Wednesday, April 28, 2010
What's Your Sign, Baby?
The May-June columns are up early over at ERWA including my offering, "Getting to Know You: Character Profiles, Star-Gazing Shortcuts and Quick Culinary Getaways." Besides a delicious recipe for Japanese-style Vegetable Soup, which will take you on a quick trip to the Land of the Rising Sun, I share my special approach to creating characters. It's really pretty easy. I just invite them over for a glass or two of wine, spell out my story and their general role in it, then sit back and let them tell me what how they plan to deal with the situation. After a nice juicy conversation, we have sex of course--usually one-on-one, but sometimes we do the group thing. Well, it is going to be an erotic novel after all.
This time around, I decided to try a little shortcut by using astrological love guides to flesh out my characters and their erotic styles. Way back in college, my roommates and I often consulted our battered copy of How to Seduce Any Man in the Zodiac whenever a new beau came on the scene. I'm not sure it helped all that much, but it was good for some laughs and a tenuous sense of control. ("Never be late for a date with an Aries and be subtle in your flattery"--got it!). Not that I believe in astrology, but I'm finding the research, such as leafing through old Viva magazines for sex tips, to be quite enjoyable. I also want to thank Neve Black for her advice and expertise in this area. Neve knows her Zodiac!
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You always cook up the nicest things. The soup recipe looks excellent (I'm a huge fan of daikon, by the way.)
I can relate to much of your thoughts on outlining and character sketches. I'm not slavish to what I develop in the preparation stages, but with these materials established, I have a good sense of who, what, why, when and where, and can prune some of the less essential ingredients.
Thanks for a wonderful article!
Verification word: adorim
Do you adorim?
Excellent! It makes the lessons so especially meaningful when we see how you're applying them—and even formulating them—with a real live in-progress work. It's exciting, too!
Thanks for reading, Craig and Jeremy. And yes, these are in-process thoughts and "lessons," for what that's worth!
I know that I will diverge from the plan as I write, but it just helps to know my story and know these people a little better before I start. The eventual plan is to just keep writing novels until I die, so why not figure out a general approach that works, lol?
Oh, and I do adore 'em for sure ;-).
Yay, Donna! Oh, wow, that meal looks good. Shanna once told me to lock my characters up together and watch what happens. Tie them up? I have a hard time with conflict, so it's a good way to make them fight :-) I'm very excited for you.
Excellent article, as usual, my friend. :-)
I think building your characters personality traits based on their astrological signs is great place to start. I love this. I'm so glad you and I spoke about it too. You'll have to keep me posted as your novel develops. Oh, and I do think you know as much about astrology as I do now. :-)
Thanks for the mention, Donna. I appreciate that.
Thank YOU, Neve, and my pleasure to give credit where credit is due. It's interesting, all the love sign books in my local library are "missing," except for one about gay love signs. So I checked that out and it's quite fascinating to have that different take on relationships, lol. Always something to learn--and I doubt I'd ever surpass you in star savvy ;-).
I feel quite like I'd love some of that soup right now....
Delightful article, Donna. I'm quite looking forward to getting to know your characters myself! :)
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