Monday, November 23, 2015

The Face Transplant by R. Arundel @goddessfish


Character Creation

Every writer goes about creating characters in different ways. There are many different methods to do this and they are all equally valid. All writers will agree that all novels must have characters that connect to the reader in order to be successful. In my novel Alice, the supercomputer that helps the main character Matthew find the killer of his friend, is an important character. Alice had to be considered much like a human character. Things I considered were: how I would introduce her to the audience, strategies to bring out characteristics of her personality, her relationship to other characters.
I like to work out my story in my head completely before I worry too much about characters. For example, for The Face Transplant I worked out the entire story and what would happen. This immediately led to the creation of the main character, Matthew. I usually don’t worry too much about names at this point since that is really a placeholder in my mind. As I fully develop the main character and his background, place of birth, life experiences etc. The final name will emerge. I also like to create some backstory about my character. As the story emerges this may alter somewhat, but the main facets usually remain. For example if the character is a woman, I’m unlikely to change that, if she is high school educated I am unlikely to alter this. However, she may have been divorced or I may change her relationship with a sibling. Usually after thinking of the story the main characters are sketched out. After this is done I then create other characters. These are created for 2 reasons. I have a subplot that requires additional characters, or I want to show some aspect of the central characters and I can do this most easily by creating another character. This character will interact with the main character to emphasize the trait I want to show.

I always approach my characters from the physical (appearance), psychological (adventuresome, timid etc. and what life events got them to this place), I also try to give the character mannerisms, proclivities that re-enforce to the reader the personality. For example, a character that has a hard time to make decisions, I may show this on a smaller level with indecision in choosing morning coffee. I may show a strong physical character as having a love of mountain climbing.

Another way to produce a novel is to create a series of interesting characters. To know the characters so well that they can then be put into a story that is interesting. The plot and other story elements are then secondary. In my hands this is more difficult. It is easier for me to think of an interesting story and then populate it with characters.

If you are creating characters that are in real life. For example if you’re going to have a neurosurgeon in your story and that is an essential aspect of who they are you need to meet and talk to neurosurgeons to get it believable. This is the best approach but obviously not always possible. A writer can create a neurosurgeon based on their idea of what one would look like, how she would talk. For most readers this will work, but the readers who are in the field of medicine or have interacted with neurosurgeons most likely will realize the character is not realistic. This isn’t the end of the world since very few people have interacted with a neurosurgeon, so only a small minority of your readers will really care. However, if the character is a family doctor and you want a realistic portrayal getting it right is crucial. Almost every one of your readers has interacted with a family doctor and will immediately detect if the character is not created authentically.

When I create a character I also try to think about how realistic I want the character to be. Do I want a real life every day accountant or do I want to create a fantasy accountant.  The best analogy is do I want to create a real spy or do I want to create a James Bond spy. Sometimes the more dramatic but not true to life character will serve the means of the story better than an accurate portrayal of a job or person.

I like to try to avoid creating too many characters. If one character can serve more than one purpose I can often in my drafts remove extraneous characters. It lets the reader focus on the story more fully without trying to keep many characters straight.


The Face Transplant
by R. Arundel

GENRE: Medical Suspense Thriller


The Face Transplant

An epic journey of suspense, murder, and sacrifice

Dr. Matthew MacAulay is a facial transplant surgeon at a prestigious New York hospital. When his friend and mentor, Tom Grabowski, dies under mysterious circumstances, Matthew uncovers his friend’s secret: a new technique that allows perfect facial transplants. No incisions, no scars. Tom was able to accomplish this monumental feat with the help of Alice, a supercomputer robot with almost human abilities. While trying to find the people responsible for murdering Tom, Matthew realizes he is the prime suspect. He must flee for his life with the help of Dr. Sarah Larsson, a colleague and reluctant helper, who has a secret of her own, and Alice, who helps them make sense of a baffling series of seemingly unrelated events. The clues carry Matthew and Sarah around the world. They stumble onto a sinister plot of monumental proportions that leads Matthew all the way to the White House.

The Face Transplant is a powerful medical suspense thriller of the first order. The novel was written by a surgeon who weaves politics, medicine, and espionage into a tightly paced, intelligent thriller.


The man in the black fedora is going to kill Matthew MacAulay. It will bring him no joy. It will bring him no sadness. It is just something he has to do. He knows this one should feel different, but it does not. He sees Matthew and begins to approach him. He is very excited; it feels almost sexual. The small pin he carries in his right palm is a work of art. It is a two-inch-long needle with a hollow core. It is very difficult to have this manufactured. The mechanical specifications are exacting because the point is so fine it is invisible to the human eye.

He has to be careful with the point. If anyone looks closely at his right hand, they may notice a thick flesh-toned pad on his palm with a needle flat against it. As soon as he pushes the small button, the needle will become erect. The needle will penetrate Matthew’s skin and the plunger will inject the microdroplets. The amount is less than two grains of salt. Eight hours later Matthew will be dead. It will be relatively painless. Matthew’s muscles will violently constrict; it will be over in two minutes. Maybe it will not be so painless, but less pain than Matthew is causing him with his inquiries.

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

R. Arundel is a practising surgeon. This experience brings realism to the story. The novel asks what would happen if a surgeon were to develop the perfect face transplant.  This would allow people to have a new face, in essence create a new identity. You can create the perfect double, the perfect Doppelganger.



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