By Bryan Cohen
In college, I had a playwriting teacher named Bill Svanoe who had an amazing piece of advice I've tried to follow when creating characters for my books. Bill was an avid movie and play watcher. What do I mean by this? I mean he went to see every single movie that came out in theaters. Every. Single. Movie.
While there are occasionally some good movies that come out in the cinema, more often than not, these flicks are utter crap. Why would Bill subject himself to such awful, putrid "entertainment?"
Have you ever heard the phrase you learn more from a failure than a success? Bill took this to heart and as a result he recommended that we watch as many (if not more) failures as we did successes. This went for reading as well.
In the most unsuccessful books I've read or movies I've watched, something I've picked up is that the supporting characters were completely forgettable. They don't have a voice and they don't stick out at all. I have tried to avoid this fate by basing the supporting characters in my book Ted Saves the World on either people I know or aspects of myself.
One of my favorite characters, Dhiraj, is based on a combination of my younger brother, who is an Internet marketer and sort of a "get rich quick" savant, my best friend from high school, who is also Indian, and nerdy as hell, like me! A lot of supporting characters I've read, have one or two quirks and that is the extent to which they are fleshed out. By giving my characters aspects from multiple people and drawing from my own experience, I hope to present a fully-rounded and well-developed character that readers can enjoy.
I'm very excited to make Ted Saves the World the beginning of a series of books, because it gives me even further time to flesh out these characters and give them one or multiple arcs. Even though I've learned about characters from very well-written books and movies, if it wasn't for Bill's advice, I might have never learned about the character pitfalls I've gleaned from observing the worst of the worst.
Description of Ted Saves the World (Available for just $0.99):
A possessed cheerleader. A cursed gang of criminals. Mysterious telekinetic powers. An angry ex-girlfriend in gym class? One second, sophomore in high school Ted endures his first breakup in his favorite place in town. The next, a mysterious blue light turns him into a worldwide superhero sensation for taking down a posse of grisly murderers. As his views on YouTube increase and his friend Dhiraj tries to capitalize on the marketing potential, his dangers increase as well when a presumed-dead cheerleader begins taking a personal interest. Can Ted survive his first week as a superhero in the public eye? This novella is the first taste in a series of full-length novels about the adventures of Ted Finley and Erica LaPlante.
Now, for the FREE stuff --
Bryan Cohen is giving away four $25 Amazon gift cards, one for each week of his month long blog tour. To enter, simply comment with your e-mail address (feel free to substitute @ with (at) or other tricks to stop spammers from getting it). Bryan will draw the four names at the end of the tour, picking one entrant at random from each week’s set of blog posts. Entries will be counted through Monday, August 15th, 2011. Enter on as many sites as you want, follow the tour at Build Creative Writing Ideas. If Ted reaches the Top 100 on Amazon at any point during the tour, a fifth $25 card will be added to the giveaway.
So there you go -- leave a comment with your well-wishes for Bryan and you may just be $25 richer in a couple of weeks. Oh, and while you're at it, buy the book. ;)