No idea is really new. When you’re writing supernatural, this is something that readers can be quick to point out. Not another….We’re all influenced by something. But that doesn’t mean that everything’s been done already. Here are some ways to keep your characters fresh and exciting:
Get to know your characters before you write: I have two supernatural series, one with vampires and one with shape shifters. Before I wrote one word of the story, I figured out what traits my creatures had. This way I could make sure they were unique. My vampires feed off of energy, and my lions and deer shift to find their mate. That might not sound groundbreaking, but by knowing this before I started writing, I could assign attributes to them to make sure they were three dimensional characters with something new to say.
Figure out why you chose that creature: Every detail of your story should move it forward, including what your characters are. Choose wisely. My vampires are rock stars in residence in Las Vegas. All three are dark, sensual, untouchable things that thrive in the night. It wouldn’t have made sense to make them anything else. I chose my lion and doe story because lions prey on does, but I wanted to make him fall in love with her instead. Talk about tension.
Do the opposite: There will come a time in every manuscript when I find myself treading dangerously close to someone else’s idea. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but I want my story to truly be my own. When I catch myself doing this, I have my characters do the opposite of what the reader will expect. I let them make bad decisions. (bad character decisions are so much fun!) I let them fall down and figure out how to pick themselves up.
Let your characters lead the way: Plans are great, but characters are willful little beings. They have wants, needs and opinions. Let them act on them! I’ve had some of the greatest plot twists by simply handing the reins over to my characters.
Create something new: Maybe not everything’s been done. We just don’t know it yet. What happens when a werewolf mates with a vampire? A witch with a fairy? A troll with a human? Our imaginations are limitless.
Kristen shares a birthday with Steven Tyler and Diana Ross. She spends each day striving to be half as fabulous as they are. She’s worn many hats, none as flattering as her cowboy hat: banker, retail manager, fledgling web designer, world’s worst cocktail waitress, panty slinger, now makeup artist and author. She loves sunshine, live music, the middle of nowhere, and finding new things to put in her house.
She’s the author of Because of the Night and many more novels.