Wishful Thinking — The SEQUEL! — Derek Barton – 2018

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Back in February of 2017, I wrote a little blog, Wishful Thinking, which was a whimsical fantasy movie casting of my characters from my first book, Consequences Within Chaos.  I did a small bio of each of the characters and a slideshow of who I would pick to play the characters.

You guessed it…you are already ahead of me.  I am going to do it again, but this time for The Bleeding Crown.  Now some of the major characters in the sequel were creatures, so suffice it to say, I will only be highlighting the humans.  Also, I will give some updated bios on characters from the last book.  I will warn you now there are some SPOILERS FOR CONSEQUENCES WITHIN CHAOS that could be learned here…So, if you want to stop now, go buy and read the book first, I won’t be mad ya at all. (hint, hint 🙂 )

 

THE BLEEDING CROWN

 

LETANDRA ARTADEUS  —  Georgie Henley

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During the fierce battle between Prince Taihven and the Pale Mage, Auste Cros’seau, the Lady Magistrate was magically kidnapped and taken away.  Now she must struggle to survive in a foreign land on her own.  While she waits for rescue, she has no idea if Wyvernshield has even won against Auste or his terrible army of Viestrahl beasts. She will form new alliances and strengths, but in the end, she learns she has no time left — the future hangs in the balance on her efforts.

TAIHVEN ARTADEUS  —  Andrew Garfield

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Prince Taihven, having proven himself more than capable and resourceful in the battle against Auste, was crowned King of Tayneva.  However, the heavy cost he paid to keep the Artadeus Throne, weighs heavily upon him.  The city is partially in ruins, his parents are dead, his sister missing, and a deadly plague continues to haunt the citizenry.  After losing his entire family, he succumbs to depression and loses faith that they will find Princess Letandra. More trials lay ahead for him which will test him like never before.

CHROYANNE CROS’SEAU  — Michelle Trachtenberg

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History has been washed clean of her vile family’s name, but Chroyanne Cros’seau has been freed of her own Soul Render in Aberrisc.  With the help of a mysterious magical artifact, The Bleeding Crown, Chroyanne has become an incredible terror in the land.  She hopes that her Quietus Dominion and her own armies will make her brother proud when he returns or calls for her to join him in Tayneva.

TALIAH   —  Isla Fisher

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Regretting her role as an unwilling spy for the Viestrahl and Auste Cros’seau, the exiled maid, Taliah, has found her place in the world as a Blood Seeress.  She has been taken in by the Khestal Ezan Order, a group dedicated to stopping the evil machinations of the Cult of Beleardea.  She uses her newfound powers of prophetic visions to help them and outsiders with questions that keep their lives in turmoil.

LLASHER  —  Nestor Carbonell

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Barely surviving his own encounter with the Pale Mage, the ex-slaver, LLasher, has dedicated his second chance at life to prove he was worthy of that effort and redeeming himself.  His first steps toward that goal are trying to track down the wayward Princess Letandra.  He will find this path will take him to many dangerous regions as well as making forced alliances with the dangerous Viestrahl.

HUMPHREYS  — Steven Ogg

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As LLasher’s First Mate aboard the Corrta Da’Eale, Humphreys has sailed to many places within the world, but this hunt for Princess Letandra will even surprise this experienced world traveler.  Always quick with a sarcastic word or wide grin, he will stick loyally at LLasher’s side no matter the crazy odds…and that he gets well paid.

RASHAD RUESSARD  — Josh Hutcherson

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Rashad paid the same cost of losing a family member during the Viestrahl’s last Horde March as King Taihven.  This helps the two bond and form a strong partnership.  As the new Wyvernguard Captain, it has been a challenge, but when a new threat emerges in the form of Pirate Captain Tarsk, the soldier’s mettle is truly tested.

AMA’YEN — Nadine Njeim

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As a powerful sorceress, Ama’yen can offer a lot to her new queen, Chroyanne.  However, when she learns of Princess Letandra and the connection the princess has to Chroyanne’s past, she wonders if an opportunity is forming.  Inspired by the love that Letandra has for Taihven, she contemplates a plan of her own to rescue her own brothers being held hostage.

TAL CROWAN  — Michio Kaku

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As the founder and dedicated leader of the Khestal Ezan, Tal has recruited a unique band of warriors, mages, spies, and even a Blood Seeress to his cause against the Beleardea Cult members as they peddle evil and cursed artifacts to the desperate or depraved in Tayneva.  These ruthless fanatics are building influence and wealth in an endeavor to resurrect an eldritch god of unlimited power.

PIRATE CAPTAIN TARSK  — Tom Hardy

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Known as Captain Tarsk the Torch, this sadistic pirate sees an opportunity in the weakened condition of Wyvernshield and its armed forces.  Seizing upon the moment, he and his allies strike with surgical precision, cutting off Taihven and Rashad from any assistance.  As a seasoned veteran of battle, King Taihven finds himself outmatched and up against a foe unlike any other he has ever faced.

RIVYEN  — Josh Upshaw

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Although he is a lost warrior from another plane of existence, Rivyen brings a unique perspective as well as a wealth of knowledge to Tal Crowan.  He has become a critical part to the Khestal Ezan’s structure. Together they have pledged to stop the Beleardea and find their hidden Veraera Vault of cursed items the cult has accumulated.  Some of those items belong to Rivyen’s own people — he knows just how destructive some of those items can be including The Bleeding Crown!

If you have read The Bleeding Crown, I hope you got a little kick out of this as I did.  I wish some of the other characters like Scars and Ka Shayla could’ve been represented, but I guess, you will just have to read the book!  This book was an amazing thrill for me to write, and I am excited to bring you the next adventures in Tayneva and Aberrisc soon!

New Character Sketch #2… — Derek Barton – 2017

Here is another sneak peek at an upcoming character for The Bleeding Crown, sequel to Consequences Within Chaos.

 

Scars

 

Character Profile Questions:

What is their name? Only known as Scars. He lost his birth name in battle and will never use the real one again.

How old? 48 years old (He is one of the species called Flohki which live on average to 110 years old.   Their upper torso features are mainly bird, the rest humanoid.)

What does your character look like? White feathered head, broken beak, scars running down left cheek and multiple scars along the top and back of his head. He has the muscular body of a weightlifter and the head features of a seagull and icy blue eyes.

Where does he live? During an ambush along the Flohki borders, he was captured and enslaved by a roving Thette Giant Clan. He is the personal slave of Korba-Tarn and bodyguard of the giant’s mate, Frest-Alae.

Where is the character from? Scars grew up in a fishing community called Maxnen Vale. The Flohki continent called Cammiana consists endless grasslands surrounding lush swamps. The Flohki are divided in a civil war with the Pesha-aar due to territory and nesting land disputes. This disorganization has made them very vulnerable to the Quietus Army and the Ebon Throne.

What kind of childhood? Through his first decade of life he was happy and worked hard alongside his older brothers on the docks and the fishing boats. When times got tough and his family had misfortunes (a typhoon destroyed their small fleet of boats and home), the parents were forced to turn there children over to the Elder Leaders of the Ledatd Nest. Conscripted as “Bre-ox-da” which means “battleborn”, he and his brothers learned and trained in military combat. The Bre-ox-da are navy warriors that protect the coast lines. They were expected to serve for life as an “honor”.  The Flohki don’t believe in allowing anyone to be homeless, however they do require some form of restitution. The parents would not be able to feed the boys and themselves so the Leaders took the boys and the parents were given shelter and food for their remaining lives.

What does the character do for a living? Scars was rising in  the ranks as a military bodyguard and escort for officers of the Ledat Nest. He was also reknown for his horse combat skills and martial arts. Between assignments he trained many of the new Bre-ox-da in hand-to-hand fighting and military strategy.

How does your character deal with conflict? He has a knack for observation, studying enemy patterns and movements and uses patience to gather information for when he does strike or make a decision. Methodical and full of purpose. Being reduced to a slave and being dishonored, he is broken and submissive to the Thettes.

Who else is in their life? He has no contact with his race or family. A pair of Duradramyn survive enslaved in the slave pens with him.

What is your character’s goal or motivation? He knows that he should escape, but he also feels so lost and without direction, he has not yet discovered any reason to leave.

Their Status: Surrendering in battle means you lose your title and name forever. On a mission to escort his assigned officer, they were ambushed by the Thettes. As the unit leader, Scars surrendered as a sacrifice to allow his unit and brothers time to escape capture or death. Scars cannot ever regain his status and knows he will be ostracized by his race.  Part of him feels that being a slave  is almost proper punishment for not dying in battle.

Diving into the Oceans of Your Characters… — Derek Barton

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I would like to expand a bit on my blog, Finding the Character Within….  Here I want to show you some of the ways I work up my character backgrounds and elaborate on the questions I ask myself.

I will show you my notes that I made for Queen Demetryce Artadeus from Consequences Within Chaos.  She is the main character’s mother who has a deep-seated contempt and malice towards him.

A lot of what I wrote for this character did not even get into the book.  Yet having it in my mind helped me direct her actions, guide her dialog and even her interactions with other characters, both noble and even criminal characters.

Queen Demetryce Artadeus

How old?   67 years old

What does your character look like?  Long, grey-blond hair, 5’ 9” and 121 lbs.  Average looks, but her constant frown makes her seem uglier than she really is.  I picture Dame Judy Dench or Dame Helen Mirren in my mind.

Where does she live?  As Queen of Tayneva, she shares the Castle Adventdawn, of course with her family, but she also has ties to her own family in a smaller kingdom, Yata-Malai.  She makes semi-annual trips to visit her sisters and her surviving aunt.

Where is the character from?  From the small, island state of Yata-Malai.  Malais are very orthodox and pious.  Often accused of being religious zealots and have very rigid moral codes.  Murder, adultery, rape and other such immoral evils are persecuted strictly.  In the cases of adultery and even rape (in some cases) the victim may be blamed as well and suffer similar shame.  Think Quakers as far as their religious purity and strict doctrines.

What kind of childhood?  She went through a rigorous childhood as a student of the temple and was on the track to becoming a priestess.  In a chance to boost their position in world powers though, her father sent her to wed a young duke, Haedrec Artadeus.  Although this ended her promising path as a priestess, she found she was taken with Duke Artadeus and they married shortly afterwards.

What does the character do for a living?  Not only the functioning Queen of Tayneva, but she leads the court affairs and acts as court justice administrator.  Her iron fist philosophies and her decisions have made her many enemies and many “bought for” allies.  Not an evil woman, but has fallen into corruption by the power of her position and her means are always justified in her mind.  She also maintains her magical Mending Skills and religious practices.

How does your character deal with conflict?  Mostly with an icy demeanor when she doesn’t get her way, but as of late she has become very short fused.  Especially when it concerns her son, Taihven.  He is a constant reminder of her secret shame of rape and the worst event that happened to her in her life.  She cannot let go of her anger and has grown to hate him due to his embarrassing episodes of mental instability.  In some respects, she feels her daughter, Princess Letandra has become quite a strong leader and she even feels slightly threatened by her growing leadership skills and popularity among the citizens in Wyvernshield.

Who else is in their life? Her family is the center of her world, but that world in her eyes is a constant source of drama and aggravation.  Her only happy relationship is with her husband who is sadly dying a slow, debilitating death.  The court affairs are the only outside distraction and depending on her mood, she takes out her days on the poor saps brought in front  of her judging bench.

What is your character’s goal or motivation?  In spite of the threat in power and popularity that Princess Letandra has, Demetryce is pushing to have her become Lady Magistrate.  This would supersede Taihven, the Heir-Apparent.  She would rather have Letandra to deal with and perhaps have sway over instead of her son who has his father’s stubbornness and of course the mental malady.  She is extremely frightened of facing alone this on-coming war with the creatures known as the Viestrahl.  Her goal is to obtain the Throne for Letandra before King Haedrec dies.  Demetryce has decided that if necessary she will imprison, hide or as a last resort, have her own son kidnapped and sold into slavery.

As you can see, this character depiction is in-depth and thought through.  I had a strong sense of who she was and how she would react to coming events in my story long before I even started writing the book!

With questions like this, exercises to explore their background, you find and develop layers to who they are.  These are real people to both you and the reader.  Characters should have some conflicting emotions and some quirks to their nature.  We all do.  Why wouldn’t the people in your story?

Did you find this helpful or do you think you can use some of these questions for your own characters?

Finding the Character Within… — Derek Barton

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Those words literally scream with a story, a background of tormented history.  This person’s agony and pain are their whole world.  It motivates their actions, taints their decisions and monopolizes their every thought.  It makes you ask why?  What happened?  And when you are working up your story or novel, you have to have that level of intimacy and deep understanding of what drives him or her.  You want to know the why behind it all.  As the writer, you need to know the truth and the source.

This all of course ties into what I was talking about in my last blog, Where Your Path May Lead… As with world-building, knowing each facet of your characters is crucial to making the story come alive in the reader’s mind.  Overall, every novelist or writer wants to carry their readers away and keep them immersed in their land or story.  It’s the whole reason we live to write!

An unforgivable mistake and the fastest way to breaking a reader’s immersion is having your hero and/or villain act out of character.   When they do something that is abnormal or perhaps even far-fetched, questions immediately jump at the reader and they are going to want to know why.  When the reader is stepping out of the story to ask themselves questions or to wonder about the hero’s actions, how can they continue in your world?  How are they focused any longer on your story?

They are many great ways to build and to delve into your characters on the internet.  I have found a couple that I use and I have added my own questions that help me explore the character’s fears, goals, dreams or even hatreds.

You start off with the basics:  name, age, height & weight, hair & eye color, race.  Then you go into the background:  What do they do for a living?  Where do they live?  Who is close to them in their life?   Now go deeper:  What is their current goals or motivation?  How do they deal with conflict?  What was their childhood like?  Do they have anything in their past they are proud or ashamed of?

Another great resource I found, came from the writer Michael A. Stackpole who has written several Battle Tech novels and eight Star Wars novels himself — he crafted and presented in a writer’s workshop, Twenty-One Days to a Novel.  It is a fantastic series of exercises to learn and develop your characters. Here are the first four “days” to show you what he is talking about:

Day One:  Write a single sentence about a character in five areas of his life.  Subjects ranging from Romance, Jobs, Financial Situation, Education, Religion, Health or even Hobbies.

Day Two:   Write two more sentences on each of the above areas to create a paragraph.  These sentences should explain and support what has gone before.

Day Three:  Write a single sentence concerning each of the above areas that is in opposition to the previous paragraph, exposing the dark side of things, or the silver lining.

Day Four:  Add two more sentences the above single line expanding and explaining in a paragraph.

As you can see they are simple and focused directives, but they have a lot of potential in helping you learn about your protagonist or villain.  He adds examples and further details on how this will give you material to work with and give you the necessary motives for your characters.  Highly recommend his work and recommend you get it on his official website:  Stormwolf.com

You won’t have to do this with every character in your novel, of course, but the main ones or the ones with critical elements in your story, you will want to spend the extra time and effort with.  Learn not only their private history, but their troubled future.

Take a magnifying glass to the character and learn who they are — it will make your characters more believable, their actions seem authentic and ultimately your work that much more richer!

If you  have other resources you use to build up your character backgrounds I would love to hear about it.  What other questions do you ask or use?