Tag Archives: Creative Writing

Character Analysis: Jasper

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Jasper

This post features Jasper
from A Book Without Dragons
No Spoilers

Jasper has always been part of the plot, even when A Book Without Dragons was still a short story. While his functionality within the story went through a bunch of rewrites, his personality was pretty solid from the beginning.

From a plot standpoint, having him there allowed a good amount of the exposition to come out in dialog between him and Willow. Also, since the five main characters are all in unsteady places in their lives, Jasper served as a good offset to that. He loves his life, he’s happy with his job, he feels confidant in who he is. That kind of energy helps to bring awareness to what the others seem to be missing.

“I don’t think you’re the kind of guy to do anything rash. Let’s sort this out.”
“What are you, some kind of shrink?”
“I’m a crisis negotiator for the FBI,” Jasper said, and then shrugged. “It seems like you’re having a crisis.”

But from a more internal standpoint, it just made sense to me that Willow would need to be with a friend during the Unitime crisis. Willow’s always been the kind of person who really thrived on close relationships, even though he tends not to have many of them. Willow would probably claim that he prefers solitude so other people wouldn’t be endangered, but beneath all that, I know he’s profoundly grateful to have Jasper there with him.

I did struggle a bit with Jasper’s personal story arc and what sort of agency I wanted him to have within the story. In some of the earlier drafts he served an exclusively emotional purpose, and I knew pretty early on that I wanted more for him than that.

As I was outlining, I first started to feel like Jasper’s arc was working when I introduced the dynamic between him and Snowiks. Yes, he was still functioning in a primarily emotional context, but I just loved how much more dynamic Snowiks’s personal arc became once Jasper was involved.

Jasper dropped into a chair and looked around the room with a fond nostalgia that I almost couldn’t comprehend. If I’d actually gotten out of Chagrin Heights, as was always the plan, I would hate any reminders of where I started.

The way Jasper could come into a scene and guide it in the right direction was always fun for me to watch. It was effortless, really. And maybe that has something to do with how open and connected his is with other people. I always loved that about him.

So, once we’d established this extra connection with Snowiks, it became a lot easier to find other plot-positive things for Jasper to do. I was able to tap more into his skills as an FBI agent, and have him work either with or against Snowiks.

I particularly enjoyed playing with his training as a crisis negotiator. The scenes where we really get to see Jasper in his element were so much fun to write.

 

If you’re curious
about Jasper, you can
find the full book here.

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Drabble: Snowiks and the Post Office

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This post features Snowiks from A Book Without Dragons.
No Spoilers

Drabble Type: Canon (aka – Events that really happened to the characters)
Timeline: After the events of the book 

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Snowiks opened his e-mail with the daily sense of defeat. He didn’t know why he still checked it, really. It was considered antiquated. (People these days were using voice-snaps, which Snowiks refused to send simply because the name sounded stupid.) This time, though, his routine wasn’t for the sake of warming up the keyboard – he had a message.

And what’s more: the message was from the post office. Paper mail hadn’t been delivered for the past decade, but the establishment still existed. The e-mail concisely informed him that he had something waiting for him and could he please pick it up before next Thursday?

No need to wait that long. After his shift ended, he didn’t even swing by his home before heading towards the local post branch. (‘Local’ takes on the meaning of ‘a two hour drive’ when one lives in a town as small as Chagrin Heights.) Read the rest of this entry

Drabble: Pumpkin Spice Day

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This post features Jasper and Snowiks from A Book Without Dragons.
No Spoilers

Drabble Type: Meta (aka – characters know they are characters)

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Chief Snowiks saw a brief shadow on the door only moments before it swung open—Jasper, apparently, didn’t feel the need to knock.

He also didn’t feel obliged to ask Snowiks if he was busy. “Chief! It’s Pumpkin Spice Day! Where were you?”

Snowiks flipped over the top paper on the pile, though it was purely a reflex. Jasper technically had security clearance to look at anything that might pass over his desk. “I was right here,” he said. “And what is…?”

“Pumpkin Spice Day,” Jasper repeated, holding out a to-go cup of coffee as if that explained everything. Read the rest of this entry

Drabble: Samantha and Zen

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This post features the following characters:
Samantha from Waiting Room
Zen from Dove Without Wings (No More Heroes)
No Spoilers

First off, thank you muchly to everyone who voted in my previous post! (If you missed it, fear not. I’ll probably do it again because I had a good time with this!) 

So, the Drabble you picked for me was Zen + Samantha + a wine-tasting party. Which was a fun little challenge because Zen would never go to something like that unless being forced. I tried writing it from both points of view, but ultimately chose this one. I almost always write from inside Samantha’s head, so it was cool seeing what someone else thinks of her. (Even if that someone is Zen, who has very low emotionality compared to my other characters, but hey.)  Read the rest of this entry

Pre-writing Traditions

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When it comes to my writing process, I am a creature of tradition. And I’m not even talking about the actual writing process. I’m talking about before, in that strange limbo between when I say, “Okay, it’s writing time” and when I actually put words on the page.

These little rituals have evolved over time, but at the moment they include the following:

–                     Lighting three writing candles (yeah, those same ones I have at the bottom of every post…) Read the rest of this entry

Character Focus: Samantha

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This post features Samantha from Waiting Room
Warning: Spoilers!

Here’s another of my Character Surveys 🙂 (The first was Trevor’s a few weeks ago.) Samantha was just so much fun to work with. Even though I finished her story a long time ago, I end up thinking about her every time I go to the doctor’s, and I remember, “Aw, yeah… Samantha… You were weird and I miss you.”

SAMANTHA

 

  • Gender: Female
  • Age: 27
  • Hair Color: Brown
  • Eye Color: Dark Brown
  • Hair Style: Long, worn many different ways depending on her persona of the day
  • Body Type: Slightly taller than average, curvy
  • Favorite color: Burgundy
  • Typical Outfit: Haha… there definitely isn’t one…   

Read the rest of this entry

Character Focus: Trevor

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This post features Trevor from School Spirit
No spoilers

This is a technique I’ve been using for many years to help develop my characters. I created a survey of 100 questions, and randomly choose 20. Additionally there are the bullet point questions which everyone fills out. I give the survey to the character (Yes, my characters frequently get homework from me. And they can get over it and stop grumbling.) They fill out the survey, and then the dialog section gives my trusty alter-ego a chance to delve into whatever strikes her curiosity at the moment.

Feel free to ask your own questions in the comments, and I’d be happy to pass them along to Trevor 😉 Read the rest of this entry