Music: The Muse Behind the Madness

It’s true!

Hello dear readers. I’ve been plugging away on the computer, pounding out the words to the Twisted sequel. If you’ve been keeping up with my previous posts, then you know that this hasn’t been an easy journey for me.

When I began the story, I had a certain trajectory in mind. I thought that there needed to be a “certain progression” to maintain story logic. However, I really wasn’t feeling the plot as it, well, progressed. It was almost like torture trying to get the story out. Therefore, I backtracked and decided to look at it from another angle. Once I made that commitment, the words began to overflow.

So far, I’m loving this “new” story in this “new” world! I feel that with the current rendition, I’m able to take my characters to places I previously couldn’t in the first version. I’m very excited by that. 🙂

With that being said, I am digressing (sort of) from today’s topic, which is… Music!

Music served as my muse for the current rendition of the sequel (currently untitled). I don’t like to listen to it while I write, yet I do prefer hearing music as I brainstorm. So today, I’ve come up with a list of 10 songs that have helped frame some of the current storyline. They are listed below by genre:

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Dancehall: This genre helped me to write the very first scene of the story, but it will probably go somewhere in the middle once I coalesce all the scenes (I don’t write in a linear fashion. I’ve tried it and it doesn’t work for me). I don’t know how familiar you, dear reader, are with this genre or the culture from which it derives. But if you ever get the chance to YouTube some of these songs below, you may be amazed at how the dancers move their bodies to the music.

Gimme Gimme by Beenie Man -> This was my jam when I used to run on the track and it brings back a ton of memories! If you ever need a good song to run to, this up-tempo beat is the one.

You’re No Good by Major Lazer -> has no official video, but I love beat.

We Be Burnin’ (Legalize It) by Sean Paul

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Rap/R&B: Basically, every song listed under this genre is associated with AJ is some shape, form, or fashion.

Fancy by The Dream -> Don’t want to comment on this one too much because I’ll give away a major clue of what’s going on in the story. However, I will say that it plays in my head when I write scenes with two particular characters.

So Fresh, So Clean by Outkast (hometown group!) -> Oddly, this song plays in my head whenever I’m describing something AJ is wearing or when he’s in his car.

When I See You by Fantasia

All I Really Want by Rick Ross

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Rock: or maybe alternative? Not sure of the differences between genres. Anyway, this genre fueled a lot of scenes between two particular characters. If you’re familiar with Possum Kingdom, then you’ll probably deduce that these scenes take a walk on the dark side. You would be correct.

Creep by Radiohead

Jeremy by Pearl Jam

Come As You Are by Nirvana -> one of my favorite songs in general

*Bonus Possum Kingdom by Toadies -> creepy song that also makes me think about vampires.

There you have it. I have no idea why these particular songs inspired the ideas or themes in the sequel but they have. Surprisingly, the number 1 song played in my iTunes did nothing for me (which is Kings of Leon’s Back Down South, I love Caleb’s slightly raspy voice and the instrumentation throughout the song. Plus I’m from the south).

Does music inspire your creativity? Or, if it doesn’t, what’re some of your favorite songs? Leave your comments below with the song title and the reasons why you like them.

Why?

For the love of all that’s good, why?

Y’all get a twofer today.

I don’t feel like writing. I don’t know why. I’m not having writer’s block; I can think of plenty of things I want my characters to do or say. I pretty much know what direction I want my story to go. Yet, for some reason, I really can’t seem to put words down on the paper (or tap letters on the keyboard). Therefore, I started typing this to see if I can flush out what’s holding me back from stringing together some words that will develop into subsequent paragraphs, pages, and chapters:

Pressure/Fear. Do I feel pressure that my sequel needs to match, if not surpass the quality of Twisted? Am I fearful that the few precious readers who bought and enjoyed my story will be disappointed in the follow up? Hmm. Those sentiments probably hinder the progression of my manuscript. A part of me thinks, that shouldn’t prevent you from writing. Just tell the story you want to tell. As long as you enjoy it, others will too. Ok. I think that’s true, however, if I want to do this for a living, having readers is obviously critical. So, of course I want my story to be good, regardless to how subjective “good” is. From this perspective, being a writer is analogous to an athlete not being able to preform under pressure. When the pressure is on, some athletes cave, yet others soldier through, effectively separating the good from the great. Damn. How does Serena Williams do it day in and day out?

Distractions/Procrastination. Why am I avoiding finishing the first draft of my sequel? Perhaps it’s because I’m finding convenient distractions everywhere I look. “Oh look, someone on G+ commented or posted something that sounds interesting. Better check it out.” Or, “someone chatted me up on Twitter, better respond instead of working on this story.” If it’s not social media diverting my attention, it’s something else. Time to work out. Should I venture outside, or stay indoors? It’s a good time to wash my hair. Did Djokovic really get pushed to a fourth set? He’s been damn near outstanding all year. Anything but focusing on what I need to focus on.

I frequently chatted with someone on Twitter. One day, he disappeared. Poof. Not a peep from him. When he finally reappeared, I asked him where he’d been. He replied that he took a break from social media to really hammer out his writing projects. Maybe I should take a page from his book and unplug until I get this first draft finished.

Not in the mood/zero motivation. Perhaps I’m in an extended period of just not wanting to write? It wouldn’t be the first time. I abandoned Twisted for a period of time before picking it back up (I think it was about a year). I don’t think this is uncommon for writers. We go through writing moods, or rather phases. Sometimes I can go on a tear and succinctly write what I’m thinking. Words and scenes pour out of me effortlessly. Other times (like now), I’m like a tennis player whose serve has abandoned her in the last game of the final set. I can’t get anything done and nothing hits the paper. Maybe I’m just in one of those slumps where I’m not feeling the story at the moment, AT ALL. If this is the case, I’m really hoping my mojo returns quickly.

Anyway, I’m sure my inability to barely craft a f*cking sentence stems from a combination of all three of these theories. Anybody have any suggestions on how to overcome pressure, reject distractions, and/or get motivated? Let me know here, or find me on social media.

Writing Style

Lol! Reminded me of one of my characters in Twisted.

How do you write? It’s a question that any writer will eventually be asked. Yet, is there a correct answer to that? I don’t think there is. In fact, it really depends on the person and their preferences.

Some people are very detailed oriented and like to outline a story from start to finish, making sure to flush out every minute detail. Others are more free spirited and prefer to free flow in order to see what happens. I’m more so in the latter category. I like to curl up on the couch (or sometimes I’ll sit at the kitchen table) and see where my imagination takes me. If it’s a particularly good “what if” scenario with a dynamic character, I’ll pursue it relentlessly down the rabbit hole and worry about the cohesiveness of the plot later. Subsequently, I’ll put said character in a sticky situation to see how s/he meanders free from the chaos (kind of mean but it makes for a juicy story). However, while in the process of writing the sequel to Twisted, I’ve come to realize that a little organization is helpful and necessary.

Worry about that later!

Ha!

So far, this currently untitled story is told from first person point of view through two alternating characters. The way this story is panning out, their plots are interconnected (unbeknownst to one of them). Trying to make sure I stay true to each character’s voice/personality and storylines requires a bit more organization than free styling. Furthermore, I have to adhere to what is already out there in the first book. I can’t change past scenes or events just to suit what I would like to do in this story. Therefore, it’s easier for me to outline the events from each character’s POV and treat each’s events as two separate stories (for the most part) until the end. It can be a pain, but it really helps me organize my thoughts and the flow of the story.

Whelp, that’s how I like to write. Now, I’ll pose the question for you; to all of you writers out there, what’s your preferred writing style? Do you like to organize everything or are you more of a “let’s see what happens” type of writer? As always I’d love to hear from you. Leave your comments below or find me on social media!

10 Random (Yet Comical) Writer Memes

Writers memes

You’ve heard the joke before. Writers are big time procrastinators. In fact, they procrastinate so badly that you wonder how they even get any writing accomplished. (On an anecdotal note, I tend to get my best writing done in spurts. For example, I won’t write anything for two or three days and then I’ll go on a random ten-hour bender.) I was ecstatic when I saw these recurring jokes online. After all, I thought that I was the only person who stared blankly at a screen for ten minutes or so before deciding to check Twitter or G+. However, this seems to be a common thread that I share with fellow writers. So, on a morning chocked full of procrastination, I decided to make another lighthearted post. Sit back and postpone your musings for a minute or so. Here are ten comical memes pertaining to writers:

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Hmm…

10. Accurate. Sometimes it seems like my characters are telling me the story and I’m just the scribe. Other times, I’m trying to dig deep into my creative reservoir to see what I can come up with. When the latter happens, it’s time to hop on Twitter or G+.

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Try insulting a writer at your own risk

9. Need I say more? Don’t mess with a writer and her keyboard (and sometimes pen and paper).

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Beware of plot holes and crazy story logic

8. Anyone who examines a plot and sees gaping holes (be it movies or novels) will tell you why the aforementioned meme is spot on. Or, if the story just doesn’t make any sense, this meme is also appropriate.

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Procrastination at its finest.

7. Ha! Story of my life while in the middle of any writing project. I even remember going through these same categories while procrastinating for school work.Well, maybe not the comparison piece.

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Are you ready to go yet?

6. What can I say? I’m a little introverted. However, listening to others socialize can yield great ideas for future storylines or characters.

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Ha! Where’s my tribe?

5. Anybody who’s read this post will and this post understand why I selected this meme. The struggle is real!

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Well, is it?

4. Ha! More of an inside joke for myself. I wear my satin bonnet whenever I’m parked in the house for the day.

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Happens to me all the time.

3. I actually find these conversations beneficial. I really get to know my characters and it helps me keep them authentic throughout the course of the story. I particularly enjoy interviewing them. Or, I could just have multiple personalities. Am I crazy or nah?

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Another thing that happens to me more times than not

2. When I have those ideas on the tip of my brain right before I fall asleep, I jot down notes in my cell before tossing it on the nightstand and rolling over. Sometimes, I’ll even dream about those ideas. When I wake up, I’ll get the cell and jot down the details I remember.

1.  I love this meme, which is why it’s number 1! I think it’s an accurate description of different people’s perception of who writers are and what we do. What are your favorite memes? As always, leave a comment below or find me on social media! If you liked this post, please don’t be afraid to share the love! 🙂

Yep!

Yep!

The Allure Of The Bad Boy

T.I.

T.I. said it best: The funny guy and the bad guy will never be single. 

While in the process of writing the sequel to Twisted, one self-proclaimed bad boy demanded to get my attention. So far, he’s been domineering, as opposed to my main man, AJ. This guy is spilling his guts, revealing his torrid history one word at a time. He’s explained how he turned into the person he has due to life events and how he desperately wants to change, but can’t seem to find a way to do so. Over the course of the story so far, he’s participated in some pretty nasty things. However, he’s hoping that an encounter with a certain good girl can help reform his bad boy ways. This scenario got me thinking; what is it about bad boys that is appealing?

Charlie Hunnam aka Jax Teller

Charlie Hunnam aka Jax Teller from Sons of Anarchy

It’s a storyline that is replayed ad nauseam in popular culture. Girl meets aloof, unobtainable bad boy. Over the course of the plot, girl falls for said bad guy and bad guy falls for said girl. At the end, bad guy and girl live happily ever after. Why? Why is that such a common and popular storyline? Perhaps rapper T.I. said it best; the funny guy and the bad guy will always have a girl. The funny guy is understandable. After all, who doesn’t like someone that makes them laugh? But why is the tough guy appealing?

T.I

T.I

There’s loads of info out there speculating about why girls like bad boys. Try a Google search and you’ll see tons of articles populate your screen. I stumbled upon this article in Psychology Today that attempts to explain this attraction. (By the way, the psychological breakdown is not only intriguing, but also paints a rather unflattering picture of bad boys at their psychological root. I suggest checking this small study out.) Without getting too bogged down in the scientific minutiae of the article, the researchers essentially concluded that there are two possible reasons women find bad boys attractive, both dealing with sexual reproduction:

1.) Women are responding to “male quality” meaning that they are selecting bad boys who demonstrate confidence, stubbornness, and “risk-taking” tendencies.

2.) Women like the way these bad boys “sell themselves” as opposed to their male counterparts.

Jax Teller

Jax Teller

 

Does this mean that the bad boy attraction boils down to the most basic, primal need of reproduction? Or, is it something more complex to it? I know one bad boy who is begging to differ with this study and its conclusions. He’s screaming at me from the pages of my manuscript now…

As always I’d love to hear from you. Comment here or find me on social media!

Editors Are Your Friends

Yikes

Yikes!

Alas! I’ve written the last word and my story is complete! My friends and family are singing my praises. All I need now is to hit the publish button on Amazon. I don’t need an editor. He or she will only end up trashing it. My baby is perfect as is!

Ha! I had a lot to learn! Arguably, writers view editors as the bane of their creative existence. They dissect your thoughts, converting them into mere shells of themselves. Your prose is utterly fucked by the time they’re done marking it to hell and back. Right? Nope. Wrong! Editors are your friends. Don’t believe me?  I’m sure the lady above who made that mistake regrets not having someone edit her work, or at least this sentence! No matter how strong your writing skills are you still need to have someone professionally edit your work. Trust me, I’ve learned that the hard way.

Fortunately for me, I didn’t get totally slammed for the initial rendition of Twisted by Amazon reviewers. But, I’m sure I would not have received that 2 star rating had I consulted with an editor prior to releasing Twisted the first time around. Aside from editors correcting spelling, syntax, and other miscellaneous grammatical mishaps, here are 3 more reasons why you should invest in an editor before releasing your baby to the world:

Editors help you to streamline your manuscript. Your protagonist has just found a skeleton key to the creepy mysterious door in the basement of her house. Throughout the story, she’s been hearing strange noises coming from behind the door. However, she can’t open it because it’s locked and the key is missing. She’s searched all story long to find a key that unlocks it. Finally, she finds it! She slowly creeps to the door. Her heart rate is elevated. Her palms are sweaty. She’s quivering as she places the key into the hole. Right as she turns the key to unlock it, she then says, “Oh forget this, I’m going for a swim.” Wow! Does that make sense in the overall scheme of the story? She’s at the moment of confronting whatever is making that noise behind the door. Why in the hell would she go swimming? Maybe in your mind it flows since you are the creator of it (I was guilty of this). But, an editor can point out this plot mistake and help you see the error of your ways.

Editors help improve your writing skills. Would your character really be so subdued if he found out his wife became pregnant by his best friend? Doubtful. He would probably be a little more pissed off and heads would be rolling. An editor can highlight places within your narrative that seem unrealistic, thus strengthening the story.

Another error I committed in the initial draft was revealing  information via exposition (aka info dump) rather through action. Let’s use the previous scenario as an illustration of what I mean:

Bob was pissed at his wife, Lisa,  for getting knocked up by his best friend, Don. For a while now, Bob suspected something was going on between his wife and his friend, but he never would have guessed Lisa would tell him she was expecting Don’s child. That was why Bob pressed the shotgun into Don’s chest and pulled the trigger.

Pause. So we know that Lisa is Bob’s wife, and that Lisa has been sleeping with Don, Bob’s best friend. She is carrying Don’s child. Apparently, that was reason enough for Bob to blow a big ol’ hole in Don’s chest. Ok. That’s interesting. Now, imagine how much more interesting that scene would have been if acted out on the pages. Let’s take another look:

Bob leveled the barrel of the shotgun at Don’s chest. Don’s arms sprang in the air. “Don’t do this Bob! I know I fucked up and I’m sorry man! For the love of God! Please, put the gun down!”

Lisa, hearing the commotion outside, ran to the front door. Seeing her husband aiming the gun square at her lover’s chest, she swung the door open and raced down the stairs of the porch. “Stop Bob!” She shouted as she positioned herself between her husband and her lover. “You’re not thinking straight. I know you’re upset but we can talk about this calmly,” she said in what she hoped was a reassuring voice. She carefully eyed his expression as she spoke, praying that the she was making some headway.

Bob was having none of that. He eyed his wife’s stomach. Just thinking about that bastard growing inside her made him burn with rage. He shoved his wife aside. “I’ll deal with you later,” he muttered.

Lisa fell to the ground. Instinctually, she clutched her belly. 

Bob cocked the gun. With one final press of his index finger, he watched his former best friend fly through the air before making his final landing…

See. It’s a little more interesting seeing it rather than hearing about it. That probably needs some editing but you catch my drift.

Editors constructively critique your story, not criticize it or you. One of my biggest fears in finding an editor was that he or she was going to tell me my story sucks, I am a horrible writer, and I should just throw in the towel before I even get started. I think most newbie authors feel that way. Editors know this. A good one will never discourage you, but rather show you ways to hone your craft. If you find one that does discourage you, fire them ASAP.

For all those teetering on the fence about whether or not to hire an editor, I hope the aforementioned reasons are compelling enough to persuade you to do so. If you are looking for one, I highly suggest giving my editor, Lindsey Alexander, a try. She proved to be an invaluable mentor and asset for me during the rewriting process of Twisted. (Boy did I learn the importance of story logic and character motivations!) Being able to converse with her and bounce ideas back and forth was extremely helpful in flushing out plot holes and addressing other plot related intricacies.

What has your experience been like working with an editor? Pleasant? Awful? Pleasantly awful? Share your comments here or find me on social media!

 

 

Character Problems

Twitter: A Place of Intrigue

Twitter: A Place of Intrigue

The Twitter world is fascinating. I wrote that random, perfunctory comment and for some reason many people either retweeted or set it as a favorite of theirs. I found that intriguing. Out of all the other tweets I’ve posted regarding Twisted, that for some reason tended to stand from the pack. That got me thinking; why did an offhanded remark about my story resonate with people?

The answer is simple; people like a good story. Ok, so what makes a story good? Drama of course! If the protagonist never goes through adversity or isn’t flawed in some way, then the story is dull. Who wants to read something about someone who never goes through something challenging, or, has some sort of major character flaw that always comes back to bite him in the ass (AJ)? Additionally, a character that never struggles is not reflective of real life. We’re all going through or have gone through something. What makes a story about a tortured character rewarding is seeing the character struggle while subsequently watching him find a way to overcome adversity as the story progresses.

So, for all of you writers out there, go ahead and take you characters through every imaginable form of hell you can (within reason and logic of your story of course!). I bet your story will be more compelling and enjoyable in the end.

I’m interested in hearing your thoughts. What makes a story interesting for you? Leave your comments here or find me on social media.

Character Development 2

I was asked by a reader to post another character “interview.” I decided to share Colton Hunter’s. Check out his Q&A below:

I picture Colton Hunter as a modern day Don Draper type, but with blond and gray streaked hair.

I picture Colton Hunter as a modern day Don Draper type, but with blond and gray streaked hair.

Colton Hunter Q&A:

The man entered the room carrying a small Styrofoam cup of liquid. His wore a navy blue tailored suit with a crisp white shirt. His dark brown shoes were immaculately buffed. Steam drifted from the cup as the man glanced at the interviewer. “This is this is the right place.” He says as he gently closed the door behind him. He smiled brightly at the interviewer. “Should I have a seat across from you at this table?” The interviewer smiled and nodded toward the chair. The man crossed the room and placed his cup on the table before pulling back the chair. He smoothly lowered himself in the chair and crossed his right leg over his left. He lifted the cup to his lips and sipped his drink. “Ah, nothing beats a good, strong cup of coffee.” He placed the cup back on the table before crossing his hands in front of the cup. His nails were just as neat and buff as his shoes. A glimmer of something shiny briefly flashed on his left wrist under his sleeve. Not a single strand of hair on his head was out of place. The man smiled at the interviewer. “Well friend, shall we begin?”

 Interviewer: Who are you?

Colton Hunter: [The man smiled] My name is Colton Hunter. I am the owner and founder of Hunter Industries. [He chuckled] I am sure you knew that once I walked through that door.

 Interviewer: What do you want more than anything Mr. Hunter?

 CH: Hmm… I think I have most of everything that I want. I’ve been very fortunate in my line of work.

Interviewer: Most of everything? Could you please explain?

CH: [He smiled before he took another sip of his coffee] Yes friend. Most. I’d love another boat, but that would just be greedy. [He winked at the interviewer before returning the cup to the table]

Interviewer: Come on Mr. Hunter. There must be something you want that’s more momentous than a boat. Even someone who seemingly has it all must still want more.

CH: Yes, one would think. However, like I stated, I’ve been very, very fortunate in my life. I’ve achieved my success with good old-fashioned hard work, [he paused] and admittedly with a bit of influence.

Interviewer: Influence?

CH: Yes. Influence. Once you’ve achieved my pinnacle of success, there is a certain level of clout, or influence, that naturally comes with the territory.

Interviewer: Sounds like influence is important to you since you mentioned it. [A moment of silence pervaded the room before the interviewer continued] Is that important to you Mr. Hunter? Would you want more influence?

CH: [He leaned back in his chair, placing his hands on his right thigh] Is this Q and A session on or off the record?

Interviewer: Off

CH: [He stared at the interviewer as he carefully decided which words to use] Since we are being candid, I’ll admit that having and maintaining influence is tantamount to maintaining my level of success. A myriad of fortuitous opportunities tend to fall my way due to my level of influence.

Interviewer: Is that more so due to influence or would you say due to power? From what you’ve just said I think it’s fair to say the words could be used interchangeably.

CH: [He flashed a wide grin] You tell me my friend. It’s your observation.

Interviewer: I’ll defer to you. I’m not the one being interviewed.

CH: Hmm. No. I think I’ll let you draw your own conclusions. What’s your next question?

 Interviewer: Ok. Since I’m drawing my own conclusions, how far would you go to keep your power?

 CH: [He heartily laughed. The interviewer patiently waited until Hunter’s laughter subsided] In keeping with your extrapolation, if I hypothetically wanted to maintain power, I think I’d do anything to keep it.

Interviewer: Anything?

CH: Yes. Anything. [He flashed another grin] Wouldn’t you since I’d assume power is… addictive, for lack of a better word. [He held up his hands] But what do I know? [He placed his hands back in his lap]

 Interviewer: Well, Mr. Hunter, why is power so important?

 CH: [He slightly raised his eyebrows] If we look at this from a purely philosophical perspective, power is somewhat analogous to control, right? So, once you have established power and therefore control over something, or even someone in some instances, then you have complete domination. You are free to do what you will with no objection. I’m assuming that must be a rush!

Interviewer: Even if that entails hurting people?

CH: [He shrugged] We all can’t be winners. Life is dichotomous; on the topic of power, there are few who have it and many more who do not have it. People get roughed up from time to time in order to maintain or establish power.

 Interviewer: Oh, ok. Um, how do you feel about the people in your life?

 CH: Everyone serves a purpose.

Interviewer: That sounds harsh.

CH: [He slightly tilted his head to the side] No. Maybe it does on the surface but not if you think about it. You have people who serve as lovers, people who serve as friends, people who serve as role models, etcetera. I think most everyone can relate to those relationships. With that being said, it’s fair to say that all those relationships serve a purpose in a one’s life.

Interviewer: That’s a mechanical way of looking at things. How do you feel about those people who fill those spaces in your life?

CH: So far I’m content.

Interviewer: Care to elaborate?

CH: No. I’d like to maintain an air of mystique. People are too open now. There’s no fun without mystery?

Interviewer: You live a high profile life.

CH: Yes and yet I show what I want to show. [He winked]

 Interviewer: Final question; how do you feel about yourself?

 CH: [Another wide grin] I love me and I am proud of all that I’ve achieved in my life. [He stood and smoothed the few wrinkles out of his pants and jacket] Well my friend, this was rather enjoyable. We should do this again sometime. [He grabbed his cup of coffee from the table and quietly exited the room]

Character Development

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What makes an interesting story? Is it the plot? The characters? I think it’s a little bit of both. After all, could you truly have a dynamic story if the plot is banging, but the characters suck or vice versa? While in the process of writing Twisted, I stumbled upon a writing exercise that I found pretty helpful in flushing out who my characters are. This entailed getting to know their mannerisms, how they speak, and how they think. I documented all of these observations into an “interview.” Before I knew it, I discovered more about my characters than I thought I would. I’ve posted AJ’s “interview” below. If you’re interested in other character interviews they’re under the Twisted Greens tab. How do you dig deeper into your characters? As always, I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment or find me on social media:

Alistair Davis Jameson (AJ) Q&A:

The tall young man walked into the room wearing a pair of basketball shorts, an old shirt, and a pair of sneakers covered in bits of grass and mud. He slouched down in the metal chair across the table and sighed. He ran his fingers through his shaggy dark brown hair in an effort to clear his line of vision. His hazel eyes briefly glanced around the room before turning their attention to the interviewer. His expression was blank, fingers interlaced as his hands rested on the table. He shook his leg as he waited to see if the interviewer would speak first. The young man and the interviewer stared at each other as each second ticked by. Finally, the young man folded his arms in front of his chest. He took a deep breath. “I heard you have some questions for me,” he said. “I kind of need to speed this up. I have an errand to run.”

Interviewer: Who are you?

AJ: Is this a real question dude? [He huffed] You know who I am. You’re the one who called me in here.

Interviewer: For the record please.

AJ: [He rolled his eyes] Fine. My name is AJ, but I’m sure you’d like my entire legal name, right? It’s Alistair Davis Jameson Jr.

Interviewer: Thank you AJ. Now, What do you want more than anything?

AJ: Wow. [He smirked] That’s a loaded question. Are you looking for generic answers like world peace or do you want a real answer?

Interviewer: You tell me AJ.

AJ: [He paused for a moment while briefly glancing at the ceiling] It can only be one thing?

Interviewer: Yes.

AJ: [He scratched his chin] Well shit, if it’s just one thing, I’d have to say success earned by my own two hands.

Interviewer: Care to elaborate?

AJ: [He grinned] Come on! You know me! You know who I am and who my parents are. [He leaned across the table] I think you know what I mean. [He smiled as he shook his head while waiting for the interviewer to respond. He leaned back, one arm propped on the back of the chair] Seriously? [He asked after a moment of silence] Damn, this must be how Dr. Alice’s patients feel in a session with her. [He stopped smiling. He quickly shook his hair out of his eyes] I want to build my own successes without help from my parents. I don’t want their kind of success. There, are you happy?

Interviewer: What do you mean by “their kind of success?”

AJ: [He smirked] I’ll just say that the success they achieved didn’t make them happy or better people.

 Interviewer: How far would you go to be successful?

 AJ: [He smiled] Damn near anything, but I don’t want my parents’ assistance. I want to learn and figure shit out on my own and in my own way.

Interviewer: Why is success so important to you?

AJ: Dude, I don’t think anyone walks around wanting to be a failure. I’m no exception. I just don’t want my parents involved.

Interviewer: You keep saying you don’t want your parents’ help, yet your mother is a pretty successful psychiatrist and your father had a successful business.

AJ: Yeah, well, professional success isn’t everything and my father’s business didn’t turn out too well.

Interview: Ok. Your answer leads into the next question; how do you feel about the people in your life?

AJ: [He threw his hands in the air before running them through his hair] Jesus dude! Did Dr. Alice hire you to ask all this? I mean is she trying to covertly figure out what I’m thinking, where my head is? [He sat up straighter and took a deep breath before returning is hands to the table] Everyone is cool. Ok? I’ve got a great girlfriend. I’ve got a cool friend. My dad is trying to get back on his feet. My mother is successful, as you pointed out, and my sister is doing just peachy in law school. [He counted his fingers as he listed the people in his life] I think that covers all the important people.

Interviewer: That doesn’t answer the question. How do you feel about all those people you just named?

AJ: [Indistinct mumbling as he leaned forward in his chair. He stared icily into the interviewers eyes] What is the point of all these questions?

Interviewer: Answer the question please. The quicker you answer the quicker you can leave.

AJ: [He sighed as he leaned back into the chair. He shifted his weight and repositioned is hands into the pockets of his shorts] I love Savannah, my girlfriend, a lot. I’d do anything for her. I also love my parents. By far I’m closer to my dad than my mother. I feel that’s he’s a more genuine person than my mother could ever be. He’s very vulnerable; especially in light of this Owen Chandler shit. At the same time, I feel as though my dad can be a bit weak at times, even before shit hit the fan. He’s definitely dramatic, which I think clouds his judgment and ability to see things through. [He paused as he stared into the distance]  I don’t want to ever be weak like him. [He looked down at the table. A slow grin spread across his face] Now where my father lacks in personality, my mother more than makes up for it. I mean fuck! Talk about overbearing! [He laughed] My sister, Sage, is cool. We don’t talk as much since she moved away for law school. She’s my mother ‘s perfect child. Ethan, my friend is cool too. He kind of reminds me of my dad at times. I mean, with the theatrics and all. He can be pretty damn dramatic at times.

Interviewer: Do you not get along with your mother?

AJ: It’s complicated, you’d understand if you really knew her. I hope you ask her all this shit you’ve asked me. [He paused and shrugged] Lets just say she wanted me to play tennis and I wanted to do karate.

Interviewer: Care to elaborate?

AJ: [He rubbed the bridge of his nose with his left thumb and forefinger] Again, it’s complicated. [He sighed] I’m just not the son she could mold into the masculine version of herself. I don’t do everything she tells me to do, like Sage. I don’t want to be a lawyer, or any other bullshit professional for that matter. I don’t want to go into real estate with my father. I didn’t want to play tennis, golf, or lacrosse. I don’t dress the way she wants me to dress. I don’t date the girls she approves. The list goes on. [He rubbed his forehead before placing is hands flat against the table] I just want to be my own man and she can’t stand that.

Interviewer: One last question, how do you feel about yourself?

 AJ: [He sat back in the chair, folding his arms confidently across his chest. A sly grin spread across his face] I think I’m one smart, cool ass dude. I’ll get what I want on my own terms. [He paused] Are we done now? I really need to go.