Monday, November 18, 2013

Posted by Laurel Garver on Monday, November 18, 2013 16 comments
by Crystal Collier
author of Moonless

One of my earliest memories was of snuggling up in my blankets, leaning on my pillow, and listening with rapt attention as my oldest brother told stories of “Super Goober.” He started a culture of storytelling among my seven siblings and I, a custom passed from the oldest to youngest.

I was the splitting point, the middle child. It was up to me to pick up where the older siblings left off. Because of that, I started telling my own stories. My youngest brother and sister would cozy up on my floor while I continued the saga of a fantasy world, expanding details and explaining the culture, answering questions and exploring until everyone dozed into sleep.

But those stories and characters didn’t die when we were too old for sleepovers. No, they continued to live in my subconscious, joined by dozens of others who popped up through the years.

So how do I develop characters?

Characters happen.

They’re a result of real world experiences combined with wishful thinking. My first solid character, Kiri, was born from intense pain. Life was not pretty on any front for me: home, school or church. Channeling all my troubles, I imagined a girl whose suffering was greater than my own. She was part who I wanted to become and part who I was. I built a world where she struggled to find meaning or a modicum of her own importance. And she was important. She was so important her entire world would cease to exist without her.

But she couldn’t see it.

She set a pattern for where and how my characters would originate. For the most part I meet them in my dreams, story dreams with fully fleshed out conflicts. Fueled by the character’s emotions, (emotions so potent I HAVE to explore them,) the story begins.

Where do you meet your characters?

Crystal Collier, author of MOONLESS, is a former composer/writer for Black Diamond Productions. She can be found practicing her brother-induced ninja skills while teaching children or madly typing about fantastic and impossible creatures. She has lived from coast to coast and now calls Florida home with her creative husband, three littles, and “friend” (a.k.a. the zombie locked in her closet). Secretly, she dreams of world domination and a bottomless supply of cheese. 

You can find her on her blog and Facebook, or follow her on Twitter.

About MOONLESS
In the English society of 1768 where women are bred to marry, unattractive Alexia, just sixteen, believes she will end up alone. But on the county doorstep of a neighbor’s estate, she meets a man straight out of her nightmares, one whose blue eyes threaten to consume her whole world—especially later when she discovers him standing over her murdered host in the middle of the night.

Among the many things to change for her that evening are: her physical appearance—from ghastly to breathtaking, an epidemic of night terrors predicting the future, and the blue-eyed man’s unexpected infusion into her life. Not only do his appearances precede tragedies, but they’re echoed by the arrival of ravenous, black-robed wraiths on moonless nights.

Unable to decide whether he is one of these monsters or protecting her from them, she uncovers what her father has been concealing: truths about her own identity, about the blue-eyed man, and about love. After an attack close to home, Alexia realizes she cannot keep one foot in her old life and one in this new world. To protect her family she must either be sold into a loveless marriage, or escape with the man of her dreams and risk becoming one of the Soulless.

Buy MOONLESS HERE or add it on Goodreads.

Enter Crystal's awesome giveaway! 

16 comments:

  1. It's interesting to look back and see where characters come from. Mine are drawn from everywhere it seems.

    Congratulations on the book, Crystal! Thanks for hosting Laurel! :)

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    1. It really is fun--almost journal worthy, eh?

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  2. Yep. Characters happen. I'm going to have to remember that the next time I'm asked how I come up with my characters. :)

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    1. When you try to force them you just end up with a mess, right?

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  3. So true, Crystal! I love how characters are born and become almost real. Makes me think of those dolls I see in the toy aisles--how they were once only a figment of someone's imagination. And now kids love them and can hold them in their hands. As a newbie writer, I had no idea how important character development is. Now I wouldn't consider writing a story without intense character development.

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    1. Seconded. Characters are the lifeblood of the story.

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  4. Many times it seems my characters come to me almost completely fully formed. I don't know how this happens, but it does.

    I love the storytelling tradition you and your siblings had. I hope it was one that kept you all close.

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    1. It did. We're still all very good friends--even living across the country from one another.

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  5. I don't meet my characters in dreams, but I do agree that characters just seem to happen. I've lost count of how many just popped into my head and started jabbering without even telling me their names first! XD

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    1. How rude! Talking to you before they even introduce themselves!

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  6. I so agree with you...characters just seem to take on a life of their own.

    :)

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    1. Or at least, they better if they're worthy writing, eh?

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  7. Thanks again for the great guest-post, Crystal, and following up with visitors while I was out of town!

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  8. I tell you, all those miserable experiences are good for somethin'! Creating the most magnificently twisted and troubled characters that learn and grow from their (our) experiences is a great outcome of our own unfortunates.

    A big heart-felt congrats on your book Crystal! It sounds quite amazing. Writer’s Mark

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