Guest Post Character Building
by Leslie D. Soule
by Leslie D. Soule
Hey there, everyone! Thanks for joining me here today.
So today I’m here to talk about this elusive thing known as “character building”. What is it exactly? How does one go about capturing the ESSENCE of a person’s character? Well when I first started writing, years ago, I used to think that character building was done the way you’d do it in a Dungeon’s & Dragons game, where you’ve got the character figured out as far as their eye color, height, weight, shoe size, mother’s maiden name, social security number, what they ate for breakfast last Tuesday, etc.
Writing stories has taught me that character building doesn’t have to be quite so detail-oriented. What it comes down to is character interaction, but there’s more to it than that – a writer’s got to capture a psychology, a guiding principle, a way of moving and speaking, etc. What I like to do is to think about people I already know, and to think about how I would describe them. Writing a character is much easier if I can visualize that person, or if I can put someone I know into their place. For example, let’s say I create Person X, we shall call her. I don’t have enough detail about Person X to know how they would respond to…seeing me sleeping in past a time I’m supposed to be awake. But I DO know how my twin sister would react – she would threaten to sit on me. I can apply this to Person X if I want, to give them more of a personality.
You don’t have to base a fictional character entirely on someone you know, or their actions entirely on actions you’ve seen one particular person do. You can take from as many sources as you want. In my novel Fallenwood, the character Terces calls Ash “kid” as a term of endearment because one of my co-workers had started calling me “kid” and I thought it was something I’d like to use.
I forget where I heard the line used, but I recall hearing that “Life exists in movement” so that when you think of a scene to paint or to describe in words, you are to act like things are moving and not static. In this way, it seems to me that fictional personalities (since they are created by what is on the page) are made up of so many actions over a course of time. If you have trouble thinking of who you want in your novel, perhaps begin with thinking about what you want in your novel – a sorcerer, a jester, a witch, a talking bunny, etc. and work from there once you’ve created a framework.
I apologize for the ambiguity of this post and thank you for bearing with me. If you’d like to enter the contest to win a gift card to Barnes & Noble, please leave a comment, along with your name and e-mail address.
Fallenwood—a land where magic is the life force, dragons are sages, and wizards good and evil battle for supremacy. When 23-year-old Ash is thrust into the middle of Fallenwood’s power struggles, she is also forced to face her own inner battles. Life on Earth was hard enough on Ash, who is locked in grief for her stepfather. Now, the fate of Fallenwood rests on her shoulders. She must destroy the Great Crystal—the catalyst for all the land’s magic. As the kingdoms prepare for war, Ash must look inside to find the power to save the world, and herself.
The dragon’s eyes glowed, for a flickering moment, with white light.
“Ash,” the dragon continued, “Welcome to Terra Illumina…or as it is more commonly known, Fallenwood.” Then a fierce roaring laugh erupted from the stone, as though the dragon thought the new name a joke. “A dark, difficult, dangerous path lies before you, Ash Kensington.”
Ash’s heart grew heavy. In truth, she knew that she was destined to some terrible, dark fate. For so long, her life was filled with sadness and doubt, and one horrible thing after another. What else can I hope for?
“But Ash, you must not lose hope. Our world needs you..."
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Leslie Soule lives in Sacramento, California. Fallenwood is her first fantasy novel. She has received her B.A. in English from Sacramento State University and is currently working on her Master’s degree in English at National University.