by RJ Blain
Paranormal Suspense / Urban Fantasy / Supernatural Thriller / Light Paranormal Romance
Date Published: June 25, 2015
The world is full of corpses, and Jackson knows them by name. When a group strives to destroy the Inquisition, his powers may be all standing between the supernaturals and extinction.
However, when he learns the truth behind the deaths of his wife and unborn daughter, Jackson may prove to be the greatest threat of all to the survival of mankind...
When I read a book, I want to follow the story of a character who captures my heart. I want to care what happens to them. I want to see them succeed. I want to hold my breath and worry if they’ll fail. I want to laugh with them, and I want to cry with them.
Good characters breathe life into a book. A story with an excellent plot will fall flat if the characters aren’t vibrant. Writing good characters is hard. Over the years, I’ve had the honor of working as an editor with some truly talented authors. Their characters were fantastic—the stories needed work. These stories were so often some of the best to work with.
Once an author understands how to write characters readers love, they can fix the mechanics. Learning to write characters readers love is difficult. Why?
How can one put to paper what makes a reader love a character? So many times, it’s a combination of everything that character is. Every decision and emotion a character has melds to give a reader a truly interesting—and touching—experience.
When I think of characters I truly love, I realize they have one thing in common. They are relatable. They aren’t me—but I can understand where they are coming from. I can relate to their interests or their situation. I understand them on a deeper level.
Characters I love to read resonate with me. Their situations and the way they deal with them are something I can appreciate or sympathize with. When I write, I try to capture that by working with characters—people—who appeal to me on some level.
That leads to the murky depths of the Mary Sue—or the act of inserting a character you want to be or are. I don’t write like that, nor do I want to write like that. Honestly, I try to remove myself as much as possible from my characters, although some things inevitably seep through.
I want to tell the stories of interesting people. The keyword is in that single sentence. It’s people.
Good characters feel like real people. Good characters touch on what it is to live, and through them, we experience something new—or something familiar from a different way. A good character sometimes challenges our beliefs. Sometimes, a good character stands in solidarity with us. Sometimes, a good character is a person we wish we could be, if life hadn’t gotten in the way.
Sometimes, a good character has the calm comforting presence of a close friend.
Good characters tough others, and that’s a skill that has to be learned through experience. Sometimes, in order to learn to write good characters, an author merely needs to take a look at the world around them and capture it on the page.
Sometimes, an author needs to look at the works of others and learn what separates a good character from the flat, shallow ones.
I personally believe good characters are experienced each and every page. Without them, a book simply can’t shine. That’s why I read—for the experience of meeting new people.
It’s also a strong part of why I write. I want to meet these new people, too.
About the author:
RJ Blain suffers from a Moleskine journal obsession, a pen fixation, and a terrible tendency to pun without warning.
When she isn't playing pretend, she likes to think she's a cartographer and a sumi-e painter. In reality, she herds cats and a husband, and obeys the commands of Tsu Dhi, the great warrior fish.
In her spare time, she daydreams about being a spy. Should that fail, her contingency plan involves tying her best of enemies to spinning wheels and quoting James Bond villains until she is satisfied.