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Monday, January 23, 2012

What makes a character real?

Corbin couldn’t remember the last time he’d been late getting to the office….Lately, though, his work didn’t satisfy him. He’d had to drag himself out of bed then force himself to drive thirty minutes into the city.
This is an excerpt from my new release, Starting Over, from Decadent Publishing. In this introduction to one of the main characters you get a glimpse of a frustrated man. Many of us in the “real” world suffer such a frustration: running late, not being satisfied with what we do, going to the job anyway.

With a glance out the wall of windows overlooking the city on this cloudless, June day, he set his briefcase on the desk. He spared a smile as he noted Hazel had straightened his workspace. She liked things neat and tidy to the extreme; he settled for not a disaster.
In this excerpt we get another bit of characterization about this man. We learn Corbin is important enough to have an office with a view and that he isn’t a neat freak. Again, this last part shows a commonality with many people in how they keep their desktop, even handle their life.
Even after months of salvaging a friendship with his ex-wife, he (Corbin) still felt bad about failing her. He’d honestly tried to shove his secret desires aside and make the marriage work….She’d tried, too, even after she came to accept his bisexuality. Finally they both accepted that he really was more flat out gay than bi. They still loved each other, but they couldn’t be man and wife.
Now we are learning about his internal conflict: finally admitting to others that he is a gay man. And we see the external conflict: that he’d been in a m/f legally binding relationship, which had failed. A reader can sympathize with both Corbin and his ex-wife. He clearly didn’t want to hurt her because he loved her, just not as much as she deserved. He feels badly about letting her down and is also struggling with where to go now in his life.
I’ve given you a brief example of how a writer tries to bring a character to life, tries to make that character believable and seem “real” to a reader. By giving Corbin identifiable personality traits (dreading his job, forcing himself to do something anyway, being a bit of a disorganized office person), the reader can understand him to a certain extent.
When I decided to write this story, I wanted to focus on two strong personalities, both with having suffered obvious difficult moments in their lives. I also wanted to write about a man finally ready to take that big step, his first real step, into a lifestyle completely different from what he had lived for years. And, of course, I wanted to match him with a man truly worthy of being his first male lover.

Corbin was finally trying to ease into his new lifestyle. He was scared shitless, wondered what had possessed him to agree to this 1 NightStand arrangement. He’d spent years fantasizing about this. As he neared the long, lean man with graying hair a bit shaggy, a hard on pushing at the front of his swim trunks, and a sexy-as-hell grin, the dreams paled in comparison.
Matt had considered changing his mind about this one-night arrangement. But as the tall, well-built man walked across the pool area toward him, all thoughts of that fled. Those broad shoulders, the amazing pecs, the spattering of dark hair on his chest…all of it called to him. He wanted to touch it, play with it. He forced himself to calm down. This was a virgin gay man. He would be his first male lover and he would have to find the inner strength to take his time. Could he?


Matt sat on a chaise lounge near the poolside bar, sipping on some fruity island drink the bartender had insisted he try. Not bad really, but he preferred beer. He’d been out here almost an hour and already had two women and a young stud make advances. He’d politely turned them all down, saying he was here with someone. Now he wished that someone would join him before he had to make excuses again to the Barbie-doll shaped woman heading in his direction.
She had no sooner wobbled up on her ridiculously high-heeled sandals than he spotted Corbin Bradley walking into the pool area. Well, well, well. Prime male and mine for the night. The thought surprised him, but he couldn’t deny the way his pulse raced and his body went on high alert. He grinned, glanced past the twenty-something blonde, and waved at his roomie. “Over here.”
Frowning her disappointment, the blonde walked off, muttering, “What a waste.”
He’d heard that kind of comment many times over the years and didn’t care a bit. He was comfortable with his homosexuality, even if others couldn’t easily see it until he revealed it. Unconcerned with her reaction, he studied the tall, well-built man making his way across the pool area. The photo he’d seen of Bradley didn’t do him justice. It seemed so wrong to ever hide those broad shoulders, the amazing pecs, and incredible six-pack beneath a suit, even an obviously expensive, tailored one. He longed to smooth his hands over what he saw, feel the muscles beneath his palms, play with the nipples and the spattering of dark hair on his chest. He wanted to…. God! Get it together. Stop salivating and be cool.
His cock had hardened and pressed the front of his trunks, so he lowered the hardback book he’d been reading and tented it over his erection. “Any trouble getting here?” A lame question, he knew.
“No.” He looked down at him and Matt saw uneasiness in his eyes. Yet he’d come all this way in spite of his rigid posture, the tightness in his jaw. He stretched out a hand. “Corbin, but I guess you know that already.”
Matt gave him a reassuring smile and shook it. Their hands, like their overall size, appeared similar, except his was callused from work. “Matt.”
With a slight nod of acknowledgment, Corbin eased onto the chaise lounge next to him, turning his head to take in the scene, the dozen sunbathers, the few people enjoying the pool. “I guess you can tell how nervous I am. I hope I don’t disappoint you.”
Matt relaxed. “I didn’t come here with a lot of expectations other than getting away, seeing someplace new, sharing the experience with someone.” He held Corbin’s gaze and said, “I’m a little nervous myself, but I think we’ll be fine together.”
His dark brown eyes looked hopeful. “As long as you understand….”
“Don’t worry about it.”
As if he needed to make sure Matt knew what he’d meant, Corbin leaned closer and said so only he would hear, “I’ve never…well, never been with a man.”
The admission took guts. Until that moment, Matt hadn’t really intended to actually have sex with the date he’d been matched with, although he’d toyed with the idea. Now he intended to be Corbin’s first male lover. He would guide him into what could happen between them.

Available now at:  Amazon   Publisher

Starla Kaye


  1. Thanks for having me here today. I am still excited about this book and hope to do another one soon.

  2. I can't wait to read this one! I've done one m/m (Blue Cruise, also a 1ns) and am working on a 2nd. great post!

  3. There are so many 1Night Stand stories now and I've missed some. I'll have to look for yours. Thanks for stopping by.

  4. Corbin sounds delicious! And vulnerable. 'I hope I don’t disappoint you.' Took guts to put himself out there like that. You made him very real. Thanks for sharing!

  5. I really wanted both of my "delicious" men to come off as real as possible. And I truly appreciate helpful suggestions for further stories that I will do. Thanks for leaving a comment.