Category Archives: Blogroll

Blogroll: Characters Count

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This blogroll is all about characters.
Writing them, editing them, defining them, and playing favorites with them.

If you’re participating in this blogroll, just answer the following questions, include the previously tagged authors and their blogs, and add some new authors/bloggers below. I’d appreciate you including the blogroll image above, but I won’t chase after you with any red pens of doom if you don’t. Yep, it’s really that simple.

What is your favorite part about writing characters?

My absolute favorite part about writing the characters is when they jump off the page. Once they do this, they are no longer flat archetypes. When they have their own personal flair and quirks making them three-dimensional and so much more fun to write. Maybe they might have some “typical” reaction but what’s going on inside their heads and driving the reaction is so layered and occasionally surprising.

What is the hardest thing you have to do when you create a character and what’s the easiest?

The hardest part of the creation project is figuring out their last names and naming places. I know, it’s weird but I find it so much easier to give them first names. On my latest project, Tiger’s Paw, the very last brainstorming session involved figuring out the family names for Baran and Raina. Place names are difficult for me because I have to decide between something fanciful or something more along the lines of “Blue River.” The absolute easiest part of creating the character is their personality. Once I know what a character is like in general (even if I haven’t quite worked out all his or her quirks), everything else tends to fall neatly into place.

Who is your favorite character that you’ve written?

Goodness, this is like asking a parent to choose their favorite kid! Well, it is a bit of a tossup between Baran and Raina from Tiger’s Paw. I love writing Baran because he is this very controlled and serious military man and he has no idea what to do with Raina who has figured out how to make the rules into origami and is a sarcastic witty lass with a penchant for pushing Baran’s buttons (and who may or may not be trustworthy). I love writing Raina because of what she does to Baran, hehehe. 😉 They have a dynamic based on two characters I write for an ongoing fanfiction series that is so much fun to write – He’s serious, she’s not.

All right, so Baran is my current favorite (and he is exchanged often with whoever I’m writing at the time). I enjoy writing him because he is more than just the controlled and serious military man. He has a very strong sense of honor, which makes his view of right and wrong far more black and white than most characters, and he wants to be faithful to his calling and to the creed of conduct known as The Therian Way. But, he also has the protective side that influences him even when he wishes it wouldn’t. And he’s a shapeshifter who can turn into a Tiger. 😀

Who is one character you wish you had written?

Eowyn from J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. The shield maiden and daughter of kings, the lily formed of steel. She has always been one of my favorite literary heroines. She smote the Witch-King…I wanted to be her! I think her mix of strength and vulnerability and the “silk-covered steel” motif that she embodies so well has had a huge influence on my writing of strong heroines.

Is there a character type that intimidates you?

The most difficult character I have had to write is the cynical pessimist who is a rather harsh judge of character because it’s so easy to miss the mark and just make him or her seem like an insensitive jerk. The brusqueness of the character is difficult at times to make sympathetic, especially since I’m often writing the story where he or she doesn’t reveal the true motive behind the brusqueness until after appearing as the somewhat unlikeable harsh cynic for a while. Oh and the girly girl can be difficult for me as well especially if she’s not supposed to be vain and shallow.

Is there a character type that you’re very good at?

The stoic and the sarcastic (and possibly damaged) types. I’ve always liked writing characters who have put up walls around their hearts by either being the stoic or by hiding behind sarcastic observations. It’s easy to relate to them because then I can slowly grow the characters through healthy relationships (a combination of spiritual, friendship, and occasionally romantic) that allow them to reach a point where they are no longer hiding behind the walls so much and are letting the people close to them in. It’s not usually a dramatic change but it’s slow and steady. I also enjoy writing the stoic types who, like Baran, have a rather dry wit even if the sarcastic type character declares they don’t have any sense of humor at all.

Best tip/trick you’ve learned while writing characters?

Listen to the character’s voice. I’ve found that when I’m planning a character, what I write doesn’t always match the master plan because the character took me and the story in a different direction but it usually better than my original framework. When you force a character’s reaction, the readers can tell and the story will suffer for it. Familiarity with the character’s voice also helps eliminate the times when a character is doing something that goes completely against his established beliefs and habits without a good reason (such as being brainwashed or blackmailed into acting out of character by the villainous plan or acting out of character in order to pull off a charade).

Did you enjoy this blogroll? Do you have more questions about how I handle my characters? Leave a comment and let me know!

Also, do be sure to check out where else the blogroll has been:

A. Wrighton – genre-bending novelist, screenwriter, and creative evil genius

Rachel Bolton – blogger, writer, designer, marketer…

Heidi Lillian – a lovely writer with many hats and stories

The Upstream Writer – A literary blog with a little bit of everything

Kimberly Rogers – Writer, reviewer, fantasy lore-master….

Where is the blogroll headed next?

Mary C. Findley – A diverse author who wears many hats, including romance, historical, speculative (steampunk), etc…