Archive for Urban Fantasy

Character Creation – That Super Fun Thing I Waste Time On

Posted in Author, Book Information, Book News, Science Fiction, Uncategorized, Wastes of Space with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 15, 2012 by darcytown

(Warning: This is a train of thought post and does not have much organization involved)…

I looooove the character creation phase of stories.  I’m referring to the big push of the nitty-gritty details before I start a series/book.  This is the part where I get each one of my cast figured out looks-wise, personality, a bit of history, age, jobs, etc.  Characters can and do pop out of nowhere later throughout the course of writing, and some of those can be the bestest (Reloy), but every story has to start off with its set cast.

The first place I start is the mains.  My stories have 1 or 2 main characters (with 1 exception) around which the over-arching story revolves:

Dahlia and Lucifer – Morningstar.

Rake and Ravil – Wastes.

Oregon Atari Argyle and Kentucky B. Coffee – Reactor 8.

Camilla / Col.Mayer / Sam / Soltana / Aliya – Prophets.    Tangent on: This is my exception story, it’s also the first one that I envisioned and ever started writing.  It took me years and years to finish book 1 (The Bound Prophets is a working title, but probably not a final).  This story is unique in style vs the others and may require a complete re-write before it ever sees an audience outside of two of my friends. Tangent off.

When I started Morningstar I used movie stars as my visual templates.  I found pics that worked with the story (3-4 pics per character), I pasted them into a Word doc, added one word descriptors, and sometimes a one-liner here and there.  I included things that would immediately recall not just a character’s looks, but their personality as well.  That I think is the most important aspect…character personality (and consistency of personality).  Drives me up the wall when a character has some strange personality shift without it being explained.  Just because a change is convenient to plot, doesn’t mean it’s right.  In fact, it’s wrong.  Characters are sacrosanct.  I hate it when authors put plot above character, it drives me nuts.  So…yeah anyways…I get pictures to help me keep their personality in mind.

I then print those pages off and tack them up on the wall above my computer, sharing space with timelines, factoids, and maps (I freaking love maps).  These are the closest thing to my book bible without actually being my book bible.  My bible is a leatherbound book called a book-book (it’s a book about my books, ha-ha I’m clever!).  Into the book-book goes scene ideas, quotes, notes, dreams, random tangents, ideas for a book 5 books into the series, etc.  It’s my cheat sheet and treasure trove all wrapped into one.  It’s also home to amusing plot ideas that got scrapped.  Wastes has some great ones that never came to be.

Damn it…off topic I’ve gone again.

So…I started off with celeb pics for characters (yeah, I already have a dream cast for Morningstar…not that that will ever happen).

Okay, let’s get on to present day (I wrote the Morningstar Trilogy in 2009).

I stopped using celebs.  I went instead to a mecca of picture-ness that is Model Mayhem (it’s a website).  Now, their purpose is not for me to go and find my perfect cast, but damn they provide such a nice way for me to find said cast.  You can search models by their height, color scheme, gender, age, we’re talking hand picked.  Now this can take me hours if not days of sorting through pics to find someone perfect.  But when I do, it’s like a light clicked on.  I do a little dance and copy paste them into my new Word doc of awesome.  And when I’m done, I print and tack them up.  They stay up until I finish writing the series (then into a file folder they go).

The best part about this process is finding new characters that I hadn’t even thought of simply because I find a totally rad picture online.  This happened mostly with Reactor 8…I came up with a character named T. Britannica Peppers simply because this one guy’s pic screamed ‘use me please, I am perfect!’   So Tomato was born, curly crazy fro and all.

Uh, yeah, dudes called Tomato.  The naming convention in Reactor 8 is unique, I don’t name all my characters after fruits.  Which brings us to naming, sweet glorious naming.  It’s not really that glorious, names do not get a lot of forethought in my book (at creation).  I will look up the meanings of names after they’re chosen, but I don’t pick names due to their meanings (exception Prophets, but everything in Prophets is an exception).  Other exceptions are my demons, because they’re named after Fallen Angels.  I picked them because I liked the name and I liked the basic description in the Lesser Key of Solomon.

Names generally spring into mind when I’m daydreaming a scene to music (that’s how I plan my scenes…they’re all to music).  Typically I get to the point where someone needs to call someone by name and…a name pops into existence.  Marx, Kennedy, Lincoln…all came into existence at the same time.  Ladriam and Appleadris were made up jumbles of pretty sounding syllables.  Danny, Mica, Whitney, Celeste, Sammy…were just the first thing that popped into my head.  But no, I didn’t just come up with Oro, Evgeniy, and Tasanee on the fly.  I had to look up some actual names of the country of origin.

Anywho…sitting above my computer are the basics for Reactor 8.  I got pics, schematics of oil rigs, equipment (harpoons, goggles, wrenches, snow gear), maps of my lovely reactors, and maps of the North American railroads as they stand (or stood) relatively recently.

I’ve been itching to write Reactor 8, but I must finish Wasted (book 7 of Wastes Series).  I’ve delayed too long on that story and I have a few advanced readers who’ll start to cut at me with spoons if I don’t finish that beast already.

So I should probably quit writing this, and get back to writing that.

~Darcy

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Wastes of Space e-book Promo

Posted in Author, Book Information, Book News, Science Fiction, Wastes of Space with tags , , , , , on March 9, 2012 by darcytown

You can get Wastes of Space (e-book on the Kindle) for free this weekend on Amazon.com

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B006M9WN1C

Wastes Away (book 2) is coming soon!

~Darcy

What’s wrong with cliffhangers?

Posted in Author Rant, Book News, Science Fiction, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on March 6, 2012 by darcytown

A grand total of nothing.

I’ve been reading a few Kindle forums (slap myself on the wrist, stop that Darcy!) and there are some readers who get irked by the existence of book ending cliffhangers.  As if it is a personal affront to their entitled readerness or something.  I can only understand the grumpy mood if say…the author dies and doesn’t finish.  That would be…well disheartening.

But why are cliffhangers acceptable in shows (hello season finale, always a cliffhanger), movies (typically those that are trilogies), but not books?  If you’re writing action/adventure, as I tend to do, there isn’t necessarily a point you can cut off that doesn’t leave some sort of cliffhanger for a reader.  It just doesn’t make sense for everything to slow down to a nice ho-hum pace so that there can be a “conclusion” that makes a reader feel warm and happy.  I call epic bullshit on anyone that needs that shit to enjoy a book.  I will mail you epic bullshit badges.

Epic Bullshit Badge

One book pops to the forefront of my mind in regards to cliffhangers: The Golden Compass (Northern Lights in Britain I believe).  That was not an ending that wrapped shit up.  That ending was a book ramping up to full trilogy-rad-tasticness and I LOVED it.  To end that story on a “conclusion” would have stolen the momentum it had been building, it would have taken away the rush of emotion as we are left wanting more.  I like being left wanting more!

So what’s wrong with being left wanting more?  What’s wrong with a writer pulling you in for a multi-book roller coaster?  I’ve actually seen complaints where a reader goes on to remark about how they have to read the rest of the books to get a conclusion.  Like that’s a bad thing.

…are you fucking kidding me?  Could you have read just one of the Harry Potters, or just one book of Lord of the Rings?  Should JK Rowling have put the whole story all in one book so that you didn’t have to wait until the rest of them came out?  I don’t know if that reader is spoiled or just on crack.

Authors do not owe readers a tight wrapped story in a one book bundle.  They owe them a good story, but whether that happens in 1 book or 5 books or 10 books, that is up to the author.

So anyone critiquing any story for cliffhangers also earns themselves an epic bullshit badge.

Okay…rant done.

Morningstar – Promotion Free Copy of Morningstar on Kindle

Posted in Book Information, Book News, Lucifer, Morningstar with tags , , , , , , on March 2, 2012 by darcytown

March 3rd and 4th only – Nab one or tell your friends!

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005WOS448

Daystar available on the Kindle

Posted in Book Information, Book News, Lucifer, Morningstar with tags , , , on February 27, 2012 by darcytown

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B007DZYNQ2

 

Woo!

Daystar Hook – Synopsis – Thing

Posted in Book Information, Book News, Morningstar with tags , , , , , , , , on February 26, 2012 by darcytown

Here’s my totally amazing finalized Daystar synopsis I hate writing these things…

With renewed energy and bolstered powers, the Fallen prepare to square off against the invading hosts of Heaven. Unlikely alliances and new weapons will change the tide of the realm-spanning battle as Lucifer and Dahlia attempt to reclaim the powers they lost and the roles they were destined to fulfill.

Humanity will be brought to the brink of extinction. Monsters and angels will be born. Brother will fight brother. Friends will die, and vengeance will be paid in blood.

Hell will descend onto Earth as the Heavenly conflict unravels the foundation of our universe and snuffs out every star in the sky.

…But it’s totally a happy ending.

😛 And yeah, still doing Kindle review stuffs, but so far so good (no blue text ftw!)

Musing about my writing style

Posted in Author, Uncategorized with tags , , , on February 13, 2012 by darcytown

I write my books without a lot of time gaps between scenes (minutes to hours between each scene, or things are happening simultaneously).  With only maybe 2 exceptions, all of my books cover a 3-10 day period each.  My Wastes series for example covers somewhere around 1.5 to 2 months of real time in 7 books.

What this means for my writing is that I have a lot of shit that goes down in quick succession.  What that also means is that people need to sleep, eat, use the bathroom, and shower.  Nothing bothers me more than a show/book that does not include that stuff if it is trying to be close to real time.  Seriously…people go to the bathroom, they need to stop for a snack (or at least a coffee).  Not everyone is a Jack Bauer super man.   A whole cast of that would be laughably unrealistic.

I understand that some people might find reading about that sort of thing (real life stuffs) boring, but I have to stay as true as I can to what real people do.  And if one of my characters likes his naps, he’s going to nap the hell out of some afternoons.   And perhaps that also touches on character-driven vs plot-driven.  My books are not plot-driven.  They never will be.  If Paimon thinks it’s a great idea to play SNES Mario Kart in the middle of an afternoon while Belial and Berith are having a battle to the death with some angels…he’s going to do that.  Because that is the kind of guy he is.  And if Whitney thinks the best use of her time is to dance during the final battle between good and evil…she’s totally going to get on the floor and do the worm.

So I have scenes that some might consider less than important, something that should be edited out, not included, stripped away.  But I can honestly say I have a reason for each scene that I write.  If in doubt, it’s to build something about a character or set up a plot arc.  Something that might not seem terribly important until book 2 or 3 (or in the case of the Wastes series…books 6 and 7).   I also write in Easter Eggs – that’s something hidden in plain sight, something that on a second read through gets a laugh or an #%@&!!! as a reader realizes they were just given the hint that would explain a mystery down the road.  Or the scenes are just plain fan service.  There isn’t anything wrong with fan service by the way.  I love it in things I read/watch.  If I love a character I want more, I don’t care if it’s them standing around babbling.

I guess either you like the characters and you read and enjoy what they’re in…or you want the ball to get rolling full-throttle and not stop.  I have to wait to do the latter because once I go full-throttle on a plot line I don’t stop.  Wasted (book 7) is so far 14 hours of action, at around 250,000 words (and it’s not done), because once shit starts going down, it really goes down.  No one gets to sleep then.  But to expect that to be each book in the series?  Nope, not going to happen, never, nada, zip.  My characters get downtime between abuse love sessions.  😛

-Darcy