Another round on our ever-growing blog chain!
The current topic was started by the lovely Leah Clifford : How Real Are Your Characters?
I’m only the second blogger to post on this topic, but I will bet big money that every blogger after me will insist their characters are quite real to them.
Cardboard cut-outs just don’t inspire people to write about them. 😉
So how real are my characters? How much do I know about them?
Like most writers, I know an awful lot more about my characters than will ever make it into my book.
Although I could tell you tons of details about any of my characters– from why Raymond has a Buckeyes magnet on his refrigerator… to how Dr. Evans ended up practicing in a little town like Gladstone… to what Helena ever saw in Vincent– I think it’s only natural that I have special affection for my protagonist.
Beatrice was a bit of a challenge to write, and I hope I’ve finally hit upon the right mix for her. Given her incredibly traumatic background, despite having repressed the memories, she simply can’t be well-adjusted. Her relationships and development had to be subconsciously influenced by the trauma she can’t remember.
Which is why she puts up with Dane’s crap.
Why her self-esteem barely registers.
Why she struggles to interact socially.
Why her emotions are stunted at the beginning of the novel.
And as she reclaims control over her past, she begins to recover. There are components of her character that are almost teen-like, as her social skills and sense of self catch up with her chronological age
Beatrice changes dramatically throughout the novel (as all protagonists must) but even as she triumphs over her demons, she also needs to incorporate that traumatic past into who she is at the end.
So, yes… I could tell you how Beatrice takes her coffee (two sugars and a drop of cream) or what kind of music speaks to her (think Smokey Robinson), and while those details certainly help to define her as a real entity, to me they contribute less to her character than her motivations.
Our characters have to want something. If there’s no goal, there’s no conflict. But it’s the complexities of the WHY they want what they want that really adds depth for me. 🙂
That’s about as coherent as I’m going to get on this topic since I’m on hour 38 of no sleep. But you all can look forward to a gorgeous and organized post on this interesting topic coming up on Mary Lindsey’s shiny new blog!