Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Characters Come Alive

I've been reading bunches of stuff about characters lately...

1. Melissa Walker blogged about a song that reminds her of Violet. 
2. Word for Teens is hosting a character contest. To enter, you have to name a character from a book that you would like to be. I'm still brainstorming because I seriously can't decide on one character. 
3. Stephanie Kuehnert blogged for Young Adult Enchanting Reviews about her character's birthdays, astrological signs, and how she uses note cards to keep her characters straight - brilliant idea. Happy Release Day, Stephanie! 

After reading these fantastic posts and continuing to bang out SCREWBALL 2 (untitled), I began obsessing about characters and character development. How do you create memorable characters? Do you research? Do you use real people as models? And what do you think makes a character memorable? 
I have to admit, when I'm in the midst of writing, my characters are real. Like walking around real. Like in my head all the time, real. Hence, the conversation I just had with my sister in law on the boardwalk. 

"Hey, that guy looks like Andrew," I say and nod towards a cute guy walking with his girlfriend. 
"Andrew who?" 
"Andrew Sinclair."
"Who's that?" 
"Ashley's first boyfriend. You know, from my book." I roll my eyes.  
Sister in law pauses, looks at me, then changes the subject. 

Does anyone else do this? Or do you read a book and then spot someone that looks like the character from the book? 

Happy News - The 2008 Summer Olympics begin one month from today - 8/8/08. I can't wait! 

I'm also over at Pretty Tough today blogging about Team USA's Pink Out auction. Did you know that one out of eight women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime? Yikes. Cancer sucks. :(

Have a great day everyone! 


Alyson Noel said...

Oh yeah, my characters are totally real to me-- and I actually miss them after I've finished their stories!

keri mikulski :) said...

I haven't had to deal with missing a character yet.. But, I think I will miss Ashley terribly. What do you do to get over it?? Maybe, I'll buy a new fish or two and name them Ashley and Jake at the end of the series. :)

beth said...

I've based some characters on actual people--usually the lead male is based on an actor I liked at the time (Heath Ledger, Sean Oliver). I'm going to figure out a way to include David Tennant or James McAvoy into a story soon, I swear! I recently finished a story about school kids, and, to be honest, I based most of the kids in the story on kids that I was teaching at the time!

PJ Hoover said...

I do character worksheets, but as far as it they are memorable in my book coming out this fall - we'll see. I certainly remember them!
My current WIP main character is memorable - but he's based on someone famous.
I LOVE the idea of pointing out people who look like your characters. I will start this immediately!

keri mikulski :) said...

Hi, Beth! I like the idea of using actors. And the kids at school I'm sure give you plenty of material. :)

Hi, PJ! It's fun. I'm going to have to try this famous character thing. :)

Amy said...

ROFLMAO. I totally need to start doing this. It will seriously up my "crazy writer" quotient with people who don't really understand what I do, but like me anyway (aka MY FAMILY).

Stephanie J said...

I wish I were one of those people were I can perfectly picture my characters but I can't! I've never been able to fully picture characters unless I saw a movie about them first. And I've never created a cast of characters using pics of celebrities.

We'll see if I miss my characters once I finish my WIP! :)

Sara Hantz said...

I often use characteristics from friends and incorporate them into my characters.... it helps me when I'm trying to work out actions and reactions. I don't make them identical to the real person.... just a few chosen traits

Jessica Burkhart said...

One in eight is so sad. More research, please!

keri mikulski :) said...

Hi, Amy - I'm glad I'm not alone - the crazy writer of the family. :) Let me know how it goes.

Hi, Stephanie - I'd love to hear about your WIP. Keep me posted if you miss your MC. :)

Hi, Sara - Me too. :)

Hi, Jessica - I know.. And the cancer thing has been hitting a little too close to home lately. :(

Kaitlyn said...

Hey. It's Kaiti from the libary.
Here are the links for John Green and Maureen Johnson's youtube channels....

http://www.youtube.com/user/vlogbrothers (John Green and his brother Hank.)

http://www.youtube.com/user/maureenbooks (Maureen)

and her blog is: www.maureenjohnson.blogspot.com

tonight was awesome. Can't wait for next week.

Barrie said...

I think my friends might be tired of my chatting about my characters. It's just that, sometimes, the characters seem more real... :)

keri mikulski :) said...

Hi, Kaiti! Thanks for the link and see you next Wednesday. I can't wait to check it out.

Hi, Barrie -LOL. I know what you mean. I'm sure my hubby is sick of hearing about Jake and Ashley too.