Saturday, March 22, 2014

Sunday Musings: March 23 2014

ChrisChat aka MuseChrisChat aka Christine Steeves-Speakman back with another sharing of Sunday Musings.

Our Muse Family shares quite a bit of ourselves and this past week I’ve shared a couple of my strange phobias. Okay, one is strange while the other is shared with many and can be quite debilitating…social anxiety. Think stage fright to the point of panic attack that comes across as a heart attack. Fear that stops your life. I’ve relearned how to re-think, so this isn’t as difficult for me as it once was.

The other is strange and slightly crazy…I freak if something/someone touches my hair/top of my head. Too many birds using my head for their droppings? Too many burrs caught and tangled? Just a sensitive head? Who knows, but I laugh about it even as I get the heebie-jeebies when typing this.

One of the things about writing is making your characters realistic…giving them life so your readers believe in them.

Having just shared my insane quirk of hair phobia and remembering someone once telling me that the most interesting characters are those with some type of flaw...what quirk, flaw, phobia does your character have?

And why? Why did you pick that one?

Is it one you've shared with readers or something only you know off page?

Pauline (P.M.) Griffin author of THE STAR COMMANDOS series

Varn has an inbred revulsion for off-prototype humans (mutants).  Once a touch from one physically sickened him, to the fury and disgust of Islaen (his wife and commanding officer).  During his time in the Federation, he has come to recognize the wrong, the injustice, of that attitude and has formed real friendships with individual mutants, but he cannot simply cast off the attitudes ingrained in him since infancy and must watch against being surprised into unwanted reaction.

I didn't select the fault.  It came with the package.  He is an Arcturian, after all.

My character, Carolyn, hyperventilates when she is nervous. This causes Jennifer Taylor a mean girl to bully her about it.

Why I picked this is I wanted her to have something that might be overcome. Also I thought readers might feel sorry for her with this. As for Jennifer's flaw, an eating disorder is also a way to make her more humane. It also explains why she acts so mean. With Jennifer Carolyn realizes her problem isn't as bad as she thought and she learns to live with it.

Meg Amor author of the soon to be released DARK WAR, A WILD DARKNESS STORY

I have three main characters. Henry has panic attacks, which are in the book. I gave him that because I also tie the story in with a WWII past life. The current panic attacks get triggered from an incident in that lifetime, flying a WWII B-17 bomber. He has several bad incidences in this lifetimes, giving himself an awful fright, which leads us to the WWII lifetime, eventually. Once he has the incident rewound for him, he stops having them. I wanted to show vulnerability in Henry, who's super sensitive but very masculine too. And I wanted to show growth in the character.

Izzy has a thing for textures. She cannot eat egg whites without nearly throwing up. Or things like game - rabbits etc. They come under pets for her. The egg whites are in the book, but the game got cut, word count saving measures. LOL. I have these things myself. I will poach a couple of eggs, but only eat the yokes out of them. I can cope with tiny amounts of scrambled eggs, but to sink my teeth into egg white - UGH. It runs in my family too. Yes, I should fix it. LOL. My father has it too.

What's interesting about that, is that I didn't know my father growing up, but it's one of his things as well. I couldn't eat custard or anything slimy like that as a kid. It'd make me dry heave.

I love people's oddities. It's what makes them interesting.

When I started writing Relocated, I wanted to overcome my phobia about sci fi world creation. I never intended to write a series. However, the characters refused to leave me alone. Martin, the main character in Geek Games, was a kid I'd slated as one of the 'bad guys'. He had plenty of flaws, especially a tendency to believe that as a computer hacker he could do no wrong, and that he was immune from the real-world consequences of his actions. He's also guarding secrets he'd intent on guarding, and knuckles under to peer-pressure as a result.

I might not have given him so many flaws if I'd started out making him the main character of a novel, but since he was already formed, so to speak, well ... It made him a much more interesting character than he would have been otherwise.

I was smarter with the main character of the fourth Aleyne novel, the one I'm working on now. He jiggles stones in his pocket when he's nervous, he'd too inclined to follow orders, he's emotionally unavailable -- poor guy!

Tanja Cilia, Content Editor for MuseItUp Publishing, Editor Submission Calls

I write a series of stories (not a book) in different publications meant for children (in Maltese) and they were "born" when I worked at the Fleur de Lys school... that is why they are called Fleur and Lee.

But this is not important, seeing that you wanted Muse books and not flaws.

Thank you for your interest.

The only story about them that has appeared in English is this one:

Fleur and Lee are twins - Fleur may be said to have OCD, Lee has ADHD, so of course they meet in the middle.  I have never said it, but it's obvious to anyone who follows the stories. 

In Crossed Out, whenever Stephanie sees a ghost, her eczema flares up big time.  **I used this because at the time I was dealing with my own eczema issues that were so severe at times that a doctor thought it might be cancer.  The creams I had to use were painful too.  So I decided to use my eczema in a more creative way. 

In No More Goddesses, Jordan is a tad bit OCD and compulsive with her obsession with Audrey Hepburn.  Her wardrobe is based on classic AH outfits that she finds at a local vintage shop.  If she's in a bind?  She uses her favorite phrase: WWAD?  What would Audrey Do? **I thought it would be fun to have a character who idolized a classic 50s star and who better than Audrey Hepburn? 

Her younger brother is a tad bit hyperactive and might even have ADHD.  **I used this as my own son has sensory issues and when he was younger was very hyper.  My own younger brother also had ADD.  And as a first grade teacher, I had my share of students with ADHD.

I think it's important for characters to have flaws. It keeps them realistic, human. 

Dawn Knox author of the upcoming: DAFFODIL AND THE THIN PLACE

With my character, Daffodil, I wanted to explore how a modern teenager might develop and adapt if she were plunged into Victorian life in a rural backwater. Like many teenagers, Daffodil is shy, awkward and desperate to blend into the crowd until a misunderstanding about her nationality gives her the courage to be an individual and to reinvent herself. 

Normally, she would have expected her parents to sort out her problems but now, she has no one to depend on and in fact, she finds that people are relying on her. 

There is a steep learning curve but somehow, Daffodil finds the strength and resolve to meet and overcome the challenges she encounters. 

Gaining confidence and becoming self-reliant is important, so perhaps a trip back to the Victorian times should be compulsory for all teenagers!

Dear reader, thank you again for joining us and we’d love to hear from you. Keep smiling and have a fun week. See you next Sunday…nothing better than being cozy in bed with some Musings.

If you have a question or comment you’d like us to muse upon, do not hesitate to contact me Christine Steeves-Speakman  at


J.Q. Rose said...

It s interesting to learn about flaws in your characters and how you developed them. Thanx for sharing.

Susan Bernhardt said...

It was interesting to read about your character's flaws. Thank you.