Characters: Are They Real?

I’ve been asked, “Do your characters become real to you when you’re writing?”


When I’m writing a story my characters develop a life of their own. Their voices whisper in my ear wanting to tell their story even when I walk away from my computer. I create dialogue based on their conversations. Yes, I know this sounds like crazy town, but it works for me.

For example, in my first book, Immortal Love, my husband came home and before he put down his keys I shouted down the hallway, “Guess what happened today?”

“What?” I’m sure he thought I set the kitchen on fire.

“Dominick saw Eleanor’s mother’s ghost when a log trapped her in the mud from a torrential down-pour,” I said in rapid fire.  And a few days later. “Eleanor finally said, I love you to Dominick after he came out of a burning building.”

“Really,” he said, and then gave me that look.  You know what look I’m talking about, the, Do I need to call the doctor about this?  

In my second book, Powers of the Heart, I told my husband, “Kiera healed Ian’s leg after he got kicked by a horse.

“Who’s Ian?”

He’s Erik’s brother-in-law,” I said, like he should already know this. He nodded his head patiently.

A week later I said, “Kiera just healed Erik’s aunt after she got stabbed in the stables. Now everyone 
knows she’s a healer.”

He calmly replied, “Did you take your meds today?”

In Destiny’s Promise, I finished a chapter and turned to him, “Randolf created a lightning storm in Disa’s room after he found out she was making Carina sick.”

Being a fan of the fantasy genre his interest was peaked. He no longer treated me like a crazy person. He came home and asked, “What did Randolf and Carina do today?” and “What evil conjuring is Disa up to?”

When it came to editing he became as invested as I was, and forced me to dig deeper into their characters.

At the start of those novels I wrote a profile of each character, and not only their appearance and moral code, but I would also ask, What are his, or her goals? What is their motivation? How does it fit into the plot? This works whether I’m plotting, or pantzing

When I use these character profiles they can sometimes derail my story and send me in another direction.  Some have worked, and some I have to reign in to get to where I planned to go. While I’m in pantzer mode, my characters take me on a journey, developing the plot as I go along.

For me, it’s important to be as invested in the characters as much as the plot. They helped my story move forward. As my characters evolve, my plot became deeper, and richer, and they took me where I hadn’t planned.

At the end of each book I come back to reality, happy that my characters have reached their goals and moved on. Like children, I watched them grow and set them free.

OK, yes I’m a little bit crazy, but don’t authors have to be from time to time?

Now I have to ask, do your characters talk to you?


Post a Comment