I have been relatively scarce on the social media of late. I’ll tell you why. I’m preparing my second novel in the Arnhem Knights of New York series. The story of Noblesse is the hardest I’ve ever written. I cry with her. I laugh with her, and I’ve called in my critique partners to be ready, as they will be getting it soon. Then I will rewrite according to what they say. Then it’s on to my publisher. The research alone has been daunting, but Noblesse is worth it.
I’ve also been babysitting my granddaughter. Caring for a small child and watching her amazement with life just fills me with sheer happiness. Today she told me in disputing the idea of bedtime that “It’s no night,” and pointed to the window. We fixed that. We lowered all the window shades and closed the curtain. Giggles. Now on to a subject of writing intensity.
With all the books and movies out there, it can be challenging to write a character that isunique. For me I usually dream my stories with characters, so my challenge is how to portray them accurately. I must use enough detail without slowing the story. Sometimes I add details of a particular trait when they are using that ability.
Still you don’t write characters in isolation. You try to see them in different views to get a more complete picture. Here are some writing exercises to help flesh out a character (deep characterization) and make them alive.
1. Capture in words the details of the sun shining on their hair, their skin.
2. Portray them playing with a pet.
3. Write a dining scene with your character and their family.
4. Write a scene with your character and their closest friends (An example might be ladies at tea or two close families camping together.) What is key here is the isolation from the rest of the world, so your character can be his or herself with a chosen few.
5. Show a scene where they are using a special talent or ability.
6. Write a scene where they are vulnerable or scared.
7. In this note, if your character has a disability think of how they function in the world and how comfortable they are with themselves. Do you research here and talk to real people about their lives.
8. Give your character a past with a family tree, traditions, beloved family members and childhood objects.
9. Give your character something they keep to themselves for reason of shame or grief that is too private to share.
Your goal is to make an unique, memorable character that the reader will care about. These nine exercises using just one character so you can experience them in different scenes will help you as the writer make them unique and breathing.
One of my favorite characters is Sherlock Holmes.
1. What makes him memorable to me?
His eagerness to take up the next challenge, his eagle-eyed view of the crime scene, and his ability to see the unnoticed.
2. What trait do I love? He plays the violin to regain his control and think.
3. What trait shows his vulnerability? When he takes off on Watson and is found in an opium den. You have to figure that Holmes has seen so much death and despair, even though his mind is constantly working on the next clue, it must hurt him emotionally.
If you are trying out the exercises, please, let me know how you do. Also if you are struggling on some aspect of the writer’s craft, let me know and we’ll explore it together. Or if you have a humorous grandchild’s quote to share, I’d love to hear it.
Susan Hanniford Crowley, Amazon Kindle Bestselling Author of Vampire Romance
Where love burns eternal and whispers in the dark!
Vampire King of New York available at Amazon Kindle and print, Barnes and Noble Nook and print and in Kobo
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