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Welcome, everyone! Here's where I blather about writing, life with my wife BA, and my two basset hounds! I love to hear from readers, so comment here or email me!

Friday, January 31, 2014

developing a character

I struggle with character development.

There, I said it. People never believe me. I hear a lot that people love my characters most, that my plots sometime wander off but my people are rockin' cool.

To that I say, "Woo!" because I love to hear that readers appreciate what I do. (juliatalbot at gmail.com Seriously.) But I also have to tell you a secret. Putting all that character on a page is what I have trouble with.

See, most of my characters spring into my head fully formed, like Athena from Jove. There's rarely a surprise. I know what they'll do in any given situation, so often I have to make myself stop and explain, even though it kills me to have to spend the time. Because it's so damned clear to me, right? Everyone else should just know what's in my brain. My editors at Torquere are all critique partners, so they do know what I'm thinking, which is a double-edges sword.

Only working with new editors the last couple of years have made me understand that sometimes I can be a bit spare in the characterization. No one likes a stark, white room, so I have to force myself to be more descriptive, more overt. This is where the fact that I've learned to like rewrites comes in. I'll read a book back and say, "Oh, man. He comes off as a jerk because we don't know about his mom dying from cancer last week."

What kinds of things do y'all like to know about characters when you read? Is it different for m/m than it is for m/f?



1 comment:

Katherine Halle said...

Hmmm what do I like to hear about...what makes them tick, why do they do the things they do, why does character A frown so much, why doesn't he like green beans - quirky stuff like that. And nope, for me it's the same thing in M/F, I want to know what makes them work.