Voices of the Mind Dwellers

Author: Anastasia V. Pergakis // Category: ,


(or Discovering your Characters' Unique Voice)

An idea for a novel comes to me when a character shows up and says "Anastasia, I have a story to tell you." More often than not, the characters come first and then the plot. I know other writers are the opposite, they have a plot and create the characters to fit into the setting. Regardless of how you come up with a new story, it is very important to know your characters inside and out to convey their personalities on the page.

There are different techniques writers use to achieve this, but today, we'll talk about how I get to know my characters.

Like I said, my characters show up, unannounced, in my head and proceed to annoy me endlessly until I tell their story. They talk to me on a daily basis just as my husband talks to me when we are watching television. I'm reminded of a quote that says "Writing is an acceptable form of Schizophrenia" Thank the Gods! Otherwise, I'd be committed. Some would argue I should be anyway, but I digress.

Instead of filling out Q&A character sheets myself, I let my characters do it. How would they answer the questions? I can be hard to do as I do have characters that have ideas that I don't agree with. I don't agree with everything my husband or friends say, but I still love them! The point is to let them fill in the answers, not you.

I tend to talk to my characters like they were sitting next to me. They're are some of my best friends! Like right then, I heard a chorus of "Awww really?" inside my head. It's rather odd sometimes, but I've gotten used to it.

Freaked out yet?

Seriously though, the point here is to know your characters like you know your best friend or your spouse. I know my characters well enough that I can take them out of their story and interact with characters from other stories and still maintain their voice. During those chat sessions, I learn more yet. It puts them in a new situation outside of the story plot and I learn more about who they are.

Example for you. Drache, the hero in Burden of Propecy was chatting with Etharas, Chakor and 3 guy vampires from J.D. Brown's Dark Heirloom (J.D. was there too with her characters of course). I never thought Drache was the violent type, seeing more as a Beta rather than an Alpha type of guy. However, during the little get together, someone (ahem, Etharas) said some not so nice things about Drache's wife. Lo and behold, Etharas was put into his place with a well smacked hand! I was shocked but when I thought about it, it fit. Drache is fiercly loyal and protectice of his wife and won't tolerate anyone putting her down. I was missing his strength of passion in the novel - but I promise you, it's there now!

However you discover your characters inner feelings, thoughts, and voice, just make sure it's their voice and not yours. Yes, authors have their own voice that comes through their writing, but that's a different topic.

***If you'd like to read the entire confrontation with Drache and the rest of the guys, visit The Life and Times of Imaginary People on Aug 28 to read the Poker Party.***

2 Responses to "Voices of the Mind Dwellers"

Elizabeth Mueller Says :
August 20, 2010 at 2:14 PM

Sorry I didn't read this post, but I wanted to tell you how much I really love your Character Epic Questionnaire! :)

I love sharing it with others, too!!! *hugs*

Josh Healy Says :
August 20, 2010 at 11:54 PM

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