Tag Archives: character

Writing Prompts Take 01

I got a writing prompt app on my phone today that truthfully I’ll probably only use once or twice, but it was an impulse buy and it could lead to more fun, or possible give me that kick in the ass when I need to get a move on writing anything.

The first part of the prompt already coincided with an upcoming scene, so with 3 minutes between each new instruction, I rolled with it. 🙂

Start writing a story scene that..
Has a character who receives a mysterious message

Luke sat at the dining table feeling rather triumphant. The shooting lesson had gone as best it could (she was really a terrible shot), and now there was stew before her. It was getting a bit warm for stew, but cook had made it upon her request, and she was happy.

A footman appeared at the table then, bowing to her and handing her a folded card before excusing himself. Ever watchful, Aiden looked on curiously, but Wentworth was, as usual, engrossed in the evening’s news.

Surprised that any sort of note had come for her, Luke wiggled her shoulders and flipped it open.

    You are sadly mistaken, my darling.

Taken aback, she set the card down.

Include this sentence: “She was so forgetful that…”

“What does it say?”

Wentworth lowered his paper then, glancing at the furrowed brow of Aiden and the slightly ashen face of the girl directly across from him.

“Is something the matter, Miss Avery?”

“Who sent this?”

Aiden began to rise to grab the missive from her, but Luke was faster. Her panic, however, set her mind at a distinct unease. She was so forgetful, that she failed to push her chair out before she rose, and her crinolines resisted the movement, shoving her back into her seat, her bare elbow smashing against the gilded wood of the arm.

Include a dialogue that begins with: “I’ll tell you the secret”

Hissing in pain, she clutched her elbow as Aiden reached forth and snatched up the note. He read it and his mouth turned down.

“What does it say?” Wentworth asked, pushing his newspaper aside and resting his own elbows on the tabletop.

Aiden turned it over in his hands and cleared his throat, announcing, “You are sadly mistaken, my darling.”

Luke nibbled on her lip, and the blonde banged his fist against the table. “What the devil does that mean?”

“I’ll tell you the secret of the Infection if you could tell me that,” Aiden snapped in return, tossing the paper into his wineglass and watching the liquid soak itself hungrily into the paper.

Add this word: boots

“Well I, for one, am not about to stand around waiting,” Luke declared, remembering to push back her chair, and lifting herself safely out of it, “Let’s get to the bottom of this prank.”

“It isn’t a prank.”

Both Luke and Wentworth turned their eyes to Aiden in question and he sighed, looking over at his partner. “Fly, you and I both know this. We’ve all received them now.”

Shoving a hand on her hip, Luke stomped her foot, wincing slightly. These boots were new and not yet broken in. “You’ve been keeping things from me?”

Add this word: island

Aiden shrugged. “We keep many things from you.”

“Well I think I ought to know if we’re all getting nasty letters at the dinner table!”

“It’s far better if you don’t,” he told her, doing his best to keep his irritation at bay. She opened her mouth to protest again, but he leveled his gaze, “Consider it your own blissful island of ignorance.”

She cocked her head, but didn’t break eye contact and he groaned inwardly. There’d be no stopping her now.

“I’m not very ignorant of it now then, am I? Nearly getting eaten up by cannibals in the library, no less.”

He rubbed his forehead, sighing. “Yes well, I suppose we hadn’t considered there’d be a connection until now.”


Creating Characters: Breaking the Archetype – The Gay Guy

When it comes to creating a character, we writers have to be very careful to avoid many things. One of those things is the archetype. Archetypes are great for miscellaneous persons with very small roles. They are also great for satirical pieces. (The re-make of Hairspray comes to mind here haha) Other than that, I find them to be pretty flat as characters. Sticking to their stereotype is what makes them what the are, after all.

A common archetype that we see in modern media (I can’t say literature because I only really read historical romances, on the rare occasion I have a moment to read) is The Gay Guy. You know him. He’s got fabulous blonde hair, his fashion sense is trendy and drool worthy, and if you’re wearing last year’s LV, beware. He’s out for you. He wastes no time in making raunchy penis jokes and is secretly envious of your boyfriend. He’s your best girl friend. He picks our your clothes for you, waxes your brows, and will cuddle on the couch with you feeling completely safe because he’s gay.

Gag me.

As someone who comes from an incredibly gay family with a cornucopia of homosexual friends and acquaintances, I really don’t understand where this came from. But this isn’t a post about LGBT equality (I make a horrible activist), it’s about characters and my own insecurity as a writer.

I never put a character into a story just for the sake of having one. Never for the sake of being politically correct, or to embrace all walks of life. Hell, I don’t even make up my characters. They come to me.

And you know what? Like everyone else in this decade, I have a homosexual male in my cast. Two, actually. But Philip Avery is such a big part of the story (The Book of Cale in particular) that I actually get nervous talking about him and working with him for that reason. I fear the reaction of people assuming I’ve jumped onto some bandwagon. He isn’t ‘The Gay Guy’. His sexual orientation has no impact on who he is as a person, it’s just a matter of preference.

But how will  he be received? I’ve already had people ask me why I ‘made’ him gay. It wasn’t a choice, he just is. He always was, and will continue to be. I can’t change him and I don’t want to.

So I wonder, will people look at me and say, “of course she has a gay guy. Everyone has a gay guy.” because like the token black guy (which I don’t have. For no reason other than none have made their way into my head), he needs to make an appearance in order for me to be culturally acceptable.

Maybe I’m over thinking it. Realistically, so long as I do my job right, present a compelling story with characters that feel real and can be connected with, I shouldn’t worry about how someone is going to be analyzed or received. If readers can accept the homicidal psychopath that is our hero, I imagine the jaded, bearded tavern owner wiping down dirty mugs isn’t exactly a difficult man to accept.

I’m sorry he’s not fabulous. He’s just a sort-of single dad trying to make ends meet in 1784.


Mondays are for Music: Track 09

Today’s track is a whole lot of fun and that’s because it is Wentworth’s theme. It’s hard to do anything involving the man and not get a little bit of a chuckle.

This piece is from the soundtrack of Coraline, a film that, frankly, scared the pants off of me when I saw it in the theatre. Afterwards, I promptly bought the soundtrack. Hehe.

This piece is bouncy, flouncy, and just as booming and theatrical as the blonde conman himself. It does, however, contain a certain sense of creep-nasty, a little hint of something that makes you not quite trust it.

Here is Wentworth (The Mice Circus) 🙂


Alphabet Soup: I is for Isabella

I’ve been waiting a while for this letter because I knew exactly what I was going to choose. I just love letters that focus around a specific character because not only are the easy to write up, but because there are so many of them, it’s fun to focus on just one for a little while and give poor Aiden a break.

I is for Isabella

Isabella Avery, more affectionately referred to as Izzy, is, quite frankly, absolutely insane. Infected with the madness, she lives her life in an imaginary world where she thinks herself to be a woman of peerage. Always impeccably dressed, and immaculate in idiom, she wasn’t always crazy.

At what some might consider an immature age, she married her childhood friend, Philip, an illusion of love, in order to inhibit their world’s execution of him for his homosexuality. Though impoverished, the family lived happily until she fell under the influence of the madness.

Now fully convinced that Cale is her intended, she is completely intoxicated by her infatuation with the king, knowing nothing of his illness. After Philip visits imploring her to help him retrieve their missing daughter, she does what everyone had imagined to be impossible. Thought to be socially incompetent, Isabella defies what everyone has believed of her, bringing peace to the injured heart of her king, and inadvertently acting as an instrument leverage for her husband in his search for Luke, as well as Cale’s own inquest to bring down The Black Duke.


Mondays are for Music: Track 07

One thing that is important to know about Aiden is that he lives on Memory Lane. He is fueled by thoughts of his past, even though he swears up and down that he is unaffected by events prior to the present. But that is because he is a liar. He spends most, if not all of his time alone thinking on the years that have gone by, how they could have gone differently, and why they caused him to be what he is.

So today, I’ll give you a little bit of memory music and, since I haven’t in a while, a little scene to go with. I don’t have an exact place for this moment yet, but it will find its way.

A Message for the Queen (Remembering Marietta) from the film 300.

It reminded him of her. Of course it did. Everything reminded him of her. Aiden pushed his fingers into his hair and stared out into the night. It was cold outside and there was a steady breeze up on the roof that brought a chill to his bones, but still he sat there almost unmoving.

It had been ten years to the day tonight. Had he been a better man he would have been married for ten years tonight. He would have had a son. He’d be six.

Aiden had no desire for children and it was easy to say he didn’t even like them, but like every man, he had pride, and a part of upholding said pride is to bear a son. Children weren’t children for long (he certainly wasn’t) so for the short while that he had to deal with the screaming brat didn’t seem too bad in comparison to the glory that his son would carry on in his name.

Marietta wouldn’t have made a good mother. She wasn’t loving or tender towards children. She didn’t have any desire to destroy her perfect figure or to soil her hands with the dirty work of caring for a baby, but that was what nurses and governesses were for.

That would be it. One child. One son. Their life would have forever consisted of glittering balls, silks, feasts, flashing lights and the whirling, dizzying lifestyle of those most fortunate. He would have provided all of that for her. If there were anything that she ever felt a need for, she would have it. She was his sun, his center, his hope. She had been the only person that ever showed how much she truly cared, that she was honest and good to him, for him, that she was his forever, that she’d never leave like the others had.

But she lied.

So here he was, ten years later on the rooftop of a hidden house, still wondering why. He had it all. He did it all. Why would she leave him? It had been an entire decade and still he wanted to know. He couldn’t live without knowing. Not knowing is what had driven him to become what he was. Aiden Finnegan, The Black Duke. The Black Duke wasn’t a duke at all, but a man who once had the entire world at his disposal. Now he was left with nothing of his own. Now everything came with strings.

He remembered her face. He remembered the way she smiled at him and the way her bottom lip pulled down when she was worried. He remembered seeing her angry. There was something about her when she was angry that he found himself unable to resist. Marietta didn’t have hurricane like fits or large sweeping rants. She was quiet and icy, malicious and cruel. If ever there were a woman who used her position to gain advantage over her enemies, it was Marietta Grace.

But even as similar to Aiden as she was, that wasn’t the reason he loved her. Aiden loved Marietta because in his lowest of lows, she had been there to pick him up, to hold him and whisper her ever gentle, ‘I won’t leave you.’: the mantra that he clung to.

Even as a child she had understood him. She knew to tread delicately around his sour being and never did she consider speaking out of line. She sat before him, stitching lace or practicing her handwriting while she listened to him. Sometimes he wouldn’t say anything at all and neither would she. Simply being in the same room as her gave him peace of mind.

Marietta never challenged him. Aiden’s word was absolute and she knew it. She never whined, complained of even pouted unless the soft change in facial expression was carried out with intent to seduce him. She knew her place (naked, beneath him) and never thought to test it.

As a younger man, Aiden had been cocky. He wasn’t stupid. but he had been too self absorbed in his misery, and confident in his power to realize that there were bigger things going on than his fame and fortune.

Poor bastard. 😦


Alphabet Soup: Twice Brewed

Oops! I forgot about Alphabet soup last week. That’s because Mr. Frenchie and I were in the kitchen having a hobby night. 🙂 (we make candles! It’s super fun!) Tonight I will give you two letters and we’ll see if I can come up with any clever alliterations. We’ll see.

E is for excitement[!]

There is a lot of energy in this series and it comes at us from all angles. Between Aiden’s evasive maneuvers when it comes to Cale, and the exasperating eagerness of Miss Avery to allow her new world to engulf her, our hero and heroine are responsible for a great deal of it. It doesn’t help much that they find themselves entangled in a series of rather bizarre eventsenraging Aiden, and even bringing forth Wentworth’s ever elusive inner demons. Envy becomes a key point in our story, frequently threatening the very existence of all three. Once at ease, they now sleep with one eye open, preparing for the next bloody encounter.

On the other side of the land, empathy for Isabella Avery ensnares our good king and he returns to being the epitome of hopeless romantic, all the while entertaining Philip’s desires for returning his daughter safely. He becomes riddled with euphoria for his newfound paramour, but quickly learns the effects his love has on his bride, enabling a cruel and bitter end.

F is for Fletcher

With his ever present frown and furrowed brows, Aiden’s valet is a lot more fun than I imagined. He has served the Finnegan family for more than four decades, and his age is nearly twice the years he has attended them. Though he is often frosty and rigid in his ways, he has a fondness for Luke, who intendeds to fix Aiden. His appearance is that of a frail old man, though he is anything but. Deducing liars is his forte, (a great asset to his master, who is often too busy to deal with peons), but should a fight ensue, he is well trained in firearms, possessing a finesse much like Aiden’s and enabling him to fend for himself and the freight that they are moving should the situation call for it.

Fletcher does not take kindly to fools, and he counts Wentworth among such beings. He has little use for fanciful adornments and flamboyant clothing, but when one tends to the person that is Aiden Finnegan, this is expected. He is one of the few people alive that knows all of Aiden’s frightening past and faces it head on when his master can not. He is loyal to a fault, but does facilitate Luke’s efforts because he honestly believes that Aiden does deserve a fraction of happiness, even when the rest of the world disagrees.


What Does November Mean to You?

It’s the first of the month, which means rent is due, you’ll have another shot at earning employee of the month, retail workers need to be on their best behavior for the new secret shopper (“new month, new shop!” Boy am I glad to be done hearing that one), and you’ll want to stay as far away from Wal Mart as humanly possible.

But it isn’t just the first of the month. It’s November! And everyone knows that November is marathon month. Why they picked November I’ll never know. Why not March? Nothing exciting ever happens in March.

So what does this mean for you?

National Novel Writing Month

Perhaps you are a NaNo-er. You’ve spent all of October drafting outlines, researching worlds and scouring babynames.com for the perfect name to fit the characters in your new novel. Now it’s go-time! Take advantage of your sick days, drain yourself of your vacation days (the new year is almost upon us anyway) and get those words on paper, or processor.

As I’ve previously stated, I won’t be participating this year, but I support everyone who is! Are you? I’d love to hear about your new novel. If you’re tracking your process in a blog, leave me the link and I’ll be sure to keep tabs on you and whip you into shape every now and then. 🙂

Movember!

Maybe you’re a gent. Maybe you’re a Mo Bro. If so, good for you! Movember is most definitely appropriately placed on the calendar, giving the men of the world a month to not only raise awareness for prostate cancer and other illnesses that target males, but to make up for all the pink they wore in October in support of Breast Cancer awareness.

Movember is one month where us ladies not fond of the mustaches our men grow (Mr. Frenchie’s beard is much nicer than his mustache), can put aside our distaste and sit there and say, “yeah honey! You grow that mustache!”

Movember is not to be confused with No Shave November. Movember is for your mustaches only! Be sure to click the logo above for information, statistics, and how to get involved. Documenting your ‘mo? Link me! I want to see them. 😀

This is what I look like when I don’t shave for a week.

NO SHAVE NOVEMBER! This is something we can all participate in! No Shave November is more about laziness and fun. And growing the greatest beard. While Noshember itself does not raise awareness for one specific cause, Noshemberers themselves are active in gathering funds and gathering fellow do good-ers.

I want to joke that I’ll toss my razor aside for the month and let my legs fluff out (It’s jeans and sweater tight weather! Who would know?), but Mr. Frenchie would undoubtedly come in and argue that it would be no different than any other month. 😦 That said, I’ll probably end up participating by accident. (Honestly, I spend most of the hot water dreaming up new scenes for The Noble Project.)

Are you forgoing shaving? Link me! I want to see beards and furry legs! I’ll even get a giggle out of your armpits ladies, when you look like something out of Jack Dawson’s sketchbook! 😀 Just please don’t document anything naughty. :3

I live for this guy

For me, November 1st means a lot of different things. First, a new month of word count, as depicted above. Seriously, I love that app. I’m hoping to exceed that 10k this month like I have for the past 3 (October finished with over 18k wohoo!) so I can keep myself ahead of schedule, start editing, and giving the first draft to other sets of eyes to point out my horrific typos and contradictions.

Secondly, it’s the month of… THANKSGIVING! Which means I will be at Target & JoAnn Fabrics at least twice a week gathering cute Turkey decor for my home. Additionally, I will be scouring various locations for clearance Halloween merch. It is also the month of Black Friday which is something I am not sure I am participating in or not. The Christmas gifts I’m giving are mostly handmade, so aside from Merlo & Mr. Frenchie, I don’t have much shopping to do.

Third, I’ve got to make and send out invitations to our annual Christmas Party! That’s always a fun time, but I don’t even have ideas yet.

Also, it’s the month of Aiden’s birthday! It’s Nov. 7th, and if he were around today, he would be turning Two Hundred Fifty-Seven. The absolute epitome of miserable old man. In his world, he’ll be Twenty-Nine, though when TNP begins, his birthday has already passed because Luke is already freaking out about  her excitement for Christmas. I don’t think he could handle the attention she would shower him with if she were to be with them to celebrate his birthday.

Maybe next year, for the big 3-0 haha

In honor of marathon month, I’m going to leave you all with a wallpaper I made up for The Noble Project because working on it felt like a marathon. I really enjoy digital painting, even if I haven’t quite grasped it (in school I avoided all of my 2-D classes. Therein lies the problem), but every now and then I break out the tablet and play around in photoshop to improve my skills.

Enjoy! Click for downloadable size. Resolution 1280×800

That smirk is trouble.