The old writing tip, “write what you know,” is valid for character creation. I believe all writers put elements of themselves into at least one or two of the protagonists in their work. The personalities of other characters can come from people we know or have known in the past: an old romantic interest… a teacher from grade school… a friend or family member… the list goes on.
The key to making things interesting and believable is to have a different personality and dialog style for each character. Ideally, the reader should be able to identify the speaker of longer passages without being told who the character is. This can be a difficult goal to achieve, but it helps if you define the character’s personality early in the writing process.
One way to do this is to establish the character’s belief system. Are they passionate about a certain subject? Are they recognized as an expert in their field? Do their actions affect others around them? Do they have clout, i.e., are they able to persuade others to take action that will help them to achieve their own ends? Do other characters speak about them, even when the character in question is not in the scene?
Every good story has conflict. Most conflict comes from competing agendas between individuals or groups. In some cases the agenda is fought for the common good. In others, the motives are selfish. It is usually more interesting if there is a mixture of both. In other words, no character is completely evil or completely good.
The machine believed it knew best how to save humanity… even if doing so meant destroying half the population. Astrophysicist Doug Lockwood’s unusual discovery during his observation of the sun kicks off a chain of events that nobody could have foreseen. The powerful political and military influences that compete to deal with his discovery set Lockwood on a course which will carry him across worlds, and into the grasp of a formidable new intelligence bent on accomplishing its goal at any cost. With Earth itself at stake and time running out, Lockwood and his team must find a way to counter this unprecedented threat before the powerful new enemy completes its plan. Two civilizations are pitted against each other in a desperate struggle for survival.
Christopher A. Gray is a professional freelance writer living in Toronto. He has been a sales agent, project manager, actor, filmmaker, comedy writer & performer and world traveler.
“Increase buffer bandwidth to maximum,” Nick ordered his assistant, Anders.
“I already tried that, it makes no difference!” Anders replied, a trace of panic in his voice.
Nick turned to the astrophysicist that was monitoring the moon’s position.
“What will the orbit be if no action is taken?”
The astrophysicist looked at him, incredulous.
“I don’t need to tell you what the outcome will be.”
“Is there at least a chance it will settle into a stable orbit? The speed is right.”
“The angle is off by three degrees! If it isn’t corrected the moon will pass within seventy thousand kilometers of the Earth. That’s less than one-fifth of its normal distance!”
Nick stared blankly at his expert, not wishing to believe what he was being told. The astrophysicist shook his head.
“With the increased gravitational and tidal effect, there will be a massive world-wide earthquake, and that’s just the beginning. The orbit will be highly elliptical, and will degrade further. We’ll have bi-weekly earthquakes and tsunamis, much worse than we have ever experienced. There is an 80% chance that within four months the moon will collide with us!”
“We’ll all be dead long before the collision,” said Anders, his voice shaking. “We may not even survive when the moon makes its first pass, six days from now.”
Another assistant looked over at Nick.
“We’re getting the same report from our observatory in Arizona. They’ve noticed the angle and are asking questions. How do you want me to reply?”
Nick broke out into a cold sweat. He didn’t know what to do.