ARE YOU THERE, AUTHOR? IT’S ME, YOUR CHARACTER.
Hello, everyone. My name is Brenda. Before we begin, I’d like to thank Andrea for allowing me to visit with you all today. Thank you, Andrea.
So, what makes a great book? Plot? Conflict? The characters? The answer is all three.
Today I’d like to talk about characters, and how I take them from words on a page, to three dimensional individuals with thoughts and feelings, a past, present and future.
Before I begin writing a story, I prefer to have my characters well thought out with their back-stories in place. I start this process with a hazy imagine of a character. I can’t see the face clearly, but I usually get the impression of hair color, then maybe eye color. Soon, the facial features come into view, then their bodies. Now I have a detailed mind-sketch of a character.
Next, I take this flat sketch—skeleton—and introduce what I like to call the meat, or muscle. This simply means I add emotions, a personality and a past. The character now is walking and talking—interacting with the world around him or her. This is the stage I refer to as the getting to know my character on a more intimate level. I do a lot of staring off into space and thinking in this phase, lol.
Okay. You may be thinking this all sounds too simple, but really, how does a writer accomplish this? How does he/she turn a flat character—words on a page—into a filled out individual that readers fall in love with? Or hates? Or wants to see dead.
I can only speak for myself, so here is what the process is like for me.
Once I know what my character looks like and what makes them tick so to speak, I now have to add specific events and experiences that help shape the character’s personality. At this stage I look to my own life and experiences. Plus, I look to people around me: family and friends.
For instance, part of Katherine’s—the heroine in Prophecy’s Child—backstory I swiped from my sister-in-law. I won’t use her real name. Instead, I’ll call her SIL, lol. When my SIL was a teen, she met a guy. They dated and she wound up pregnant. The guy wanted nothing to do with her or their baby. So, he left.
My SIL met a new man—my husband’s brother. My BIL raised my SIL’s son like he was his own. In fact, they are closer than most biological fathers and sons.
Anyway, when my SIL’s son turned fourteen, his biological father made an unexpected appearance. He demanded to see his son. My SIL tried to put a stop to it, but she relented—against her better judgement. She conceded only because her son wanted to meet his real father. At first, things went okay. Soon her son wanted to move in with his father. Well, my SIL went ballistic—and rightfully so. But a week later, her son’s father vanished—no note, no good-bye, just gone—never to be heard from again. Her son is now twenty-four.
I took this experience, bent and twisted it to suit my story, and whalla, Katherine had part of her backstory.
As for Kal’s character, he is a combination of me—love of pulling pranks and telling jokes—and my two boys—their love of video games. Ike is also a combination of my sons—Tyler and Trevor.
So you see, I take bits and pieces of people I know and their experiences to create my characters. Each of my characters is dear to me. I’ve molded them from simple ideas and words into living (lol), 3-D people. I know what makes them tick. Why they react to certain situations. The hardest part of this process is making sure I have done my job properly so readers will fall in love with my characters—become as emotionally invested in them as I am.
I hope I have accomplished this with Katherine’s character.
My question to you all is, what books/characters have won a permanent place in your hearts?
Leave a comment and your email address for a chance to win a $5 Amazon gift card.
I’ll leave you with a blurb and excerpt from Prophecy’s Child.
His secret will shatter her world.
Katherine Colby’s life splintered ten years ago when her lover suddenly vanished, leaving her with more than a broken heart. But when Kal unexpectedly makes an appearance, her safe, dependable existence is shattered once more. Drawn into Kal’s deadly world of vampires and demons, she must now put aside her hurt and anger and learn to trust him. Can she forgive past deceptions and find the courage to love again? Or will she turn away the one man who owns her heart and soul?
Her secret will change his life.
Powerful, and lethal, Kal is a vampire warrior, sworn to protect humans from demons. Loving Katherine too much to pull her into his dangerous world, Kal deserted her, believing his decision was best for them both. But not even time could assuage his yearning for the woman who has captured his heart. As fate tosses them together once again, Kal must fight to win Katherine’s trust and forgiveness before evil separates them forever. But is he ready to become the man she needs him to be? Or will he lose the one woman he can’t live without?
Kal’s eyes met hers as he set the beer bottle on the coffee table. His blue irises glowed with tenderness. “It’s great to see you again. You look…” His gaze traveled over her face, down her neck before moving lower, where it lingered on her breasts before taking the same path back to her eyes. “Beautiful.”
Heat flooded Katherine’s cheeks and her pulse pounded. Embarrassment and longing churned through her, two emotions she didn’t need right now—they were weaknesses. She tried to stare him down, but couldn’t. Damn him—and her wayward feelings.
The hateful words she wanted to say stuck in her throat. With him acting so damn nice, it threw off her rage game.
Nice? Pleeease. He’s a selfish bastard that cares for no one but himself. Never allow him to fool you again.
Even if a part of her yearned for Ike to have a father in his life, she’d learned the hard way Kal was not a long-term commitment kinda of guy. No way would she allow Kal to sweep into Ike’s life only to sneak back out without a word. Her son’s heart was at stake, and she’d do whatever it took to protect him.
Katherine glared at him. “Let’s drop the niceties, and get down to why you’re here.”
Kal’s smile faltered.
She is a graduate from LongRidge Writers group.
When she isn’t writing you can find her out in her gardens or working with her two miniature horses.
Brenda loves to hear from readers. If you would like to contact her, visit her website.
Where to find me: