I’d like everyone to welcome Hayden D. Linder to the WBR today. Hayden is the author of The Hand of Death, an epic fantasy set in a mythical land based upon the culture of feudal Japan. Let’s continue helping Indie Authors one book at a time!
I would like to thank Bee for the opportunity to address all of you. As an idea for this post Bee mentioned that my character building process might be an interesting topic. I loved the idea because that was one of my favorite parts of writing my story. For those of you who do not know this, the vast majority of you I’m sure, I am Hayden D. Linder and my debut novel The Hand of Death is an Epic Fantasy about ninjas and wizards. The cast of characters is rather extensive but I felt it was important to the story. The book is written in a journal format, and in life you don’t just stop interacting with certain people because you grew up. I also believe the cast adds to the submersion factor of the story. When you see characters reappear that you recognize from earlier chapters it’s much like seeing an old friend.
Which brings me to “Character Building!” or “Why characters do what they do.” If you have watched any television in the last 20 years then you know there are these shows with HIGH drama. Most of them have these moments where the character is offended about something another character did and all us idiots watching this drivel are screaming at the T.V. “He believed you were dead, you Idiot! That’s why he kissed her!” …So, anyway that would be the feelings you get from BAD character building. The writer isn’t looking into why or how his characters function. He just needs a scene to go a certain way and he will force it in that direction without any finesse. He is usually doing this because…
GOOD “Character Building” takes time. You have to not just envision the conversation but delve into what’s motivating each person in the scene. What were they doing before this scene? How has this interaction changed them? All that takes time as writer and in Holly Wood they just aren’t always prepared to put that much time into it. YOU, however, had better if you want your character interactions to read as believable. I had to wear a character “Anaido” the merchant around for several hours. And he only shows up three times in the novel.
I can’t tell you what method will work best for you but I can tell you what I did and give you a starting point to experiment with. I hope that will save you a few rejection letters at least.:) For myself, I would come up with the general conversation and once I had it on paper I could maneuver it better. And yes, the first draft sucked. They always do. The important thing is to get that first draft written down. Once it is out of your head then you have something to work with. Anyway, I would read over the draft and play it back in my head several times and look for what else might be going on with the characters. There was something about playing the conversation on repeat in my head that made it easier to spot the unbelievable portions of the dialogue. Once I had those down it was much simpler to find what would be a believable comment or statement from the character.
One of the tricks that helped with my people coming across as believable was that I would skylark about them having conversations over mundane things; like when they were children playing together or having breakfast that morning. Things that I knew would never go into the book but helped me to have a three dimensional picture of the characters. My knowing that Daimyo Daiki did not enjoy puffer fish, not because it could be poisonous but because it had a metallic after taste to him, told me volumes about the man that I was able to draw upon for the novel. And yes. Reading it back to myself where an imaginary person I made up dislikes a delicacy favored throughout Japan because he claims, in – my – head, that it tastes bad, DOES sound crazy. But you know what!? You’ll buy the guy when you’re reading him!…
In all seriousness, this is the level of thought that you want to put into your characters. It is the difference between “great” and “dull.” If it is crazy, then be crazy.
Thank you all.
The Hand of Death
Epic Fantasy Fiction
About the Book:
In the mythical land of Giapan, most young boys dream of becoming brave samurai or great masters of magic, the Onmyoji, who can heal as well as engulf cities in flame with but a gesture. But not Shotoku Hiro. Hiro only wanted to see the city outside the walls of the castle.
To see what went on somewhere, anywhere other than the samurai district of Shiro Goemon. And once he worked up the courage to actually do that… no one could have guessed where it would take him.
The Hand of Death is a Fantasy novel set in a land not unlike feudal Japan. The story follows a young boy’s journey as the only son of a distinguished samurai who is pushed onto the path of Ninjutsu. A path that, in the golden land of Giapan, can lead to some very frightening places. And Giapan is nothing if not frightening.
Book’s page: https://bookseriesthehandofdeath.wordpress.com/