We colored eggs today. Of course no one will eat them, but I suppose it’s fun to have the memory of coloring them nonetheless. I can remember egg hunts with my family, even from a very young age. My husband mowed the lawn yesterday in the backyard so we won’t actually lose a child in the tall grass, LOL. So tomorrow I will hide eggs and they will eat too much sugar and we’ll send pictures to my parents and my sister in law and it’ll be another day filled with memories.
I was thinking about this as I was working on my new WIP. Thinking about creating characters with memories and a past and finding the proper balance on the page. To me, as I’m writing, the character is revealing herself as I go. What are her quirks? Her habits? Why does she react a certain way in some situations?
As a reader, I love it when over the course of a story I walk away with a real sense of the characters as people. Not as cardboard stereotypes but as people. I just finished Nalini Singh’s Visions of Heat and Faith, a character who is without emotion for most of her life, was so three dimensional to me. Just as three dimensional as Vaughan, a changeling driven by his need for revenge and the instincts of the cat who lives within him.
Singh uses a fine touch here and there to unfold them both for the reader and it’s a touch I admire as a writer. The ability to convey personhood with a sentence here, a flash of insight there, a reaction or failure to react. It’s all in the way we relate our stories through our characters.
I don’t think there’s a way to learn it. There’s no one true way and it’s not something that works for every reader in every book either. Different authors with different voices do it – Megan Hart’s revelation of Elle in Dirty for instance – completely different than Singh and yet, still totally effective. Patricia Briggs and the way she’s revealing Mercy to us in Moon Called and Blood Bound. Jenny Cruisie in Bet Me – all very different authors and stories, all done very differently but all done very effectively.
Without compelling characters, even the most brilliant story will fall flat.
Back to my own story. I need to referee a fight breaking out in the back yard. Have a nice weekend everyone!