Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Guest Blogger - Kelly Martin

Making Your Characters Three Dimensional.

I want to first thank Nell for having me here. I’ve been a fan of hers for a while! I’m excited to be here talking about a part of writing I love—turning an idea into a ‘breathing’ person.

When I began thinking about what to write, I got to thinking about what I was going through—writer wise. One thing that has really stuck out to me is how to make a character three dimensional.

If you think about it, all characters start off as a basic idea: Rachel Harker: Red head, church-goer, sad

Sloan Bridges: former ‘bad girl’, bottle blonde, green eyes.

A few basic adjectives are all that make your character exist… so how do you turn that into a character/a person readers care about?

I’m writing a book right now where the main character has amnesia. Have you ever tried to write that? It’s horrible! I mean, Jason Bourne… a great character to have amnesia, but I didn’t write him (which I’m sure he’s excited about). I’m sure I would have messed him up.

I realized through writing this book that a lot of a character’s 3D-ness (their soul) comes from their past. If a character can’t remember their past, it’s hard to connect with them.

A flat ‘good’ character or a character with no flaws isn’t believeable either because, honestly, how many of us are flawless? To have a character people want to get involved with means to give the character a soul, a past, something to reach for in the future.

Don’t make your characters 1D. Get to ‘know’ them. Do everything you can to make them human (or vampire or werewolf or elf….). If you can make your characters relatable (even your bad guys), you’ve won half the battle. Readers will forget they are ‘reading a book’ and picture themselves watching a movie… or better yet, getting involved with your characters as friends or people they find themselves caring about.

How do you find the soul—the 3D—in your characters?

~Kelly Martin

Kelly Martin is a southern girl who lives with her husband and three rowdy, angelic daughters. By day, she is a teacher. By night, she is a crazy-haired, multi-tasker who writes when the kids go to bed.

She has two young adult novels out now: SAINT SLOAN (about a girl who can’t get away from her past) and CROSSING THE DEEP (a girl’s faith is tested, stranding on a mountain with a guy she barely knows). Both are Amazon bestsellers.

You can find her at any of her two blogs: www.kellymartinstories.com (author blog) and www.encourage365.com (daily devotional blog).

Kelly loves God, is addicted to chocolate, and would rather write than sleep.





Wendy Jo said...

Love this! I think it's something everyone struggles with at one point or another.

Tracy Krauss said...

Lots of great nuggets here.