Making Up Characters

Guest Post Re-Post:
Originally posted 9/16/2013 on Adria’s Romance Reviews as a guest post. Part of my Crimson Dahlia blog tour organized by Paranormal Cravings.

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Readers and bloggers often ask me about the inspiration for my stories. I find inspiration in a lot of different places, and usually it’s not just one single idea or source that leads me to my ideas. But I thought I might share one source that I tend to think of as a little on the usual side.

One of my favorite pastimes for my imagination is to create entirely new characters who I then plop down in the middle of popular plots. I am a character person at heart. I tend to dislike stories that have no redeeming characters, and I tend to like strong, independent heroines or heroes that are very loyal and have a good back story. In addition, I have a small confession to make… I am a romance junkie. So frequently these characters I make up are because I want to add a romantic plot to a favorite storyline. Here are two examples…

My first example is a character that I imagine for Lord of the Rings. (Yes, I am a sci-fi/fantasy geek as well.) MY character is a woman who is a wizard – very powerful, of course. Sometimes I make her Gandalf’s daughter, sometimes an apprentice. (Don’t tell me if there is some rule in LOTR about wizards not having daughters or something, it’ll ruin my awesome character.) She’s followed the fellowship (invisible of course) to help if needed. She’s heartbroken when Gandalf falls down the pit with the Balrog (the fire monster). She’s revealed by Galadriel when the remaining fellowship members are with the elves. And then she has a romance with Aragorn. I never was very satisfied with his romance with Arwen. That series of books definitely focuses more on the saga and the battles than the romance. Aragorn and Arwen’s story – at least the satisfying conclusion of it – was tucked into the appendix/epilogue stuff at the end. Definitely not satisfying. So… I made up a different one that I personally like better.

My other example is Harry Potter. I really loved the character of Sirius Black. And yes, I cried like a baby when he died. In fact, a good portion of the rest of the series I thought Rowling might bring him back. Anyway, I made up a character who was a love interest for him. She attended Hogwarts with him and was in Gryffindor as well. She was also an animagus who could shift into a butterfly and follow Sirius and his friends without being noticed. Sometimes I give her a back story. Sometimes she’s Voldemort’s secret daughter – and by secret I mean that her mother kept it a secret from him. Or sometimes she’s a relative of Dumbledore’s. She stays faithful to Sirius while he’s in Azkaban, of course, and eventually helps break him out. His dying in the series really messed up my imagined character. Sigh.

Both of these personal characterizations contributed somewhat to my current series of books – called the Svatura series. In the first book, Blue Violet, the main character, Ellie, can shift into a falcon. This came from the butterfly animagus idea from my Harry Potter character. In this form Ellie secretly watches over a family of powerful people and eventually saves their lives similar to my LOTR character watching over the fellowship.

My character, Ellie, eventually ended up kicking off an entire series of books. First with Blue Violet where Ellie was the heroine. Then Hyacinth, with Ellie’s brother Griffin and a new heroine, Selene. Most recently, I released the third book in the series, Crimson Dahlia, with a heroine named Lila (you’ll have to read the series to see how she’s related to Ellie).  While each book has a different heroine, each continues the overarching plot for the series. It all started with Ellie.  And at least small part of her abilities and situation came from imaginings inspired by characters I made up to go into other author’s plots.

Like I said… I might be unique in this habit. I’d be curious to know if any other avid readers, writers, or movie watchers out there do something similar with favorite story lines. Do you create new plots? New characters? New twists? It’s one of my favorite things to do. Even with my own stories!

Thank you to Adria for hosting me! I really enjoyed writing this post.

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