The theory of mind.

People like to ask me questions about my book. I don't mind answering them. I think it gives me an opportunity to explain the aspects of the story in more detail.

When I get into a conversation about characters...sometimes it can become creepy. It has been pointed out to me that when I am talking about the characters, I use the word "we". It's hard to explain to people with out sounding like I have lost my mind.

Each time I create a character, I take a small piece of my own personality, plant it, water it, and let it grow. The best way I have found to describe it; I am a slice of bread, I rip off tiny chunks and but them in a petri dish, place it in the dark and slowly it begins to take on life.

Once I have envisioned a character, I give it an extreme of my own personality as it's defining role. I file it away in my brain. Now I let my life go on about its normal swing. When ever I see something, hear a phrase, a song, anything that I think the character would like, it gets added to their file. The character starts to take on a twisted personality of their own.

After awhile of this...you do start to question your own sanity. I came across an article that I thought describe it better than I could, and I thought I would share it with you.


The controlled multiple personalities of writers

[Update: due to some well-reasoned commentary on this article, I’ve changed the title from its original to what you see now, and have adjusted other text in this article to match. If you care what that means, you can read all about it in the comments.]
Recently I wrote that writers need to develop a kind ofmultiple personality syndrome. I won’t say “disorder” because as it applies to writers, it’s actually a good thing. Then last week someone made a comment on my article about boring characters which touched on the notion that boring characters don’t have a well-developed sense of theory of mind.
That got me thinking. Dangerous, I know, because realizing how these two things are related leads to heresies like this one: You know that old rule about how you can break any of the rules of writing, as long as it works? Here’s one you can’t break. Here’s a new rule that, I claim, is not a rule but instead a fundamental law of fiction.
Writers must have a strongly developed theory of mind.
That is to say, your books are doomed to suck until you really understand theory of mind. This, although I didn’t quite realize it when I wrote it, is what I meant in that earlier article when I was talking about multiple personalities.
What is “theory of mind?”
Click the above link and Wikipedia will tell you it is “the ability to attribute mental states—beliefs, intents, desires, pretending, knowledge, etc.—to oneself and others and to understand that others have beliefs, desires and intentions that are different from one’s own.” That’s actually a pretty good definition, and I’m not going to mess with it.
Why you must understand it
Theory of mind has everything to do with writing, because it has everything to do with creating believable characters. Unless you’re writing an autobiography (in which case, you’re not writing fiction and you’re reading the wrong blog right now), you can’t create even one believable character without being able to model the mind of someone other than yourself.
You create a believable character by imagining a set of beliefs, desires, knowledge, and so forth that are different from your own. This is a model from which you can then determine how a character will act, react, and speak in a given situation. Using your model—your theory of the character’s mind—is how you keep your writing true to how the character would really be.
Now do this for every character in your book, and develop the ability to keep all of these different theories of mind straight within your own head while you write your scenes. This is nothing if not controlled multiple personality syndrome.
Understanding the theory of mind on this level is necessary to create believable characters. I would argue that most successful writers do this in “gut feel” terms, rather than in analytic terms. But however you get there, you simply must have a strong sense for how the minds of other people work if you are to write believable characters.
That’s table-stakes, the minimum requirement for creating believable characters. But what happens when you understand theory of mind on a deeper level? What happens when you realize that part of your theory of mind about any of your individual characters should include that character’s own sense of theory of mind about others.
This can get confusing pretty quickly, so re-read that a couple of times if you have to.
What can you do with theory of mind
When your theory of mind about a character is rich enough to include whether the character’s theory of mind is poorly or strongly developed, then you can start to play with it to achieve some specific effects:
  • Boring people. As I talked about in my last article, boring people don’t have strong insights into other people’s minds. Boring people are deficient in the ability to infer what other people think about them. Boring people, as it were, have a weakly developed sense of theory of mind which makes them blind to how others perceive them.
  • Children.they themselves know where they are.
  • Deception. Speaking of hide-and-seek, theory of mind lies at the root of all deception. You cannot intentionally deceive someone else without having a good theory of the other person’s mind. Deception is all aboutmanipulating the other person’s beliefs, usually as a means to affect the other person’s actions. But, you cannot do that without first having a good sense for the other person’s beliefs, knowledge, and goals. If you understand the other person on that level, you can predict how they will behave, and thus, you can figure out how to manipulate their beliefs in order to induce them to act how you want. Or, as Friends so aptly put it, they don’t know that we know they know. Note: if your theory of mind about the other person happens to be wrong in some key aspect, the person’s reactions to your manipulations might really surprise you, which is itself a great strategy for novelists to employ.
Walking in many people’s shoes
Don’t resort to taking meds or anything, but strive for this controlled multiple personality syndrome. Like any skill, you have to work on it. It’s not just a good idea, it’s the law. “Black’s Law,” if I may be so cheeky as to label it:Writers must have a strongly developed theory of mind.
If anything, your proficiency with theory of mind must be stronger than normal because it’s not enough to simply understand theory of mind. You also have to know what to do with it.
April 26, 2010 19:26 UTC by Jason Black
Have pleasant vampire, werewolf, and zombie dreams. www.authorcvhunt.com

Legacy is now in motion.

I thought I would update you on what is happening with "Legacy".

"Legacy" is in the hands of the editor. It's a whole month sooner than what I had originally planned. That's right...it is being read by another set of eyes, other than my own. I should be receiving my constructive feedback Friday, if all goes according to schedule.

I am going to push on with "Legacy", even though I said I was going to wait for some encouragement from "Endlessly". The reviews that I read have been better than what I had hoped for, but word of mouth moves slowly as an advertising campaign.

Have pleasant vampire, werewolf, and zombie dreams. www.authorcvhunt.com

Internet radio interview.

Here is an Internet radio interview with me, about my book Endlessly. There was some trouble with the song she was playing before the interview started. There is a long pause, so you can skip up to the two minute mark and listen to me nervously stumble through the interview.



Listen to internet radio with Candy ODonnell on Blog Talk Radio

Have pleasant vampire, werewolf, and zombie dreams. www.authorcvhunt.com

Book Review: The Sorrow King by Andersen Prunty

The Sorrow KingThe Sorrow King by Andersen Prunty

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

REVIEW:

What if the scariest thing you had to face was your own mind? Do you think that you would be able to fight through the madness, to save a town full of people, which have fallen under a sadistic spell? What if a monster of your imagination sprang to life?

I was a little hesitant when I read the synopsis to The Sorrow King. It didn’t look like something that I could fall into at first glance, but after reading a few reviews, I thought I would give it a shot since it was only $0.99 on Kindle. I’m glad I took the risk. It had all of the four “M”s that I look for in a story. Monsters, Murder, Madness, and Mayhem.

The dialog was the best part. The dark and demented humor between Conner and Steven, it felt like conversations that my friends and I have. My only complaint would be that I would get lost in the dialog, and wasn’t quite sure who was saying what lines. It’s mostly my fault though, and not the author. Ninety percent of my reading is done in a break room of 30 plus people, bustling through vending machines, talking, laughing, and a television blaring in the back ground. So sometimes I get distracted.

This was a good read. It makes you think of the scary things that you can create, and the things you are capable of doing, not only to yourself, but to others around you.

View all my reviews

ABOUT THE BOOK:

The papers call it “The Suicide Virus.” The teenagers of Gethsemane, Ohio, are killing themselves at an alarming rate. 

Steven Wrigley is trying to survive his senior year of high school, still reeling from the death of his mother and adjusting to life with his father. Along the way, he meets a girl who becomes another kind of obsession: Elise Devon. 

Elise’s secrets keep her distanced from everyone. She has a special place she calls the Obscura. She goes there when she is depressed or angry. The Obscura makes her feel like nothing she’s ever felt before. When she loses herself to the Obscura, she fears she also gives herself to something much darker, something much more powerful. Something calling itself the Sorrow King. 

Who is the Sorrow King? 

He is carved from wood and bone. 

He smells like wax, dead leaves, and memories. 

He travels by moonlight and drinks the sorrow of others. 

Can love exact vengeance on a monster made from madness, depression, and misery? Or will the Sorrow King bleed the town dry before satiating himself and moving on

Have pleasant vampire, werewolf, and zombie dreams. www.authorcvhunt.com

Book Review: 23 Hours by David Wellington

23 Hours: A Vengeful Vampire Tale (Vampires, #4)23 Hours: A Vengeful Vampire Tale by David Wellington

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


This review is not only for 23 hours, but for the whole Laura Caxton series.

This series had to be one of the best vampire series that I read in a long time. Lately, with the YA vampire craze, the ‘goody little two shoes’ vampires have been running ramped through the book market. There are really only two ways to write a vampire book. The first, make them cuddly, and little sense of humanity left, or the second, make them the monsters that they are, and the motive is to destroy them. David chose the latter, which we are seeing less and less of these days.

What made this series even better, was David’s take on the vampire. We’re not talking about the same old song and dance here. His vampires are unique, not the same old over romanticized vampires that we see over and over. They are not beautiful in any way. They are hairless, pointed ears, red eyes, albino, and have rows and rows of pointed shark-like teeth. The exchange of the vampire trait was new and different as well. There was no blood exchange, but a curse that was passed through the vampire and to the human by eye contact, and a process of hypnotizing the victim. Throw in some hordes of zombie like minions for the vampire, and the story gets creepier.

I liked Laura Caxton. She is a head strong woman that will stop at nothing to do what she believes it right. Even if the right thing involves breaking the laws, which is gutsy for a law officer. Although she never asked to be a vampire hunter, it was just thrown in her lap; she scooped it up and took responsibility for it. The fact that it destroyed her personal life, and all of the relationships in it, never kept her from doing what she thought was best for the people. Don’t you wish all law officers were like this?

The series was action packed and there was never a dull moment. Whether or not David is done writing this series, I do not know, but he really left some room to keep going.

View all my reviews

ABOUT THE BOOK:

When vampire hunter Laura Caxton is locked up in a maximum-security prison, the cop-turned-con finds herself surrounded by countless murderers and death-row inmates with nothing to lose . . . and plenty of time to kill.
Caxton’s always been able to watch her own back–even when it’s against a cell-block wall–but soon she learns that an even greater threat has slithered behind the bars to join her. Justinia Malvern, the world’s oldest living vampire, has taken up residence, and her strength grows by the moment as she raids the inmate population like an open bar with an all-you-can-drink supply of fresh blood. The crafty old vampire knows just how to pull Caxton’s strings, too, and she's issued an ultimatum that Laura can’t refuse.

Now Laura has just 23 hours to fight her way through a gauntlet of vampires, cons, and killers . . . 23 hours to make one last, desperate attempt at protecting the world from Justinia’s evil. 


Have pleasant vampire, werewolf, and zombie dreams. www.authorcvhunt.com

evie-bookish.blogspot.com review

Here is another review of Endlessly. If you like to read well written reviews of books check out this blog evie-bookish.blogspot.com


     Endlessly by C.V. Hunt is a mesmerizing and gripping Paranormal story, with elements of Horror, Fantasy and Romance. It's a highly addictive and very enjoyable read. C.V. Hunt has a way of telling the story in a way that makes you hold your breath and turn the pages frantically, and there's simply no way you could put the book down once you've started reading!

     Verloren is a vampire with Curt Cobain's looks, who runs a paranormal store in Fort Wayne, Indiana. He is no Twilight-kind-of-vampire, no sparkles and squirrel-eating habits. He's a bad-ass (forgive my language) kind of vampire, goth-looking, with albino-like skin and long hair. He is the kind of vampire that you should stay away from. He feeds on human blood, because that's the only thing that keeps him alive. And yes, he's very much alive, his heart is beating, his body is warm and even though it hurts his eyes a bit, he can walk in the sun without any serious consequences. Most importantly, though, he has a special ability to see people's auras, and so, just by looking at them, he can tell who they are and how they feel.

     The only thing that Verloren is afraid of is death, because vampires have no soul, therefore they can not reincarnate and death brings a final end to their existence. And so Verloren is doing his best to avoid getting into trouble with Quatre, a committee of four people that makes decision for all the supernatural beings, including vampires and incarnates (shape shifters). But when a beautiful and mesmerizing girl walks into his store, Verloren's world is about to be turned up-side-down, as he learns that there are feelings more powerful than fear, feelings like love and lust.


     Just when I thought there was nothing more in the Paranormal genre that could surprise me, along comes a book like Endlessly and, with a strong punch in the guts, makes me realize I was wrong. 

     This book was such a great read! I finished it in few hours, as I was literally glued to it (well, ok, not literally, but it sure felt like it!). It's a fast-paced, action-packed story, with just the perfect amount of horror and romance. There's not a single boring passage in this book, C.V. Hunt makes every word count. I like how the story is told from Verloren's perspective and I'm very thankful to C.V. for using first-person narrative, it makes the story flow seem very natural and the passages are easy and pleasant to read! 
     
     The lead characters have amazing chemistry between them, you can almost see the sparkles flying from the pages, but at the same time the romance part of the story is not overwhelming, which I very much appreciate. And then there's the mystery part, which was oh-so-wonderful! I thought the story was really good from the very beginning, but when I reached the part where we learn about Ashley's true form, I was left speechless, with my jaw on the floor. What an amazing idea this was, C.V! 

     Endlessly has this thing I like to call  a "WOW factor", that's the thing that makes you nod in excitement while reading one passage after another, and go "wooow, that's so cool!". I definitely recommend it to all Paranormal fans! I can't wait for the sequel!

Have pleasant vampire, werewolf, and zombie dreams. www.authorcvhunt.com

Review of Endlessly.


The definition of vampires.

I've gotten some flack because my vampires are not dead. I thought I would share with everyone exhibit A:

From Merriam-Webster dictionary:
vam·pire noun \ˈvam-ˌpī(-ə)r\

Definition of VAMPIRE
1: the reanimated body of a dead person believed to come from the grave at night and suck the blood of persons asleep
2: a : one who lives by preying on others b : a woman who exploits and ruins her lover
3: VAMPIRE BAT

From Wikipedia:
Vampires are mythological or folkloric beings who subsist by feeding on the life essence (generally in the form of blood) of living creatures, regardless of whether they are undead or a living person.
As you can see from the red highlighted areas, the definition of what a vampire is or could be can be loosely interpreted. 
Have pleasant vampire, werewolf, and zombie dreams. www.authorcvhunt.com

Book Review: Vampire Zero by David Wellington



My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I so badly wanted to give this 5 stars, but I just liked Jamison too much as a character. I know that the story is not 1st person POV, but I felt more connected to his character than any other. As dumb as it sounds, I felt that his character would have handle several situations much differently in his new mindset.

I don't want to go into heavy details and spoil the story, but the person he confided in...it didn't seem like his style to confide in anyone at all. I know with this series, as a person changes into the undead, they lose track of what they were when they were human. I just felt that Jamison's character was much stronger, had more knowledge, and was prepared for what he had taken on. When he desided to become a full blown monster, he would have the smarts to keep from getting caught.

The plus side for me is that slowly but surely, Laura is becoming just like him.

Enough about the characters, I get too attached to them. Over all the story was great and David's writing style is awesome. His stories are gripping and fast paced, and they keep you wanting more. He's writing is inspiring, and I can't wait to finish his next book and move on to read the rest of his writing.

ABOUT THE BOOK:

One man stood between them and us.

U.S. Marshal Jameson Arkeley—the country’s foremost authority on vampires—taught police investigator and vampire fighter Laura Caxton everything she knows about monsters. After a bloody war visited upon Gettysburg by an army of vampires, Arkeley gave up his own life to save others. Except he didn’t exactly die . . .

Arkeley accepted the curse and is now a vampire himself. What’s worse, he’s the savviest vampire ever—he knows all the tricks better than anyone. Caxton is now faced with the task of destroying him. But Arkeley knows all her tactics too; after all, he taught them to her. Caxton realizes she must finish Arkeley before he succeeds in his quest to exterminate his own family, one member at a time. But even more important, she has to prevent him from becoming a beast exponentially more dangerous—a Vampire Zero.

The author of 13 Bullets and 99 Coffins, David Wellington takes the Laura Caxton series to a whole new level in this action-packed third volume


View all my reviews


Have pleasant vampire, werewolf, and zombie dreams. www.authorcvhunt.com

An interview of me and the book.

I want to thank the blogger for posting an honest review and for interviewing me. She had a couple of questions that I had to really think about. If you would like to read the interview. CLICK HERE and you will be redirected to the blog.
Have pleasant vampire, werewolf, and zombie dreams. www.authorcvhunt.com