Erin Lausten

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Posts Tagged ‘characters’

Not my typical Post

Posted by erinlausten on October 29, 2015

I’ve seen a lot of people talking about invisible illness lately. Of course, in this social media firestorm we live in, everyone seems to be holding up their particular concerns like an ocean of picket signs. Perhaps I have only zeroed in on this particular discussion because it is something which concerns me as well. I’m not waving my sign and saying “Hey Notice Me! I AM HURTING TOO”. Not really. Though it is nice that I now have better words to use when discussing the issues with those close to me. But, what I am getting from the societal discussions is a recognition within myself that what I feel is real. And I’m not alone.
I’m struggling. I have been for quite some time. And I have done just about everything I can to dress it up, fight it, ignore it, and cry about it. I’m tired. So I’m not going to do any of that anymore.
I have depression. I have anxiety. I have chronic pain. I’m overweight. I am struggling with addiction to smoking. And my stress levels are uncontrolled.

Well, hello there. You too?

Here is an interesting thought one of my students brought to my attention. There is this misconception that in order to write, especially the good stuff, you must be a drunk, mentally unstable, chain smoking genius. Well, I am no genius, maybe that’s why it doesn’t work for me. All the other stuff really puts a kink in my writing process. No, I’m not a drunk. Thankfully that vice isn’t one I’ve acquired, but the others have been a constant battle. And I am so exhausted battling those demons, there just isn’t much left for my characters.
Due to this, my writing has slowed down. But I’m crawling up that particularly deep ravine and finding joy in life while finding ways to manage my illnesses. It’s a wonderful thing to see light in your life again. Even as you stand panting on the edge of that cliff, hoping you don’t fall back in.
One thing I can tell you about these experiences and writing–It sure gives me a lot to write about and new perspectives to complicate the lives of my characters. Life as a writer isn’t just sitting on your butt and writing words. It’s living life. It’s struggling. It’s watching the world around you spin in and out of control. It’s taking all the colors, dark, bright, muted, and brilliant and placing them on paper.
Am I ready to take my recent struggles and put them on paper, into the mouths of my characters? I don’t know. I honestly have no idea how this will go. I’m still struggling with my depression and anxiety. I’m still hurting every day. But I am learning to roll with it.
Soon, I’ll be back to torturing my characters with all the things a crazy life can throw at them.

Posted in writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Spaceship!!!

Posted by erinlausten on September 10, 2015

Yes, Benny is my favorite. If I must choose just one insane, walking plastic man of joy, I will pick a rabid astronaut every time. Why do I bring this up? Because I was stranded in my house with a sick 7 year old and a husband recovering from open heart surgery. (I will let you guess which one gave me more puppy dog eyes and requests for snacks or juice.)

I took solace in the Lego Movie. Thank you Lego for providing a no-brainer gift for whatever instance requires it; where my son is concerned. Thank you Lego for grabbing pop culture by the throat and demanding we hand over our money. Please, take it. Take my money. I had a quiet two hours (or however long that movie is) and a perfect representation of my mood in Benny.

Can I build it now? Now? Now?

I have this same voice in my head at all times. New ideas are throwing shoes, banging drums, and doing cartwheels in my brain. Imagine about twenty Benny’s jumping in your head. Sure, it might indicate a chemical imbalance, but I’m not going to tell my therapist about this, are you?

Anyway… So the point of this heretofore pointless post: Deadbeat is out. And the great thing about Deadbeat is that I got rid of a good forty Bennys in that one. I had so much fun writing the story and not just because well, hello… Vampires? But because these ridiculous scenes kept popping in my head and I actually had a place to put them.

As you jump in and run through this one, send me a note, throw in a comment, or just send a telegram (no more of those? Hmm), Smoke signal (oh, culturally insensitive, but I’m part… yeh, nevermind), carrier pigeon? (No? What do you mean they’re all dead??).

Ok, I don’t care how you tell me, but I do want to know what your favorite scene is. I’m dying to know… mwhoohahaha, get it? Dying. A book about vampires? No? Sigh, ok. I’ll stop.

Cheers!

Erin

Posted in character development | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Noodle Armed but Pumping

Posted by erinlausten on March 16, 2015

Life continues to move forward at a fast pace. I love it! I know it may not seem that way from the gaps in this blog. Or maybe it does. Either way, let me catch you all up on the most exciting items.
I am currently writing the third book in the Viator Legacy series and once again becoming engulfed in these dynamic characters. I can’t wait to share this one with you. Unfortunately, I have to finish it first!
Speaking of the Viator Legacy – tomorrow, March 17th, is the last day to purchase Unforeseen for $0.99. Get your copy and leave me feedback. Good reviews are great and not so good reviews are even better! I can only improve for you if I know what I am missing.
Now to end this post with some really exciting news!

Cibola’s Revenge will be offered digitally through Arizona Libraries via BiblioBoard Library. This is an awesome opportunity. I am very excited not just to be a part of this but also that libraries are becoming more open to digital editions as well as indie authors.

I hope you are all doing well and I can’t wait to make some more announcements soon.

Cheers!

Posted in writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Announcement and Sale!

Posted by erinlausten on December 17, 2014

Season’s Greetings to all my Readers and Friends!

After a honestly brutal heart to heart with my editor and betas I decided that I could not release Deadbeat just yet. You all deserve my best and that is exactly what I am going to give you.

I want to thank you for your continued support and patience. This story got away from me. This universe has so many unique personalities and they all want my attention. To be honest, they distracted me with how fun each one is.

In the meantime, to make up for the delay AND give everyone an opportunity to submit an honest review of my first book, I am lowering the price. From TODAY, December 17th, until January 31st you can purchase the digital version of Unexpected : A Viator Legacy Novel for only $0.99. This price is available on Smashwords, (for Kobo, Nook, iBook, PDF, etc.) and Amazon (for Kindle.)

This weekend I am baking cookies, decorating and spending time with my family. I hope you all are enjoying this Holiday Season with the people you love.

Happy Chanukkah, Blessed Yule, Happy Kwanzaa, and Merry Christmas!!XmasGingerbread

Posted in writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

We’re in a relationship – Surprise!

Posted by erinlausten on September 5, 2013

Writing is about relationships.

Ultimately the biggest relationship is established between the story and the reader. However, beyond that there are relationships between the narrator and the characters, characters with other characters, the characters with their situations and the characters with their environment. Each of these aspects creates a unique perspective. For the author, the challenge comes in presenting these perspectives effectively in unique and authentic voices.

People are people. And there are so many different kinds of people. An author is only one person, with their own personality, worldview and perspective. Some of the greatest stories present that perspective in an engaging and dynamic voice. This drives the reader to absorb the story and experience as something new and fabulous.

But within a story, an author must also present perspectives that may not be their own, as illustrated by their various characters. The most talented writers can create characters with vastly different perspectives that build a story arc which is both believable and fascinating. We want authenticity in our stories, and authenticity relies on a world that mimics our own. No one person sees the world exactly the same.

So how does the writer do it? Not without some serious work.

It is easy for all of us to become insolated. It is more comfortable to surround ourselves with like-minded people. We strengthen our confidence in our own worldview by accepting those things we like and disregarding those we do not. We watch the news we like, read the websites that justify our feelings, and discuss politics with others in our political party.

Things get interesting when we break beyond the safety of our perspective and seek out those that think differently or even directly contradict our ideas. Even more difficult is stepping away from what we know and believe to try to understand the thoughts and worldview of another in a way that is objective and not qualitative. The question is not to see if the person is right, but to be able to see how that person may react to any given situation.

When an author can create a unique personality with opinions, belief, history and experience so vastly different from themselves, it is an amazing feat. It is one that I strive for with varying degrees of success.

So, why is this on my mind today?

I have gone beyond my comfort zone in my latest manuscript and I have learned so much. In general I have limited my characters with control over the story’s perspectives. In the Viator novels, I have had two characters with points of view that the reader is privy to. In other stories, I have limited it to one. But in the latest Cibola novel, I have five active points of view. Is it overkill? Possibly. But I have been able to explore the motivations, philosophies, needs and desires of five extremely different personalities. Some are dark while others are optimistic. Some navigate the world with morals that leave me uncomfortable and others have personal challenges I do not have myself.

As I draw near the completion of the first draft, I am struck by how vivid the relationships between these characters have become. I have seen growth and challenges I could not have seen otherwise. They have taught me so much and I find I am looking forward to the end, when I can step away for a while, then return to look on these fascinating people with a new eye.

This is why I write. This is the magic of stories. How fabulous.

Posted in writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Is it just Me? Or is it Truly Bigger on the Inside?

Posted by erinlausten on August 7, 2013

I hit another milestone recently.

My son and I are reading the Chronicles of Narnia together. Now beyond the fact that he has the taken so well to listening to stories without pictures, I couldn’t be happier that he has learned to love a world which for so long been an influence on my life and philosophy. I do believe I may have an adventurer on my hands. We are in for a wonderful ride.

But I discovered something even more intriguing than usual, which with a boy of five, is quite a feat. This weekend we watched the three Narnia movies released since 2005. My son and I had made a pact that we would not watch the movies until we finished reading the first three movies. But we have only finished the first half of the third story. And yet, I could not wait—what can I say, I’m a sucker. It was a fabulous adventure, watching all three in two days, seeing this world in pictures through the eyes of a five year old. And then something miraculous happened. That night, my son hands me the book and asks for us to finish it.

There is no either/ or in this equation. The ability to shift from a visual/external medium to an audio/internal medium is natural and not rife with the qualitative question of better or worse. My son didn’t even think about which medium was better, but enjoys both. He seems to enjoy the way they create an experience in their own unique way.

So why then do we have this disconnect as we age? Why do we ask whether the book was better than the movie? Do we change how we see the book and imagine the characters if we have seen another’s vision of them before hand?

I have thought of this at times, not necessarily in a strict or specific sense, but quietly and without much care. But now I am. When I read a story, an author paints me a picture, but I see that world as my experience and desires lead. They may tell me the main character has blonde hair, but if I want them to have dark hair… then then will have dark hair. It’s my world. It is what I want it to be. But when I watch a film, the vision is presented to me, but the internal thoughts of those characters are silent. I get to fill in the motivation, the emotion, the meaning.

Film and television has often been described as a non-interactive passive experience. However, I think we have seen that it is hardly that. With fandoms exploding around the worlds which are created only in that medium, how can we ever think of it as a static experience?

And yet, we endeavor to create a competition between the mediums, arguing the merits and shortcomings of both. But I think I finally see that the true worlds don’t exist in the film or the pages of a book. They belong in the minds of the readers. And each world is different, built through the vision of the page and the pictures but completed in the eyes of the beholder.

What a beautiful world where our minds can hold so many unique stories and share the pieces with those we meet. And then they make their own. And the story goes on. I can’t even imagine what you see when you read my stories. But I hope it is wonderful.

Posted in dreams, motivation, quality, reading, reflection, voice, writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

When Characters Attack

Posted by erinlausten on July 3, 2013

I may have mentioned this previously, but I honestly have no control over my characters. Yes, I know, it sounds trite and like one of those things writers make up to sound more interesting. But trust me, I don’t need to make stuff up to think I am interesting—as my husband has repeatedly reminded me, I have an ego that makes it difficult to fit out the front door. Is it any wonder I don’t stay at home eating bon bons lounging in my awesomeness?

But I digress. We are discussing characters today, not me or my inflated confidence. Today I have an honest gripe with my characters.

In the past, we have seen Hailey from the Viator series swoop in like the girlfriend that throws herself at the boy checking you out across the bar. She’s high-jacked my blogs and my plots. And don’t get me wrong, it has made things highly interesting. But honestly, the issues I have had with Hailey stem from her stubbornness and fiery exclamations. She curses too much, can’t stay calm, and refuses to listen to orders. In general, though, she took the situations I threw at her and ran with them. I created the environment and stimulus. She reacted and moved us to the next scene. It was fabulous—(and did I mention?) highly entertaining.

One would expect that this pattern would continue with my other stories. And in general it has.

Enter Cibola’s Revenge and the mysterious characters jumping in for the ride without a by-your-leave. Oh yes, I have hobo’s grabbing hold of my plot lines. And what is even more frustrating is they come in exactly where they are supposed to and contribute essential and perfect aspects that apparently they knew I needed. I, however, remained oblivious until they wrote themselves onto paper.

Seriously? You couldn’t give me a heads up? Maybe a subliminal dream or a flash of insight? You just had to jump in there like something I had always planned.

And that’s the rub, because one would think if I had added characters then I must prepare for their appearance in previous chapters and would now need to go back to adjust the story for their arrival. Except, it seems I already have. Without intention. But they fit. Perfectly.

Sigh…I really thought I was driving this train.

Posted in writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »