I am a character. Parts of me are in my characters. Parts of other people make their way into my works.
I’ve written about character development before, so forgive me if some of this is a rehash. Where do some of the traits of my heroes and villains come from? Could or should a main character act or do something out of the ordinary? Should certain characters mix?
For me, the answers are simple. It’s authenticity. If I can be brave enough to bring my feelings and experiences to the table, then yes, I can write it and put my belief behind my pieces.
A few examples. Kate Church is my first main character in my steampunk society series. She goes through hell and back, several times, to the point of developing some serious mental issues (which “hint” is a little spoiler for the upcoming “Lafayette to London”).
When we first meet Kate, she’s trying to survive in a Western town that saw it’s best days long ago. She’s kind but spirited and draws from faith, past experiences, and a little luck to pull her through some precarious events. Kate has the ability “to turn it on”, that gusto that athletes and musicians have at the starting line or at curtain time. And after the show? They can shut it off, unwind, go home. Sometimes there’s a performance afterglow, but still the gift of chill.
I got in an interesting discussion about this on/off talent with a friend. They didn’t believe someone could just “turn it on”. I reminded them that first responders do it every day (as again do musicians and athletes). Is every rescue, reaction, or performance perfect? No. Can people get always through it without issues? Probably not, BUT maybe they don’t let it show. Will they suffer consequences of burying feeling? Probably and I adjust my characters accordingly.
Kate does some things that may seem “out of character”. But I hope that readers will keep pushing forward to find out the “why”. I like my characters to unwind like an old spool of ribbon, not always straight, sometimes loopy, but always the expected width and length.
Will, my vampire, has been through every emotion. After over 600 years on the planet, he’s done or seen pretty much everything. Each “new” experience reminds him of previous lives.
My favorite (and seemingly everyone else’s) Vampire’s Little Black Book series stories is “Mabel”. There’s a lot of her in me, and every other sweet older woman that’s missed the boat in some respects in life. Mabel is not your typical beauty. She’s been denied love, family, and the better things in life. Yet, Will finds the naïveté of her heart irresistible. I know why Mabel is a favorite. Mabel is every woman. Mabel is imperfect. And I think most of the readers can relate to Mabel’s character traits: shyness, loneliness, and kindness.
My villains run the gamut from truly evil (Drasco in “Strax and the Widow”) to people that suddenly find themselves on the wrong side (Brother Evan in “The Kicho”). Drasco is filthy, rude, and angers his superiors by killing too much. In contrast, Brother Evan bumbles the handling of a targeted female agent by falling in love and impregnating her.
I’ve hired models/actors to portray some of my characters in photos and book trailers, which makes my work even more interesting to see their take on my characters. And after seeing some of the photos, more traits come to the surface. Even a short shoot I did of Steampunked Marie Antoinette gave me insight to an upcoming character in “Lafayette to London” and inspiration a whole different genre as well:
The list of characters grows. I hope you enjoy the upcoming pieces.
I’m nominated for St. Louis Magazine’s A List! If you’d like to help me get on the A List, I’d really appreciate your votes! If you comment in the discussion or on any of my posts in the Facebook event page, you’re eligible to win a basket full of my books and some steampunk swag goodies!
You can follow updates here on the blog or event page (link here):
If you’d like to just vote, the link is here:
Again, I am so very, very grateful for your support. More good things are coming.
Thank you for reading,
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BOOKS – all my books are on Amazon.
My First Young Adult Steampunk Short has arrived!
“Emerald Beginnings” is story of a young woman who dreams of a Steampunk world at night, but lives the normal life of a teen in New York during the day. Check it out here:
Emerald Beginnings: A Society Series Short Story https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07NHZHCCC/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_FoAJCbW8CYSA6
The Kicho is here!
The Kicho: The Dolls of Society Series, v.1 https://www.amazon.com/dp/173159075X/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_V2wlCbQR04GN6
The first Society Series continues on Amazon/Kindle!
-“Strax and the Widow”-And so the Discussion began…Strax is a weird west steampunk adventure. The Lady has arrived at her destination. See where that place is.
-“Revenge and Machinery”-the Strax sequel is full of intrigue, action, romance, mystery. and the spinoff of “Strax and the Widow”.
-“A Long Reign”-A Society Series spin off, Amazon UK Storytellers competition semi finalist and bestseller. A darker side of Steampunk.
-A vampire collection “The First Ten Bites” is on Amazon/kindle:
The First Ten Bites, Black and White Edition: The Vampire’s Little Black Book Series, v. 1-10 https://www.amazon.com/dp/1978093241/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_kzm4zb0KAZABG
ALL my written works are here, my amazon author page:
-A Sleepy Book of Dogs is also available on Amazon. Great for the pooch lovers!
Social and Media Links!
-Like on Facebook-The Countess, Official Fanpage of Victoria L. Szulc
-Follow on Twitter-@TheCountessSP
-YouTube-The SP Countess, link to one of my videos here: https://youtu.be/jEz9QSInhWg
-On Pinterest-Victoria Szulc (nee Schultz)
SHOPS!-note if you see ANY item on social media, please don’t hesitate to contact me about purchasing. DM me please through whatever media you are using.
–I have most of my steampunk and gothic items in the Boo-Tique at Haunted STL Tours. This is a physical shop you can walk into. Hours and information at HauntedSTLTours.com
-My squareup store is open! Here is the link:
-Etsy: NOTE if you see something you like, get it ASAP, I do not have an exact date of when I’ll be closing the Etsy store.
-Fine Art America-store coming soon
Thank you for reading!