If you’re not gagging on your characters, you don’t know them well enough. Huh? It’s the old “eat, sleep and breathe” saying I’m referring to. You should feel so intimate with them:
- You chomp on them until you are gagging.
- You feel their arms upon your body when sleeping.
- You suffocate from inhaling their essence.
In other words, know what makes them…well, be them?
For example, after an agent read my query for Beast, he asked me what kind of monster it was and where it came from. I realized I had not made this clear because the story is focused on a boy named Elliot. However in the book, I explain near the end the creature’s father is a demon and its mother is an angel. But this got me thinking, how much did I know about my beast? In order for a reader to connect with your characters, they have to be believable. If you don’t know them, they won’t come to life in their eyes.
This caused me to recall a conversation with a good friend who reminded me angels don’t marry or reproduce. So if demons are fallen angels, I’d say they are pretty sterile…so to speak. I needed to do some research until I came up with something plausible. I needed to know what the beast was and where it came from. I cracked open my bible and shot a text to my friend. Voila, a solution for the father emerged: a Nephilim descendant. Now you’ll call me crazy, but I kept reading and immediately seen how an angel CAN father a child. Cuss me if you want but it’s there! (I will give no spoilers. You’ll have to read the book for this solution when it comes out.) Now I knew more about the world my beast came from. I gave its breed a name: Carrier of Souls. (No, I won’t tell you why. It’s a spoiler.). Beast was coming to life and was no longer just this creature dwelling in my book. And of course, I wove more about beast before the ending…without giving a crap-ton of back-story!
My point? Although I was intimate with Elliot, I wasn’t with beast. You need to know all your characters, the good ones and the bad. Should it be to the point of obsession? Maybe. I’ll let you decide.Happy writing!
Writer of YA