When I woke up this morning I had no idea what I was going to blog about. Oh, I’d thought about it, albeit in the back of mind, all month. I’ve been hitting the edits and re-writes for Defending Destiny pretty hard the past few weeks and honestly I was gearing up to begrudge the time blogging takes…yea right…it’s fun and it only comes around once per month, sometimes twice if I’m feeling engaged in the process. That’s when it hit me, like a SHASZAM LIGHTNING BOLT, to the brain.
About a third of the way through any Work in Progress — WIP — I begin to really feel who my characters are. Their motivation for what they do, and don’t do in some cases, gets more nuanced and textured as I get into the rhythm of the story.
I begin with a rough character profile for every character…before I ever start typing. Some characters get added as the story goes because they write themselves in. I know I’m the one writing, and yes I know they aren’t real, but sometimes these characters push until they are on the page. For me that generally means a future book of their own and I welcome them. They get a profile too.
Profiles for me include: Name, sex, age, race, distinguishing characteristics (scars, tattoos, etc.) body type, educational background, social/family background, hobbies, employment, fears (if I know them), aspirations (short & long-term), financial status, favorite food (sometimes this plays into quirkiness), favorite shows/entertainment, religious alignment/spirituality, eye color & shape, facial structure, voice, languages, prejudices, what they love… This list can go on, but basically it’s less than a page and gives me an idea of who they are before I start and it also makes keeping track of details easier. Most of the time I find a photo or image that represents my hero to me as well. Here’s Magnus in Defending Destiny. YUM!
These profiles I make at the beginning are rarely who my characters turn out to be when the edits and re-writes are complete. Most of the physical description is the same, but that’s about it. I learn as I go, I guess. Not the quickest way to complete a novel, that’s for sure.
So as I’m gearing up for deep edits, something that’s more conducive to a deep sigh and a “here we go again, when ARE you going to get this right the first, second or third time, Woman?” This morning I’m thankful that this is when I really get to fall in love with these larger than life, flawed, yet sincere characters. This is when the magic happens. And magic is hard work, my friends!
So, I’m curious. If you’re a writer, what’s your process? (I’m hoping that book five finds mine more streamlined) If you are a reader — and we all are — what makes a character worthy of your love? Is it the small quirks? Is it his or her kindness or sense of humor? Who are your favorite characters? What makes them resonate with you? As you can tell I write character driven stories…I love a good plot, but character is why I turn the page when I’m reading, so it’s why I write like I do.
Happy Writing. Happy Reading. And here’s hoping that we create magical worlds readers want to return to again and again! Happy Wednesday, my friends! May February find you steeped in romance :),