Character is all about fear, tragedy and outcome. We have all heard the quote, “It is not your beliefs that make you a good person, but your actions.” and from thinking like this we derive that it is what you do, especially in times of adversity that forge ones character.
In order for writers to develop a complete and engaging character they MUST reveal the answers to the following three questions about the character:
1. What does the character fear? (This fear MUST be primal).
2. What are the origins of the character’s fear?
What specific life events planted and nurtured the seed of this fear in your character? It is possible that the character themselves don’t understand the origins, your character may not want to know or may not even recognize the fear, but your reader needs to somehow be shown these beginnings.
3. How does the character respond and cope when symptoms of this fear begin to manifest?
The fear is internal; it is something that your readers cannot see. The readers see only the physical manifestations of the fear and you must show the characters immediate reactions to those physical manifestations as well as develop the ways in which the character tries to control the manifestations of their fear over the long term (Does your character self-medicate, do they deny, etc?).
Give your reader these three things, regardless of the genre of your story and you will build a character that your readers love because when you give your readers this character with these three elements, the character is no longer words on a page, but a living, breathing soul that has the potential to reach out and touch them.
Most recently, she co-wrote, Crack of Dawn, an award winning short, horror film, produced by Pryme Tyme, Inc. in Houston, Texas.
She maintains a reading and writing blog at www.jeannicolerivers.com and is currently working on her new novel, Unwanted, which is due to be published Summer 2013.
JeanNicole Rivers Social Media Links