The Best Part Of Telling A Story – Part III

April 14, 2022 I published the first part of this blog post series, April 28, the second part followed. This blog post series talks about the best part of telling a story. There are so many good parts, to me, each holds its own appeal. Let’s have a look at them again:

1. Drafting the plot

2. Finding a motive

3. Creating the protagonist and antagonist

4. Finding the perfect location

5. Thinking of plot twists

6. Create side characters

[7. Depending on the story, maybe even create a world]


Let’s take a look at creating the protagonist and antagonist. Of course, I’m not saying, there aren’t many other characters to create. Many writers will tell you that this is the part that holds the most fun. I tend to believe that myself.

To me, the creation of a new story is fun in its entirety. I love to do that, but the characters hold their special magic. Think about the wonderful opportunities! You can create a character that could be your best friend… you can form that character, until he or she reminds you of your best friend… or even start by taking your best friend as an example, or inspiration! Of course, there are endless opportunities for inspiration: on the street, within your family, friends, co-workers, or the barista in the coffee shop on the corner.

There are so many articles, blog posts, and ideas about character creation. ‘Writer’s Treasure Chest’ is blessed with presenting quite a few from different writers, right here. If you add ‘character’ to the search bar on the widgets, you will find them listed. To make it easy for you, I prepared the search ahead. You can click HERE. The one or other post was even written by me.

There are as many ways to create a character as there are writers. You will find my writing process descriptions here on ‘Writer’s Treasure Chest’. There is no right or wrong on how to do these things. Every writer has a particular process and, from what I found out, most likely will stick to that, once established.

As for me:

I have, of course, two different ways of creating my characters, depending on the book I write!

The Council of Twelve Series holds supernatural characters, which gives me the opportunity of creating whatever and however I like. Besides Katie and Sundance, the lead characters in the first two ‘The Council of Twelve’ series books ‘Soul Taker’, and ‘Sundance’, who both are angels,


Books three and four show us Zepheira, who has ram horns since they started to grow when she was a teenager, and Simin, who is a bounty hunter and holds her own secrets. Both women are immortal supernatural creatures.


When I started writing my current WIP, a crime novel, I realized, I didn’t have that freedom anymore. I still have the liberty to create whatever unusual character I please, but they have to fit into what we would call a ‘normal’ world and everyday life. It’s nevertheless a wonderful challenge, and still a lot of fun, but it is different. I have to work more with psychology, rather than with horns and wings, sulfur and fire.

Of course, next to the protagonist and antagonist, many other characters will show up in our books. But most of us writers don’t start to create them while preparing the book. In my stories, they just ‘wander’ into the book, and sometimes they wander out again…

How are you creating your characters? Is it the best part of writing a story for you? Tell us about your creative process when it comes to characters. We’re curious!

The Best Part Of Telling A Story – Part I

I have been asked numerous times what the best part of being a writer is… I usually reply that it is the start, when the page is still blank and waits for the words to show up on the monitor. But, to be honest, I’m not really sure that’s true. In fact, I think, there are several steps that are just as much fun than starting to type…

1. Drafting the plot

2. Finding a motive

3. Creating the protagonist and antagonist

4. Finding the perfect location

5. Thinking of plot twists

6. Create side characters

[7. Depending on the story, maybe even create a world]


Of course, crime story writers work differently than fantasy writers do. Now, since I write fantasy, but wrote a crime story out of my fantasy series, let me start with the fun part on both…

Part I – Drafting A Plot

‘The Council of Twelve’ series generally starts with a new charkacter being introduced to the readers. Since I just started to draft a new book, I would like to be careful not to give away too much. But imagine my thoughts are going into the following direction:

A New Consort

What Is She?

How Does She Meet The Council Of Twelve?

Why Does She Meet Them?

What Complicates The Situation?

Who Is Her Consort?

How Are The Problems Going To Show Up?

What Does The Council Of Twelve Do To Solve The Problem?

What Is The New Consort’s Part In The Fight Good Vs. Evil?

How Is This Story Going To Open A Spot For The Next Story?


When it comes to drafting a new crime story, my first draft was lighter and only contained a few questions:

Who Is The Victim?

Who Is The Perpetrator?

What Is The Motive?

Who Are The Suspects?

Who Is The Investigator?


Before these questions are not answered, I won’t start to write. There are a whole lot of notes to take, and during the plot draft, more questions will inevitably show up. A book rises and falls with the plot, and it has to be worked out very carefully. If the reader at the end is left with too many lose ends, the book is either no good, or it’s part of a series and the questions are supposed to be answered in the next part.

Saving time on the plot draft is not the best time saved. Of course, I can only talk about myself and what is fun for me, but this is the first fun step of telling a new story for me.

If you’re a writer and have something to add, or if you’re a reader and would like to ask questions, the post is open to comments.

Historical Names For My Story


I already wrote one book with three side stories to ‘The Council Of Twelve’ series. After completing book 9 in the series and an additional book that doesn’t belong to ‘The Council of Twelve,’ I felt the need of writing another story, making one of ‘The Council of Twelve’ side characters the protagonist.

The story takes place in middle Europe in the 13th century during the peak of the ‘Danubian Monarchy’ when parts of the extended grounds and population started rebelling and founded their own country.

Now, I needed names that were popular during that time. I know one or two of those first names that survived until our current times, but, of course, that story doesn’t only have two characters.

So, what did I do? I do what many of us do at first: we Google!

What I found out was quite interesting. There are a few websites with middle-European names, but:

They start delivering from 14th – 15th century. I was a bit confused at first, but then it dawned on me… The rebellion started end of the 13th century. It took several hundred years until the country in question was founded entirely. Therefore, it is evident that there was no source from that early state.

I permitted myself to use first names from the 14th century since I considered that the first names didn’t change that much.

Writing that story had been a lot of fun so far. However, it needed some getting used to, juggling with these very antiquated names, like:

Siboto

Heidenreich

Rupertus

Gottfried

Eberhart

Hermine

Levian

There are other examples, of course. But to my surprise, a few first names survived until this current time and even have crossed the ocean.

Theodor

Thomas

Martin

And just in case you’re wondering, I purposely chose to write the Germanic version of the names since, as I mentioned, the story takes place in Europe.

I do admit; I am fascinated by some older and old-fashioned names. I think it’s a bit sad that some of them have almost ‘disappeared.’ Well, some of the names I understand are not used anymore, but some others I love:

Prudence

Phoebe

Elizabeth

Genevieve

Esme

Agnes

Florence

Edith

Esther

Ellen

Martha

Nellie

Pearl

Rose

Cordelia

Abraham

Albert

Ambrose

Barold

Benedict

Edward

Jasper

Franklin

Elijah

Gael

Milton

Neville

Julien

Marshall

Reginald

Spencer

Tobias

Winston

Maude and Wilbur don’t belong to my favorites, but that’s only a detail. At this time, I wanted to complete that side-story with characters playing in the 13th century and not being named ‘Jessica’ and ‘Heather.’

It’s always a good idea to create unique characters, and why not name them equally impressive?

What names do you like? How do you name your characters? Do the names of your characters have meanings, or are they ultimately picked out of your fantasy? Let us know in the comments.

Creating A Protagonist With Dark Secrets

Writing a fiction novel, staged in 2021 in Southern California is completely different from writing Young Adult fantasy. I had planned to create a main character who is not perfect, to not only extend the tension within the story, but also, because it’s important for the entire plot.

That means, I literally created a flawed protagonist. Flawed, but still sympathetic; imperfect, but still loveable.

I read plenty of books where I enjoyed reading about flawed characters. Some of them have dark secrets that are revealed. I didn’t want my protagonist to be perfect! Far from it… but then, that particular dark secret is a crime. How much of a disadvantage is that for the story?

There are quite some flawed famous beloved characters in history:

Elizabeth Bennett, protagonist in ‘Price and Prejudice’. She’s loveable, an independent and proud woman of her time (within permitted limits)… but she’s prejudgemental and a bit too arrogant at times and needs to work on herself to correct her. Do we love her less for that?

John Blackthorne, protagonist in ‘Shogun’. He’s good looking, even though the Japanese protagonists within the book call him ‘Barbarian’. He is highly intelligent, a strong and resilient character… but he sacrificed his entire ship crew except seven or eight of them, to fulfill his need for adventure, and he cheats on his wife. Do we love him less?

Indiana Jones. Our hero, our fighter for the good, against an entire military-power behind the ‘Fuehrer’… He loses as many times as he wins, but he would never give up. He’s flawed, vulnerable and still we love him.

John Wick – an absolutely deadly assassin, who comes out of his retirement to get back to the ones who killed his dog. He mows his opponents down by the dozen again and again – and still, we would do anything to keep him alive.

There are many more examples, but I’ll leave it up to you who you would add to the list. (Please, leave your favorite flawed hero in the comments, I’m curious)!.

But can we love a criminal character? What is it that makes our character interesting? The flaws, the humor, the mood, the attitude… but a crime?

Now, am I crazy to worry about that? Without the crime there would be no story, and still I ask myself, ‘what is everyone going to think about this protagonist’? Will the readers still love that character as much as I do? Oh yes, I grew up like that, always considering how things look like to others. But in my book; in my story? (Yes, I know, talking about crimes and John Wick, it might seem a bit narrow-minded to worry about my little character and story. But I can’t help myself. It’s my work, and it’s upon me to tell the story, right?)

Let me know your thoughts on a flawed protagonist.

Picture courtesy of IndieWire.com

Characters: The Emotional Touchstone Readers Crave – Written By Kristen Lamb

Characters are critical for stories that resonate. Why? Because characters are the conduit that connects the reader and vests them in the story problem. They’re the emotional touchstone that allows for catharsis, because—when written well—it doesn’t matter if the character is a space alien or a federal agent, we (readers) can relate to them in some way.

We can’t empathize with technology, spaceships, magic, or nuclear submarines. Humans can’t bond emotionally to a place (without the characters as the connection).

For instance, we CARE about Lord of the Rings’ Middle Earth because we care about Frodo, Samwise and Gandalf. And, because Frodo, Samwise and Gandalf care deeply for Middle Earth and the Shire…we do as well.

Story is like the wall socket that’s connected a tremendous power source. But, how useful would those wall sockets be if all the gadgets in everyday life didn’t have plugs? How useful would a bunch of dead gadgets be?

We cannot have story without characters and can’t, conversely, have characters (DIMENSIONAL characters) without story.

Readers read stories, but great stories read the readers.

***I know we’ve talked about all this before, but since I am pathologically honest, I feel the need to tell on myself. I cracked a back tooth and had major dental work last week. With all the drugs? I actually have a completely new post almost finished, but it’s been like pulling teeth…bada bump snare.

*cries*

So please forgive the refresher.

Moving on…

CONTINUE READING HERE

Soul Taker Secrets – Who Would I Cast For My Female Characters? (I)

In August 2019 I published a post about a group of actors who I would pick for my ‘Council Of Twelve’ characters. At that time the only known consort was Katie, who I included in the list.

Today, May 2021, almost two years later, four books are published, and even though I introduced three consorts to the readers, there are couple more characters in these books, who I’d like to turn into a known face.

Let’s see, why not introducing the characters by book?

Soul Taker

Katie – Arielle Kebbel
Aylah, Katie’s warrior friend – Chloe Grace Moretz

Sundance

Sundance – Lucy Hale
Bluerose – Millie Bobby Brown

Demon Tracker

Zepheira – Gemma Arterton

Bounty Hunter

Simin Arnatt – Ashley Greene

I know, compared to the other post, where I tried to find actors for ‘The Council of Twelve’, I had a few characters more than here. But with the growth of the series, I promise, I will extend this list. (And you never know, I might exchange the one or other actress or actor. We will see.

If you read the book, do you have any better suggestions? Fire away here in the comments. I’m prepared!

6 Creative Ways to Name Your Fictional Characters – Written By Andre Clayton

Thank you, Andre Clayton for a great blog post about naming our fictional characters. We all have been there. And for all of us it’s always interesting to find out how other authors are doing it!


on The Write Life:

When you start writing your story, how long does it take you to come up with character names?

Choosing the perfect name for your protagonist and antagonist can take ages, especially when you’re not sure how to start.

I’ve been there. After wasting days staring at a blank computer screen, attempting to come up with names for all of my characters, I developed with some helpful naming strategies. And I’d like to share them with you!

Continue reading HERE

HOW TO SURVIVE WITH TOO MANY FICTIONAL CHARACTERS LIVING INSIDE YOUR HEAD – Written By Lucy Mitchell

Lucy Mitchell informs us how to survive with too many fictional characters living in our heads. Thanks, Lucy.


#AmWriting #LucyMitchell #WriterBlogger

It’s not easy being a writer. We find ourselves drawn to tweed based outfits, berets, Twitter, book shops and attractive notebooks. We stare into space a lot, walk around with pencils permanently tucked behind our ears, get excited over word counts, cover our walls in post it notes and lose ourselves while reading books.

One of the many problems we face is that our fictional characters can multiply inside our head at an alarming rate. Writers often talk about too having many new story ideas but for some of us (me included) it’s too many new characters.

Once a writer has caught the writing bug; written several stories, have a story they are working on and be entertaining a few new story ideas on the side, their head can sound more like a railway station at rush hour.

Head overcrowding is not the only issue, fictional characters can also be noisy, disruptive and demanding. Some fictional characters will sit quietly and await their turn but some (you know the characters I am talking about) will make getting your full attention their main focus in life.

CONTINUE READING HERE

How to show the emotions of non-viewpoint characters – Written By Louise Harnby

Louise Harnby published a fascinating article about the emotions of non-viewpoint characters and how to show them without screwing up. Thank you, Louise!

________________________________________________________________

Non-viewpoint characters have emotions too.

But how do we show them without head-hopping?

The answer lies in mastering observable behaviour.

Continue reading HERE

 

The Truth – And How I Use My Characters To Say It

Picture courtesy of http://www.thepowerofoneness.com/blog/tag/live-your-truth/


Don’t we all wish sometimes we could just tell the truth instead of juggling tactfully around saying what the other one would like to hear? Let me give you a few examples.

Imagine, a hair salon, somewhere in a big city… the walls are covered with breathtaking hairstyles on equally breathtaking people, the hairstylist expects his next appointment.

A customer enters and points to one of the pictures on the wall, telling the hairdresser: “I want exactly that hairstyle here.”

Now, what does the hairstylist want to say? “Well, I’m afraid, that is a misunderstanding. See, this is a professional model, a really beautiful human being. Whereas you are a caprice of nature… barely to look at.”

What does the stylist say eventually? “Aaawww. What an excellent choice. That cut will frame your face wonderfully. I’m convinced it will look splendidly on you.”

Or, let’s have a look at another example:

Parents are invited to a parent’s conference day, and they’re meeting their kids’ teacher.

Imagine what the teacher would like to say: “Ah, yes. Your son Willy. A complete idiot. About as intelligent as six feet of dirt track… I’m surprised how this child finds the door in the morning to leave the house. My advice to you: set him free; start from scratch.”

What does he say? “Your son. He is intelligent but does have a few difficulties to focus and concentrate. There are practices and exercises to improve that. But I’m convinced the older he gets, the easier it will be for him…”

Or, how do you tell parents that their child is not the cutest on earth? Ask them for a picture. Then you study it for a few minutes and say: “Aha… hmm… you know…. are you sure that this is indeed the face?”

Of course, our society does not accept the naked truth. We all know words can hurt, and we don’t want to hurt people, nor do we want to be hurt. That’s when our ability to successfully veil our replies in conversations, create our answers in a way to compliment the other person, and hide what we really think.

At this point, I admit, it is a relief at times, to use my characters to speak what ‘they’ think, and of course, use them to write what I think. I rarely refer to a particular person or situation. But I permit my characters at times, to be as outspoken, open, bold, and sometimes rude, as I would never dare to be in public.

At times I wonder, if crime authors use their books to ‘kill people’ they don’t like in real life.

What would you permit your character to do what you cannot do or say in your real life? Let me know in the comments, I’m curious.