Monday, August 30, 2010

Character development

What makes characters so unforgettable? Quirks? Sense of humour? Their reactions to the situations they find themselves in? In a recent review, a reader hoped I would write a second book using the characters from In the Shadows of Angels. That could be a possibility, but what made that reader love those characters?
Why do readers love Twilight, or Harry Potter, or even Dan Brown's Professor Langdon? Why do I love Teresa Medeiros' heroes so much?

Because these characters are nothing more than human. No Peggy Sues.

Now, Lucius Benedict from In the Shadows of Angels is the laird of a very fine estate. He's also a very fine man. However, his insecurities are many. He has been accused of the murder of his estranged wife. But Luke can't remember if he killed her or not. His brother doesn't believe he is good enough to be laird. His mother in law dislikes him with unsurpassed passion. Even his horse betrays him! Poor Luke. The list goes on. However, these insecurities are what makes him human. Quirks? Oh yes! He lapses into strong Scottish brogue when things get too tough. He tempers his anxiety with sarcasm, and generally covers his confusion by being a big strong man. What man enjoys admitting confusion?

It's not easy keeping characters grounded, especially when writing fantasy or paranormal. All I can suggest is to draw from experiences with people. Not necessarily people you are close to, but strangers you meet every day. Remember the situations you face during the day, at work, at the supermarket, in the bank, even walking down the street. Disect the characters from your favourite movies and use the parts you need.

The best advice I ever read (or was told, I can't remember) is to make the characters your best friends. If you wouldn't mind being their friends, more than likely, the reader wouldn't either.

Sorry about the pics posted here. Gee, I had to post something, so why not gorgeous men?


1 comment:

  1. Yes, they say that cowards make the best heros because they need courage to do the things they have to do to be a hero. And of course, they need lots of character (arc) growth... Interesting post Kiss.

    Zoe Y