Neil O'Donnell

Neil O'Donnell

About Me

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Buffalo, New York, United States
Nationally certified career coach with expertise in writing résumés and cover letters for professionals around the world. 15+ years of focus helping new graduates and seasoned professionals find good jobs.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Character Development - What works for me

When I develop characters, I consider everything I want to see in a hero, villian or throw-away character. Every character needs to be 3-dimensional for me to get hooked (as a reader). Characters need to have strengths, weaknesses and have his or her physical presence described. As a writer, I keep my reading preferences in mind. Sir Harrison of Corrington, from PEOPLE OF THE SWORD, was actually created late in the process of writing the book. The sequel (RISE OF THE CELTS) and its characters were prepared first (yea, kinda screwy I know). As for Sir Harrison, he was geared to be a hero with flaws. A knight that ignored protocol [riding to investigate a disturbance instead of riding to report to commander]. A man that was affected by anger and remorse. His flaws will be further explored in 'VLARA'S SONG' as will his strengths. The point is, I made him as real as possible. Admittedly, there are adjustments I would like to make to him now that the final copy is in circulation; I'm sure most authors feel that way. At times, I wish I had clarified certain weaknesses/strengths of Sir Harrison and other characters. Yet,I believe my readers walk away understanding why Harrison was impacted by the loss of those he commanded and why he was open to people of different backgrounds. For me, if an author can accomplish that, get readers to understand a character's motivations and actions, that author has successfully generate a 3-D character, which will ultimately get me to turn the page and read on.

Character Profile of Sir Harrison: Knight of the Church of Tropal. He is of Celtic heritage. Promoted to Captain during the events in PEOPLE OF THE SWORD. A Calvary officer, he is trained in the use of lances, pole-arms as well as utilizing a horse in combat maneuvers. Sir Harrison is also a master swordsmen and experienced in infantry deployment. A knight of the Church, Sir Harrison has received training in theology and medicine along with military strategy. This character class was developed with the Templar knights and Paladins in mind. Temperament/personality wise, Sir Harrison is thoughful, considerate and open to accepting anyone as a friend and comrade as long as he/she is of good character/heart. Sir Harrison is also seeking to find his place in the world; he is constantly torn between his service to the knighthood and his wish to have a family, living his days in peace.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Onward we go...

So the tales are finally spinning again... RISE OF THE CELTS and VLARA'S SONG are continuing. I am hoping to finish VLARA'S SONG shortly and will post updates on the blog as soon as I get them. In the immediate future, I have my next book signing scheduled for June (date posted when event finalized).

As for those of you writing your own tales, I strongly recommend joining a writing group. I have been a member of 'CRITTERS' (, which is free to join; I found the members give great advice (PEOPLE OF THE SWORD made two rounds through the members before it was ready for publication). No, I'm not pressuring others to join any writing group. I'm just strongly urging other writers to consider doing so. Take care.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Time to write....

The semester finally ended today. While I still have to give my students their final exam (my poor students), my time has certainly opened up. It seems like every time I'd sit donw to write during the last few months, something else came up. For the most part, I spent my time creating/updating power point presentations for my class. Now, it's finally time to get back at the fiction. :)

My time will be divided between RISE OF THE CELTS and VLARA'S SONG, the latter getting the most attention for now. For college students, I am also working on an academic support book that has tips for acheiving and maintaining success during their college years. How will I get all this done? Can you say 'COFFEE'?!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Writing continues...

The semester is finally winding down. Now that all my power points/lectures are finished, I am slowly getting back into my fictional work. David Eddings wrote about the need to write everyday. I can honestly say that I don't have a problem finding time to write. However, getting time to work on a novel is not what I think is the important thing. It's the act of writing I feel is needed; getting into the habit of putting words to paper. As for the fiction end of things, when the story is ready to come out of the author, it will. Until then, authors should just work at the mechanics, whether it's writing reports, lectures or a silly message to a loved one. At least, that's what I'm doing. I think David Eddings would understand.