This week for Romance Weekly we discuss how much of yourself do you lend to your characters and what traits do your characters have that come from you? In addition, I’m adding a bit on how a writer creates their characters. I’ll tell you why later on.
Very interesting questions this week. I’ve asked the same questions of every author I’ve interviewed over the past six weeks—What part of your characters are you? As writers we’re told to write what we know–at least in the beginning. Then it makes it much more exciting to branch out, through research, to add more dimensions to your characters.
For example, for Gemini and Aries I had to do a lot of research on psychopathic behavior, serial killers, detectives, crime scene and FBI personnel. Obviously, I’m none of those. However, with my background in psychology, I can definitely get into the head of a psychopath and feel the emotions as I’m writing the scenes. It helps to do that—when in deep POV—because if I could experience the emotions, my readers will be able to and the opposite is also true. If I feel nothing when I am writing, then my readers will feel nothing as well, and that’s not good.
In Gemini, I was in the same field as the psychopathic killer—education. As a holistic health practitioner, I was able to create my forensic psychiatrist protagonist to be a holistic forensic psychiatrist or as some call it—an energy psychiatrist. Dr. John Trenton, as I, practices alternative therapies. Those therapies will be seen in Gemini. You’ll be seeing them, too, in May of this year when Gemini gets released from Black Opal Books.
What character traits of me are in my characters? All of my characters are go-getters, driven, relentless, smart, well a few of them aren’t smart, on purpose. Just as the banner on this blog describes the meaning of my name, Ronnie. I borrowed that from a Facebook game; What Does Your Name Mean? Everyone who played said it was accurate. I also have a lot of traits that I put into my characters that I will not divulge publicly. Enough said. You’ll just have to read Gemini to find out what makes me tick.
Speaking of character traits, I’d like to talk about how a writer does create the character traits and profiles. It’s not only important when you’re thinking of a character to describe what they look like—meaning eye color, hair color, build.
Last week I did my first speaking event as an author for Take Stock In Children at Lecanto college. The students asked amazing questions and many of them were very interested in becoming authors. Some of their questions centered around how to get your ideas onto paper.
I asked them if they start with an idea, setting or characters. Since this blog is about characters, I’ll discuss with you what I discussed with them. When I asked them to tell me about their character, I got a surprised look. Okay, I knew where I had to start.
We talked about setting up a notebook—or for many of the students, a folder on their laptop. I suggested one section should be focused on their characters. In addition to writing their name, age, physical attributes, I told them to write down everything they could—what their characters like to eat, their habits, how they react to situations, what pets they had, what family situations they were living in, occupations, what made them angry or sad and every emotion. Basically, I told them they need to know their character down to the minutest detail. I saw the glimmer of light go on as we were talking and they got it. Then I added that everything you write down about your character might not make it into your novel.
Very often in a novel when you’re writing your first draft, your characters take your story into a different direction. That often happens with me. Even though I plot and summarize chapters, when I finally get to writing, my characters pop in with a reaction or some dialogue that turns the plot into something new, adds a twist, that I just grab onto. Knowing my characters as well as I do enables me to go along with them and create a storyline that is cohesive and makes sense incorporating that new twist. If I didn’t know in advance how my characters were going to react, like many writers do, I feel that I would reach a wall — known as writer’s block. Just for your information, I’ve never experienced writer’s block. By knowing my characters inside and out, I truly believe I avoided that. I recommend that you try my strategy, too. Write a thorough profile of your characters and I bet you’ll avoid writer’s block.
Please feel free to ask me questions that would help you on your writing journey or leave comments.
Hopefully you’ve hopped over from Susan Scott Shelley. If you haven’t please pay her a visit, too.
Now onto an awesome author Gemma Bracato.
I’m looking forward to corresponding with you!
The Sign behind The Crime,