Monday, June 2, 2014

Out of Nothing At All

Today on Indie Writers Monthly you can read my answers to Tony Laplume's Liebster Award questions.  In case you missed it I also did an interview in the May issue of the magazine, on sale on Amazon now!

I know some people go to elaborate lengths to create characters, researching a whole backstory and such for them.  Or people go to one of those character generators that comes up with all your character's personality without the author having to do anything, which seems the laziest way possible for a writer to do things.  Sometimes though you can create a character out of nothing at all.

Such was the case last month when I was working on a Girl Power-related story, G.A.I.A.: Rogue State.  The scenario is that there's a disputed region in Africa and so Major Diane Giordano (GAIA's only field agent because their organization is more like Archer's ISIS than Nick Fury's SHIELD) is sent to get the situation on the ground.

In the outline she finds a village that's been completely destroyed and not even any remains of anyone who lived there.  Then I got thinking that there should be someone who survives the attack to help give Diane some clues.  Plus then it makes the journey more fun when you have two characters to play off each other instead of one internalizing.

So then I decided this person should be a native.  Except I don't really know what a central African name would be.  I could have gone looking on the Internet, but I decided to be lazy and give her an Anglo last name--Pierce.  Which then led to me deciding she had been born in the African village but she went to England at a young age and became a doctor who married another doctor--making her Dr. Pierce, like MASH, one of those stupid in-jokes I do.

To make her a good foil for Diane, who used to be a male assassin called Hitter and is a total bad-ass, I decided that Dr. Pierce spent most of her married life working as a GP in some little English countryside town, where she's hardly ever seen any excitement.  After her husband dies and Earth is devastated by an alien invasion, Dr. Pierce decides to go back to her native land to lend a hand in the relief effort.  But then she's coming back from delivering a baby in a nearby village when her native village comes under attack.  She manages to stay hidden until Diane appears.  And I think eventually now she's going to become a Galactic Peacekeeper, which is the Girl Power universe's version of the Green Lantern Corps.  Which could really open up a whole new spin-off series.
There's what she looks like as a child, a young woman, and an old woman.

And all that came from nothing!  No plotting, no researching, no character generators.  It was one of those things that snowballed from one little thought to another.  Most of her history was created because I was too lazy to go research central African surnames.  There you go, peeps, that's how it's done in the big leagues.  Or beer leagues.

The title of this entry gave me a hankering for this Air Supply song:


  1. I'm off to read your interview. As usual, I love your Sims portraits.

  2. It's amazing what comes out of our imaginations. Supports the theory that writers are pathological liars and crazy...just a little crazy.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Nice. Now that song is going to be in my head all night.

    Dinosaur Comics has been doing a series on how to write. It's not as actually helpful as yours, but it is funny. You should check it out.

    What I like about your character is two things: One, how the character all fits together and you came up with that backstory and all before you even started writing, and two, the way you casually dropped this in:

    "After her husband dies and Earth is devastated by an alien invasion, Dr. Pierce decides to go back to her native land to lend a hand in the relief effort."

    "... and Earth is devastated by an alien invasion" waits until the FIFTH paragraph or so of this description. Now THAT is casual.



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...