Author photos taken by Robert Abrams in Paris, France.

THE STORY BEHIND THE STORY - Rebecca Buckley's Blog
Welcome to my blog. Here I'll talk about almost anything. Depends on the mood of the day. I'll also talk about publishing, writing techniques, and editing ... subjects close to my heart. So today, anytime you feel like it, feel free to jump in ... click on the COMMENTS link at the end of a post and give your opinion. If you sign in "anonymous" to comment, it's easier, just be sure you say who you are in the content of your comment.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Making it real!

Making it real is what the writer does with his characters. That is, if he wants it to feel real, having the characters leap off the pages so the reader feels as if they're in the room with him, or he's right along with them on their adventures or journeys. How do we do that?

Well, first off, with your main characters, whatever the number (I usually have six, amounting to three couples), create a different personality and characteristics for each of them. The easy way to do this is to make a characterization journal with page headings using names, or you can do it with index cards. For instance: John, Mary, Richard, Rhonda, Gerald, Louise. If you use index cards, you can have multiple cards for each character, and when you need to refer to them you just go to the index card holder and flip to the name for instant information.

Now on each page or card describe the characters: physical descriptions, favorite clothing, quirky habits, whether they are slow moving or fast, chatty or not, loud or on the quiet side, and so forth. Descriptions. The reader must be able to instantly visualize the character every time he reads his name or reads about him.

Next what are your main characters' goals and ambitions in life, in love, businesswise, and family? What do they think about? How do they express themselves? How do they behave in stressful situations, happy situations, sad, etc.? Are they highly emotional or hide their feelings?

What about their history and early life, their childhood? Were their parents loving, were they raised by one parent, or by grandparents, or on a farm, in the city? Big family, only child? Was there alcoholism, physical or sexual abuse? How were they affected if there was abuse or otherwise?

And so on.

Get to know each and every main character's heart, mind, and soul ... so the reader will be able to tap into that source through you. And the more you know the innards of your characters, you can't help but put it to paper as you are writing. Make sure you do. Share that information with your reader through the character's thoughts, dialog, and actions AND through other character's observances and interaction.

So, make it real ... regardless of the genre. Your characters must be believable in all facets.


  1. Good advice, Rebecca. I use something like index cards for my characters, but I do it virtually - on the computer. At the end of my work in progress I have my characters' descriptions, etc. and also refereence material for the setting and timelines, either through links or actual script.

    You already know that I am big on dialog and I use that extensively in developing my characters through their speech habits. It works for me, but I always wonder how it comes across to my readers.

  2. Well, being one of your most avid fans, I can assure you that your characterizations are top notch. And it's because you do your homework, as you say. And it's at your fingertips. Good job, fella.

  3. Phil's book is on the bookshelf below ... Granny Boo - Legacy of the Puma Man.


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