What is required for a character to be believable?

We’re happy to announce December ’10 World of Ink Tour Guest J.D. Holiday joins us today to share what is required to make your characters believable. J.D. Holiday is the author and illustrator of two children’s books: Janoose the Goose, picture book and a chapter book for six to eight year olds, THE GREAT SNOWBALL ESCAPADE. A chapbook of her short stories called, Trespasses was published in 1994 and she has had short stories printed in literary magazines and numerous articles about writing and publishing published. She is a member of The Society of Children’s Writers and Illustrators, (SCBWI) and Small Publishers of North America, (SPAN). J.D. Holiday lives in the Delaware Valley of Pennsylvania.

We chatted with J.D. Holiday about the process of creating characters and how it is so varied. We suspect there are as many methods as there are authors and every writer must do what works for him or her. However, learning each other’s techniques helps us hone our own writing skills.

J.D. Holiday’s Tips on How to Make a Character Believable

A believable character is one that can show human traits and emotions through body movement and dialog. Know your characters well.

Each character must have an identity; name, age, background, a hobby or two and likes and dislikes. Your readers have to see where your characters live what the characters think and feel about the situations they find themselves in.
1. Do they play an instrument?
2. Do they run in the park mornings or in the evenings?
3. Who are their friends? And on and on.

I put myself in their shoes and use myself as a model for all sorts of emotions and problems my characters face. This applies to even emotions I have not felt or traits I don’t have. If my characters have to be something I am not or feel what I have not, I picture myself being or doing what my characters must and write it down.

Do an outline sketch of each one and even with all of that, your characters, especially your main character should standout and for the most part, are likable to the readers.

The characters personalities have to be consistent throughout the story.

That's the basic recipe for character creation. I hope it helps you get your characters off the ground and running. Remember- characters are the building blocks of story- don't forget to spend time on your characters before you dive into your first draft.

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J.D. Holiday is touring her book, “The Great Snowball Escapade” all December long. For those of you who would like to follow J.D. Holiday’s World of Ink Tour her next stop is December 5th at the Utah Children's Writer Blog http://utahchildrenswriters.blogspot.com/




A little about “The Great Snowball Escapade”:
Wilhemena Brooks’ cousin, Bud Dunphry come to live with her family. Wil, as she likes to be called, finds her pink pencil sharpener is missing after Christmas. Wil knows Bud has it! Who else would have taken it? Her mother told her to be nice to Bud and to treat him like she would like to be treated. If Wil treats Bud nicely does that change anything for her?

Publisher: Book Garden Publishing, LLC
ISBN Number: 978-0-9818614-2-5
Publication Date: March 16, 2010

Places where J.D. Holiday’s book is available for sale other than Amazon.com: B&N.com, Books-a-million.com, Powell's Books.com

E-books on sale at: Amazon, B&N, Scridb, LULU, and soon at Google Editions


J.D. Holiday’s Links:
Author Website: http://www.bookgardenpublishing.net

Blog Address: http://jdswritersblog.blogspot.com/

Twitter URL: https://twitter.com/#!/JDHoliday

Facebook URL: http://www.facebook.com/

Facebook Fan Page URL: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001087242518#!/pages/JD-Holiday/10150125088360294

Publisher Website: http://www.bookgardenpublishing.net

3 comments:

  1. Thank you, Virginia, for giving me this opportunity to discuss What is required for a character to be believable! I enjoyed it!

    Jan
    JD Holiday

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great tips and advice, Jan. I do the same thing and use myself as the actor, generating movements, emotions and so on.

    Thanks for sharing this with us Virginia.

    ReplyDelete

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