Saturday, September 13, 2014


Hey guys, I don't know how permanent this is, but I feel the need to take a break from blogging. I've missed two days of my schedule, I don't know if I have any more tips left in me. If I have any more and I ever feel like blogging again, I'll let you know. But right now it kind of feels like a chore.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Aceline Callow-Nováková

Aceline is the protagonist and title character of Aceline's Paracosm.

Aceline was created in May of 2012. She was inspired by the wild tissue monster from this Puffs commercial. Aceline began as a little girl with a tiger hairband who imagined that she was a tiger and played the hot lava game.

Though this quickly changed into the hairband actually giving her the abilities of a tiger. The title of the story came from randomly browsing wikipedia and reading the article for paracosm. Temale-Netam, the eponymous world which Aceline imagined. At least at first.

Temale-Netam is now the creation of Aceline's schizophrenic mind and whether or not it actually exists is a driving point of the story. Her age was recently increased from 7 to 9.

Aceline was born on May 11th, 2005. She was conceived out of wedlock and her parents married shortly before she was born. She has an older maternal half-brother, Erik Novák and an older paternal half-sister, Sky Callow.

Aceline was delayed developmentally, not walking until she was nearly 2 and not talking until a year later. This lead to her eventual misdiagnosis as autistic.

She was thought to be highly imaginative when she was little, having created a complex imaginary world populated with characters that seemed real. She would share stories with her siblings about her world and insisted that it was real.

Because she was so young, her family didn't think there was anything wrong with this. Her behavior began to steadily get worse and she was diagnosed with schizophrenia at the age of 7. Shortly after being diagnosed with schizophrenia her relationship with her siblings deteriorated.

Aceline is very friendly and protective of the people she loves. Any perceived threat to them is enough to make her react violently, along with getting significantly agitated. Though Aceline hates violence she is sometimes unable to control herself.

Along with being agitated, low mood and feelings of neglect make her fall away into Temale-Netam. She is a very hyper child and will often be up at the crack of dawn. Aceline loves animals, especially tigers. She believes that they are the most adorable creatures on the planet and doesn't think they are dangerous. In Temale-Netam, she is best friends with a talking tiger, which may be why she believes this.

1. Aceline has many hairbands, all of which give her powers of the animal it resembles. Though while wearing them she cannot talk. She finds this strange however, since they come from Temale-Netam and the animals there can all talk.

2. Aceline was probably not originally hyper. Her hyperness was actually a side effect of stopping thorazine, which somehow found it's way into a permanent part of her personality.

3. Aceline's birthday is the same as the date the first draft was originally published on bookrix.

Author's comments
Aceline's Paracosm was one of my earlier stories I attempted to write, trying to update it as I went along. Though I haven't worked much on the story in over two years, I feel I'll eventually get to it once I get through my other projects at which time I hope it is a better project and Aceline a better character.

I do like Aceline, she's one of my more adorable characters (not hard only being 9 right?). I'm torn between how the story should end, it seems like there are many different fates for both Aceline's Paracosm and Aceline herself.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

How to write introverts and social anxiety

Shy and anxious characters often find themselves into fiction. Usually as secondary characters. The exception seems to be when her social anxiety is the main part of the show.

Introversion does not mean that you are anti-social and that you dislike interacting with people. The change is in how your character prefers to interact with people. Introverts expend energy when interacting with people, whereas extroverts gain energy from social interactions.

Introverts also prefer to interact with a smaller group of people.

Social anxiety
Social anxiety also does not mean you're anti-social, though you're more likely to come off that way. Social anxiety presents as an intense and often unrealistic fear of interacting with people or quite simply just discomfort.

There are many ways your character might experience social anxiety.

- Asking somebody for something is often difficult, even if you are close to the person or it's an important question. Your character may feel like she is being bothersome or anticipate rejection. Instead she might opt to wait for the person to ask her for what it is she wants, as not to come off as bothersome.

- Clamming up. Your character may go quiet during a conversation, particularly during an argument when lots of people are talking. She is very likely to be talked over and allow it to happen, though she may not want to accept it, it is difficult for her to talk while others are doing so.

- Eagerness to end social interactions. She'll want to like social interactions and she may in fact like them, but if they go on too long, she will grow wary of it and want it to end.

- Dwelling on to things. If your character does something embarrassing or something she deems to be embarrassing she will dwell on it, possibly forever. It doesn't matter if it's not a big deal to anybody else, she will want that moment back and to have done something different.

- Talking to people in general is preceded by intense feelings of discomfort and a "psychological block" from inside the chest that makes it feel like it's impossible to speak.

Social anxiety is very frustrating to the sufferer because she wants to be more social but doesn't know how to and/or can't.

As you may have been able to tell, I am speaking from personal experience. I am not sure how much of it is a learned behavior and how much is inborn (I suspect it's a good deal both) but in any case it's not something that is easily overcome and I suspect that it isn't even possible (but that's probably just me).

Any questions or comments? Leave one below or e-mail me at

Saturday, August 30, 2014

How to write a song

Writing a song is a bit like writing a poem. The two most important parts of are rhyme and rhythm.

What to write about
That depends of course on the type of song that you are writing. But you should write about something that you are familiar with, something you should always do. If you write a theme song, you have a few routes that you can go.

Your theme song should encompass the mood of the series and perhaps even explain things about it. The most important thing to consider with a theme song is it's length. You can write a full length song if you want, but only part of it is actually going to make it into the show.

A parody song will take a different approach, you will already have a tune and rhythm for which to work, while trying to write an entirely new song all together.

How to write a theme song
Though theme songs are becoming obsolete in favor of short instrumental openings and overlaying the show with credits. If you do chose to go the way of writing a lyrical theme song you must consider the tone of the show.

If the tune of the theme song doesn't reflect the mood of the show it can be quite jarring. The show and theme song not matching in moods can be done intentionally for comedic or dramatic effects. Such as, misleading the viewers who are expecting a typical show, when yours is anything but.

How to write a parody song
Parody songs are meant to be funny and where you decide to draw the humor is up to you. You could make fun of the song itself, the type of song or just base the lyrics off of the song. Each line will have to fit by syllable and sound. In other words, you need to be able to substitute your lyrics with the original and not miss a beat in the rhythm.

Rhyming is very important in parody songs, particularly at the end of the line. Don't fret about matching thing perfectly or even using the same syllables in each lines, if you come close enough and it doesn't disrupt the beat it should be usable.

Final tips
- Songs usually tell a story, with the chorus line typically being the most emotional portion of the story.
- Think of your song as being a poem, using flowery language and purple prose as you would a poem.
- Setting the tune will be of enormous help as you'll be able to figure out the right amount of syllables and lines you need in each verse.
- Don't forget about the instruments.

Any questions or comments? Leave one below or email me at

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Eri Inagaki

Eri is the main protagonist from Maho no Hogosha!

Eri was created around mid to late 2012. She was created alongside three of the other four protectors (Amy and the idea for Maho no Hogosha! was actually created in 2007 or 2008) and though Amy was originally the main character, this role was eventually shifted to Eri.

Eri was born March 22nd, 1998 in Nagasaki, Nagasaki Prefecture, Japan. Orphaned in babyhood, Eri has no memory or knowledge of her parents and her grandmother won't tell her anything about them. She and her grandmother left Japan when she was five and moved to Anaheim, California, USA where they have been since.

She first met Amy in Kindergarten and they've been friends since. At around age nine, she joined the soccer team along with Amy. That is where they first met Alex, and while she does hangout with her, she finds her rather annoying and considers her to be Amy's friend.

Eri has been described by many people who met her as boring and a fuddy-duddy. Eri is usually a nice person, but she has the potential for cruelty, particularly towards Alex. She enjoys soccer and magical girl mangas.

After finding Chiyo in her trashcan and learning about her destiny as a protector of magic, Eri was ecstatic, believing that being like Sailor Moon would a lot of fun. Though this feeling wouldn't last as many of the things she was asked to do were against her religion of Buddhism and the reality of her job began to dawn on her.

Eri is a passive person, often taking the path of least resistance and letting people steamroll over her. She dislikes conflict and will often act as a peacemaker.

1. Eri plays defense next to Alex. Though Alex is a better defender than her, Eri is ranked 1st in the league. This is due to Alex missing many games due to misconducting herself on the field.

2. Eri is the third protector of magic, the equilibrium. She has an orange pendant.

3. Amy's little sister, Ariel, looks up to Eri and thinks of her as a big sister.

4. Eri is exactly one half inch shorter than Alex.

Author's comments
Eri is currently torn between two different roads her characters could take. I can't tell you much about them as they're likely a spoiler, but I find it quite interesting and while I'm not sure exactly how she'd be I think that it fits more with the rest of the story.

I'm sorry if I was confusing. Eri isn't the most interesting of characters when she first starts out, but I love how she changes over the course of the story.

Any questions or comments? Leave one below or email me at

Want to see pictures of Eri? Check out my gallery on deviantART:

If you would like more information on Alex, particularly of spoilerish nature, you know where you can contact me. If I don't know you, I won't give you any spoilers. I'm sorry.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

How to write a villain protagonist

In one of my first posts, Making villains - Part 1 I talked more about villains as antagonist. In this post, I will talk about villains as protagonists.

Types of villain protagonists
There are three main types of villain protagonist.

Anti-hero: Usually, the villain will start out this way and become a fallen hero or the reverse will happen when changing sides. In the case of the latter, she would no longer be a villain protagonist.

Anti-villain: While in anti-hero is a hero who possess qualities of a non-classic hero, an anti-villain is a villain who possess qualities of a non-classic villain. There's usually some overlap between anti-villain and anti-hero.

Villain: These are the guys who do it for the evulz. The guys who torture little puppies and tear down orphanages for her own amusement. Classic villains.

When picking a villain protagonist all choices are valid, but it of course depends on the type of work your aiming for. If you're doing a comedy, a classic villain can work quite well, especially with a healthy dose of incompetence.

Though in a more dramatic work, an anti-villain is probably a better way to go.

You probably want to stay away from anti-hero's altogether unless you want to show a rise to villainy.

Keys to writing a villain protagonist
It's probably counter-intuitive as a writer, but the most important thing about the villain protagonist is that she's likeable.And if you're writing a character who is truly villainous , this might prove difficult.

Here are some tips on writing a likeable villain.

1. Have an amusing personality. Of course all your characters should have good personalities, but readers will forgive a lot more transgressions if they find your character to be amusing.

2. Give your villain standards. Your villain can be an arsonist, serial killer and even a terrorist. But some things are just hard to redeem, such as killing young children and raping people. Better than simply not doing these things, would be to oppose these things.

3. Show the villain as a person. Give her a family, give her struggles. Maybe she's a thief because she was a homeless teenager (yes, that is one of my characters).

4. Gray morality is your friend. Your villain, in all likelihood, doesn't see herself as evil. The thing is to show your readers that your villain isn't evil. Show the light side of what she does, show why it's necessary (to return to the thief example, she's a homeless teenager). Show the dark side of the heroes, show why what they're doing could be construed as evil.

It's important to remember that while you will want to justify your villains to some extent, they're still supposed to be villains. Otherwise they're not villain protagonists and more like anti-heroes.

Any questions or comments? Leave one below or email me at

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Aden Sanmalari

Aden is the chief antagonist of Sanmalari. He was selected as the subject of this post by my lovely friend, Naomi M-B.

Aden is one of my oldest characters, being created sometime in 2010 or 2011. Shortly before he was created the sanmalari line was familial and one of the four elemental powers was passed down by birth and death.

Tera actually was apart of the sanmalari line and had inherited three of the four powers at birth (because she was the second born and her mother died in childbirth). Though now, the sanmalari is in possession of all four elemental powers at birth and solar and lunar powers.

Aden was reborn May 23rd, 1686 inside of the Ketra Wake forest.

There is only ever one sanmalari alive at one time and the gender alternates with each reincarnation. Aden is the 63rd reincarnation of the sanmalari. Shortly before he was born, the elves found Tera and mistook her to be the sanmalari.

When he was born he was found by Athfas Nashon, a dalsam (which is an elf like creature that has a more limited range magic wise). Aden is the first sanmalari to ever be found by the dalsams and they decided to keep his existence secret from the elves.

Aden was initial taught in lunar, water, earth and air magics, magic that the dalsams are capable of manipulating. As he reached high levels in these doctrines they decided that he needed a teacher for solar and fire magics so they kidnapped an elf and forced her to train him.

Aden is arrogant and despite being younger than his teachers, he acts as though he is their superior, because he is the Sanmalari and the rightful King of the Elves. Being the Sanmalari, he believes himself to be nearly invincible.

He does understand that he is beatable however, but he expects to win every single one-on-one battle and even most battles where he is outnumbered by one or two people.

Aden quite lacks patience and will try to force things to go along as quickly as he can.

1. Aden like all sanmalari lack a sex drive and reproductive system.

2. Aden's name means fire which was originally the name of one of the first four sanmalari.

3. Sanmalari is derived from the Yarq words san ("Sun") ma ("Moon") and larai ("Earth").

4. Speaking of which, the Sanmalari is the child of the Sun, Moon and Earth, hence the name.

Any questions or comments? Leave one below or email me at

Author's comment
Aden is quite possibly one of the last changed characters that I have ever made. Though he is arrogant, his arrogance is not unfounded as he is the most powerful character in Sanmalari and one of the most powerful characters I have ever created.

Any questions or comments? Leave one below or email me at

If you would like more information on Aden, particularly of spoilerish nature, you know where you can contact me. If I don't know you, I won't give you any spoilers. I'm sorry.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Kagami Amaya

Kagami Amaya is the antagonist of Mahō no Hogosha!

Kagami was created around mid to late 2012. She was based around the trope Dark Magic girl and off of the page picture (which is Fate Testarossa). Initially Kagami was very incompetent and lacked self-confidence.

Though as time went on, Kagami became a cooler, more confident person eventually becoming the stoic realist that she is now.

Kagami was born on February 25th, 1997 in Nagasaki, Nagasaki Prefecture, Japan. When she was two years old her mother vanished without a trace, her father often spoke fondly of her, except when he talked about her walking out on them.

She started martial arts lessons when she was 5 and sword fighting ones when she was 8. Growing up, she was incredibly close with her father, but when she was 12 he too abandon her, leaving her in the care of Hamasaki Masume.

The dual abandonment of her parents soured Kagami on human relationships and she decided that they were pointless as they would inevitable end in heartache, whether through one party getting sick of the other or dying.

Kagami is very blunt, though she speaks in a verbose manner. She speaks in a monotonous voice and is usually very serious. Her favorite brand of humor is wit and deadpan, making it next to impossible to tell if she is joking or not.

Kagami is decidedly literal minded, resenting sayings such as "It's a pleasure to meet you", especially since meeting people is more of a bother to her than a pleasure.

Kagami is calm and quite confident in herself. She has no qualms about injuring other people with her martial arts, though she will usually threaten violence before actually using it on people.

Kagami does not dislike other people or their company. She simply finds forming lasting bonds with them to be a pointless endeavor. She has never allowed people to use her given name (which is Amaya) because it indicates closeness.

1. Kagami's favorite color is purple.

2. Kagami loves the water. She's a good swimmer and also enjoys dancing in the rain.

3. Kagami ("Mirror") and Amaya ("Night rain") were chosen for her name because of Kagami's primary powers which are mimicry and water.

4. Kagami is terrified by fire.

5. She dislikes being called Kagi and Kaga.

Author's comment
Kagami is a very interesting character to me and one of my favorites. She is definitely the best antagonist that I have created so far. Her personality change from weak and incompetent to hyper-competent and stoic will always remain one of the best decisions I ever made.

Though it wasn't entirely a conscious decisions (as I said before these sort of things "just happen") I have to allow it and sort of nurture the change and try to guide it into the right direction.

Any questions or comments? Leave one below or email me at

Want to see pictures of Kagami? Check out my gallery on deviantART:

If you would like more information on Kagami, particularly of spoilerish nature, you know where you can contact me. If I don't know you, I won't give you any spoilers. I'm sorry.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

How to write characters different from you

Considering that ~95% of all my major characters are girls, I do this all the time. There's a very simple way to write characters that are different from you.

Know other types of people
Most of my friends are white, teenaged girls. Knowing other types of people will help you learn many things about them, the first and most important things is this.

The description of white, teenaged girls means next to nothing. They're all individuals and very different from one another. The fact that they're all teenaged girls seems to only mean that they like the internet.

At the end of the day, we're all just people

Different gender
You may notice that I didn't use opposite gender. For one thing it implies that males and females are like night and day and it also implies that there are only two genders. There's many different genders (genderfluid, nonbinary, intersex) you may have heard of these terms, if you haven't you should look them up.

If you think it's weird. Don't. The mantra of the day is that we're all just people.

What does it mean to have a different gender? Really it doesn't mean much at all. The thing you should know is the roles that society expects everyone to fit in and whether or not your character embraces or rejects these ideals.

Different culture
I'm skipping the section for race and sexuality, because that is basically the same as gender. The real difference amongst groups of human beings comes from culture.

People will not inherently be a certain way because of their culture, but a culture will have a large impact on how a person is.

Here are some tips on making characters from a different culture.

1. Don't assume you know the culture. Just looking it up will usually be enough, but nothing beats actually experiencing the culture firsthand.

2. Being from a different culture is not a personality trait.

3. Don't use stereotypes. Even though some have basis in reality, many also do not. Even if they DO have basis in reality, they're exaggerated to unrealistic proportions.

4. Many countries speak the same language, such as England and America. Not only do they speak different styles of English (though it's mostly similar) they are quite different cultures.

5. There are many different types of cultures within one country, and even within communities.

In general, the best way to make people is to simply make a person. Think about how being the same as others and different from others effects them and influences their behavior.

Any questions or comments? Leave one below or email me at

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Stella Nakamoto

Stella Nakamoto is the deuteragonist of Sanmalari and the second oldest character of mine.

Another one of my lovely friends selected her as the subject of this post.

Stella was created circa June 16th, 2007. She was originally a 12-year old human, with blonde hair before she became Japanese, at which point her hair became black. She kept the name Stella against reason, but this helped shape the Yarq language.

Around the time of 2009-2010 when Stella first became an elf she had curly black hair and emotions. She was very smart, sporting a photographic memory and eventually synesthesia. She had an adverse emotional reaction to a traumatic event, prompting me to give her psychological problems.

Instead of giving her "psychological problems" I decided to look up psychosis and try to find a specific one for her. This lead me to psychopathy, which she already exhibited many of the symptoms of being a psychopath.

Though rather than being incredibly emotional, she became incredibly emotionless.

Stella was born August 23rd. 1686 in Prophet's Circle, Sun Shrine. The native language of Sun Shrine is Yarq, which is based on English, Italian, Greek, Latin, Japanese, Tagalog and Spanish. The language does not have a c, instead having the letter é.

Sun Shrine is a harsh desert climate and it encircled by four volcanoes that spew sulfuric acid into the skies above it. The residents are very unhealthy, being inflicted with lung and heart ailments. This, poverty and violence, is why life spans in Sun Shrine are typically short (10 years is a milestone).

Stella herself has asthma, a condition that she manages with frankincense. Her mother died when she was young and her father was convicted of a crime she has no idea about. As a convicted criminal, he has to do hard labor for eight hours a day. He is unpaid during those hours, so he has to work even more hours to make money for him and Stella.

Stella was a copper miner until she met Amrello, a girl a year younger than her who was hustling elves in chess. Stella was one of her marks, but after losing all of her money to her she honed her skills and sought her out again.

The two have an on and off again friendship. Stella considers Amrello to be a learning experience about "common elves" however.

Stella is a psychopath with a limited capacity to care for others. She has high observational skills and learns things quickly.

She is sadomasochistic and enjoys inflicting and receiving pain, though she much more enjoys inflicting it. Though she is 14 (preadolescence) she is very promiscuous. Sex, herself, power and food and the four most important things in the universe to her.

Stella suffers from delusions of grandeur. She believes that she is immortal and also that she is a God, of escalating importance (i.e. fire, than universe than God of Gods).

Stella is very curious and hates not knowing things.

Stella is a pyromaniac and a pyrophile. She really loves fire and fire loves her, making her a very rare empathetic fire user (which is a story term which I am not going to explain in this post.)


1. When Snetian Elves reach age 10, they receive a crown of grass leaves. Stella loves this crown more than her own father.

2. Stella does not have a photographic memory nor does she have synesthesia anymore.

3. Stella loves reading and her favorite author is Zanoro Blue-Windsor.

4. Stella's hero is Tal San, the third Sanmalari. His name means "God of the Sun" and there is a religion dedicated to him in Sun Shrine. Stella debates whether it is appropriate for a God to have heroes.

5. Stella's English is horrendous. It is her second language and the way she speaks it is using substitution. She speaks using the Yarq sentence structure and English words.

6. Stella's hair is now dark brown and ratty. 

Author's comments
Stella is my favorite character that I've ever made. Her role within Sanmalari has changed substantial with a formal diagnosis with psychopathy. Originally she was meant to be a straight up hero, the brains of the operation.

Her role in the story falls somewhere around anti-villain and anti-hero, which I'm not entirely sure. But she's certainly a lot of fun to write about.

Any questions or comments? Leave one below or email me at

Want to see pictures of Stella? Check out my gallery on deviantART:

If you would like more information on Stella, particularly of spoilerish nature, you know where you can contact me. If I don't know you, I won't give you any spoilers. I'm sorry.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

How to write traumatized characters

Often times the effects of traumatic backstories are underdone.

How do characters get traumatize
People can get traumatized by a number of things and at any stage in their lives. It's important to remember that while anything can be traumatic, there is a difference between something merely being upsetting and traumatizing.

In general. things that are traumatic are things that nobody should have to experience or witness. Make sure that your characters don't go too far on either end, either treating something traumatic lightly or something non-traumatic too heavily.

Effects of being traumatized
The traumatic event is unforgettable to the victim and she may experience flashbacks and nightmares. These are often brought upon by triggers by anything that reminds them about the trauma. Obviously, she will do her best to avoid such triggers.

Trauma manifest itself in many different ways, depending on the type of trauma and of course the individual being traumatized. An important thing to remember is that people who are traumatized do not just have nightmares and are depressed.

Adults and children react to trauma in different ways. While adults do sometimes block out traumatic experiences, young children are far more likely to do so. Young children can be far greater effected by trauma as they're beginning to shape their world views, trauma will likely play an important key.

Though trauma can be more impactful on children certain types of trauma, such as child abuse, is easier to overcome when they're young and still in their formative years.

Overcoming traumatization
Simply being remove from a traumatic event isn't enough. For a concrete example, let's say say the character is a victim of child abuse. Telling her that everything is over now is not enough for her to believe it, she will have to learn this on here own.

Giving her hugs and telling her that she is loved is not going to solve all her problems. She is used to being abused so she will continue to expect to be abused. In real life, people may never overcome being traumatized, at least not fully.

Getting over trauma is a long process and can even be life long. Fictional characters should strive to be as realistic as possible but at the end of day, they're fictional characters. They should overcome their trauma faster and more fully than their real life counterparts. Especially if they're major characters.

Unless their purpose in the story is to be traumatized, allowing them to overcome it faster and better is usually a good idea because while characters who are in angst is fine and good so long as it's justified and doesn't last for too long. Readers will grow tired of it, lessening the impact of the trauma.

Any questions or comments? Leave one below or email me at

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Tera Sanmalari

Tera Sanmalari is the protagonist of Sanmalari and the oldest character of mine.

Tera was created June 15th, 2007. Though her character and purpose were vastly different. Tera was a young human child who was being abused by her family. She was quite smart for her upbringing and for just being six (she spent nearly all her life locked in a closet).

She had a photographic memory in an attempt to justify her intelligence. After a few failed attempts to write Tera's story, her evolution was eventually influenced by Avatar: The Last Airbender and Charmed.

Around 2009-2010 Tera became an Elf with mutated grass hair named T.T. the way she is today.

Tera was born June 15th, 1680 in an unknown location. She turned up in a forest on May 23rd of 1686 on the day of black sun. Having bee placing grass in her hair, it mutated into T.T. and she was later found by the Elves and mistaken for the reincarnation of the Sanmalari.

This is why Tera believes herself to be 6 years younger than she actually is. (On another note, 6 years old is still a baby). Tera was shipped to the Isle of Mantralla to live with the Larpei's under the name of Tera Larpei.

Tera was neglected by Lorro and Sifer, her 'father' and 'mother' respectively. The neglect only increased after they had a daughter, Razzure.

Her life at school was no better, as she was bullied and ridiculed for her hair, someone that Tera frequently talks to, though T.T. is able to answer her telepathically (as is Tera, though she likes talking to her out loud) it looks as though Tera is talking to herself.

The other children call her a gorgon and Medusa, throw rocks at her and refuse to play with her. Though she has the very diminutive height of 2'10", no one has ever teased her about it.

Tera battled a bout of depression and is very lonely, even with the constant companionship of T.T. her "second mind" is often critical of her, impolite and can emotionally distant. Tera has a massive temper that T.T. usually keeps under control for her.

Tera's loneliness drives her to try to find friends and her willingness to accept anyone as a friend makes her a horrible judge of character. Tera will do anything for her friends and to keep them. She is naive, gullible and easily manipulated.

Tera is very dutiful and hates letting people down. She has an empathetic relationship with plants, allowing her Earth and Air magic to come easy to her. This is also the reason why she is a carnivore by choice, as she feels like eating plants is cannibalism.

1. Tera no longer has a photographic memory and her intelligence is average.

2. Tera is left-handed.

3. Tera has many illnesses due to malnutrition. She is malnourished due to the parasitic nature of T.T. (that's also why she's 2'10")

4. Tera has a beautiful singing voice.

5. T.T. is 12-feet tall, meaning together they can reach heights of nearly 15 feet from the ground.

6. Tera and her past incarnation has spawned at least 5 others characters.

Author's comment
I always find it difficult to describe Tera's personality because of how much it changes over the course of the story/series (Yes, I still haven't decided how long Sanmalari will be.). As my oldest character, Tera has a special place in my heart, along with Stella Nakamoto, who was created some uncertain days after her.

Any questions or comments? Leave one below or email me at

Want to see pictures of Tera? Check out my gallery on deviantART:

If you would like more information on Tera, particularly of spoilerish nature, you know where you can contact me. If I don't know you, I won't give you any spoilers. I'm sorry.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

How to write tragic backstories

A staple of fiction is the suffering of characters. One of the all-time favorites of authors is the tragic backstory.

What is a tragic backstory?
The childhood and past of characters contains tragedy to some extent, what qualifies it as being tragic is subjective, but generally it's when the backstory is mostly sad rather than happy.

Tragedy can come in many forms. It can be caused by other characters, by the character herself or by external circumstances. The first one is obvious, but you may also include things such as a mother getting ill or dying.

A character can cause her own suffering by misinterpreting her surroundings and believing things that are false. Or maybe she blames herself for something that isn't her fault, or perhaps simply she was too shy to ask out her high school sweetheart and he wound up marrying her sister.

External circumstances can be anything. Being the chosen one has been known to cause characters to lead tragic lives. Simply being born too late or too early. Something like getting sick or getting snowed in. Anything really.

Purpose of tragic backstories
The primary purpose is because it's fun to torture your character. It's okay to admit that you like doing this, we authors are a sadistic bunch.

In seriousness, there are two reasons for tragic backstories. To explain a characters behavior or to generate sympathy for them.

Trying to generate sympathy for characters can be a double edged sword. If the character is unlikable in the present, no such tragic upbringing will make your audience like her. It may even make them like the people who are causing her misfortune or more likely, they just won't care and see it as a poor attempt to make us like the character.

Trying to explain the behavior tends to work better, though it depends on what they're doing. If your character is someone who doesn't like people because her mother abused her, this explanation will work better than if your character is trying to take over the world because her mother spanked her once for breaking a window. Unless you're writing a comedy, that last one is not a good reason for taking over the world.

The do's and don'ts of tragic backstories
A tragic backstory like any other story element, needs to be handled with care. Maybe more so than others, as tragic backstories have a tendency to be overdone.

- Don't overdo it. Your character can have an abusive mother and father. Maybe the only person in the world who likes her is her dog, who gets hit by a car. There's no need for everything in her life to go wrong.

- Don't underdo it. Say your character's mother is abusive, or so you claim. All she ever did was ground her for a month for eating a cookie. Yes, that's extreme, but it's hardly abusive.

- Don't have your character obsess over her tragic life. No one expects her to just get over it, but if she constantly whines about it people will just get annoyed with her. I'll talk more about the effects of tragic backstories in my next post.

- Do make it realistic. This applies to stories as a whole, but you're usually only allowed a contrived coincide to kick off the plot.

- Do make your character feel the negative effects of the tragic backstory

- Don't just make your character feel the positive effects of the tragic backstory.

Remember, tragic backstories are just backstories at the end of the day. You'll want to be mindful of regular rules of backstories. Such as, though you'll need to know everything that happened, you're reader doesn't need to nor should they see everything.

Any questions or comments? Leave one below or email me at 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Kami Renaldin

A guest post by Naomi M-B. A wonderful author whose stuff can be read here.

A particularly adorable main character in the ‘Destiny’s Joke’ series. He was selected by the lovely admin.
 Kami’s origins are rather disputed as different elements of him were created at different times. However, the original spark of his character was created in 2009 for a completely different (now abandoned) series called the ‘Sisters Saga’. Back then, he was a quiet an affable young man whose all-seeing eyes gave him an uncomfortably intimate relationship with a person’s mind.

Around 2011 most of my stories fell into abandonment. I salvaged only a handful of my favourite characters, Kami was among them. For a quite a while, he just floated around as one of my characters. This changed June 2012 with the start of a new story Those That Are Silent (which would mark the start of the Destiny’s Joke series). For this, his overall character was entirely reworked. Drawing inspiration from the lead singer of Antic Café, Kami became cute, happy, hyper and overall bubbly with hidden depths of Empathy and a dark past.

Kami was conceived using IVF treatment. His parents were both affiliated with a Genetic Engineering company called GenTricks. They were offered the treatment free of charge on two conditions, first that they name him ‘Kamitra’ and second that he be a subject in a study on the development of New Borns. They both agreed as they had already used up their free IVF cycles supplied by the NHS to have his older brother, Darren.
Unbeknownst to them, GenTricks manipulated Kami’s DNA, splicing it with a strain of Supernatural DNA (Beings with supernatural powers). This lead to him gaining the ability to first read a person with startling accuracy and then, later, to peer into their pasts and discover the events that shaped them.
Born January 3rd in a GenTricks research institute near central London, under the pretence of the study, he was whipped away from his parents just hours later. For the next three years, he lived in a laboratory filled with hundreds of other children and twenty GenTricks scientists. They were subjects of a near infamous experiment, among those in the know, called the ‘King Project’. During that time, he was tested, had an organic chip placed inside his brain and was psychically linked to three children a little older than him. The first initials of their names spell out the initials of their ‘Squad’: KSRT (Kami, Satra, Ren, Terone) King Subterfuge Reconnaissance Team.
They were the only four fully ‘completed’ as just days after, the Project was shut down. It was ordered that the subjects be disposed of and the Scientists executed. What they exactly meant by ‘Disposed of’ is unknown, the Scientists took this to mean destroyed. So, they deactivated the chips (rendering their powers to near uselessness) and hid all completed or partially completed experiments.
Kami was given to back to his parents and who were informed that the study was completed. However, at age five for some unknown reason his chip temporarily reactivated. With his power reawakened, he naïvely chattered about his parents’ private lives at the meal table (his mother’s secret drinking problem and his father’s two affairs). When asked how he knew, he stared at his mother and told her that their ‘strings’ told him, gesturing behind her. (He was in fact seeing her fate line). He then pointed at his father and recited his exact actions from getting up this morning which included going to see both his mistresses. Two days later, the chip deactivated again, removing the memories of these events from his mind.
The family was torn apart. His mother walked out and his father became convinced that Kami was a monster that had replaced his son. While Darren attempted to protect Kami at first, he was drawn away by other responsibilities and he partially blamed Kami for the tearing apart of his home life. So when he was accepted to join the army, he left with barely a second glance.
Alone with nothing but his father’s constant emotional abuse, Kami grew into a quiet, timid little boy that got overly flustered at the prospect of human interaction. Ashamed and disgusted with himself, he followed his father’s every command without question or hesitation. When ordered to eat of the floor he would do so. When ordered to stay in his room, he would stay, even if the door was open and he was starving.
Life changed slightly when he entered secondary school. First, he was reunited with Ren and Satra, though none of them had any memory of knowing each other before hand. Their chips, which were more on standby than complete deactivation, recognised each other. As such, Kami began to gain a little of Ren’s bravery and Satra’s cunning, he used them to find ways to avoid being at home. This only worked for a little while as his father quickly cottoned on and ordered him to always come straight home.
When he was twelve, Terone transferred into the school and Kami became slightly better at talking to people. By slightly better, I do of course mean, he gained the ability to actually talk to people without turning into a complete nervous wreck.
When he was thirteen, his father lost his job. Enraged, he blamed the entire incident on Kami. So, upon arriving home, he quickly found something to fault the boy on. It just so happened to be the dinner Kami had cooked. He threw the food on the ground, trampled it with his muddy boots and then ordered Kami to eat it. When Kami vomited, he ordered Kami to stay in his room till he was told to come out. Kami’s father then just walked out. For four days, Kami was left without food or water in a freezing room in January. By the time the authorities finally found him, he was barely responding.
Upon recovery, he was sent to live in a Children’s home where he formed a firm friendship with Satra. After that, with the exception of a small kidnapping incident involving Ren’s gang, the only way was up. His Mother’s sister Beatrice was found as legal custodian and he became friends with both Ren and Terone. Over the next two years he comes out of his shell, developing into a bright and bubbly, immature child, leading his friends from one mad cap adventure to the next.
Now aged 15, he volunteers himself and his friends to help out at the Mental institute his Aunt works at. There they meet Uta who marks the start of their journey to save the world.

Kami is incredibly cheerful and bright. Nearly always hyperactive, he rarely upset. Usually, negative emotions are displayed in a childish yet endearing sulk, like when he can’t get a puppy or something silly like that. Very occasionally, he will show himself to be mature and to be able to take rational decisions to help people.

The immaturity expresses a deep set longing for the childhood he never got to have. In a slightly similar way, the near constant happiness hides how empty he feels inside. At some point, he shut off his feelings so as to save his mind. Turning them back on is a lot more difficult and he has yet to learn how to do so.

1. Kami loves bright colours
2. He constantly draws, writes and paints on his walls. Sections of it are repainted every couple of months to give him more space
3. His favourite word is Shiny
4. He wriggles around a lot in his sleep so has been banned from sleeping near the other during sleep overs after kicking them all awake so many times.
5. Unsurprisingly he has a massive sweet tooth

Author’s Comment
What can I say? Kami is freaking adorable.

Unlike a lot of characters, he is purposely flanderised a good deal of the time. This is because his main characters are subconsciously an act he puts on to fulfil his desires at child hood. As his surroundings grow more and more serious and depressing, he goes out of his way to become more bright, bubbly and childish. As soon as he has to be serious however, his true depths are shown and I love him for that.

He is my oldest character in terms of being around and he delights me by how far he has come.

Any questions or comments? Leave one below or email me (the admin not Naomi) at 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Pitfalls to avoid when writing a series

Not having to hit deadlines can be helpful and harmful. It's harmful for all of the obvious reason, if the deadlines mean nothing, you'll take them lightly and they'll ultimately have no meaning. However, not having to make deadlines is helpful in it's own way.

You don't have rush, you can make everything perfect. I'll give you an example, say that you're writing a series and that you have a deadline to write each installment. You might have, maybe, five saved up and you have a good general outline, but as you write things you notice that you could have foreshadowed something better or you notice a continuity error or character flaw.

Basically, you can fix errors in and strengthen your story before it's time to release it. Maybe it's because I'm a perfectionist but I love finishing the entire series before sending things out so that I can edit everything and keep the continuity straight.

Keeping the continuity straight is an important part of a series and so is keeping your characters straight. Here is a list of common pitfall and how to avoid them.

1. Flanderization
Maybe you've heard the term before, maybe you haven't. Flanderization is when a character devolves into a caricature of their former selves. They had depth, they were a fully fleshed character but for some reason they become one-dimensional and lose all of their depth.

For example, imagine Jane Smith is an animal rights activist who works as a doctor and enjoys taking long vacation with her friends. There's a reason she loved animals, because she was saved by rescue dog when she was child.

By season three, Jane's entire life revolves around her protesting for animals and everything she does is about animals. There's no mention of her being a doctor anymore or taking long vacations with her friends. Everything in her past is about animal and it goes beyond all rhyme and reason.

A very good way to avoid this is simply to be aware of the problem. If you notice that your character is starting to become one dimensional than take a look back on how they acted before and make sure to keep it in mind as you portray them.

2. Plot holes
Plot holes are a common problem of long running series and of series that use more than one writer. If you do create the entire series before publishing it like I do, you can check for plot holes fairly easily, but I'm certain that most people don't do that.

Here are a few tips to avoid plot holes:

- Revist old installments. If you're not sure about something, look it up and keep the continuity straight.
- Don't break the rules of the story. Whatever you established earlier is the law, no exception.
- Keep your characters in character.
- Be mindful of what is going on elsewhere in the story. They're not doing the last thing since they were since they were on the screen and might intersect with what is happening on screen.
- Have other people look over your series. Having a fresh set of eyes will catch things that you might've missed and things that made sense to you as the author but what a reader needs more information for.

3. Pacing
Pacing can be an enormous problem in a non-episodic series. Though there can be pacing problems in anything, but I'll just talk about series with an overarching plot.

You're going to have one main plot for the entire series that has to last for the entire series. In order for it not to be resolved immediately, you'll have major plots in each individual season, but how do you know if it's not just being derailed or not?

I'm not sure if there's a sure way to know, but try to pay attention to the season plots. Are they just being pulled out of thin air, or do they advance the overarching plot? If they're just pulled out of thin air, it's probably just plot derailment.

Of course, going too fast is also a problem. The characters need to overcome obstacles on their way to resolving the main plot, not just learn about it, waltz in and solve the problem.

Some other pacing problems to avoid.

- Presenting the series problem too late. People want to know what the series is about early on, while mystery is allowable and red herrings, try not to keep your audience in the dark for too long.
- Long, drawn out fight scenes. Other than the climatic battle, fight scenes shouldn't run too long and they shouldn't be bogged down by too much dialogue.
- Action is far and few between. If your characters go to the coffee shop, they shouldn't spend half the episode there talking about the plot.

Any questions or comments? Leave one below or email me at

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Rei Akatsuka

Rei Akatsuka is a major supporting characters from the series Maho no Hogosha! Another one of my friends selected her for the subject of this blog post.

Rei was first created circa August 30th, 2012. She was created to be the younger twin sister of Ran, who like most of my characters were vastly different at inception.

Ran was named after Ran from Urusei Yatsura (I've never seen the anime, so why I named one of my characters after Ran is beyond me). Ran was created to be a future ally of the Earth Protector and to help populate the series.

While naming Japanese characters using 2000-names, I decided to see what Ran's name meant. (It means "Lilly" or "Orchid" for those of you who were curious.) The name directly below Ran, was Rei, a name which means "nothing, zero".

I thought, who names their kid that? I thought it sounded like a name you would give to a kid you didn't like.

And thus Rei was created.

Rei was born on July 16th, 2003 in Capitol City, Akatsuka, Nekomimia. The sixth and youngest daughter of Gina and Keiko Akatsuka. She was born 27 minutes after Ran, twins being exceptionally rare, Rei was a complete surprise. Her full name is, depending on who you ask, either, Null Rei Akatsuka the Prime, First order of Nothing or Zeta Rei Akatsuka the Prime of the First order. First heir to the Boruda Crown.

Only two people use the second one (Herself and Usagi), the title she should have inherited. The first one, as you've probably guess, is just an ignorant title that doesn't actually even exist. (But then again, neither does Zeta)

Now seems as good a time as any to explain the titles.

The Akatsukas are the royal family of Nekomima and also the protectors, as such, they have magical crowns which they inherit at the age of 10, if they are eligible to do so. I won't delve too much into eligibility, but basically you have to be one of the five oldest daughter of the Nekomimi crown to be guaranteed a crown. If you're just a niece, you'll only inherit it if someone meets their untimely demise.

The important part here, is that while for the daughters of the lesser four crowns are allowed to inherit if they're the eldest living daughter of the highest crown, the Nekomimi crown specifically mentions that the eldest five daughters shall inherit the crown.

Since Rei is the sixth child, she isn't in the line of succession. Still following? Good.

Rei's sisters and their titles are as follows (in birth order)

Alpha Manami Akatsuka the Prime, First Order of the Nekomimi Crown.
Beta Nori Akatsuka the Prime, First Order of the Vulkaveine Crown.
Gamma Suzume Akatsuka the Prime, First Order of the Earth Crown.
Delta Usagai Akatsuka the Prime, First Order of the Kawaii Crown.
Epsilon Ran Akatsuka the Prime of the First Order. Heir to the Boruda Crown.

Ran is only 9, while the others are aged 11 to 17.

The first part of the title (Alpha to Epsilon) designates the order in which they were born.
"the Prime" refers to the crown which they were born to or are ceding. All of them, sans Manami, will have to change their title once ceding their crowns to "the SecundoTertiusQuartus, or Quintus". (That is assuming they all live to cede their crowns)
"First Order" refers to the crown which they were born to and will be with them for life.
"Heir to" means they will inherit the crown upon reaching the age of 10.
"First heir, second heir, etc. to the Boruda Crown" is your place in the line of succession should a crown protector die. In the event that a crown protector does die, the crowns cycle upwards. Highest blood purity.

Now that I have gone off on a tangent, I will return to talking about Rei. Like all unpainted Akatsukas (Akatsuka's without crowns) she has white hair, eyes and fur, because she is considered a disgrace to the Akatsuka name and is thus poorly treated.

Rei spent much of her time confined to her bedroom and often went several days without being fed. Her mother Gina, her primary abuser, often beat and clawed her, leaving her with many scars along her body.

Though her family in general despised her, mistreats her and refers to her as a thing, she got along well with her twin sister when they were young and she enjoys a healthy relationship with Usagi.

Rei is somewhat emotionally disturbed. In general, she doesn't really like people and doesn't befriend them. Rei is quiet unless she knows and likes you, in which case she will be a lot opener and warmer.

Rei sleeps a lot, out of necessite and boredom. When she's not sleeping she likes to play with her puzzle or read her comic, The Masked Nekomimi. Though those are her only two possessions, she tries to solve it and read it different ways in an attempt to keep it fresh.

In addition to comics and puzzles, Rei enjoys roughhousing and hunting. She is also very imaginative and possesses an alter ego, a superhero named Kiyoko Koneko, the prodigious princess.

1. Rei is only permitted to wear black and grays, colors more often associated with the black hair, eyes and fur of the common Nekomimi.

2. Nekomimi are a one-gender species.

3. Rei's favorite things to eat are, shrimp, double fudge chocolate cake and raw milk.

4. Another thing Rei likes to do is leap onto and ride on Usagi's head.

5. Rei enjoys biting ears. Mainly just Usagi's, but this doesn't seem to bother her at all.

Author's comment
Rei is one of my favorite characters. As I mentioned in my previous posts, Rei isn't one of the characters who 'evolved' purposelessly. When she was first created, Rei was a lot grumpier and downtrodden, which made her similar to another character of mine, Tera Sanmalari.

What helps set them apart is their resilience. Rei is made of much sterner stuff than Tera, allowing them to go into completely different directions.

Any questions or comments? Leave one below or email me at

Want to see pictures of Rei? Check out my gallery on deviantART:

If you would like more information on Rei, particularly of spoilerish nature, you know where you can contact me. If I don't know you, I won't give you any spoilers. I'm sorry.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Alex Aquique

So I was talking to my good friend again and she suggested that I make posts about my favorite protagonists and villains and what not.

So why this one is on a Sunday, I will make posts such as this in the future on Tuesdays.

Since it was her idea, I let her pick the inaugural character, who will be Alex Aquique! A major supporting character from Mahō no Hogosha!

Alex was originally created in mid to late 2012, though her existence was purely accidental. I was making another character in anime face maker but she didn't turn out looking exactly like herself and I decided that I would make her into a new character.

So I changed the hairstyle to pigtails and named her Alex. At the time, the main characters of Mahō no Hogosha! were only 12 and since Alex looked quite young, she was younger than them and a backup player on the soccer team which most of the main characters (Eri, Amy and Hannah) played on.

So for a short while Alex was just a face and a name. I decided that all of Amy's friends shouldn't be magical like her, so Alex became her non-magical friend. I decided to make all the main characters 14 at some point.

Alex was born on June 22nd, 1998 in Carabobo, Valencia, Venezuela. Her full name is Alejandra Aquique Temprano and she moved to the United States around age 7, the same age in which her father died of an aneurysm.

Alex lives with her mother, Mirany, in an apartment in Anaheim, California. Alex has very little respect for her mother, as she has a career as a stripper, often comes home drunk and is very neglectful of Alex and their apartment in general.

Alex is incredibly impulsive and obnoxious. Though she does have a conscious, she often only thinks about her behavior in retrospect. Alex hosts a wealth of insecurities about herself, namely being flat-chested.

To help with her insecurities, she will attempt to project it onto someone else (i.e. calling Eri, someone half of an inch shorter than her, Shortstack.) or joke about. Though this is effective for shortness, it was unhelpful against being flat-chested and mistaken for a boy.

Alex wears her hair in a pigtail, which according to her, is "the girliest hairstyle known to mankind."

Alex enjoys playing soccer, a game taught to her by her late father. She's a defender and is very good at what she does. Though she is arguably the best player on the team, her behavior is detrimental to the team as she often gets carded (and subsequently suspended) her team has never won a game in her absence.

Along with playing soccer, Alex enjoys watch boxing, wrestling and blowing things up. Other things that Alex enjoys are adorable things and eating popcorn when she is feeling sad.

Alex is also a hopeless romantic, though she believes that she will never find love. As a result she plays matchmaker and usually becomes more invested in the relationship than the actual participants.

1. English is Alex's second language. As such she has an interesting way of speaking. By smashing together contractions. So she says things such as: "I'mn't going to eat that." and "I'ven't seen you ages. How've you been, man?"

2. Alex sticks her tongue out whenever she takes a picture.

3. Alex always wears a blue cap. There's no real reason for this except that the character she was originally supposed to be a picture of always wore a hat.

Author's comments
Alex is one of the most complex characters I have created and also one of my favorites. Though most characters "evolve" to some extent or another, Alex is one of the characters who has undergone radical, slow and purposeless evolution, similar to real life. The other three such characters, are Tera, Stella and Kagami.

Not surprisingly, those are four of my five best and favorite characters (the fifth is Rei). Though the end results is a very good character, as I said, the process is long and seemingly unending. Which could pose a problem during writing.

Alex, in her first incarnation, appears in the first draft as she was created in 2012. Now though she is vastly different making her scenes irrelevant. Thought the first draft as a whole is horrible, I think you get my point.

Any questions or comments? Leave one below or email me at

Want to see pictures of Alex? Check out my gallery on deviantART:

If you would like more information on Alex, particularly of spoilerish nature, you know where you can contact me. If I don't know you, I won't give you any spoilers. I'm sorry.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Character beliefs

Sorry this post is a bit late today, but there's a really good reason for that. I was playing Arcanum this morning. Yeah, that old RPG game where you pick a character and give them stats and such. The reason I'm telling you all this is because I like to use my characters whenever I'm playing Arcanum.

This time I'm playing as Kagami Amaya, one of the antagonists of Mahō no Hogosha! and as I'm playing I feel like she's a bit OOC. That's partly because I like to take every quest, even when she wouldn't care to and they way that she talks to people... isn't exactly ideal for game play, as when people get too mad at you they'll attack and I don't want to go around killing everybody.

But I digress.

What is it that your characters believe in? Do they believe in God? Do they believe they are God? How do they think the world works, the people in it?

Belief is a very strong thing, sometimes people believe in things so strongly that they just know it's true. Even when they're presented with compelling evidence to the contrary.

Developing these views
Where do these world view come from? Usually it will come from someone else or from an experience in the world. Religious views are often handed to children by their parents and some views, such as optimism and pessimism can be bred by early life experience.

Someone who's had nothing but bad things happen to them all their lives might tend towards pessimism. Or maybe they chose to be optimistic to help get themselves through the hard times.

Singular conscious
A singular conscious is how human beings observe the world. This limits their ability to be empathic and objective. I'll just talk about objectiveness and subjectiveness. When a character sees something happen with their very own eyes as opposed to being told it by a third party, they're far more likely to believe it.

Confirmation bias
Confirmation bias is when someone remembers, or interprets information in a way that confirms what they believe. I'll give you an example, Stella Nakamoto is one of the main characters from my series Sanmalari and she believes herself to be a God and immortal.

Stella got infected with an oft fatal parasite called a desert worm. Everyone who knew her was quite certain that she was going to die and Stella was convinced that she wouldn't die because she couldn't. Stella didn't die and she took this as proof that she was immortal.

Now, Stella isn't immortal (nor a God) she just suffers from delusions of grandeur.

Cherry picking
Cherry picking is selecting specific bits of information about things to fit what you believe. Matthew Berry does a wonderful job of illustrating cherry picking in his fantasy posts. What he does is this, he selects two players and calls them player A and player B.

He talks up player A by telling you all the good things about him and talks down player B by telling you all the bad things about him. Everything he says about both players is 100% true.

Then he tells you that they're the exact same person.

Cherry picking is a great way to make characters argue. People don't often consider the validity of the other side because they're convinced that they're right and they're just trying to show everyone else the right way to do things.

Belief is a powerful thing, characters need to hold strong and firm to their beliefs. They must follow them as if they are right even if they are 100% wrong. After all, people thought witches were the causes of ills despite the fact that this is 100% wrong, they still burned people.

Don't be afraid to make your characters be witch-hunters.

One final word. Beliefs, no matter how twisted and seemingly incorrect likely have some grain of truth to them. You probably want to aim for the middle, make something a character believes to be both equal parts right and equal parts wrong.

Any questions or comments? Leave a comment below or email me at

Saturday, July 5, 2014

How to write dialogue

I was talking to my friend yesterday, the wonderful author I told you about in last weeks post. She was giving advice to another one of her friend about writing dialogue and I thought that I would do the same here.

The purpose of dialogue is not simply for characters to talk. They can't talk about the weather, unless it just so happens that imminent rain is plot relevant.

Conversations that your characters should:

1. Tell something about the characters talking
2. Convey information about the plot (The trick is to also do this without the characters sounding like

I'm sure there's more a conversation could accomplish, but let's focus on just these two.

Ways that you can use dialogue to convey information about characters talking is by the way they speak. Human beings have vast variety of vocabulary and they often have ungrammatical ways of stringing sentences together. When we talk we often just start talking without much thought to sentence structure.

We also say lots of ums and include lots of pauses. We're also incapable of spontaneously launching into a speech riddled with meaning. Though in fiction launching into a perfectly prepared speech is acceptable and saying um and pausing doesn't convey normalcy in fiction, it conveys hesitation.

Read these two sentences.

"I, um, went to the park with... Sarah and uh, Jay." Jane said.

"I went to the park with Sarah and Jay." Jane said.

In reality, the first sentence sounds like Jane is thinking. However, in fiction it sounds like Jane is making things up.

Take a look at these three other sentences.

"If you ever come near my sister again, I will kill you." Jay said.

"If I catch you sniffing around my sister again, I'll be the last thing you ever see." Jane said.

"If you're ever in the same proximity as my sister again, you will cease to the exist by my doing." Sarah said.

They're three different people saying exactly the same thing in three different ways. The way that Jay is speaking is more direct and blunt, while Jane speaks with more colorful language. Sarah is simply verbose.

The way a character talks can convey information about them, such as educational background and we're they're from if they speak with an accent or regional dialect.

Now onto the second part of how to use dialogue. To convey information about the plot and advance the plot. Here's how not to have a conversation about what's going on.

"Now, Jay, as you know someone's been stalking our baby sister." Jane says.

"Yeah, that Stan guy. You know we need to prepare our plan to kill him." Jay says.

"Of course."

Alright, that was really bad and everybody knows better than to write like that, but I hope you get the point. Jay should know that Stan is stalking his baby sister already, there's no reason for Jane to mention it to him.

An easy way to avoid this is to ask yourself why is this conversation happening? If the answer is to explain information to the audience than a red flag should go up in your head. Conversations like this are usually forced and unnatural.

A good way to get around this is to have the characters not all know this information so that when one character launches into an explanation about why time travel is possible, not only will she be explaining this to the audience she'll also be explaining this to her uninformed friend. The audience gets their information and there was no forced conversation.

Of course, this isn't always possible. What if your core group of characters are all time travelers? Ideally, you'd like to tell your audience how time travel works and the fact that all the time travelers know how it works means they won't really talk about it.

If you've ever watched a game of football with people you're going to talk about football, because it's something that you all have an interest in and understand. So that's what your time travelers would do, in a perfectly natural way.

I hope that you found this to be helpful and not confusion. If you have any questions or comments, you can leave one below in the comment section or send me an e-mail at

Saturday, June 28, 2014


If you want to be an Indie author, you need to know how to market. Even if you go the traditional route, knowing how to market is better for you in the long run.

There are many marketing strategies out there and the best one is name recognition. I'm not talking about being Tom Clancy or J.K. Rowlings, though that's the end goal of name recognition. To show you that the name works over all stages of your career I'll go with a lesser known author by the name of Naomi M-B.

Have you ever heard of her? If you haven't then you're missing out! Here's a link to her profile:

So now you heard of her and if you took the time to follow the link and read some of her stuff you're going to remember her name and wait impatiently for her next update. You see, you could hear about the next big release from some big name author that you've never read, or you can hear about the next big release from an author you know and love.

When you know and love what an author has done in the past, you'll want to keep reading her because you know she'll deliver. This is why the best way to market is to write more than one book, each book will lead your readers to the other.

Even better is to write a series, where the reader is not only invested in the author but invested in the characters and the plots. When a reader invests that much, they'll keep coming back for the rest of the series.

Marketing can go both ways, when you market to your readers and begin to build a fan base there comes a certain expectation from them, which will help motivate you to deliver quality writing by your deadlines.

So really, the best marketing strategy is to write well and have a fan base who will tell others about you.

So far I haven't given you any tips on how to actually implement any of that, so I will do that right now.
Do interviews. Maybe you think you have to be invited to do interviews or that you must have a certain amount of notability. The latter is true, but you don't have to be as notable as probably you think.

If you request to do an interview with your newspaper, radio or any other medium you might be surprised by how receptive they are to having you. If you're shy about going live, interviews, like everything else, are done much differently now. You can do it on the phone, email or just classically face-to-face.

Make a promotional trial and post it to YouTube. Don't mistake this for actual marketing though, you'll have to market the promo.

Create an author page, where you can showcase your work.

Give things away for free. Not crap either. Give away something amazing, some of your best works. It doesn't have to stay free forever either. A good way to bring in readers is to give your first book away completely for free and sell the rest of the series.

Be personable and accessible. Let your fans see you as a person and give them access to you on Twitter, facebook and an email address. You may wish to set up two, one for your fans and one for friends and family.

And above all, don't be a spammer. Don't tell people to read your stuff or simply telling people about it who don't care. Know your target audience and what they'll view as spam. Don't try to force people you know to read your stuff either.

Any questions or comments? Feel free to leave one in the comment section below or email me at