Developing Characters

Recently I received a wonderful review from New York Journal of Books for Lingering Spirit and at the end, the reviewer wrote "Meredith is a master of characterization. She fully rounds out the facets of her protagonists' personalities and richly develops the details of the supporting case. She does not hit any false notes with her dialogue and builds strong relationships among her characters...."

Great to read about one's work, of course, but thought maybe I should write a blog about developing characters that might help aspiring authors.

When I'm thinking up a characters, I visualize the person in my mind. Once I've got all the physical characteristics set, then I choose the name that I think fits that character. Always be sure when picking names not to use names in the story you're writing that have the same first letter, sound alike, rhyme or all have the same number of syllables. I collect interesting names and always save play and graduation programs for names. If you want foreign names, do a Google search for names that will fit your character.

To keep track of things like physical and personality characteristics, and cars your characters drive, either do it on the computer or use 3 X 5 cards like I do.

Because I see the story unfolding in my head as I'm writing, I also hear the dialogue. This helps to make it sound realistic. Remember, most people don't always speak in complete sentences or like English college professors, unless they happen to be one.

One trick I use, and this helps with POV too, is to get inside the character whose POV you are writing from. See out through this person's eyes, notice what he or she would notice, including colors, sights, sounds, and smells. Hear the words they are saying, are they true to that person?

Make sure the dialogue is important to the story, that it's moving the plot along or revealing character. Never have one person tell someone something that the other person already knows just to impart information. Put that in the narrative in a logical manner.

Most of all, think of all the characters who inhabit your story as real people. Would they really do what you're having them do? Are the stakes high enough for him or her to risk their life or reputation? How are the feeling while something is happening? Put the emotion in, that will help the reader to relate to the main character.

I do hope this will be helpful.



Mason Canyon said…
All of this information comes out in your characters. They are realistic and as a reader you want to know more about them as well as looking forward to what else they will get into.

Thoughts in Progress

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