It's supper time! Pretty late, actually. So we're sharing a nice, hot plate of sirloin tips over rice. We need more MEAT to get us through till midnight. If any of you are Vegetarians, or Vegans, you can have rice with your veggie salad. Sorry, but I do love meat. ;-)
I learned a lot about how characters' emotions drive the plot from Sharon Mignerey, a wonderful writer and friend who accompanied me in earning our Master's degrees at Seton Hill University. While I didn't work on Double Crossing at Seton Hill, I sure learned while writing another manuscript that a character's actions will NOT seem real or they will seem idiotic or flat and two-dimensional -- IF YOU DO NOT KNOW their background, motives, values and goals. Sharon will be stopping by around 9:30 p.m. to chat about characters and emotions, I hope. She's a fabulous teacher!
So due to Sharon's diligence, and to another BFF named Sharon who also constantly hammered me about how I didn't understand my characters, I now spend two weeks "discovering" these fictional "people" through sketches (not drawings, but a bit of a scene from their past or current situation with dialogue, to hear how they sound) plus a photo or two (People magazine comes in handy, or Google pictures of silent era actors and actresses, or even old books) and an intense detailed chart.
I found Deb Dixon's Goal, Motivation and Conflict book to be the most helpful in delineating character traits. You want to know their backgrounds (birthday, family, education, social status, marital or other relationships, work, hobbies, interests, etc.) that will affect their values and goals. Augh. Just thinking of all that makes me hungry again. Already?? There's always time for more tea -- in a mug, not a fancy cup, with fishies on it that are perfect for the Goddess Fish Promoters!
Having photos on hand help me "visualize" the characters and "see" them walk, talk, sit, etc., while writing a particular scene. Here is how I pictured Lily Granville:
Here is Ace Diamond, Texas rogue/cowboy/ex-Confederate cavalryman:
What about Charles and Kate, you might ask? Hmm. I didn't really need to picture them since they're not major characters. But Emil Todaro, the lawyer? Yes, I did have someone in mind.
He seemed "toadish" enough, anyway. This man was actually a very fine actor, but he did have an odd mouth. Sorry, just my opinion! Visualize him in a high tight collar, a three piece suit and a gold watch chain over his paunch. Don't forget the frog-like gait when walking. Emil Todaro, come to life in my wacky brain. ;-D
Aunt Sylvia is another quirky character, a former actress and "black sheep" of the Granville family, who was fun to write. Here's how I pictured her:
If you're a writer, and are having trouble nailing down a character, try visual images. It helps!
Don't forget to comment! Your last chance for getting into the extra prize drawings I'm giving away will be at our "Midnight Snack" actually taking place at 11 p.m. If you buy TODAY, send me your order confirmations for Double Crossing and you will receive a Kindle or Nook cover zipper pull. Best of luck for the other drawings! AND THANK YOU for stopping in!