10 Questions for Creating Great Characters by Brian and Juliet Freyermuth – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Brian and Juliet will be awarding a $25 Amazon giftcard to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

10 Questions for Creating Great Characters

Your reader should have a new friend or enemy by the time they finish reading your story. Whether we’re writing a novel or short story, we want our readers to team up with our main character and plot the destruction of anyone who hurts them. Here are questions we ask ourselves as we create a new character.

1. What is their role in the story?
It doesn’t matter if they are the main character, the villain or the guy who gets the coffee, all your characters need to have a role in your story. The guy who gets coffee might wind up being a spy for the villain, have more of a role in the next book or simply make your characters stronger. Felix was a very minor vampire character in Demon Dance, the first book of the Sundancer series. He gave Nick a bag of blood and let Nick see a body in the morgue. In Mind of the Beast though, Nick needs to find out who killed Felix’s friend. Not only do we get to see more of Felix’s motivations, but we get to know his history and what makes him tick.

2. What are their strengths?
Everyone, even the coffee guy, should have strengths. It might not show up in the book, but it’ll help you when you write your character. You should know as much about your character’s strengths as possible. Thelma is a former police officer. She knows how to use a gun really well and has an eye for detail that made her a good detective. This knowledge helped us when we wrote Mind of the Beast. It made her a stronger character and she was able to help Nick when they went to the murder victim’s house to look for clues.

3. What are their weaknesses?
Characters need to have emotional, physical and ethical weaknesses. Otherwise your characters will be as interesting as a piece of white toast, unbuttered. Character weaknesses will help you define the parameters of your story. In Nick’s case, he has super speed, strength, heals quickly and heightened senses, but he gets a really awful fever. He needs to eat red meat to even move after the adrenaline wears off.

4. Where do they come from?
Are they aliens from outer space or from Iowa? If it’s a real place, make sure to do enough research to fully define your character. Sure Iowa has corn, but what type of festivals do they have? What are their landmarks? Have any celebrities or notable figures lived there? How would a local describe it?

5. What do they look like?
Taking in all of what you’ve learned so far, close your eyes and picture them. If you’re having trouble picturing them, ask yourself who would play the role if it was made into a movie. Then take that actor and change their face slightly, their hair, etc, until you have a clear picture of them. You could even combine two actors. What would a cross between Patrick Stewart and Harrison Ford look like?

6. What type of entertainment to they like? (Books, T.V., movies, Roleplaying, hiking, camping, fishing, hunting, torturing, juggling, jazz hands, etc.)
Your evil character could like reading classics after a long day of torturing people in his dungeon. In Mind of the Beast, Felix is a vampire who likes to have his blood laced with drugs. He was a flower child living on a commune when he was turned and held on to that part of himself. He also likes to play role-playing games. In our world, vampires need a connection with humanity to keep their humanity. Playing these games is what keeps him sane.

7. What is that one thing they can’t say no to?
We all have that exception to the rule. In Nick’s case, he wants to be isolated and write his novels but can’t say no to a friend who needs his help. Thelma is disciplined but will do something rash to protect children or someone she cares about.

8. What is their purpose, what drives them to do what they do?
Let’s look at the coffee guy again. Why does he get coffee? Thelma is a barista who owns her own coffee shop and likes the pace of it. This is so far from being a police officer that she isn’t haunted by her past mistakes.

9. What are their biggest accomplishments and/or defeats?
Accomplishments and defeats can be the driving factor behind a character’s actions. Fay, a Norse Goddess turned librarian can’t help but be very cryptic when she is helping. This goes back to her days of being a goddess of foreknowledge and wisdom.

10. What is their name?
After you answer all these questions, this is when I recommend naming or renaming your character. Would Ingrid be a better name than Luna in Harry Potter? What about Margaret or Jacqueline? Once you know your character it’s much easier to name them.
We hope this gives you an easier time creating one of the best parts of planning a story. One word of caution: Once you create these characters, you might have to redo your story if they don’t want to do what you want them to do. If that happens, listen to them. It can cause an awful case of writer’s block if you don’t. But, if you listen to them, not only will you have more fun writing your story, but it will be better too.

MEDIA KIT MindofthebeastFinalWhen a vampire asks Nick St. James to investigate his friend’s murder, the answer should have been easy, right? NO. Okay, not so easy. How do you say no to a friend like Felix?

Besides, with Thelma by his side, what could go wrong? She’s got that, umm … cute pink backpack of Voodoo magic. Of course it hurts that she manages to look good even when she accidentally conjures and gets possessed by a drunk loa. No, it won’t be at all distracting to have her along.

Since no good deed goes unpunished, a crazy man with starry eyes jumps out of the shadows at the victim’s apartment and pummels them. Their attacker doesn’t just beat them up but also infects them with some bad mojo that’s killing Thelma and making Nick angry … angrier.

If the trail to the suspect—the Green Man—is any indication, they’ll be killed before the poison finishes the job. The old gods are more dangerous than helpful. The Watchers—even the one who seems to have a brain—are always a hazard. And what’s with the all the minions? Who has minions anymore? Not to mention the rapid progression of the infection that quickly upgrades Nick’s condition to ‘blind-rage-filled.’

Why couldn’t Felix have just asked Nick to help him move?

Enjoy an excerpt:

She shot him again, but he continued toward her. Two bloodstains formed on his ratty shirt. He swung at her, but she quickly shifted to the left.

It was my turn. I punched him from the side and sent him flying into the desk across the room. Sounds of the monitor shattering and wood splintering filled the air as I rushed toward him.

Another sound of gunfire rang out but didn’t stop him from getting to his feet. He barreled toward me like a freight train. The gunshots slowed him considerably, but it didn’t stop him. Pain radiated through my chest as his fist made contact, sending me into the wall between the two rooms. A crack traveled up the wall to the ceiling, and plaster rained down around us.

More shots sounded as I got back to my feet. Two more holes opened in the man’s shirt. He was almost to Thelma when I grabbed him from behind. I used all my enhanced strength to lift him and toss him toward the kitchen. His body flew through the open door, smashing the wood of the frame in the process.

On the counter was the third gnome, his hands covering his speak-no-evil lips. I grabbed it and swung for the man’s head. It contacted with a sick thunk, and blood splashed across the gnome’s face. The bastard wouldn’t go down! I snarled and swung again, but this time he grabbed my wrist in midair and twisted it before tossing me to the ground.

About the Authors: MEDIA KIT Author Pict ColorAfter 18 years of marriage, Brian and Juliet Freyermuth decided to try something crazy; write a book together.

Brian’s writing is not limited to print. For twenty years he wrote and designed games such as Fallout, Star Trek: Starfleet Academy, Epic Mickey 2 and Lichdom: Battlemage.

Juliet’s love for writing began with a fourth grade assignment. She has been writing ever since. Her writing took a new direction when she enrolled in journalism and met amazing people. Whether it is an article about anthropology or a hero’s journey in a magical world, she hopes to inspire readers to new possibilities.

When Brian and Juliet aren’t writing, they enjoy reading, watching shows like Persons of Interest and going on road trips with their son, Kyle.

Website: www.magicalunderworld.com


Brian: @brianfreyermuth

Juliet: @julietfrey


Brian: https://www.facebook.com/bfreyermuthofficial

Juliet: https://www.facebook.com/authorjulietfreyermuth

Buy Link:

Demon Dance (Sundancer, Book 1): Amazon

Mind of the Beast (Sundancer, Book 2): Amazon

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  1. Thanks for hosting!

  2. Enjoyed reding the 10 Questions and answers! 🙂

  3. Well color me intrigued and thanks for having the giveaway.

  4. I enjoyed reading the 10 Questions.

  5. lori faires says:

    I really enjoyed the interview. It’ was very educational. I enjoy soaking up knowledge from a talented author. The excerpt was great I really want to read more. Mind of the Beast is on my TBR list. Blessings & Thanks to All.

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