As a writer, my work is dependent on the observations of others. What motivates them. What really motivates them. And how those motivations ultimately affect their behavior.
For a writer, this is rich and fertile ground. The character who is brash and unpleasant often hides something dark or embarrassing beneath. A cynic’s loud belligerence is often interpreted as self-confident, yet often masks insecurity. And the one who holds an idyllic –nearly manic—outlook on life is seeking a sense of order that’s never truly attainable.
It’s the exploration of these traits that make up one more tool in the writers toolbox. But it’s conveying it on the page that carries the challenges.
How do you show a character’s growth if they’re so unpleasant on page one the reader has no interest in continuing?
That’s where it’s essential as the author to drop important clues that keep us interested in these vulnerable humans who will grow through the course of the novel. That brash woman who never has a kind word for anyone? She’s the first to reach down and pick up a child’s dropped toy. The loud, overbearing cynic? He’s got a small dog he can’t lavish enough love and affection on. And the manically cheerful one? She pours herself into music, pulling the sweetest, darkest notes from a violin.
In these and so many other ways we can show the person beneath the exterior. The shell they show the world versus the person they truly are. (As a side note, the movie THE PROPOSAL did this extraordinarily well with Sandra Bullock’s character.)
As a writer, it’s a gift to play with these elements, bringing them alive on the page. It’s that exploration of the human experience that makes my job, day in and day out, always unique. And always changing with each story I tell.
Thanks for joining me today! And feel free to drop in and share your favorite character to hate – but who changed your opinion by the end!
Despite early ambitions of being a diver, a drummer or a doctor, Addison Fox happily discovered she was more suited to life as a writer. She lives in Dallas and - thankfully - doesn't have to operate on anyone. You can find her at her home on the web at www.addisonfox.com. Her latest release, COLTON’S SURPRISE HEIR, from Harlequin Romantic Suspense is on shelves now. You can visit her at her website at www.addisonfox.com