For The Love Of Characters

Characters.  A word with multi-faceted meaning if ever there was…

My, but he’s a character!

This is my favorite application of the word.  It says so much, yet leaves a great deal to the imagination.  Ha!  In writing, authors strive to capture the essence of that sentiment, morphing a set of typed characters (Ah!  There’s that word again) into a personality that draws you, excites and amuses, puzzles, leads you forward within the story, attaching you seamlessly to their emotions and deepest desires. Becoming more than two-dimensional names printed on a white background, our favorite and best-loved characters capture our hearts and minds – are as real to our mind’s eye as a friend, an enemy, or a lover.  Well, that’s the goal, anyway.

One fun way to reveal a character’s character (Okay…I’m taking it a bit far with my use of the word, but I cannot help myself.  Really. *snorts with delight at own perceived wit*  Apologies extended.) is through dialogue.  I’ll share a back and forth exchange between sister-like characters in my latest novel, a paranormal romance titled The Third Fate.

Being one of four sisters (and having four brothers) I love including sibling relationships in my novels.  The dynamics between siblings allow for quirky interaction – siblings say to you what no one else would dare! (At least mine do…)

Paige Kinnell, speaking on the phone to her twin cousins after a mysterious, dream-like adventure of the night before….

‘What is it, Brooke?’

The cheery voice on the other end ignored her rude beginning.  ‘You have something to tell us?’ her cousin, Brooke, teased wickedly.

‘What would I have to tell?’ Paige questioned, having no idea what her cousin was about.

‘Don’t you dare play the shy little virgin this morning, Paige Kinnell!  We want details, woman!’

Brooke’s voice carried overly well through the line, and Paige held the phone away from her ear, protecting her eardrum.  ‘What in all of Hades are you about, calling me in the morning asking me silly questions?  Details?  Of what?’

Brooke screamed in exasperation.  ‘Of that beautiful man you went on about last night on the phone!  You know, the one with the black hair?  The icy blue eyes?  The body built to make a saint sin?  That’s who!’

Oddly, Paige did not remember that; however, she did remember the man.  The man from her dream.

Oh Bother!  How can I explain this?

‘I must have been dreaming or something.  Sorry, but there’s really nothing to tell, girls.’

‘Paige, honey…if those are your dreams, I need to know what you were drinking before you went to sleep!’  Brooke laughed, relating the conversation to Lara, who guffawed in the background.

Paige smiled, her first of the morning.  They made her crazy, but she couldn’t imagine life without them.  ‘All right, you two.  I’ve got to get ready for work.  Call me later.  Maybe I’ll get out of there on time for once.’

‘You should come out with us tonight,’ Brooke invited.  ‘We’re going to Jinty McGinty’s…It’ll be fun.’

‘I don’t know,’ Paige hesitated.  ‘You know I don’t drink much, and sitting around while everyone else does is not all that fun.’

‘Oh, come on!  It’s been an age since you let your hair down.  All work and no play make Paige a dull girl.  You’re too timid, Paige.  How are you ever going to land a man if you…’

Someone or something interrupted Brooke’s sage-like lecture, saving Paige the trouble of begging off the line.

‘Sorry, Paige!  Gotta run!  I’ll call you at seven sharp.  And for the love of Henry wear something more risqué than a turtleneck.’

The line went dead, and Paige heaved a sigh of relief, muttering as she readied for work.  ‘What’s the matter with my turtleneck sweaters, anyway?’

The Third Fate © Nadja Notariani, 2011

 ~ Nadja

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8 thoughts on “For The Love Of Characters

  1. Nadja Notariani

    What you say is true, Claudia – it is no easy task to get characters to ‘jump-off-the-page’. First you must reveal the character’s heart through their interactions with others in the storyline – then, let that character’s character help them to shine (jump-off-the-page) when the drama, conflict, etc. comes and they must act.

  2. Shauna Granger

    Great snippet choice! I’m always afraid my protagonists are going to sound alike until I let them talk and then I find out, nope, totally different characters on stage!

  3. Nadja Notariani

    I worry about that as well, Shauna. But you’re correct, once they start interacting – they’re different as night and day. Lol. Glad you liked the ‘Kinnell-Girls’…they were great fun to write!

  4. *Snorts at your wit, too* 😀 Wow, you come from a huuuuge family–what was that like growing up?? I bet you had a lot of fun. 🙂 I love reading about sibling relationships in books, so I had fun with your snippet. Dialogue has got to be one of my favorite things to write.

    1. Nadja Notariani

      Ahhh! A fellow laugh-o-holic…(I salute thee…lol) Anyhoo…
      Growing up with my many siblings was a riot! We certainly caused no small commotion for our parents, who managed us quite well, I’d say. The stories we now look back on …and confess to our parents..Well! There was also a great deal of fighting – four boys is no joke, and two of us girls were not afraid to duke it out with them…which my parents didn’t enjoy so much. Four girls and only a bath and a half was no laughing matter, either. My poor father was forever cutting himself on dull razor blades! And the hormones flying about…it was like a pack of banshees some weeks! Lol.
      Do you have siblings?

      1. A bath and a half?!?! Oh my gosh!! My husband uses the bathroom for longer more than I do. When we had a house with only one bathroom, he was the one who monopolized it. The man likes his bubble baths, what can I say? LOL 🙂 Hahahha @ the pack of banshees! I only had one sister growing up, and she was six years older, so not too many scuffles there. 🙂

  5. Nadja Notariani

    Hmmm… a husband who likes bubble baths! Ha! My husband is more of a five minute shower guy who leaves his shaving mess in the sink. Oy! We have two daughters (now grown and out on their own) and three boys (still at home) We also have only a bath and a half. It’s better for me with the girls gone – I actually have a shelf in my closet with all my hair products and make-up sitting NEATLY – and no one takes/uses/loses/ it anymore! Imagine that! But my sons can sure leave a bathroom in a state of national emergency.

    It’s nice you have a sister. I think every girl should have a sister – and if not a sister, a sibling. :} (No offense to brothers…I love each and every one of mine) but still… lol.

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