Who Is That Character, Anyway?
When you think of your favorite stories, what comes to mind first? Certainly, the plot is important but it’s the characters that make the story memorable.
In the Darcy and Flora series that I write, Darcy and her mom Flora are the protagonists and the people who move the story forward. Sheriff Grant Hendley has a major role too as does lawyer Jackson Conner. These people are in all of the Darcy and Flora cozies. Secondary characters also people the town of Levi and the county of Ventris, Oklahoma. There is Pat, Flora’s friend who is a bit scatter-brained but very well-meaning, Jasper, who always seems to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, and other characters who appear as they are needed.
My characters do a lot of talking. Dialogue helps carry the story along, and the characters do not all sound the same. In real life, each person is unique with different backgrounds, different ways of looking at things, and different speech characteristics. The same should be true in fiction.
I do not write a lot of character description but, judging from their actions, Darcy’s thoughts, and the dialogue of other characters, the reader gets to know each character; how she looks and how she relates to others.
By the way, before we leave the subject of characters, let me say that the three Darcy and Flora cozies are written in the first person. Darcy is the viewpoint character. I never skip from inside Darcy’s head to the thoughts of another character. The reader sees only what Darcy sees, hears only what she hears, and feels only what Darcy feels.
A recent Amazon review pretty much summed up my thoughts on characterization and its importance: I loved this book! “The Cemetery Club” by Blanche Day Manos is the first book in her Darcy and Flora cozy mystery series and I highly recommend it. The main characters were well-developed and likeable, so much so that I held my breath when the author placed them in danger. For me, the characters come first and the plot comes second. But, in this novel, the unique setting, the cast of characters and the plot combined to keep me turning the pages.
Thank you, Patricia Gligor.
Characters—they are a lot of fun to create; each one should be unique. Skillfully created, they will remain in the reader’s mind as friends they want to visit again and again.
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