair color, eye color, scars, tattoos, style of clothes, job, education, family, and emotional hang-ups. And then once I’ve got all those details down … It’s time to get into the nitty-gritty of this characters. I start writing from the main character’s point of view about random things. I get the character to start rambling about anything in the world. I let them talk about friends, people that piss them off, things they love, and things they hate.  I’ve found that by allowing a character to ramble, you learn about a person’s psychological hang-up as well as bits and pieces of the world.  Are there vampires?  Does this character know about the vampires, werewolves, witches and more?  Friends? Enemies? The important thing to remember...
Vampires and Monsters: Quieting the Voices in My Head

Vampires and Monsters: Quieting the Voices in My Head

Let’s just get this out of the way.  I hear voices… in my head.  For some people who know me, this isn’t a massive shock.  For those who are afraid, stick with me a moment.  When I’m writing a book, and by that I mean that I’m working on the first draft, I hear (usually) one voice in my head.  That’s the voice of the main storyteller.  If I happen to be writing from third person or a dual first person, there might be a second voice, but typically there’s only one voice. And it’s nice.  By the time I’m deep in a book, this voice is familiar.  I know the cadence.  I know the personality, the sense of humor, their favorite ice cream, and more.  It’s like always having a friend close at hand.  For the Dark Days series, I usually had Mira whispering sarcastic comments about this or that.  Occasionally Danaus would chime in when he was feeling talkative, which wasn’t often.  While I was working on the Asylum Tales, Gage was always there with a quip or a bit of wisdom.  For some reason, there were never any other voices talking to me for that series while I was writing the first drafts. But there’s another one voice waiting in the wings.  Typically, she’s content to sit back, surf the web, watch a movie, play a video game, and take a bubble bath until I’m ready for her.  Unless I make one big mistake.  I call her in while I’m drafting. Voices: The Creator and the Editor You see, despite the varieties in personality, there  are...
Chess: A Writer’s Strategy for Great Storytelling

Chess: A Writer’s Strategy for Great Storytelling

My husband is teaching me chess … and it’s proving to be a slow process.  Oh, I’ve got all the piece moves down.  That wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be.  I get that the bishop moves diagonally and the castle goes in a straight line.  The knight goes two spaces and then one.  And then queen goes wherever the hell she wants to go (which is pretty freaking awesome). But it’s the long-term planning and strategy that get me.  Panic consumes me as I make those first few moves, knowing that in my attempts to attack him, I’m creating vulnerabilities for myself.  It’s knowing that his experience had taught him to see things that I haven’t learned to see yet.  It’s about learning to see more than one step ahead to ten steps ahead … guessing at the ultimate endgame, the final attack as well as the small attacks that will come along the way. That and I just hate to lose.  I’m not an overly competitive person, except when it come to certain activities.  Trivia? Yes.  Baseball? No. Crossword? Yes. Volleyball? No. Scrabble? Yes.  Picking up a trend here?  I’m about as coordinated as a newborn fawn.  Oh… but games that strain the brain, those are my special love and I hate to lose. I’m wondering if learning chess will help my writing.  Will it help my long-term plotting?  Will it help me develop more twisted strategies that will shock and astound my readers?  And will it help me get into the head of other characters, the villains who are trying to destroy my hero...