Last year I was lucky enough to attend the Dreamspinner Press Author conference and was surrounded by many other Dreamspinner Press authors. Nice folks, a little crazy but in that really sweet sort of way.
Naturally, when a bunch of writers larger than a group of one get together conversations turn to writerly things. There was all sorts of talk about balancing writing with the rest of our lives, the right plots, the wrong plots and story development.
The most in depth and by far interesting conversations revolved around our characters. We all went on and on about which of our characters were telling us their back stories, and which ones were about to find one another and how difficult it was to convince them to take their first kiss.
After I came home I began working with Anne Barwell developing our The Sleepless City series. Her book, Shades of Sepia, is the first book in the series and my upcoming release, Electric Candle is the second. It will be available April 4 from Dreamspinner Press.
My conversations with Anne, in part, revolved around what things this or that character was doing at the time.
I’ve often noticed, while engaged in conversations about our characters with readers and other authors alike, we talk about them as if they’re real. It makes me want to ask: you do know they’re not real, right?
Sometimes, I wonder.
I’m on the top of the list of offenders who treat my fictional people like they’re sitting here with me. I’ve come to realize the truth is, those people, my fictional people, do share my life day in and day out.
Sort of makes me sound crazy.
Then again, I think a prerequisite for being a writer is at least a dash of crazy.
The truth is, the reason a writer can bring characters ‘to life’ in a book is because of their relationship with those characters. Well-developed characters speak to us. They have a story to tell. There is so much more to a character than what goes into a book. I have many little details written down about each and every character that gets added in here and there as needed. Things like what they like to eat, or their favorite color.
Jonas Forge, one of the stars of Electric Candle is a sports fan. That fact is something that never came up in the book, but I do happen to know he’s a huge Cleveland Indians fan! Forge was a great character to work with, he’s got a lot of background after all, 239 year’s worth! He’s a vampire and a homicide detective. Even at his age things still surprise him. One of the biggest surprises is when love tumbles—quite literally—into his life.
Don’t tell Jonas he’s not real, it upsets him and he’s got a few more books to appear in. Nothing worse than trying to work with a difficult character.
Originally posted on Pants off Reviews
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