Thank you for coming back for another round of What to Read Wednesday :) Please help me welcome author Amber Hart to the blog. She’s sharing her secrets and process for writing memorable characters.I think you’ll enjoy her information. She’s also giving us a sneak peek at her release Until You Find Me, which released November 11th.
Don’t forget to enter her awesome giveaway at the end of the post :)
Take it away Amber…
The Secret To Writing Memorable Characters
Undoubtedly the #1 question asked about writing is: What’s the secret? And more specifically, what’s the secret to writing characters that jump off the page to live in people’s hearts forever? Well, I’ll tell you. So grab a cup of coffee and a comfy spot. Here goes.
The secret to writing memorable characters is…
Yes, really. I’m totally serious. That’s where it all begins. All too often aspiring authors think up their characters, entire scenes play through their mind, but they freeze when it comes to writing. There’s no “right” way to begin. You can start with sticky notes or paragraphs or outlines or whatever works for you. Most importantly, though, is to start writing. You can always go back later to edit. You can add, cut, or embellish in time. So, grab a laptop—or if you’re old-school, a pen and paper—and write.
Picture the characters you want to create. Are they magical? Are they surrounded by dragons and beasts and monsters? Or are they human, living in the real world? Wherever they belong, detail is the key. It’s what will make a story come alive with imagery. It’s the difference between flat and 3D characters. Details matter. And unless it’s a haunting story, most people don’t like to read about skeletons. So flesh your characters out. Slap on the meat and skin and personalities. Where do they come from and where are they going? What is their dilemma? What stands in their way? How can they reach growth? What is their relevance to the story? What makes them important? Where do they reach a breaking point? Characters need life breathed into them so they feel as real as your best friend, or as real as you.
When what makes up the core of a character is apparent, focus can shift to what they look like, what they sound like, little quirks they display. Some characters stutter, some have a sweet voice, while others have deep, gravely tones. Does your character have freckles or scars or distinguishing markings? Does your character have a nervous tic, or an odd habit? Maybe they tap their feet, or rub their fingers along the hem of their shirt? What are their physical traits? When a character is as real on the page as the person you see in the mirror, it will show.
Remember: Development and growth take time. Relationships, more often than not, bloom naturally over the course of chapters and events. Characters are not perfect. Actually, it’s important that they not be faultless. I’ve always found the most relatable characters to be flawed, because so am I. So are you. The most memorable characters are those who go through struggle—not to come out impeccable in the end, but to come out flawed AND stronger. You’ll get it wrong. You’ll get it right. You’ll repeat this torturous pattern probably forever. It’s a process that demands dedication and determination. It can take months or years. Best way to see if your character is real enough, is to ask someone else to read your words. Or to draw a picture based on the descriptions you listed in your novel. Does their feedback or picture look like the character you meant to create? If so, congrats. If not, tweak. Practice makes progress. Keep writing. Never stop writing. And don’t be discouraged. Even the best writers in the world struggle with words. We all fall peril to the depths of our writing caves but those who preserve eventually do see the light again. So, write and write and write. I hope to one day read your words, too.
Amber Hart is the author of the YA contemporary romance Before & After series, and the NA romantic thriller Untamed series. She’s rep’d by Writers House and is often on social media. You can meet her there.
Until You Find Me
Until You Find Me # 1
By: Amber Hart
Releasing November 11th, 2014
Amber Hart pushes contemporary romance to its wildest limits in this heart-pounding novel, the story of a girl who travels to Africa to protect the legacy of one man . . . and stays for the love of another.
Raven Moore, a twenty-year-old college student from Michigan, feels out of place in the beautiful, treacherous jungles of Cameroon, staying in the habitat where her father gave his life to help protect endangered gorillas. He left home years ago; now Raven refuses to return home until she unravels the truth about his last days.
Raven certainly doesn’t count on crossing paths with a handsome young hunter—especially one as charismatic and intense as Jospin Tondjii. Instantly, she’s hooked. But Jospin is hiding a dark truth: He is the heir to a powerful poaching empire, part of a ruthless black market that is responsible for the dwindling gorilla population.
Their fathers may have been enemies, but Raven and Jospin forge a bond that goes beyond blood, a relationship that is tested as Raven draws closer to the source of her father’s death. Can she and Jospin bear the weight of the secrets of the wild—and the secrets of their pasts? Or will the rain forest destroy them both?
Advance praise for Until You Find Me
“If you think the jungle is hot and dangerous, wait until you meet Jospin. He and Raven turn up the heat to scorching and burn the jungle down!”—Lisa Desrochers, USA Today bestselling author of A Little Too Far
“A beautiful, unconventional story that takes you to the jungles of Africa to fall in love, Until You Find Me contains the perfect balance of angst, thrills, and page-turning appeal.”—K.A. Tucker, USA Today bestselling author of Ten Tiny Breaths
“Wonderfully unique and utterly unputdownable, Until You Find Me is a breath of fresh air. Each page is sexier than the one before.”—Lauren Layne, author of Isn’t She Lovely
Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2014/09/until-you-find-me-until-you-find-me-1.html
Amber Hart is the author of Before You and Until You Find Me. She grew up in Orlando, Florida, and Atlanta, Georgia, and now resides on the Florida coastline with her family. When not reading, she can be found writing, daydreaming, or dipping her toes in the sand.
($25.00 eGift Card to Book Seller of Choice and FLIRT Mug & Tote)