Sunday, December 14, 2008

The characters, the stories and I

Since my book, Three Christmas Kisses, will be out on December 15, 2008, I thought I should take this opportunity to share with you the idea behind the story, and a little bit about how I created my characters.

Last spring, we went to Sunriver Resort in Bend Oregon for a short two-week vacation. We stayed in a beautiful rustic three bedroom cabin. At the time, pristine white snow blanketed the whole area. Icicles hung from cabin’s eaves, branches of Cedar trees were heavy with snow and the nearby lake was frozen—perfect for ice skating. It was a romantic getaway.

Staying there, away from the city noise and crowd, was like being one with nature. I just loved it. I love nature period.

Years ago, I worked for a non-governmental organization, a foundation for the conservation of natural resources. I’ve been to different rallies against the government officials and their horrible connection to illegal logging and forest denudation. I was a tree-hugger.
My appreciation for the beauty of nature was what inspired me to write Three Christmas Kisses. I came up with a kick-ass heroine, an environmental lawyer, who cared less for her safety, so long as she could protect her beloved trees. And a hero, well, what could be better than a hero who hated the cold weather. Conflict huh? Perfect. What about the three kisses you might ask. Well, you’ll have to read the story for that.:)

I’d say in all of my stories, there was a part of me in it. In To Trust a Wicked Man, I struggled to find the middle of that story. So I placed myself in the heroine’s shoes. By doing that, I was able to relate to her emotions, her needs and read her mind. I felt her disappointments, pain, and the complexity of her situation.

I became her.

In Wicked Proposal, my heroine nearly drowned because she couldn’t swim. Here is a secret (Shhh) I can’t swim either. I hate all types of bodies of water, just like my heroine.

I am not an expert in creating characters, but over the years, I learned that in writing I have to tell a bit of truth in my stories disguised as fiction. What do I mean by this? My characters—once or twice—have crossed my paths. But, I weaved them into the story so if a relative read my book they wouldn’t recognize the character as so and so.

When I think about my character, I think of her as a person—breathing, with emotions, capable of making mistakes, full of life. You might say, ‘yeah right. I read your book. Your characters are flat as a paper.’ Well, don’t forget, I already claimed that I am not an expert in molding them.

Do you know of any other way to create a believable character? Have you read a book where a hero or heroine acted more like robots compared to C3PO and R2D2 of Starwars?

Share! Share!

Tierney O’Malley

10 deadly screams:

Margay said...

Tierney, I am no expert at creating characters, either. But, I do know that if I can't visualize them in my head, doing what I want them to do or saying what I want them to say, then I still have a lot of work to do in creating them. Sometimes, my characters come fully equipped and ready to tell their stories - sometimes I have to pry it out of them with a crowbar. One thing I do like to do is interview them - you never know what you're going to discover when you do that! Interviewing is a great way to get inside their heads!

Tierney O'Malley said...

Hi Margay,

Thanks for stopping by.
Interviewing the characters sounds wonderful. Another author suggested that I do that, too. I tried, but I got distracted and stopped the process. :D I'll try it again with my new characters.

Thanks! :D


Margay said...

Tierney, if it's difficult for you to do the interviewing, why not have someone else conduct the interview - and you answer the questions as your character?

Sierra Wolfe said...

Tierney, I'll help you interview them anytime you want. I've done it tons and it's really helpful. I agree with Margay, it's better to let someone else ask the questions and you just answer them.

Margay said...

It also adds to the fun because you never know what the person is going to ask, so your character's answers seem more genuine - and surprising. I've done it before and it was pretty fun. As a matter of fact, it was a writing friend, Pat Bertram, that did it as part of a blog that she does. So not only do you learn about your characters, your readers can get an insight into them too by reading the post. Just a thought.

Judith Leger said...

Excellent way to create your characters. I try to do the same with mine. Wishing you the best on your release today!!

Sarah Mäkelä said...

Wow! That sounds like fun. I haven't ever interviewed my characters though I've heard of it. Usually my characters come to me ready to go, but it sounds really neat. Congrats on the new release, Tierney!

Tierney O'Malley said...

Thanks for posting your comments, ladies.
Last month, I created a fictional magazine reporter named Terri Grunger of Tell the Truth Magazine to do the interview. But I filed the idea away and forgot all about it. Thanks for reminding me about interviewing the characters Margay. Sarah could be Terri Grunger. :D


Margay said...

I'm glad I reminded you. And I love the name of the magazine!

Tierney O'Malley said...

Yaikks! It was Sierra who volunteered to do the interviewing not Sarah. Snort. LOL
I love the name of the magazine,too. Thanks.