Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Great Authors Make Great Characters

Building characters that are truly three dimensional is a skill that not all writers have.  These are just my opinions as an avid reader, but it is also a goal I strive to achieve as a writer.  Some examples are Ernest Hemingway's MC in For Whom the Bell Tolls.  I love his sparse writing and the MC became for me a very masculine, mysterious, REAL person, someone I continued to think about after I put the book down.  I was disturbed and emotional, feelings that you have if it has become real to you.  In the book Anna Karenina, the author also created very diverse, real people in his descriptions.  I thought it was very impressive how he could jump around from the different characters, male and female, and give such a believable description of their actions, behavior, and dialogue. 
Another one is Jane Austen, which is why she is so timeless.  Even though she wrote about a society from so long ago, you can still relate to people in her books.  For example, in Emma, the character who is sweet but talks too much about nothing in particular.  Don't we all know someone like that?
How do you make your characters believable?  Are there authors that you consider role models in this area?


  1. This is number one for me.
    The story is my characters story, so I really have to get to know them well to do it justice.

    1. I agree, I'm looking forward to reading one of your books!

  2. Writing three dimensional characters takes time and thought. It's so worth it in the end though. I love those complex, yet real characters.

  3. This is so true, it really takes away from the story for me if the characters aren't well developed. I sort of do a character chart/ biography type thing for my MCs because if I don't know them well, there is no way the reader is going to.

  4. Characters are so important. I have lots of friends that are fictional. I'd have to think about which authors are best but you named a couple I'd probably come up with. I love Anne Tyler's characters.

  5. ohh, lovely post!
    I think...I really think my characters come to life in their dialogue. They also have unique ways of reacting to things. I mean, they do things I don't want them to do! And they won't let me change it. I'm not sure, because people write all different ways, but for me, I know my characters are real when I can't change what they're doing. Lol.

  6. Wow! You all made my morning! I just dragged myself home after a 12 hour shift last night, and then I saw I had 4 comments waiting!

    Lynda- On time and thought put into characters, that's what takes a writer to new levels.

    The Writing Hour- I like that idea of a chart/biography. It sounds like a great way to start the process of building characters.

    S.P. Bowers- I haven't read anything by Anne Tyler, I'll have to check her out. Thanks for the tip!

    Ashley Nixon- Thanks for joining my blog and for the compliment! I try to see people I know in my life, and then I write them into a character and have them react in ways I think their personality would.

  7. Came over from Lynda's BBQ. Nice meeting you, Honey. :)

    Great topic. I think it's something we can get better at with practice. Learning to make characters more memorable and real is takes great skill.

  8. Thanks for visiting my blog! Practice is important, I agree. Writing will never be improved upon without working at the skills that create worthwhile works.

  9. Visiting from the BBQ. :)

    Characters are integral to a story. One author I consider a role model in that respect is Kristin Cashore; I love her protagonists.

  10. Thanks for stopping by and joining my blog! I don't know that author- I'll have to check her out. Thanks for the tip!