#editing – Developing characters

When I embarked on my writing journey I thought reaching The End of my novel would be the hardest hurdle to jump. Like my protagonist, Princess Alicia, I was naive. Blood, sweat and story arcs were merely the beginning.

I tried editing and revising my MS as I went along. Inevitably by the time I’d completed the novel, my knowledge had grown, my skill set sharpened and my craft had been honed. Meaning my early work needed an overhaul.

 

Beauty of Life. Quote Lorraine Ambers writer

How to create believable, well rounded characters? Try asking your characters some key questions helps to identify them. What are there likes, dislikes, what do they fear, what’s there hobby or passion, who’s there family?

I like to use Pinterest to develop my characters looks, fashion and settings. It’s an ideal playground for formulating the initial ideas to grow a character. With the added bonus of visual stimuli to remembering eye and hair colour, sense of style and interests. It may seem like I’m pratting about on the internet but its research. I’m a fantasy writer; where else would I get images of otherworldly figures?

fairy quote character traits Lorraine Ambers

You’ll be able to distinguish there negative and positive character trails. Add a backstory that fills out the characters life and combine them together. Most of the information won’t make it into the novel but it will guide there choices as they move through the story.

One of my grey areas was my protagonist Alicia. Her internal voice was spot on but her dialogue came across as mousy and boring. The truth was; until the book had been completed I wasn’t sure of her journey, of how she’d grow and develop. Let alone where I wanted her to start. In hind sight drafting a plot would have overcome this problem.

Another tip is to imagine speaking to your character. Or at least imagine it’s the character answering the dialogue. When you know your characters like they’re your best friend, you’ll know how they’d react in a situation and what they’d say; in some cases what they wouldn’t say. Sometimes the tension from silence speaks volumes in a scene.

Got any other tips, ideas or techniques to share with me? Please add them to my comments. I’d love to hear from you. 🙂

 

10 thoughts on “#editing – Developing characters

  1. I use actions beats instead of many dialogue tags. Beats are descriptions of physical action—minor or major—that fall between lines of speech. Try the following techniques to punch up your dialogue. When a character raises an eyebrow or furrows his brow, this action, or beat, interrupts the dialogue and telegraphs a change in the character’s emotional state. Their tics and behaviors surrounding speech, such as rubbing their chin when pondering, tapping fingernails when impatient, and curling their hair on their finger when nervous, all provide some insight into their character and personality.

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  2. I love RPGs, so one of the things I do is try different “scenarios” with my characters. How would they react to something? I try running them through it in my head or with DH. It’s a lotta fun and really lets me get to know my characters.

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  3. Pingback: #Editing – Removing crutch words – Lorraine Ambers

  4. Pingback: #editing – Developing characters — Lorraine Ambers | Arrowhead Freelance and Publishing

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