Posts Tagged ‘building believable characters’

Gossamer Wheel

In outlining the new book, I create histories. As a result, and today being Veterans’ Day, I was reminded of something I discovered back in 1990.

You see, some American families have a long and celebrated history of military service. My family does not. Some families can measure their generations from war to war. My family cannot. (more…)

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Stack of BooksFirst, a welcome to our new subscribers. At some point we popped up over the 200 member mark, which I find pretty cool. So, thanks, all, for your interest.

My free time this weekend was spent┬ábacktracking. I’d started my research of Seattle’s history at 1860, heading up the years toward 1874, but it became clear that for my purposes, 1874 Seattle was just too big a town. I want a setting that is rougher, more primitive, and a town that is smaller.

Picking 1874, the backstory for my main “Old Seattle” character included experience in the Civil War, possibly with injuries, certainly with trauma. I wanted a reason for him to immigrate to the West, but also a reason for him to recoil from society and live outside the town. (more…)

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Kurt R.A. GiambastianiWhen I build my characters, I like a full picture. As I practice this craft, I get better at it. My pictures are more complete each time, and one reason for this is Observation.

Observation teaches two things. First, it shows me actual characteristics, physical and mental, that I can use to build my characters. Appearances, mannerisms, vocal traits, behaviors, they all add to a complete portrait. The second thing observation teaches is types. Yes, I’m sorry to say, but people generally can be classed into types.

Understanding types is important because, when I go against type, I want to know it.

Example: by and large, men are more into sports than women. Yes, I know…some women are sports nuts and I’m not saying they aren’t; I’m saying that, in general, men are more likely to have an interest in sports than women. So, will I never write a female character who’s into sports? No, I might do that in this next book. But if I do, I need to know that the characteristic puts the character in the minority. Why? Because if a character is in the minority of her peers, that might shape her, one way or another.

To this point, an interesting characteristic has been discussed on a couple of boards. It’s a characteristic I hadn’t thought of before, but it’s an important one. I’d like to share it with you, and get your feedback.

It has to do with men and women and the friends they have. (more…)

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