Monday, October 04, 2010
Puzzling Out Characters by Author W.S. Gager
“A Case of Accidental Intersection” Synopsis:
Mitch Malone hates hospitals, but when a suspicious traffic accident lands a comatose victim in the hospital, he must put that aside to find the truth. The surface looks smooth but the more the crime beat reporter looks the more bodies pop up, including a private detective and his own editor. Can he get to the truth before the surviving victim is murdered in her hospital bed and an elderly witness has a heart attack? Will he get his exclusive printed before he's the next victim?
Puzzling out Characters
Characters, you either love them or you hate them. If you don’t love them you will barely get through a book. If you do love them you will keep coming back for more. It can be difficult to come up with unique and memorable characters. It seems like all the good ones are taken like Jason Bourne, Stephanie Plum, Harry Bosch and Mitch Malone just to name a few. Creating characters is a bit like putting together a jigsaw puzzle.
First you start with the corners. These would be a general description of what the character looks like, male or female, age and occupation. Then you look for the edge pieces and start filling in the details including eye and hair color, height and weight, and most memorable feature. You look for distinguishing marks. Is the person easy going or mad at the world or somewhere in between.
As the sides begin to take shape you see the characters goals and motivation start to take shape and this finishes the outside edge. You have a pretty good character so far, but anyone who does puzzles knows you have just finished the easy part and the rest is going to get tough. Same goes for characterization. This is where you are going to nail down what really makes your hero or protagonist tick. What makes them react as they do? Some writers I know have a five page list of questions they answer in the character’s point of view to define the finer points. It looks at the characters childhood, high school and college. What foods they like and their first crush. Many of these things will never make it in the book but they help shape the person in your mind. You need to know how they will react to an emergency. Will they step up and be a hero? Will they run the other way? Will they stand and watch? Will they go into hysterics?
Your puzzle is almost done now. There are just a few pieces missing. (This always happens to me. I have a piece or two missing right in the middle!) Don’t worry. As you write, these last pieces will fall into place. You will write a scene and because you know your character inside and out, his actions are clear. He/She acts like the individual you created--fully rounded, believable and loveable by your readers. Your puzzle is complete.
About the author:
W.S. Gager has lived in West Michigan for most of her life except for stints early in her career as a newspaper reporter and editor. Now she enjoys creating villains instead of crossing police lines to get the story. She teaches English at a local college and is a soccer chauffeur for her children. During her driving time she spins webs of intrigue for Mitch Malone's next crime-solving adventure.
Website - W S Gager
Purchase the book today from Oak Tree Books, Barnes and Noble, or Amazon
“W.S. Gager has a winner with the second in the Mitch Malone series. Full of well-written twists and turns, and a double shot of suspense. Gager’s experience as a reporter shines through every page as she weaves a compelling murder mystery. A smart and entertaining jewel of a novel.”
--Holli Castillo, Author of Gumbo Justice