Friday, November 1, 2013

Guest Post ~ Erin Albert: Character Creation

This week's guest poster is Erin Albert! Her book is coming out next month, and I'm really excited about it. She's here to talk a little bit about creating characters.

Click on the book cover to add The Prophecy to Goodreads and click on Erin's picture to go to her website, where you can learn more about her and her book.

Enjoy the post!


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Thank you so much for hosting me, Kaitlin!! **waves at Kaitlin’s followers** My name is Erin Albert, and my debut, epic high fantasy novel, The Prophecy, releases on November 15! I am thrilled!

Today, I’d like to talk about creating characters. As a writer (and really for my regular life too), I like to fly by the seat of my pants. I have a beginning and end in mind for my stories, but sometimes the middle takes me for a ride even I didn’t anticipate.

How, in that situation, do I create consistent, believable characters? I start with their physical characteristics because that’s the easiest. How does this person look? After I establish their outer attributes (which can sometimes affect their inner attributes), I work on their habits, quirks, strengths, and weakness. Let me tell you, I love quirks. :) It’s crucial to include weaknesses in a character. No one wants to read about a practically perfect person. We all know those people we think are perfect…and we generally don’t like them. :)

For example, let’s pretend I’m a character. Here is how I would start working out a description…

Name: Erin Albert

Physical features: Brown hair (dyes blond in the summer and dark brown with red in the winter), bright blue eyes, 5’2” tall, _____ weight (yeah right-haha), tiny chickenpox scar on left cheek, large scar on left knee from childhood injury.

Habits and Quirks:
1) OCD (literally checks the locked doors three times at night—it HAS to be three times)
2) Major hand washer (not because of germs but because she doesn’t like the feel of a “film” on her hands)
3) Never leaves the house without makeup on (thanks, Grandma for that hang up)
4) Family and friends say she’s a member of the “Grammar Police,” but she can’t spell
5) Crazy, lifelong crush on Val Kilmer
6) Loves running and kickboxing
7) Played a recurring character in a play for 4 years. Took her 3 years after the last play to donate her costumes

Strengths:
1) Lively and energetic
2) Health conscious
3) Tries to do the right things
4) Tries to be kind and thoughtful

Weakness:
1) Procrastinator (you know, Procrastinators Unite…tomorrow)
2) OCD when it interferes with regular life
3) Can “check out” and live in her own little world
4) Easily distractible

You’re probably thinking, but you’re a real person! Exactly! You want your character to be so realistic that he/she seems like a real person. This “person” should be someone with whom you could be friends, fall in love, hate, envy, and—most importantly—relate.

Who is your favorite book character? What makes him/her so likeable? 
I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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