Cornelia Grey, Storm Moon Press

Characters of the Circus of Wonders – A Guest Post by Cornelia Grey

Hello, everyone, and thank you for having me around to talk about my newest release – Benjamin Pepperwhistle and the Fantabulous Circus of Wonders!

I sat down with the good intention of writing a post about how I create characters… and instantly found myself stumped because, well, the truth is I don’t.

Writers often talk about how they don’t feel like they’ve created a story, per se, but it’s more as if the story simply came to them, poured out of their brain already formed. For me, it’s partly true in regards to the story: the plot comes to me as if by magic and, within moments, the general gist of the story pours down on the page and I don’t really know where it came from. But then, I very deliberately work and think and tinker to craft a full, well-structured plot, so I know where that came from. It is, instead, absolutely true for my characters.

One of the common tools suggested to writers who need to come up with a character is the information sheet: a list of detailed questions about your character’s past, attitudes, preferences, how he would feel and react in certain situations, what was his teddy bear’s name… well, those have never worked for me. The characters come to me on their own terms, and reveal only what they feel like at the moment…

Over the years, I have accumulated a ton of inspiration pics – for settings, props, fantastical creatures, and for characters as well. So I like to browse around them for a bit, in case any of those jumps out, because I really like having visual references for what I’m working on!

When I start writing, apart from the physical aspect, I usually have just a rough idea of the personality and the general attitude of the character. Only rarely do I know a lot about their past at the beginning. It’s like I have just met a new friend, and I get to know them as I follow them along in the story. Sometimes a big revelation about their past slips out during a bit of dialogue, or as the character is thinking to himself, and surprises even me! It’s such an exciting adventure to discover who they are and how they think step by step.

Sometimes, I get halfway through the story and still don’t know the character’s name. I have pages and pages of potential names written down, but somehow I get through all of them without any of them jumping out at me. So maybe I try one for a while, then another… but there’s no way around it: the right name will pop out right away, and until that happens, nothing will work. Sometimes, instead, the names slip out naturally as I write, which is luckily what happened with Benjamin Pepperwhistle (yes, even with that surname!) and the handsome pistoleer, Cole Beauchamp. It is really quite perplexing to wonder where the heck those names may have come from – they just appeared on the page as I was typing, and I could swear I hadn’t come across the surname Beauchamp in years, let alone Pepperwhistle!

Benjamin and Cole were a pleasure to write. They came to life on the page easy as pie, almost on their own, complete with their contrasting personalities… and a magnetic attraction to each other! I hope you will enjoy getting to know them :)!

Benjamin Pepperwhistle and the Fantabulous Circus of Wonders
Now Available for $2.99 at Storm Moon Press

Benjamin Pepperwhistle has one overriding desire: to handle the glorious machinery that is a gun. So when he decides to run away to join the circus, it’s only natural that he should seek out the legendary pistoleer, Cole Beauchamp, and beg to be his assistant. Life in the circus has definite ups and downs, but as Benjamin settles in to his role, he finds that some perks are even better than he’d anticipated.


One thought on “Characters of the Circus of Wonders – A Guest Post by Cornelia Grey

  1. Hi, Cornelia, I love that you use visuals, photos, pictures, to jumpstart your imagination for developing characters. I do that as well. Also what you said here: “The characters come to me on their own terms, and reveal only what they feel like at the moment…” Really can identify especially since I’m writing a gay historical romance series and I love to see what they reveal to me in each novella installment. Great post and your new book looks intriguing. All the best,



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