Friday 9 October 2015

Guest Post: Katie Doyle

Katie Doyle is an avid reader, writer of YA, NA, and Adult fiction, a mom to two tornadoes that resemble a nine and six year old, and pet to a tuxedo cat named Oz and a German Shepherd/Boxer rescue named Charlie. If she's not reading, writing, or getting Oz out of a tree, she's screaming at characters on TV and trying not to curse around her kids.
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Seeing Characters

The other day, a friend and I were discussing the idea of seeing our characters as we write them. For the both of us, our characters are nothing but blurs with certain coloured hair and eyes, and features that we know they have, but we can’t see. This got me thinking about how others see their characters and any inspiration they use, so I asked around some of the writer groups I’m a part of on Facebook.

The answers were as varied as the people who responded. Some have characters spring up fully formed in their minds. Some have a general idea and go looking for pictures of one or two people that would complete the character. And others use people in their lives that have a similar personality to their characters. One even commissions an artist to draw the characters she comes up with.

Then there are the “Cast Your Characters” blog posts that pop up from time to time. I love those, personally. I find them interesting, though most of the time I discard the images provided for the ones in my head. It’s easier for me to see the characters from other books than it is to see my own. As a matter of fact, that’s how the conversation started. My friend started to describe his story, and I immediately cast Rainn Wilson as his main character. He admitted, he had no clue.

For Ash and the Prince, I thought of the Disney version of Cinderella. As a retelling of the story, I wanted to stick to something I knew and would be easily recognised by many. Of course, going with a cartoon as a basis for character inspiration doesn’t work well for the personality traits I had planned. So, I kept the basic physical characteristics (blond hair, blue eyes, slim build) and gave her a personality that wasn’t so sweet and saccharine. It’s a similar story for my upcoming sequel, Ash and Snow, a retelling of Snow White.

I’ve seen people talk about inspiration boards on Pinterest, which I do as well. My current work in progress has a hidden board with pins for various settings and magic (because MAGIC!), but I don’t add characters often. I find that many of the people who have the general look of a character I want to write fall short in some way. Does that make me a character perfectionist? Maybe. Probably. But it interested me to know how others see their characters

Ash and the Prince

Ashley "Ash" Prince hates using magic, but that doesn't stop her mother from forcing lessons on her. She resists except when it helps her stepbrother, Charlie.

Charlie is sick and none of the doctors know why. When Ash has a witch dream, she is determined to find the elusive and rare Ghost Orchid—a flower that could be the key to saving him. Her mother begs her not to go because not only did Ash's dream reveal a way to heal her brother, it also hinted at her death. But when her brother gets worse, she refuses to sit around and let him die. In a race against time, Ash and a boy she met in a coffee shop go in search of the Ghost Orchid.

Only someone doesn't want her to find it. Family secrets are revealed and Ash has to decide whom to trust—the mother that raised her, or the boy she barely knows.

Love and family collide in this Cinderella retelling.

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