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Fleshing out your Characters

Leander Easter was something of a mystery to me before the night before last. As any author will tell you, getting to know your characters is just like getting to know a new friend. They have mannerisms, attitudes, morals or lack thereof just as any person might, but what happens when the character your writing isn’t a human person? Should they still have all these human aspects? What about personal prerogatives? When I sat down to approach my Chapter 9 outline, I started to panic a little. Leander isn’t human; he’s Fae. Furthermore, his personality didn’t come to me as easily as Emon the rejected Reaper’s did. (Oh, boy. He’d probably give me a very unfriendly look for describing him that way.) This is me moving away from that slip of the fingers very quickly. 🙂

When I started thinking about all that Det. Easter will contribute to Vira’s story, I realized that knowing him meant knowing the Fae beyond generalized pop fiction and paranormal romances. It won’t surprise any writer or avid reader to learn that Fairy’s are surrounded by some seriously awesome lore. From Television to obscure myths, the Fae aren’t just well-known they’re legen-wait-for-it…DARY! They’re legendary. This is the part where I just sort of fogged over staring at my computer screen. How did any of this influence my Leander? After a few deep breaths, I started dispelling Fairy “facts” that didn’t turn my turtle so to speak. 

Whiddling down the list must’ve got my creative juices flowing because an hour and a half later Leander had a story; he was all fleshed out. I’d be lying if I said his personality has fallen completely into place, but I definitely have a better idea of how he operates. The rest…well that’s for Vira to suss out. I can’t be the one doing all the heavy lifting around here. LOL. Geesh.

Okay, so what was the point of this blog? I’m glad you asked. The point was simply this; fleshing out your characters is an inimical part of getting to know them. Method doesn’t matter. When you do it (before you start writing them or after) doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is that you know them. Give them a past or back story. It doesn’t have to make it into your novel, but having it will keep you open to the inspiration to develop and get to know your character. 

I realize I’m probably preaching to the choir with this blog, but I’m throwing it out there because I’ve been writing for 14 years. The idea of ‘fleshing out your character’ is not new to me; however, in the midst of a 3B moment (Blocked, blank or baffled) writers can get a touch of Alzheimer’s. Our panic makes us forget simple rules that will inevitably lead us to simple resolutions.

So, for the love of shoes don’t curse this post for stating the obvious. Think of it as a gentle reminder.

Plus, and I’m speaking on behalf of all fictional people here, just because we write them into existence doesn’t mean our characters aren’t people. They have stories of their own and it’s our job to know WTH that story is. I think. LOL. Night, night.

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