March 4, 2020 · 3:53 am
I’m really loving this year’s themes and topics from L&SR! Today’s is: CHARACTERS WHO REMIND ME OF MYSELF AND WHY.
This could be a really looooooooong blog post, but I’m gonna narrow it down to 2!
The first DR. CHARLOTTE MIRA from the IN DEATH books by JD Robb. Mira is a touchstone in Eve’s life. In the early books she shows her compassion and caring for Eve from a professional standpoint, as she tries to get the (then) detective to see herself as worthy of love and respect, and as more than just her job. Eve’s tragic past has been pushed deep down in her memory banks and as Mira works with Eve, she comes to remember killing her father and the horrible events that lead to it. Throughout the now 50 books and still growing series, Charlotte has come to love Eve like a daughter and has shown Eve a mother’s love that she never had. Mira is smart, soso smart, caring, compassionate and well respected not only by the police department, but by her peers. Since my background is in psychology, I love reading Mira’s profiles on the criminals and murderer’s Eve asks for, plus her husband, the yummy Dennis Mira, is just so wonderful I would love to call him my own! If they ever make an In Death movie, I am going to petition HARD to be cast as Mira…hey, we can all dream, right? Heehee
The second character who reminds me a lot of me is one I wrote: GEMMA LAINE from the WILL COOK FOR LOVE SERIES/ A SHOT AT LOVE. Gemma is such a dichotomy – much like me. She is a successful photographer; she can shoot any gun you give her, and she has two black belts in different styles of karate. She is intensely loyal to her family, yet due to a sexual assault when she was a shy, introverted teenager, she is leery of ever letting a man get under her skin. She keeps people at at distance – except for her family – and uses her snarky, sassy personality to keep people at a distance. She never shows what she is truly feeling and goes after what she wants without regrets. Gemma is my doppelganger in so many ways. I also shoot, have studied 2 styles of karate, and use humor and snarkiness to keep people at a distance. While I may not have been sexually abused at a teen, I was emotionally and physically abandoned by my father, so I know the pain of feeling like you are not worthy or not enough for someone to love.
Let’s see what some of the other authors in this challenge have to say. L&SR
Until next time ~ Peg
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December 1, 2015 · 10:05 am
Since I’ve been on the topic of mannerisms of late, how about we discuss how your characters speak and the idiosyncratic styles they each have? This is a fun topic for me any time of day or night.
I’ve said before that I was born in Brooklyn, NY and lived in NYC for the first 27 years of my life. When I open my mouth and start to speak, you automatically can hear where I’m from. I have a tendency to drop the letter R at the ends of words ( which is why I refer to girls as sistahs), my “Th” sounds come out sounding like the letter “d”, so you’ll hear me say Dat for That. I speak as quickly as a lightning flash and use my hands expressively a great deal. All these verbal tags and mannerisms tell you I’m probably a New York kind of girl.
Last year I was in San Antoni for the RWA conference. Most of the people who originate from that region and the ones I came in contact with at the hotel and in the city said “y’all” and “rightly so” a bunch of times in their adorable Texas twang.
Two weeks ago I was Las Vegas. Many of the employees in the hotel I was staying in were from the Philippines and addressed every person every time they came in contact with them as Ma’am or Sir. In their country this a severe sign of respect for the individual they are addressing.
So, having shared this, some of the ways you can make your characters jump off the page to the reader and make them come alive, is to know how they speak. Can you hear each character in your books speaking in their own style, or does every character sound the same to you? I read my dialogue out loud all the time just so I can be sure one person doesn’t sound exactly like another. Do your characters all use the same words and phrases when they speak? Again, this can get boring and confusing for the reader. For instance, doctors are highly educated people and use a certain vocabulary the average person doesn’t. You wouldn’t want your immigrant, unable-to-read-and-write character who is a patient be able to understand what a doctor is telling him. That just doesn’t ring true. Nor would a scientist and a four year be able to communicate on the same level. Unless of course the kid was a prodigy.
One of my favorite characters that I am currently writing is a ninety-two-year-old Irish immigrant grandmother who continually speaks in malapropisms. It gets her into some funny and outrageous situations, but it rings true when she speaks the words incorrectly, because she thinks they are correct.
So, if your character is smart, does she speak like she’s educated? Did your hero come from the South, because if he did, he’d be polite in his conversations with people, saying “please”, Ma-am, and so forth. Got a Canadian in-law? Make sure you round those vowels.
All these special little touches will make your characters more attractive, honest, appealing, and most importantly to your readers, Real.
So…you know what’s coming. How do you make your characters sound all like individuals and not robots….Let’s discuss.
Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Dialogue, Literary characters, research, Romance Books, WIld Rose Press AUthor
Tagged as character traits, Contemporary romance, Dialect, Dialogue, Editing, Fiction writer, Habits, romance writer, Speaking habits, writer, Writing