Sunday, November 15, 2015

Developing Your Characters

Photo by Leanne Dyck

Have you ever received comments like...

Your characters sound the same, act the same, think the same. They're all the same.

Each writer faces the same problem -- to develop distinctively different characters. It's tricky because all of your characters are the product of your imagination. They are of you but they can't be exactly like you nor can they be exactly like any of your other characters. The goal is to create realistic, complex characters.

How do you do that?

What makes a character unique? 

During Word Vancouver, I attended Bennett R. Coles' presentation
Author website:  www.bennettcoles.com
Publisher website:  www.promontorypress.com
What are the Outside Influences on Your Character? 

Here's what I heard...

No character exists in a vacuum.


Outside influences can be overt or covert

Overt influences are easy to spot (attended Harvard, grew up in Toronto, etc.)
A writer must work hard to elude to a covert influence. Details must be wove in over many chapters. But a covert influence maybe the strongest influence.


Outside influences can interact with each other 
-collaboratively
-conflicting


To incorporate outside influences, a writer must... 

identify what they are and determine what effect they have on the character.
a)nature of the influence (what effect)
b)strength of the influence

Determine what effect influences have on each other

Show don't Tell


To develop you character collect the following information...

Name:
Age:
Married:
Children:
Profession:
Hobbies:
Relationships:
Core personality:
Profession influence:
Family influence:
Relationship influence:
Societal influence:
Other influence:

Despite the fact that your character has turned her back on family, socio-economic status, education, etc. they still influence her.

Get into your character's heads. Of course, there is a piece of us in each of our characters. But they have to be themselves.

Next post: This Friday (November 20) I will be reviewing Every Word (YA mystery/romance)



The Every Word blog tour begins on Monday, November 16th. Here's the link for more information.  

Sharing my author journey...

How did I become a contributing author of...



I owe a debt of thanks to Darlene Foster (here's a link to an article Darlene wrote for this blog). She introduced me to Gary Doi (Gary compiled From the Heart). And I leapt at the opportunity. For me,
it has been a win-win. I've gained another (here's a link to my list of published work) opportunity to share my writing with readers as well as helped raise money for a worthy cause (scholarships for needy and deserving British Columbian High School students). Both Darlene and Gary are contributing authors, as well.

To order From the Heart, please email Gary Doi (garydoi@telus.net)

I think this experience points to how authors can and do support one another. Good things can happen when we do. That's why it is so important to build community.


4 comments:

Darlene said...

Thanks for the mention. I am so pleased we are in the same anthology. Gary Doi is wonderful to work with. My copy of the book is at my son´s place in Alberta. Marion Iberg, from my critique group, has a story in it too and showed me the book when we Skyped last month. It looks amazing. Another notch in your writer´s belt!

Leanne Dyck said...

If you thought it looked amazing on Skype just wait until you hold it in your hands. Gary Doi did a fine job.
Here's to many more notches in both of our belts.

Laurie Buchanan said...

Leanne — I found this post very helpful. For the fiction book I'm working on, I have a 3-ring notebook that has a page (or two) for each character. It lists their name, hair color, eye color, height, physical build, where they're from geographically, their familial ties (if applicable).

The list that you provided is going to really help me flesh it out even more:
Age:
Married:
Children:
Profession:
Hobbies:
Relationships:
Core personality:
Profession influence:
Family influence:
Relationship influence:
Societal influence:
Other influence:

Leanne Dyck said...

I usually don't write with a story Bible, but I might start. You have Bennett R. Coles to thank for the list.
Thank you for comment, Laurie.