First Character Reveal

As some of you may know by now, and others may not, I have been working on my first novel for the past few months. It will be a space opera set in a universe of my imagination’s design. The focus will be on the characters and developing their arcs much more than the world-building, with a female heroine at the core of the story.

Some of my friends have been asking to learn more about this heroine and her journey. While the first excerpt will be posted on Monday, May 23, I did create a backstory vignette one night as I worked on her character profile.

Check out the excerpts page to discover my heroine’s name and get a peek inside her head.



Tricia Barr took her understanding of brand management and marketing, mixed it with a love of genre storytelling, and added a dash of social media flare to create FANgirl Blog, where she discusses Star Wars, fandom, and the intersection of women within Star Wars fandom. She is co-author of Ultimate Star Wars and Star Wars Visual Encyclopedia from DK Publishing, a featured writer for Star Wars Insider magazine with numerous articles on the Hero's Journey. Her FANgirl opinions can be heard on the podcasts Hyperspace Theories and Fangirls Going Rogue. Tricia Barr's novel, Wynde, won the 2014 Independent Publisher Book Award Gold Medal for Best Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror Ebook. She was also part of Silence in the Library's successful all-female creator science fiction and fantasy anthology Athena's Daughters, which is available now. For excerpts and tales of her adventures in creating a fictional universe, hop over to

7 thoughts on “First Character Reveal

  • May 9, 2011 at 10:03 pm

    A few questions (out of curiosity about the world):

    “Even though many of the bureaucrats viewed his venturist leanings as a blight on Primean ideals, his success had ensured that his name was spoken reverently among the masses. ”
    Curious – what comprises “venturist leanings” and “Primean ideals”? It’s not relevant to this piece, but does this mean “progressive… traditional”, “libertarian… bureaucratic/statist” (I’m guessing this vaguely, due to the mention of bureaucrats and my speculation on what “venturist” means), or what? I’m sure I’ll find out in the next excerpt, anyway. :P

    (Oddly enough, that brief description reminds me a bit of Julius Caesar: a natural leader of great talent and hints of radical political leanings, feared by the entrenched powers but loved by the people. Given that you said this will focus more on character development than world-building – and it’s her story, anyway, not her father’s – I doubt he’ll take Caesar’s route, though. :P Makes me wonder – and worry – if an assassination looms in the future..)

    So this is a military academy? (I looked up “plebe” online.) She has a sports background, and her father excels at said sport. (I think it’s a sport – it could be professional gaming, like they have in South Korea… :P)

    I note that both parents are good-looking… Presumably socially skilled, as well, given that her father seems to be a political force in his own right and her mother’s a Cultural Minister. I don’t mean this as a criticism, just a prediction, but I suppose she’ll underestimate both her looks and her personality, only for people to reassure her later that she’s both beautiful in her own way and a tribute to her parents? Or, to abuse a direct quote, she’ll find that even though she thinks “She did not have the benefit of her father’s persuasive charm or rakish good looks, nor her mother’s sharp intellect and astute savoir-faire”, some character will eventually take her by the shoulders, shake hard, and tell her she has all that and more? :P Sorry, I’m just keyed to certain cues authors use as foreshadowing. If I’m seeing this wrong, my apologies – and if I’m not, there’s nothing wrong with the pattern; it’s obviously a successful formula, to tell from how many authors use it.

    All in all, I think the excerpt’s quite nice, and eagerly look forward to more! Only one quibble:

    “It was even more important than a championship match where an ill-advised gut reaction to discard the team’s carefully planned strategy would be excused when they won, like hers had been a couple weeks ago. ”
    “Ill-advised” sounds like it ultimately had a bad outcome. Perhaps “irrational”, “absurd”, “ridiculous”, or some other phrase to convey that (at the time) people thought it was insane? Of course, such stereotypical dismissals (as I’m suggesting, not as you wrote!) have the problem that they’re stock devices to signify that the character possesses psychic powers or some other form of supernatural intuition, which I believe is nowhere near what you’re intending, so maybe it’s best to just leave it the way it is. I do think “ill-advised” is jarring when the reader sees that the decision was successful, though.

    • May 9, 2011 at 10:20 pm

      Wow! Now that’s a response. I don’t want to say more because all will be revealed in due time. You picked up on a lot of clues, even the precisely chosen word choice “ill-advised”… Some words like “academy” and “plebe” are meant to infer or suggest real-world equivalents, but Vespa’s world isn’t absolutely equivalent to the real-world.

      This is all of course from a certain point of view and we will see a lot of other POVs that will shake it all around. My motto in writing has become “trust no one” – characters lie to themselves all the time.

      The book opens approximately two years after this moment. You wouldn’t need this scene to understand her, but it was a fun exercise. Thanks for reading it so carefully. I’m glad I spent a few hours scrutinizing each word.

      • May 10, 2011 at 12:13 am

        You’re quite welcome! :D

        Regarding something you wrote on the Cantina:
        “It inspired a whole backstory for her parents. I may have to write my own fanfiction when I’m done with the book to tell their story.”
        You could always incorporate it into the story. Maybe slip in a reference in here and there… or slip in those references as if foreshadowing a prequel, then have it actually have been foreshadowing a twist in the main plot. :)

        • May 10, 2011 at 12:06 pm

          “You could always incorporate it into the story. Maybe slip in a reference in here and there… or slip in those references as if foreshadowing a prequel, then have it actually have been foreshadowing a twist in the main plot.”

          The parents’ backstory is definitely referenced here or there. I just have to be careful to now burden down Vespa’s journey. So what the reader will see is only the part of Utara and Daemyn’s life that directly bears on Vespa’s story. There is a lot of foreshadowing in this book, from the first chapter on. Some of it won’t be apparent for three books, but if that’s your thing, you could take all sorts of nuggets away from the text.

          I’m kind of hoping to see people dream about or create their own backstories based on what I leave open, for characters like Utara and Daemyn.

  • May 10, 2011 at 11:39 am

    I really enjoyed this! I am very intrigued at how the name a child chooses carries so much weight! I felt nervous with Vespa, especially considering the type of parents she has. It seems either they or their enormous reputations put a lot of pressure on her. I also got a clear idea of how Vespa feels she doesn’t quite live up to their expectations!

    I definitely want to learn more about the story! :)

    • May 10, 2011 at 12:11 pm

      If you’re nervous now, wait until you get to the first chapter!

      “It seems either they or their enormous reputations put a lot of pressure on her.”

      Isn’t that the case for a lot of kids who try to live up to what their parents are or what they expect? A lot of the pressure is internal, some external, but I think what her dad says gives you a pretty good idea of what he wants and expects. In the end I hope her parents end up coming off as an “everyparent” who just wants what’s best for their child and that many people can relate to their struggles as parents.

      “I definitely want to learn more about the story! ”
      Awesome! You made my day.

  • May 10, 2011 at 8:26 pm

    I can’t wait to read more about Vespa.

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