Character Study: Ophelia

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While writing my upcoming novel Ghoul, I created a character designed to serve the function of a ‘talking head’ aka someone for Mya, the protagonist, to bounce ideas off. However, I understand talking heads are bad, they result in clunky dialogue that’s obviously just exposition in the form of dialogue. So, with that in mind I tried to turn my talking head into a semi-developed character with her own goals and motivations.

I made this character a Sphinx. I’ve always been fond of a bit of Egyptian mythology, as those who read Amenti will have noticed, and it didn’t take me long to decide where in London my Sphinx would live. She promptly moved into the Egyptian walk of Highgate Cemetery.

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Writing Top Tips: The key to writing characters you fall in love with

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In this blog I want to talk about characters, I’ve been doing a lot more reading than writing this month.

Patricia Briggs and Great Characters

In particular, I’ve been reading Patricia Briggs. I love her urban fantasy stories, her Mercy Thomson series is wonderful, but even more so I love her Alpha and Omega stories with Charles and Anna. I love these stories because the characters are wonderful. I instantly fell in love with Anna, she’s in an awful situation when we first meet her, but she never comes across as a victim. She’s alone and afraid and she’s pissed off about it and she has a witty banter in her head that makes me smile despite what’s happening to her. Then we meet Charles. Charles. Is. Awesome. That is the best (and only) word to describe him, awesome.

It made me wonder why do I love these characters so much, what is it about them that makes me look forward to coming home and picking up a book I’ve read a bazillion (yes it is a word and a numerical value) to read again.

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I emphasise with Anna, she’s a nice person in an awful situation, but she’s not sitting there moaning (that would be really boring) she’s fighting it in her own way. She’s not strong enough physically, but she has nifty little ways to get a mental one up on those responsible for her situation. I can also relate to her, I understand her motivations and understand them, I can see why she wants what she wants and I root for her. She also has depth, she’s not a two-dimensional character, she has good strengths and bad faults. She is not perfect, she is excruciatingly real.

In conclusion

In conclusion, good characters make good books and empathy makes great characters.

Those are my thoughts on characters, but I’m interested in hearing any of your tips and tricks so please let me know!