Funny story, when I was writing my first novel, An Unexpected Blessing , I called my husband Alex ( the book’s hero) almost all the time. It got so bad that he would give me the side eye, until the warning came. But then as a creative himself he understood how the characters live with you. Becomes part of your waking and sleeping.
Well I don’t do that anymore, or rather I catch myself before I do. But that doesn’t they are still not with me always. It’s funny because sometimes I’d think of something, a plot idea and I would go “naaah my present heroine wont do that, but oooooweeee the heroine of my next book will.” You see the characters I write I build from the ground up. I know I already told you that their core is getting back the hope they lost or restoration back to where they used to be. If you missed it you can read it here . But all of the characters are as different as their names.
Recently I got this review of A Scoop Of Love “I loved the characters, they felt real and I could relate to all their struggles. I loved the detail in which Unoma writes, every time Ibiso prepared a meal, I did feel like I was there in the kitchen with her. Can’t wait to read book two!”
I loved it, because it took a great deal to build all three Danjuma brothers and the women that will capture their hearts. And I’m glad it reflected in the story. Nancy Kress says that to be a writer, you must learn to be three people at once:writer, reader, character.
According to Jordan Dane, “It’s not enough to picture their outward appearance. Give them a background and sphere of influence”
I had no clue how to do this until I talked to one of my mentors. She asked, “So who is Yomi?” (Yomi is the hero in my second published work, my Christmas novelette. I said “He is a rich, fine, biracial man.” She said, “And….” I was totally speechless then she sent me a character profile and I have used it ever since. I spend time building my characters before I write a word. At least I have the basics, so what is a character profile…here is a version of what I use
Family life (or origin) and its effects:
Mother and relationship with her:
Father and relationship with him:
Siblings and relationship with them:
Extended family and relationship with them
Current family life:
Weight and build
Predominant feature/Distinguishing marks:
Career and social status:
Best thing that ever happened to them:
Worst thing that ever happened to them:
What is most important to them? :
What makes them angry?
There are so many other questions on my sheet. A profile helps when I’m figuring out their dialogue and their reaction to things or what moves and drives them.
To authors, how do you shape the characters in your work.
To readers, do you appreciate the depth of the characters you read.
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