Breathe Life Into Your Characters

What’s most important to you in a story? 

The plot?

The ending?

The flow?

How about the characters?


All of the above should coalesce into one amazing, unforgettable tale – if only it was so easy! 

Even if your plot is thin, or your ending not to everyone’s satisfaction, you must have characters that people can identify with. A character to love. A driving force so the reader will want to see what happens to them. Perhaps mixed in with one they will hate who is stopping your character from achieving their ultimate goal.

While you don’t always have to have a character as an agonist, you do have to have one they’ll love, otherwise there is no reason for them to read on.

How do we accomplish that?

Write about people you know. I mean really really know! You have family, friends, co-workers, we’er surrounded by living breathing characters – use them. They don’t have to know and you can mix a trait from one person with a different trait of another. Thinking about the real person, how they act, talk, or move, breathes the life into your fictional character.

Not all my book reviews are stellar, and that’s okay, what always pleases me the most are the comments on my characters. After all, they are the story. 

Snippets from my reviews: 

The little girl, Montana, was my favorite character. She always added joy to the story and the characters who had given up hope.

Amell, retired US army general and rancher, won my heart, which made reading The Used a bumpy ride, but how could he refuse to defend innocent

Once you start reading this book, you’ll become best friends with her characters. I and Finn are like two peas in a pod now. I love his humor. The author has given each of her characters a distinctive personality, which I love.

There were a lot of things that Theresa did that many other authors seem unable to overcome. The first was the character differentiation.

Characters are fresh and diverse, they evolve in their own opinions and intimate thoughts.

Her characters are well developed. It leaves you wanting to meet each one and have a conversation. I especially love Chief Salinger!

The characters felt real. One in particular I found a touch annoying, but when I encounter people like that in life I have that reaction. So I liked that it brought a genuine reaction out of me, which is always good.

You will connect with Jacobs’ characters right away, making the fear that they feel much more tangible.

The characters are what really shine in this haunted house tale.

Do you have a different way you build your characters? Please share your ideas with us. It never hurts to try new things. 



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Adverbs, Stephen King, and the rules.

Let’s talk a bit about grammar rules.

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King,

The adverb is not your friend. 

Adverbs … are words that modify verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs. They’re the ones that usually end in -ly. Adverbs, like the passive voice, seem to have been created with the timid writer in mind…SK.

My biggest challenge as a writer is grammar. I feel like I have a grammar disability. I love to write. I love to read. In fact, I have read thousands of books over the years; too bad I haven’t been able to grasp grammar by osmosis. But I push on, give it my all, and pray my editors won’t give up on me, because I am a great story teller, (hint, hint, shameless plug).

Every time I write, some of these rules snap me out of flow and say, ‘wait, you can’t use adverbs remember!’  and I have to stop and try to re-work the sentence to fit. Many times, I give up and tell myself I’ll fix it before editing.

Imagine my shock when I decided to re-read one of my all-time favorites, The Talisman by King and Peter Straub, and I noticed this page littered with adverbs.

12 of them on page 51







Utterly rational and utterly lucid (back to back in the same sentence)





Okay so what does this mean to me? Or you? Uh…rules are meant to be broken!

Also, I don’t think Mr. King was being a stickler, but perhaps teaching newbies to pay attention to their writing? If I’m lucky, he’ll get wind of this little blog and come chime in 😊  Yes wishful thinking, but stranger things have happened. Ramsey Campbell wished me a happy birthday! FAN GIRLING

Anyways I digress. I found this great blog from someone with a strong grasp in the art of grammar, and it helped me understand a bit more about the rules.

I hope this helps any others who tackle the same struggles I do. Drop a line, let me know what you think.


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