I hope everyoneís having a good week. Letís kick offthe How To Write A Romance Novel seminar with characterization.>
The first question Iím going to pose to you is whatdo you think makes a good character?>
And while youíre doing that also think about a bookyou enjoyed reading. Was it because of the plot, or did a character orcharacters hold your interest?>
Without knowing your answer Iím going to say most ofyou will say character. We might remember the wonderful plots that kept uscaptivated, but a book that stays with us, sometimes all our lives, is usuallyone that made us fall in love with the people telling us their stories. Evenwith a strong plot, a story without characters that the reader can livevicariously through, can fall flat.>
For me a great character is someone that the readercan relate to, sympathize with, cheer for, cry with, and yes, remember longafter youíve finished reading the story.>
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So how do we achieve that every time we sit down towrite?>
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Here are some tricks that have worked for me->
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MakeThem Identifiable>
Think about a book with characters you loved. Iímguessing that one of the reasons you liked them so much was because you couldidentify with them. As human beings weíre more alike than we are different. Weall have fears, hopes, and dreams, and by giving similar attributes to yourcharacters readers can say, hey, Iíve felt that way too, or Iíve felt uneasyabout doing that. Get them to identify with at least one character and youívegot the reader hooked. >
Think about things we face, falling in love, beingcrazy about a guy at school who doesnít notice us, losing a loved one, dealingwith an illness etc. Give your characters some type of hurdle to face and letthe reader know what theyíre thinking and feeling and youíve won a fan.>
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GiveThem A Past>
Most great characters have something in their pastthatís not only shaped who they are today but also dictates their futurebehavior too. It might even be one of those little quirks readers love so much.>
Two examples I always give to my students are fromTV because I know many of us donít read the same books. Remember two charactersfrom recent shows Monk and House? Oneís dealing with the death of his wife andhas a phobia about everything. The other is hooked on painkillers stemming froma medical condition with his leg. While most of us (and our readers too), wonítbe dealing with these extreme phobias or be hooked on painkillers, they do knowwhat itís like to be uneasy about something, and/or what itís like to be inpain.>
Anddonít forget secondary characters too- >
For my book Last First Kiss I had one nice reviewersay that two of my characters (which were secondary ones) will live on in herheart forever. While you donít want them to steal the scene from your majorplayers, you do need them to also be three dimensional and compliment the maincharacters. I think the best way to do that is to also make them identifiabletoo. And some secondary characters donít have to even me likeable to engage areader. They could be the person who stands in the way of the main characterreaching their goal.>