Monday, 26 August 2013

Guest Post by Ann Snizek: Character Building

Book Title: The Jewel of Nirel
Author:  Ann Snizek
Release Date:  July 27, 2013
Genre:  YA Fantasy, Sci-Fi
Length:  Over 86,000 Words
Presented by:  As You Wish Tours
Tour Schedule: The Jewel of Nirel

Character Building

One of the main points of fiction writing is building your characters.  You need your readers to connect with your people, human or not, in order for them to invest their time in reading the entire story.

I have several characters in my books that are as real to me as many flesh and blood people.  I know their likes, dislikes, quirks, mannerisms… every little bit possible.  This allows me to write in a realistic way.

Start out by writing up a profile for each character.  Put their physical description, but don’t stop there.  Add any quirks or particulars that make them who they are.  This isn’t for your readers to look at necessarily, but for you to use as a reference.  It allows you to track that you said they love apples on page 10 and not be allergic to them on page 110… unless of course something happens to change that fact about them.

You need to know about their personalities too.  This allows for consistency throughout your writing.  We each have characteristics in our personality that our family and friends can say,” that is exactly like you!”  We want to have that same connection with those we read about.  If we have someone in our book do something out of character, it should be known to the reader without always saying that it is out of character.

I like to pick one or two personality traits that stand out the most in each character.  I develop some level of backstory for the main people… enough to understand why they are the way they are.  This helps with their future interactions and reactions to events and co-characters.

The depth that you go into it all depends on you.  Naturally, the main people get the most detail, but where to stop is up to you.  I’ve heard that have a character write a journal helps.  While not all my characters are the journal keeping kind, I have used this for a few and I like how it worked out.  I even discovered a few things about them that I didn’t know.

I think the key is to never underestimate the importance of developing your characters.


For the people of Tunuftol, and other countries on the planet Nyssa, names found them starting at twelve months old… at the earliest. Along with the names came certain skills or powers. Depending on what you did with your powers determined what type of person you were, and sometimes affected future names. Therefore, names had great importance in Tunuftol, and Krissa had more than a few… nine to be exact. Her full name was Krissa Lysandra Rue Alverna Harley Mya Magryta Freya Wittek, which is quite a mouthful.

The dangers haven't ended for our friends yet. The weather is starting to warm and the war started last fall is under way. Journey with Krissa and the crew as they struggle to keep their world safe and find their place in it.

I grew up in Vermont mostly and now live in Virginia with my family (those still at home). My husband and I have a blended family of seven kids. My childhood was spent moving around a lot. (non-military) About five years ago, we started home-schooling our youngest children. Now there are only two remaining in home-school. I have tried to nurture the love of books in our children and now our grandchildren -- always nurturing their imaginations. Recently, I have become active in our community with literacy, starting a local (and online) creative writing club and volunteer tutoring at the Adult Learning Center.
I struggle with Fibromyalgia and PTSD. So, have to be careful not to overdo things... I don't always listen to my own advice. I have a dry, sarcastic and corny sense of humor and always try to look at things optimistically. (again not always successful) However, I feel that if I don't give up -- for long -- then things will work out for the best eventually.




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Fida Islaih said...

This is a great post with great tips, esp as I start a new MS (:

Unknown said...

Thank you SO much Dorothy for having me today!!!! <3

Unknown said...

Thank you Fida Islaih. I'm glad to help. :D

stone garden ornaments said...

Oh! What an amazing post to read! Thank you for sharing it with us!! You are an inspiration for all of us!