Monday, May 13, 2013

Let's Talk Characters

Everyone reads and writes differently. There are people who like less romance, and those of us who like more. People who like character-driven stories as well as those who like things more plot-heavy. Yes, any good book has to have both. There has to be a plot and there has to be three dimensional characters, but books can have more of a quiet plot, and more focus on characters and the other way around.

For me, it's characters. Now, I don't know if I always do a good job of this or not. Like anything there are people out there who may love my characters and those who hate them, but if there is one part of my writing that comes from a deeper part of my heart, a part that's always on my mind, and that I'm always scared of getting wrong, it's my characters. WHO they are. Every single layer to them and I love lots and lots of layers :)

My characters are real people to me. I can't tell you how man conversations I've had with writer friends where I'm struggling over a piece of WHO my character is and I say things like, "But Adrian wouldn't do that." Or "Alec wouldn't see it like that" etc. They're that real, and I almost try to become them, because I need to see things the way they do.

There are times I'm writing when even I am shaking my head at something they do or say. As the author I'm telling them to open their eyes, or wondering how they can think that way but--and this is the important part--If I'm doing my job as the author, even if you don't personally understand why someone is the way they are, you get why THAT character made THAT decision. Agree with it? Maybe not, but if I'm peeling back all those layers and showing you who they are, their decisions/personality will be consistent in who they are.

I am a fan of flawed people. We're all flawed, some of us more than others. Let's take Colt for example. Could he be an asshole? Yep, he definitely could. He came to me and showed me that, that was who he was...but it wasn't the only part of him. He had a balance of that jerk guy, but also had this huge, pulsing heart that is so very special. But he wasn't perfect. He hopefully slowly peeled back those layers to show you different sides of him, and though he (again hopefully) grew throughout the story, the basics of who he is didn't change. He learned to be a little nicer, learned to love and to let people in. He developed through the book, but he will still never be perfect. He still might snap at you from time to time and he still has a dirty mouth, but he's also more hopeful and he discovered who he really is.

A lot of you may not have read FOUR SUMMERS yet, but Brandon is another one of these kind of characters to me. There is so much more to him than meets the eye. He makes some decisions that even I was angry about, but they are who he is, and I had to listen to him, even though I also wanted to kick his butt ;)

If I do one thing right in my writing, that's what I want it to be. I want to write characters who people fall in love with. I want them to be unique and flawed and layered. I want them to screw up, real screw-ups, not manufactured ones and then I want them to fix it. I want them to grow throughout the book and to look at the world differently than they did in the beginning, but also not to completely lose who they are.

Readers, are you a character-reader? Who are some of your favorite characters you've read and why?

Writers, are you a character-writer? Who is a favorite character you've written?



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4 comments:

  1. So glad to read your post. As a writer and a reader I do love characters the most. And I love that about your stories too.

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  2. I love characters both as a reader and a writer. And there are far too many I've read that I love. But as a writer, at the moment I'm 100% in love with Ozzy, my foul-mouthed, sex-obessed, 16- year-old amputee.

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  3. I am all about the characters. Maybe that's why I like your books. I like characters with depth that feel realistic. I love a good character arc. While there are some things I don't personally like to read about (such as cheating- too emotionally upsetting for me) I don't mind when characters make bad or wrong choices as long as they show growth. This is especially true in regards to the main characters. Often the biggest growth in life comes from picking ourselves up when we fall rather than making the right decision to begin with. Sometimes the journey there can be quite intriguing.

    Also it is about trusting an author. I don't like hopeless and bleak books. There is plenty of that in the world already and I don't want to read it in my books since I am looking for an escape usually when I read. That is why I don't mind problems and breaking apart as long as there is resolution. I don't need things perfectly tidy but I am ultimately a HEA girl and a complete romantic at heart.

    You are an author I trust. If you break my heart in a book or make me feel deep emotion I know I can trust you to bring things to a place of healing by the end.

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  4. It's all about the characters for me,too. You can have a well-devised plot with twists and turns to keep the readers on the edge of their seats but it won't accomplish a thing without solid, well-developed characters that the readers care about.

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