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Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Blog Raiders: Mia Darien

I haven't had a guest blog here for a while, and it's a genuine delight to have Mia Darien swooping in for the day, and blogging about the origin of Nykk Marlowe. It's a pretty fascinating development process.

Take it away, Mia!


The RPG History of Nykk Marlowe

The road that any character takes, from being a vague concept in their writer's mind to the three-dimensional creation you read on the page, is a long and winding thing. Some are a little longer and more winding than others. Many of my characters, for example.

Anyone who knows me, or has read certain interviews I've given, knows that I have a long history of role-play games. (I never did table top, but play-by-email and play-by-forum/collaborative writing style games.) It started with something called Minidragon Isle about fifteen years ago, then moved into McCaffrey's world of Pern, before landing in Robert Jordan's the Wheel of Time and also Star Trek.

I've since then written in fandoms and original creation worlds, and many of the characters that started in novels ended up in my role-play and many that started in role-play ended up in my novels.

Nykk is one of the latter, but it took longer with her than most.

In 'Written All Over Her,' there are about five segments called the Prelude, Interludes, and Postlude. These stand out because they are written in Second Person and we "see" Nykk as a teenager. The reason I included these segments was because it was the character biography (tweaked for the book) written at the first RPG I applied to write Nykk as a character at.

Inspired, a little, by Chelsea Cain's "Heartsick," I created Nykk and she started at my game set in The Wheel of Time. Her name was Nykkolaia Zeran, and for those who know the series, she was a Novice aspiring to the Blue Ajah. (The Ajah of Justice, which lets you see how her ending up a cop was no surprise.) However, when I started the character, I wrote her as a fourteen year old, and newly freed from her traumatic past. She was difficult to write with other people.

An early version of Nykk

I then brought her to an original world that I created, a game I ran. She was a unicorn rider, traumatized by the demons of the world. I worked her into a major plot line, but she was still difficult to write. That version ended up dying.

See, she has a fascinating history (to me, at least) but to write her too close to the trauma I inflicted on her was hard. She was traumatized, and withdrawn. In a role-playing environment, you write back and forth with other people. She didn't do well socially.

 Despite this, I couldn't let her go. She then went into the World of Warcraft, as a mage who preferred using ice, because she had an aversion to fire. This time she was older, still a little withdrawn (think Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) but better than before. She took on some slightly...twisted tendencies, modeling herself a little after what had happened to her, but I had to stop playing the game for a while and thus had to stop writing her there. 
Another early Nykk.

What, oh, what was I to do with Nykk? I liked her very much as a character, and thought she was a fascinating character study, but after three venues, where could I put her next?


A lot of characters have ended up here, and it is a place of strange beings, yes? It took a little work to take her from a high fantasy setting and put her into a paranormal world, as well as build a mystery on her history, but it ended up working a lot better. Not that she's been any easier to write, of course, but it just seemed to work so much better. Plus, writing her as a thirty-something established adult helped immensely, and the solo-writing novel avenue avoided that social part. All this just seemed more suiting for her.

Now I can't think of her being anywhere else!

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Author Bio: Mia Darien is an indie author of speculative fiction, and a New England Yankee transplanted into Alabama clay. No matter her geography, she continues to stubbornly and rebelliously live the life of her choosing along with her family and pets. She doesn’t miss the snow.

Author Site:

"Written All Over Her"

...on CreateSpace (Print):