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Bob Mayer – Character: The People of your Story

New York Times Bestselling Author Bob Mayer gave a great presentation during Craftfest at this year’s Thrillerfest XI. Please forgive my butchered amalgamation of his words and my thoughts. He touched briefly on the industry; and how it is constantly changing. The E-book market, despite claims to the contrary, is alive and well. Bob made a great point for new authors: Discoverability is key. You have to find the means to get you book out there.

The core of his session was on character development. Character, he said, is pre-eminent. While creating your story, remember emotion is more important than logic. Emotion is what draws the reader in and makes them feel part of the story.

When developing your story, what should you focus on: plot or character? The mission or the man? Stories about characters tend to be better stories. Goals are what characters strive for; motivation is why they are striving. Every character thinks the story is about them . . . so what is each character’s motivation? It must be believable to the reader.

Bob also pointed out how an author needs to identify what the pathological need of a character is. This shows how they would react in a crisis. He had a great chart he broke down into traits, needs, and flaws. These three areas need to be shown to have a well-rounded, believable character.


TRAIT                                    NEED                                     FLAW

Idealistic                              To be the best                   Naïve

Understanding where your characters come from is another important component in character development. What is the key point in their life? Flesh out your characters background as much is possible. It’s not necessary to tell the reader everything about your character, however. In fact, less is better.

When developing your protagonist, he should be reluctant, empathetic, and should have some type of negative quality. You also have to identify what’s at stake for this person. What happens if he fails? And know that if he doesn’t change throughout the story arc, he will fail.

How do you build a great antagonist? Your bad guy should be human, even likable. He should also have a motivation such that if the character is removed from the story, the plot collapses.

Thanks for sitting through my brief recap of New York Times Bestselling Author Bob Mayer’s session on Character: The People of Your Story. For more on Bob, visit his website:






Today, I begin my breakdown of Thrillerfest XI, that took place two weeks ago at the Grand Hyatt in New York City. I’ll start with Steve Berry’s, “The 6 C’s of Story Structure.”

 I’ll not go in to detail on Steve’s lecture, because you need to see it yourself. But hopefully I'll give you just enough taste to get you there next year. Briefly, the six C’s are: Character, Conflict, Crucible, Complications, Crisis, and Conclusion.

Character: Who are they? Characters are what makes our story interesting. The reader must be invested in the characters.

Conflict: The reader must realize the conflict between the antagonist and protagonist early in the story.

Crucible: This is the event that makes your hero do something he doesn’t want to do.

Complication: The revelation of subplots . . . and how they tie into the main plot.

Crisis: Think of a big explosion at the end. Just kidding, but the visual kind of makes the point. Conflict is resolved, subplots hopefully resolved as well.

Conclusion: All the loose ends tied up and the good guy wins . . . most of the time.

I won’t go into detail on how he relates those and how they relate to each other. That’s the magic of Steve’s presentation. Steve did focus on a problem that many aspiring authors face—backstory. Too many writers try to push the backstory up front (self included) instead of spreading it out over the course of the first two thirds of the book.

In addition to being a brilliant author, the guy is a gifted instructor and orator. His presentation is top notch and highly recommended. So yes, if you were there, you’d say, “Hey, there’s a lot more to his presentation that that.” And you’d be right. I didn’t want to give away the farm here, I’m just trying to show a little of the gift Steve gave us. He’ll be back next year. I suggest you give this one a shot.



Thrillerfest 2016 ended just a few days ago, but I feel like I’m still there. I met so many great people; established authors, aspiring authors, agents, publishers, editors . . . It was another amazing experience. Thrillerfest is divided into different sections, each occurring on different days of the conference. Tuesday is MasterCraftfest. This is a one-day, intensive writing critique session. The small classroom setting of around eight students allows for an intense review of each students ten-page manuscript.


Wednesday starts Craftfest. It’s a day and a half of insight from the top authors in the business of a variety of aspects of writing. Character development, plot, dialogue, creating suspense. There’s over twenty different classes offered; a selection of four different classes each hour. All of them excellent.


Following Craftfest on Thursday is a two-hour section called Careerfest, where industry professionals: agents, publishers, and editors sit on panels and give their perspective on the industry.


Thursday afternoon is Pitchfest, where authors are given the opportunity to pitch their project to perspective agents. It’s about a three and a half hour session of ‘speed dating’ with an agent. I’ve been to several writers’ conferences and I can say there is nothing like this out there. Amazing opportunity.


Friday and Saturday is Thrillerfest. This is designed for the fans as well as the authors. There are numerous panels with a wide variety of authors; from the incredibly established to the first time novelist. One on one interviews with top tier authors highlight this section as some of the best in the industry are highlighted. This year, C.J. Box, Gillian Flynn, Walter Mosely, and Heather Graham were highlighted.


Saturday evening is the banquet. While I must confess, I had to leave before this, I’ve heard it is fantastic and I’ll definitely make it next year. Over the coming weeks, I’ll post some of my experiences at Thrillerfest. See you next time!




It’s launch day! Hopefully, you’re excited as I am about the launch of VEIL OF DECEPTION, now available on Amazon! Our goal now is to get the book to the top of the Military Thrillers list! Then top of the Thriller list. The top of the Fiction list, and so on and so on. I can’t help but think this will go well. I’ve put a lot of time into this book and it feels like more time into marketing. I want to thank all of you out there, for making this possible. Thank you for believing in me, I hope this book, and I, don't let you down.


It' just after midnight central time, which officially makes it the 19th. It's exciting to see that Veil of Deception has a ranking already! Sales are slowly trickling in and here's where we stand as we open:


Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #132,219 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)



With your help, we can make #1!

Working full time while trying to organize a book launch is . . . stressful. I’ve been on the road twelve days out of the last two weeks; organizing and implementing this has been from an iPad or iPhone in a variety of different hotel rooms. I am grateful and blessed to be back a home.


I’ve been blessed to recruit my ‘Street Team’ who have been invaluable in this process. Thank you all very much for your assistance. Here’s a big shout out to the members of my ‘Street Team’:




Ron Cochrane


Gary Reid


Paul O'Halloran


Lowen Loftin


Johnny Crane


Jerry Litzo


David Jeffers


Jonathan Sharman


Debbie Heroman


Scott Tyler


Wil Pernia


Dave Docarmo


Rob Byther


Scott Andre


Preston Plous


Bobby Oates


Kevin Patton


Peggy Kassees


Kristina Clark


Richard Mihovilich


Derek Jeter


Laura Elizabeth Bullock


Tony Taijeron


Christopher Moore



Charles Mann


Vincent Tullos


Peggy Hamilton Jeter


Charles M. Hughes


Danielle Burton


Jim Collins


Ricky Adams


Gary Westfal


John Stott


Rickey Heroman


JD Rudman


Melissa Tyler


Ryan Dille


Bruce Johnson


Tim McKernon


Ken Taylor


Rhonda Gritsavage


Dace W Heathman


Terry Sears


Steve Kelley


Blake Jeter


Tyler Kercher


Scott Kemp


Bill Turner


Ethan Friedland


Jeff Helms


Don Lewis


Tyler Kellum Jeter


Jeffrey Gosselin


Dean Brignac


Sheryl Moffett Brady Teske


Justin Mackey


Joe Settle


Mike Harding


Adam Zaret


Paige Braun Reupke


Barbara Helms


Ken Price


Cary Herrera


JoAnn Crumpton


Catharine Jeter


Joel Martin


Scott Tyler


Betty McCraw


Kimberly Jeter Lewis



Posted by on in Michael Byars Lewis Blog


     Wow, it’s finally here! This has been a long hard road getting this website up and running. I’d like to thank the folks a Next Generation Designs who did the heavy lifting-Katherine, Mike, Josh, Alicia, Debbie, and everyone else. Thanks Mike H. for pointing me in their direction. I was an author who’d never had a website and they were a website company who never made one for an author. What a great match! All in all, I’d say it worked out great!

     Here’s some of our features. The homepage holds the rotating banner with links to my book and author page. It also has a Facebook feed and a ‘call to action’ section, where key information will be posted. At the bottom of the page is a link to this blog as well.

     The ‘Books’ page has links to purchase my books. As of right now, you can get them from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iBooks. You can also purchase autographed copies directly from me, using either PayPal or a credit card.

     The ‘Blog’ page, where you are right now, will be updated with random thoughts on a variety of topics.

     The ‘News’ page is the area where ‘News worthy’ items will be posted. They might be listed somewhere else on the signt, but this page will be their permanent home. 

     The ‘Bio’ page contains a brief biography of yours truly. There’s also a section covering the Air Commando Foundation. I encourage you to read this section and follow the link if you’re willing to support our air commando’s and their family during times of crisis.

     I’m pretty excited about our new website. It’s doing what we need right now and is primed for growth as we move into the future.

     Let us know what you think about it:


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