I’ve gotten a bit behind with the tips. I’m on day 8 (or is it 9?) of a nasty flu/cold thing. My voice is completely gone and has been for days so the audio/video posts just aren’t happening. I figured I’d better catch up though so you get to endure a few text only tips. Hopefully I’ll get back to the audio/video tips in the next day or two.
Tip 4 – Characters
Characters are the most important part of your book. You can have a wonderful plot but if your characters aren’t believable and well rounded the reader won’t care about them or what happens to them.
You probably have a couple of main characters already but don’t forget about the secondary characters, the bit players of your book. Secondary characters are important to move your story forward often giving key pieces of information to your main characters or influences events at the story progresses.
Where can you find characters? Total strangers work for me. I like to sit by myself in a cafe or mall and just people watch for a while. Try doing this also in an airport, bus station, etc. Watch the people and start imagining who they are.
Photographs are great for this too. Visit Flickr.com and just start looking at random photos. A picture’s worth a 1000 words they say. Look at the photos and imagine what the people in the photos are doing, saying, thinking at that moment.
I just took a quick look at Flickr and saw the following:
- Â a heavyset middle-aged man with dark hair & glasses smiling at the camera and awkwardly holding a bulldog puppy that seemed to be struggling to get free.
- a band playing in what appears to be a small bar. The singer is largely pregnant, head thrown back, long dark hair messy as she sings into the mic.
- a group of 4 female students standing in a classroom. Three of them are smiling and standing close together. The fourth stands slightly apart, arms crossed in front of her chest, expressionless as she looks slightly away from the camera.
Think about who you think these people are.
Soap Operas are another great resource. Seriously. Tune into a soap you’re not familiar with. It could be Coronation Street, General Hospital or any other serialized program. Watch for a few minutes and you’ll be amazed how quickly you can be inspired by a character on a soap.
Good luck & Happy noveling!