I have the wonderful opportunity to have a guest post by the Allie Burton, the author of Soul Slam (Soul Force Book 1), a Young Adult book available January 5, 2014. She shares her thoughts on character creation.
How are Characters Created?
by Allie Burton
There’s not one answer to that question.
Characters from books are created in a variety of ways. Some authors start with an idea for a plot and pick characters that will provide the most conflict for that plot. Other times, a character comes first and then a story is created around that character. I’ve done it both ways.
For example in Soul Slam I started with the plot. I knew I wanted someone to inherit the soul of King Tut. But who? And how would they inherit this long lost soul? I decided the main character should be a thief and I thought a female thief would be more interesting. Then I had to figure out how she became and thief and why. You have to read the book to learn the rest.
There are three books in my Lost Daughters of Atlantis series. The first book, Atlantis Riptide (Lost Daughters of Atlantis), I started with a character. The old saying about “running away to the circus” came to mind and I twisted it. Who would run away from the circus and why? That’s actually the first line in the book.
When I developed the characters in Atlantis Red Tide and Atlantis Rising Tide , I already knew the plots because of the first book so I had to find archetypes that would fit the story.
One time I saw a girl riding a motorcycle and thought that was different. I wondered what type of a teenage girl would ride a motorcycle and why. Did she like the danger or couldn’t she afford a car? Was a motorcycle easier to park where she lived or worked? I created an entire story around this one image.
I’ve gotten characters from magazine photos, newspaper articles, a hobby or talent, and just things I’ve witnessed or experienced. Plus, I have two teens of my own who are always coming up with interesting things.
Do you have an idea for a character? Where did you get the idea from?
Thanks so much for hosting me!
A sixteen-year-old on her first heist to steal an ancient Egyptian amulet inadvertently receives the soul of King Tut…and the deadly curse that comes with it.
And Olivia is not alone at the museum.
A member of a secret Society, Xander believes it is his place to inherit King Tut’s soul and justly rule. He knows nothing about the society’s evil plan to control the world or the curse. Now, he must deal with the female imposter who stole the amulet.
Xander convinces Olivia they must form a temporary partnership. The two teens develop a connection, and together they must figure out how to end the curse before it turns deadly. On the run, unable to touch because of the curse, and dealing with a male soul inside her female body, Olivia must learn to trust Xander. As the mystery surrounding the amulet unfolds, Olivia and Xander start to fall for each other. But is love enough to save them and the world from destruction?
(from Chapter Twenty-Seven)
My spot of defiance hadn’t stopped him. My elation plummeted like my spit. X now had the final ingredient.
Smoke rose from the cup. Colors swirled, mixing and combining like a wacky rainbow. My gaze followed the motion unwillingly entranced. I couldn’t take my gaze off of this creation. The contents glowed with a strange aura.
A light flashed sending a bolt of lightning through the room. I flinched from the heat.
The goons’ hold loosened. X watched with an awed expression on his face.
A sphere formed in the cup. Colors of red and blue and yellow shaped the orb. The colors flamed and burned into a bright yellow. The shiny ball rose on a layer of smoke like the sun on a cloudy day.
I’d never seen anything so fantastical. I held my breath as the orb rose above the alabaster cup and floated like a balloon.
X stepped toward the globe. “Did you know glass was first developed around the time of King Tut’s reign?” He angled his head examining the glass globe of sun. “The golden glass will act like a controller.”
“You can’t control a king.” Or a pharaoh. Or me.
“While I was promised to host King Tut, the conditions weren’t right the year I turned sixteen.” X’s voice grew bitter. His eyebrows came together in a straight line mourning the loss of his own power. “The Society didn’t even read the chant, already knowing through advances in science that an eclipse would not happen on the summer solstice of that year. I became a regular person, just another man in the Society.”
Having the power had been cool, but not if I couldn’t control it. Not if I couldn’t touch the people I loved. Xander’s name whispered through my chest.
“I was promised the soul and the power but never told about the burn out until later.” X’s voice rose higher, angrier. “The Society betrayed me, betrayed every Xander throughout the centuries.”
“Then why are you doing this to me?”
Soul Slam (Kindle version)
Soul Slam (paperback version)
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Allie didn’t realize having so many jobs would become great research material for the stories she writes. She has been everything from a fitting room attendant to a bike police officer to a professional mascot escort. She has lived on three continents and in four states and has studied art, fashion design, marine biology, and advertising.
When her kids asked, “when are you going to write a story we can read?” she switched from adult novels to Young Adult and Middle Grade and hasn’t looked back.
Allie is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators, Romance Writers of America including the Young Adult, Dallas Area Romance Writers and Heart of the Rockies chapters. She is also a member of Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers. Currently, she lives in Colorado with her husband and two children.
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3 3/4 out of 5 stars
“Soul Slam” by Allie Burton is Book 1 in the ‘Soul Force’ series and tells the story of Olivia, a 16-year-old thief who discovers that her assignment to steal the Mighty Amulet of Aten is more complicated than she ever dreamed. Inadvertently becoming host to the spirit of King Tut, Olivia must join forces with Xander, the teen who had trained for the honor, and find a way to prevent her newly acquired powers from burning her out even as they seek to prevent the misuse of the powers by several factions. A treasure hunt all over San Francisco helps them learn more about each other and the implications of the powers but they must each decide who to put their faith in--each other or the authority figures in their respective lives? And who will survive and to what purpose will the powers be put to?
This fun young adult fantasy story combines intriguing parts of Egyptian history with certain aspects of its mythology. There are some facets of the power of the sun that give an interesting twist to Olivia’s powers but some of her powers don’t seem to be related to the sun and there are inconsistencies in how her newly acquired powers impact the natural world. The clues for the hunt that lead the teens around San Francisco provide entertaining puzzles to be solved but the action is a little erratic and there are quite a few events that strain credulity a bit or that could use a bit more explanation and I thought that the romance between the two main characters was a little forced. Nonetheless, this is an imaginative story and its exciting conclusion definitely provides a framework for future stories involving this intrepid couple.