LAYERING YOUR CHARACTER’S PERSONALITIES
Oh, this is a process that took me a while to learn. It’s right up there with “Show don’t Tell” on my list of things I thought were so hard at the beginning of my writing career. And it relates, because a reader wants to “feel” the character’s emotions; not be “told” what those emotions are.
None of us are one dimensional. We have ups and downs, bad days and good days. We get angry, fearful, and sad. We laugh, smile and grimace. And sometimes we cry. Frustration can take over our emotions, but can just as quickly turn to joy. Shouldn’t our characters have the same layers we do?
Certainly, if we want them to be interesting, they should.
In Heart of Stone my hero, Stone Brandon, is angry and bitter at a past betrayal. I had to show these emotions, of course. But, like anyone, Stone wasn’t angry and bitter all the time. He had other emotions—hope, empathy, desire, and a protective spirit when it came to my heroine, Amber—that he didn’t want to show to the world.
As a writer, I have to get into “character” in order to show the many layers of my hero and heroine. In any particular scene or situation, how would the character feel? What would he or she say? How would they react? How far would they go to cover their true emotions? Does the heroine have a nervous habit like twisting her hair around her finger? Does the hero have a tic in his jaw when he is angry? Or does he have a sexy wink like the Brandon brothers?
As an avid reader, I love to immerse myself into my character’s lives. I want to experience their hearts pound with desire. I want to tremble when the hero’s hands fist in the heroine’s hair. I need to know the heat of an adrenalin rush of fear.
And sometimes when I’ve laughed, cried and loved the characters all the way to the last page, I don’t want the story to end.