I’ve been reading Elizabeth Sim’s new book You’ve Got a Book In You, and just read the chapter on character names. By the by, if you’ve written a book, thought about it, started one, or simply aspired to see your name on a cover, this is a terrific, common-sense, and freeing book to guide you.
Anyway, I just finished a new romance as a sort of, palate cleanser between books 2 and 3 of the Damaged Series. It’s a gentle, journey with two adult women finding and learning each other. And what I’d like to share is some of the early research.
The inspiration for the story is based on a real life incident, then I made-stuff-up. My stories are usually character based so, although I had a beginning I needed to know my characters. Names are critical to me because they define so much of my characters. Once I had Silke Dyson and Kirin Foster, I made up birthdays and then researched their horoscopes–individual and as a couple. Strengths and weaknesses were as important as their likes and dislikes.
Once I had basic tendencies, I created their histories. Here’s what it looked like initially:
2/28 A plane flight through a Class 2 hurricane. A burned out cranky writer and a legally blind sculptor both craving solitude and a restorative vacation. A beach in Belize.
Kirin Foster- freelance writer
1969 B graduated hs 1987, graduated UW Milwaukee1992, Masters in journalism from the University of Wisconsin 1995. Waitressed for 18 months in Madison. Milwaukee ad agency 1997-2005 ,
42 years old, freelance travel writer, 5 foot four, dark brown curly hair, Tattoo right hip. Met GF—Melissa– in a bar, went home together, Melissa moved in. Broke up with her afterof 3yrs –better friends than lovers. Still friends.
>>Birth date: 6/21/1969 astrological sign: Sun cancer, Ascendant virgo, Moon virgo
Internally, you are somewhat timid, reserved, and mistrustful. In fact, at times you may become overly cautious. However, you are naturally receptive and instinctive. Your individuality is fanciful and imaginative. You are very influenced by physical surroundings. Externally you are not much different, except that others view you as a person who is exacting about detail. You criticize a great deal, and it is almost an art for you. However, there is no malicious motivation; rather, you want to show your abilities as an analyzer of mankind. You are quite easy-going, but perhaps somewhat irresolute. You are basically humanistic and do not like violence.
Psychologically you are rather serious in connection with sexual affairs. You approach sex with caution, rationality and planning. Excess reason and thought in this direction may create some frustration in sexual matters.
Your liabilities include an exaggerated pride, arrogance and a tendency to rely too much on your own resources.
faults: type A control freak, caffeine addict, perfectionist
strengths: Thorough, loyal, dependable, passionate, fierce, decisive
Born and raised in Oconomowoc Wisconsin.
and the other protagonist…
Silke Dyson –Sculptor
Born 1964 , graduated hs 1982, graduated Marquette 1987, Master’s from the University of Wisconsin 1989.Art History. Taught art UW 1990-2000. Private studio classes 2002-2011.
Married fellow teacher for 2 yrs in 1990-divorced. Met gf in 2006 at UW seminar. Rachel is sales manager for local software training center. Travels frequently and cheats, is verbally abusive.
>>Birth date: 1/26/1964 astrological sign:Sun Aquarius. Ascendant -, Moon -Cancer
Impulsive, critical, despising mean or dubious acts, you will create many excellent friendships but also important enemies. Your life is rich in passion and ardent love. In sexual matters you are quick, aggressive, and to the point. You also are a lover of pleasures, which you feel with a bright, open, and sparkling character.
You are generous, kind, sympathetic, benevolent, and the delight of anyone seeking a contribution in a fund-raising campaign, since you are a soft touch. You are too open with private or classified information. Try to be more conservative and serious.
Venus in the Twelfth House
Venus was in the twelfth house at the time of birth.
The conjunction of Sun and Venus in the composite chart is one of the strongest indications of a love relationship between two people, even in a friendship. It does not primarily indicate a sexual relationship; instead it signifies love, pure and simple. The attraction indicated by this aspect is so powerful that it can bring together people who are incompatible by ordinary criteria.
Only those very close to you have a hint of the little known facets of your personality. Regardless of the way you speak and express yourself, when you are alone, relaxed, and free of worry, you can have a sociable and congenial temperament that runs alongside a generous, kind, and attractive character.
This astrological combination may lead you into clandestine love affairs. Unless you use a great amount of tact and diplomacy, these secret affairs may create social complications that force premature termination.
It denotes a relationship between two people who really enjoy being together and who make each other feel good. You will share a great love of pleasure and doing things together.
faults: stoic, timid, disorganized, slow to react
strengths: gentle, creative, spiritual, sensual, beautiful, generous
Born and raised in Elm Grove, Wisconsin.
This is not always the way I create characters, but it worked especially well with these two. After I got to know them, their family and friends evolved very quickly.
Here’s the best part, Tree House Studio captured the mood for “Balefire” in this exquisite cover.
ps the book is still being proofed for editing. No Release Date yet. But, I think you’re going to love these women as much as I do.
10 thoughts on “A teaser for the next book–just for you”
Congrats. I am about to plot out WIP – so this is helpful. Looking forward to reading another by Barrett.
Fascinating method to grow characters.
Wow, I like both of your characters! Thanks for the mention of my book. Best wishes on your new one. Let us know when it’s out. So to speak.
Thanks for dropping in. When Balefire is ready, trust me, Everyone will know. But I’ll tell you first 😉
First, love the cover. Second, grinning because i get to know my characters through tarot spreads so amazingly accurate that i end up including the reading in the novel. I’m so tickled I’m not the only whacko out there:-)
Of course, we’re kindred whackos! It really is an interesting tool. Thanks for your comment. See you soon.
Looks like a good read. Can’t wait to read it.
I’m quite fond of this tale. Appreciate your support.
Very interesting. Enjoyed it!
Thanks, McQ. Just popped into my head. Wished that happened more often.