As writers and authors, we all daydream of the day our novel is made into a movie. The thrill of seeing our story come to life on the big screen (or even a smaller one!) is something we all crave at one point or another. When we are writing our stories, we get images of our characters in our heads, sometimes it is actors we already know or we create an inspiration board from photos found on the internet.
Forgetting for the moment the practicalities of actually getting the actor you want – who are your chosen ones? Who is on your wish list?
I am sharing a couple here and would be interested to know if you ‘saw’ them the same way I do, when you read the books.
This is a character interview with Evan from my speculative fiction novel, Life in Slake Patch.
1. Tell me a little about yourself (where you live, who you are, what you look like.)My name is Evan and I live in the male compound, Slake Patch, on the prairie plain. I am a Second, as my eldest brother is the First. As such I am bound to compound duties only, rather than tending to the livestock on the plain. I am twenty-two years old, muscular, blonde with blue eyes and my fellow Slake inhabitants look up to me as a champion wrestler within the patch.
2. What do you like to do in your spare time?I love wrestling and spending time with my best friend, Greg. He and I came to the compound together at the age of six, as is the custom to live with our fathers and other men.We attended lessons together and were paired for chores for some time.Is there something more you would like to do?I would love to escape the compound to ride across the plain, but currently it is not allowed. Our only trip outside the patch is to the central food store in a horse drawn cart.
3. Do you have afavorite color and why?We do not have much color in our lives apart from the designated one for our bunkhouses to identify each working group. I am not particular about colours to be honest, although I love Kate’s long auburn hair.
4. What is your favorite food? Why is it your favorite?A thick piece of steak between two large slices of fresh cornbread is perfect. The softness of the bread soaks up the steak juices.The meat helps build my muscles and strength.
5. What would you say is your biggest quirk? I’m unsure what to say about this,if you ask around you might find the other men find it odd I spend a lot of time with an elder named Jacob.He is my mentor, friend, discoverer of information and more of a father figure than my own.
6. What is it about the antagonist in the novel that irks you the most, and why?Aiden and his Tribe use violence as a way of trying to change our way of life, the order and laws of our society. There is always a more diplomatic means to resolve conflicts. He and his follows also berate young women, which I find abhorrent. Women are to be obeyed and cherished.
7. What or who means the most to you in your life? What, if anything, would you do to keep him/her/it in your life?I am deeply in love with my tryst, Kate, and would lay down my life for her. If it was in my power I would change the once a week visiting rule to spend more time with her.
8. What one thing would you like readers to know about you that may not be spelled out in the book in which you inhabit?That I am open to new ideas as long as they do not harm others. I believe the matriarchy is right to rule the way they do.
9. If you could tell your writer (creator) anything about yourself that might turn the direction of the plot, what would it be?In truth, I altered the plot several times during the creating of my narrative. Some twists to the original were by my suggestions.
10. Do you feel you accomplished what you wanted?Yes, I do. I managed to find solutions to changes that improved our way of life.
Do you have a question you would like to ask Evan?Put it in the comments.
Satiety – definition: the state of being full or gratified to or beyond the point of satisfaction.
If you are familiar with Monty Python, you were probably reminded of the Mr. Creosote sketch when you read this word. A fictional character in Monty Python’s ‘The Meaning of Life movie, he is a monstrously obese restaurant patron. During the sketch he consumes a vast amount of food while vomiting repeatedly. (Yes, its disgusting!) Once sated he asks for the bill but is persuaded by the maitre d’ to finished off his huge meal with a ‘wafer thin mint’. After placing the mint in front of Mr. Creosote the waiter runs for cover. The reason becomes clear when Mr. Creosote explodes!
There is certainly mischief in the maitre d’ actions and Mr. Creosote’s pompous personality shows through. The character building in this short sketch is well done as you understand the restaurant staff have suffered with this particular patron for some time.
When we are creating our characters we hope to develop them well enough that our readers ‘know’ them as true personalities within the beginning stages of the narrative. If the reader only discovers vital information about our protagonist in the middle of the story, it is probable we have lost that reader. There needs to be empathy with our character. We have to custom build our unique ‘world’ and ensure our characters ‘fit’ into that scenario.
We can begin with the physical characteristics, such as height, weight, build and hair and eye colour but these are only the start. To ensure we have a rounded being for our readers to envisage, we need to ‘know’ each character. What are their habits, quirks or eccentricities, beliefs, likes and dislikes, fears, temperament, hopes and dreams. In short what does their ‘life’ look like and consist of.
Developing character bio’s is not just a fun exercise but also a great writing tool. You have a firm base with which to develop your story and how each character reacts as they are true to their personality. However, remember to leave as much as possible to the reader’s imagination, the bio is for your use not theirs. Every reader wants to visualize the characters and doesn’t want a full blown description as if your character is looking in a mirror.