Building Characters we like, love, loathe, and detest.

man textAbout a year ago, I began a long lasting relationship with my keyboard. Before I locked myself in a room for days on end, I debated over whether to go back to school to learn what it takes, and means to be a writer. Or, to dive head first into the deep-end of the word pool, and to well, start writing.
Being a bit of a doer, I reasoned I’d be happier, and would learn more by getting stuck in and doing.
Choosing the latter, I’ve shown up every day to write my blogs, and e-books. Note here, I’m not counting as writing facebook posts as legit writing! So far the word count is shooting into the 150,000 stratosphere – admittedly I’m probably the only one impressed by this….
By diving write in (yes, that was intentional!) I’ve been busy writing. LOVE IN THE VINES my first contemporary romance has been written, published, and is available in all e-book formats. And, thanks to the inspirational NaNoWriMo challenge of writing 50,000 words in 30 days during the month of November, the first draft of Love Entwined, the sequel to Love in the Vines, has been written.
At this stage I’m a one stop shop – writer, indie publisher, marketer, distributor, PR person, web designer, social media specialist, blogger, cat lady in training, runner, and wine drinker. Everything I didn’t know, and needed to know is only ever a click away. I’m constantly blown away by the amount of online information available – the wealth and depth of it is staggering, and mostly free.
Of late, I’ve been researching about character development, as no matter what genre you’re writing, building credible believable characters is the lifeblood of fiction.
I want to learn tips, and tools to dig deeper and get my hand dirty to create, and nurture the characters I write.

  • What can I do as a writer to invest more into the DNA of my characters?
  • How can I dig deeper to really get to know them, as well as I know myself?
  • What is at the heart of their emotional, physical, mental, spiritual, quirks, likes, and dislikes?
  • What drives their passions?
  • What is it about them that makes them unique, and memorable? Is it the way they walk, their habits, or silence…
  • What’s the twitter sound bite you would use to describe one of your characters? Remember – there’s a 140 character limit!
  • And, the probing goes on, until I guess I have a character dossier that tells me more than the questions found on a consensus form.
  • Unveiling their strengths, flaws, weaknesses, mistakes, sorrow, joy, motives and manipulations builds them into characters to like, love, loathe, detest, or feel only pity and indifference.

There are loads of websites offering all sorts of character writing advice. Completing a character chart is just one of the tools I’ve found useful – for an example, click this Character Chart
Another, is a website called homework tips – this posting on how to write a Character Analysis is loaded with fabulous pointers.
If you already know all this stuff, and are looking for a refresher both are worthwhile reads.

If you have any helpful character tips you’d like to share, please let us know in the comments below.

Love in the Vines Cover Master 72Here’s a snap shot of the characters I created for Love in the Vines – Food, wine, love and betrayal. Like wine, love begins in the vines. Betrayal begins in the heart of a marriage.

Carla
Married her childhood sweetheart and now stays at home and raise her two children. Bored by domestic routine, Carla is determined to return to work. Serendipity knocked, and the door to a job at a local prestigious winery opened. Her life as she once knew it soon drained like an empty wine glass. Only to be refilled by the irresistible lure of the man with the green eyes.
“Now feeling like a full time appliance, it was plug me in and I’ll do it, with one day repeating into the next.”
“Pardon the pun, you’ve brought me out of my shell. Consider me a lover… of oysters.”
“Time stands still for no one let alone a woman in the……”

The Husband
Happily married to Carla and considered by all to be a loving son, and the perfect husband and father. Handsome, and happy-go-lucky, he is an “easy to please” guy, and is incredibly proud of his family. He’s the guy everyone likes to love. Yet, underneath his kind-hearted demeanor is a calculating man who doesn’t suffer fools.
“If anyone catches you drinking before work, they’ll assume you’ve got a problem!”
“The phone felt like it was burning in my hand.”

Matt – The Winemaker (Vintner)
A former hard-to-please advertising agency executive, who has since turned his back on the corporate world in pursuit of his true passion. Now an award-winning, gifted winemaker, his moodiness and arrogance is despised by some, and works like a magnetic pull on others. He likes nothing more than to complain about his workload, and is unable to function without his morning coffee. Some would say, he’s obsessive about coffee.
“I’m the first to admit I’m a difficult self-centred bastard who squirms at the mention of being a team player.”
“Matt, go to France and our marriage is over.”
“This is where the magic happens, like great wine love begins in the vines.”

Frankie
Carla’s boss, and has worked at the winery for a number of years. Bright, stylish, and a hard worker she is highly attuned to everything that goes on around her. Frankie will stand in the way of anyone who tries to cross her. The one person she despises the most is Matt. Frankie is not married, but has a boyfriend.
“Sorry, I feel like we’ve just interrupted a moment…”
“…..If she thinks I’m going to buy that story……it’s so riddled with holes you can see right through it.”
“Maybe I’ll wade right into their murky waters and do a little fishing for trouble.”
“Oh God I’m doing this, because I hate being lied to.”

1 thought on “Building Characters we like, love, loathe, and detest.

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