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Sunday, June 16, 2013

A Peek Inside My Creative Process. Part 2.

Hi everyone,
As you remember, in the run-up to the Cambion Journals – Rage of Augustus release – I wanted to share a bit about the creative process behind this stories development, and what went into Augustus Thorne’s character.
Last week, I revealed a few details as to how I came up with the hero himself. A bit cheeky, I know, as I was literally asleep on the job. (His character actually came to me in a dream). Thankfully, however, after I remembered details about the repetitive scenes that spawned the idea, I managed to stay awake long enough to develop a great character.
Augustus Thorne is someone you wouldn’t want to cross. He’s a demon/human hybrid. A bad guy. But he’s a bad guy with a difference...Because he doesn’t want to be.
So, how could I make his story stand out from all the others?
Well, the first step was to make his message something you could really relate to.
His mother, Rosemary, was a young woman of impeccable character with the world at her feet. She was young, beautiful, and was engaged to marry the son of a local squire in 18th century rural England. Unfortunately, she was also the target of a demon. An Incubus cursed with an unsavoury appetite.
Incubi and Succubae feed on emotions. The stronger the emotion, the more succulent the feeding process will be. Unfortunately, the most powerful feelings are those released during moments of terror or sexual arousal. Needless to say, demons gorge themselves on such passions, and take great delight in perverting humans to their will, regardless of the cost. Usually, such attentions result in the death of the human involved. Rarely, the victims survive. If they do, they are not the lucky ones...
Over a period of many months, the Incubi targeting Rosemary wrought his skills artfully, and seduced her into a spiral of self loathing and destruction. Pregnancy, not death, was the result, ruining her life and her reputation. Cast out, she was left alone to fend for herself in an unforgiving and judgemental world. When Augustus was born, it was obvious he was not a human child. Instead of abandoning him – as usually happened to the offspring resulting from such liaisons – Rosemary cherished the child, and did her best to instil her own values within him.
And just as well, because Augustus was a force of nature!
As a Cambion – a human/demon hybrid – Augustus was blessed with all of Demondims attributes.  Supernatural abilities, preternatural longevity, hypnotically compulsive and stunning good looks. But, more worryingly, he also inherited their terrible hunger. The cruel, aching yearning that draws him to the life-force of humans.
And yet, Augustus refused to wholly submit to his true nature. Why? Because the sustained efforts of his loving mother paid off! Over the years, she instilled in Augustus a strong sense of right and wrong. Of self discipline and justice. Added to this was the fact that Augustus was an eye witness of the suffering his father’s attentions inflicted on Rosemary over the years. He experienced first-hand the shipwreck of a life she had to endure, and because of that, the seeds of hatred were born.
A hatred of the suffering his mother has had to endure.
A hatred of those who would inflict their desires on humankind.
A hatred of the hunger he is cursed with.
And especially, a hatred of the one who caused his existence in the first place. His very own spawn-father, Fanon.
All these things combined to focus his fury into a knot of self loathing. Because of them, Augustus can never be normal. He can never have what other men have. Someone to love. A family. Children. A simple, normal life.
And realizing he can never be whole, Augustus focuses that hatred into a pit of burning desire. The desire for revenge. And the Cambion Journals describe his journey as he seeks to vent that rage in a most focused and prejudiced fashion.
Do you see how people could relate to this?
Well, so could I. But I wasn’t satisfied. I wanted to make sure that readers would really be able to relate to Augustus and share his experiences with him.
So, how could I take all this passion, all this involvement, make it personal and move it up to the next level?
Ah – by taking the second step - a risk.
When you look at the world of publishing today, there appear to be very strict guidelines governing the use of PoV. 99.9% of the stories you will ever read are presented in either 1st or 3rd person.
However, as a prolific reader, I’ve enjoyed stories by authors from all around the world. Yes, I’m an avid sci-fi/fantasy/paranormal fan, but I’ve also enjoyed books in genres across the board. In recent years, I enjoyed a number of crime thrillers from a couple of very well known international bestselling authors, (male and female), who mixed PoV. YES – they mixed them.
Eg, the main character – who most of the story related to – was written in 1st person. It allowed you to involve yourself with that character, and experience what he/she felt, how he/she thought, and how they might react under certain circumstances. However, because of the complexity of the stories, other events/developments were taking place elsewhere that you needed to know and understand. As such, those parts were written in 3rd person.
Now, I noted the PoV’s were never mixed during a single scene. And thank goodness, because that would be crazy, and confusing, and something I’d never consider. However, by skilful application – eg, keeping PoV within their own specific chapters or major scene change – those advanced and well established writers created and presented a story that was both captivating and engaging. It allowed me to involve myself with the main character, whilst the story highlighted important plot developments elsewhere that the main character would be unaware of, (and yet, which were critical to the story).
This gave me an idea. I’m a new writer and can only aspire to the success these ‘expert’ and experienced authors display. They have taken a complex and dangerous practice, said ‘Stuff you, I don’t care!’ and made it work. But I’m new. Would I dare risk such a thing? Well, as my own training instructor in the military used to say, “No pain, no gain.”
So I thought, Hell yes!
Yes, I’m new. But, if I truly want to improve at my craft, I have to stretch myself. So I did.
It was incredibly difficult, taxing and stressful, but, over the course of many months I developed a style specific to Augustus Thorne’s story. (And with the help and support of my editor and the team at Pagan Writers Press, we produced a tale that will - quite simply - blow you away).
The Cambion Journals will engage you as you are personally invited into Augustus Thorne’s life. You won’t have to put up with the distance of what he felt, what he saw, what he experienced. No! You’ll be there with him...
My heart began to beat faster the moment I laid my eyes upon him...
I could taste the bile rising in my throat. Every atom of my soul cried out for vengeance. At last! Take him, Augustus. Rip his heart out!
Nails of ice wormed their way down my spine as I realized my mother was in danger...
And, as the story requires it, you’ll be able to delve into secrets that Augustus knows absolutely nothing about. In different chapters and scenes, circumstances and events will be occurring, elsewhere, that are not only essential to the unravelling plot, but which will complicate the events Augustus has to deal with, and which increase the chances of him failing.
I know...
The twists and turns and backstabbing will make you spit! They'll make you seethe with rage. They'll frustrate you as they make you want more...
But, you’ll have to read the story to discover exactly what I mean.
So, do you want to immerse yourself in the Cambion Journals?
The wait is nearly over. And soon, you’ll be there, with Augustus, to experience his rage.

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