RESUSCITATING YOUR CHARACTER

To Tell the Truth, my first novel, started with a character, and from that character a story began to develop. I wrote the whole story dissatisfied with something about it that I could not quite pinpoint. I rewrote it several times, had people read it and give me their input, and read every book and article pertaining to writing. I went down the list of things needed in order to make your character more dimensional. I took it to my critique group so many times they told me to forget the book and go on to something else. But there was something within me that just would not let me give up on my book. I believe in my story and needed to believe in my main character, Anna Kayce.

What was it about Anna that so frustrated me? So many times I asked myself that question. The funny thing was no one I had gone to had an answer. So how was I supposed to come up with it? I knew it had to be something I was doing wrong, but I just could not figure out what it was. My character was so flat and yet I had done everything that all my resources told me to do.

Just when I was about to give up on my book, I received my Writer's Digest magazine in the mail, and in it was an article that was to change everything for me. It was an article on creating characters. As I went down the list of things you can do to develop your character in a dimensional way, I came to one suggestion on that list which really struck me: Do an interview with your character. I felt my heart speed up and my breath quicken. As is usual with me, I had to mull over this; but it wouldn't go away. It kept nagging at me. So with much excitement I put pen to paper and wrote a five-page interview with my character. For the first time since I created her, I began to feel as if I knew and understood her. There was a connection between us, an emotional connection which just grew from there.

I was able to get inside of her, feel her emotions and needs, and anticipate her moves and thoughts. And that was what had been missing, the emotional connection.

So if you are having problems giving your character personality and dimension, do an interview of your character.Describe your character's physical appearance, give a backstory/history of your character, even learn his/her favorite foods, hobbies, movies, etc. Explore his/her dreams and ambitions. Don't miss anything, but don't get too carried away either. Think of your character as a real person, and I don't think they will let you down.

Faye M. Tollison
Author of: To Tell the Truth
Upcoming book: The Bible Murders
www.fayemtollison.com

5 comments:

  1. Great suggestion. I'm going to try it.

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  2. Faye, using an interview is an excellent way to create a 3-dimensional character. Thanks for sharing.

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  3. Mary Jo - it worked really well for Faye as I was one of the first to edit her ms and read her interview.

    Karen, it's always great to reaffirm what we know will work, isn't it?

    Faye, good article. Posting everywhere - E :)

    Elysabeth Eldering
    Author of Finally Home, a YA paranormal mystery
    "The Proposal" (an April Fools Day story), a humorous romance ebook
    "The Tulip Kiss", a paranormal romance ebbok
    "Bride-and-Seek", a paranormal romance ebook
    http://elysabethsstories.blogspot.com
    http://eeldering.weebly.com

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  4. Whatever works, Faye. I like my characters to surprise me and grow with the story, but I think it's a great technique if your character isn't showing her/himself and you're stuck.

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  5. Just the perfect article for sharing with my writers at the beginning of their editing session with Editpalooza at Savvy Authors. Am bookmarking this one.

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