May 31, 2011

Characters Make the Book

I was thinking about this today. Well, actually I’ve been thinking about it a lot. Because there are only so many stories that can be told, I don’t care what genre you’re talking about. There are just only so many plots.

So what makes a book fresh? The author’s voice, for one. Their phrasing, their executions. But also? Character.

Becuase populating a manuscript with interesting, unique characters is the thing that really makes the book.

In Hajar’s Hidden Legacy (Beast Sheikh, which comes out in the UK in January 2012) I borrowed pretty shamelessly from a classic fairy tale that I’ve mentioned on the blog is a favorite of mine: Beauty and the Beast. I didn’t tell my editor I was using that story as my inspiration, but after she read the MS that was one of the first things she said to me, was that it was quite like Beauty and the Beast.

That story served as my inspiration, but I put new characters in it. And it was those characters that allowed me to write a book based off of a tale as old as time (har har) and have it genuinely surprise my editor.

Because my hero came by his beastliness in a way that has left him scarred physically and emotionally. And he reacts to things in a certain way as a result (this is me, not giving spoilers. Nyah!) And my heroine, who has a spine of solid steel, is able to stand her ground with him.

The framework of the story is one you know, but the people in it make it new.

It’s all about character. That’s one of the most exciting thinsg about being a writer! We’re telling stories about people. And while there are only so many plots, think of how many people there are! All from such different backgrounds, who see the world in their own wholly unique and personal way. Who respond to trauma in different ways, who react differently in touch situations.

My inspiration for characters really does come from everywhere. I watch the show Hoarders sometimes (forces me to clean my house) and I was wondering how it would affect a heroine if she’d been raised in a home with a mother who was a hoarder, who seemed to value things over people. How might that make the heroine see herself and the people around her? How might she respond to a hero who was poor and now that he’s become a billionaire, he is a bit materialistic because he’s gone from nothing, to being able to have everything?

Those two characters could be brought together in any number of ways, and their life experiences would shape and change the plot, make it as different as they are!

Characters make the book. You want your reader rooting for them, identifying with them, feeling their pain and their triumph. Characters make the book because they’re what give the book life.

That’s why character is so important!

Just a little two cents post. đŸ˜‰


3 Responses | TrackBack URL | Comments Feed

  1. Do you have a release date for HHL yet?

  2. Lacey, I was bad and didn’t announce that here! I’ll put it up in the post. But also it’s out in January 2012 in the UK, so my best guess for Aus is February.

  3. So true m’dear! It’s all about character huh? Oooh, everyone will have such a treat with HHL. Beast Sheikh is teh sexxxay!

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