Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Guest Post, by Shen Hart: Bringing Your Characters to Life

A good friend of mine from Google+, Shen Hart, is here today with a post about bringing your characters to life! I'm extremely grateful to Shen for putting the time into writing this, in the midst of a day job and running a new writing group, Literary+. You can find out more about both Shen and Literary+ beneath her post.

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Bringing Your Characters to Life

Your story is nothing without your characters. It cannot happen without them. Therefore, it's rather important that you write characters with depth, feeling. You need to bring them to life. Of course it's entirely up to you how you view this, some people may prefer to think of themselves as a puppet master, others as a director. Whatever works for you.

The key part, in my mind, is knowing your characters inside out. You need to look past their rough physical appearance and favourite fruit. What is their history? What's that one thing which keeps them up at night? To really bring them to life, they need to be real on some plane or level of existence. You're probably thinking 'but the reader doesn't give a damn what happened on Bob's fourth birthday'. Yes, you're probably right. However! You need to know that his fourth birthday party was the time when his relationship with his father started to twist and falter. It was in that moment, that things changed. That, is the reason that Bob is about to start the zombie apocalypse.

What is my actual point and methodology here? Stop thinking of your characters as just words on a page. See them as people which you need to know inside out. They can be your best friends, your arch nemesis, whatever role they need to fill in your life. Treat them like a psychology project. Personally, I do it like this: I'm a very visual person. So I choose a character, form the scene in my mind then press play. I watch it like a movie. I see every little detail, the slight shift in weight, the glance over at the faded photograph. I hear that rise at the end of the last word, the change in breath and skipped heartbeat. Then I poke. I square up to them and demand to know why. Sometimes I prefer more... torturous methods but that's for a different post.

The summary here? Get to know your characters on every possible level. Understand what makes them tick, why they're like that. That will bring them to life and make them leap off the page and grab your readers

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About Shen:

Shen Hart is a passionate, hot-headed English writer. When she isn't torturing her characters in deviously dark manners she spends time with her horses. She has a penchant for twists and has been called 'cheek incarnate' on many occasions...

Shen founded Literary+ as a combination of her desire to help fellow self-published authors and her love of marketing and challenges. 

Shen blogs here:  http://tiaden.wordpress.com/

About Literary+:

Literary+ is a writer based project brought together and lead by Shen Hart. It brings together passionate, quality self-published writers to help each other promote their work, bringing more readers to every member. It was sparked by the simple fact that there are many top quality self-published authors being over-looked because they do not have the time and resources to efficiently and effectively market and promote themselves. With ambition and passion, Literary+ will take its members to the heights they deserve through a tight-knit community of like-minded writers.

You can access the Literary+ website here: https://sites.google.com/site/plusliteraryplus/home

1 comment:

emma_oz said...

That was fab! Short and sweet, and it's nice to hear from someone who also creates on such a visual level.

Brilliant post! :)