May the Blessings of Christmas be with you today and always.
God Bless and Merry Christmas,
Characters–or rather, strong characters–are at the very heart of all great literature and will always be. For the longest time, I’ve been convinced that a story revolves around the plot. But, over the last year, that thought process has changed and now weighs heavily on the side of character development. You see, a writer who does not create convincing characters will fail, again and again, no matter how fabulous the plot of the story is. At least, that is what I believe, although I know there are always exceptions.
What tricks/tools do you use in creating a believable character who pops off the page? For me, I usually gather things from everyday life. In my own work, I have very rarely set out to present a character who is knowingly based on someone familiar to me. The great majority of my characters are inventions–and I usually pull them together based loosely off of a few character traits I’ve witness over the years, whether it be a friend, family member, or complete stranger. The characters always evolve throughout the writing process of course, but I usually begin with a pretty detailed image in my head when I begin. The image usually goes much deeper than physical characteristics, and really dives into the heart of what the novel is about. For instance, my new novel, at its barest level, is about personal redemption and struggle. In developing my MC, I posed myself some honest, personal questions about what drives us as human beings, and what decides our path in this lifetime. Through that, I created a MC who is truly on one of a kind. She is flawed of course, but she is honest, raw, and real, and I think through that, she can easily get to the heart of the matter and help the novel move along.
If done correctly, it really can be a thing of beauty.
Who are some of your literary characters and what qualities do they possess?
Book description from Amazon: What happens when you think you have it all, and then suddenly it’s taken away?
Willa Chandler-Golden’s father changed the world with his self-help bestseller, Is It Really Your Choice? Why Your Entire Life May Be Out of Your Control. Millions of devoted fans now find solace in his notion that everything happens for a reason. Though Willa isn’t entirely convinced of her father’s theories, she readily admits that the universe has delivered her a solid life: a reliable husband, a fast-paced career. Sure there are hiccups – negative pregnancy tests, embattled siblings – but this is what the universe has brought, and life, if she doesn’t think about it too much, is wonderful.
Then her (evidently not-so-reliable) husband proposes this: a two-month break. Two months to see if they can’t live their lives without each other. And before Willa can sort out destiny and fate and what it all means, she’s axed from her job, her 12 year-old nephew Nicky moves in, her ex-boyfriend finds her on Facebook, and her best friend Vanessa lands a gig writing for Dare You!, the hottest new reality TV show. And then Vanessa lures Willa into dares of her own – dares that run counter to her father’s theories of fate, dares that might change everything…but only if Willa is brave enough to stop listening to the universe and instead aim for the stars.
My Thoughts: I have to start by saying that I absolutely adored Allison’s latest book, The Theory of Opposites. For those of you who know me, it should come as no surprise to hear me say that considering I’ve devoured her previous novels. But, I will admit, The Theory of Opposites is by far my favorite. This novel is about taking risks and living life to the fullest, which is something I believe with my whole heart. I loved Willa and I loved being a part of her personal journey to really find herself. In the beginning, Willa is so passive about life and lets things just come her way. That changes throughout the novel and by the end, she really takes a hold of life with her own two hands. This book is quite the charmer and hooked me instantly. If you haven’t already scooped this one up, I highly recommend giving it a whirl!