Welcome to Kate's Sunday Special - on the menu today. The meat and potatoes of characterization.
What makes a great character? To me, it's not something physical - necessarily, but that always helps. It's something much deeper than surface beauty or the ability to buy anything they want in their world. It's the building blocks of their personality that usually seals the deal. There are a lot of authors out there who can nail personality so completely you swear the characters are actual people.
Who could forget the first introduction of Mr. D'Arcy. J.A. wants you to see his arrogance and pomposity in all its vivid colors. Without his "pride" there would be no story. His grand gesture at the end of the book - making Wickam marry Lydia - means nothing. This growth of character, the juxtaposition of the two D'Arcy's (before and after Elizabeth Bennett's influence) makes him a hero worth coming back to. However, we also learn during the course of the book via a servant that Mr. D'Arcy has always been a good man, he just never shows that side to the world. Interesting.
In Emma, the main character, the irrepressible Emma Woodhouse can't seem to keep her nose out of other peoples' love lives. Maybe it's because ladies of time, if born to privilege, had too much leisure time on their hands and had nothing better to do than meddle. Emma isn't a bad person, she just has the overwhelming desire to pair up her world in couples. Most of which are ill meant for each other...as she later finds out. Again, we see the character through personality, and not necessarily physical attributes.
It's food for thought.
In my own writing, I try to establish the character of the person before I ever physically describe them. Laundry lists of hair, eye, and yes, even skin color, aren't as important as the soul inside the package. Though I do - most of the time write about reasonably attractive people - they aren't always necessarily one of the "beautiful people" on the outside. I'd rather my heroes and heroines' attraction come from something intangible. It's more captivating and enduring than mere surface looks.
Point in fact - while contemplating myself to sleep early this morning (I always tell myself little stories before I fall asleep - a hold over from childhood) I started thinking about physically imperfect heroes. Yes, we all know the ideal is the tall, strapping, mouth-watering, yummy tasting, hunk-o-rama but for this just go with me. I started thinking about what kind of personality transformation occurs when a person - who was once physically perfect - is suddenly thrust into a world of disfigurement.
Maybe something like a shattered eye socket that got put back together not as well as it could have. A busted nose that is so different from the original. How would he secure the HEA with the love interest if his sense of self-confidence has been shattered along with his face? Not easy. But we women can be odd creatures.
Sometimes, we can find men who are maybe so-so, incredibly attractive because of their character traits. (For a great example of this look to Admiral Adama from BSG as played by Edward James Almos - he's not good looking, but he's sexy as all hell.) -So, back to my disfigured hero - how would he make a woman fall in love with him. Nothing overtly, I'd say. He'd be too afraid he'd be rejected outright. Since the accident happened in his youth - no older than 18 or 19 - he's had to deal with the repercussions for years - 20 of them at the very least. But he's an intelligent guy, with his Ph.D. in the science field (research of some sort, I'm thinking) where he works in a lab. Maybe his partner on a project is a beautiful doctor and they have a standing dinner in the lab once a week to discuss the project and new directions...even brainstorm if they have to. Maybe these little "business" dinners, sometimes turn personal...the conversations that is...they start getting closer. Now, for me...a sense of humor is all so important and attractive and luscious. But maybe for this heroine, it's integrity and honor. Maybe she's been the recipient of too many arrogant boyfriends who are surface pretty but lack real substance. See where I'm going with this? She's going to fall hard for a man who she can talk to, who shares her interest in science and has both honor and integrity. What if she finds out this man she's fallen in love with plans to go back under the knife to have some corrective surgery to fix the botched rebuild he's had for twenty years. - I can just see the scene so clearly in my head. *sigh* I won't give any more of it away because I have the feeling I might use this sometime. But you get what I'm after - heroine falls in love with hero dispite looks, and because of his inner self.
So, read a Jane Austen book, look at the characters and think about why they are still popular after 200 hundred years. As the saying goes, beauty fades.
What are some of your favorite characters, and what is it about them that you remember most?
We are the authors Sierra Wolfe, Tierney O'Malley, Wendy Ely, Alisha Paige, Mark Alders, Kate Davison, and Gracen Miller. Welcome to our blog. We hope to entertain and inform you. This is where we will share our writing journeys and life experiences, and maybe, share a bit of wisdom we pick up along the way. We hope you enjoy it!
Gracen is a hopeless daydreamer masquerading as a "normal" person in southern society. When not writing, she's a full-time basketball/football/guitar mom for her two sons and a devoted wife to her real-life hero-husband. She's addicted to writing, paranormal romance novels and movies, Alabama football and coffee…addictions are not necessarily in order of priority. She is convinced coffee is nectar from the gods and blending coffee and writing together generates the perfect creative merger. Many of her creative worlds are spawned from coffee highs. To learn more about Gracen or to leave her a comment, visit her website at www.gracenmiller.com.
I like to read and write just about anything. But I am a sucker for a Happily-Ever-After. I need to know characters ride off into the sunset and all is right in their world. That's why I chose romance instead of another category. HEA's aren't always promised in other genres, though I do read them too.
Most of the time you'll find me at the keyboard, moving between the 5 projects I tackle at a time.
Most of the time you'll find me at the keyboard, moving between the 5 projects I tackle at a time.
I write paranormal, magic realism, fantasy, erotic and vintage romance. I live in a haunted house built in the 50s and love to drink red wine and eat dark chocolate while sitting in the swing out back. I love to watch my children play in the sandbox while my dogs wrestle on the grass. Does life get any better? It's the simple things in life I cherish.
Writing is an adventure I started at a young age but never took it serious until last year. My focus is on contemporary romance and have two books coming out later this year. Besides writing, I run a childcare, attend college, and am a single mom. Life isn't boring for me!
- Aimee St. Claire
- Amy Redwood
- Cate Masters
- Debra Kayn
- Haven Rich
- Jen Bluekissed
- Keta Diablo
- Lainey Bancroft
- Lucy Woodhull
- Lynne DuMae
- Moonlight, Lace, & Mayhem
- Regina Carlysle
- Romantic Inks
- Sela Carsen
- Tales From the Crit
- Tammie Jin
- The Naughty Girls Next Door
- Three Wicked Writers
Hi! My name is Tierney O'Malley, contemporary and paranormal romance author from the beautiful Pacific Northwest. My publishers are Cobblestone Press, Museitup Publishing, eXtasy Books, and Silver Publishing. I'm excited to join this blog and hope to share you fun and meaningful posts. :D Click here or go to my website http://tierneyomalley.com to learn more about my books or contact me. I would love to hear from you.
My name is Mark Alders. I live in a house. This house has a street in front of it which is a good thing because if it didn't I wouldn't be able to drive down to the shop and purchase the chocolate I need on a daily basis *giggle* Seriously, I am a mild mannered post office worker by day and an erotic romance writer (mainly male/male) at night. Not much else to say other than, like everyone else, I have bills to pay, a mortgage and family that I love and drive me crazy all at the same time. Oh, and I have a dog, too! See? Average Joe...execpet when I get down and write...then I let my imagination go to places I never knew existed and my characters invade my mind.
I have an Associates Degree in Nursing and work as a traveling nurse. Although, I miss my family and friends back in Missouri, I enjoy meeting new people and love to travel. Of course, I wouldn’t go anywhere without my wonderful daughter and two rotten dogs. Writing has always been a part of my life, but for many years, I thought it was only a hobby. Finally learning that I couldn’t live without writing my beloved stories, I decided to see where it would take me. Who knows where my next adventure will be? Either in nursing or writing, I will continue to look for new and fun places to explore.
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