The Art of the Character

My recommendation is to always mold your main characters out of what you understand. Using bits of personality from people you know and respect as well as aspects of yourself allows you to write a truly life-like protagonist. I enjoyed coming up with and molding the characters in my Fantasy novels. I built separate personalities that not only resonate with me but have a lot in common with my own personality and those of their namesakes.

In Oliver, the scared, unsure, but ultimately determined and curious Seeker, I see myself. Not only as a boy but even now after a decade in the military I still tend to walk through life with an unsure determination and desire to do something good. I am still coming to terms with me and I and it was an interesting exercise to put myself in the story of The Seeker’s Burden and write Oliver’s character to reflect many aspects of my own character. This character is named after my son, a four year old boy who is one of the most alethic, bright, moody, and voracious learners I know. Every time he sees my first book with the cover of the older Oliver, he yells, “It’s the book about me!” 

In Ethan, the experienced, sure, and righteous leader I wrote in the aspects of character that I aspire to. Empathy alongside a commanding and assured presence in times of danger. Like Aragorn before, Ethan is a leader among men who fights for the weak and against whatever evil encroaches. He is as fearless and skilled as his namesake, the eldest son of a dear friend. A born leader he leads with passion and fury and yet with a tenderness as well.

Lucy is the strong willed personification of my daughter whom she was also named after (see a trend?). In her character I see the strength and willingness to offer help that I see and hope to always see in my two and a half year version. My daughter is a bulldozer who falls and pops right back up saying, “I’m ok”, and has a tender and loving heart. I shaped the book character around her and my hope for her future.

Writing the characters this way allowed me not only to put realism into their persons, but gave me a greater appreciation for the art of entwining the real world with the fictional. I wanted the characters to be relatable and realistic while still being heroic and inspiring to show that even the most common people have the spark of greatness. Heroes also feel pain and uncertainty, the only difference is they keep striving to do good in a broken world.

Amazon Book Deals 101

  I and many others I am talked to have been confused or have not taken advantage of some of the book deals out there. I am not being asked to or paid to push anything, this is only information. There have been a couple changes to how Amazon offers eBooks recently. There are two primary ways to read books for “Free” (after you pay a set fee).

  First is having a Prime membership. The majority of people get the $99 per year membership to take advantage of the free 2-day shipping and access to video streaming. What few know or utilize is you also have access to thousands of eBooks in the Prime program that you can “borrow”. The main caveat is you can only borrow one book per month (Once you borrow another book, the last one is removed from your library). Want to test the system to see if it works for you? Try the 30-day free Prime Trial and borrow a book. The link is to the left.

  Second and most recent is the introduction of Kindle Unlimited. Working similar to a paid music streaming account, you pay a set monthly fee ($9.99) and have access to thousands of eligible eBooks to read for “free”. There is no limit to the number of books you download and read per month but you can only borrow one at a time. This is a good option for the voracious reader that wants access to a broad range of genres to read at will. If you generally purchase multiple eBooks per month at the average cost of $2.99 + this may be the right fit. Again here is a link with more info:

  I hope that clears up some of the mystery surrounding the Amazon book marketplace and of course my two novels, An Emerging Threat and Path of Darkness are available in both the offered programs.

Let your experience color your writing

  When I began to wrestle with the concept of my first The Seeker’s Burden novel, An Emerging Threat, I was in the middle of a thirteen month vacation in Eastern Baghdad. And when I say vacation, I of course mean a mind numbing and life changing military deployment. I fought against the sameness of working 10 hours a day 7 days a week month after month by diving into another world of my own making. It was an escape from the chaos I had little ability to effect. I journeyed to the Tri-Islands and went on adventures with the characters I began to bring to life. Like the world I was physically stuck in, the world of The Seeker’s Burden was coming apart at the seams.

Eastern Baghdad from above

Eastern Baghdad from above