Behind the Scenes: The Dishonest Lover

The Dishonest Lover will be my first solo release with Evernight Press and I am so proud of this story!

It’s a typical Christmas story, you know with thugs and criminals and men tied up in abandoned warehouses…

Alright, not so conventional, I guess. George Morrison, a lasped Catholic and non-practicing gay man in Ireland plans on spending his Christmas alone.  Until a dangerous German gang forces him to abduct a fleeing con-artist by threatening George’s family. George is an odd-jobs man, not a kidnapper, and he had no idea how to go about capturing Roy Chantileer.

Until Roy approaches him in the streets of Galway. The American instantly charms then accidentally seduces George, under the impression that George is only a local boy finishing up his last minute Christmas shopping.

Over the holiday, George falls in love with Roy and now, with only a few hours until the gang shows up to kill Roy, George has to earn Roy’s trust and come up with a plan to save him or they might both end up dead.

Sounds exciting right?

This idea first started as a submission for Evernight’s Dark Captives anthology. It ran too long, mostly because George and Roy were too interesting to be contained a novella. Once Uninvited Love was accepted into Dark Captives instead I was free to write Roy and George’s story in full.

I spent about a year in Galway, Ireland and a lot of that local flavor made it into this story.  I hope you get a chance to read it and enjoy experiencing it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Also, it’s an editor’s pick!


Shameless Slash Contest

Here’s the thing:

I love Slash Fanfiction.  I ship people in real life, so of course I got my start writing (and editing) m/m fanfiction. There’s an art to properly adapting to another author’s style and getting their character’s right, while adding appropriate sexiness.

For myself, I never keep it fanfiction. I find the kernal of the story and characters and let a new story and setting grow from the base.

Partly as an experiment, and partly because I have no publisher for these shorts yet, I’m making a contest. Right here. Right now.

Read my totally free stories from the category Shameless Slash Contest, and be the first to guess what novel/movie inspired this story in the comments and you’ll win a copy of my next book, The Dishonest Lover!

Find the stories here for the rest of December and January! Good luck.

You know you want me for free…

The Dishonest Lover is an Editor’s Pick

Just found out in this latest round of edits, that my soon-to-be-released novel, The Dishonest Lover is an editor’s pick at Evernight Press!

I’m so excited to share this story with the world!

I’ll be honest… I’m not entirely sure what Editor’s Pick means.  I asked Evernight. It’s that seal on the cover because an editor really liked the novel. Personally, I’m choosing to believe due to the season, that this is a major award and my particular story single-handedly ushered some highly-imaginative, dazed but clearly precocious editor into the dawning of her sexual life.

Probably major… Like the most major award ever… The Majorest!

Neruda’s Sonnet XVII: I Do Not Love You…

I do not love you as if you were salt-rose or topaz,

or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.

I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,

in secret, between the shadow of the soul.


I love you is the plant that never blooms

but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;

thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,

risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.


I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.

I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;

so I love you because I know no other way.


than this: where I does not exist, nor you,

so close to your hand on my chest is my hand,

so close to your eyes close as I fall asleep.

This will be my last entry on Neruda, because this is my favorite poem.

It takes my breath away every time I read it. There is something so simple and elegant about Sonnet XVII; and ineffable quality to this love. It’s not a showy love, not like jewels or bright flowers. This is deeper than the surface things. This beloved is not flower but the force behind the flower blossoming. A secret not because the poet is ashamed, but because this is love cannot be expressed.

But as dark and mysterious this person is, the poet insists his feelings are straightforward, “without complexities of pride.” Just the oneness of two people in love.

Shari Elder: Interview and Excerpt from “Race to Redemption”

About Shari Elder

Hello, I’m Shari. By day, I crawl out of bed, mainline coffee, walk the dog, get my kid off to school, hop on the metro, and save cities within the four walls of my office. Usually by email.

At night, the other Shari emerges.  I take off the suit, curl up on the couch and let my imagination play, with words and images until stories take shape (while periodically checking on my teen-ager, hiding out in the bedroom).  As my alter ego, I save cities in a cape and spangled tights, wander space and time on a surfboard, fly over the Himalayas on feathered wings, make six-toed footprints in indigo talc snow on the sixth planet in the Andromeda galaxy or eavesdrop on Olympian gods while pretending to whip up a bowl of ambrosia.

In all these wondrous worlds, romance and passion blossom. I can’t resist a happy ending. And I am particularly prone to writing happy endings for those who have given up on ever getting one. That gives me immense satisfaction.

Join me on my journey. The best ideas emerge from team work.

Okay, we have some kind of superhero who believes in happy endings and writes romance.  I believe I’ve found my Guinea pig for this question series… now to get a hold of her… and her six toes… weird.

L.J. swivels in chair, while patiently stroking Pierre the Metal Dragon.

Well, as delicious as that ambrosia sounds, I’m not allowed on Olympus ever since that debacle with Athena — virgin, my ass. I’m not particularly keen on messing with the space and time continuum as long as that English doctor dude is hanging around…  And teen-agers…

L.J. shudders. Then grabs a fishbowl helmet.

Come, Pierre, we’re going to Andromeda—

Pierre swings head and riffles his tongue at L.J.

Oh come on, Pierre.  No sassing… Okay. Too cold on Andromeda and probably the Himalayas. I guess, there’s only one option.

 Pierre flutters over with the white lab-coat and L.J. pulls on the super-villain goggles.

 Pierre!  Fetch my freeze ray!

 Pierre raises his eyebrow.

 Ok, I’ll get it this time… but someday, Pierre, you’ll respect me.

 Pierre rolls eyes.


“My latest evil plan is coming to fruition at last!” L.J. focuses a blinding light on super-hero/romance novelist Shari Elder.

Slightly surprised, Shari sits in spangled tights and a cape inside the cage.  In her lap is a giant tub of Coffee Coffee Buzz Buzz Buzz used to lure our hapless heroine into the trap. Shari licks the spoon calmly.

L.J. laughs maniacally. “The truth serum I slipped into your ice cream will ensure that your answer feed into the thronong-ulating dohickey and then—”

Pierre coughs gently while turning down the brightness of the light.

“Are you sure it’s monologuing?  It seemed like a pretty valid plot point—” L.J. relents under the steely eyes of the pet dragon. “My first question then, guinea pig of my devious question series: why, Shari Elder, do you write romance?”

Our heroine chews contemplatively on the spoon. “Romance is the candle in the dark, the star that lights the way, the book I reach for when I need a jolt of hope—”

“Okay. Can we be less of a super hero for a second?” L.J. steps into the light, clipboard in hand. “I’m really trying to understand this on an intellectual level.”

Shari is unimpressed. “I believe in a HEA. No matter how much crap the world throws out you nor how little time you have to enjoy it, everyone deserves an HEA.”

L.J. writing furiously. “And what’s the some kind of secret code?  Maybe an infectious super-flu?  Is it… A new flavor of Ben and Jerry’s?”

“Happily Ever After.” Shari explains and very helpfully. “It’s that little reminder that people can get over themselves, work through their issues, and figure it out – together.”

“Okay…Happily Ever After… I think I can get behind that. But what about…” L.J. swings the light back sharply. “Sex?”

“Lots of authors write without explicit sex scenes.”

“Wait… what? Do you do that?”

“No, I’m pretty spicy.  But I can. I just prefer to be direct and forthright.” Shari leaves the spoon in the tub and leans forward on the her chair.  Her magic necklace catches in the light as she goes on. “I think how we make love also defines key components of our relationship.  We tend to assume that when folks fall in love, they get naked and have sex.”

L.J. and Pierre exchange glances. L.J. flips through notes. “Love comes first?”

“Sex is another way couples discover each other, and maintain their relationship over time. It’s really not something that happens separate from everything else.”

“So unlike proper pornography, which I’m used to writing, romance writers use the sexy bits to show character growth and change?”

“Sex  It is an essential piece of how a relationship develops.  These scenes in romance allows writers to explore that relationship more deeply and readers get to see how that plays.” Shari nods. “Like in the bedroom, do they switch roles?”

“Like submissive bosses…”

“Are they playful or shy?  Experimental or fearful?” Shari picks up the spoon again and savors the chocolate crunchy bits. “But saying all that, I do think many romance writers, me included, often make the sex part too easy.”

“Too easy? In a Romance novel, no one can be too easy!”

“I mean, we should make it more real, show the mess and the fear and mistakes. Most of that is pretty funny, as two people…” Shari pauses and considers. “Or more.  You know, try and figure it all out.  But that’s the next writing frontier. We’ll get there.”

Shari gestures with the spoon. “Building a physical relationship takes time, patience, humor, compassion and effort. To get the HEA, a couple has to figure out how to make sex work over the long term. It does not just happen in a dark room tucked in the corner of the house.”

Shari looks at the bars of the cage again. “Or in cages on rooftops.”

“Yeah, speaking of the sub-story…” L.J. checks readings on a device. “Pierre, why isn’t the thronong-ulating dohickey …”

Pierre sticks his head out of the Coffee Coffee Buzz Buzz Buzz ice cream and tilts his little metal head with confusion.

“What do you mean you never plugged it in?”

Shari laughs and put the ice cream down. “Well, this has been real fun, L.J.”

She grabs the bars and with super-strength bends them as if they were flimsy wire art. Shari Elder high heels click as she comes onto the roof. “Thanks for the ice cream, but I have to jet.”

And with the tap of her sixth toe, her high-heels ignite and Shari blasts into the sky.

You can find Shari in real life on





Here’s her latest which looks SUPER GOOD.


Race to Redemption: Green Rising, 1

A woman who lost everything.

Intergalactic storm racing champion Elaina Carteret had it all—fame, wealth, men—until a horrific accident took it away. To get it back, she agrees to pose as Lainie Carter, medical transport pilot and corporate spy. Her risk-taking attitude infuriates Dr. Erik Johansen, who runs the medical outpost with an iron hand, a permanent scowl and the tightest bod on the planet. 

A man desperate for redemption.

Unable to forgive himself for a past tragedy, Erik works himself into an early grave. He has no patience for the insubordinate Lainie Carter, who can’t take an order, disrupts routine, and flames his body to ash.

A planet at risk.

When the outpost is attacked, they’re thrown together in a race across the desert to stop a deadly biogenetic weapon. As a fragile trust blossoms between two damaged hearts, their pasts resurface and threaten their growing bond.

Be Warned: anal sex, bondage, menage sex, gender neutral characters


Elaina and Fintarl transferred the meds from the craft to the supply hut. This was her last stop today. Her routes varied daily her first month on the job. Someone was either trying to ramp up her knowledge of the terrain and facilities quickly, or prevent her from finding out too much. The collections of mysteries and snippets of information she’d gathered made her head hurt. All she wanted was a bath to wash away the stink of too much desert driving and a nap to give her mind a few minutes to turn off. Fintarl’s toothy scowl warned her that wasn’t on the agenda.

“Boss man. Want.”

She raised an eyebrow at the Ranharran and took a deep breath before heading to Erik’s office. He kept their exchanges to a minimum during her regular drop-offs at this facility. She was getting under his skin, she knew it. A meeting had to mean she pissed him off somehow. Good. It gave her another opportunity to ramp up the heat. Anger was close enough to lust to wedge open a door.

Shoulders pulled back, head high, she barged into his office. She’d always been good at bravado and she liked to keep him off balance. “Hey farm boy, you wanted me?” She flashed him a flippant smile to push the double entendre right into his face, and all she got was a grimace in return.

I’m only getting started, Dr. Johansen.

Settled on the mud blocks that passed for seats, she arced her back to offer up breasts wrapped to perfection in a tight white tank. The perspiration worked in her favor. It molded the top around her so she was as good as naked, maybe better. Her bare legs, firmed by countless hours in the gym, crossed in front to put all that toned flesh on center stage. Take a good long look, boss man.

Days of beard growth and a rumpled shirt signaled erratic hours and insufficient sleep. It seemed to have gotten worse since the last time she’d seen him. Was it only days ago? The world of secrets and hurt he dragged around on his shoulders was devouring him from the inside out. Why he avoided her when he could benefit from the physical release she offered confused her. He didn’t even have to like her to screw her. Still, he stayed away.

Erik pushed his too-long hair off his face with one hand and a package across his desk toward her with the other. The flicker of lust that darkened his eyes when she ran her hand from breast to thigh, he quickly buried. Droplets of sweat glistened along the carved muscle of his forearms. A tattoo—a yellow sphere sitting on a black line encased in a blue circle—peaked out from his shirtsleeve. Like Saskia. How odd.

“One of my better ideas, yes?”

“Ms. Carter.” Stiff formality. “On the job for a month and you’re already messing with the medical packaging? Until you show me a pharmacology degree, don’t do it again.”

“Seriously, Erik? It’s the Ranharran equivalent of string and paper. No harm done to the medicine, and I can increase the load by thirty percent. The more I move the better for everyone.”

“You’re missing the point.” He enunciated each word like it hurt to say. “The meds are volatile. Any shift, no matter how small… Damn it, Lainie, do you have any idea how dangerous this stuff is? You could get someone killed.”

“I’m trying to save lives.” Her eyes closed, she swallowed hard, trying to keep her frustration from spilling out. A raised voice wouldn’t get her very far. She already tried that. “I don’t get you, Erik. This compound is thirty miles from the Karas border. Your medical supply closet’s always running on empty, the transportation infrastructure on this planet is deteriorating and rumors that the Den Vedran Corporations are arming the Ranharran mercenaries are escalating. With unpredictable storms that can close transit corridors at any time, I’d think you’d welcome ways to move more medicine.”

His faced blanched at one point through her tirade, but was now back to its normal grim. “Not. The. Point. I won’t have my orders questioned by anyone. Without some discipline, I can’t ensure the safety of everyone under my protection. I’ll make it easy. Don’t tamper with my meds, or I’ll get a different pilot.” His lips thinned so tight they trembled. She wanted to kiss them calm after she beat him with a stick.

“You don’t want to get rid of me. Whose face would you use for target practice?” Her voice lowered, forcing him to lean closer. “And whose body would you think about when you jack off in those late hours when you’re crawling for relief?” She was guessing, but the way he struggled to suppress those flashes of longing when she got close to him convinced her she was on the mark.

“You’re trying to annoy me. Okay, it worked. No tampering, no arguments. Meeting over.” He ran his hands through his hair and pulled at the roots. His eyes looked haunted and decades older than his thirty-six years.

This was not about packaging or her rule-breaking proclivities. Whatever he kept sealed down tight was driving him to an early grave. Without thinking, she leaned over the desk and traced a finger along a blond eyebrow. He recoiled like he always did when she touched him.

“Yes, I do it to piss you off. You’re wound up so tight, farm boy, you’re going to snap.” Her finger slid down his cheek to his chin. “Let me in, Erik. I could help you reduce all that tension, but you stay so far away. So, I poke.”

She pressed her breast against his arm to make her offer clear. “No commitment required. Just two people trying to get through the long, lonely nights.”

He pulled back. “I said we’re done here.”

She swallowed her anger and flipped him a bow. “Your highness. I’ll visit Sen and Qirta before I head back to Mendasa.”

“No miskberries.”

Sen’s favorite treat were hidden in a secret pocket in her bag. What Erik didn’t know wouldn’t hurt him.

Neruda’s Sonnet III: Bitter Love

Bitter love, a violet with its crown

of thorns in a thicket of spiky passions,

spirit of sorrow, corolla of rage: how did you come

to conquer my soul? What  via dolorosa brought you?


Why did you pour your tender fire

so quickly, over my life’s cool leaves?

Who pointed the way to you? What flower,

what rock, what smoke showed you where I live?


Because the earth shook—it did—, that awful night;

then dawn filled all the goblets with its wine;

the heavenly sun declared itself;


while inside, a ferocious love wound around

and around me— till it pierced me with its thorns, it sword,

slashing a seared road through my heart.

In my last entry on Pablo Neruda, I didn’t really spend a lot of time on his life, mostly because I knew I wasn’t finished sharing his poems.

Neruda is mostly remembered in the US for his political poetry. Partly because he was a very high-ranking politician in communist Chile (he was nominated to be president), but also because his romantic works were not translated into English. His first book of poems, Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair, (which I’ve not gotten my hands on yet, but are apparently very racy) was published when he was in his late teens in 1924 and not translated into English until 1969. My favorite collection, 100 Love Sonnets had to wait until 1986 thirteen years after Neruda’s death (possibly by assassination) before it was translated by Steven Tapscott.

I don’t pretend to understand the political situation in post-World War II, then Cold War Era South America, especially for left-leaning intellectuals, so I don’t hold any pro-Stalin statements against Neruda. Because he was a communist (which nearly cost him his Nobel Prize, got him exhiled from Chile, and possibly cost him his life) his poetry was demonized during his lifetime, especially in the United States.

But the quality of his art – he was called the greatest poet of the century by Gabriel García Márquez – transcends personal failings and politics. This poem, Sonnet III, Bitter Love, pretty much sums up my views on the power that  love, even when it is reciprocated, has to invade and devastate a person’s life.

Neruda’s Sonnet XX: My Ugly Love

I will confess my first encounter with Pablo Neruda happened when I was eight years old and I was making fun of my sister, who is inescapably romantic. I would torment her by following her around reading from her books of love poetry as gushy and maudlin as I could.

But I remember coming to Neruda’s Sonnet XX, “My Ugly Love” and suddenly my silliness ran dry. There was something transcendent and unexpected about this sonnet that even at eight I couldn’t make light off. Quickly I turned the page and went on to ham-up “How do I Love Thee” (which is easy to make fun of though it’s also quite good), but I stole the book later and re-read that poem again and again.

Here is that poem, translated by Steven Tapscott:


My ugly love, you’re messy chestnut.

My beauty, you are pretty as the wind.

Ugly: your mouth is big enough for two mouths.

Beauty: your kisses are fresh as new melons.


Ugly: where did you hide your breasts?

They’re meager, too little scoops of wheat.

I’d much rather see two moons across your chest,

two huge proud towers.


Ugly: not even the seed contains things like your toenails.

Beauty: flower by flower, star by star, wave by wave,

Love, I’ve made an inventory of your body:


My ugly one, I love you for your waist of gold;

my beauty, with a wrinkle in your forehead.

My Love: I love you for your clarity, your dark.


Sonnet XX, like all of the sonnets in Cien Sonetos de Amor, is written about one woman Neruda’s wife Matilde Urrutia. While even the most doting of husbands shouldtred carefully before calling his wife mi fea, my ugly one, there’s something exquisitely honest in this poem. This is a lover who does not care if his beloved is unkempt, or invisible, or had an unattractive body and hideous feet. He loves her for her wrinkles and for her imperfections. He loved her for her entire person, even, perhaps especially, for the parts of her that she deems too ugly to show others.

I think that’s the best kind of love any person can ask for.

Though I think any of us would be happy for a partner willing to write 100 poems about us.


Batter my heart, three-person’d God

Batter my heart, three-person’d God; for you
As yet but knock; breathe, shine, and seek to mend;
That I may rise, and stand, o’erthrow me, and bend
Your force, to break, blow, burn, and make me new.
I, like an usurp’d town, to another due,
Labour to admit you, but O, to no end.
Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend,
But is captived, and proves weak or untrue.
Yet dearly I love you, and would be loved fain,
But am betroth’d unto your enemy:
Divorce me, untie, or break that knot again,
Take me to you, imprison me, for I,
Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,
Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.

John Donne is probably best known for his poem “Death Be Not Proud” which is an incredibly triumphant sounded about the power of the soul over death. There’s a great play called Wit by Margaret Edson that centers a modern scholar’s death and her relationship to this poem.  Donne is also the poet who gave us the phrases “no man is an island” and “for whom the Bell tolls” and “catch a falling star” (which according to Wikipedia, who I have zero faith in, inspired Neil Gaiman to write Stardust).

Donne, was born in 1572, was notorious ladies man until he married Anne More when he was about thirty. This marriage was disastrous for the couple as both of their fathers disapproved of the match; Donne was actually imprisoned for this “illicit marriage.” Shortly afterward, the marriage was proved valid, but Donne had lost his job, his station, and his faith in the Catholic Church.

But he never lost his faith in God (eventually he wrestled through his self-doubt and grief over Anne’s death to become an Episcopal priest). His early poems which were almost entirely romantic often used sacred imagery; while his later poems love letters to God. Many scholars criticized Donne’s poetry for mixing the sensual love with sacrosanct and I suspect most were not published until after his death so he would not be persecuted as a heretic.

My favorite of Donne’s poems is Sonnet 14: Batter my Heart, because of the mixture of violent sexual imagery with a divine prayer. While it’s not a love poem, per say, I referenced this poem in Uninvited Love and figured I would include it here.

The sonnet begins with an appeal to a gentle God to stop being so kind. This is not a speaker who wants his faith tested, but one who wants the divine to shatter him and create him again stronger and more secure in his faith. In order to stand, he begs to be thrown to the ground and broken.

In the next phrase, God’s enemy has captured this poet’s reason and pillaged and plundered him like a “usurp’d town.” He appeals to God to save him from this marriage to the Devil by asking the divine to steal him back, enslave him, and rape him.  It’s one of my favorite lines in poetry:

“Take me to you, imprison me, for I,
Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,
Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.”


Writing Advice 2: Get Good Characters

I’m just after teaching my creative writing class and I’ve been thinking a lot about character.  I’ve been reading and watching a lot of Horror for the MFA and I’ve been seeing a lot of shitty characters.

So I chatted with the students and we thought about character and what makes a good one and I’m going to make a few suggestions today.

Defining Traits:

A good character will have at least five defining traits. This was tough to wrap our heads around.  We spend a good deal of time struggling to separate motivation and goal from character.  Do we love “Life of Pi” because it’s about a boy in a boat with a tiger or do we love Pi because he is a resourceful and optimistic Indian boy?  Is there a difference.

I’m pretty sure I would read a short story about an entitled rich racist in a lifeboat with a tiger (for purely fantasy fulfillment), but to hold the novel Pi needs too be a rich character.

The traits could be emotional, behavioral, or physical.  But most of us could come up with a fairly complete list of three to five for our favorite movies/films.

My go-to example: The Batman!

  • Intense desire to see criminals brought to justice
  • Intense desire to save people
  • Dresses as a bat
  • Intelligent
  • Extraordinarily athletic

Notice how those traits can contradict themselves (Batman can’t kill The Joker because he badly wants to save him).  If a writer finds himself unable to write a list of five traits or sees too many synonyms or physical traits popping into the list, it’s probably a sign that more work needs to be done.

To use a personal example, in my novel Evasive Love, I have a character in a steampunk society who is 1) an intelligent scientist, 2) a repressed homosexual, 3) entitled and 4) used to a high standard of living, but 5) an essentially good person.

To see how all those traits impact the character, here’s his backstory. Elliot’s sexuality puts him in conflict with his society (Victorian ideals) so he loses his wealth and privilege.  He gets back to his standard when he uses his intelligence to design drugs for his boyfriend, a wealthy criminal.  The boyfriend starts using the drugs to kill and poison people and Elliot can’t morally allow this to go on so he uses science to destroy boyfriend’s business and flee.

Character and Archetype

We also hit on using stereotypes and archetypes to access characters.  This was tied into creating writing prompt which involve an adjective, a noun, and a scenario.  The noun tended to be an archetypal noun.  So we had a cocky warrior, a loving mother, a stuck-up hobo entering into scenarios.

While this approach seems a little mad lib in the idea generation. It’s actually very useful in developing a character. If you can identify the archetype your character fits you can play to the type, play against the type, or play inside of the type.

  • Play to type (a hard-boiled detective in a noir murder mystery)
  • Play against type (a hard-boiled detective who is works as a janitor)
  • Play inside type (a hard-boiled detective who is a deeply romantic woman)

Like most things in writing, there’s no hard fast rules, or right and wrong. So a character could be playing with type, against, and inside at the same time.

For example, The Batman!

Batman falls neatly into The Hero archetype. He is motivated to do justice.  His traits are goodness, intelligence, drive lead him to go fight bad guys.

Batman plays against the trend of superheroes by being obsessed with the darkness, dressing as a bat in black instead of in bright colors, being fairly violent and gritty.  (Now-a-days, we call that an Anti-hero, but Batman also holds to his no-kill rule, usually so… still predominately good).

But some writers have also attacked Batman from a different archetype.  If you apply The Orphan to Batman, you show his vulnerability and his longing for a mentor.  If you apply The Mentor archetype to him, you can show a different side of him working the Robin.  All of these conflict and compliment the original archetype of Hero in interesting ways.

No matter how original your characters are, they are going to fit into some archetype.  So why not bring that eventuality into the foreground and use it to make rich characters?  Be aware of the type and work with or against it.

My one warning in creating characters this way is you end up with stereotypes not archetypes. Stereotypes are bad because of their specificity and predictability.  A dumb blonde is not an archetype.  Innocent is the archetype and you’ll notice it had nothing to do with gender or hair color. Ditto to black thug vs. warrior.  While it’s possibly to write a deep and interesting character that matches the stereotype (we live with them every day after all), a good writer will be aware of the stereotypes are work against them.  For example, Legally Blonde plays against type by making the blonde ditzy and fashion conscious but wicked smart.  The Wire plays with type by giving us the interior lives and struggles of a depressed and violent community.

Some links we shared:



Character, Goal, Motivation, by Debra Dixon

We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars. –Oscar Wilde