Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Gemma Juliana~Seeing through the Eyes of Your Characters

Thanks for inviting me to be your guest today, Roxanne.

One of the most exciting prospects when starting to write a new novel is getting to know what makes your characters tick. I always look forward to writing the heroine’s name on one sheet, the hero’s name on another, and starting to fill in ‘facts’ about them.

Sometimes I think I know the characters because they have been banging around in my head for a while, only to be startled once I sketch them out on paper.

For instance, in the early stages of writing The Sheikh’s Crowning, I decided Princess Yasmine was a shy virgin princess, untouched by human hand. She’d lived a sheltered existence in her brother’s palace, until a rowdy, deep and brooding FBI agent from the USA landed in her world and rattled her sensual cage.

Not so. Yasmine didn’t tell me until Chapter Two that I must go back and rewrite her. She was not a virgin. She was a widow who knew what love and loss was all about. Her experiences led her to determine she would never again love any man whose career was dangerous enough to cost her his life.

The meek, timid woman I’d first envisioned Yasmine to be was a figment of my imagination. That’s saying a lot, as a fiction writer! In reality, Yasmine was a passionate, experienced and sexually starved woman whose heart was breaking at her loneliness. Kings and princes courted her, but none of them made her heart sing. She was crying out for the right man to come into her life and help her feel alive again, but she wanted him on her terms.

Then there was Rick, her hero. He shocked me as well, but not as much as Yasmine. He was the consummate bachelor, in love with his career and with a passion to ‘get the bad guys’… He’d enjoyed short-lived affairs with a rich array of women around the globe, but always guarded his heart.

Rick had no problem pursuing Yasmine when he thought her an ordinary woman, but as soon as he realized she was a princess, he jumped to the conclusion she was too rich for his blood. He couldn’t possibly offer her the sort of life she deserved.

When writing a story, it isn’t enough to get into the heads of your characters, nor even their hearts. As authors, we must become each character, and see their world through their eyes and from their point of view. Acting as if you are that character will reveal hidden gems and facets of their personalities that will never be revealed simply by writing about them.

The Sheikh’s Crowning is a novella with heat level R, and is available as an e-book on Amazon. It is the latest story in the Sheikhs of the Golden Triangle series. Yasmine wants Rick to give up his dangerous career before she can entrust her heart to him. Rick says he can’t consider being with a princess anyway, and he has no intention of giving up his career. When it seems they are locked into a hopeless situation, a twist of fate blows the lid off their issues and offers them an unexpected alternative.

Sometimes a unique location is as much a character as the people who populate a book. I found this to be the case while writing a holiday ghost romance about undying love called Christmas Spirits. The novella takes place in Winterthorne Castle, nestled away on an estate of enchanted land in Ireland. The castle is elegant, lonely, haunted and yearning for a family to call its own again. It was very much a living, breathing entity as I wrote the story, and I was aware of “being” the castle on several occasions, seeing the characters through the castle’s eyes. “If these old walls could talk…” This is still my favorite story so far, for two reasons: Winterthorne Castle and the theme of eternal love.

Thanks for stopping by Roxanne's blog today! What do you think is most important when breathing life into a new character?

Gemma Juliana lives with her alpha hero, a magical dog, and her teen son in an enchanted cottage in north Texas, where she can be found plotting, writing stories, drinking fancy coffees and sampling as many forms of chocolate as she can find. She loves doing research, spinning new stories, and hearing from readers. Her newest release, Autumn Masquerade, will be available on Amazon in mid-October.
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J.D. Faver said...

Good job, Gemma. I agree you have to climb in your character's skin if you're going to portray them on the page.

Brenna Chase said...

Great post, Gemma! It's always interesting when characters have their own ideas. Good luck with your book!

Gemma Juliana said...

Hi JD,

Thanks for stopping by! The question is, are characters in your head as well as you being in theirs?

Gemma Juliana said...

Lovely of you to stop by, Brenna. Thanks for the well wishes.

Melissa Keir said...

Great post! It is important to really know your characters. Of course sometimes they do lead you on a rollercoaster ride!

Gemma Juliana said...

Hi Melissa,

So nice of you to stop by! While we think we are having fun with our characters they are having just as much fun with us.

Janice Seagraves said...

Hi Gemma, Nice interview. I think you need to know your characters exterior goals as well their interior goals.


Gemma Juliana said...

Hi Janice, it's good to see you. I agree.

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi, Gemma,

Like you, my characters live in my mind for a long time before I commit them to writing. And yes, they do change once they become concrete. If our characters become "real" to us then there's a good chance they will also become real to our readers.

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