Friday, March 27, 2015

Building A Character

How long does it take to build a character? Joe Smith walked into the conference room of the law firm of Smith, Smith, and Smith. He would much rather be home playing acoustic guitar or walking his bulldog, Elmer.

Do we know Joe now?

Sometimes we can identify with a character in a few well-crafted sentences, particularly in novellas. On other occasions it can take half a novel to truly understand and relate with a character, if not longer.

I can remember reading The Donovan series by Elizabeth Lowell and seeing glimpses and snippets of the character, Archer Donovan in Amber Beach and Jade Island. By the time Pearl Cove came around, I was salivating to know every essence of this man. Elizabeth had whipped me into a frenzy.

I am happy to reveal the cover for MIST, the second book in the Blue-Link series, which will be released this June. MIST, and the first book, SHADOW are stand-alone pieces. The term ‘series’ applies because each book has dealings with a global risk management company called Blue-Link. In each book we get a glimpse of Amanda Newton, the young, enigmatic owner of Blue-Link. Even in her brief appearances in the first two novels, we identify with her intelligence, drive, and unflappability. Yes, I’m the author, but I have a reader’s anticipation for the third and final book, DUSK, which will reveal how Amanda has come into such an impressive role, and exactly what makes her tick. 

In this case it has taken three books to build a character, but like everything else in life—the more we work for it, the better the gratification.

Are there characters that you have followed through books, or are you a hit and run reader?  There's nothing wrong with that. I'm a hit and run reader, but every now and then some stray personality in a series will get their claws in me and I'm eagerly along for the ride.

Maureen A. Miller
www.maureenamiller.com


9 comments:

jean harrington said...

Yes, a series does allow the reader to really get to know a character. Though that said, Nelson DeMille uses the same character, John Corey (sp?) in multiple stand alones, and I'm always happy to see him reincarnate.

And how, over the years, I've wished Charlotte Bronte had written another book starring Jane Eyre.

Maureen A. Miller said...

Oh Jean, I'm so with you on the Charlotte aspirations!

Toni Anderson said...

I love reading series. I love those glimpses :) Much harder as a writer to build series though LOL. Reader expectation can be crippling :)

Anne Marie Becker said...

I know what you mean about glimpses whipping a reader into a frenzy. If a secondary character becomes the hero/heroine in the next book in a series, I almost have to buy it. LOL I get so invested in them, if the author does it right.

I had a character like that in my Mindhunters series. Becca worked for the same agency as my heroes and heroines of Books 1-3, but had to wait until Bk 4 to get her HEA. By then, readers were demanding it. LOL For some reason, they really connected with her.

Marcelle Dubé said...

Congratulations on the upcoming launch of Mist, Maureen. Love the cover!

I'm pretty much a hit-and-run reader, too. I'm not often attracted by series, but every once in a while, one will grab me by the throat and not let go, like our own Shirley Wells' Dylan Scott series, or Louise Penny's Three Pines series.

Maureen A. Miller said...

@Toni - When I first wrote BEYOND, I never expected to endeavor into 'series-land', but it was either that or write a 2000-page novel. :)

@Anne Marie - Book 4! Poor Becca was surely stomping her foot by then! :)

@Marcelle - Thank you!! And yes, Dylan Scott keeps us all coming back for more. :)

Rita said...

I love series and stand alones. I love good stories. AND I Love your cover.

Maureen A. Miller said...

Thanks so much, Rita! :)

Shirley Wells said...

Love, love, love that cover. Wonderful. So atmospheric!

I agree with Toni - reading expectation can be crippling, LOL. :)

And I'm blushing. Thank you so much Marcelle, for your kind words about Dylan Scott. I sorta miss him now. :)