Posts Tagged ‘character creation’

Who is the protagonist of The Grove?

 

The Grove Cover_blogsized

I always think its fun to see if I can create a character that the reader loves to hate. They must be sympathetic. They must be interesting. They must also have a need that must be met in the course of the story. But that isn’t necessarily what makes them a protagonist.

So how do you define protagonist.

The most common definition–especially for the lay person–is that the protagonist is the central character of a story.  And professionals agree: According to Literarydevices.com “A protagonist is the central character or leading figure in poetry,  narrative, novel or any other story.” However, then the definition goes on. Seriously its a whole page.

So lets first start with the central characters. For The Grove that’s Dayla Fisher and Jonah Leifson.

panel3a-copy

Jonah wants to save humanity from themselves. He believes waking a few bloodthirsty ancient Gods will do it. And he doesn’t care that he might have to sacrifice a few people to do it.

dayla happy.jpg

The Keeper of The Grove, Dayla will do anything to stop Jonah from waking the Gods.  She suffers over any loss of life though she eventually comes to realize she might have to take life to stop Jonah.

So who is the protagonist?

There are a couple basic elements for a protagonist:

  • The protagonist is driving the action of the story and so the narrative revolves around him/her/them.

By this definition, that means my protagonist would be Jonah as he drives the story towards its conclusion.

  • The protagonist may undergo some change within the course of the story.

Uh Oh, Jonah doesn’t go through much of a transformation, he is a true believer in what he is doing, so that might mean the protagonist is Dayla.

  • The events occurring in a story often viewed from the perspective of the protagonist.

Well that could be both characters. As well as three other people: Dayla’s husband Oliver Hayes, Dayla’s best friend Samantha Miller and her one time rival, now charge, Galeno DeAdams.

  • A well-constructed protagonist allows the audience to relate to themselves and the other characters.

This too could be either character. Do you want to save the world with Jonah? Or stop Jonah from sacrificing people with Dayla?

So who is the protagonist?

The truth is who is the protagonist is questionable. I wrote The Grove as a thriller. So in that sense, Jonah is driving the action, while Dayla is fighting for her life, her husband, her friends and lifestyle. Most people will see Dayla as the protagonist, because she isn’t using her magic to delude people into waking three ancient Gods. She is “the good-guy.”

However ultimately who is the protagonist is up to the reader!

Do you agree or disagree? Do you have a favorite book/series in which you question who is the protagonist?


About The Grove:
The Grove Cover_blogsizedGenre: Contemporary Dark Fantasy
340 Pages
Paperback ISBN: 9780980145908
Ebook: ISBN:9780980145922

Sitka’s Quay appears to be like every other coastal tourist town on Highway 101, but lurking below its southern grove of ancient spruce are three sleeping primordial gods. The Keeper, Dayla Fischer, must remain in control of her magical abilities or fall into sickening madness, but lives a relatively quiet life with her husband, Oliver. That is, until the delusional, but charming Jonah Leifson comes to town with a plan to awaken the Three. Soon, children begin disappearing. With powerful suggestion spells and mind reading abilities, Jonah wins over other sorcerers, meth users, the police, and eventually even her husband. Though no one believes her and she doubts her own sanity, she must stop Jonah, before he wakes the Three and brings about the end of the world.

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Grove-Elizabeth-Guizzetti/dp/0980145902/
Barnes&Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-grove-elizabeth-guizzetti/1124461156?ean=2940156779864
IBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-grove/id1153788999?ls=1&mt=11
Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/the-grove-9

Reviews for The Grove:
“Chaos, murder, sacrifice: it was a delicious read, and I devoured it all.” Dan Thompson, The Black Petal

“If you’re a fan of well-written, fast-paced, fantasy thrillers that trot into the neighborhood of horror, you’ll love it…” Fia Essen, Ariel

“Guizzetti’s delusional and magically gifted anti-hero is truly terrifying…” Janice Clark, Healer’s Apprentice Series

Advertisements

Meet Rosalind: A Secondary Protagonist of The Light Side of the Moon

The Light Side of the MoonRosalind

Age Unknown

(EC 302) Manufactured in India/Programmed in France

Expert Compatible Android (Accountant)

Personality: She loves deeply, she does not want to be stuck on Earth. She is a leader, but can aggressively pull for dreams.

 

Description Excerpt

She zoomed her optics from the nebula to Earth. The enlargement algorithms resized the sky as her crafted compound lens flipped to a smaller aperture to allow in less light. Her world shifted into millions of colored pixels. Images smoothed. She could see.

Ceramic tiles had continued to fall through the rotting, scorched wood in the ceiling, but the tenement was the same as it had been the last time her consciousness was on Earth. She rolled to her side and pushed strands of dirty blond hair out of her scarred face. A pigeon clapped its wings; its tiny claws scratched her aging silicone flesh as the bird bounced onto the dirt floor.

She rubbed her corroded knee joints. Using the doorframe, she lifted herself to her full height and held back screaming as she broke through the oxidation. Gazing upon her brothers who still dreamt toward the nebula, she could not remember her name, or her brothers’ names, but serial number EC 302 was embossed with black ink on her left bicep. Her brothers looked the same: inactive burnt flesh, visible indo-skeletons, absent limbs, and each one missing an optic. They were built to be imposing sentinels of this place, but their injuries exposed their weakness. S467’s legs were nothing more than scorched stumps.

S455 had a pigeon nesting between his unmoving chest and arm. She almost pushed it away until she saw the eggs. She let the pigeon be.

Meet Ellie Sethdottier: Protagonist of The Light Side of the Moon

Who wants to see the character dossier of Ellie Sethdottier: Protagonist of The Light Side of the Moon?

Ellie at age 11

Ellie at age 11, Digital painting by me, Elizabeth Guizzetti. All Rights Reserved.

Ella (Ellie) Settdottier was four-years-old when the Kiposians came. While she and her brothers were too young to immigrate to Kipos and witnessed a violent argument between her parents, which ended with her mother battered. She never saw her father again. She does not know if he abandoned them for opportunities on Kipos or was possibly killed at the gates. She doesn’t want to know.

Parents: Jia Rao and Seth Keithson

Two Brothers: Daniel (+4 years) and James (+3 years)

Virtues: Though her life has been hard, she was protected from the worst of their poverty by her older brothers, thus she is strong-willed and hopeful things will get better. (Her brothers have long given up on life.) She loves to read and collect knowledge.

Vices: She has grown up so fast, she does not listen to reason. She is slow to trust.

Helpful Vice: She is a risktaker, but terrified of “getting in trouble” in an unforgivable way. She doesn’t really understand what is unforgivable, but has an idea that she needs to not get pregnant or catch an uncurable STI, so during her teen years she stays away from boys and drugs.

Age in novel: 4 – 18

Description excerpts

Age 4

More harshly than was wise, Alexander snapped, “She’s four and lost her father. Who said, ‘Suffer the little children…’ ”

With the hope Ella would settle down and Sister Diego might witness the vision of an innocent in pain, he pulled her onto his lap. After all, a four-year-old has no designs except to be loved, fed, safe, and warm. When she wasn’t screaming, Ella was as sweet looking as Jia had been at four: large round brown eyes, soft lengths of black hair escaping from two messy braids. Sister Diego could see her in her brothers’ hand-me-down green sweater and old patched trousers. No sign of sinful disease.

Both for his own comfort and hers, Alexander rocked her. Ella calmed as she snuggled into his shoulder, but Sister Diego’s face remained without compassion.

*

Age 11

[Alexander] considered as the afternoon sun bounced off Ella’s black hair how much she resembled Jia at that age, but her normally bronzed skin, looked grayish. Daniel and Jamie looked worse, covered in flour. The girl was on some invisible tether, bouncing with childish energy, but matching her brothers’ sluggish pace. Neither boy should be broken in adolescence.

The Light Side of the Moon Final The Light Side of the Moon will be available on paperback and ebook for Kindle, Nook, Kobo, and IBooks.

Meet Ian Whitlatch: Secondary Protagonist of The Light Side of the Moon

Ian

Ian at graduation. Digital Painting by me.

Ian Marcus Weaver Whitlatch is the only child of a doctor and the manager of a charity soup kitchen in Salisbury. Dad helps everyone whether they can pay or not. Mum doesn’t take a salary for her work instead donates her time to feed the impoverished.At the beginning of the novel, his parents employ two domestics: Ian’s tutor Mr. McKay and Ms. Blacksmith the housekeeper and cook.

Note: For the Other System’s Universe, they are upper middle class, however, their lifestyle for the average family in today’s world, they would be lower-middle class.
For example: like most people on Earth at this time, they don’t own a car. Since Dad’s clinic and Mum’s Soup Kitchen is across the back garden, they also generally have no need of one.

Virtues: Respects every person, doesn’t believe in violence, hard worker, kind-hearted

Virtue that hurts him: Unfaltering idealism which presents as pretentiousness

Vices: Judges by outer beauty, doesn’t always get along with his parents, can be self-absorbed

Parents: Grace Alice Teague. Weaver, Royce Xavier Langly Whitlatch  No Siblings.

Education: Home Tutor until age fifteen, then Oxford undergraduate studies and Oxford Medical School

Description Excerpt

Age 13

Ian yanked off his apron and washed his hands. The cut was deep, but not bad enough to show Dad. Pressing a handkerchief to the wound, he scrutinized himself in the mirror and tucked in his shirt. An angry pimple had formed between his nostril and cheek. Ugh. Even when his skin was clear, his nose was too big. Mum always said he had Dad’s handsome looks. That was unfortunate for them both.

*

Age 21

Ellie jumped for it. Knowing momentum might carry her in medium gravity, she forced herself to fall and hit the decking. Her legs burned as she skidded the last four meters, but the luggage stopped moving. She pressed her lips together and blinked back tears. 

“Vous allez bien, mademoiselle?”

Light created a halo from his straight hair, but when her eyes cleared, she looked past his nose into his deep green eyes, filled with concern.

Without thinking she answered back in English. “Yes, thank you, sir.”

He wore an officer’s uniform, but she recoiled from the soft, delicate hand that reached for her. He was probably going to yell at her like everyone else did.

“You’re an Englishwoman?” he asked helping her to her feet. 

“I speak English. I’m from Seattle. My name is Ellie Sethdottier. How do you do?” She curtsied though she wore pants.

“I’m Dr. Ian Whitlatch, and I’m just fine, but that looked like a nasty spill you took.”

Coming this Summer

The Light Side of the Moon Final

Why I believe in diversity in science fiction: an answer to the counter-arguments.

A number of people in the science fiction community are screaming about diversity in books and films. Either they want to bring back the good ole days, or they want to see characters that look how the world looks now. It saddens me that this argument has gotten very nasty. The 2015 Hugo Award Nominations are just the visual tip of the anger iceberg.

266d732dd0258d460ee8444a45892cc0

I saw this on PinInterst, Originally found on yahighway.tumblr.com

Anyone who follows my blog knows how much I love StarTrek. I’m going to explain why I think diversity is important for the sci-fi community, but how there is room for all of our visions. I was a young teen with TNG and in highschool, early college with DS9. I loved those show’s wide open universe with all those planets and races. The meme is getting popular now, but I remember the first time I heard Whoopie Goldberg’s story about how she and Gene Rodenberry spoke about how before the original StarTrek there were no black people in sci-fi and how Lt. Uhura, played by Nichelle Nichols during 1966 to 1969, was a trailblazing role for African-Americans.

When I heard the story, it reminded me of being a kid and watching GI Joe, Thunder Cats, or almost every other show and wanting there to be more than one token girl or woman character. That’s when I realized “the girl” was a type, just like “the black guy” or whoever. And I didn’t want to write “types,” I wanted to write characters. I want to tell their stories. I still do.

StarTrek and Ms. Goldberg’s story encouraged me to always look at my “cast” and make sure that there was a fairly even split of men and women–and if there wasn’t, it needed to make sense why. That if there were “colors” of skin in my book’s universe that they are shown–and not just in the background. That sexual diversity was shown.

The cry for diversity rings loudly. Readers want characters that look like them, that they can relate to, but I don’t think anyone is really saying, “Every protagonist needs to look like me!” Though a few vocal white, cis-gender, heterosexual males are certainly coming close to that.

I believe in listening to people, which means I also believe it is also important to answer the (sometimes-bitter) counter arguments with kindness and generosity of spirit.

Counter Argument #1: So you are saying that I shouldn’t write all white or all male books? Maybe that’s my vision!

People should write what they want to write. Just don’t be surprised when the market makes the final call. I would also add no matter what type of characters you write, you may find you end up with a different market than expected.

An example of a terrific all male cast is John Carpenter’s 1982 version of The Thing. They are twelve guys in a small science station in Antarctica so they are cut off from the world. Sexual diversity is not mentioned. However, there is some racial diversity in the cast with Keith David as Childs and T.K. Carter as Nauls. All in all the cast did a great job.

So if for whatever reason, if a non-diverse cast works, go with it. I think your collection of work shows your heart more than a single work.

Counter Argument #2 Authors are just adding this stuff so they can be edgy.

Really, you think authors care about being edgy? I don’t speak for every author, but I care about writing characters that make readers care and I care about finding readers. That’s it.

Counter Argument #3: White people shouldn’t write/explore other cultures because either white people can’t understand it or it is cultural appropriation.

For me this one is insidious, because I want to be an ally to others. To listen and tell stories. How do I get around this? First of all, I admit I’m a white American, cisgender, and heterosexual. I’m mixed European ancestry, a large chunk of that being Italian. This means I grew up with white privilege. This means there are things that happen I will simply not understand, I own up to that.

Then I figure out what I do know. While I never feared the police would racial profile me, I know what if feels like to be afraid. While I don’t know what it is like for a homosexual young man to want to kiss a boy when all your life you are told you can only kiss girls, but I can imagine what that first kiss is like. Love, pain and isolation are part of the human condition.

By admitting my ignorance of certain aspects of culture and then using my own experiences, I can research with an open mind. We all have the Internet at our disposal and we can take the time to do interviews. So, authors, no matter what your background, don’t fear writing about other cultures, but its important to research and write from a place of respect. Don’t rush the details, don’t force teachable moments, just do the work.

Counter Argument #4: What’s the point of writing diversely, the cover artist is just going to make them white?

So far, I’ve always done my own covers, so this hasn’t been a problem for me, but authors have agents and lawyers for a reason.
Authors, make sure you have some authority in your cover. And if you don’t. Guess what we all have blogs. Use them, show your character sketch. Be proactive.
Fans, if you want diverse covers, write, tweet, email publishers.

And the Counter-Counter Sad Puppy Argument to #4.
Why can’t a book with a spaceship on the cover just be about space adventure? Why does it always have to be out race or feminism or…?

Science fiction authors have a long history about putting “second stories” into their worlds. George Orwell and Margret Atwood outwardly wrote/writes social science fiction, but Ray Bradbury, Robert Heinlein, Frank Herbert, and Joe Halderman also delved into issues with their stories. So I don’t know when these readers thought science fiction only focused on escapism. That being said, there are escapist stories. Just look for them. I’m sure a google search of “escapist science fiction” will give you somewhere to look. In the bookstore, ask the bookseller, don’t just look at the pretty picture on the cover, flip the book over and read the blurb. Open the book and glance at the first chapter. Online, Check out the reviews. Look at the sub genres.

Authors create worlds. Sometimes the author will delve deep into the political or sociological issues of that universe, other times, not so much. I personally love to delve into issues with my writing, but not all my writing is about how I view the world.

In closing, I think there is room for all types of science fiction and all types of science fiction fans. I don’t need to like every single book to be a fan, nor do you. We can have conviction and still be respectful. Please remember, that we’re are a community and behind every avatar is a person wanting their voice to be heard.

RustyCon here I come…

Rustycon, January 17 -19, is an annual science fiction and fantasy convention, held in Seatac. It’s a great smaller convention. They have lots of fun things such as a dealer’s room, an art show, and a hospitality room for the general membership. They offer programming about games, film, television, technology, writing, science, filk singers and music, art, poetry, legal issues.

My speaking schedule is as follows

Friday
Broken Wings-Writing Damaged Characters
We love our damaged heroes! (and heroines) But how do we write great characters without indulging in pop psychology or falling into `movie of the week` syndrome? This panel will focus on developing believable characters who will capture your readers imaginations.
Start 2014-01-17 14:00:00
End 2014-01-17 15:00:00
Room Salon I

Saturday
LarkMCRaffle_smSequential Storytelling: Designing a comic
Learn how graphic novels are written and produced by independent comic book author and artist Elizabeth Guizzetti. Topics will include developing ideas, character design, plotting, storyboarding and more!
Start 2014-01-18 10:00:00
End 2014-01-18 11:00:00
Room Snoqualmie 2

Do you need a science background to write science fiction?
Discussion about researching for writing science fiction and asks do you need a science background to write science fiction?
Start 2014-01-18 15:00:00
End 2014-01-18 16:00:00
Room Salon I

Gaming as Grown-ups
Our panelists will cover everything from finding time for gaming when you have a job, a commute, and possibly kids to handling adult subjects in your play. Gaming does not have to end when you graduate.
Start 2014-01-18 16:00:00
End 2014-01-18 17:00:00
Room Salon H

Other Systems Cover

And best of all: I get a reading!

Elizabeth Guizzetti Reading from Other Systems!
I will be reading Chapter 7, 8, & 9 from my debut hard science fiction novel Other Systems. Trailers will be shown and swag will be handed out! (And though it is not in the program: I might be even reading from The Light Side of the Moon!)
Start 2014-01-18 18:00:00
End 2014-01-18 19:00:00
Room Spokane

I hope to see you there!

Write what you know? Nah, be a master thief!

Every author has heard the words “Write what you know.”Writewhatyouknow Honestly I think that’s terrible advice. While having personal information and experience can give the writing an interesting flavor,  if I wrote only what “I know” all my books would be about dogs, baking cookies, and hiking. That would make for some pretty boring books. So forget that!

Okay I admit writing about demon dogs is cool. After all look at Out for Souls & Cookies…

So my advice is twofold.
First, write what excites you enough to research the information that you need. It is going to be plenty an average person doesn’t know. My research list for The Light Side of the Moon included:

  • Lunar surface
  • Where a Lunar Colony might be located upon the moon
  • Recycling methods
  • American and European cities which Ellie stops along her way to the space elevator
  • Commercial Trucking including driving laws and restrictions
  • Smoking pot
  • British Slang
  • French Slang
  • Dissecting a pig’s heart
  • Medical School
  • First grade education
  • And many many other topics…

Second, steal from your friends!

Don’t worry, I’m not talking plagiarism. I am talking about listening and observing people so you can write interesting and realistic characters. Some people interview to help create characters. I tend to take attributes from people I see on the bus or in a coffee shop and especially from my author friends. Mainly because they tend to be smart and articulate.

My friends are not the characters–the characters are themselves. This is simply a way to help develop the character.

IMG_1455

I ordered Zachary Bonelli to hold me. He did my bidding. I ordered him to rub my belly. He did my bidding. I ordered Andrea McQuate to give me a bite of pretzel. She did my bidding. However, this mythical “Evan Witt”  does not exist for he has neither rubbed my belly or given me food. Perhaps I will allow his existence some day. All hail the Mighty Rosie Beast!

Zachary Bonelli the author of Voyage Embarkation is an idealist just like my character Ian Whitlatch, so I mimicked some of Zach’s mannerisms, especially when Ian gets passionate about the injustice women suffer in the prison. The clenching fist, the softer voice when he gets serious. I have seen Zach’s kindness first hand–in fact he cradled Rosie in his hands to make her more comfortable on a car ride for at least an hour–so I can assume he would be kind to children such as Ian in this scene:

(Andre is 5. There has been a riot on the station. He and the other kids have taken shelter in the infirmary.)

…“Tristan and Ellie saved us,” Andre whimpered. Then he slipped away from Lisette and climbed onto Ian’s lap. Ian reached out for a tissue off the counter and wiped away the boy’s snotty tears and told him to blow his nose.  Andre did so. Ian clenched the tissue in his fist and leaned back in his chair wrapping his arms around him trying to make him comfortable… 

My friend Andrea McQuate is a neuroscientist. When I wrote Ian’s opening scenes, she was the one who told me to make Ian be more in love with his science experiment. Also her stories of gradschool and time in the lab speaks of passion for one’s work. So from Andrea, I stole Ian’s love of science.

what truly excited Ian was observing deep within the four chambers of the heart. While he had to outpace the rotting flesh, he lingered over the spiraling perfection of muscle. With his left hand, he trailed the coronary artery as he drew it with his right. His fingers felt for the thickness of the ventricles. He located the curved part of the aorta behind the pulmonary arteries to the lungs. 

Put the two together and I have a character like Ian Whitlatch.

I even do it for villains. In The Martlet, one of my favorite characters is Kian, but for a long time he was missing something until a few weeks ago when I met author Evan Witt who came to my reading. Afterwards we went out to dinner with artist & author AoKA (another extremely interesting person I’d love to base a character off of someday. )

Evan has wonderful hand gestures and plays with his pen when he speaks or when he is listening. Kian needed more details to show his nature and that seemed appropriate.  Now one thing they have in common is  when Evan smiles, his eyes crinkle. That was actually what drew me into watching him more intently.  That’s when I began noticing his pen acrobatics.

He doesn’t look like Kian– obviously he’s not a Fairsinge with tri-pointed ears nor does he have strawberry blonde hair or blue eyes. I certainly hope he doesn’t have “scars that run deep” or thinks he will find the secret to immortality by turning people into revenants, but that’s hardly the point.

My friends are not the characters–the characters are themselves. Ian has attributes outside both Zach and Andrea.  I began writing Kian a year ago and met Evan only a month ago. This is simply a way to help develop the character more deeply. While all the authors I mentioned in this blog know because I told them I was writing the blog post, most people won’t notice because I am picking and choosing specific gestures or intrinsic qualities that I do not possess.

So go be a master thief!

Novel News Network

Bringing you news on my favorite novels.

The Eclectic World of Christina

Author Christina Thompson

Elan Mudrow

Smidgens

James Harrington's Blog of Geek and Writing

All Things Writing and Geek, in one neat little blog!

Ajoobacats Blog

Non-profit prolific reader, reviewer and blogger of books and occasionally life

World of Horror

A cozy cottage for writers and book lovers

abooknation

Book reviews, recommendations and more

Corey D. Truax

Author | Editor | Father of Thor | Veteran | Military Spouse

Horror Novel Reviews

Honesty in the Terror

Heartstring Eulogies

Conjured by Sarah Doughty

Wanderess Bibliophile

“Real life was something happening in her peripheral vision.”

Three Unwise Men

A con in a podcast

poetryshack

This site is totally poetry...

MyLifeMyBooksMyEscape

A little about me, a lot about books, and a dash of something else

Planetary Defense Command

Defending the planet from bad science fiction

A Narcissist Writes Letters, To Himself

A Hopefully Formerly Depressed Human Vows To Practice Self-Approval

chandleur

Bagatelle