Saturday, January 22, 2011

Developing Characters You Can Pinch

As a writer, we all have areas to improve our craft.  And for each of us, that may prove to be something different.  For some it might be grammar, the use of cliches whether it be sayings or plot lines.  For myself, one challenge that I had to take on was character development.
Are your characters simply shadows moving
around in your novel?

People who read my first few novels, all enjoyed them.  But there was one statement that kept surfacing - my characters needed more depth.  At first, I made excuses.  The common one:  It's the genre.  It's not necessary to have to know everything about their personal life or motivations.


But I was deceiving myself.  It doesn't matter what genre you write it, if the characters are not fully real to your reader - now by real, I mean vivid enough to envision their chest rise for breath, skin accessible enough to pinch - then there's area for improvement.

At the time, I had no idea what they meant by there could be more depth to your characters.  In fact, I didn't even know how to go about making them more real.  What did they expect of me?

But now, after a year of honing in on this, I believe I have the answers.  What did I do to figure this mystery out?  I did a lot of reading and writing.  And in my opinion, nether could have been dropped in favor of the other.  They both were required to create the effective elixir.

I read books on the craft, and novels in similar genres to what I write.  I took knowledge I gained from books on the craft of writing and studied how successful, published writers applied this in their work.  It didn't take long to realize the developing pattern.  Below are a few things I've learned along my journey.


For the next nine days, I'll expand on these areas.  I'd love to know your thoughts along the way and what you've found that has worked for you.