Monday, June 18, 2012

GUEST POST! Kari Lee Townsend: Creating Memorable Characters


So excited to have Kari here today! One of my favorite things is finding a writer at the beginning of a series. I really like the Fortune Teller Mystery series. The second book is out and its great! My review is up tomorrow. Now scroll down to read Kari's post on memorable Characters:


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Creating Memorable Three-Dimensional Characters
 

 

 

 
I write in several genres, but no matter what I write, the characters are the key. Readers will suspend their disbelief and overlook a lot of things if the characters are great. Yet you could have the best plot in the world, but if your characters are flat and one-dimensional, then readers will close the book.


 
I personally love fun quirky characters, but I always go for a variety of secondary character types as well. I always figure out the basics first, like hair color and eye color and body type, etc., but stopping there is what makes a character flat and one-dimensional. I take it a step further. I go for a unique shade of color, a unique hair style, a different way of describing their body from tattoos to distinguishing features.

  
Next, I really think about who they are as a person. What background did they come from? They didn’t grow up in a vacuum. What was their childhood like? What was their family like? That will all have an impact on how they think and act and speak. Right down to the way they dress. The clothing they choose to wear says a lot about the type of person they are. The car they drive, the job they choose, the house they live in does as well.

 

 
The way they speak also reveals a lot about their character. Do they have certain phrases or words they like to use? Do they speak formally in complete sentences or fragments and clipped speech? Do they have an accent? I like to make sure my characters sound different. If I’ve done my job well, readers should be able to guess who is speaking without a dialogue tag.


 
Finally, the way people act reveals a lot about their character. Do they act tough or do they act squeamish? Are they always defensive or are they laid back and casual? What do they like to do? The hobbies they have or activities they choose show how they are each individuals and not carbon copy cutouts. I like to look around at real life and draw from that. Real life is always better than fiction … there are just some things you can’t make up. And the closer you stick to real life, the more believable the characters become.


 
When you put a lot of thought into every single aspect of what makes a person who they are, the characters come across as fully developed people. I like to really think about every aspect of a human being, right down to what they choose to eat, read and listen to. All of those things are ways you can reveal character. Just make sure you don’t fall into the trap of giving one big info dump. I try to weave these elements into my story throughout so that by the end of the book, the reader truly feels like they know these people. If I can do that, then I will have created characters that will stay with readers long after they finish the book.

 

 
So tell me, what do you like to see in a character? What are some of the most memorable characters you’ve ever read? Inquiring minds want to know.

 
 
 
 
 

Thanks So Much Kari! 



National Bestselling Author, RT Reader’s Choice Award & Agatha Nominee Kari Lee Townsend lives in Central New York with her very understanding husband, her three busy boys, and her oh-so-dramatic daughter, who keep her grounded and make everything she does worthwhile…not to mention provide her with loads of material for her books. Kari is a longtime lover of reading and writing, with a masters in English education, who spends her days trying to figure out whodunit. Funny how no one at home will confess any more than the characters in her mysteries!


Kari writes fun and exciting stories for any age, set in small towns, with mystical elements and quirky characters as Kari Lee Townsend. Kari also writes romantic comedies and women’s fiction with the same sense of humor and quirky characters as Kari Lee Harmon.

To find out more about Kari and all her books go to

KariLeeTownsend.com 

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