50 Words, 1 Character | 4 Examples

The other day, I announced a new Flash Fiction Challenge, but I didn’t give you any examples. Consider this post the remedy for that wrong. Below you will find my 50 word character introductions to the main characters of my last three 3-Day Novel entries plus one that I will be writing soon.

If you haven’t done so already, check out the challenge and enter your own 50 word character description!

Daniel O’Ryan – Fathered by a demon, raised in an orphanage, and more powerful than he knows, Daniel O’Ryan is about to start his freshman year at a new school, the prestigious Blackwood Academy. But when his powers begin to manifest, Daniel must decide who he truly is, man, demon, or something more?

Ezra Stone – Ezra Stone blames the Union for his wife’s death in the birthing center. If only he could have been with her, he might have done something. But laws in the silent society dictated that she go alone to sound-proof facility. Soon, Ezra’s grief will make itself heard around the world.

Quentin Roosevelt – Youngest son of President Theodore Roosevelt, Quentin is eager to get into the Great War. But when his bi-plane is downed over France, Roosevelt is given the chance to fight an even greater war. Faking his death, Quentin sets out for the mysterious artifacts that grant mastery over time itself.

Connover Swofford – It seems that everything Connover Swofford wants, someone else gets. But when his depression hits a new low, and his successful co-worker commits suicide, Connover realizes that it isn’t just the good things that happen to those around him. Can he use his new-found powers to improve his own lot?

Work In Progress Challenge

I was just tagged by both Bob Evenhouse and Roger Colby in a book interview of sorts. Thanks to both of you and to everyone who is taking an interest in me and my writing!

1. What is the title of your book/WIP?

The working title is Daniel O’Ryan and the Tree of Life. It is a direct formula title inspired by the Harry Potter series. Some would call this a rip off. I call it an homage.

2. Where did the idea for the WIP come from?

This was my second submission to the 3-day Novel Contest. For those unfamiliar with the contest, it is held over Labor Day weekend and participants have only three days to write their novels. Most entries average around 100 pages (novellas, really), but at the least, it is a good start to a first draft.

My first year, I wrote a dystopian piece about a world where sound was illegal. It was a wonderful idea, but at the time, no one was into dystopian lit (my, how the times have changed!). I decided for my second time through the contest to go in the opposite direction and write in the most popular genre of the day, “magical orphan stories.” I have the most connections within the CBA market, so I decided that rather than outright magic, I would write something with angels, specifically, half-angels (or Nephilim)

At first, I approached the project tongue-in-cheek, but after I started into some serious research, I grew to like my characters and the story more and more. One book turned into the first in a trilogy and now I can’t wait to finish the book if only to read it myself.

3. What genre would your WIP fall under?

It definitely falls into YA fantasy. Most likely in the CBA market, but I honestly believe that it could make it in the ABA market just fine too.

4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Daniel O’Ryan – Josh Hutcherson (Peeta from Hunger Games)

Ian Langston – A young Jack Black, only heavier

Abdiel the Angel – Daniel Craig (James Bond)

Mr. Stockton – Robbie Coltrane (Hagrid from Harry Potter)

Hunter Garrison – Taylor Lautner (Twilight)

Audrey Fairfax – AnnaSophia Robb (Soul Surfer)

5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your WIP?

After a peculiar set of events place Daniel O’Ryan and his best friend and fellow orphan Ian Langston at the prestigious Blackwood Academy, Daniel has just discovered that he’s half-angel and that the father who he though was dead is now depending on him for salvation.

6. Is your WIP published or represented?

Nope, no such luck yet. Anyone want to change that?

7. How long did it take you to write?

I’ve been working on it on and off for 4 years, but most recently it has been my focus for the last year.

8. What other WIPs within your genre would you compare it to?

Jerel Law, a first time author, just had a half-angel story published by Thomas Nelson, but his audience is a bit younger than mine (see my review of it here). Zondervan also recently published some half-angel novels (the Halflings series), but they are aimed more at the Twilight crowd than the Harry Potter fans.

9. Which authors inspired you to write this WIP?

Definitely J. K. Rowling. I’ve also been influenced by the Steampunk movement.

10. Tell us anything else that might pique our interest in this project.

I’ve done a lot of research on the extra-biblical sources on the Nephilim and came across a whole new reason why God had to destroy his creation in the flood. Much of my plot and the characters are inspired by these new perspectives on the Biblical account. I also had a lot of fun developing the abilities of a modern-day Nephilim, but you’ll have to read the book to see them in action.

One last thing…

Tag, You’re It:

As a final step of this Work In Progress blog post, I’m supposed to tag other writers who are then “it” to make a blog post of their own.

Here’s my list:

Andrew Rogers

Matthew Landrum

Lego Goes Steampunk

Lego Club Magazine - August EditionI just got my illegal edition of the Lego Club Magazine in the mail, and what do I find on the cover but a Steampunk duel between a gentleman and a vampyre atop an enchanted train! For those of you who don’t know, I am a huge Lego fan and I’ve recently taken a shine to the Steampunk scene.

I mentioned once how my Lego collection inspired one of my 3-day novel entries, and since my WIP has elements of Steampunk in it, I’m hoping for a bit of inspiration from these sets as well. Here’s the intro to one of the new characters:


You can browse the collection of sets here.

I must admit that I would rather the Steampunk elements be the focus and not the monsters, but I’ll take what I can get.

If you are at all curious about steampunk, be sure to check out the links below. I am a member at the Brass Goggles forum and have had only positive experiences with all of the gents and ladies that I meet there. Steampunk has to have the politest members of any subset of the population.

The Links:

Is anyone else out there writing with elements of Steampunk? I’m just curious.

Turning Around | A Novel Perspective

We all want progress. But progress means getting nearer to the place where you want to be. And if you have taken a wrong turning, then to go forward does not get you any nearer. If you are on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; and in that case the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive man. We have all seen this when doing arithmetic. When I have started a sum the wrong way, the sooner I admit this and go back and start again, the fast I shall get on. There is nothing progressive about being pig headed and refusing to admit a mistake.

– C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

I recently deleted a good portion of the novel that I have been working on. It was sad to see my word count drop, as that is one of the things that helps me feel like a writer. But as Lewis says, sometimes progress means going back and trying again.

So I went back. The scene I thought was needed was a scene that must wait. I feel that I am on the right track again. And that is a refreshing feeling.

How often it seems that I need to turn around in order to get closer to the place that I really want to be…

Meet the Cast Tuesday | Ian Langston

Last week, I introduced the main character of my WIP, a teen boy named Daniel who finds out that he is half-angel. This week we look at Daniel’s roommate and best friend, Ian Langston.

Ian is the only child of only children. His parents died in a house fire when he was very young. In the blaze, Ian’s dad carried him outside then ran back in for his mom. Neither came back out. Without any living relatives or friends to take him in, Ian entered the system and wound up at Stockton’s Home for Disadvantaged Boys.

In spite of a traumatic beginning, Ian has the best sense of humor in the story. I know that I shouldn’t, but I laugh out loud when I read what Ian says. Here’s a sample:

            Daniel turned to see if Ian was still in bed, but it was impossible to be sure, as the bottom bunk was home to the cleanest of the piles of clothes. The question was answered a second later when Daniel overheard Ian’s voice coming from the kitchen.

“I’m pretty sure that Daniel would want me to have his strips of bacon, Mr. Stockton. He’s very giving that way.”

“No, I’m not!” shouted Daniel from the top of the stairs outside his bedroom. “Touch my bacon and I’ll stab you with a fork!”

“Easy Tiger!” Ian shouted back defensively. “We need to work on that temper of yours. I’ll accept your apology in the form of bacon.”

Remember when this was the best that digital cameras had to offer?

Look at that hair. Just look at it. It's hair. Ah, the good, old days.

Ian is probably based on how I remember myself in high school. I wasn’t big in sports, but I was big. I was more of a band geek than anything. I enjoyed being the funny guy. It worked for me. And that’s how I’ve tried to write Ian’s character.

Of course, in order to have some depth, we’ll learn more about Ian’s past and the truth about the fire that killed his parents. But I won’t go into that here. You’ll just have to pick up the book when it is published.

Any publishers out there want a surefire hit with a half-angel lead and a witty best friend?

Meet the Cast Tuesday | Daniel O’Ryan

Daniel O'Ryan | Orphan, Freshman, NephilimAs I mentioned in last week’s post, this week I’ll be introducing the main character from my current WIP (work in progress). The project began as a 3-day novel contest entry. I had just finished another trip through the Harry Potter series, right on the heels of Christopher Paolini’s Inheritance series, and I had the magical orphan genre on the brain. My goal was to write a book in the genre that actually had a chance of being published.

The thing is… I work in a Christian bookstore, which is owned by one of the top five Christian publishing houses in the country. Also, I have good friends with connections to two other top-tier Christian publishers. Up to this point, none of my writing had any sort of religious tint to it. I’d done humorous flash fiction, and dystopian thriller, and that was it. Writing something for young adults that would be able to find a home with a Christian publisher was going to be a challenge.

Of course, I wouldn’t be able to use magic outright. I’d run into enough protective parents that would be shocked and disgusted to know that I loved Harry Potter to know that magic is not acceptable to the core audience I was hoping for. So I would have to replace the magic with miracles of some kind. Or, as I finally decided on, choose a character that has built in extra-human abilities. So I decided on the human/angel half-breeds that the Bible mentions a couple times, the Nephilim.

Nephilim are a popular subject for writers. Because the Bible mentions that they were the product of the “sons of god and daughters of men,” and that they were mighty warriors, they are already pretty cool. But given that the Bible doesn’t say a whole lot else about them, there’s a lot of wiggle room where authors can fill in the gaps.

I decided to do some research on the topic, which brought me to the apocryphal Book of Enoch, which goes into some creative details about the fallen angels that helped spawn the original, pre-flood Nephilim. It has a very interesting take on things and provided me with a list of character names and abilities, places, and motivations. That information and inspiration led me to create my main character and his storyline.

But enough back story. Who is my main character?

His name is Daniel O’Ryan. At fourteen years old, he’s one of the oldest boys at Stockton’s Home for Disadvantaged Boys.

He was dropped off as a baby at the orphanage by his father, a fallen angel. His mother was killed in an attack by the angel Gabriel, who sought to fulfill his ancient charge to kill the Nephilim. After dropping him off at Stockton’s, Daniel’s father disappears.

Now, fourteen years later, strange things are happening to Daniel. First, there’s his new school, the prestigious Blackwood Academy. Mysterious forces are at work in bringing Daniel and his best friend, roommate and fellow orphan, Ian Langston, to Blackwood.

Freshman year is hard enough, but at the new school, Daniel and Ian make few friends.

When Daniel accidentally throws the star of the rugby team, Hunter Garrison, across the locker room just days before the homecoming match, things look very dim. And when Daniel is completely unharmed after Hunter drops him from the roof of the school, he starts to question his own sanity.

Fortunately, Daniel receives guidance from teacher and angel, Abdiel, who explains the truth about who Daniel is and what he can do. And what’s more, Daniel has a chance to rescue his father from a fate worse than death and restore the family that he’s wanted for so long.

But before he can save anyone, Daniel has a lot to learn about himself and his abilities (360 degree visibility, lightening speed, sonic attacks, heightened strength, and built-in shadow armor). With the help of his friends, the Undesirables, and his teacher, Abdiel, Daniel begins the quest to find and recover the fruit of the tree of life from the long-lost Garden of Eden, the only thing that may help his father.

That’s the plot of book one. Daniel’s story will span three books, and I sincerely hope that you’ll see the whole series on bookstore shelves soon.

P.S. – Stay tuned for this week’s book giveaway.