At Michigan State, back in the 80s, it was a special time in pop culture history. With my fellow misfit posse at my side, we witnessed the Royal Wedding of Lady Di and that funny-looking dude with the ears. Witnessed the timeless love of Luke and Laura on General Hospital. We wondered one of the greatest mysteries of…
Authors struggle with switching from creative souls to logical business people. This time around, I’m hoping to lay a foundation that will help put my book in demand. I used to think the ultimate sign of achievement would be getting a book on the New York Times Bestsellers List. Now I understand that making The List doesn’t necessarily…
Start reading like an author. Every week we review a book that provides a master class in crafting one or more elements of fiction.
SHADOW PREY (A Lucas Davenport Novel), by John Sandford
There is a reason Sandford’s Prey series has lasted for decades and now boasts 25 books—the man isn’t just a storyteller, he’s a craftsman. I read his work, and I’m like, dude! You know, the reverent use of dude, which means dude, you’re just that awesome! I want to call him up and chit-chat about life. But the true measure of how good Sandford is at character building comes from the fact that I want to hang out with Lucas Davenport. I mean, really just kick it with him. He feels real (and I bet he smells delicious). In Shadow Prey, the second book in the series, Davenport, a Minneapolis-based detective with hawkish features and a weakness for women, pursues answers in a growing number of ritualistic killings. For any new author hoping to pursue a future in writing series fiction—especially in the mystery or thriller genres—reading a few John Sandford novels is a must.
How to create characters who come from real life rather than central casting?
Here are three quick tips on a few lessons learned from Shadow Prey.
- Create conflict through character. Conflict isn’t just about coming up with a bad guy then having a hero chase him down. Conflict starts within a character; in his interior. Lucas Davenport feels real because like many of us, he is more than just one thing. He’s a dogged detective who pursues criminals with the mind of a predator. He’s a take-no-prisoners personality. Yet, he also loves poetry and has built a financial empire as a software developer.
- Looks matter. When building your character, make his or her appearance important to the mood and story you’re telling. Davenport’s appearance creates further conflict. He’s tall, dark and appealing to women. Yet, despite having piercing blue eyes, his smile is often frightening and his skin, though naturally dark for a white guy, bears the shadows of scars. So he’s both sexy and scary.
- The friends and family plan. Again, the tug of conflict extends into his relationships. Davenport is a tough guy. However, his best friend, Elle Kruger, is a nun. The dynamics of Davenport’s friendship with Elle provide further insight into him as a man and delivers readers the kind of depth not often seen in commercial fiction.
Art is my salvation. To escape from my worries and pain I simply open my sketchpad and draw my feelings away. No matter what they are, my sketchpad is there to listen. It does not judge nor discourage me, but accepts me as the individual I am. It allows me to realize my talents, uniqueness, and potential. When I return to a page in my sketchpad, my emotions are brought to the surface and I come a step closer to reaching self-actualization.
A sketchpad may be your journal, that you may confide in and express yourself to. Sketches and entries are highly personal and can be kept hidden from the world around you. A sketchbook is meant to be made yours and not for anyone to judge. Art is therapeutic and has the capability to relieve stress, boost confidence, be expressive and so much more. The entries made in…
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Originally posted on Kelsey L. Munger:
Flickr CC Rachel Samanyi Honestly, I’m not sure we were supposed to be up there in the first place. Or even out of bed for that matter because the school, in order aid in the celibacy of the students, had a strict curfew. But there was something about quietly sneaking through a dark castle with…
Originally posted on The Belle Jar:
Dear Friends Who Take Selfies, I want you to know that I love it when you post pictures of yourself. I know selfies get a lot of bad press, but I think they’re rad. They give me a little window into your life, and you’d be amazed at how much I can get out of…
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