James Drummond's Blog

October 30, 2015

Making Characters Memorable

When I started the Out of the Dark series, I knew who my characters were. I knew what they were about and where they were going. I had a clear picture of them in my mind. What I wasn’t sure about was how to create them in a way that would allow my readers to picture them as clearly as I could. Even the supporting roles. How would I make them memorable?

How do I make one character distinct enough from another so that my readers don't mix them up in their minds. I’ve done that before while reading a story and I know how frustrating it can be. When I introduce a character on page 16 my readers need to be able to remember him when he reappears on page 60, and not confuse him for somebody else. I tried giving characters memorable names, memorable haircuts, and I gave a couple of them memorable ways of speaking. But I couldn’t give everyone from a small town in Oregon different accents.

Then an early reviewer of my first book, who took a look while it was still a work in progress, turned me on to the use of tags. More than a simple description, a character tag calls to mind aspects of the character’s personality and uniqueness. One of the most popular ones that I imagine most of the people reading this will be familiar with is Harry Potter's scar. It’s not just something that identifies Harry immediately to all who see him, but something that plays a significant role in Rowling's series.

In a way I was already using this device to a certain degree. My main character, Toby, is often wearing his faux-leather jacket with an inset cotton hood—based off of the jacket the vampire character Aidan wore in American version of Being Human (http://www.scifinow.co.uk/wp-content/...). However, I turned his jacket into more of a character tag by having Toby often pull up the hood to “avoid all the sympathetic eyes that greeted him seemingly everywhere he went.”

In my second book, Something Wiccan, I have a warlock character who is quite fond of using fire as a weapon. I like using character possessions as tags as well, whether it be a weathered rucksack or a Zippo lighter. Mannerisms can be a great way to make a character memorable too.
So if you’re struggling to find ways to set your characters apart, I strongly recommend this device. Like me, you’re probably already using it to a degree. Now see if you can expand upon it. Does one of your characters have raven black hair? Maybe she can subconsciously twirl it when she’s anxious. Or maybe not. I’ve got a character who does that.
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Published on October 30, 2015 14:22 Tags: character-tags

October 5, 2015

Holiday Promotion

Much of the advice I've read for indie authors about how and when to begin marketing books has recommended that you wait until you have multiple books published.

I was fine with waiting because I was never all that excited about marketing. Like most authors, I enjoy writing books much more than material for media kits or blog posts. However, this month I am going to take a break from writing my Shadow Tales series and instead focus on getting the word out about it. I'll be sharing any clever or successful avenues I find and would love to hear back from any authors who have had success with a strategy they've tried.

One cute idea I stumbled across today was a halloween promotion called Trick or Treat Reads. The idea is basically that authors make their books free on Halloween. I'm thinking I might try it for the first book in my series: The One You Feed. If I do join the promotion I will let you know how it goes.

If you'd like to look into it yourself, you can find more information here: http://www.patricialynne.com/blog/tri...
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Published on October 05, 2015 12:11 Tags: trickortreatreads

The Agreement is out now!

The Agreement (Shadow Tales #3) by James Drummond

I'm proud to announce that the third book in my supernatural adventure series in now available on Amazon. Here's a short description:

Returning home after a rough first mission, Toby Hoffman settles back into life as a normal teenager with surprising ease. He enjoys his days in Silver Falls, but knows deep down that his true calling is to hunt monsters and help those in need.

He gets the opportunity to do both when a fellow hunter in the European Huntsman’s Network goes missing. Toby returns to Europe to rejoin his former colleagues and help track down the vanished hunter.

Veteran hunter Jack Steele leads the search-and-rescue mission, happy to have Toby’s recently inherited warlock powers at his disposal. They come in especially useful when the hunters cross paths with Jack’s lifelong nemesis in a small Scotland town.

While fighting for survival, Jack and Toby come to truly appreciate the horrific agreement the wicked vampire has forged with the town’s residents. They call on familiar friends who quickly come to their aid as the hunters face their most formidable threat yet.
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Published on October 05, 2015 12:01