Characters Just Pop Into My Head

Survey says…

A.      That’s true.

B.      That’s not true.

And they are both right answers!

Every author has a different process so let me tell you how I developed one character for my Nocturne Falls Universe falcon-shifter series. Remember, Nocturne Falls is a magical place so suspend your disbelief as you follow along here.

I have a vague and semi-structured idea of the story and where it will go. But my writing process really starts when I “see” the opening scene much like a director visualizes the first camera shot for a movie.

In the first book in the series, THE FALCON FINDS HIS MATE, scene one takes place on the wrap-around porch of a two-story Pepto-Bismol pink Victorian house. Way before I wrote the first sentences, I had a firm idea of what the place looked like based on a collection of pictures I added to a Pinterest album. For me, it’s critical to over collect photos of places, people, and things even if only a few details make it into the book. By the way, the house is an important character, too.

If you’ve read my Nocturne Falls falcon stories, does this look familiar?

It’s the Carpe Diem

Once I had the house, I started asking questions. Who lives here? Why do they live here? What’s different about this place that sets it apart?

The house belongs to Echo Stargazer—a name I totally made up. I couldn’t have her be ordinary in an extraordinary town, so once again I scoured the Internet in a casting call for characters.

Who else could play Echo but Iris Apfel?

How did little gravely-voice Echo come to live in a house like this? Remember, magical people are drawn to Nocturne Falls. Bear with me. Now the fun begins.

Making up stuff!

Echo’s ancestry dates back over two hundred years to Colonial America. Her great-great-greats were persecuted for their psychic gifts, escaped and migrated to the Carolinas. Their gifts passed down through the generations. Echo’s clairsentient which she blocks with a special bracelet.

With it on, no psychic ability. With it off, she reads minds.

Widowed years ago, Echo came to Nocturne Falls to raise her son and daughter. To earn a living, she converted the first floor to a gift and tchotchke shop that she called the Carpe Diem. Nocturne Falls tourists love the stuff she sells in the front of the store. In the back and with complete privacy, locals can purchase supplies for spells, cleansings, charms, rituals, and the like.

Upstairs is the living quarters where Echo supplements her income by giving readings with her special cards. The cards aren’t Tarot or Oracle. They are black as onyx, and only the client can see the images on them.

This photo of Iris Apfel’s apartment in NYC was the inspiration for Echo’s dining room/card reading table. Remember how crowded Echo’s place was, right? 

And doesn’t this look like Echo’s kitchen?

Finally, there’s Crealde, Echo’s nineteen-pound bundle of contentment. Never! Either he’s hungry—make that hangry—or he’s not around. Curious, nosy, demanding, vociferous with a howl that can wake the dead. But loveable and cuddly, on his terms.

Once I have a location and characters, I create a story bible with every little fact, fable, and detail. Again, I make stuff up!

Timelines. People. Places. Events. The bible is ongoing, and especially in a series, vital. For example, Echo has a role in every book and short story in this series. It’s easy to forget details, and trust me, if I get one wrong my dear readers will let me know!

When all that is in place, on to the plot, character arcs, and all the juicy stuff! That’s another discussion in and of itself. I hope this gave you a small insight into my process. In future blog posts, I’ll explain how other characters came into being.

Please visit my Pinterest site

Image attributions:

Director’s Chair

Victorian Home

Iris Apfel

Dining Room Table

Pink Kitchen


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