Creating Believable Characters

Many years ago when I performed in plays and musicals I used to create monologues for my characters in order to help me understand them better. I suppose it was during my acting days at AMDA that a drama teacher taught me to give each character a secret that only I knew. For instance if I was playing a young girl meeting a boy for coffee my secret might be that I was desperately in love with him. Or my secret could be that I knew the boy was my step brother. The scene would play out differently using each of those scenarios as my secret.

Jump ahead several years and now I am doing the same thing with the characters in my novel. The chapter I am editing now is particularly challenging because I am telling a story within a story and I need to make sure the two are linked together. There must be a clear relationship between the two stories. This morning I took my character Sri, and gave her a journal. I needed to hear her voice tell the background leading up to her story within Mystic. Does that make sense? In other words, I always knew what happened in her past leading up to her appearance in Mystic but I needed to write it from her perspective. It is amazing what little gems appear when characters are allowed to speak for themselves.

What does Sri have to do with Amelia and Greg? Well, you’ll have to wait until the book is published to find out. I can give one little hint…Sri may be related to one of them.

Sri’s Journal

Entry: I have learned to calm the mind of a wild beast, to turn a stick into silver and to fly amongst the Seer Dragons but I cannot stop the bursting excitement that flows through my body every time I see him. It’s as if a breeze brushes over my heart and I must breathe deep when he is near in order to keep my composure. He is only a man not a wizard yet he appears to have placed a spell on me. This is unacceptable and I must stick to my path. My future has been carefully planned. I have great gifts. I am Queen Fredonia’s only daughter. A daughter in need of a spell to wipe away thoughts of handsome strangers.

Entry: I have decided to speak to him. My jumbled emotions are getting the best of me and I cannot focus on my studies. Surely when I speak to him I will learn of his daftness and get over my sickness. Enough is enough. Ralient has been odd lately. Our friendship seems strained. He looks at me with distant eyes. Though I have given him no reason to believe I have feelings for the stranger, I worry he knows my heart too well. His desire for me is no secret. I feel only friendship for Ralient and I don’t want to hurt him, yet fear I will.

Entry: There is a light shining from within me that I cannot dim. No spell can replace the happiness that colors my world that once was clear. James, his name is James and he is kind, intelligent and brave. We have spent the past month together and I have learned much about his world. It is not a place I wish to visit. When James is with me I feel content, safe, at peace and my mind is far from my studies and full of only him. We spend our days escaping to the forest and the White Mountains. I have shown him Mystic’s beauty in hopes that he will want to stay. Today he took my hand during our walk. I had to remind myself to breathe. Then I felt a tinge of annoyance that Queen Fredonia’s daughter could let herself become so vulnerable in the presence of a man. I thought of my great power for only a brief second before James interrupted me. He stopped, took me in his arms and kissed me. I felt the stubble from his beard on my chin and that familiar breeze across my heart. My tears dripped onto his collar.

Suddenly, I felt piercing heat on my back like arrows shot from a distance. A pair of eyes were watching us, cursing us.  I stiffened and turned to face them. I felt his pain and knew that I had hurt Ralient deeply. A line had been crossed and my once perfectly planned life was now unpredictable. I knew I could no longer allow myself to act like a helpless child. James was in danger. Ralient’s power was only surpassed by his jealousy. Now, my only concern is whether or not my powers are strong enough to protect the man I love from the man who was my best friend.

K.D. Rausin

Mystic

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The Picture Book Review

Reviews of Children's Board Books, Picture Books, Activity Books, and Graphic Novels

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