Quite recently, I came across Jen's blog which I totally love and found out that there's this blogfest, The Great Blogging Experiment which Jen, Alex and Elana are conducting. I found the details on Elana Johnson's blog. I got excited so I thought I'd join. Gosh it's daunting - I have actually entered my name as a participant! What have I gotten myself into? *knees getting wobbly*
I have got to be honest - I am scared to even call myself a writer. Whilst I had articles published in the early Stone Age, writing a story is a lot different. It's more hardwork. It's not only putting more time into it...it's also pouring all your heart and soul into it. But the fact is, I am not even half way in writing my first story! So, this is my first ever attempt to post something that mentions about my own writing.
Writing Compelling Characters
Scout (To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee) - I think of her when I see little girls and wonder, do they think the same way? Do they have the same love for their parents like Scout had for her father? Do they think and reason like her? Scout is a nine year old girl who is just too clever for her age. She is honest and a courageous spirit. I love everything that she is.
Perry Crandall (Lottery by Patricia Wood) - He reminds me of Forest Gump and I love his innocence and his good heart. I fear for him that people will take advantage of him. I've read this book about two years ago and Perry is still in my mind to this day.
Now, on my writing - I will let you in on a secret...the truth is, I talk to my characters - yes! I am brave enough to reveal this as I know I am not alone in feeling that my characters are real. In a recent television interview, Sophie Kinsella (author of the Shopaholic series, Remember Me and The Undomestic Goddess just to name a few of her books) described Becky Bloomwood, the main character of The Shopaholic series, to be a real person who exists somewhere - in a parallell universe - and she just tapped into it. Becky becomes alive! You know what - I believe the same thing! And I think it is the same for all writers. We see our characters as real. They feel real. They are alive, even if they are only in our minds.
So how do I create my characters? They have to be convincing and believable so I put a little bit of the people around me, people that are pleasing and absorbing or that inspire me. For the heroine, I use people's strengths that I admire, their beliefs and values and things they do that captivate me. I also include their fears and weaknesses that make me love them and that make me want to protect them. The villains? They can have the most evil thoughts, they can be the most annoying and deceiving. They have the traits that I dislike in people or even hate about myself. And maybe, my characters also have a little bit of what I've read! So, really, one can be a combination of different people molded into one personality that becomes a person in a story! What I've learnt from reading and research is that the characters, of course, must be appropriate for the plot. I still have a lot to learn and I can only hope that I am making sense...and that at the end of the day, my story and characters are interesting enough for people to read - from beginning to end.
Writing a story is hardwork and the hardest of all of it is writing compelling characters - the ones that will make the readers stay with you to the last page! In the book, How to Write for Children and Get Published, Louise Jordan wrote, 'Characterisation makes your story come alive. However strong your plot, without good characterisation, you will have an uninvolving, superficial text on our hands: at best boring, at worst, dead (page 113).
How about you? What do you think can make characters interesting, compelling? What will make you carry on reading a story?
Note: You can view covers of the books by clicking on the links which will take you to amazon.com.
Please don't forget to visit Elana's blog to see what the rest of the participants have to say, click here.
Disclaimer: This is my web blog, the opinion expressed above are 100% mine and not that of the authors' or publishers of the above-mentioned books. This site makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, currentness of any information and will not be liable for any errors, omissions in this information arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis. This is not a paid advertisement.