Appreciating Small Booktubers! The Jay Dee Show 35

I put a lot of effort into one video this past week. It was a big one, and I’m pushing it out to many people. You see, just like here on this blog where I like to shout out other bloggers, on YouTube, I want to do shoutouts for smaller booktubers. I actually uploaded 4 videos, though 2 are the same, just on different channels.

On my main channel, I uploaded 3 videos. It’s not as many as I’d hoped, but the third one I uploaded I did a lot of planning for.

Starting off with some Authors Answer, I talked about my writing process.

And since July 1 was Canada Day, we enjoyed some of the events that were going on.

Then it’s the big one. The Small Booktuber Shoutout Tag. I talked about 12 channels that have fewer than 1,000 subscribers. And I tagged many people.

The other channel that I uploaded to was Tommy and Dad, the one for my daughter and I. But it was the same video as the Canada Day one above.

Over the next week, I’m going to get some more Japan videos up, and hopefully a couple Star Trek videos. I’ve been getting behind on the videos. Authors Answer #34 will be coming later today.

Which videos did you enjoy? Let me know in the comments section below!

Authors Answer 138 – Developing Characters

Characters are central to a story. They need to be well-developed and believable to be considered good characters in a serious story. It’s important to make sure their behaviour is consistent. We’re going back to basics this month, talking about the development of stories. This week, it’s characters.

Question 138 – How do you develop the characters of your stories?

H. Anthe Davis

Jeez, I don’t know… I’m five books into a series, so at this point when I introduce a new character, I usually I have a vague idea of what I need from them (antagonist or ally? from which faction? which gender, which skills?), and then I spin details off of that base, trying not to duplicate traits from other characters. Then I write them into scenes with other established characters and figure out how they interact, and either expand upon them if it’s an interesting dynamic, or keep them sidelined/backgrounded if that’s all they’re good for. As for my main characters… Hell, I don’t know that either, since I first made some of them over twenty years ago. I guess it’s just basic traits + personal quirks + character interactions + developing history and psychology as I go along, until they start to feel like real people.

Tracey Lynn Tobin

To be honest, I base most of my characters on real people I know, and sometimes on TV/movie characters that I’ve watched for years and feel I know practically as well as a real person in my life. From there I base the progression of the characters on how I imagine their real-life counterpart would actually react to the situations I come up with for them. Obviously it’s all conjecture, as I couldn’t possibly know how anyone would actually react to something like zombies or being transported to an alternate universe, but it helps me develop my characters by picturing the events happening in real life and running with how my imagination views things playing out among the people involved.

Jean Davis

As a tried and true pantser, I start writing a male or female of whatever age is fitting to the story and figure out who they are along the way. I like to get to know them in context rather than on a character sheet beforehand. Though, I did try that once. It was too restrictive. I ended up picking a couple characteristics from the whole sheet and just running with that. He became a pretty cool and loyal supporting character.

Beth Aman

In my opinion, characters are composed of details. So I build characters by assembling details, sometimes from my imagination and sometimes from real people (generally strangers, not friends). Every human is a jigsaw of details – nervous habits, catch-phrases, dressing choices, speech patterns, favorite books, topics they talk about again and again, etc. My favorite characters are the ones that feel like real people because they have things that make them them. So that’s what I strive to do with my own characters.

C E Aylett

Research. Lots of it. I research where they come from, read blogs if I can find them of where they live or grew up to find local knowledge and build a picture from there. I also use character questionnaires to really dig deeper. There’s other tricks, too, but those are the main ones.

Paul B. Spence

My characters grow organically. Main characters get backstories written before I begin. Others get what I come up with on the fly. It is usually just a matter of asking who is right to see this story through, and going from there.

D. T. Nova

Not very deliberately. The original concept can be sparked from anywhere, and once a character exists in my head they have a life of their own. Characters created for one simple reason turn out to have depths I didn’t know, or adopt attributes that I had thought belong to someone else. I run scenarios through my head and pay attention to what never changes, and that includes situations I don’t have a reason to write.

Linda G. Hill

My characters often come to me. In my recent release, The Magician’s Curse, a ghost showed up at the door. I have no idea where she came from, but she told me who she was, and ended up being a favourite of some of my beta readers. It’s like that for just about every main or secondary character in my stories. Sometimes they’re inspired by an accent (Stewie’s, from Family Guy for example), sometimes a speech pattern (don’t got no example for that), and sometimes it’s a physical trait in someone I’ve seen in real life. In my current work-in-progress I have a character with a nose so sharp it could cut a cheesecake. I saw him at the mall and thought that immediately.

Cyrus Keith

I’ll be honest, I start with a vague, general sketch, and let the characters just kind of develop themselves as the story progresses. Sometimes, I’ll get a “whoa, that’s awesome!” kind of revelation halfway through, and then I have to go all the way back to the beginning of the story and edit those qualities in. That way, the story and the characters grow together. Besides, I’m way too lazy to generate complex character tables.

Gregory S. Close

I create a thorough backstory for all of my major characters, and try to get at least the basics in for supporting characters. Then, as the story unfolds, the characters reveal interesting bits about themselves that I incorporate into the narrative. Sometimes little of the original background remains, sometimes a lot. The important thing is to be true to the “voice” of the character – don’t try to force it.

Jay Dee Archer

I get pretty detailed about my characters before I even start writing. The main characters all get a biography. Not only do I write out their life history, I make note of their appearance, personality, major life milestones, age, birthplace, political stance, hobbies, strengths, weaknesses, and more. For dialogue, I want to make sure I have their mannerisms down. This needs to be consistent. They need to sound like they’re all different characters. That’s a major problem for some authors. They create characters that all sound the same. For minor characters, they’re developed as I write, mostly. But sometimes, for both major and minor characters, they take on a life of their own. They go a little different direction that I first intended, but this usually works out and makes them more realistic.

How about you?

If you’re an author, how do you develop your characters? Let us know in the comments section below.

Sharing the Love! The Jay Dee Show 34

So many positive videos this past week! And my first ever live stream! That was fun. I uploaded a total of 4 videos, all on my main channel. I was planning on doing more videos today, but didn’t have enough time.

So, on my main channel, I talked a lot about some positive stuff and a bit about Star Trek: Discovery. Let’s take a look.

We start off with the big one. The live stream. It’s a Q&A, and I was joined by a few people who watched it as I streamed it live over the internet.

And then, there’s some Star Trek: Discovery news.

I moved on to talking about Harry Potter and why Piers Morgan is wrong about it.

And then I shared my love of booktube with everyone!

Coming up soon are the delayed Authors Answer video, plus a Star Trek video, a new tag appreciating small booktubers, and more!

Let me know what you thought of these videos. Thanks for watching!

Authors Answer 137 – Unusual Writing Inspirations

Authors’ ideas don’t just pop in their minds from nowhere. Something has to inspire them. It could be a person, a scene, an event, a song, anything. Many of these inspirations are quite ordinary. But sometimes, they can be pretty strange.

Question 137 – What was one of the most unusual writing inspirations that sparked a story idea?

H. Anthe Davis

A couple years ago, I wrote a rather large short story (short novella?) based on an idea of very boring vampires. Urban vampire fantasy is always so seduction/violence/whatever-based, and I just don’t like it…but I played several years of Vampire: The Masquerade with friends, so had ideas of other ways to write it. Which is how I ended up with a story about a vampire accountant who finds himself rescued from a vampire-on-vampire conflict over his just-destroyed clan’s wealth and resources by a glam Jewish vampire-hunter and her werewolf musician boyfriend. I really should edit and post it some day.

Paul B. Spence

Er… I’m sorry, that’s classified. I suppose that my more recent inspirations have been songs, for the most part. Sometimes dreams. Sometimes I’m just driving down the road and hear the scenes in my head. Strange, I know. I used to tell myself stories as a child, before I could read. The Remnant is based in part on a childhood story over forty years old at this point. I was a strange and disturbed child.

Jean Davis

Well, it’s not all that unusual, I suppose, but it’s been a long time coming, so I’m going with it. About twenty-five years ago, I ended up in a discussion about where god might come from while serving a customer a drink in the restaurant where I worked at the time. I’ve been mulling those ideas around ever since, and they served as inspiration for The Last God, which was just released this month.

D. T. Nova

I wrote a short-short based on an unusual search term from my blog.

Beth Aman

This one is quite funny. I was on an international flight​, tired and bored, when I looked across the aisle and saw a most peculiar man. He was dressed in a black suit that looked to be about a hundred years old, and the man himself looked to be at least a hundred and twenty. He wore a top hat and carried an old briefcase and a cane,​ and he had a long, hooked nose. He instantly became a character, and his briefcase became a method of smuggling magical artifacts. He​ was the beginning of a new novel, which is my current WIP.

Tracey Lynn Tobin

I get a lot of writing inspiration from other peoples’ media (books, video games, movies, TV shows) and also from the insanity that is my dreams, all of which is fairly standard practice, I’d say. However, one of my current works in progress was inspired by a deep, relentless hatred for one of the upper-management bosses at my last job. I’m pretty sure literally everyone else on the crew hated this guy with a passion. Well one day he did something to me specifically that just enraged me beyond the telling of it, and the next thing I knew I was three chapters deep into my second zombie novel, purely because I wanted an excuse to have him torn limb from limb in prose form. A little psychotic? Perhaps. But aren’t all writers at least a little insane?

Elizabeth Rhodes

Still not uncommon? Fair enough. I once saw a design someone made of a fantasy dress with armor and raven feathers. It got me thinking of what kind of royalty or nobility would wear such a dress, which led to creating the culture of an entire fantasy civilization. All from a dress.

C E Aylett

A home made postcard on a website. The picture was of six different locks of hair and on it was written: After they fall asleep, I cut the hair from the kids I babysit. All the people in the website’s forum were saying how creepy it was and I wanted to make it un-creepy, that it was more a cry of loneliness than anything else. It produced one of my strongest pieces, though also one of my saddest and maybe even most controversial. And people who critiqued it all said it was creepy, so that was a massive fail in that sense, though the story is really strong. Oh, didn’t I say the other week I couldn’t think of a writing failure? There you go. There’s one: I failed to un-creep the creepy. But it taught me a massive lesson in setting narrative tone. I still haven’t found anywhere that will publish it, even though it often gets serious consideration.

The postcard also inspired me to write a poem about a woman who was grieving the loss of a child, but that stays in the drawer along with the rest of my poems.

Gregory S. Close

I get a lot of ideas from history and non-fiction, but the inspiration for Greyspace was pretty fun, unintentional and off-the-wall. I was in an online Science Fiction writers workshop/class with the full intent of revising and publishing an old story about the fun and consequences of relativistic travel and leap-frogging technology, but the instructor told us that he wanted to see three writing ideas. So, I added the idea I fully intended to develop, a second idea about nano-bots, and the third, which I just threw in there so I could submit it on time, was basically a joke about spaceships that couldn’t achieve Faster Than Light travel through scientific methods, but instead had to rely on a sorcerer to get them through Hyperspace. “What if instead of Scotty in the Engine Room, you had Merlin.” And that ended up being the idea we both liked the most.

Eric Wood

I wrote a story about my childhood stuffed animal (which I still have, by the way). Though the little boy in story wasn’t me. Perhaps his imagination was. Barnaby and his boy were in the grocery store with Mom and got lost. While there they took a trip around the world.

Jay Dee Archer

I have a children’s book idea that began as a single sentence that my daughter said about two years ago. It has to do with dinosaurs, everyday life, and a child’s creative imagination. Maybe it’s not a very unusual inspiration, but

A Bit of Inspiration from InspiroBot!

I love this site! Ever heard of InspiroBot? It’s a website that uses an AI to create inspirational quotes along with pictures that may or may not be appropriate. I played around with it for a while. I wanted to see if I could get some literary quotes, and I wasn’t disappointed. I got two!

Wanna get crazy? These are the other ones that I saved. They can get pretty bizarre.

Which one was your favourite? Let me know in the comments below. Also, did you find some interesting ones on the website?

Why Harry Potter Is Important (aka Piers Morgan Is a Jerk)

Recently, J. K. Rowling celebrated the 20th anniversary of the release of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Piers Morgan responded by calling it hogwartswash. Basically, he insulted it. But Piers Morgan is well-known for being a jerk. I made a video addressing this, and I stated why Harry Potter is important. Check it out.

A lot of people started reading because of Harry Potter. It created a whole generation of readers. Some of you reading this right now may have started reading because of it.

How important is Harry Potter to you? Let me know in the comments.

I Did a Live Stream Q&A on YouTube!

I’ve always wanted to do a live stream on YouTube. It’s been available for YouTube Partners (that’s anyone who has monetized their videos) for quite a while now, but recently, they started mobile live streaming. For my first live stream, I went the mobile path.

I was able to set it up with no problems, though the thumbnail ended up being a bit strange. It was sideways. I fixed that, but it still appears on social media sideways.

So, what I did on the live stream is a Q&A. It was my 1 year anniversary making Booktube videos earlier this month, and I asked for some questions. I answered them in a nearly 25 minute live stream. It’s different than regular videos, because you are broadcasting live. Your viewers can leave comments in the live chat, which showed up on my screen, so I could interact with my viewers. And you know what? I found it to be pretty fun. I had far fewer problems saying what I wanted to say on the live stream than I do on a regular video. I made notes for what I was going to say, which I often do for videos, but I didn’t have to worry about being perfect. On video, I edit a lot, and I do many takes. But for live stream, there’s only one take and no editing. It goes up as is. And it is available on my channel. So, here is my live stream:

But just for fun, there was another live stream earlier, which I kept unlisted. It doesn’t appear on my YouTube channel. What I did was a test, and things turned out a bit differently than expected. Consider this a blooper. Enjoy!

I hope you were able to stick around for the entire live stream. Thanks for watching! Comments are appreciated.

The official blog of Jay Dee Archer. Exploring new worlds, real and fictional.