Updated: Oct 7
Sara Turnquist is a coffee lovin', word slinging, Historical Romance author who's super power is converting caffeine into novels. She loves those odd little tidbits of history that are stranger than fiction. That's what inspires her. Well, that and a good love story.
But of all the love stories she knows, she says her is her favorite. The one where she lives happily with her own Prince Charming and their gaggle of minions. Three to be exact. She claims they sure know how to distract a writer! But, alas, she says, the stories must be written, even if it must happen in the wee hours of the morning.
Today, Sara is sharing how she brings her characters to life. Enjoy!
CHARACTEROLOGY: The Heart of the Matter
Sara R. Turnquist
I have been in the practice of writing now for quite some time. I have been to numerous conferences and sat under the tutelage of very gifted authors, both at these live events and in my study of craft through books and blogs. One of the key things I have come to discover is that character development is pre-eminent in the writing of the novel. If the reader doesn't care about your characters, they won't hang in there for the story. So, characters are what drive it all.
Discovering Your Characters
Every author has their own method for character development. I personally think it's important to take time before you write the story (or even start outlining) to get to know your main characters (at least those who will have scenes told from their point of view).
Some writers "interview" their character. I have a profile sheet that has a list of things I think I should know about my character (physical appearance, mental abilities, socioeconomic level, sibling/parent relationships, etc.). Look up some character profile sheets, come up with your own. But I would recommend including Goals, Motivations, and Conflicts (External and Internal) on your sheet.
These are all surface sort of things. I love Susan May Warren's The Story Equation, which talks about breaking down the character's Dark Moment Story (something significant that happened in their past that made them who they are today). The Dark Moment Story will lead to character flaws, the lie the character believes about him/herself, the character's competing values, and so much more.
These deepen your understanding of your character, which makes the character deeper for the reader. Something that is important to note here is that you may not want to put everything you develop about your character on the page. You want to show only the tip of the iceberg, but you (the author) know the entirety of it, all that is under the surface. This makes the character more three-dimensional.
Having Fun With It
I always try to "cast" my characters too. It helps with visualizing my characters throughout the book and makes them more real for me, too. I keep a Pinterest board on each of my books with photos of who I would cast in each of the roles as well as a variety of other photos of places, food, and photos from that period/locale related to that novel. It's just fun to play around with. You can find my pinterest boards here: http://www.pinterest.com/saravturnquist/
At the end of the day...
Characters are people too. They are only as real as you make them. And they are only as real to your readers as they are to you. It is worth the time and effort to put the work in on the front end. Give it a go and see what you come up with!
Here's a link to Susan May Warren’s The Story Equation – Amazon
Sara has decided to add another book to our giveaway!
Along with the e-book A Convenient Risk, Sara will be giving away a copy of the e-book, An Inconvenient Christmas. The third book in the series, A Less Convenient Path will be debuting mid-to-late June. Here's a peek at the first book in the series:
A widow with a young son is in trouble. Amanda Haynes must put aside her grief and do something to take care of her son. Marrying a struggling rancher who wants her dead husband’s herd appears to be her only choice. Only...she’s never going to love again. No one can replace the only man that ever loved her. Butting heads over managing the ranch, her frustrations seem insurmountable. What has she gotten herself into? Is there any way out? You’ll never put down this marriage of convenience romance, because everyone has hope.
Here's an excerpt:
“My son…where is he?”
Brandon’s hands grazed her elbows still. Did she dare take comfort from it?
“He couldn’t get to sleep on his own, so he’s in the room with Uncle Owen.”
“Oh.” She turned away, wishing she could pull her arms away from his touch.
He remained quiet for a few moments. “He was quite worried about you when you didn’t return for dinner.”
Amanda looked in his direction again. His features were coming into focus as her eyes took in the little bits of moonlight coming in through the window, but only in forms, no details. “He was?”
Brandon nodded. “We all were.”
“Oh?” Why would she bait him? She did not know. But the utterance was beyond her lips before she could stop it. Amanda tightened her lips to keep anything else from coming forth.
“Yes. As was I.” His voice was thick.
His confession stirred something high in her chest. Something that spindled and twisted. Something pleasant. It was but a taste, and she wanted more. But how?
“You were?” What was that in her voice? Hope? She barely recognized it.
He stepped closer to her. Heat emanated from his body. “Of course I was.”
Her head began to swim as the stirrings in her chest spread throughout her whole body, tangling and weaving into her being. Was he going to kiss her? Did she want him to?
Coming in June!
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Connect with Sara Turnquist!
Website/Blog - http://saraturnquist.com/
Facebook Author page - https://www.facebook.com/authorsararturnquist/
Twitter - https://twitter.com/sarat1701
Pinterest - https://www.pinterest.com/saravturnquist/
Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/sarat0103/
Enter for a chance to win the School's Out Stock Your TBR Pile Giveaway which includes a copy of Sara Turnquist's e-book, A Convenient Risk AND a copy of her e-book, An Inconvenient Christmas. And don't forget to share the giveaway with your best reading buddy because the authors have decided to double the fun! When we announce the winner on Facebook, we'll let them tag one friend and we will stock that friend's TBR pile, also! Don'f forget to tell your friend to enter, too!