Behind the Stories: A Preview in Pictures

When writing I often utilize my imagination, but I also will pull from my own experiences and the details I can recall about certain places I’ve been or people I’ve met. For Take Me Home I was able to use my experience of traveling across the United States on a passenger train.

But I also do a fair bit of research for each of my stories. I used to dread research, but I’ve learned to embrace it and see it as an opportunity for two reasons: 1) to learn something new about whatever I’m researching and 2) to expand my understanding of the world and the characters in which I’m writing about in a particular story.

I’m a visual person. I find pictures and videos helpful to really get into the story. Even if my description ends up nowhere close to the visual, the images create a spark of ideas in my mind that keeps the description from being stale and typical (at least typical for my writing and my usual vocabulary). Through my writing research I’ve learned about places, occupations, animals, symbolism, and more I might never have had a reason to delve into otherwise.

During my research phase of writing Take Me Home, I saved links and images and descriptions in one document for inspiration as I wrote. So I thought I’d share a preview of Take Me Home using only a sampling of the pictures from my research notes. Under each photo is a link where I found the photo and the credit if it’s available.

**Please note: Some may consider the following minor spoilers for the story, but the pictures give away only a few more specifics than the blurb and merely illustrate the story’s premise.


Photo Credit: Yuri_Arcurs


Photo Credit: kupicoo


Image Credit: Amtrak website


Photo Credit: Wigwam Jones


Image Credit: Amtrak


Photo Credit: Amtrak


Photo Credit: Amtrak


Photo Credit: Amtrak


Image Credit: Amtrak


Image Credit: Amtrak


Photo Credit: no body atoll


Photo Credit: pferriola


Photo Credit: Virtual Farm Boy


Photo Credit: The West End


Photo Credit


Photo Credit


Photo Credit: Minerva Bloom


Photo Credit: oakmechinsl


Photo Credit: oakmechinsl


Photo Credit: oakmechinsl


Photo Credit: oakmechinsl


Photo Credit: oakmechinsl


Photo Credit: Decarli


Photo Credit: Decarli


Photo Credit: Decarli


Photo Credit: Loco ( Inactive ) Steve


Photo Credit: Loco ( Inactive ) Steve


Photo Credit: Loco ( Inactive ) Steve


Photo Credit: Loco ( Inactive ) Steve


Photo Credit: Loco ( Inactive ) Steve


Photo Credit


Photo Credit: Doug Wornom collection

This one’s a video, you can watch here if it’s not embedded below.


Photo Credit

Read the blurb and preview excerpts for Take Me Home

Editor Friend & Prof Guy

Check out the new book I just got: The Baby Name Wizard: A Magical Method for Finding the Perfect Name for Your Baby

No, I’m not having a baby. I just get wickedly excited when I find a writing resource that’s a gem (at least for me).

Lately when it comes time to give my secondary characters their names, I’ve been drawing a blank, selecting the same ones over and over or not finding something that fits the character. For my current works in progress I had two secondary characters whom I affectionately called “Editor Friend” and “Prof Guy” for far too long. For a while I was afraid I’d get so dang used to “Editor Friend” and “Prof Guy” that I’d send it off to my editor like that. It was nice to finally pull out my baby name resources and search for actual names for these guys.

Lists that are organized or searchable in specific ways (by first letter, sounds like, meaning, popularity per year, etc.) are the most helpful. So far The Baby Name Wizard is the best naming book I’ve used, along with these websites:

BabyNames.com

Baby Names Finder

Baby Names World

Popular Baby Names

And for last names I almost always end up using a printed phone book.

For any writers who are interested, these links have also been added to my website on the Resources for Writers page.

I’m off to work on revisions for my next installment of More Than Just a Good Book. Hope you all have a great week!

More about Matthew Stewart

I’ve already posted some of my original character details and pictures for Luke and Richard (from More). Now I’m sharing about Matthew.

These are directly from the original character sketch sheet, including the photos I used for inspiration before writing the book.

Matthew Stewart

Photos for Inspiration
The final result of what a character looks like may be nothing like the photo, but an image gives me something to visualize, making him a bit more real.


Sampling of Character Sketch & Personality Traits

  • Full name: Matthew Stewart
  • Nickname: his mom calls him Matty.
  • Works at a music/book store in the mall.
  • Lives with his mom whom he adores.
  • His parents are divorced. Hasn’t seen his father since the man left, when Matthew was in high school.
  • Came out in high school.
  • Doesn’t like Chinese food. Loves Italian.
  • Doesn’t have much in the way of a savings account.
  • Strengths
    • Lively, energetic, funny (despite his shyness)
    • Always has a smile
    • Laughs a lot
    • Empathetic
    • Inquisitive. Curious. Asks questions.
  • Weaknesses
    • Shy, nervous, self-conscious
    • Trusts too easily, even when others have failed him
    • Doesn’t speak up when he should
    • Speaks with uncertainty
    • Has issues with people who drink alcohol around him.
  • Zodiac Sign: Scorpio (Source)
    • Life Pursuit: To survive against all opposition
    • Scorpios lead fate filled lives and have intense and dramatic personal relationships.
    • Old and wise beyond the average, Scorpios often know all the answers, except sometimes; they too often have difficulty finding what they need to develop their own happiness.
    • Coming to grips with their extraordinary emotional depths and sensitivity isn’t easy for those around them.
    • They are different from all other zodiac signs and this difference has them walking, working and loving to a different beat.
    • Their eyes often blaze with feelings that words never express, and beware on the days or nights they hide their feelings behind dark glasses, there is likely to be a storm of some kind brewing.
    • They often wear a mask. Too often they say “no” when they really mean “yes.”
    • Once they find true love they can be the most faithful dedicated of all partners.
    • When they are negative about something or someone, or critical of themselves, they can tend to get in their own way.

All my blog posts with behind the story information are also archived on my website at www.sloanparker.com

Hope you enjoyed a look at some of my initial ideas for Matthew.
Sloan

Character Pics for a New m/m Erotic Romance

This week I took a short break from my regular writing to work on character sketches for my new friends-to-lovers story about two best friends since high school, Evan and Kyle. It’s a contemporary m/m erotic romance, and at this time I have no plans for a suspense element. There’s no title yet, but the outline is pretty much done. I also started the first draft of chapter one (just to get all the ideas down).

Here are the photos I’m using for inspiration (not that the character descriptions will be exactly like this, but it gives me an idea to work from).

Evan

Kyle

I’ll keep you posted on the progress. Next I’m going back to working on Walter’s story, but will work on this one as any new ideas come to me.

Have a good weekend,
Sloan

More about Richard Marshall

Here are some more behind the story details about More, specifically some of my first notes for the character of Richard Marshall. These are directly from the original character sketch sheet, including the photo I used for inspiration. (Side note: The final result of what a character looks like may be nothing like the photo, but an image gives me something to visualize, making him/her a bit more real. Also, some of the character traits change as I write the story. Some become no longer relevant.)

Richard Marshall

Photo for Inspiration: This is not exactly what he ended up looking like in my mind (especially the hair), but here’s the first photo of Richard.

And here’s his bod.


Sampling of Character Sketch & Personality Traits

  • Full name: Richard Marshall
  • Graduated from NYU with an MBA
  • Doesn’t hide who he is for any reason.
  • Sleeps naked.
  • Neat, orderly, tidy.
  • Clears his throat when he has something to say he doesn’t want to mention.
  • Does not apologize for who he is. Or what he does.
  • Strengths
    • Confident
    • Successful in business
    • Caring
    • Loyal
    • Conscientious
    • Smart
  • Wants to make the world better for those he cares about. Does it by changing their immediate world, affecting change in their daily lives.
  • Fears most: Losing people he loves. Not being what they need and watching them walk out. Not being successful, losing business.
  • Zodiac Sign: Leo (Source)
    • “Life Pursuit: To lead the way”
    • “Love triumphs over all for this sign, which is ruled by the heart and operates from this dimension too. Leo’s are born fortunate.”
    • “Charismatic and positive-thinking they attract…an abundance of friends and opportunities.”
    • “Once a Lion is committed to a relationship, they are totally devoted and faithful. Should their heart or trust be broken they never forgive or forget.”
    • “For a Leo, when a relationship is over, really over, it is over for good.”
    • “The second soul-evolution of the Leos is the Lion, King of the Jungle, ruled by ego but always protective and sustaining of those they love.”

All my blog posts with behind the story information are also archived on my website at www.sloanparker.com

Hope you enjoyed a look at my initial ideas for Richard.
Sloan

More about Luke Moore

Late post again this week. Sorry guys. Writing is coming along nicely, though. New ideas are flowing again. And if you didn’t see it, this week I blogged about writing when the muse is asleep at Loose Ends.

Speaking of ideas…

Today I’d like to share some of the behind the story details about More, specifically my first notes for the main character of Luke Moore. These are directly from the original character sketch sheet, including the photo I used for inspiration. (The final result of what a character looks like may be nothing like the photo, but an image gives me something to visualize, making him/her a bit more real. Some of the traits change as I write the story. Some become no longer relevant.)

Luke Moore

Photo for Inspiration


Sampling of Character Sketch & Personality Traits

  • Full name: Lukas Moore
  • Zodiac Sign: Taurus
  • Best Friend: Walter Simon
  • Parents: are well-off. They have live-in staff.
  • Sleeps in his underwear
  • A programmer
  • Likes things that are logical with one solid solution
  • His apartment is in a low-rent area. It’s small and shabby, but he doesn’t need much. He spends his money on the security system he’s put in place.
  • He doesn’t have much in the way of possessions. He moves a lot. He likes to keep his life simple. Uncomplicated. Physical stuff just bogs a person down. Ties them to a time and place. He doesn’t want to be tied to anything.
  • Doesn’t own a car
  • Independent, self-reliant, private
  • Detached
  • Successful at work
  • Logical
  • Determined
  • Strong willed
  • Thinks only of himself (unless he’s in bed with someone).
  • Focused on self-preservation (and winning against his father) to the point of keeping everyone at a distance, even his best friend, Walter, at times.
  • Fears most: Being like his father

All my blog posts with behind the story information are also archived on my website at www.sloanparker.com

Hope you enjoyed a look at my original ideas for Luke.
Sloan