Guest Blogger Babs Morton on How To Decide on Character.



What a character!

VLUU L310 W  / Samsung L310 W

I do love terriers, always have done it’s that combination of feistiness and fun that is so endearing. Jess, our current pooch, is a five year old Border terrier. An ace ratter and occasional dispatcher of moles and other vermin, she is also a perfect family pet. However she surprised us this weekend when one of our chickens, aptly named “Chicka”, was under the weather. Jess is rather fond of chickens, in a non-predatory way, specifically our chickens, though I do believe she considers them to be her chickens. Throughout the weekend she kept a vigil in the chicken run sitting quietly alongside Chicka. When necessary she accompanied her to the food bowl and back again to a shady spot. Now, I like to think that Jess sensed Chicka was less able to fend for herself and suppressed her natural instinct to kill anything furred or feathered. Then again, she might just have been making sure she was first in the lunch queue, should Chicka take a turn for the worse.

So where am I going with all this?

Well, when I’m writing I invest a great deal of time in my characters. I want them to be believable and generally throw in a few flaws and temptations for good measure. A hero can have a dark side and an anti-hero can surprise us with a good act. It’s what makes them interesting…and human. I also like to leave a few things open to debate, so the reader can decide for themselves.

So, back to Jess: A solicitous, canine poultry keeper with a heart of gold, or a cunning predator just waiting for an opportunity? What a character… hero or anti-hero? You decide.

B A Morton 2013

I think she’s a dear with a heart of gold that wouldn’t let an opportunity for an easy meal pass her by. 🙂 But what do you guys think? Opportunist, or good dog?

And how do you shape your characters?