A Character’s Voice

     Some books have characters which are so richly developed that, before the ride’s over, you feel intimately connected with them. You can picture them practically standing in front of you. You know their likes and dislikes, their mannerisms, even what they would and would not say.

     That has always fascinated and amazed me; that I could say, in my mind, “No! Juan would never do that! How could his friends think he would?” The author did a great job developing that character.

     I’ve found that I only come close to that when I take enough time to fully think the character through in my head. Sounds obvious, I’ll admit, but sometimes you just want to delve into the story and you don’t give your character a chance to “breathe” and fully come into being. I suppose you could say characters need time to grow into their own, and we need to be patient enough to let it happen.

2 replies
  1. Rebecca Laffar-Smith
    Rebecca Laffar-Smith says:

    *finds herself nodding along to your sage commentary* I know exactly what you mean. I find one of my biggest road blocks when working on a novel is character. If I keep slamming up against a wall or am suffering “writer’s block” one of the most common culprits is character.

    It’s not the character’s fault of course. It’s just because I get wrapped into the story too quickly. I’m enthralled with the character. It all leads to a sense of leaping without looking. To make it work and to get past the block I have to really get to know the characters. Inside out! Intimately.

    It’s still a practice I struggle with. I hear authors talk about living their lives with these characters always right there with them. Their presense strong enough to touch and talk to.

    I have to delve to reach that place where they hide. I’m hoping they’ll grow in confidence as they learn to trust me. It would be nice to share more of a connection with them.

  2. Silvia
    Silvia says:

         I hear ya.’ I want to move along in the plot as well and sometimes forget to add those little touches that give a character his qualities. I’m talking about the pauses in the right places, the looks on his face, the right word. I usually go back and fill that all in, though, after I’ve moved the plot along to where I want it to be.

         My characters also don’t live alongside me. I know what they might do in a certain circumstance, but they don’t take up my consciousness anywhere but at my writing space.

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