Characters Just Pop Into My Head

Every author’s process is different. Let me share how I developed one character from my Nocturne Falls Universe falcon-shifter series. I started with a semi-structured idea of the story and where it will go. But the writing process took off when like a film director,  I visualized the first scene.

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 here? What sets this place apart from others? I decided the house belongs to Echo Stargazer (a made up name). Since Nocturne Falls is an extraordinary town, it needs an extraordinary person. I did an Internet casting call and decided who else could play Echo but…

Iris Apfel

How did little gravely-voiced Echo come to live in a house like this? Magical people are drawn to Nocturne Falls. That’s when the fun begins and I can make up ‘stuff’!

Echo’s ancestry dates back to Colonial America. Her great-great-greats were persecuted for their psychic gifts, escaped and migrated to the Carolinas. There gifts passed through the generations. Echo is a clairsentient who blocks the noise when she has to by wearing a special bracelet. 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 of this house to a gift and tchotchke shop she called the Carpe Diem. Town tourists love what 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 sees the images on them.

This photo is of Iris Apfel’s apartment in NYC. It inspired Echo’s dining room-card reading area.  In the story, Echo’s house was crammed with her preciously-pink chintzy décor. Just like Iris’s place.

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

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

Once I have the location and characters, I create a story bible with facts, fables and details. It also has timelines, peripheral characters, places and events. The bible is ongoing, especially in a series. Echo has a role in each of my Nocturne Falls stories. It’s easy to forget details. If I do mess up, my dear readers will let me know!

When that’s all done, I’m on to the plot, character arcs, and the juicy stuff! That’s best left for another discussion. Hope it gave you a small insight into

Visit my Pinterest site for more of what inspired me.


Image attributions:

Director’s Chair
Victorian Home
Iris Apfel
Dining Room Table
Pink Kitchen