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On Writing Characters – Simon Grant

22 Feb

silhuette

 

 

 

 

 

OFF PAGE

I write Simon Grant Mysteries series

Originally, I was planning to write only three books

–      Hiding the Elephant

–      Lock Up Your Daughters

and the forthcoming For the Love of Honey.

But just as book three, For the Love of Honey, started approaching its publication date, I had this brilliant new idea for yet another sequel. I don’t know all the details yet, I haven’t even got the title, but I do know why it needs to be written and why everything that will be happening in the story needs to happen.

How I know that?

Why I know that?

These questions brought me to another question: What happens to fictional characters when they’re off page? How well do I need to know my characters to keep them going from one story to another?

Rather well, seems to be the obvious answer. Well enough to make the readers care whether the Main Character lives or dies. Well enough to make the readers care for those that the MC cares about and dislike MC’s pet hates enough to immerse themselves into the next storyline. And therein hides the trap. Once the word ‘care’ comes into play, that’s it. When it happened to me, I was hooked. From that moment on my MC blossomed into Simon Grant, a person in his own right, someone I just had to know everything about if for no other reason than to keep him on side. I really can’t have my characters rebelling against me all over the page, can I? Knowing Simon rather well wasn’t good enough any longer. I had to know him intimately to move on.

By now, readers know that he’s calm on the surface and passionate underneath, occasionally quick tempered, a keen observer who doesn’t get involved unless he needs to, an amateur carver of wooden miniatures, alongside many of his other poignant traits.

On the other hand, I’ve stealthily learned that he doesn’t watch much TV. He enjoys riding, swimming, sailing and skiing but only when he gets a chance to do any of it himself. He’s not a good spectator. He knows that he should go to the gym more often, and he’ll get to address that in the Book 4. (Actually, I think that I’ve just found my working title for it: Book 4. As simple as that. It roils off the tongue rather well, doesn’t it?) On surface, he’s good with people, he can charm birds out of trees, but he’s got very few close personal friends, all of them carefully chosen. He likes to read but not murder mysteries or any other form of crime fiction, something that I find rather rude. Another thing that upsets me about him is that he’s not a foodie. Given chance, he’d live on sandwiches. Also, he’s quite clean, neat and tidy. I like clean. But neat and tidy?! Please?! Where has that come from? Mostly because of his parents’ high political profile, Simon is not political. He’s pragmatic, dealing with the world as it is, not as it should be. But, he’s a romantic. And how!

All those qualities will continue to seep through, meld with the already known ones, and make each new book that much more personal and revealing.

Anyway, why does all that matter?

To me, it’s like a well stocked cupboard at my disposal, full of exquisite ingredients required for production of a sophisticated, unique and intricate product, a.k.a. a genuine human being.

That’s the only way that I can think of to make sure that I won’t let him down and consequently, let myself down.

 

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2 Comments

Posted by on 22/02/2013 in Uncategorized

 

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2 responses to “On Writing Characters – Simon Grant

  1. Huw Thomas

    22/02/2013 at 16:31

    Oh yes, those characters certainly are real. A man who started as a minor character has taken over a lead role in the novel I’m currently writing. I’m not sure why – possibly because he’s relatively normal and acts as an anchor for the others!

     
    • Mira Kolar-Brown

      22/02/2013 at 16:43

      Well put, Huw.
      That’s a brilliant quality for a character. You need a lynch pin to keep the structure together.

      OTOH, some are just pushy.
      One of mine has only a brief mention in the first book, a small speaking part in the second and is now the second POV character in the third. 🙂

       

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