Mia Jo Celeste comes from a family of writers and English teachers, so it was no surprise when she chose to pursue both careers. She grew up watching horror movies and reading romances. To her, the two genres go together like salty and sweet in kettle corn. If you’d like to connect with her, you can find her at these links:
Amazon author page amazon.com/author/miaceleste
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Five Ways to Deepen Your Characters in Fiction—Plus a Look at Other Than
Want to write fiction that sells?
You’ve got to create stories around compelling characters—heroes and heroines that are complex, deep and quirky enough to capture and hold a reader’s attention. Classic writing guru Jack Bickham says authors do this when they, “Figure out whose story it is, get inside that character and stay there.”
Simple, right, but sometimes, it’s hard to crawl inside your heroine’s head. If you’re having trouble, here are a couple of suggestions that have worked for me.
1. Put your character on the hot seat or the therapist’s couch and interview her. Become her arresting officer or psychologist. Ask questions like:
a. What’s your deepest fear?
b. What would you never do?
c. What’s your job? What do you enjoy about it? What don’t you like?
d. Why is that your job? Why did you become a/an______?
e. Where were you when the crime went down or what is your biggest problem in your relationships.
2. Let your character journal. What does she think of her past or her current situation? I like to use the journal questions in Story Genius by Lisa Cron for inspiration.
3. Give yourself to write one to ten pages of your character’s back story, a first chapter or prequel only you will ever read. Later, you might dribble little snippets of this back story into your novel, but just knowing this history will help your character seem more real.
4. As you write and your character does or thinks something, ask why? Then consider sharing that why with your readers.
5. Look at other author’s heroes and heroines to jump start imagination. What flaws or good qualities could add spark to your narrative? When I wrote Other Than, I looked to the classics. I used the Bronte sisters’ heroes, Heathcliff and Mr. Rochester, for inspiration for Victor Lowell while Evangeline Woods is a lot like Jane Eyre.
Want to see what I mean?
Check out this excerpt.
He materialized in the inky shadow.
Or rather his apparition did. His ghostly frame hovered before her, sinuous and lithe. Against his shadowed form, the string glimmered like liquid silver. Slowly he unwrapped her, tossing the spectral bands to the floor until a coil lay between him and her.
Something inside her chest fluttered. “You followed me.”
He nodded. With a slight shrug, he spread his hands. “You shouldn’t be alone.”
She wanted to turn, giving him her back, but her betraying gaze remained fixated upon him. When he paced around her, she waved him away. “Don’t.”
He caught her hand and placed an insubstantial kiss in her palm. “Let me help you…please.”
A gallant gesture, perhaps, but her skin-slider sensitivity noted the rigidity of his stance, the twitch along his jaw, and the slight narrowing of his eyes. How could he think of helping her when he was in so much pain?
Ordinarily, she might be grateful. Might…if loss hadn’t hollowed her.
She ripped her cooling flesh from his spectral arms. “I don’t deserve kindness.”
“Good.” He gave her a rakish smirk. “Because I’m not kind.”
She shook her head, biting back the emerging smile that had no place on her countenance. She couldn’t be civil, couldn’t risk the involvement. “I can’t go on like this—stuck betwixt life and death.”
“You must. Don’t you see, sweet dove? You’re beyond both. You’re immortal. Like me.”
Would you like to know more about the plot? Here’s the back-cover blurb:
It only takes one drink from the Water of Immortality to kill Evie Woods—halfway. Trapped in undead flesh, the world’s last skin-slider wakens on an island purgatory where a cursed spring bubbles with immortality, and zombie cannibals crave living flesh.
Her only hope of escape rests in the hands of the one man who would see her fail. Bound to her by cords stronger than death, Lord Victor Lowell is both the man of her dreams, and her darkest nightmares. Contrary and intractable, Victor preys on others to maintain his angelic charisma and preternatural prowess. Drawn to the compellingly gallant and vulnerable soul behind his mercurial humors, Evie can only watch as protecting her forces Victor to sacrifice yet more of himself to the ancient evil long tethered to his soul.
Trapped in an ever-escalating war they can’t stop, Victor and Evie fight time for a cure, but as the long days pass blackness tears at Evie, ripping her thoughts from her one memory at a time. Victor will to do whatever it takes to prevent her from deteriorating into a rotting husk, even if it means dooming himself, but Evie won’t surrender his soul without a fight. Battle lines drawn, the soul mates resolve to find redemption or die trying.
If you’re interested in reading more Other Than follow these links:
Thanks for the wonderful advise and sharing an excerpt,