Miami Spy Games:
Adding Real People As Minor Characters
I’m often asked how hard it is to come up with not only the main characters in stories, but all the minor ones that populate the world and the story. I tell them it is easy: I cheat.
Most of the time, I give the gal behind the counter at the bank or the dude bagging our hero’s groceries (they gotta eat!) some generic name, if I need to. For people that have even a small role in the story I try to name them. And if I have to give them anything unique or they move even a small piece of the plot along, I need to name them and visualize them in my mind.
In Miami Spy Games I had to create many characters. I don’t actually know many Russian hit-men or SVR agents. So I went back to my childhood and pro wrestling. Yep. Ivan Koloff and his ‘nephew’ Nikita are in there if you read close enough. I also loved using Boris Dragov for one of the meaner Russians. Dragov I took from the baddie in the Lumley Necroscope series.
But what about real people in my life? I tend to add them in quite a bit. It makes it easier for me to keep track of appearance and some over the top personality traits I know. For instance:
ACES agents David Luciano and Tim Baker are real friends. I went to high school with David, and he was always a reserved but funny guy. He was one of those guys you knew had his stuff together even back then. He was the suit and tie dude, and you knew he’d end up happy with the beautiful wife and kids and great job. Tim Baker you’ll know from reading either my blog, my Facebook page or the zombie book we co-wrote together, Dying Days: The Siege of European Village. He is a cool hippie dude who wears godawful Hawaiian shirts and flip flops with a ponytail. Funny as hell. And he was easy to write and add into the story.
Missy Lockhart was based on a woman I dated briefly. It was one of those things where I wanted a female rookie cop and pictured her, so I wrote her in, thinking she’d be in one scene and out. She ended up being in about half the stories, I think.
Jenny Adams is my main editor and quite a character. She was great to write, taking her flirty personality and pumping it up a notch or two. I pictured her saying all the dialogue when I wrote her and it made it easier to finish scenes with her.
Who know what other friends and family will be introduced in future stories? Oh, and I want to apologize ahead of time. People die in my stories. A lot. Sorry.
If you have any questions about the Miami Spy Games series, I’d love to hear them: email@example.com
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