Diamond Jubilee at Romance at Random

"The gift of fantasy has meant more to me than my talent for absorbing positive knowledge." Albert Einstein

Friday, March 4, 2011

What's in a Character? Part Two

Welcome the second part of my character recipe. Last time we discussed how dialogue, actions, and thoughts contribute to a well-rounded and fully-developed character. This last part consists of character emotions, which is something I believe is overlooked too often in the hustle and bustle of writing.

Emotions are often reflected through dialogue, thoughts, and actions. Think of it as an underlying base, one that’s often missing. Writers can nail dialogue, action, and even thoughts, but forget to weave in emotion. Without it, a scene falls flat because we have no emotional connection with the characters. In romance that’s a death blow. I think most understand how to use emotion through dialogue. When combining it with thoughts and action, however, it requires a delicate balance.

For instance, take the example:

She was so mad at her cheating boyfriend that she wanted to kick in him in the groin. If he tried to see her, that’s what she would do. Now that she had a plan, she smiled as she sat in the dark.

Pretty flat, right?

Though not perfect, here is an example where I tied emotion to the spurned woman’s thoughts and actions:

Samantha sat in the darkening living room, hunched over on the sofa. Though she could barely see anything, she didn’t bother to turn on the lamp. What did light matter to her, anyhow? Darkness suited her better -- all because of him. Her hands clenched as her heart threatened to explode. The image of her boyfriend wrapped in the arms of another woman infiltrated her mind.

A bitter laugh escaped her lips. How could she have believed that Jackson and Kayla were merely friends? The answer was easy. She’d seen what she’d wanted to see. Straightening her shoulders, she devised her next move. If he dared show his face here, she’d whoop his butt. A kick to the groin should do it. A devious grin spread over her lips. Oh yes, if he was stupid enough to come around, he’d regret it.

How do you develop characters and make them unique? Well, that’s the end of my two part series. Hope you enjoyed!