Character Creation by Chad Hunter – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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Character creation is the foundation of any story. I have found that if you know your protagonist, antagonist or even supporting characters well, they will almost write the story for you. These are my essential steps for moving the people in my imagination to paper (or screen!)

1. Knowing the background that the audience knows (and doesn’t) – It is important that I know everything about the character that the audience does and does not. When you know their backstory, you know what drives them and what they fear. When you know a secret about the character, it can help influence their actions in a “show don’t tell” fashion. It is also very important that you never mention their secret or tell it in a story. It doesn’t have to be big but it has to be something untold. I find that this creates a unique bond between you and your creation.

2. Using my senses – What do they look like is an obvious start but what do they sound like? Do they speak loudly and with confidence or do they speak in a soft tone with hints of insecurity? Do they smell like they wear perfume or cologne? When you shake their hand or touch their skin, are they warm or cold? I find that using my senses to fully embrace a character’s traits greatly fleshes them out and makes it easy to give these descriptions to the reader. It also gives me insight into who they are and what they stand for. A character who speaks meekly may have trauma in their backstory. Someone who stomps with every step may be intimidating or overcompensating. A villain with a warm smile may believe he or she is in the right and still be a good person doing terrible things, etc.

3. Having coffee – Lastly, in my imagination, I have coffee with the characters. Regardless if they are a zombie from the future, an alien space captain or a college student hacker, I imagine sitting and having coffee with them. It gives me more input into their nuisances and three dimensionality. How do they interact with not only me but the environment? Do they order a complicated drink or go for something simple? Are they relaxed or impatient about their time and why? Coffee is one of those great equalizers that allows us a chance to lower our guards and connect. This is true for the real and the imaginary and if they’re in your head, who is to say that they’re not kind of real already?

Get creating.

Without warning, the demonic computing device rose up. Red arcs of crackling electricity snapped out from the server and struck the men and women in the chest. Involuntarily, they each screamed out in dying shrieks. Each worshiper hovered off the floor, transfixed and held for feeding.

DedKode moved forward but James knew it was too late. He placed his hand out and stayed the young, undead hacker.

The worshipers continued to undulate and now fluids ran from their orifices; heavy thick drops collected in puddles beneath each of them.

Faces sunk in.

Eyes rolled back.

Limbs twisted and cracked.

After what seemed like hours, but was only minutes, of watching these men and women sucked dry of their lives, the bodies collapsed to the flooring. Several landed in the pools of their bodily fluids – that which the server did not demand.

The server hovered still, humming like a thousand computer room fans and the singing of a damned chorus. The crimson energy that had drawn life from the worshipers crackled and snapped in oscillating arcs around the device.

The room was still empty as DedKode’s hacks were still running and fooling the security systems.

“What’s the plan now, Devon?” James asked, keeping his eyes on the demonic equipment hovering either obliviously or without care at his presence. “Do we still try to shut this thing down and take it back or—”

Suddenly DedKode held his hooded skeletal head. Palladino’s attention shifted to his teammate.

“What is it?”

There was a feeling that stirred up from a buzzing between where DedKode’s ears once were to a deafening roar he could not ignore. It was an energy, a swelling that circled the room, and DedKode could feel it in part. “Shit, King James, look —”

He pointed a gloved bony finger towards the now pulsating vibration only he could feel. The zombie hacker directed Palladino’s gaze to the dead, robed corpses.

They were rising to their feet.

Their hoods fell away and it was clear that they were once alive and were now resurrected dead. Jaws were sunken in, eyes pulled back into black sockets completely void of life. Mouths hung in slow, smacking moans and patches of hair fell with each step, covering the floor along with tears of desiccate flesh.

Arms lifted up and bony hands reached out in trembling grasps.

A hoarse cry rumbled from within breathless, shrunken lungs.

Enjoy an Excerpt

The street was once Lake Shore Drive.

It had been considered one of the most beautiful stretches of road ever constructed. From nearly any point on the arterial Chicago road, one could stop and see the lake, Museum Campus, and other aspects of sheer magnificence.

Testaments to humanity’s architecture, designs, and vision literally reached up to the sky. Willis Tower was legendary. Floors and floors of beautiful windows that once caught the rising sun were now almost completely shattered. Unimaginable amounts of flesh-cutting shards of shining triangles littered the streets.

The Cloud Gate, lovingly referred to as “The Bean,” was a mind-boggling, visually-stunning stainless-steel sculpture that had once captured the imagination of both locals and visitors. Its mirror-like surface played tricks with reality, reflecting the city’s vibrant life in mesmerizing ways.

Now, the Bean was covered in scarred marks and awash in dark splotches of foul-smelling liquids. Instead of laughing faces and optically-twisted visitors, what reflected in the artistically crafted curves was now a sea of countless reddish white deathly stares of layers and layers of skulls laying under the landmark.

The air was layered with gut-churning rancidity not unlike the reek of meat left exposed atop rank garbage in offensive summer heat.

Even on a chill-bitten fall night, the gore was overpowering to all aspects of human interaction.

Nearby, the Crown Fountain had once captured onlookers with its interactive art, projecting the faces of Chicagoans on towering screens, spouting water from their mouths into the reflecting pool below. Tonight, the fountain did not spray immaculate pristine waters but instead bubbled from time to time, as would a swamp. The fluid within was greenish in color and reeked of acidic bile and vomit. Flies had made the site a place of egg laying and maggot rearing.

The Adler Planetarium once world-renowned for its celestial studies was a broken half-dome. Immense cracks ran atop the once majestic structure that had brought countless visitors from across the globe.

The Field Museum had been a cauldron of the past and the present with future aspirations and wonder. It was once the place where history was held in honored perpetuity. Now, whatever remained of mankind’s history had violated and pulled from the museum’s halls.

Glass cases had been shattered.

Exhibits had been torn out and thrown asunder.

Red, pink and white littered the stairs as intestines, blood and bone made a carpet atop the museum’s walkway.

Chicago was a city known for its sides – its South Side, North Side and West Side. Each was unique from its ethnic communities to its dominant food vendors and carts to its well-known struggles of parking. Yet now, there were no sides anymore.

Now all that was gone. Sides were identical – each area of the city, like each area of other metropolitan sprawls across the globe – were miles and miles of death.

About the Author: Chad Hunter was born in East Chicago, Indiana. Raised by a single mother in the city’s Harbor section, he is the youngest of four. Growing up in the Midwest and a proudly self-proclaimed “Region Rat,” Hunter has written and published several books and novels. He has written for magazines and newspapers throughout North America and has been published in several languages. His writings have been called sophisticated yet humorous, sharp witted and unrelenting.

Most often, Hunter’s writings have been considered so wide and diverse that they span a scale that would include multiple writers with multiple forms. If anything binds his varied styles, it is Hunter’s theme of the human condition, humor and family closeness – all to the backdrop of romantic love, vibrant remembrance and even monsters themselves.

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  1. Thanks for hosting!

  2. Enjoyed reading the post and excerpt. Sounds like a good book

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