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How I formulate characters…

August 24, 2011

I have always been drawn to interesting characters in novels. To me, it is the characters that take a good novel and raise it up to great. Science fiction writers, for all their ability to produce interesting plots and scenic grandeur, can sometimes fail when creating characters with emotional depth. It isn’t that the characters aren’t interesting in concept, but that they seem emotionally flat; muted sadness, muted anger, muted joy. It is as if the authors are afraid to color their work with human frailty.

If the character is facing the end of the world and is helpless to stop it, shouldn’t they demonstrate anger or frustration openly and intensely? Shouldn’t characters in sci-fi novels show fear externally? Shouldn’t the loss of a loved one evoke the same kind of sadness in a sci-fi novel as it does in other genres? It seems sometimes that the writers tell you about how their characters are feeling but are loath to have the emotions show in the actions of the characters.

When I started writing Nanomagica, I decided that one of my goals was to create characters that were multidimensional, not only in back story or skills, but in emotional range. To do this, I began observing people I knew, and watching how they expressed emotions with action. Many of my characters are composites of these people and share their skills, personality, and faults. They also share the emotional sensibilities I observed in them.

It is my hope that this will bring added color and depth to my writing that will attract an audience outside of the science fiction fan base.

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One Comment
  1. Yolanda permalink

    I wish more sci-fi writers had the same dedication. Like you, I want my characters to be so real the reader thinks they’ve known the character in real life. Kudos to you!

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