Monday, May 26, 2008

5 Days til VIP: Building Believable Book Characters

Greetings and Happy Memorial Day. This week is going to be a fantabulous week. We are counting down to the ACFW-VIP Online Conference, which is this Saturday, May 31 and we are also taking nominations for the 2008 Best Summer Beach Reads for Christian Fiction. The deadline to nominate is May 31. I will begin posting our nominees and set up a poll in the sidebar on June 1. Some of the books that have been nominated will be given away this summer, so I'm pleased about that. Now back to VIP...

Today I have Rhonda McKnight, the president of ACFW-VIP, author of Issues of the Heart(Urban Christian, Dec, 2009,) and one of my write-or-die chicks chatting with us today. She will be teaching a workshop on Building Believable Characters. Today she will participate in our 2 question author interview series for the week.

Question #1: What novel characters is the most believable for you and why?

Honestly, I have so many. But the one I've enjoyed of late is Jasmine Larks Bush from Victoria Christopher Murray's "A Sin and A Shame". I'm anxiously awaiting her new novel, "To Little To Late" to see what Jasmine is up to now. Two other great studies in character are James Scott Bell's "Presumed Guilty" and BeBe Moore Campbell's "Your Blues Ain't Like Mine".

Question #2: What is one tip you know will help make a character believable?
One tip about making characters believable would be to honestly know the character. I know that sounds simple, but I want to now the source of a character's traits and mannerisms. Why does she play with her wedding rings or why is he so compulsive in his spending? I need an author to show me who this person is and how they got that way or you haven't really done your job in developing the characters for me.

I recommend a very detailed character sketch where I look into the childhood of the character, things that scarred them as children and why, and even things they were proud of in elementary school. What did they love or hate most about their parents?

Things like that go deeper in building a three dimensional character. The entire person unfolds as you write, not just someone who has brown eyes, long hair, works at ABC company and went to school at UGA. There are lots of character sketch forms available, but some are only sufficient for minor characters. The protagonist and antagonist of a novel need a deeper look to be authentic.
Thanks for spotlighting me.
-Rhonda

What next? If you haven't registered for the ACFW-VIP Online Writer's Conference, you still have a chance. If you would like to attend, but are having a financial hardship, ACFW-VIP are giving two scholarships. Check the site. Christian Fiction Blog is also giving away a free registration for the conference. Search the site to learn how to enter. Subscribe

2 comments:

Rhonda McKnight said...

Hi Dee,

I'm looking forward to the other spotlights. This conference is going to be great!

Dee S. said...

Hey, Rhonda. I guess I better get the others set up. :)

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