I have been SEVERELY busy and sick due to health issues so that’s why there’s a lag in blog posts. These issues are still ongoing and will be updated as I know what’s going on.
But onto today’s post, in which I’ll be answering the various questions I have about how my writing process works.
There have been people who have been asking and I’ve just put off doing this for a while. Most of these have been asked about my current work that others have seen, or in various snippets of others. Some have asked questions on the phone, some have emailed and others have in person. So I’ll answer the basics here.
How do you come up with your characters?
Coming up with the main character is easy for me. I find that when I know what they are like and after coming up with a backstory for them, developing the other characters that would fit their personality usually is the hardest part. After all, people want believable characters not ones so outlandish that its just hard to think they would be friends with them.
Have you ever not used characters?
I have over two hundred characters total that I’ve thought of. So yes, plenty are unused right now.
Who have you had to edit the most to make a story believable?
Aviere. I toned her down quite a lot from what she was originally so she was a believable character.
Why would you do something like that? Overpowered characters are so in and that makes her boring.
Let me be the first to say this: No, it doesn’t. What you think is cool others may think is too obnoxious, in your face or completely overkill. Your character doesn’t need to be like Neo from the Matrix, someone from Game of Thrones or from Naruto, One Piece or Attack on Titan to be totally cool, interesting and someone you want to read more about.
As long as there’s a story and you don’t make them overpowered and complete your story in the first fifty pages, then people probably will read it. Do that and you’ll lose your readers in no time flat.
It’s okay to edit people and your story to make it good. Honest, it is. And you WILL do it. There’s no way around it if you want to grow as a writer.
How do you start your story?
Most people would say just write, but that is going to get you more of a crappy first draft than it needs to be. While your beginning is always going to need to be edited, you do want some sort of linear line to where you want the start, middle and end of the story.
I say this from experience, trust me. I’ve been on four drafts of my first novel and planning on one more before it’s published. It’s a major pain in the ass when you’re just writing for the hell of it vs when you have a plan and know what your main character is going to do.
Do you write in one or two point of views?
I do whatever is needed to tell the story. I’m personally a fan of two point of views and sometimes first person is just fine. Of course, Aviere’s story is usually told in two point of views, depending on who is working with her. As it gets deeper I’m sure it’ll be more.
What do you use to write?
I use the program Scrienver, which is used for screenplays, comic books and novel outlines. It can be also used for many other things and is I think $40 by Literature and Latte, if I remember that company right.
Before I used Microsoft Word and OpenOffice and the formatting on both just drove me nuts. I tried Storybook but that wasn’t what I was looking for, and OneNote wasn’t really the software I liked either.
With Scrivener, it’s simplistic and I love the way this program is a little binder AND works on Mac and Windows. I use both of these OS at home. It’s also small to save so I can use my SD card in between computers. 🙂
In addition, I do use different style notebooks so that way I know what novel I’m writing. Sometimes handwriting gets the juices flowing and not many people do that anymore with computers today.
Who is your favorite character?
This one I get a lot and I love all of them, down to the side characters that no one thinks about. Each character I have in Aviere’s story is reflective in some point of my life as someone I’ve actually known, whether in passing or in my inner circle.
I have to say that the darker the character the more of a favorite they are. My two favorites have to be Aviere and Eileen simply because of their stories and how they have changed throughout.
While Aviere is not dark by nature, the story that she has is heartbreaking in some ways. Eileen is just a dark girl by nature through unfortunate circumstances.
Did you have a side character that evolved?
Eileen was one of them but her story was written when she was far older. She does appear in Aviere’s story as part of another character’s storyline but her only parallel is her trauma that makes her face her own later.
When she is in Soulless, it is 16 years later and she has her husband and two kids with some similar characters. The story is told in first person from her point of view.
What is with some of your character’s names like Jemina?
It actually was not from that 80 TV’s show. I learned about the show after the name because for years I forgot about it.
The inspiration came from looking at a syrup bottle one morning and I was very hungry. When I texted my friend to pick it up, Jemima came up as Jemina for the typing and I honestly thought it was how it was spelled. When I checked and found it wasn’t, the name stuck.
Besides, it’s unique and you don’t forget who she is, do you?
What is the weirdest name you’ve had for a character?
Ah, but that would be telling. There’s plenty more characters you’ll see later on.
I think Aviere Mye is pretty up there for unique though.
Speaking of which, how do you say Aviere’s name?
It is how it sounds and before was worse with its original spelling. My editor forced me to change it or else she wouldn’t edit the book 🙂 I remember that day very well because I whined for an hour about it until I saw her point.
Why are your main characters women?
You know, it wasn’t a gender specific thing when I made these two stories but I didn’t do good with characterizing men at the time. Since then there is one male character point of view in the draft and he has a prominent voice in the story.
Do you have a soundtrack?
It’s very large, but yes. Many people have attributed to it, sending me songs over the years that remind them of certain people when they read.
Want to share some secrets about how the book?
Sure. What I’ll share is safe enough anyway.
- Aviere’s original name was Aviare. Honest to god, it came from looking at some cable for the computer. I get so original with my names.
- I have no idea how Limere even came up to be honest with you but that name isn’t changing. No, he’s not French nor does he have a fake accent. He is however a die hard pothead and would move to legalize weed everywhere if he was real.
- Travis’s original name was Yokote but I decided I didn’t want to have Japanese names in the story because this isn’t Japan and they are not in Tokyo. I worked very hard NOT to make this an anime or manga.
- Travis and Peters only use their last names unless they’re in an argument with each other. They’re good friends and there’s no relationship between them.
- Maurice wasn’t in the original draft as a character. He was created upon the second draft.
- Usually I draw concepts of characters before I write, but I confess—in all the years I’ve worked on this, I’ve never been able to draw a current picture of Joe. I only have the younger version.
- It took me six months to draw a current Jemina in the right age set and NOT look like she’s from an anime and within an age group of 19-25.
I want to write a novel. Do you have any tips?
- If you want to write real books, start drafting your own stories. Do not stay in the realm of fanfiction.
- Writing a book is very hard work and is not for everyone. There are days you won’t feel like writing and there’s days where you write so much your fingers will fall off or your head will spin. When you can’t write, do something else. Draft a character, do an outline, review your chapter.
- The biggest lesson I learned so far is that there is always something else to do when the words won’t come.
- Work on an new story until you can go back to it. That’s doing something. I know a woman who’s doing four projects at once and she’s very good, but that’s not for everyone or for those who have a full time job.
- Lastly, do not take it personally when people tell you your work may not be up to par. Practice is the key and no one can tell you the right way to do it. Every author has a voice and a certain way they write and it’s up to you to find it with some guidance. Some don’t at all. I suggest the guidance part, though.