As an author, I have the privilege of coming up with the setting, plots and subplot of my stories, which can be incredibly fun. The characters, however, offer a different type of fun. While I do have the role of developing each character, which is a very cool undertaking, there’s also a great responsibility that goes along with the creation of these people who I will live with for the next nine months to a year (or longer).
Typically, my characters appear with backgrounds, personalities, and even styles in place, making the physical side of development easy. The more difficult part of character development is making the characters flawed. In real life, all people have flaws and vulnerabilities. The trick in writing is to create flaws and expose vulnerabilities while continuing to develop the character’s strengths and likability.
I take the responsibility of developing three-dimensional, realistically flawed characters very seriously, going so far as to live with them for probably way too long. I think about my characters long after I’ve written the books. Their backgrounds and scenes play out in my mind like movies. Sometimes I even catch myself laughing (out loud) about what one of my characters might think about something that’s going on in real life.
The next time you run into me, if you see that I have a far-off look in my eye, you might want to sidle up and ask me which “friend” I’m thinking about. ‘-) If you’re in a book club, or just want to chat about writing, email me: thinkhappygirl (at) yahoo (dot) com.
Article written by Melissa Foster, New York Times & USA Today bestselling and award-winning author, founder of Fostering Success, World Literary Café, and The Women’s Nest. Melissa writes contemporary romance, new adult, contemporary women's fiction, suspense, and historical fiction with emotionally compelling characters that stay with you long after you turn the last page. Her books have been recommended by USA Today's book blog, Hagerstown Magazine, The Patriot, and several other print venues. Melissa has been published in Calgary’s Child Magazine, the Huffington Post, and Women Business Owners magazine. Follow Melissa on Twitter @Melissa_Foster.