Laura Howard: Building a Believable Character


Building a Believable Character

I'm pleased to bring Rebecca Ethington back for another post for her Eyes of Ember Blog Tour run by Damaris at Good Choice Reading!

Today we'll learn her Super Secret Tips for Building a Believable Character... and no matter where you are in your writing career there is ALWAYS something to be learned in this area!

The first big role I landed was in High School, at an actual theatre.
 Instead of working for three months for three performances, I was going to be rehearsing for three weeks for more than a months of performances. I was pretty hot stuff. No one could touch my awesomeness – well except my own insecurities.

So, I did what any nervous teenager would do, I hijacked my drama teacher and forced begged her to give me any tips she had as to how to build a great character. Because, after all, I would need it in order to make Munchkin #5 believable.

What Mrs. Fields gave me that day, as well as what I learned from her over the years, combined with my own anal retentive perfectionist syndrome created (what I like to believe to be) the perfect character building plan; of this, I am going to share two of my steps with you. (I can’t send too much or they wouldn’t be super-secret!)

The love, hate, lust, like, beat to a pulp list. – You have seen love/hate lists in blog tours before, think of this as that list on steroids. Not only does it list five things to like or hate, but also why (or why not) they feel that way about them, as well as level of animosity or love. Now, this may seem silly. But sometimes these stories tend to write themselves and if you know all this in advance then not only are you opening up more opportunities for spontaneity in your writing, as well as closing plot holes. For example, a character who doesn’t like shellfish is probably not going to be excited to go to a sushi joint. It is the little things like this that make your characters people and not just paper.

Watch your words! – This one is not easy, not in any way shape or form. How your characters talk, what words they use, what accent they have, and how much. These are the final details of your character and they are very important. It’s why Bella Swan says Holy Crow. In the Imdalind Series one of the main characters, Ilyan, speaks with a very thick Czech accent. That accent impacts everything, from how many contractions he uses, to how his accent increases when he gets mad. It affects his slang, and his infliction. The same holds true with every character, their backgrounds effect their vocal inflictions and words choices, and those are important to developing a believable character. Getting these straight between characters is very important, which is why this step is very important, you don’t want your characters to begin to blend together after the first book.

Well, there you have it, two of my super-secret tips for OCD character development. I hope you enjoyed them – and get some use out of them!

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1 comment:

  1. Good tips! Rebecca has done a very good job with the characters in her book. I love Ilyan's Czech accent, and he is one of my favorite characters in the book. =)


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