Saturday, 22 December 2012


Hello everyone,
Today I am very excited to have a Guest Post for you. D J Swykert, author of the thrilling and suspensful, Children of the Enemy would like to share with you how he developed the characters to his novel. 

About the Author: 

DJ Swykert is a former Michigan 911 operator living in Northern Kentucky. Short fiction and poetry published in: the Tampa Review, Monarch Review, Sand Canyon Review, Zodiac Review, Scissors and Spackle, Spittoon, Barbaric Yawp and BULL. Children of the Enemy, a novel from Cambridge Books. Alpha Wolves, a novel available on the Noble Publishing website. You can find him on the blogspot: He is a wolf expert.

                          Character Development by D J Swykert

I could accurately say a pile of junk led me to write my crime novel Children of the Enemy. Raymond Little, the central protagonist in the story, came from an encounter with a junk man. I had cleaned out a cottage and taken a few large appliances to a salvage yard. Sitting on a chair outside of a house trailer, smoking a cigarette, surrounded by mountains of scrap metal pieces and old appliances, was a man who looked like a cross between Dirty Harry and James Earl Jones. I later wrote a short story about an addict, Jude St. Onge, who invaded Ray’s trailer home and attempted to rob him. I liked the dichotomy between the two men, the strong and the weak, adversaries who eventually come together for a common cause, to save Jude’s daughter from Parson,  a drug kingpin, who has murdered his Jude’s wife and kidnapped his daughter.

There are only about a dozen or so essential plots in all of literature, but the anomalies in characters are endless. To me all good stories begin with the characters, they drive the plot as much as the plot drives them. In Children of the Enemy, Raymond Little is caught between ridding himself of Jude and wanting to do the right thing by helping him save his daughter. In order to help him save Angelina, he first needs to help Jude save himself, which is how the story begins. The two end up getting some unexpected help from a newspaper reporter, and in turn they kidnap Parson’s two sons. The Detroit police force tries to solve the murder and kidnapping but they are always a step behind.

When I constructed this story I knew how I wanted it to end. The book reads like watching a movie, all the chapters leading to the resolution of the conflict. This is something I learned about writing from an interview I read with Elmore Leonard, and it stuck with me. The other best thing I’ve learned is find a good editor. A writer puts down on paper the essence of a story; the editor shapes what he wrote into a book. Few writers can edit themselves. It really helps if you can find an editor to help you with clarity in telling your story.

When people used to ask me who I am, I used to answer: I’m an insane Yooper poet, police dispatcher, fortune telling witch, I’m armed, and very very dangerous. This was just fun, although it’s mostly true, except for the dangerous part. You could add I’m a wolf lover, I raised two of them, and when I don’t write crime stories I have written extensively about wolves. I am currently writing a novel about a former soldier-cop who moves to his family cabin on top of Brockway Mountain. When his psychiatrist asks him what he’s going to be doing up there he answers, “Counting Wolves.”  

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the guest post, David, and good luck with your writing.