Happy Tuesday, RG2E Peeps!
Let’s go to the circus today…with RG2E First-Time Featured Author L. Leander.
Take it away, L. …
A character that’s well developed has a rich history. You should not write your heroine, for instance, as a lifeless person or no one will want to read about her. For that reason, many writers compile an in-depth biography of their main characters. It’s quickly apparent that family history provides the traits that form unique characteristics. When I wrote early on in my career, I didn’t know I should do a bio of the key players. I fleshed a person out bit by bit as I wrote and added in their idiosyncrasies and personal flaws as the tale evolved. The problem with that was that my characters remained flat. They weren’t in 3-D. Even if you’d put on those cute little glasses they give you at the movie theater you wouldn’t have seen a change.
Once I learned about character studies I found that I enjoyed writing them. If I put a little time into researching a certain type of people, culture or country I had a much better idea for who the person was and it became easy to understand how he or she would react in certain situations.
Take, for instance, my protagonist in the Inzared series. She is born Bertha Maude Anderson, to a family who lives in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina. Her ancestors are Scottish – proud people who are unafraid to face life circumstances. Stoic and not always affectionate, they face adversity with hard work and determination. Bertha Maude is the dreamer in the family – she wants more and yearns to travel and become famous.
Bertha Maude Anderson has no inkling of how famous she will become. She lives in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina in the year 1843. Her world changes forever when she is enticed to join The Romanoff Brothers Circus and her name is changed to Inzared, Queen of the Elephant Riders. Inzared discovers her true calling while learning to live with the nomadic Gypsies. From the hatred shown by some of the performers to the love she finds along the way, Inzared finds herself immersed in the rich folklore and customs of the misunderstood people who call the circus their home. Her one constant is Cecil, the elephant, and together they form a bond that no one can break as Inzared finds herself lured into the world of the Gypsies while clinging to her own roots and trying to break free of the chains that keep her from her destiny.
It was easy to fill in the physical characteristics just by pulling up old photos similar to the hardy stock Bertha Maude came from. Her inner personality was achieved through getting into her head. Yes, I said getting into her head! To do that I sat in a quiet room with no distraction and wrote everything I had learned about my main character. I included her ancestors, her surroundings, her feelings and her aspirations. Since she comes from a poor part of Appalachia in the 1800’s, I included her education and indigenous speech. After a couple of hours of intense writing she took shape and became Inzared, the name given to her by the circus owner after she has joined the troupe and is picked to ride the elephant in a performance.
I next had to do an intense study of the Gypsies, as the setting is a Gypsy circus set in 1843. Again, once I spent time reading and delving into everything I could find on the subject another character, Paytre, emerged.
I followed this procedure for the main characters in the book and also did mini-bios on the supporting cast. I found that knowing about a person’s heritage and background makes the story take shape much more quickly and the characters spring to life on the page.
What if a character has no background, you say? We all have one, however some of us for one reason or another don’t know the details of our past. My husband fits in that category; adopted at birth by a couple old enough to be his grandparents, he lived a solitary life on a rural farm and survived bullies and being called names at school. As an adult he sought to find his forbears but was thwarted at every turn by an uncaring judicial system that held onto a birth certificate that was “locked.” That meant he had no right to see or have it, including who his real parents were.
Even as I write this I understand the deep character traits I’d include here just by studying the man. However, I put my research and writing skills to use and after a lot of doors were slammed others opened. Just this week my sixty-four year old husband received the news that he is a member of the Chippewa Sault Saint Marie Tribe – now fancy that!
I tell you this because with this week of uncovered secrets and watching my husband weep for joy at finding who he is and where he comes from, I realized how important our character studies are. Everyone has a story. Authors use them to give our readers a glimpse into the past. It makes our books shine for you – the reader!
L.Leander is an author, freelancer and award-winning songwriter. Her first novel, Inzared, Queen of the Elephant Riders was published in June of 2012. The second book in the series, Inzared, The Fortune Teller is slated for publication in early 2013. The author has also published a short non-fiction series titled 13 Extreme Tips for Writers, targeted to the beginning writer.
Ms. Leander manages a blog titled L.Leander’s Reviews and Interviews that offers book promotion to Indie Authors. The author currently resides between Wisconsin and Mexico.
Connect with L. here:
13 Extreme Tips to Self Publishing by L.Leander
13 Extreme Tips to Marketing an eBook by L.Leander
L.Leander’s Website: www.lleander.com
L.Leander’s Reviews and Interviews: http://lleandersreviewsandinterviews.wordpress.com/
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/L.-Leander/e/B008IVRNU8
Facebook Page: http://facebook.com/lleanderbooks
I luuuvvv the circus and gypsies too, L.! Your book sounds fabulous!!!
Thanks bunches for sharing with us today!
Okay, RG2E Peeps…who all would like an Ebook Gift Copy of INZARED?! Let us know below, and you just might win one!
The Best of RG2E Reading Wishes — D. D. Scott, RG2E Founder