Characters In A Romance Novel
Before you even begin writing your novel, you need to know who your characters will be. Minimally, you would want two major characters, the hero and the heroine. They will interact mostly with each other throughout the novel. How they interact with each other will determine the outcome of the story. Will they resist each other in the beginning of the story and by the end, fall in love? Or will they fall in love in the beginning of the story and then be driven apart by conflict? Once you've chosen them, then you need to decide what age they are, their personality traits, and their names.
Age-appropriate actions are paramount to development of the character. If the heroine is in her teens, she will react differently to situations than if she is in her late twenties. The same goes with the hero. In a romance novel, the typical heroine is in her early twenties, while the hero is older. If he is in his twenties, he shouldn't be shown as a tycoon, unless of course, he inherited the wealth. If he is in his thirties, he shouldn't be shown doing activities that are immature for his age.
A character in your novel needs to have distinct personality traits that make them unique. By distinguishing them from the other persons in the novel, you can create all kinds of situations based on those traits. Personality traits are typically revealed in the story through actions, dialogue with other people in the story, and sometimes through flashbacks that may reveal how that person became the way they are.
If you are not familiar with personality traits, you can begin by studying the psychology books that describe them. Some examples of personality traits are introvert/extrovert, obsessive-compulsive, Type "A"/Type "B" personalities, etc. For example, an introverted person would appear shy, doesn't speak much, and shuns being in social situations, whereas an extroverted person would be gregarious, out-going, and usually a partygoer.
There are many types of personalities that you can choose from for your heroine, but typically, a "romantic" female would include the following: kind, young, nurturing, loving, warm, single, sensual, doesn't fool around, and attractive. For your hero, the characteristics could vary even more, and usually include being: older, decisive, powerful, kind, caring, single, gentle, and handsome.
Typically, you should have well-rounded characters. However, beware of making them too perfect. Readers prefer reading about realistic people, and yet at the same time, want to escape a little. Leave some room for improvement to allow character development to take place. As a writer, you will have to do some mental gymnastics to allow this to happen. Maybe she is stubborn and headstrong, and doesn't listen to other people's advice. Maybe he doesn't trust anyone, so he is wary and cautious. That's fine. Once you decide on the traits of each character, then the next step would be to envision how they would react to certain situations. For example, an impulsive person would probably react differently than a cautious person to the same situation. Be prepared to get into the shoes of your character and feel what they would feel. When a hero and heroine get together, they may help each other overcome their character flaws by the end of the story. Through their love for each other, they help each other grow as human beings, and at the same time, accept each other's flaws and imperfections. Of course, there will be some type of conflict in attaining their love. What story exists without conflict? But by the end of the story, they realize the importance of each other in their life and cannot live without the other, no matter what the price. Ahhh, true love!
Once you have the age and personality trait of each character, then you need to give them a name that fits them. If the male character is a warrior or has a tough-minded personality, you wouldn't want to give him a name that sounds feminine, like Jean or Francis. Also, be sensitive to the setting, locale, and the time period, when deciding upon names. In addition, the names of your other characters should not overpower the hero/heroine's names.
Once you have your main characters, then think about whom else will be in the novel. What role will these other players maintain to help the hero or heroine go forth? If you just add someone in the novel because you like him or her, but they don't help the story, then rethink on how they could be useful to the story. Maybe they know something that might be useful to the hero or heroine, then add that into the story.
Cardboard characters are a result of focusing on one dimension of a character. The cardboard character can be either totally evil, good, funny, sad, etc. They don't waver much from that description. Sometimes they are added in the novel to prove someone's character. For example, an evil cardboard character makes the hero look good by battling with him. That's the only purpose the evil character has, to show the hero's good side. We don't try to develop the evil person's character so that he/she is less evil. However, in recent literature, one sees more sympathetic looking evil people doing their bad deeds, yet somehow managing to make the reader feel sorry about them. Those complex types are not considered cardboard characters.
No matter how well you think you are writing, always go back and double check your work for consistency. Make sure that if your hero has blue eyes in the beginning of the story, that he still has blue eyes by the end of the story, etc. Also, make sure you know your characters before you write. If you don't, it will show up in your writing. Throughout the story, you have to carefully describe the real person in all their glory, as well as their character flaws. When I went back and read the first draft of my romance novel "Lipsi's Daughter, I found that I tended to lean more towards making my characters too good. I then went in and deliberately inserted a fault or two. Those faults also help with the conflict. Conflict drives the story forward.
The final balancing act will come at the end, where you will have created, or synthesized a whole new person that has evolved into a better human being from the lessons they learned in the story. So now that you've read this section, go ahead, write your characters. Make them come alive!
About The Author
Patty Apostolides is the author of the novel Lipsi's Daughter. She is in the process of writing a poetry book and a second novel. For more information, visit her website: http://www.geocities.com/10500bc/index.html
Writing Technique: The Restaurant Syndrome
Picture this scene.Your hero is sitting in a bar.
Common Writing Mistakes
Most books aren't rejected because the stories are"bad." They're rejected because they're not "ready toread.
How to Write Headlines for How-to Articles
Want to write a how-to article but can't come up with a topic?Start by naming the three biggest problems your customers or clients face. You've just come up with three ideas for three different articles.
Slow Pokes: Short Story On The Changing World Of Writing
"No one will ever know who I am, I'm a nobody-writer from nowhere? I've had a thousand rejections from all the major publishers. It seems my destiny is never to be read, another nameless soul lost to the sands of eternity.
The ENTP Inventor Writes A Novel
People familiar with the Myers-Briggs Personality test know that the writer is the INFJ. This person is introverted, intuitive, feelings-oriented and judgmental.
6 Tricks To Squeeze Your Letters Onto One Page
Anyone who has read any of my articles on the subject ofletter writing or resume writing will know how important I believe it is to minimize the number of pages, preferably limiting them to one page whenever possible.And, we all know how tacky it looks when we put the finishing touches on a letter and it overflows onto the second page by one or two lines.
How to Have an Effective Writing Group
The works you've written are numerous, ranging from short stories to even the novel, hidden in a storage bin (under the bed) collecting dust. But there comes a time when you must wipe away that dust, regain your pride, and prepare your babies for publication! But, how do you get such a critical, unbiased eye to analyze your works, offering both praise and criticism?It's simple-start a writing group!Creating a writing group is the easy part, but creating a functioning and beneficial writing group can be quite a task.
Why We Dont Write Our Books
In the ten years that I've taught people how to get on with their books, I've noticed a phenomenon that I'll call "Author's Block." Would-be writers can, indeed, sit down and work when pressed to it.
Writers Who Consistently Cut The Mustard Do So Because...
Have you ever wondered why certain writers are able to churn out seemingly endlessstreams of published bestsellers while thousands upon thousands of others suffer an endless stream of rejection slips?Sure, you can get lucky first time out, once in a blue moon.I did.
How to Get Free Publicity in In-flight Magazines
If you're targeting an educated, more affluent audience with your message, and your topic is a good fit, in-flight magazines can be one of your best publicity tools.A quick look at the statistics should convince you:--Many of these magazines have high circulations.
Griselda spent hours polishing up her resume. No detail was too small: type face, layout and spacing.
Is Now the Time for a Play about the War in Iraq?
Everone knows that comedy is mostly about timing. If you hit upon the right nerve (is a funny bone a nerve?) at the right time then, usually, you don't even have to be original or even marginally funny to win laughs.
Be A Savvy Writer: Go Where The Business Is
If you're a writer, you're in business. It doesn't matter whether you're writing picture books, or a self-help book for underachievers, or promotional material and flyers for anyone who wants it.
The Practice of Writing
Virgil, the great Roman poet, wrote "Practice and thought might gradually forge many an art." From this we can assume that practice comes before thought, and so it is with present day writers.
Want to start a publishing revolution?
Calling all publishers, editors, journalists and freelance writers. It's time to breathe more life into your copy.
Resignation Letters: Dont Let Yours Backfire On You...
It turns out that "tips and templates on how to writeresignation letters" is the third most sought-afterinformation at my Writing Help Central Web site.So, when I looked into the subject more closely, I wassurprised to find that there is not a lot of guidanceavailable in guide book form on how to write a proper andappropriate resignation letter.
How You Can Find Freelance Editing Jobs
Freelance editing opportunities are out there, you just need to know where and how to look for them. As a matter of fact, there are hundreds of companies that are waiting for you, right now, to fill their job vacancies.
Making Money from Freelance Writing
Making Money from Freelance WritingIt's the question that every aspiring freelancer eventually finds themselves asking: is it really possible to make money from this? The kind of money that lets you keep a roof over your head and feed your kids occasionally, that is?Well, yes, it is. But let's be honest: it's not easy.
What you Dont Know About Book Publishing Can Cost You
Dream that your book can be a number one best seller? Read books or visit Web sites that say they have your answers? -- All you need to do is get their program, follow their advice, and the world is yours. Or, you think I'll write it, but someone else can market and promote it.
Editing for Perfection - The Personal Statement
This article contains a short guide on how to edit your personal statement and create tension and suspense within your writing. For most potential students there are some clear reasons why they wish to embark on university.