Novel Aesthetics!

For Labor Day, I’m working on revising INNATE and I thought I’d share a few of the novel aesthetics I’d put together to remind myself of what my characters look like.

I have a terrible memory and I often forget little details about my characters’s appearance. Don’t believe me? During July revisions, I realized I had repeatedly forgotten on which side of my face a main supporting character had been severely burned.

Severely burned. Half of his face. I couldn’t keep track.

So I rely heavily on images of models and actors to remind me of things like eye color, hair color, and stuff like that. I spend hours looking at gorgeous models and actors online trying to find the right one. Oh how terrible the life of a writer can be! 😉

Here are a few of those images smashed together into the latest trend: novel aesthetics!

Team Dawn

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I split my protagonist and secondary protagonist up for about a third of the story and there are different supporting characters associated with each of them. Dawn’s “set” is represented above by:

Azira Songbird – Bound to the goddess of luck, Azira still has bad days among the good ones. She’s hellbent on enjoying life while she has it and pursues a romantic relationship with Dawn.

Dawn Ward – Ward of the State, Dawn is our main hero! She’s a teen programmer with a bright future ahead until the goddess to which she is (unknowingly) bound decides to use her in an ongoing war. Dawn kind of likes Adam, but when Azira comes on the scene, she is hard to resist.

Adam Ward – Growing up in an orphanage with Dawn and Skye, Adam is a gamer and inventor at heart, fashioning a weapon that comes in handy toward the end of the story. He’s had a longstanding crush on Dawn but is paralyzed by the fear that revealing his feelings will destroy their friendship.

Alistair Carver – the main antagonist who squares off against Dawn a few times before the final showdown. He is ruthless and single-minded in his pursuit of Dawn and Skye. He is always thinking about how best to use those around him to achieve his goals.

Team Skye

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Skye spends much of the second act among the antagonists but she still has complex and evolving relationships with two supporting characters. Her “set” is:

Stephan Pashtan – Bound to the god of healing, Stephan has dedicated his life to helping others. At the young age of 18, he is already a skilled medic and doing research into the damage that being bound to a god can do. He is Skye’s main healer after the events of act 2, when she is in need of ongoing treatment.

Skye Ward – Ambitious, pragmatic, and stubborn are three words commonly used to describe Skye. She has a sharp tongue and enjoys flipping the expectations of those who underestimate her due to her blindness. She wants to study urban planning and horticulture, but when her goddess decides she’s more useful in the war, she’ll need all of her mental strength and fortitude to survive.

Ericor Carver – Our secondary antagonist, Ericor has developed a special fascination with Skye as he slowly loses his own sight. He is set on proving what Skye already knows–that he can still be valuable while visually impaired. This internal struggle influences every action and can lead him to be as heartless and calculating as his older brother, Alistair.

Main Supporting Cast

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The cast of INNATE is much larger than what is represented here but there are four supporting adult characters that play important roles throughout.

Rylin Lacheart (top left) – You have to age-up this model’s picture a little bit but otherwise he’s perfect. Rylin is a confident, strikingly attractive man who works in an ER, teaches Skye, Dawn, and Adam dance in his spare time, and is unfailingly devoted to his husband, Chakran.

Chakran Lacheart (top right) – Again, you have to age-up this model’s picture as Chak and Rylin are each in their forties by the time the story shows up. Chakran is a stoic and quiet opposite to Rylin’s exuberance. Chak was a childhood friend of Dawn’s and Skye’s mother and accepted the responsibility of raising them in hiding when she died. He faces his worst fears in the story as he tries and sometimes fails to protect the girls. He and Rylin love Dawn and Skye like their own daughters and would do anything to protect them.

Cobalt Dalmaran (bottom left) – Cobalt’s role is small but his impact is not. He trains young innates (those who are bound to a specific deity) to be warriors for the gods and he has pivotal moments with both Dawn and Skye. He’s hiding a terrible secret that drives him to be unfeeling and unsympathetic towards others, so that no one gets too close.

Yes, that is Idris Elba. I don’t know why, but I always imagined the actor in this role as I was writing Cobalt’s scenes.

Mriah Salif (bottom right) – Mriah is the mother of a toddler destined to become an innate. Her actions are driven by the need to distract herself from her son’s fate and, ultimately, the attempts to save him from it. She almost never interacts with Skye, but she is the closest thing to a mother that Dawn has had in a very long time.


And that’s the main cast of INNATE. It is by no means everyone nor everyone important but it’s Labor Day and I’m off to write! See you on Thursday!




Author: V. Kane

I write YA fantasy, blog about it, and then take my dog out for therapy. My current manuscript is ANATHEMA, a story of two sisters caught up in a war between the gods. Find me on Twitter at @ValkyrieWriting or Instagram at books_and_dogs

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