Guest Blog: S.B.K Burns

The Library Mistress welcomes S.B.K Burns.


I used to write science fiction many moons ago.
Though the best old-time sci-fi authors, most of them men, spearheaded character development in a big way. Today’s sci-fi authors, maybe because of the world-building, leave much to be desired when compared to romance authors on that account.

Now that I had set my sights on romance, I wanted to see if I could make third person intimate enough (close enough to first person) in order to flesh out my characters. What I’m referring to is writing my stories in what Orson Scott Card (Character’s and Viewpoint) calls Third Person Limited Deep Penetration. Us romance writers sometimes call this character perspective Third Person Deep POV. By writing this way, we pretend we’re wearing our characters as if they were Halloween costumes and letting them narrate their own stories.

To draw the reader into our characters, making them real, we need to flesh out both their internal and external worlds. In doing so, I evolve my characters’ attitudes about their personal lives, their romance lives, and their worlds.

Ever notice on TV shows like Survivor there are real people who are over-the-top caricatures. Sometimes I think of them as train wrecks. We all know people like this. It’s not that they have it any worse than the rest of us, but it’s how they take what happens to them. Like hitting the audience/reader over the head, but it works to fill the characters with angst. So relieving when we get to the end, the denouement, the HEA, and our character has fulfilled his or her arc. Lots for the reader to identify with.

One of the ways I use attitude in designing my characters, of course, is in their external dialogue. And though it’s not a good idea to have too much internal musings or character back story in the first three pages of our novel, sometimes that’s the only way to fully bring home to the reader where our character’s arc begins.

In external dialogue, an obstinate heroine who’s argumentative with her hero, or visa versa, is a good way to get attitude to stir things up.

I use two kinds of internal dialogue: the first is just a very personal narration by the character, almost as if they were speaking to the reader (but not going quite so far as done in first person). Then I also do italicized short discrete thoughts in present tense to amplify the narration.

For example, in Dancing Dragons, the second book in the Legends of the Goldens Series, Andrew, the hero and Golden-human hybrid, describes himself through his contrast with the Waybacks (alien fanatics, who wear costumes in their attempt to look like his Golden ancestors):

As a Golden-human hybrid, his features were clearly African—his nose less pointy, his lips fuller, his hair blond, and his skin a light golden tan, not pink flecked with gold like his ancestors. 
Wayback clowns! His dreadlocks were narrow twists—long, neat, and even, not thick and matted like theirs. Extended canines? They got that wrong too. 

Get the attitude?  Andrew could have said: we hybrids have a small rounded nose, fuller lips, and bond hair.  Our skin is tan. Theirs is almost white with flecks of gold. Et cetera. Instead, he’s anticipating and over-responding to some criticism, self or imagined, of what he’s conveying through his deep POV.

I know many authors reading this post already have spunky characters with loads of attitude.  If you’d like, contact me through posting comments on this site and I’ll consider highlighting a short excerpt of your work on my blog site.

Hope to hear from you soon,

Susan (S.B.K. Burns)

Check out these books from S.B.K. Burns!

Title: Forbidden Playground (Legends of the Goldens #1)
Author: S.B.K. Burns
Publisher: Soul Mate
Genre: Sci-Fi Paranormal Romance

Part human. Part alien. Being superhuman doesn’t make them immune to love. Or to heartbreak.

Akeelah never asks to be different. She sure doesn't ask to be a hybrid. She doesn't want to be a psychic orbweaver like her people—able to create new worlds with only a thought.

She. Just. Wants. To. Be. A. Girl. More precisely, Saffron’s girl.

Saffron's her best friend, a hybrid like her—and hot. Being superhuman doesn’t make him immune to love. Or heartbreak. His one focus—Akeelah.

Coming into their powers and against the wishes of their android guardians, together Akeelah and Saffron practice their psychic skills.

Because of the dangers of orbweaving, the guardians they trust take Akeelah away, zap her memory.

Saffron can't live without Akeelah. All he wants is her memory restored, so she knows she's in love with him.

But trust is rare in a world full of deception, androids, and aliens—even when two people love each other.

Title: Dancing Dragons (Legends of the Goldens #2)
Author: S.B.K. Burns
Publisher: Soul Mate
Genre: Sci-Fi Paranormal Romance

Eco warrior, Maggie Maclaurin, can somehow see through Andrew’s conjured fraternity disguise: he’s a psychic cousin to the vampires, and with those flying dragon tattoos undulating suggestively across his naked chest, positively an endangered species, definitely in need of saving.

But when real vampires make a pact with the corrupt government to bring a little more nasty onto campus, Maggie’s chaotic human vibes keep Andrew from protecting her, make him sick, each time he comes in for a nibble from the neck of this attractive, yet headstrong young woman.

Can Andrew forget about his self-centeredness long enough to gain Maggie’s trust, so he can save her from the vampire’s fangs, and, if he does, who will save her from his own?


  1. Interesting info about the dialogue

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com


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