Thursday, September 30, 2010

Characters and Coffee

Image courtesy of
I'm the last one standing. W00t! The guys have all gone to bed, so it's just me and the lap gremlin. Ms. Sass has made a dog nest out of a bath towel at the foot of my desk and is snoozing comfortably. Her mommy, the Divadog, is in the laundry basket, aka the converted doggy bed in the hallway. So I'm settling in with books, assignments, and the internets.

Earlier today I took a look at the main villain in my WIP to see if I could find any secret nuggets of information about him. I did this because I was going through my notes and discovered he seemed kind of one dimensional and flat. Okay, he needed an overhaul. Or maybe I should call it a fiction intervention. At any rate, I was determined to find out what it was that made him so interesting in my mind. What made him a worthy villain.

To get to the bottom of this mystery, I invited him out for virtual coffee - on me, of course.

It's true that looks make the first impression. At least it works that way for me. I took a good long look at what my villain was wearing, his hair and eyes, his demeanor, and the way he held himself during our conversation. I wanted to case study the entire package. He looks like such a handsome, well-to-do guy on the surface, but at the same time, just sitting across from him, it's clear this is someone with a lot of secrets. Someone who doesn't like to talk about himself. Someone who isn't going to willingly let you in. There is danger lurking under that calm surface, and at times, you can see it in his eyes, the way he looks at you as he bends his head to sip his coffee. Interesting.

I asked him about his upbringing, and after getting around his quiet reluctance to divulge anything that might be used against him, he gradually began to talk. I learned that despite his comfortable status and astonishing good looks, he has a brutal past. He doesn't share the same view of brutality that I do, but the nugget of it is ingrained in him, and that makes him twice as dangerous as when I first imagined him.

Our chat went on for a few hours, and I ended up amassing a whole page of startling new information about my villain. His reasons for being the way he is, his point of view about the key situations in the book, and more. He told me many secrets while I created note cards to pin to my cloud board. Without a doubt, some of these things will make it into my final draft. While I'm sure he didn't tell me everything, he gave me enough to transform him from a cardboard cut-out villain, to a worthy adversary for my protagonists. It's amazing the things you can learn just by sitting down and allowing your characters to talk to you. 


  1. cora zane..i wanted to coment the other day all ready but blogger didnt let me so i do it now to let you know i m amazed by the way your work and by your ambition to work your book through,....

  2. Thanks, Danielle. I'm doing everything I can to be productive and write a good book.

    Blogger hasn't been kind to me either lately. I keep getting that annoying 503 error.

  3. i know you do..i do too...but still im very impressed by the way your work:-)

    ach..that blogger error makes me go all gaaaaahhhh.....

  4. Thanks bunches. :*) I do hope they fix the annoying blogger error soon!


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