Guest Post by Nola Decker author of Outshine

Howdy folks! Today the fabulous Nola Decker is popping by. It’s a pleasure to have her as my guest. Thanks so much Nola! outshine

Suffering Characters and Scheming Writers

Writers have a special relationship with the characters they create. It is a relationship so distinct from what you’d have with an actual person that it really deserves its own word. It’s a mixture of affection and obsession, devotion and domination.

Writers construct every detail of each character’s emotional and physical world: what they look like and where they live, who they adore and who they hate, what gives them hope and what keeps them awake late into the night. Writers control whether the character has a shiny sports car or an unreliable beater that just might break down when they need to get to the hospital. Writers decide if a character chews gum or tobacco, cusses or corrects grammar, goes for a jog on Sunday mornings or goes to church.

Characters are lovingly molded out of those numerous, tiny decisions that a writer makes. Some of the decisions come easy and others can only be made after hours of research. With enough work, a character can feel more real to the writer than her own brother. After all, a writer may spend more time each day in this fictional world with her fictional characters than she spends in the actual world with real humans.

But, this is where the relationship goes awry: a writer’s concerns are, first, to build believable characters, and then, to make their (fictional) lives absolute hell. Good writers strive to be their character’s worst nemesis. They make the character trip and drop his car key down the storm drain just as the axe-wielding serial killer runs up. They convince a character’s boss to fire him just before his child gets hit by a speeding maglev train. They let a nasty creep of a neighbor transform the character’s cat into a cyborg.

A writer derives a special glee over manufacturing misunderstandings and mayhem. Characters lie and are lied to, steal and are stolen from. They are driven to the point of losing hope, forced to face their deepest fears, and hounded with heartbreak until they almost give up.

And, then, of course, the writer gets to feel all heroic saving the day by helping the character out of the jam that the writer’s sick imagination created in the first place. It is such an unhealthy relationship but so appealing. To have control over a world and the people in it, to create tragedy and then conjure up the magic of a happy, hope-filled ending. That is why we write. If only we could have that power in the real world.


Nola Decker


When agoraphobic Gabe and his outgoing nemesis Jessa go on a moonlit road trip to locate Gabe’s missing brother, the two teens discover they are both hiding unnatural abilities:  Gabe is a living lie detector and Jessa is a kick-ass powerhouse pretending to be a delicate diva.

Gabe’s sole reason for searching for Watts, his overbearing younger brother, is to clear his own name: he’s been framed for Watts’ alleged murder.  Jessa is after Watts because she is, well, after him.

They find him with Deacon, the twisted eugenicist responsible for their unusual powers. He encourages them to stay and join his “Family” where they’ll be able to live openly as the genetically-modified freaks that they are. When Jessa and Gabe uncover the truth about Deacon’s past–and what he wants for the future–they band together to stop him. Watts, however, might have other plans . . .

Author Bio

AuthorPic (1)

Nola Decker is the only writer in Seattle who doesn’t drink coffee. She makes up for her happy and healthy childhood by writing stories in which terrible things happen to young people. She loves salted caramel anything and Fridays.

Twitter handle: @nola_decker



Goodreads author page:

Amazon page link:




About TBM

TB Markinson is an American who's recently returned to the US after a seven-year stint in the UK and Ireland. When she isn't writing, she's traveling the world, watching sports on the telly, visiting pubs in New England, or reading. Not necessarily in that order. Her novels have hit Amazon bestseller lists for lesbian fiction and lesbian romance. She cohosts the Lesbians Who Write Podcast ( with Clare Lydon. TB also runs I Heart Lesfic (, a place for authors and fans of lesfic to come together to celebrate lesbian fiction.
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20 Responses to Guest Post by Nola Decker author of Outshine

  1. We do put our characters through so much.

    Outshine has an interesting premise with the eugenics and superpowers.

  2. Great post! It’s interesting to look at writing from the author’s perspective. Another one to add to my TBR list :).

  3. That is the tough part about being an author. You love your characters and you hate to put them through difficulties! But that’s part of it.

  4. The Guat says:

    Holy crap! I had no idea I was a control freak until I read your last paragraph. Duuuuuuuuude I thought I loved writing or wanted to write to make people laugh or just to get to the holy crap moment in the story, but yeah I guess I like the fact that I can create a world and its outcome. I’m a control freak under cover. Ha! Good post! Wish you success on the blog tour.

  5. What? A writer who lives in Seattle and doesn’t drink coffee…unbelievable! Thanks for introducing us to Nola and her book. I love Friday too!

  6. I’m all for making characters suffer. Writing is the only place we get to take out our frustrations on other creatures and feel justified. (Wait, did I just type that out loud?)

  7. Sherry Ellis says:

    It’s nice to have that kind of power to fabricate worlds and lives! ;0)

  8. Makes you wonder if our characters don’t hate us for all that abuse?

  9. cleemckenzie says:

    It’s easier to torture your characters if you think about someone you’d like throttle in real life while your writing. Not nice, but it does make the writing flow faster.

  10. Kourtney Heintz says:

    Great guest post! You really capture the relationship between writers and their characters perfectly. We are the creators of these story worlds and we put our characters through so much. But we have to in order to make the story have conflict and tension. And a satisfying ending.

  11. kimlajevardi says:

    If I had my writing powers in real life, it would be wonderful. Well, for me, not necessarily for those people I’d write into problems. 🙂

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