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Friday, April 25, 2014

Company at Vastine's...Welcome, Brynn Stein!

Hello there, darlings!

Before I introduce today's guest, I've got to tell you. I've really enjoyed these weekend visitors here at Vastine's and I'm so glad I started opening up the house for company. What can I say? It's just plain, pure-d fun! It's been delightful, sharing the place with dear friends and fellow authors, but it's been such a pleasure meeting and making new friends as well!

And, speaking of new friends, today's guest is fellow author Brynn Stein.

I'm looking to forward to sharing her visit because she's talking about a very interesting issue,something crucial to all authors, no matter what genre we write, no matter what our styles: Character Building.

Before I turn the place over to her, I'll whisper....pssst....stay tuned after the visit, sugars, because Ms. Stein will be offering a free copy of her Dreamspinner book Haunted to a a lucky person who leaves a comment!

So now let me introduce you to Brynn Stein!

Brynn, the place is all yours!

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I’d like to talk about Character building, about how the characters change as you tell a story, and how some refuse to fit your expectations.
Okay, maybe it’s more of a rant than a talk.

I, like many of you, I’m sure, start a story with a definite idea of what will happen, who the characters are, etc. Some of the details need to be filled in, but I have a pretty good idea of the overall plot starting out. Now, of course, the twists and turns of the plot have a lot to do with the characters. Character A would definitely act like this in that situation, and like that in this situation; and Character B would have a set way of reacting, too…based on his personality, his background…his CHARACTER! So, these things are pretty well worked out, as far as I’m concerned, by the time I start writing.

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In my first story, Haunted, Len was a level-headed skeptic, and Jason was a devil-may-care extrovert.  So it was easy to write down just how they would react in the situations in the book. Len would not rush to the conclusion that his newly acquired house truly had a ghost, even though everyone said it was haunted, even when strange things started happening almost from the first moment he arrived. 

Jason, the ghost, wouldn’t be too worried about a new person in his house, as long as he respected the place. Later, in the story, once he and Lenard were interacting, it would be Jason who was the playful one, and Len who was pulled into Jason’s joy of ‘life’, sometimes kicking and screaming.

Being a detective, when Len found out about the mysteries surrounding not only Jason’s death, but those of his family as well, his first response was to investigate, and fix it. It was Jason, later on, who wanted Len to stop for fear of ‘leaving’ if the mystery was solved. He was enjoying the ‘life’ he had too much to want it to end.

So, those characters, as well as many characters in the past when I was writing fan fiction, stuck to their script, so to speak. I had an idea of what would happen, who they were, and how they would react, and they went along with that and helped me tell the story I started out with. They were the main characters and everyone else was pretty much in the background.
Except the one who wouldn’t stay there.  Dan was supposed to just be Len’s work partner…someone to help with the investigation, and to be skeptical when Len started actually believing in ghosts. Somewhere along the line, Dan took a giant step forward and became an integral part of the story, a great friend to Len, backup when the investigation started heating up, and even support to Jason by the end of the story (after initial skepticism of course).


Another problem that I’ve found is that not all characters agree with my opinion of who they are and what happened in the story. This has happened over and over again in fan fiction. A lighthearted piece became angst filled instead because the characters refused to do my bidding. I had to do theirs. (Which was every bit as fun, but thoroughly unexpected).


I’ve had the same problem with some of the characters in upcoming books as well, though, they always turn out much better when I just let the characters have their way. It just makes it easier to write when their way, and mine, happen to coincide.

In my upcoming novel (now in editing), Living Again, I had a clear idea of what would happen, and who the characters were. In fact, the whole story was an adaptation of a fan fiction I had written. The final story was nothing like the fan fiction. Daniel started out pretty much the same…an amputee who had withdrawn from life and needed a better reason than just work to rejoin it, to reach out to people, to live instead of just exist. 

Jonah, in my mind, was the strong, outgoing person who pretty much pulled Daniel into life, whether he wanted to go or not. And that somewhat stayed the same, but Jonah ended up a much more complicated character in Living Again than his counterpart in the fan fiction. He had more demons in the past to have to get past. This, of course, affected Daniel’s character too. He not only had to get past his own insecurities, but had to help Jonah with his as well…something that I hadn’t really mapped out in the original idea.
Again, there was a background character who refused to stay there. Uncle Lawrence, who wasn’t very nice in the fan fiction either, turned downright despicable at times in the novel, and whereas I had planned for his conflict to be subplot, he had other ideas.


The stories always turn out much better the way the characters want to tell them, so I always end up listening to them. It is their story, after all. They’d know it better than I. But, is it too much to ask for them to listen to me sometimes?

What about you? Have you had characters who turned out to be quite different than you had thought they were? Or background characters who refused to stay out of the spotlight? Comment to contact me. I’d love to hear about your experiences.

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Thank you, Brynn! 

And....oh, yes...those pesky background characters who just aren't peachy on the idea of the back part in background! Give those creatures an inch and they take a mile! 

So, yes, comment here and tell Ms. Stein about your characters who were only supposed to support but insisted on taking over the joint. 

Readers, what about you? Got some character who an author stuck in the background but who you wanted to see more of? C'mon, share it with us!

The commenter who's drawn will win a free copy of the delicious book you just saw the gorgeous cover above, Haunted

Until next time! 


Amychelle said...

Sounds great!

Carly Rose said...

Well, it's not a book character but when I was in college my roommate's boyfriend basically moved in with us. It wouldn't have been a problem except he had a nasty habit of eating all my food but never buying groceries! Eventually the roommate had to go because I couldn't stand the boyfriend. :D

P.S. I love the cover, it's just gorgeous! This looks like a fabulous book too so thanks for the chance to win!