Dawn Montgomery

Archive for April, 2011|Monthly archive page

Rules and How to Break Them

In Workshops on April 30, 2011 at 6:47 pm

 All content © Dawn Montgomery 

Yesterday I chatted a bit about characters. I went through how I create my initial characte ideas. After devloping them, I would surf the net for images that capture my ideal character portraits. If I can’t find one, I’d draw one on my own.

Today I’m going to talk about creating rules in your world. This is a continuation of the worldbuilding for Seduced by Shadow. Please note that this book will be a free read, but the workshops contain spoilers. So if you’d rather wait for the novella, by all means. It’ll be out Memorial Day weekend (May 30, 2011).

When I created my villain, I decided he had to create a blood curse on his family in order to become more powerful than the hero. In my world, a blood curse has to be fed.

So rule #1: blood curses need to be fed in order to maintain their integrity.

This leads to rule #2: Failure to feed the curse would cause a backlash against the caster.(oooo now it’s getting good!)

So now I have to tie in my heroine…rule #3: maintaining the blood curse requires a sacrifice. (and now you know why she’s there).

In order for my villain to be truly villainous, and my hero to be truly heroic, the blood curse would need to be carried out by a an unwilling hero while the villain watches (and gains power).

So rule #4: Interaction between the hero and heroine can be fatal, but their attraction to one another has to be unstoppable (both physically and magically).

At this point I can tweak my characters some. My heroine will have known somewhat about this curse, actually searched it out. Why? Maybe she lost someone dear to her? That can have interesting side effects…

Rule #5: All magic use has consequences. The greater the spell, the more destructive the consequences.

Rule #6: The hero moves in shadows, through a shadow world. So, by contrast, the villain moves in light and fears the darkness. (so much fun!).

If I break one of these rules, I had better have a damn good reason why. Take rule #4 for instance…how can I seduce the heroine if the heroe’s touch can kill her? Does it only kill her in a sacred area? Will a small amount of blood satisfy his dark hunger? Whatever the method, I have to get them together…but the consequences will be dire.

We’ve discussed a bit of worldbuilding, character development, and now creating (and breaking) rules. Next up will be location.

Worldbuilding, an introduction

Creating Characters

Worldbuilding: Creating Rules


Your Characters

In Workshops on April 29, 2011 at 6:46 pm

 All content © Dawn Montgomery 

Yesterday’s post was an introduction to world building. Today I want to talk about what makes the heart of your story…your characters. Whether you write by the seat of your pants or meticulously plot every detail, every good story begins with your characters.

A dear writing friend once told me to take a character and determine what could be the worst possible thing you could do to them…then do it. You have to know more about your character to begin with, right?

If I don’t have a solid character foundation, then how can I create rules that I have to follow, or break, in order to complete the story?

For the duration of this world building break down, I’m going to use a current work in progress: Seduced in Shadow.

I knew I wanted a story that involved curses and elves. I mean, after all, no one does a curse like an elf does, right? I’ve always been fascinated by handsome, charismatic men who were vile, and terrible characters. So I knew I’d have a gorgeous male villain. Who would he be? He would have to be a blood relative of my hero, because cursing your own blood brings the hammer of doom on you as well…*rubs hands together in glee* Key things to remember, almost all bad guys will justify their behavior as the right thing. It’s rare in human nature for a person to knowingly do a bad thing just because it’s the wrong thing to do. There has to be a motivation. For my character, he feels that he was cheated of his birthright, and the destruction of his brother is worth any pain on his part. The call of the self-righteous…but he was mad to being with, see?

What about the hero/antihero? He would have to be my fallen angel. Trapped in a curse and forced to do the one thing he would have hated more than anything. And all this to keep his brother in power. He had to make a mistake, a horrible mistake, that put him in this place. Every waking moment would be a reminder of his that moment. He would be forced to relive his agony for as long as the curse held. I like tortured heroes, can you tell?

This is getting good!

Now for the heroine. Here is where it gets tricky. I need a lady who is strong enough to save the hero (and in turn, save herself), smart enough to find a way out of the mess she’s fallen into, and vulnerable enough to gain the trust of the reader. And here’s the key…I have to like her…or I’m going to write her death a thousand times. I’ve done it. I know. There has to be a very important reason for her to be there, a very special something making her a catalyst between these two powerful (and delicious) men.

I’ll leave that one for another workshop day.

World Building

In Software, Workshops on April 28, 2011 at 6:25 pm

When I take on a new project, I have to thoroughly break down the background information. Who this character is, why they do what they do, where they grew up, and where they live now.

If it’s parnormal, I create rules…very specific rules with the understanding that if these rules are broken (after I create them), something catastrophic will happen.

I draw maps (or find them), take notes on rooms of a home that I would come back to time and again, and document little tidbits of information that need to be leaked out for the overal story arc. I also have pictures of the hero, heroine, and all major characters. But where do I put them all?

I use Scrivener to house all my information. I can pull up maps and coordinates, pictures and notes, and everything in between. I can have a file that holds all the information that nags at me when I’m writing…you know, what color was that horse the hero was riding? How did he tip his hat when he was perplexed…stuff like that. Do you have to use them? Of course not! I used to keep an index file with images, notes and maps paperclipped to the folder. It worked for me for many years…but I *never* throw anything away. So finally the clutter was becoming too much.

Over the next few days I’m going to break down how I build up a world, and I invite you to come along.

Writing Vacation?

In #amwriting on April 24, 2011 at 9:59 pm

I’m back home with my Mom because her husband passed away. I’ve received countless condolences and well wishes, so thank you. My Mom really appreciates the support.

Funerals are interesting get-togethers in my family. No one ever says what they mean, empty promises are always made, and it ends with well wishes and hopes of keeping in touch.

What is it about family that brings out the worst in people?

When my head is crowded and my mind is busy, I usually write. Luckily, I brought my laptop so I can do that without stressing anyone too much.

Conflicting messages, mixed signals, high emotion and tragic histories.
Isn’t that what family brings to the table? There’s also the warmth, the beauty, the willingness to sacrifice everything for someone else, no matter what they may have done to/with you.

Isn’t that the meat of characters in a story? How far are they willing to go to see the end of the tale? How deep will they get for someone else’s mistakes? Will the confrontation be monumental?

My Mom is a beautiful woman inside and out. She’s braved a lot of terrible storms in the past. I admire her, and I’ll miss my step-father. I know she misses him too.

We talked about my writing and she asked if I ever put any of our family issues in my books. I thought long and hard about it and said, no. Actually, I’ve been avoiding any reference to anything in our family.

She then said…”Why? This is life. The real deal.”

Mom nailed it, then, didn’t she? Write what you know…and I know family drama… LOL.

Keep writing!

The Madness Begins

In #amwriting on April 23, 2011 at 2:52 am

I am working on a super-secret project that involves the underground cowboy scene I grew up with in Texas.  Of course it’s paranormal,  sexy, and full of sizzling attraction. I have two words for you…

Leather. Chaps.

As you’ve probably figured out from following me on my blog or website…I like to laugh. A lot. So to keep my mind fresh and make me feel relaxed every time I sit down and write…I have (with Kim Knox’s fantastic help) dubbed this three book series: Werecow.

Werecow 1: Aiden

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