Thursday, March 9, 2017

Writing with Riley: Characters


I know it's been a few weeks. I'm the worst blogger ever. I came up with an idea though! LOL. I took questions in my Facebook group, Riley's Rebels--mostly writing related--and I figured I'd discuss them each week. This week, I'm talking characters.

I've always considered myself a character writer. Most of my books, if not all of my books, are very character-driven. When I start writing, I don't always know exactly what will happen each step of the way, but I always know my people. Sure, I learn things about them along the way. Every writer does. Sometimes I see it coming and others it throws me for a loop, but when I'm originally coming up with an idea for a book, I nearly always start with my people. From there, I always try to dig into who they are. What they feel. What they need. Try to peel back all those layers to try and figure out what makes them tick. Why they do the things they do?

I almost always know what's going to connect my heroes on a deeper level. It doesn't aways have to be huge, but there needs to be a reason. Does one hero like to feed the homeless and the other has been on the streets? Do they both know what it's like to have their heart broken or to be hurt by a parent or to feel lost in their lives and not know what they're supposed to do or where they're supposed to go? There has to be that one thing that makes them stand out, that makes them different, other than reasons like, "he's funny! or he's hot!" and it has to make sense with who each of the men are.

Sometimes my characters decisions and choices frustrate me. Sometimes I don't understand them...why won't he just admit how he feels? Why does this affect him so much? Why can't he move on? The answer might be so incredibly obvious to me...but what I remind myself is, I'm not him. I haven't lived his life, his experiences. I haven't lived inside his skin, so my choices will be different from his. His actions don't have to make sense to me as in what I would do, but they have to make sense to him and his life and his conflict.

I've always been a people person. Human nature fascinates me. Why do we do the things we do? What makes us feel the things we feel? I always try to explore that with my characters--good, bad, and everything in between. It's one of my favorite things about writing.

Are you drawn to character-driven stories? Have any questions for me? ask in the comments and I'll come back and answer them.

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