Tag Archive: Characters

Through A Character’s Eyes

When we write characters, we have to get inside their heads. We have to know what makes them tick, how they see the world, and all sorts of things about how they’d react to certain situations.

I actually kind of talked this post out to myself on a video before I wrote it, and I realized that this isn’t going to be a post about how to get into a character’s eyes, like I thought it was, but rather sort of a post about how you know that your character is well-developed, because a well-developed character will kind of develop his own voice and you’ll kind of just slide into his mind when you need to.

There have been three characters in particular who I have really enjoyed writing or been surprised at my ability to write because they’re so different from me and have such different voices from me. The first of those is Rynn Aryon.

Rynn is the princess of a currently-unnamed country who wants to work to protect her country from the encroaching Vollak. Vollak are basically like werewolves. Rynn wants to protect people from these monsters because no one else really is. They’re kind of just watching as these Vollak kill citizens of their country, and those who do care can’t really do much about it. So Rynn disguises herself and goes to take control of the army and get their rears in gear. Now, Rynn is very sassy. She’s quite possibly my sassiest character. She always has a response for anything thrown at her, and she’s extremely quick-witted. I, on the other hand, am not really one of those people. Occasionally I’ll think of a good comeback in time to use it, but most of the time I don’t think of responses to things until five years later. This is why it surprised me when I started writing Rynn and her sass just flowed off my fingertips onto the screen. I could come up with comebacks as fast as Rynn could, and it was a really interesting experience because it’s very unlike me.

Rynn is the only example I can think of of a character who is so different from me it surprised me I could write them, but there have been a couple of characters whose perception of the world has really fascinated me and who have been really interesting to write and see interact with other characters and with the world around them.

One of my favorite characters to write, probably, is Cordain Celebar. He’s one of the three main characters of The Heart of the Baenor. He’s an elf, so he was raised in a rural area with good morals and a strong faith in God. Because of this, he sees everything as pointing to God and as a beautiful creation, and he basically sees the whole world through rose-colored glasses. This gives him a measure of naivety, but it’s also crucial in his interactions with other characters.

A similar case to Cordain is Quentin/Pellan Shyle (I haven’t decided if I’m going to keep his original name or change it). He was raised in Cron Hatal, the capital of Kaloris. I’m not entirely sure yet what led to his worldview, but he pays great attention to detail. He believes that details are extremely important because they’re what make up the whole. He records details about everything in a thick, leather-bound journal, which Catessa (the main character) finds strange because she pays attention to larger things and things that directly affect her, not details. She doesn’t find details all that important, so she doesn’t understand Quentin/Pellan’s fascination with them.

It’s always interesting when you’re able to easily get into a character’s head, and I consider it a trait of a well-developed character, at least when that character is one that is very different from you. If you can easily write a character who is opposite of you, you’ve aced the development of that character.

Character Interview: Roran Brance

Today’s character to interview is the main character of Dark Queen Rising, and you may recall that he was mentioned in Clissa Hiara’s interview.

Roran: *comes in and takes a seat across from the interviewer* Good morning.

Interviewer: Good morning. How are you?

Roran: I’m doing well. How are you?

Interviewer: I’m doing quite well. Shall we get started?

Roran: *nods*

Interviewer: What is your name?

Roran: Roran Brook Brance.

Interviewer: How old are you?

Roran: Twenty-three.

Interviewer: Do you have any siblings?

Roran: I have a younger sister named Aria.

Interviewer: What is your job?

Roran: I’m a council member in the Trell Province.

Interviewer: Are you an introvert or an extrovert?

Roran: I’m an introvert, but I love people.

Interviewer: What is your favorite food?

Roran: Freshly baked bread. My mother is the baker in Autherion, and her bread is the best.

Interviewer: What is your favorite color?

Roran: Golden brown.

Interviewer: Why?

Roran: It’s the color of fields and fresh bread.

Interviewer: Do you prefer books or movies?

Roran: Books.

Interviewer: What is your favorite book?

Roran: The Lord of the Rings.

Interviewer: What is your favorite animal?

Roran: Horses.

Interviewer: Why?

Roran: They’re beautiful, powerful, and useful.

Interviewer: Is there a job you’d rather have than the one you have now?

Roran: I’d rather go back to working on the Brance farm.

Interviewer: What are your hobbies?

Roran: Reading, gardening, and horseback riding.

Interviewer: What traits do you look for in a potential wife?

Roran: Kindness, generosity, a love for God, and a good cook. *smiles at the last one*

Interviewer: Which of these is the most important to you, kindness, intelligence, or bravery?

Roran: Kindness.

Interviewer: And honesty or selflessness?

Roran: Honesty, but selflessness is a close second.

Interviewer: What is something you can never leave the house without?

Roran: *lifts his wrist to show a leather cuff* I got this from my dad when I was twelve. It didn’t fit me then, but I’ve grown into it.

Interviewer: *nods* That’s the last question. Thank you for your time.

Roran: You’re very welcome. *smiles and shakes the interviewer’s hand before leaving*

Character Development

Character development is something that I really enjoy in writing. I enjoy getting to know the characters, being surprised by them, falling in love with them or being repulsed by them, some of my characters even scare me. Characters are the first thing I notice in a story, because they’re the main part of the story, possibly even more than the plot itself. They’re who the story centers around and you have to be able to at least tolerate them for the entirety of the book. Unfortunately, I’ve read some books that I could only go so far as to tolerate the characters of, or who’s characters downright annoyed me. So how do we get to know our characters inside out so that we can make readers love our characters? (Make is a bit harsher a word than I want, but I’m not thinking of one that fits at the moment.)

In this post I’ll cover some exercises that can help us really get to know our characters.

To begin I’m going to say that I agree with Shaelin from ShaelinWrites on YouTube in that I think you get to know your characters best by writing them. I suggest watching her video on exercises to develop characters, because it’s really good. I really like her whole channel, actually, though there are rare occasions on which when uses the S-word, which I would warn you of before you start watching them. Further warning, I can’t in good conscience recommend the videos that include her brother because he cusses more, and in one (Writing High Fantasy) he drops an F-bomb, which is really a shame because otherwise it’s a really great video, but overall her channel is cleaner than some other writing channels I’ve seen. Anyway, that turned into an unexpectedly long bunny trail. *cough* Let’s get back on track, shall we?

I think you get to know characters best by writing them, and so most of the tips and tricks in here will probably have to do with writing your characters in one way or another.

Since I linked to Shaelin’s video I’ll just give short explanations of the methods laid out in said video, in case you’re not going to watch it, and if you’d like them expanded on you can watch the video.

The first method she suggests is basically word association. You make a list of things that remind you of your character. The second method is to grab a list of adages (curiosity killed the cat, the early bird gets the worm, a watched pot never boils, etc.) and write how your character would feel about these adages. Would they agree or disagree with them? Method number three is to write scenes about your character. They can be scenes from the book, or just random situations that you throw your character into and see how they react to. The last method she suggests is to make a pyramid of motivations, which I can’t really explain and you’ll have to watch the video to get explained.

And now we get into my suggestions. One of the things I do the most to flesh out a character is to role play (RP) with them. I tend to RP with my best friend since she’s also a writer and I don’t really have many other people to RP with, and we just toss our characters together and see what happens in certain situations. We have soooo many RPs going at once it’s not even funny. A lot of them end up neglected, and the majority of them focus on the same core group of characters that we call “The Squad,” but that’s not something I suggest, lol. It’s better to play around with different characters, see how they react to different people, different situations, etc. Some will get along really well and some just… won’t, just like in real life, and it’s really interesting to see those relationships unfold. A couple of my characters and hers have actually gotten married to each other in alternate timelines, so… yeah. AUs (Alternate Universes) for the win!

You can also use character profiles. These can be more or less helpful depending on what questions are on it. I’ve actually learned a lot about characters from templates that have deeper questions, while more shallow ones are just a “laundry list of facts,” as Shaelin calls them. They’re not really helpful. So if you can find a really extensive, deep character profile, I suggest filling it out and seeing what you learn about your character. The only downside to these long ones is the fact that they can be really tedious to fill out. I have one that works well for me that a friend of mine gave me and I altered slightly, and while it’s really, really helpful, I also occasionally have to take breaks when filling it out because it’s so extensive. And there are some that are a happy medium, and those are pretty good, too. Again, it depends on what questions are asked.

These are the best ways I’ve found to develop characters, and hopefully they’re helpful for you as well. :)

Character Interview: Amber Arun

We have our next interview. :) This one is the mother of my favorite character from The Half-Elves, Crimson, and her twin sister Scarlet.

 

Amber: *takes a seat across from the interviewer, a little uncomfortably* Hello. *gives a bit of a shy smile*

Interviewer: Hello, Amber. How are you?

Amber: I’m doing all right. How are you?

Interviewer: I’m doing well.

Amber: Why do you want to interview me?

Interviewer: Well, as queen of Baarmegan, people are interested in getting to know you.

Amber: Oh. Okay. *gives another weak smile*

Interviewer: Let’s start off with an easy first question. What is your name?

Amber: Amber Treya Arun.

Interviewer: And how old are you?

Amber: I’m thirty-seven.

Interviewer: What is most important to you: Kindness, intelligence or bravery?

Amber: Kindness.

Interviewer: And of these: Honesty or selflessness?

Amber: *takes a minute* Probably honesty, but they’re very close.

Interviewer: What are your hobbies?

Amber: I don’t really have any hobbies. I work in my garden a lot, but that’s about it.

Interviewer: Okay. In your opinion, what are the worst offenses and most disdainful actions?

Amber: I don’t know. I hate seeing people hurt others.

Interviewer: What’s your favorite food?

Amber: Peaches.

Interviewer: What is your favorite color?

Amber: Grey.

Interviewer: Why?

Amber: It’s very unobtrusive. It easily fades into the background.

Interviewer: And would you rather live in any other type of home besides the castle?

Amber: I’d much prefer to have a small house in the village.

Interviewer: And why is that?

Amber: I feel too important in the castle. *shifts uncomfortably*

Interviewer: What job would you rather have?

Amber: I wouldn’t mind running an inn, taking care of people. Or a clinic.

Interviewer: What’s your favorite book?

Amber: I’ve always liked The Adventures of Jaddisi Kane. It’s an old childhood favorite.

Interviewer: What is the one thing you can never leave home without?

Amber: The necklace Edom gave me when we got married. *fingers it, a gold pendant with a small emerald on the front*

Interviewer: Would you call yourself an introvert or extrovert?

Amber: Introvert.

Interviewer: And, I know you’re already married, but if you weren’t, what traits would you look for in a man?

Amber: Someone kind and considerate. Like Edom. *smiles a little*

Interviewer: What is your favorite animal?

Amber: A horse.

Interviewer: And why is that?

Amber: They’re both useful and beautiful.

Interviewer: Do you have any siblings?

Amber: No, but I grew up with my cousins Renaldo, Gena, and Mabella.

Interviewer: I think that’s all for today.

Amber: *nods* Thank you.

Interviewer: No, thank you.

Amber: *smiles a little and leaves*

 

I hope you enjoyed this. Let me know of any questions you’d like me to ask the next character, and I’ll put them in. :)

Character Interview: Clissa Hiara

I recently asked my sister to interview one of my characters, merely because this character is really interesting and complex and I was curious how she’d respond to the questions. I can tell you that almost none of these answers are entirely truthful, because of who she is, but it was interesting to see. My best friend also deserves credit for a few of the questions.

I plan on making character interviews a regular thing and choosing a character of mine at random to interview each day or week or however often I decide to do this. If you’d like to offer some questions, go ahead and leave those in the comments.

Now without further ado, here’s the interview with Clissa.

 

Clissa: *takes a seat across from the interviewer, legs elegantly crossed* Hello.

Interviewer: Hello, Miss Hiara. How are you doing today?

Clissa: I’m well. How are you?

Interviewer: I’m quite fine, thank you. Let’s get started with our first question. It’s really preliminary, but what’s your name?

Clissa: Clissa Hiara, prime minister of the Trell Province.

Interviewer: And how old are you?

Clissa: That’s not a very polite question to ask a woman. *a hint of a smile twitches at her lips* I’m twenty-seven.

Interviewer: I apologize. Which of the following is most important to you: Kindness, intelligence, bravery, or cunning?

Clissa: Intelligence. A prime minister must be intelligent.

Interviewer: And of these: Honesty or selflessness?

Clissa: Definitely honesty. If you can’t be honest with people, you’ll never get anything done. Any relationship is based in trust, be it personal, professional, or indirect like that of a prime minister and her subjects.

Interviewer: What are your hobbies?

Clissa: Singing and dancing, mostly. And I love birds.

Interviewer: What are your prime fashion choices?

Clissa: Well as prime minister my choices are no secret. Red and black dresses, mainly, with lots of jewelry, usually in gold.

Interviewer: In your opinion, what are the worst offenses and most disdainful actions?

Clissa: Good question. Murder is high on the list, as is theft. One of the things I find most disgusting, though, is not the action itself, but when people get others to do their dirty work for them. It’s more dishonest than the thing itself, I believe.

Interviewer: Hmm…What’s your favorite food?

Clissa: Dark chocolate.

Interviewer: And favorite color?

Clissa: Red.

Interviewer: Why?

Clissa: It’s dramatic. I have a flair for the dramatic.

Interviewer: What would be your ideal home? Castle, mansion, cottage, tower?

Clissa: A castle, most definitely. A castle makes a statement.

Interviewer: That it certainly does. Is there any job you’d prefer to prime minister?

Clissa: Well, not to sound cliché, but I’d like to be queen. Not that that’ll ever happen, but a girl can dream, can’t she?

Interviewer: Of course. Why would you want to be queen?

Clissa: The same reason everyone does. Power, importance, glamour. It’s an important position that any woman would love to have.

Interviewer: Indeed. And would you rather watch a movie or read a book?

Clissa: I don’t enjoy either particularly much, but probably watching movies.

Interviewer: Do you have a favorite?

Clissa: Maybe The Three Musketeers.

Interviewer: And do you have a book preference?

Clissa: Romeo and Juliet.

Interviewer: What do you like about them?

Clissa: *shrugs* The adventure, I suppose. And with Romeo and Juliet I enjoy the romantic tragedy.

Interviewer: What is the one thing you can never leave home without?

Clissa: A tube of lipstick.

Interviewer: Would you call yourself an introvert or an extrovert?

Clissa: I’m definitely an extrovert.

Interviewer: And what traits do you look for in a man?

Clissa: Dark and mysterious, and as intelligent as I am.

Interviewer: What is your favorite animal and why?

Clissa: A cobra, because they’re beautiful.

Interviewer: Do you have any siblings?

Clissa: No. I’m an only child.

Interviewer: Are you excited for your upcoming wedding?

Clissa: I’m very excited. *grins*

Interviewer: Do you have a dress picked out yet?

Clissa: I do, actually. I’d show you, but I know Roran watches this broadcast, and I can’t have him seeing it before the wedding. *smiles*

Interviewer: Of course not. Wouldn’t want to ruin tradition. What kind of flowers will you be carrying?

Clissa: Red roses outlined in black leaves. I decided to leave the rose thorns intact, as well, to go a little outside the box.

Interviewer: That sounds quite striking. Who is the maid of honor going to be?

Clissa: There will actually not be a maid of honor. Roran and I have decided not to have a wedding party.

Interviewer: Oh, okay. What kind of cake do you have picked out?

Clissa: It’s a really big thing, the cake. It’s three tiers high, covered in red frosting, extravagantly decorated. The interior is a dark chocolate and red velvet swirl.

Interviewer: That sounds delightful. Well, I think that’s all I had for you. Thank you for your time, and for the insider access on your wedding.

Clissa: Certainly. *smiles as she stands and leaves*

 

Well, that turned out to be a fairly long interview, and I didn’t realize until I was copying it how many times in the first third she mentioned being prime minister. She’s rather prideful.

Like I said, if you have any questions for the next interview, let me know. :)

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