How Characters are Created…The Process…Pandamonium Publising House

April 2, 2017- We’ve all done it before. Each and every one of us. Either we’ve fallen deeply in love with a character that stirs our souls and makes us empathize with the problems they face in every chapter of the book. Or we’ve wished sudden death and pain and suffering upon a character who’s actions and words make our stomachs churn, and our brains seek revenge for what they’ve put our beloved hero through.

So how are characters created? Where do we find them as writers and how do we plant the seed of them onto paper from our minds? Take a good look around you right now, wherever you are, and you’ve got an idea or ideas for character development. You could be sitting in a hut in Timbuktoo, isolated and alone but you still can create characters. The character could even be you! Here are a few steps that will help you get started with creating characters:

  • Use your memory-Think back to a particular time or place in your life and remember the people that were around you. What did they look like? What did they sound like? What quirks and oddities did they possess? Did they have any special features or skills? What was their occupation? What was their family life like? What did they wear? What did they smell like? Using your memory and senses of people you’ve already met or are close to is a surefire way to create believable and memorable characters that readers can relate to. We can all relate to Uncle John who wore thick black glasses, worked as a grocery store produce manager who had the disgusting habit of picking his nose and looking at it. You get the point! Characters are all around you!
  • Observe your surroundings-This advice goes part and parcel with the previous point. Sit at the mall for an hour and observe the people that walk past you. What are they doing and why are they at the mall? What are they thinking about? Why are they in a rush? Why are they wearing that? What are they mumbling under their breath? When I have writer’s block which happens to everyone once and a while, I go out! I leave the house and either go to the mall or sit in Starbucks and do this exact thing. Before long I’m scribbling page upon page of ideas for characters. Trust me on this one, it works!
  • Write an outline for your character-So important and I do this with EVERY single one of my characters. Let’s use Jessica Westlake, the protagonist in my upcoming thriller, The Ravaged Silence. I know everything about her as I should because I created her! Without giving too much of her away, I’ll just mention a few things about her. She is married, to a successful lawyer. She grew up in a trailer park with abusive parents. She’s had a traumatic brain injury from an accident. She has romantic feelings for her neighbour and wants to escape from her horrific marriage. Her mother was murdered and her father is dead. I also need to mention that it is SO important to write about your character thoroughly right down to the most minimal quality or quirk. The reason is, even if you don’t say it to your reader eg. Jessica loves spying on people while she eats chocolate chip ice cream in her apartment, it will still come through in your writing!

In conclusion, readers don’t need to know every single minor detail about your characters but as an author, you do.

LLB

Image result for ice cream

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Cats Throughout History…Part 2…Trim

This is the story of Trim the Cat who sailed around the world with a captain named Matthew Flinders. Cats were often welcome on ships because they protected the food supply onboard from rodents. They also provided entertainment and companionship to the men who were at sea. Trim the Cat is a particularly important member of the crew. Let’s find out why and what made him so special!

Trim was a black cat with white socks and a white star on his chest. Trim was very energetic and even a bit of a risk taker who loved to find adventure. Once in a while he fell overboard but didn’t seem bothered by it because whenever he landed in the ocean, someone would throw him a rope and he’d climb back up. Captain Matthew Flinders admired the courage, strength, and spirit of the animal so much so that he made him his favourite.

Trim ran freely around the ship with the ship’s men and was known for sitting in officers’ caps. At dinnertime, he quite regularly stole pieces of meat from the crew’s forks with such brilliant dexterity that his victims were more inclined to admire his skill than be angered by the theft.

Trim sailed with Flinders on the HMS Investigator on his voyage around the Australian mainland and even survived the shipwreck of the Porpoise in 1803. When Captain  Flinders was accused of spying and imprisoned by the French in Mauritius on his return voyage to England, Trim also shared his captivity.While the men were still held in prison Trim disappeared and Flinders was heartbroken. Seven years later, Captain Matthew Flinders was released and returned to his wife in England but he never forgot Trim.

In 1996, the North Shore Historical Society commissioned a bronze statue of Trim for the window ledge at Mitchell Library in Sydney, Australia, and the library’s cafe has been named after Flinders’ beloved cat.

TO THE MEMORY OF TRIM
The best and most illustrious of his race
The most affectionate of friends,
faithful of servants,
and best of creatures
He made the tour of the globe, and a voyage to Australia,
which he circumnavigated, and was ever the
delight and pleasure of his fellow voyagers
Written by Matthew Flinders in memory of his cat
Memorial donated by the North Shore Historical Society

Wow! What an amazing friend, companion, and feline. May the story of friendship between Captain Matthew Flinders and Trim never be forgotten and may we never forget them either.