Thursday, January 28, 2010

Character Development

 I'm often asked what drives a story.  Is the narrative structure more important or is character development more important?  Both are important, and I love a good plot.  In fact, plot is very important in a mystery or thriller, but character is equally important.  As I edited my manuscript for Sapphire Blue, my characters took on lives of their own.  They developed and expanded in ways I hadn't expected.  As I immersed myself in their emotional development, I learned to love them in ways I hadn't when I wrote my first draft.  They became more real and spoke to me in ways I hadn't anticipated.  Their voices spoke to me as I wrote, and I became conscious of not betraying the unique voice of each one.  Heather and Wesley were both flawed in many ways, but I learned to accept those flaws but show what was admirable in them as well.  I think character is important in all genres.  In mysteries, the plot is important, but we also come to love the detective whose unique personality drives the plot and provides the texture of the story.  We love James Lee Burke's Dave Robichaux.  He's more fascinating than the crooks he's trying to bust.  The eccentricities of detectives like Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot fascinate us as much as the tales they are solving.  Science fiction is also built on strong character.  We're as interested in the characters as we are in their out of space travels. Character drove my own BURIED TRUTHS as much as did the romantic elements.  

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