Showing posts with label characters. Show all posts
Showing posts with label characters. Show all posts

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Switch away from the protagonist?? Don't mind if I do! πŸ˜ƒ

Something I started doing a few books ago is to switching away from the protagonist for one chapter. So essentially, I have another secondary character take over the story for one chapter, usually around the middle of the book, in order to give the reader another perspective. It also gives me an opportunity to shake things up a bit. It adds another layer to the book.

The beauty of it is that you can have a better overall view of the protagonist. For example, if your protagonist has a specific point of view about themselves, you might swing around to another character who draws a completely different picture. It gives the reader food for thought. Maybe the impression that the protagonist is giving isn't completely accurate. Then again, it might also change your opinion of the secondary character as well, since you will be seeing them up close and personal.

I do this with almost every one of my books and find that it really gives me a different perspective too. Sometimes the only way to really understand where a secondary character is coming from is to climb inside of their mind. It's really fascinating.


Tuesday, September 18, 2018

It's all about energy! ⚡️

How important is the balance of energy between characters in a book?

Some characters have a high energy level whereas, other characters are a more low energy. The key is to have the right mix in order to balance everything out.

I learned this lesson after writing my first book, Fire in 2009. The book was about a band and right off the bat, there was an obvious imbalance of power between the characters. The protagonist, Tarah appeared to be on her own against two other band members whereas, a fourth band member wouldn't get involved in the dispute. In comes a fifth character that automatically jumps on Tarah's side and causes a more balanced playing field within the book. This doesn't mean there has to be one side against another but a general balance of energy.

Another example would be the couple in my latest book, And the Devil Will Laugh. Jorge and Paige Hernandez are very similar in some ways, yet vastly different in others. Personality wise, they are worlds apart. Jorge is loud, blunt, abrupt and aggressive whereas his wife Paige is quiet, soft, calm and fair. The two balance each other out in many ways which works in their various scenes together.

When you think about it, real life isn't so different. There is always an energy dynamic.



Friday, September 14, 2018

The Curse of Chapter Two! ✌🏼

For some reason, I often have issues writing chapter two. I guess it's because there is so much drama in chapter one that it seems to kind of fall flat in comparison. Also, I'm responsible for setting up the story and introducing the characters in the first couple of chapters and after all the crazy events (hopefully!) in chapter one, suddenly I'm left to pull it all together.

At least, that's what I try to tell myself.

In honesty, since recording this specific YouTube video talking about the issue, I've been going out of my way to make chapter two as dynamic as chapter one. I learned that it was important to keep up the same energy For example, in my book The Devil is Smooth Like Honey, I have a very interesting scene between Jorge Hernandez and Paige NoΓ«l after they meet under unusual circumstances. In fact, this is probably one of my better chapter twos.

Is there a curse of chapter two? Perhaps it was a challenge I merely had to take on.


Thursday, September 13, 2018

What do I learn from characters? 🀨

What do we learn from characters and how does this connect with our own lives? Do I always agree with my character's decisions? Why is it important to follow them along on their journey with no judgment?

To begin with, characters can teach us a lot about life. Just as with life, sometimes you have to let go of the wheel and let the characters take over and see where it takes you. In everyday life, it's usually a lot easier if we do the same. Not to say that you should be lying around on your couch waiting for an opportunity to come to the door but rather, that sometimes it is better to not be overly controlling about your day. We often have a 'to do' list that is unreasonably long and then get discouraged when we can't check everything off. To a degree, the same thing can be said of characters and plots. You can't force them ahead but rather, let them move at their own speed.

Having said that, my books tend to move very fast. Of course, they don't always go in the direction that I had expected but if a character surprises me along the way, that also means that my reader will most likely be surprised too and isn't that we all kind of want?





Characters, Characters, Characters! Why we love Awesome Characters! πŸ˜‡πŸ˜ˆ

Is there a character that you love? It doesn't matter if it's on television or in your favorite book; is there someone that stands out and is exciting to watch or read about? Why is character development so important??

If there's one thing that stands out to me in a great book or television show it is awesome characters. In my mind, these personalities (or lack there of...) can make or break a show. You can have awesome plot twists, terrific writing but if you don't have characters that people connect with, it falls flat.

We like variety, diverse and dynamic characters. As I've said before, personalities that jump off the page because they seem so real, so interesting; they're the people you want to learn more about with every chapter or in the case of a television show, each episode.

Characters should grow especially if you have them in a series. Just like everyday people, it seems a bit unusual to not see growth or at the very least, a change in opinion over time. As you learn about the characters, they're often learning about themselves. Even more interestingly, the characters you're drawn to might also be telling you something about yourself.



Why it's important to see through the character's eyes πŸ‘

One of the really cool aspects of writing for me has been able to get inside a character's head. I love being able to see things through their point of view, to understand where they are coming from due to their experiences and being able to demonstrate this to the reader. There's something really awesome about seeing through someone else's eyes and I wish everyone could do it more in everyday life. It's really easy to judge or put people in categories but it's much more difficult to step back and get a sense of understanding; then again, that's possibly why most people don't make the effort.

With characters, you simply have no choice but to understand and appreciate their journey. This is probably one of the biggest lessons I've learned from writing and probably one that I apply to my everyday life. Actually, when I first started to write as a teenager, I remember that as one of the key reasons why the whole process appealed to me. I felt there wasn't enough understanding of other people and that through characters, we could all open our eyes a little wider and perhaps show some compassion as opposed to ignorance.

Fast forward to years later and I think this lesson is even more relevant than ever. When we look at our world today, we definitely see a strong disconnect, a lot of judgment and even more so, a vast divide. One of the beautiful things about the characters I write about is that they come from many different backgrounds and experiences and I make great efforts to show how this relates to their current situations.

Interesting enough, real life isn't that much different if we take the time to investigate.





Monday, September 10, 2018

Who are your favorite characters? 🀩

A few months ago, I took a survey with my readers. I asked them to pick their favorite character from my books. As it turns out, there are a few fan favorites. And now, the countdown.....



5. Paige NoΓ«l-Hernandez - The only female to make the top five, Paige has been a regular character in my last three books as the wife of Jorge Hernandez. People like Paige because she is very strong and assertive yet has a gentle, almost zen-like side. She likes to meditate, practice yoga and is an online self-help guru....did I mention that she's also an assassin? πŸ”ͺ
    4. Jimmy Groome - A blast from the past! Jimmy Groome was a self-destructive, rebellious rock star character from my second book. Readers often comment how they related to him since he was somewhat of a misfit, whether it be within his own family or society in general. He was the love interest of the main character, Tarah Kiersey.

    3. Chase Jacobs - Not surprisingly, the top three characters (and 4/5 on this list) are from my last few books. Unlike the rest, Chase has been a part of this series from day one. In fact, he was the original protagonists for both We're All Animals and Always be a Wolf. People love his boy-next-door image, his need to do the right thing but most of all, his honest and genuine personality. 

    2. Diego Silva - This feisty character came along at the end of We're All Animals and has been along for the ride ever since. Diego is abrupt, fidgety and carries a baseball bat in the trunk of his Lexus...you don't want to know why. 😏This Colombian is the loyal sidekick of Jorge Hernandez and helps him with all his dirty work. 

    1. Jorge Hernandez - Possibly the most notorious character I've ever written about, Jorge Hernandez came along at the end of Always be a Wolf and has been the protagonist for every book that has followed. Arrogant, abrupt, obnoxious and calculating at times, others would describe him as a leader that doesn't let anyone or anything stand in his way. A former king in the Mexican drug world, he now strives to take over the (legal) pot industry in Canada. 


    Saturday, September 8, 2018

    Why Jorge Hernandez is a fan favorite? 🀴🏽

    Jorge Hernandez has quickly become a fan favorite for a number of reasons. When asked, most readers comment on several things that stand out about this character despite his devious side (although, some people seem to like that too 🀭) he has some characteristics that make him quite appealing.

    To begin with, Hernandez is bold, powerful and a strong element in the criminal world. You have to remember that he's survived 20 years in the cartel business which is, in itself, a major accomplishment. If Mexican news and documentaries have taught us anything, it's that the drug world is hardly a safe profession to get involved in. However, all that aside, let's look at when this character joined the gang so you can have a brief introduction.

    Fans of this series will recall that Jorge Hernandez came along in the latter part of Always be a Wolf. At that time, he popped into and out of the book but essentially took over the series as the protagonists in The Devil is Smooth Like Honey and he's continued to do so in A Devil Named Hernandez and the most recent book, And the Devil Will Laugh. (Note that 'devil' is in all the book titles he's the protagonist in)

    Fans enjoy this antihero, alpha dog character simply because he is strong, confident and unapologetic. His loyalty lies with his close friends and family which is something that I think many people can appreciate. He would do anything for the people he loves; literally, anything. He's very passionate about life and goes after what he wants with complete confidence that he will get it. It is probably because of this arrogant insistence that in fact, he is so successful.

    Of course, he also has a surprisingly sensitive side when it comes to his family. His daughter will often tug at his heartstrings as does his wife, which is something we don't often expect from a gangster type character. You know where you stand with Jorge Hernandez whether it be a pleasant place or not. He is the king.


    Monday, September 3, 2018

    Why Contradictions are Cool! 😎

    Contradictions are fun! There's nothing more interesting than a character with vast contradictions in their personality because it's completely unexpected and catches the reader (or viewer, if it's something on television) off guard.  And isn't that what we want? To be surprised?

    I tend to use contradictions and quirks a lot in my writing because I feel it adds a little something extra to the characters. Although to tell you the truth,  I don't overthink it either because it comes along quite naturally. Each character tends to have their own unique personalities that encompass some interesting contradictions.

    As an example, Diego Silva is a very dapper and sophisticated character so it would surprise people to know that when attacking someone, his weapon of chose is a baseball bat. In fact, if you follow along in this particular series, you will see Diego bring out the baseball bat on at least one occasion per book. πŸ™„Definitely not something you would expect.

    Another example would be Paige NoΓ«l-Hernandez who is considered one of the best assassins in the world - but she also likes to meditate and talk about self-help. Probably not what you would expect but it's sort of a neat contradiction.

    To me, this helps make characters seem more alive, fun and interesting. And let's face it, we all have our own contradictions that make us unique. What are yours?


    Do your characters have quirks? 🀭

    Quirks are odd behaviors or habits that people develop and as it turns out, characters are no different. In fact, most of the quirks that my characters demonstrate aren't planned but just sort of pop up in the story and end up sticking.

    What makes quirks so much fun is that they usually tell you something about the character. For example, many quirks that I use in my books seem to be associated with nervous or anxious behavior. I have one character that twitches and jerks a lot especially when he's uneasy, whereas another character (who's bilingual) switches back to his native tongue when very upset.

    What I love about quirks is that it helps a character seem much more three dimensional. This is especially true when the character regularly demonstrates the behavior. As I mentioned in the earlier examples, two of my characters tend to react in certain ways when presented with stress. This becomes consistent throughout the books to the point that you begin to expect it in the same circumstances.

    Of course, not all quirks have to be connected to emotions. A quirk could be someone not wanting the food on their plate to touch or refusing to drink out of a blue glass. One of my characters, for example, has a huge lime tree in his condo. He's obsessive about it and treats it almost like a child that needs constant care. That might also be considered a quirk. Then again...maybe that's just weird.

    What are some of the quirks you've noticed with your favorite characters?


    What is a 3 dimensional character and why do we need them? πŸ€”

    I was recently watching a show where a young actress was showing her outrage. The interesting thing is that her expression was the same as when she was upset, when she was happy, when she was...nothing...😏The point is that her acting wasn't very three dimensional. It fell flat.

    Sometimes characters in books can also fall flat so it's our job as writers to make sure that this doesn't happen. There should be depth to characters, they should show a vast array of emotions and reactions and most of all, we should be able to see their many layers. Just like real people (hopefully) characters have to have a complexity because that is, after all, human nature. Sometimes we don't even understand ourselves and characters are pretty much the same way. That's all part of the human struggle and it's necessary for growth whether it's your own life or a character's development, it matters.

    I certainly make great efforts to show the many sides of each of my characters. For example, as much as Jorge Hernandez (the protagonist in my recent books) is generally a very tough, alpha males, who can be abrupt, direct and occasionally cruel, he also has a soft side when with family and especially his wife. Along with all of this, he has much inner turmoil stemming from his childhood, his fears of being a bad father and about his future. For this reason, when asked to describe his character, I find it a bit difficult because there's no simple answer. Then again, when describing most people that I know, I run into the same problem.

    Characters should grow throughout a book and if they are part of a series, throughout the series as well. It actually is fun to see where they will go and what will happen. Kind of like real life. Well, sometimes.


    Sunday, September 2, 2018

    Why we need more strong female characters πŸ’ͺ🏼

    I guess it should be a given that we need strong, female characters in our books and television shows, however, I'm not always seeing it.

    It's disappointing that in 2018 I've seen a few cringe-worthy examples. I recently caught part of a soap opera where a woman talked about how she 'found happiness' with a new man in her life, which clearly suggested that she couldn't be or wasn't happy before he appeared. In the same show, a woman was playing the whole eye-lash-batting, I-don't-like-you-but-I-do game that caused me to roll my eyes.

    That was a fail. Women don't need to play games or feel less valuable when they're single and TV shows that perpetuate this scenario need to refresh their storylines and remember it's 2018.

    Not to suggest that my female characters are always strong. They have their weak moments just as we all have but for the most part, I like to think that they are powerful, independent and self-reliant. Paige NoΓ«l-Hernandez and Jolene Silva from my most recent books are excellent examples. Physically and mentally, these women are able to take on any situation fearlessly; no hand holding or white knight required.

    One of the things that I think is important to mention is that I'm not just talking about adults when I insist on strong female characters. My most recent books have a young girl named Maria Hernandez (the daughter of protagonist Jorge Hernandez) who also demonstrates a great deal of strength. I think we sometimes forget that young girls are learning how to be young women in our society and it is important that they also aren't taught to take a weak position in order to get attention or be accepted. Maria tends to really stand her ground and although she can get a little out of hand sometimes, for the most part, she demonstrates a strong, confident child who's an independent thinker and fearless by nature. She smart, articulate and bold.

    Needless to say, I don't tend to write about the 'damsels in distress' and I'm certainly not writing a fairy tale scenario where the prince swoops up on his white horse...I will leave that book for someone else. πŸ˜’



    Let's talk about the character Diego Silva 🏳️‍πŸŒˆπŸ‡¨πŸ‡΄

    The character Diego Silva came along at the end of We're All Animals and he's been in every one of my books since. He's definitely a fan favorite with a very distinct personality.

    Diego Silva is abrupt, vocal and direct, however, he also carries this nervous energy, almost as if he is wired on caffeine (and he probably is πŸ˜„) and can't stop moving. He's known for his sudden, loud remarks almost as if he has anxiety brewing underneath the surface. Of course, he has an unexpected soft side that sometimes comes out but it's not something everyone sees and certainly not his enemies.

    Diego is the brother of Jolene Silva, the woman who originally hired Chase Jacobs in We're All Animals. He made a surprise appearance at the end of the book but had such a strong presence that I just had to continue to write about him. In fact, the book that follows, Always be a Wolf, is as much about Diego as Chase, despite the fact that Chase is the protagonist. The book centers on their friendship and learning about Diego through Chase's eyes. It's really an interesting interpretation considering that Chase is highly observant and sensitive.

    Something that isn't obvious to readers right away is that Diego is gay. This isn't something he tries to hide but I think because of the collection of alpha dog personalities that he surrounds himself with, he is careful who he tells. I like that fact that he's a 'gay gangster' because we are so used to seeing these mobster type guys as womanizers who attempt to show off their idea of masculinity whereas Diego breaks that mold in a sense. He is as much a 'tough guy' as others but when he's spending time with Paige NoΓ«l-Hernandez, his close friend, we often remove this mask to express himself in a more sensitive, gentle manner.

    It's also interesting that Diego would end up being close friends with Jorge Hernandez, an alpha male who is in many ways his polar opposite. However, he makes many references within the books as Diego being his hermano or brother and with the exception to occasionally teasing him about his sexuality, shows no judgment or prejudice.

    There's something very special about Diego that draws people to him. Whether it be other characters or readers, I think he has a unique combination of characteristics that we both relate to and admire.


    Monday, February 15, 2016

    What my Characters Teach ME πŸ€“

    My readers might be surprised to discover that each of my protagonists develops from a place deep inside of me and transform before my eyes as I tell their story. They may be even more surprised to discover that with each lead character, also comes a great lesson.

    So what kind of lessons have I learned along the way? Check this out.

    Tarah from Fire: 

    Back when I was writing my first book, it never occurred to me that my characters would actually teach me something; this was a discovery I wouldn’t make until later on. However, looking back, I can honestly say that Tarah Kiersey, the main character in Fire, taught me to open my heart and be more understanding toward others. Tarah made great efforts to connect with family, band members and boyfriends, even when they've hurt her along the way. It was very important to her that issues with others were resolved and she never left anything unsaid.



    Jimmy from A Spark before the Fire

    Jimmy Groome from A Spark before the Fire was the rebellious misfit that didn’t feel as though he had a place in society. He escaped by drinking, doing drugs and falling into bed with every woman he could get his hands on. However, he would learn to accept himself and, rather than feeling like the outsider looking in, he realized that the qualities that made him different and unique, should be accepted and celebrated rather writing him off as a loser. He realized it was as much an attitude and his own limitations that kept him on the outside and this perception was solely his own; he wasn't the outsider looking in, he was in and had every right to be.



    Ava from The Rock Star of Vampires

    In The Rock Star of Vampires, Ava didn't know at first that she was a vampire and once she did, it didn't really occur to her that she had special powers. Seeing herself as an everyday mortal, she assumed she was limited. However, after a few mishaps (including a powerful hex that put her boss in the hospital) Ava began to see that she possessed a great power inside of herself and was capable of doing things that she had never imagined possible. Most of us don't realize we are much more powerful than we ever thought possible. We just have to believe.



    Mariah from Her Name is Mariah:

    In Her Name is Mariah, the protagonist grows up in a difficult family situation and learns resiliency at a very young age. She's forced into a young independence that serves her well as an adult, better preparing her for the tough world she was about to enter. By far the strongest character I've ever written about, at one point Mariah Nichols declares herself the wolf in a world full of sheep. She intimidates, manipulates and never allows anyone into her heart. Although situations change throughout the book, for the most part, Mariah Nichols teaches us that our strength is often much more powerful than we ever thought possible and it's something we should embrace with no apology.



    Natasha from Different Shades of the Same Color:

    Natasha in Different Shades of the Same Color wanted to make the world a better place and to inspire. She saw the importance of reaching out, connecting with people and doing what she could in order to help those who were vulnerable in society. I think we sometimes get caught up in our own lives and forget the importance of connecting with our community. Natasha wanted to be their voice when they couldn’t speak, something we all should do from time to time. She also was goofy, not afraid to wave her freak flag and love life; but isn't that what it's all about?


    Chase  from book six

    Although I know the working title, I’m just going to surprise you with it later. In this book, Chase is physically strong and trains hard to surpass his personal best. Although this is a step away from other characters, Chase is already teaching me (only 7 chapters in) to take better care of my body, work harder to get in the best shape of my life. I foresee some other, tough lessons that might come out of this book, but those will remain a secret for now.

    The characters are, in essence, a part of the author and writing a book is often a very cathartic experience. I know it is for me.

    Canadian author Mima is known for her complicated and diverse characters, a dark style and for never shying away from controversial topics. To request an interview or if you are interested in doing a book review, please send requests here  
     

    Mima is the author of Fire and the prequel, A Spark before the Fire, as well as The Rock Star of Vampires  Her Name is Mariah and Different Shades of the Same Color. Join Mima on Facebook, TwitterG+ and Goodreads also, check out her Amazon Author Page

    For some reading, check out her blogs – personal or writing


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    Sunday, September 13, 2015

    Are we the Characters? πŸ™ƒ

    It would be fair to say that each of my books follows me on my own, personal journey through life. Not to suggest that I am my characters, but I certainly have learned some of the same lessons along the way.



    My first book Fire was as much about the power of mass media as that of my characters, a rock band in the 90s. It was about how the value of life often comes second to the value of a great story and ratings/sales. This was a realization that I came to during my twenties when mass media often had the most influence. 

     My second book was the sequel called A Spark before the Fire, following a rebellious, social misfit that felt like he was on the outside, looking in, which also was a strong reflection of how I viewed the world at that time. I always felt a sense of being left behind, not included or as if my value was below that of others and like Jimmy Groome, chose self-destructive ways to block what I could not handle. 

    My third book, The Rock Star of Vampires, displayed how many of the social ‘vultures’ of the world are often carefully hiding behind a beautiful mask and it reflected a time when I realized that we all have our many sides and vulnerabilities, regardless of what we try to display to others. 

    My fourth book, Her Name is Mariah, was probably my most personal book, that hit closest to home. Let me explain why.

    Mariah Nichols was a character resurrected from my third book, The Rock Star of Vampires. It told the story of a strong, often cold woman who was tough – or so she wanted the world to believe. Mariah was one of the people hiding behind the beautiful mask I described earlier, except that she even believed the performance she gave to the world. She was untouchable. She was the wolf among sheep. No one could get to her. No one could hurt her.

    The reality was that a young doctor comes into her life and shakes up everything she has ever believed about both the world and herself. He slowly breaks down every wall that surrounded her, causing Mariah to be faced with her true self for the first time ever: it's overwhelming. His role in her life was to destroy all the walls that prevented her from growing, from living and most of all, from loving. In this case, she has to hit rock bottom, to evolve and feel truly alive.

    This was very much my own story. 

    No, I didn’t have a charming, handsome doctor come into my life and force me to see a side of myself I had long decided to ignore, however, I did have someone who forced me to take a good look at myself and it was by far, the most torturous and excruciating experience, but it was one that I had to explore in order to get to a better place. In fact, when I look at whom I used to be - how I once viewed the world or my negative thought process - I almost don’t recognize that person at all. It was my much-needed spiritual awakening. 


    I’ve almost completed the rough draft of my latest book and I'm definitely putting a lot of myself and my experiences in this book. Although slightly altered (and hopefully much more interesting than my own story) I do see the world through my character’s eyes and hope I continue to do so.

    I've always said that my books are for the 'misfits, the nonconformists and those who never quite fit in' because that is what I believe. I like to write unconventional stories about unconventional characters, who like to color outside the lines. Not only do they like it, they don't know any other way to live.






    Canadian author Mima is known for complicated and diverse characters, her dark style and for never shying away from controversial topics. To request an interview or if you are interested in doing a book review, please send requests here
     


    Mima is the author of Fire and the prequel, A Spark before the Fire, as well as The Rock Star of Vampires  Her Name is Mariah and Different Shades of the Same Color. Join Mima on Facebook, TwitterG+ and Goodreads also, check out her Amazon Author Page

    For some reading, check out her blogs – personal or writing


    Don’t let the fun stop here - sign up for the newsletter!