The Adam & Eve Approach to Character Development
A while ago someone asked me about my process for developing my heroes and a heroines. Do I make a character sketch? Do I use real world influences?
Sometimes I get an idea for a character and then create a story around them. Sometimes I get an idea for a story and then create a character to fit the story.
With CAPTIVE (The Survival Race #1), the story idea came first. I was watching the rescue of mistreated horses on an episode of Animal Cops. It was heart-wrenching to see those beautiful animals neglected and starved so thin their rib cages showed. How would their owners have felt if they were penned up and abused like that? This got me thinking. What if humans were pets, and someone—aliens perhaps—bred us and gambled on us for sport like we do in horse racing, dog racing, and cockfights? What if they wanted to be entertained by watching alpha gladiators fight to the death? Hmm… I have no idea what happened in the rest of the episode, as I was busy cogitating an alien abduction story idea.
This new plot required a tortured alpha male stripped of his humanity. Enter Max, a broken, brooding gladiator forced to kill for entertainment. Fighting to the death over and over again has turned Max into a hardened beast. The only time he feels human is when at stud. Next, I had to figure out what kind of heroine could “reawaken” his humanity and show him he is a good man worthy of love. I created Addy, a strong-willed, rebellious heroine whose fighting spirit inspires Max. Abducted and forced to be Max’s mate, Addy refuses to breed warriors for the Survival Race. Her goal is to escape captivity and find her way home.
The hero of FEARLESS (Survival Race #2) [RELEASES TODAY – WOOT!] was introduced in Captive. His character was already partially formed, therefore, I needed to create a story around him. Since Kedric is an escaped gladiator, I figured he’d want revenge on the alien rulers who bred him for blood sport and genetic experiments. As I brainstormed this story idea, I also brainstormed the kind of heroine this gladiator warlord would need.
She had to be strong, but in a subtle way. If Kedric desired war, she’d need to desire peace. Warlord Kedric needed a heroine who could tame his lust for revenge and bring peace into his heart. Who better to do that but a spiritual healer? Kedric’s heroine was created especially for him and new to the series. This couple was exciting to write about. The warlord and the spiritual healer have opposing goals, but we all know what happens to opposites, right? Sexual tension! The heat level is a bit steamier in Fearless than it was in Captive, as Myia can’t jump into Kedric’s soul to heal his pain unless they touch. Oh boy, I had fun watching sweet, innocent Myia trying to seduce an alpha gladiator warlord.
While plotting RENEGADE (Survival Race #3), I realized once again that I have a hero—introduced in Fearless—and a partial plot but no heroine. I actually went through three different heroines trying to figure out who would work best! The first two weren’t getting the job done. They were already established characters, but were not right for what the hero needed or what the plot needed…or, quite frankly, what I needed. Those heroines weren’t getting me excited to write the story. After much cogitating, I came up with the hero’s perfect match. This kick-butt alpha heroine is exactly what the nerdy scientist hero needed, and boy was she fun and exciting to write about!
So what have I learned about my character development process? Apparently, I take the Adam and Eve approach. I create the man first and then from the man create the perfect woman for him. 🙂
No matter how my characters are born, I always develop them further with a character sketch. I can’t write them if I don’t know their goals and motivations, their wounds and fears, the lie they tell themselves, their flawed coping mechanisms, and what they truly need and desire in order to live their truth and find true happiness. Most of this is from Michael Hague’s lectures and will be a separate post for another time. I’ve also enhanced my characters with bits and pieces from real world influences. Shh…don’t tell my family or friends. 😉
Readers – have you ever read about characters that were perfect for each other? Have you ever read about characters that weren’t and wondered why the author forced them together?
Writers – What’s your character development process? Do you do a character sketch? Do you use real world influences?
I love hearing from you! Please leave a comment or two! But before you do, let me remind you it’s…
RELEASE DAY FOR FEARLESS!
Escaped gladiator Kedric wants revenge on the alien rulers who bred him for blood sport and genetic experiments. Nothing will prevent him from leading an attack on his enemy, not even the irritating–yet arousing–spiritual healer hell bent on stopping him.
Myia holds the power to heal Kedric’s lust for war…if she can control her emotions long enough to soul jump him. But how can the shaman-in-training find inner peace when the stubborn warlord refuses her touch and ignites her temper?
When Myia embraces Kedric’s darkest secrets, their destinies unite in a fight to save their loved ones. But victory will demand they surrender more than their hearts.
**This enemies-to-lovers, fated mates, sci-fi romance is a stand alone story in the Survival Race series with a new hero and heroine in each book who find their happily ever after.**
Available at Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo
Enjoy the adventure and romance!