Wherein I endeavour to share writerly advice lightened with humour, pictures and a dollop of 1930s-1940s history.
Excellent reminders. What I hate is when the character omits things she doesn't think I need to know and springs them on me on page 250 with an "Oh, by the way..."
A rich history makes for a great character, but it can be hard to get all the depth figured out in one go. I agree with Carol that integrating the info through the book is important if the reader is going to be satisfied that the author isn't cheating.
Elspeth - Oh, thank you so much for that very, very important reminder! It's those little details that make a character come alive. In fact, I write my characters' dialogues a lot more realistically once I know who they really are. That starts with those things about them like age, appearance, wealth, education, likes/dislikes, relationships with other characters, predisposition to insomnia, whatever...
Carol; That's annoying, isn't it? When it happens to me, I generally try to go back and adjust things as necessary.Kitdunsmore; I generally write bios for all my characters before I begin. Of course, that doesn't mean that there aren't surprises along the way, but it does stop me from allowing inconsistencies.Margot; I'm not surprised that you're thorough, Margot! A little work at the beginning can prevent a ton of errors later on.
Excellent! It makes writing so much more consistent by having character bios to start with.
I'm a 'fill in the blanks when you need them' kind of writer--but I've learned (the hard way) to write those details down once I've discovered them. TerryTerry's PlaceRomance with a Twist--of Mystery
Great way to remind us how important it is to know these details about our characters. I've discovered more details about my characters as the story evolves and realized I need to keep track of those as well, especially for this mystery series I'm working on. I find myself checking this fact sheet from the first book often as I am working on the second. Glad I made it. LOL
A timely reminder.I'm trying to flesh out some characters at the moment.
Excellent post, Elspeth. Writing down the characters' history, description, and personality before starting a novel is very helpful. Of course, you have to stop and do it again each time a new character pops up that you didn't even know was going to be in the story. :)
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