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Friday, March 17, 2017

How Real Are Your Characters to You?


This month Dr. Bob suggested the topic. It’s an interesting one. Are you ever emotionally drained by writing certain scenes, and how real are your characters to you?
For me this depends on my characters and the plot. It’s a combination. And the second part of the topic is partially the answer. When I begin to write a new story, I’m getting acquainted with my characters. I don’t know them that well. So, early in the writing I don’t get emotionally drained. As the book progresses and I learn more about the characters they become real and part of my family.  I begin to feel their pain and losses. I’m rooting for them to achieve their goals.

Usually near the end when the heroine and hero have a deep emotional scene – I’m there with her.
In Hunted, the mob has tracked down Maggie. They’re in her house. I’m writing the scene, but I’m feeling the panic of both Maggie and Gabe.

In Targeted, Janna almost hits a small, shivering bedraggled dog on the road. She picks him up and puts him inside her jacket to, maybe, stop the shivering. I’m almost sympathizing and want to pat the dog.
And in By Design, when Evie is running for her life, I’m feeling the terror and my pulse rate is escalated.

I can hardly wait to hear what the rest of the group have to say. Off to check out:

14 comments:

  1. Writing works a lot like reading, doesn't it? The reader has to be grabbed by something the characters do to get hooked on the story, but hopefully they become emotionally involved with the character and see them as friends, family, or even themselves. Enjoyed your post.

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    1. That's a good point, Rhobin. I hadn't thought about it, but writing is a lot like reading.

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  2. How did you pick the name Janna? I ask because my sister's name was Janna and it's an unusual name (as well as an unusual spelling).

    I work much like you. When the story begins, I don't know the character that well, they are just revealing themselves to me. As the story goes along, I know more about them, although it's not always easy to write more about them because they become obstinate or I'm too in my head.

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    1. Hi, Marci, we seem to work much the same. As for Janna, I found it in a book I was reading quite awhile ago - I think it was The White Oaks of Jalna. I know Jenna is a common spelling, but I wanted something little different and remembered - Janna. Interesting that it's your sister's name.

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  3. I agree. When we connect with our characters, we write deeper and hopefully will draw the readers into the story as well.

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  4. Good point. Even though I actually write a detailed backstory/bio of my characters before I start writing, I am always learning new things about them and getting more emotionally involved.

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    1. I do the backstory and bio, but it's not until I'm writing them into difficult situations, or romantic ones, that I start to really feel how they'll react to the situation.

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  5. I've never been much of a plotter, but I have to really fill out my characters after they've presented themselves. I can see what they look like, know their names, but that's about it. Filling out a character or chart or interviewing them helps round them out so that I know them better.

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    1. I think a lot of us do the character chart or interview. Thanks for dropping by.

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  6. Any time you add an animal into the story, I'm hooked. 'Woman in Jeopardy' stories are great to plot. Thanks Beverly.

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  7. Beverley, how do you cope with the opening scene? I haven't read your work lately, but I am sure your openings are instantly gripping. And yet, you say, at that stage your people are still characters...

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  8. Like you, I get to know my characters by writing about them, and like you, once I know them well, I get very worried when they get into trouble. Isn't writing a crazy business? Good post.

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  9. Beverley, I always feel so silly, but I get scared too when writing scenes where someone's in trouble, running/etc. I technically have 100% control over the situation, but it's still terrifying!

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