Posts Tagged ‘violence’


As I’m sure I’ve already mentioned, character writing is my favorite part of the fiction process. Nothing else–except maybe the finished product–is as satisfying to me personally as the moment a character begins to tell his or her story. Sometimes, they reveal themselves in slow sections, teasing you with their secrets and the private details of their personas. Sometimes, they come fully-formed in an in-your-face moment of undeniable clarity.

My intrigue with the process of character development is what keeps me writing, and it is what has prompted me to elaborate on it here, and dig a little deeper into some of the characters I’ve created, with the purpose of learning more about the mystery of it in general, and maybe even learning a little more about my own process. And, one of the most frequently asked questions any writer receives is about the development of characters, so I thought it might also be fun for the folks who have read my work to see the inner workings of my imaginary friends 🙂

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The first character that comes to mind, for some reason, is Brytt Tanner, Sterling Bronson’s dim-witted side-kick in Beautiful Monster, so I’ll start with him.

Brytt came into existence pretty early on in the plotting of Monster,  and if I remember correctly, it all started–as it often does–with his name. My co-author, Mimi A. Williams, met a man named Brytt in the workplace. The moment she mentioned the guy’s name, I knew I had to use it.

The first thing I knew about Brytt was that he was a stripper. I’m not sure why that was–again, probably the name. It just sounds kind of strippery, I guess.

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Next came his physical appearance. I figured a bulky, muscle-bound blond guy would be an interesting antithesis to Sterling’s dark, brooding good looks. I don’t like to create characters who look too much alike, and second, I’m a sucker for contrast. After ascertaining the basics of Brytt’s appearance, the next thing I did was start browsing the internet for his doppelgänger. This isn’t something I always do, but at times, I’ve found it helpful. So, I found a photograph of a guy that fit the mold, and referred to said picture when I needed to expound on details. I considered posting that picture here, but have ultimately decided against it. I think it’s best to let readers fill in their own blanks and use their own imaginations.

Not all of Brytt was pre-planned. He–like all good characters–came with a little of his own agenda, and one of the first things that surprised me was his dim-wittedness. I don’t know that I would have deliberately created him to be such a lunkhead, but as is so often the case, this is how he kind of “revealed” himself as I wrote him.

And it worked… which is also very often the case when you trust your characters to do their own things.

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It was also a surprise to me that Brytt was almost–but not quite–as morally corrupt, sexually deviant, and as dangerous as Sterling. In the beginning, Brytt was created, I think, simply as a means to give Sterling–who lives by himself–more opportunity for dialogue. But as the story progressed and began to demand artistic unity, Brytt began to play a significant role in the novel.

Brytt’s last name was tricky. A strange thing happened as we got further into the story. We started noticing a pattern… an absolute overuse–and abuse, really–of the letter C. We had Claire, Connie, Carlson, Cassidy, Carson, Carlisle, and probably several other names that began with the letter. I wish I could tell you why C became such a prominent player, but I can’t–I don’t know. Wierd things happen sometimes. So, after we made the discovery of the letter Cs undeniable overuse, Brytt’s last name–Carson–was changed to Tanner. Tanner, because at the time, I worked for a company with the word “Tanner” in the title. I’d been at the company for thirteen years, and figured it deserved some kind of recognition for paying my bills all that time. Unfortunately, Brytt probably isn’t really the most complimentary thing to be associated with, but for what’s it’s worth, I like him. He amused the hell out of me… and hey, it’s the thought that counts…

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I can’t remember if Brytt’s addiction to cocaine was a surprise or part of the plan, but this was the most fun, and most challenging thing about him. His constant “pit stops” kind of became his calling card, his personal catch-phrase in a sense, and it was interesting to describe the physical symptoms, like his glassy eyes and powder-congealed nostrils–and it was a total blast describing the actual snorting of the cocaine. I know… I’m kinda twisted that way, but it was fun. The snorting of coke is not glamorous. I wanted that to be very clear when Brytt did his thing, and it turned out being more hilarious than anything.

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Brytt is, believe it or not, one of my favorites. He was fun because he didn’t allow Sterling to take himself so seriously. Well, maybe Sterling took himself seriously, but Brytt made it impossible for me to take him–and the rest of the story–as seriously. Brytt is one of the reasons Beautiful Monster was so much fun for me. He moved the story along like a good character, he played by the rules by not demanding more stage time than his part required, and he forced me to learn more about the darker, sleazier side of life. I absolutely love him, and I have no doubt he will reincarnate, in some form or another, in my future writes.

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Beautiful Monster is available in paperback and ebook format at www.damnationbooks.com, and everywhere books are sold.

If you like my blog, also stop by and give me a like at my Facebook fan page: https://www.facebook.com/thejerodscott?ref=tn_tnmn

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Well… the holidays are over and that means back to work. Now that the world is slowly returning to its usual rhythm, I’m eager to get back to the book I’ve been working on, so when Tamara Thorne (http://tamarathorne.wordpress.com/) asked me to follow her on The Next Big Thing Blog Hop, I was happy to do it. I’ve been invited to do the Blog Hop before, but up until the past week or two, things have just been too crazy, making it impossible. So, my apologies to the folks I had to decline.

 

Q: What is the working title of your book?

A: The White Room. Or maybe Cadence. I’m hoping something will hit me, as it sometimes does, during the process of writing or revising the book, but as it is now, I usually refer to as “TWR”–The White Room–and will probably keep it unless the actual white room in this book ends up not playing a part substantial enough to title the novel after.

Q: Where did the idea come from for the book?

A: It evolved slowly, but it began in a night club in Salt Lake City. We were downstairs playing pool in a multi-storey dance club when my friend said, “Let’s go upstairs to The White Room.” Right away, The White Room sounded like a fantastic place, and before I saw it, I knew that it was going to be a title of something. When we got to the room, there were white sofas and white gauzy material hanging from the ceiling. It really was a white room, although I never was sure if that was its actual name or if my friend had referred to it that way for simplification purposes. The rest of the story came in fits and starts, slowly evolving and turning into a cohesive storyline over the course of about six or seven months, I think. Somewhere along the way, I decided this was going to be a vampire story. I later interspersed the concepts of addiction, slavery, and domination into the storyline.

Q:What genre does your book fall under?

A: Horror. Maybe thriller (with an erotic edge if I have anything to say about it.)

Q: Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

A: This is always a tough question. I don’t give much thought to this when I’m writing, and I figure the casting directors would be better at finding the right people for the roles than I am. However, if I were to go by basic physical appearance, general mannerisms, etc., I could see Ashton Kutcher, or maybe a darker-haired Ryan Reynolds–or maybe even James Franco–playing Brooks, the suffering older brother.  When I think of Cade–the protagonist and Brooks’ younger brother–I think of a Daniel Radcliffe type—handsome in an offbeat way, but ultimately a kind of geeky charm. As for Piper, I see her as a kind of Katy Perry-looking type, although I don’t think Ms. Perry does much acting. Piper is the only character that I see absolutely clearly, down to the cast of her nose, the slant of her eyes, and the shape of her lips. Katy Perry is the only person that comes to mind for her. Finally, Gretchen, the bad ‘guy’, would be played by a platinum-haired Kate Hudson, Tara Reid, or maybe Heather Graham. Someone who looks good in black and dark purple, and isn’t afraid of spiders…mwa ha ha ha (evil laugh)!

Q: What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

A: Hmmm… “Prepare to come unfanged!” …?

Q: Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

A: I lean toward the traditional publishing divisions of the industry.

Q: How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

A: The first draft was written about two years ago and took about five months. I’ve since decided the story needs to be told from a different perspective and have basically started over, so really, I am writing the first draft now.

Q: Who or What inspired you to write this book?

A: The inspiration originally came from a life-long love of vampires. As a kid, I dressed as a vampire almost every Halloween. I think we’re seduced by the power and beauty that vampires have come to represent, and of course, the prospect of eternal life; and that’s what really inspired this book: I reached a certain age and realized that I would not, if given the choice, want to live forever. It made me wonder if, after having given it some honest thought, a person would really choose to walk the earth eternally.

Q: What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

A: The White Room will carry on in the same tradition of Beautiful Monster in that it will have a healthy dose of sex and violence, but The White Room begs deeper questions. I think readers are ready for a protagonist who sees a less seductive side of eternal life. I also think readers will be interested in some of the vampire myths and legends that are incorporated into this story. There are several hybrid concepts threading this story together, and if it’s as fun to read it as it is to write it, I’m confident it will inspire some interest.

Next Wednesday, January 16th, follow the blog hop and read about the wonderful work of Monique Rockliffe (www.moniquerockliffe.wordpress.com), Jennifer Latas (http://jenniferlatas.wordpress.com/), and Kim Williams-Justesen (http://kwjwrites.wordpress.com/)

Find me at:

Twitter: JaredSAnderson3

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6517308.Jared_S_Anderson

Beautiful Monster fan page: http://www.facebook.com/beautifuldamnation?ref=hl

Beautiful Monster is available in eBook and Paperback at Damnation Books: http://www.damnationbooks.com/book.php?isbn=9781615727742

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/beautiful-monster-mimi-a-williams/1112783047?ean=9781615727759

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Beautiful-Monster-Mimi-A-Williams/dp/1615727752/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1354247199&sr=8-5&keywords=Beautiful+Monster

and everywhere books are sold.


    

     I like to kill people and as of this moment, I have killed eleven of them. Not real ones of course, but fictional ones. I don’t know that I would enjoy murdering a real person. I don’t think I would be very good at it for one thing, and for another, it just seems too messy… but give me paper, a pen and a storyline, and it’s all I can do to let anyone get off of the page alive.

     I don’t know what it says about my psyche, that I so enjoy murdering make-believe people. Believe it or not, I don’t have any unusual fixations with death or violence, but it would be interesting to see what a psychologist might say about it. My best personal guess is that it derives from a childhood spent watching horror movies and reading gory books. Then again, I have to wonder what drew me to that kind of story in the first place~ so it becomes a kind of what came first, The chicken or the egg? ordeal. I don’t know the answer to that, and for the most part, I’ve given up trying to figure it out, but sometimes, something makes you stop and wonder why you are the way you are.

     I was at a writing event with my friend Joe a few weeks ago, and as we introduced ourselves, we were asked, “So, what do you write?” Joe’s answer was quick and confident, but when I was asked the same question, I hesitated. “Ummm… horror, I guess,” was my answer. This awarded me some chuckles and some confused looks. “I don’t ever set out to write horror,” I said, explaining myself, “but that’s just the direction it always seems to go.” They nodded their heads in understanding and I realized I was among others who understood the strange phenomenon of fiction writing; that I was home so to speak, and it made me wonder how much of what we write is a conscious decision and how much of it just is what it is.

Although I knew that the project I am currently working on with Kim Williams-Justesen was going to be horror from the beginning, I still didn’t expect it to be quite so gruesome. And as for the one I wrote before it, I had no intention of it going so dark. It will be interesting to see what shape my next project takes on as I don’t see any way it could possibly fall under the horror genre. Still, I somehow get the feeling that a little bit of that will creep into the story, with or without my consent. The question then is, do I allow nature to run its course, or do I steer the story in a milder direction? Is horror just a part of my writing voice that I need to accept, or is it  something I need to learn to control? And is that even possible? Again, I don’t know the answer to those questions, but I will soon find out.

     In the meantime, I’m having a hell of a good time shedding fictitious blood by the bucketfuls and will be sad when my current project, where murder and violence are expected, is finished.  To me, there is true art in (fictional) murder, and everything from the shower scene in Psycho to the contemporary and far more complex murders in the Saw movies, make it clear to me that I am not the only one who feels this way.

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And P.S. ~ The beast has been unleashed.

Beautiful Monster is now available in eBook and paperback editions at Damnation Books: http://www.damnationbooks.com/book.php?isbn=9781615727742
Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/Beautiful-Monster-ebook/dp/B00948Q0DK/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1347132178&sr=8-2&keywords=Beautiful+Monster+Jared
and Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/beautiful-monster-mimi-a-williams/1112783047?ean=9781615727759