Creating a Hero
Hello everyone! I’d like to start by saying a huge “Thank you” to Lisa for inviting me to guest post on Lisa’s World of Books. I appreciate every opportunity to chat with readers and lovers of romance.
People often wonder where writers get the inspiration for the characters in their stories. The answer varies from author to author, but today, I’ll talk a little about how I came up with the hero of Deadly Obsession, Nic Lamoureux.
For me, the story starts with a concept. In the case of Deadly Obsession, it all began with Gerard Butler. When Phantom of the Opera came out, I was curious and wanted to know more about Gerry’s acting history. When I Googled him, I was amazed at the number of fan sites dedicated to him. I found interviews, publicity photos, videos, and paparazzi photos. But what shocked me the most were the fan photos. People tracked his locations and did what they could to get photos with him, which they’d then post on-line. I did some research into fan mail and learned about some of the crazy things people send to celebrities. Fans come in two main varieties: those who admire from afar, and fanatics who become obsessed.
So, now I had my idea – a movie star surrounded by fans, one of whom becomes a stalker. But I still didn’t know anything about my hero beyond his movie star status.
A person’s name tells us a lot about who they are. My hero has created a persona he uses to hide his past and his true self from Hollywood. This persona is slick, suave, and sexy. Nic can be a real ladies man when he wants to be. Because I wanted him to be from Montréal, he needed a French last name. I picked Lamoureux, which led to Nic’s Hollywood moniker “Nic The Lover.” Why Nic? Because I like the name. J
Nic Lamoureux is a hero of heroic proportions, LOL. I wanted him to be tall and built. But since he’s an actor, he couldn’t be too bulky. I settled on 6’3” and about 200lbs. He’s dark-haired and blue-eyed. Believe it or not, it was incredibly difficult to find a photo, whether of an actor or model, famous or unknown, that matched even remotely what was in my head. Gerry is older than my Nic; others are too short, too thin, not handsome enough, etc. I finally settled on this shot that I think is pretty close.
I had my hero’s name, but I still needed to know more about who he is, his personality type, his strengths, and his weaknesses. One good and rather fun way (for me) to do this is to use astrology. Sounds strange? Astrology is great for giving a writer a personality starting point. But astrology requires knowing a person’s birthdate. Some writers randomly pick a date in a calendar; others use the birthdates of people they know. To continue the Gerry theme, I went with the day before Gerry’s birthday – November 12.
Astrology – Sign of the Scorpio
The Internet is a goldmine of astrology websites. I looked up information on the Scorpio personality online from several sites, compared the information, identified similarities, and decided on some basic characteristics for my hero.
According to http://www.scorpio.arollo.com/personality.html, Scorpios are:
- Deep thinker
- Bad tempered
I looked at another site, MoonCat Astrology, that specifically describes male Scorpios (http://mooncatsastrology.com/astro/scorpio.htm). It tells me that Scorpios are passionate and intense, intuitive and sensitive, imaginative, brave, loyal, tenacious. The sign of the Scorpio is strongly connected to sex. Male Scorpios can be possessive or jealous with their lovers, but they are also capable of loving deeply.
Café Astro (http://cafeastrology.com/articles/venusscorpiocompatibility.html) says that a Scorpio wants not only his partner’s body, he wants her soul.
Love Match – (http://www.astrology.com/love-match-scorpio-taurus/2-d-lvmt-scorpio_taurus) says that the Scorpio is smoldering and intense (intensely sexual). He is strongly loyal to the people he loves, but can be stubborn and resolute once his mind is made up.
Having known several Scorpios personally, I can say the best way to describe them is “more.” They are more intense, more happy, more sad. They love more deeply, and they hate more deeply. For them, everything is in extremes.
One thing writers will often do is look at a negative trait and try to find a positive equivalent and vice versa. For example, if someone is secretive, it could mean that he or she lacks trust, or is insecure about being accepted. On the other hand, if someone is loyal, it could mean that he or she is too trusting.
From Generalities to Specifics
Of course, all we have up to now are generalities. To have a hero that women can love, I needed to make him a real person or as close to one as I could. Out of all the information I gleaned from these sites, I picked several key characteristics and created a variant of the character diamond. The diamond is composed of two primary strengths, two supporting traits, two shadow traits (flipside of primary or secondary traits) and two fatal flaws.
The last thing I did was a character profile or interview. I asked myself about thirty questions regarding Nic’s likes and dislikes, his favorite foods and activities, his greatest fear and his greatest need, etc.
Despite all of this, I didn’t really have a good feel for Nic’s “voice” until I’d lived with him for about half- the draft of Deadly Obsession. By then, I had him nailed! During revisions, I went back and altered much of Nic’s dialogue (internal and external) and put it into his own words.
For those interested in learning more, Theresa Meyers teaches a wonderful class on characterization that includes character development and techniques for weaving a character’s backstory into the book, along with means of fine-tuning characterization. Two weeks-worth of class lectures are available for a modest amount. Email Theresa at firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
When an Oscar-winning movie star meets a department-store photographer…
Movie star Nic Lamoureux appears to have a playboy’s perfect life. But it’s a part he plays, an act designed to conceal a dark secret he carries on his shoulders. His empty days and nights are a meaningless blur until he meets the woman who fulfills all his dreams. She and her son are the family he’s always wanted—if she can forgive a horrible mistake from his past.
A Hollywood dream…
Lauren James, a widowed single mother, earns barely enough money to support herself and her son. When she wins a photography contest and meets Nic, the man who stars in all her fantasies, her dreams, both professional and personal, are on the verge of becoming real. The attraction between Lauren and Nic is instant—and mutual. Their chemistry burns out of control during a photo shoot that could put Lauren on the fast track to a lucrative career.
Becomes a Hollywood nightmare
But an ill-advised kiss makes front-page news, and the lurid headlines threaten everything Nic and Lauren have hoped for. Before they know what’s happening, their relationship is further rocked by an obsessed and cunning stalker who’ll stop at nothing—not even murder—to have Nic to herself. When Nic falls for Lauren, the stalker zeroes in on her as the competition.
And the competition must be eliminated.
About the Author:
Kristine Cayne is fascinated by the mysteries of human psychology—twisted secrets, deep-seated beliefs, out-of-control desires. Add in high-stakes scenarios and real-world villains, and you have a story worth writing, and reading.
The heroes and heroines of her Deadly Vices series, beginning with Deadly Obsession, are pitted against each other by their radically opposing life experiences. By overcoming their differences and finding common ground, they triumph over their enemies and find true happiness in each other’s arms.