We’re so pleased to have author Lance Withton here today to celebrate the release of his new novel, Torin, from NineStar Press. He’s talking about creating characters, and there’s also a giveaway, so be sure to check out the Rafflecopter widget below for details.
I’ve never created a character based on a real person or based on a character created by someone else, but I do give characters personality traits and quirks that I’ve seen in other people, other characters, or myself.
I don’t think I’ve ever sat down with the intent to create a character. The character is usually born from a setting or a scenario, given a character archetype, and then expanded on. The archetypes are a general appearance (think “tall, dark, and handsome” or “stereotypical, skinny nerd”) and one or two key traits (think “takes everything much too seriously” or “is obsessed with organization”). The longer I have a character—the more I write them or the more I figure out their backstory—the more unique they become from other characters of mine, not only in personality, but in appearance. Most of my characters look completely unlike the physical archetype they started out as and their personalities sometimes evolve away from the initial traits I gave them.
The characters in “Torin” started out as archetypes just as most of my other characters do. Torin himself is from a mousy archetype. He’s quiet and non-assertive—doesn’t have a lot of self-confidence and gets nervous easily. Davies was made from a self-confident archetype to contrast that. He’s got good self-esteem and understands his strengths. Russell’s archetype is kindhearted and easygoing. He tries his best to keep other people happy and doesn’t like to take things too seriously unless necessary. Those three are among my most commonly used archetypes.
Naming characters is a differently thing entirely; names always come last to me. I’ve had characters who’ve existed for six years and are still unnamed—one character has been “the artist” since the day I made him. The character themselves is much more important than the name, though a name is needed if a character is going to play any notable role in a story. Sometimes I can come up with a name off the top of my head and feel that it fits, but the likelihood of it being a name that’s been carried by a real person is slim. Torin’s name was originally “Trin.” To be staightforward, the way I came to “Torin” was that I put “Trin” into a name dictionary because I couldn’t come up with something better; “Torin” was the result most similar. Both Davies’ and Russell’s names were pulled out of thin air.
I also keep a list of names that I like so I can go over it when I have a character who needs naming. The list is alphabetized and has its contents sorted by gender, if any, to make them easy to manage. In fantasy or science fiction stories, I typically don’t care to use an existing name, and will make something up that looks vaguely like it could be a word and seems pronounceable. If a fantasy or science fiction character exists in a culture based off an existing one, sometimes I’ll pull words from that culture’s language and figure something out based off of them. I often wonder how that reads to people who speak the language I’m drawing from. I apologize in advance to many, many people.
About the Book
Author: Lance Withton
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: September 18, 2017
Heat Level: 5 – Erotica
Genre/Categories: Contemporary, LGBT, prostitution, sex work, degradation, kink, dirty talk
Buy Links: NineStar Press || Amazon || Smashwords || Barnes & Noble || Kobo
Blurb: Torin’s anxiety has made it difficult for him to navigate romantic relationships, so instead of trying, he keeps himself occupied with his work. But just because he doesn’t chase relationships doesn’t mean he doesn’t want something, even if he has to get it with a dash of taboo.
At Pillar, the only all-male brothel in the city, Torin makes an appointment with a charming sex worker who goes by the name “Davies.” It becomes hard for Torin to keep his emotions out of the intimacy, and his feelings become more complicated when a designer he works with starts to let on that his interest is more than platonic.
About the Author
Lance resides in the desert of Southern California, sees a minimum of 50 Joshua trees daily, and is surprised every time it rains. He fiddles with stories almost daily and has dozens, if not hundreds, of unfinished ideas lying around in his writing folder. When not trying to write something that keeps him interested, he spends his time whiling the day away with video games and related media.
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