WHAT A CHARACTER

August 15, 2012 by in category Archives tagged as , , with 0 and 0
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One of the nicest compliments I ever received was from a reviewer who called “Josie Bates (heroine of my witness series) one of the best characters ever”. For an author, that is the highest praise.
Think about the millions of words written about thousands of fictional people, and then ask yourself how many stuck in your mind, reside in your heart, or continue to haunt you years after reading the book? If you’re like me, there are a handful of such characters in your memory. My list includes:
Gone With the Wind: Scarlett O’Hara, Rhett Butler and Miss Mellie.
 Princess Bride: Buttercup, Inigo Montoya, Westley 
The Hunger Games: Katniss
Girl With the Dragon Tattoo: Lisabeth Slander
Johnny Oops: Johnny Oops (a fine Indie book)
Analyzing these characters helped me become a better writer, and here’s what I have learned. Memorable characters are:
Spiritually Unique: Villain or hero, each one has his or her own demons and desires, strengths and weaknesses. Strength on its own is uninteresting without weakness.
Physically identifiable: A great character manifests his or her uniqueness in dress, mannerisms, and speech patterns. Imagine an actor tackling your character on screen. Can you hear them? See them? Are they so real you would know them walking down the street?
Logical: A character with a unique speech pattern may amuse your reader for a while but if the words coming out of that character’s mouth aren’t appropriate to story, plot and core of that character,  the affectation is illogical.
Unapologetic: Readers may not always embrace your vision, but if you give a character an unusual life, let them live it. Do not be swayed by fear of political incorrectness or tempted to take the safe route. Writing is about nurturing your bold voice.
Purposeful: A character’s journey is guided by principles born of experiences. In Josie Bates’ case, she is formed by her mother’s abandonment (personal) and her belief that the law and justice are two separate things (professional). The author’s objective is to create a passionate character willing to go to great lengths to protect what they believe in or secure what they desire.
For Example…
•   Katniss’s (Hunger Games) and Scarlett’s (Gone With the Wind) fight for basic survival.
•   Westley’s (Princess Bride) relentless search for his lost and true love.
•   Salandar’s (Dragon Tattoo) desperate desire for self-determination.
•   Rhett Butler’s (Gone With the Wind) code of honesty.
•   Melanie’s (Gone with the Wind) passionate belief in Scarlett’s inherent goodness.
•   Johnny Oops’ (Johnny Oops) wry but heartfelt search to define his teenage self.

Don’t be afraid to refine your characters. We are not born the people we will become; neither are those who populate your books. Nurture them, define them, polish them and they will live in the reader’s memory for a very long time.
Author Details
Author Details
A Slice of Orange started in 2004 as a group of authors from Orange County, California. We have expanded to include authors from around the globe–from the UK, all across the US to New Zealand. Our authors include the multi-published and writers at the beginning of their publishing career. In addition to authors, we feature blog posts from editors, PR professionals, and cover designers. The bright segments of the writing and reading community that make up one perfect entity—A Slice of Orange.

#Me Too

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#Me Too

A LADY’S POINT OF VIEW

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A SOLDIER’S ITALIAN CHRISTMAS

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BECKONED, PART 1: FROM LONDON WITH LOVE

CITY OF BLAZE

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COME FLY WITH ME

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COME FLY WITH ME

COWBOY KARMA

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DANGER MUSIC

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FATHOMS: A NOVEL OF THE PARANORMAL

FREYA Viking Glory Book Two

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FUR, FEATHERS AND SCALES: Sweet, Funny, and Strange Animal Tales

GIRLFRIENDS & SECRETS

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GIRL IN THE MIST

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HAGAR’S LAST DANCE

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HOSTILE WITNESS

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ILONA’S WOLF

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LEIF Viking Glory Book One

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LET IT SNOW

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LOVE NOTES

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SAVAGED SURRENDER

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THE LIFE OF RILEY

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THE WOULD BE MOMMY

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SUPERHERO IN DISGUISE

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THIEVES: Book One of the Obscurité de Floride Trilogy

THE ROGUE’S LAST SCANDAL

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THE DAY BAILEY DEVLIN’S HOROSCOPE CAME TRUE
SNOW IN LOVE: Sweet Romance Holiday Collection

WELCOME TO LOON LAKE

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WELCOME TO LOON LAKE

THE FAMILY NEXT DOOR

Buy now!
THE FAMILY NEXT DOOR
WHO’S THE FAIREST? A Sisters Grimm Anthology

THE FIX UP

Buy now!
THE FIX UP

THE GHOST OF DEPFORD HALL

Buy now!
THE GHOST OF DEPFORD HALL

STOLEN KISSES FROM THE VISCOUNT

Buy now!
STOLEN KISSES FROM THE VISCOUNT
#PLEASE SAY YES (#HermosafortheHolidays Book 1)

CHRISTMAS ONCE AGAIN

Buy now!
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CHRISTMAS ON NANTUCKET AND OTHER STORIES

CLEAR INTENT

Buy now!
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COLTON 911: CAUGHT IN THE CROSSFIRE

DARK WINE AT DUSK

Buy now!
DARK WINE AT DUSK

DEAD BLOW

Buy now!
DEAD BLOW

FOR A GOOD PAWS

Buy now!
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FREYA Viking Glory Book Two

Buy now!
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GAME TOWN

Buy now!
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HAUNTING MISS FENWICK

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HER COWBOY KING

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HER COWBOY KING

HIDDEN BETRAYAL

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HIS HIGHLAND SURPRISE

Buy now!
HIS HIGHLAND SURPRISE

LEIF Viking Glory Book One

Buy now!
LEIF Viking Glory Book One
LOST WITNESS: A Josie Bates Thriller
OFF THE RAILS: A Collection of Weird, Wicked, & Wacky Stories

ONCE UPON AN ENCHANTED FOREST

Buy now!
ONCE UPON AN ENCHANTED FOREST

ONE TASTE TOO MANY

Buy now!
ONE TASTE TOO MANY

REWRITING THE PAST

Buy now!
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THEIR HIGHLAND BEGINNING

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THE MASK OF MIDNIGHT

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THE OBLIVIOUS BILLIONAIRE

Buy now!
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THE OTHER SIDE OF THE RIDGE, NEW YORK, 1930

THE WORTH OF A VISCOUNT

Buy now!
THE WORTH OF A VISCOUNT
SERIOUSLY, MOM, YOU DIDN’T KNOW?

SHADOWS AT DAWN

Buy now!
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TRACKING SHADOWS

Buy now!
TRACKING SHADOWS
SHORT and SWEET’S FAMILY ALBUM

TWO BITES TOO MANY

Buy now!
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THE CHRISTMAS PRESENT

Buy now!
THE CHRISTMAS PRESENT

THE CONSPIRACY

Buy now!
THE CONSPIRACY

THE DECEPTION

Buy now!
THE DECEPTION

THE DEVIL’S CARESS

Buy now!
THE DEVIL’S CARESS
THE WITCHES OF NEW MOON BEACH BOXED SET
WINTER WISHES: A REGENCY HOLIDAY ROMANCE ANTHOLOGY

THE WITCH OF BERGEN

Buy now!
THE WITCH OF BERGEN

    ×
    A Slice of Orange started in 2004 as a group of authors from Orange County, California. We have expanded to include authors from around the globe–from the UK, all across the US to New Zealand. Our authors include the multi-published and writers at the beginning of their publishing career. In addition to authors, we feature blog posts from editors, PR professionals, and cover designers. The bright segments of the writing and reading community that make up one perfect entity—A Slice of Orange.

    One of the nicest compliments I ever received was from a reviewer who called “Josie Bates (heroine of my witness series) one of the best characters ever”. For an author, that is the highest praise.

    Think about the millions of words written about thousands of fictional people, and then ask yourself how many stuck in your mind, reside in your heart, or continue to haunt you years after reading the book? If you’re like me, there are a handful of such characters in your memory. My list includes:

    Gone With the Wind: Scarlett O’Hara, Rhett Butler and Miss Mellie.

    Princess Bride: Buttercup, Inigo Montoya, Westley

    The Hunger Games: Katniss

    Girl With the Dragon Tattoo: Lisabeth Salander

    Johnny Oops: Johnny Oops (a fine Indie book)

    Analyzing these characters helped me become a better writer, and here’s what I have learned. Memorable characters are:

    Spiritually Unique: Villain or hero, each one has his or her own demons and desires, strengths and weaknesses. Strength on its own is uninteresting without weakness.

    Physically identifiable: A great character manifests his or her uniqueness in dress, mannerisms, and speech patterns. Imagine an actor tackling your character on screen. Can you hear them? See them? Are they so real you would know them walking down the street?

    Logical: A character with a unique speech pattern may amuse your reader for a while but if the words coming out of that character’s mouth aren’t appropriate to story, plot and core of that character, the affectations is illogical.

    Unapologetic: Readers may not always embrace your vision, but if you give a character an unusual life, let them live it. Do not be swayed by fear of political incorrectness or tempted to take the safe route. Writing is about nurturing your bold voice.

    Purposeful: A character’s journey is guided by principles born of experiences. In Josie Bates’ case, she is formed by her mother’s abandonment (personal) and her belief that the law and justice are two separate things (professional). The author’s objective is to create a passionate character who is willing to go to great lengths to protect what they believe in or secure what they desire.

    For Example…

    • Katniss’s (Hunger Games) and Scarlett’s (Gone With the Wind) fight for basic survival.

    • Westley’s (Princess Bride) relentless search for his lost and true love.

    • Salandar’s (Dragon Tattoo) desperate desire for self-determination.

    • Rhett Butler’s (Gone With the Wind) code of honesty.

    • Melanie’s (Gone with the Wind) passionate belief in Scarlett’s inherent goodness.

    • Johnny Oops’ (Johnny Oops) wry but heartfelt search to define his teenage self.

    Don’t be afraid to refine your characters. We are not born the people we will become; neither are those who populate your books. Nurture them, define them, polish them and they will live in the reader’s memory for a very long time.

    Author Details
    Author Details
    A Slice of Orange started in 2004 as a group of authors from Orange County, California. We have expanded to include authors from around the globe–from the UK, all across the US to New Zealand. Our authors include the multi-published and writers at the beginning of their publishing career. In addition to authors, we feature blog posts from editors, PR professionals, and cover designers. The bright segments of the writing and reading community that make up one perfect entity—A Slice of Orange.

    #Me Too

    Buy now!
    #Me Too

    A LADY’S POINT OF VIEW

    Buy now!
    A LADY’S POINT OF VIEW

    A SOLDIER’S ITALIAN CHRISTMAS

    Buy now!
    A SOLDIER’S ITALIAN CHRISTMAS
    BECKONED, PART 1: FROM LONDON WITH LOVE

    CITY OF BLAZE

    Buy now!
    CITY OF BLAZE

    COME FLY WITH ME

    Buy now!
    COME FLY WITH ME

    COWBOY KARMA

    Buy now!
    COWBOY KARMA

    DANGER MUSIC

    Buy now!
    DANGER MUSIC
    FATHOMS: A NOVEL OF THE PARANORMAL

    FREYA Viking Glory Book Two

    Buy now!
    FREYA Viking Glory Book Two
    FUR, FEATHERS AND SCALES: Sweet, Funny, and Strange Animal Tales

    GIRLFRIENDS & SECRETS

    Buy now!
    GIRLFRIENDS & SECRETS

    GIRL IN THE MIST

    Buy now!
    GIRL IN THE MIST

    HAGAR’S LAST DANCE

    Buy now!
    HAGAR’S LAST DANCE

    HOSTILE WITNESS

    Buy now!
    HOSTILE WITNESS

    ILONA’S WOLF

    Buy now!
    ILONA’S WOLF
    INTIMATE RELATIONS

    LEIF Viking Glory Book One

    Buy now!
    LEIF Viking Glory Book One

    LET IT SNOW

    Buy now!
    LET IT SNOW

    LOVE NOTES

    Buy now!
    LOVE NOTES

    SAVAGED SURRENDER

    Buy now!
    SAVAGED SURRENDER

    THE LIFE OF RILEY

    Buy now!
    THE LIFE OF RILEY

    THE WOULD BE MOMMY

    Buy now!
    THE WOULD BE MOMMY

    SUPERHERO IN DISGUISE

    Buy now!
    SUPERHERO IN DISGUISE
    THIEVES: Book One of the Obscurité de Floride Trilogy

    THE ROGUE’S LAST SCANDAL

    Buy now!
    THE ROGUE’S LAST SCANDAL
    THE DAY BAILEY DEVLIN’S HOROSCOPE CAME TRUE
    SNOW IN LOVE: Sweet Romance Holiday Collection

    WELCOME TO LOON LAKE

    Buy now!
    WELCOME TO LOON LAKE

    THE FAMILY NEXT DOOR

    Buy now!
    THE FAMILY NEXT DOOR
    WHO’S THE FAIREST? A Sisters Grimm Anthology

    THE FIX UP

    Buy now!
    THE FIX UP

    THE GHOST OF DEPFORD HALL

    Buy now!
    THE GHOST OF DEPFORD HALL

    STOLEN KISSES FROM THE VISCOUNT

    Buy now!
    STOLEN KISSES FROM THE VISCOUNT
    #PLEASE SAY YES (#HermosafortheHolidays Book 1)

    CHRISTMAS ONCE AGAIN

    Buy now!
    CHRISTMAS ONCE AGAIN
    CHRISTMAS ON NANTUCKET AND OTHER STORIES

    CLEAR INTENT

    Buy now!
    CLEAR INTENT
    COLTON 911: CAUGHT IN THE CROSSFIRE

    DARK WINE AT DUSK

    Buy now!
    DARK WINE AT DUSK

    DEAD BLOW

    Buy now!
    DEAD BLOW

    FOR A GOOD PAWS

    Buy now!
    FOR A GOOD PAWS

    FREYA Viking Glory Book Two

    Buy now!
    FREYA Viking Glory Book Two

    GAME TOWN

    Buy now!
    GAME TOWN

    HAUNTING MISS FENWICK

    Buy now!
    HAUNTING MISS FENWICK

    HER COWBOY KING

    Buy now!
    HER COWBOY KING

    HIDDEN BETRAYAL

    Buy now!
    HIDDEN BETRAYAL

    HIS HIGHLAND SURPRISE

    Buy now!
    HIS HIGHLAND SURPRISE

    LEIF Viking Glory Book One

    Buy now!
    LEIF Viking Glory Book One
    LOST WITNESS: A Josie Bates Thriller
    OFF THE RAILS: A Collection of Weird, Wicked, & Wacky Stories

    ONCE UPON AN ENCHANTED FOREST

    Buy now!
    ONCE UPON AN ENCHANTED FOREST

    ONE TASTE TOO MANY

    Buy now!
    ONE TASTE TOO MANY

    REWRITING THE PAST

    Buy now!
    REWRITING THE PAST

    THEIR HIGHLAND BEGINNING

    Buy now!
    THEIR HIGHLAND BEGINNING

    THE MASK OF MIDNIGHT

    Buy now!
    THE MASK OF MIDNIGHT

    THE OBLIVIOUS BILLIONAIRE

    Buy now!
    THE OBLIVIOUS BILLIONAIRE
    THE OTHER SIDE OF THE RIDGE, NEW YORK, 1930

    THE WORTH OF A VISCOUNT

    Buy now!
    THE WORTH OF A VISCOUNT
    SERIOUSLY, MOM, YOU DIDN’T KNOW?

    SHADOWS AT DAWN

    Buy now!
    SHADOWS AT DAWN

    TRACKING SHADOWS

    Buy now!
    TRACKING SHADOWS
    SHORT and SWEET’S FAMILY ALBUM

    TWO BITES TOO MANY

    Buy now!
    TWO BITES TOO MANY

    THE CHRISTMAS PRESENT

    Buy now!
    THE CHRISTMAS PRESENT

    THE CONSPIRACY

    Buy now!
    THE CONSPIRACY

    THE DECEPTION

    Buy now!
    THE DECEPTION

    THE DEVIL’S CARESS

    Buy now!
    THE DEVIL’S CARESS
    THE WITCHES OF NEW MOON BEACH BOXED SET
    WINTER WISHES: A REGENCY HOLIDAY ROMANCE ANTHOLOGY

    THE WITCH OF BERGEN

    Buy now!
    THE WITCH OF BERGEN

      ×
      A Slice of Orange started in 2004 as a group of authors from Orange County, California. We have expanded to include authors from around the globe–from the UK, all across the US to New Zealand. Our authors include the multi-published and writers at the beginning of their publishing career. In addition to authors, we feature blog posts from editors, PR professionals, and cover designers. The bright segments of the writing and reading community that make up one perfect entity—A Slice of Orange.
    • Anonymous says:

      Josie is a character to remember, and someone I'd like to know. Which is actually how I end up thinking about my favorite characters. Who wouldn't want to lift a glass with Harry Dresden, as long as he's not being chased by someone?
      Sometimes when I want to have a visit with "friends" I'll run my fingers along the book backs and "listen" to my favorite characters. Simon and Jaelithe from Andre Norton's "Witch World" come visit at least once a year.

    • Anonymous says:

      "Hello! My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die."

    • Anonymous says:

      What a blog! It's got me thinking about my own characters, as well as some of my all time favorites, and what aspects of them make them stand out.

      The character that's affected me most viscerally, that I remember most, is John Steinbeck's Cal Trask from East of Eden. And Cal Trask played by James Dean in the movie – man, oh man. Talk about memorable! There could have been no better casting for the somewhat cocky, deeply tortured teenager desperate for his father's love.

      Awesome blog!

      -Geralyn