Developing My Characters

In my trilogy “The Chosen One of Allivar” I created two basic characters, good and evil. Let me expand upon each.

The Characters of Good

My inspiration for creating the characters of good come from many sources, but mainly from the Lord of the Rings. Most of us spent three years of our lives waiting and watching the epic films. We grew close to each one of the characters. We felt their happiness, sorrow and loss. They were like us! We connected with them. While developing my characters I first jotted down the qualities of my favorite characters in film and stories:

Bravery
Uncompromising
Altruistic
Witty
Gentle
Modest
Self Deprecating
Emotional
Intelligent
Loveable

This just a short list that I used to assist me in making sure my characters connected with me and my readers. In my first draft, I had a focus group read the entire trilogy and I asked them specific questions that would assist me in knowing whether I had connected. One character, Bothar, a gentle giant endowed with the finest of all human qualities, hit its target every time. I specifically formulated my story so that this character would have the single most emotional impact on the reader, whether male or female.

However a second character, Esmeralda, missed my intended mark. After re-reading the introduction of Esmeralda I realized why I had missed the mark. With the addition of two paragraphs, the readers could then connect. There is power in words, even just a few, that can turn a reader’s comprehension. As the author, it is my responsibility to make that connection.

The Characters of Evil

My inspiration in the development of the characters of evil was not derived from the Lord of the Rings. For this I recalled the many accounts of Satan’s interference with the world of men. Stories such as the “Exorcist”, “Paradise Lost”, and Dante’s “Inferno” convinced me of how powerful evil could be. I recalled the beasts of Greek mythology and science fiction, such as the Xenomorph in “Alien” or Hannibal in the “Silence of the Lambs”. Here is the short list of the qualities of these characters:

Frightening
Murderous
Cowardly
Narcissistic
Avaricious
Repugnant
Obsessive
Possessive
Torturous
Machiavellian

To connect with readers they had to detest these characters. I found out from one of my readers that Haggarfuse, the chief antagonist, was actually a favorite character because he was so evil. One reader became queasy at many narratives that described the vile actions of the forces of evil.

In the end the reader must be affected by your writing. So here is one lady’s review of the final book in the trilogy, when all our humanly traits and qualities are tested to the very end:

“This book is incredible! I laughed, I cried, I cheered, I was mad, I was COMPLETELY surprised. The author makes the story so vivid that I could see the scenes play out. There is no doubt you will love some characters and despise others because the writing makes them so real.” Shelly via Goodreads.

One of the top rewards of being an author is knowing that you connected with a group of readers who share your same sense of good and evil qualities.

Are you ready to be affected?

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