Fifteen years ago, Vicki Delany started writing on Sunday afternoons. Living in Oakville, she was working full-time as a computer programmer and raising three daughters on her own. In spite of those challenges, she managed to write three suspense novels that were published to critical acclaim by Poisoned Pen Press of Scottsdale, Arizona.
In 2007, she took advantage of early retirement, sold her house and travelled around North America for an entire year. Afterward, she settled in rural Prince Edward County. Somehow, this prolific writer found the time to write twelve more books during the past five years. Her latest in the Klondike gold Rush Series, A Cold White Sun is forthcoming in 2013 and Gold Web in 2014.
Last evening, she led an informative and entertaining workshop on “Creating Realistic Characters” at the Waterloo Community Arts Centre.
Some of her tips include…
- A good mystery novel isn’t really about the crime. It should be chock full of psychology.
- Separate yourself from the character. If she resembles you too much, you will find it difficult to make her face conflict.
- Always ask…What is the worst thing that can happen to the protagonist?
- Make the conflict personal for all your characters.
- Sidekicks work well if they’re opposite to the protagonist.
- When creating a villain/antagonist, ask…What sort of person believes the solution to their problems lies in killing someone?
- The villain must be believable. Avoid falling into melodrama and stereotypes.
- A good villain could be a flawed hero.
- Don’t provide too many details about secondary characters who appear only once.
- Every suspect must have a reason to lie. In order to know why they are lying and what they are lying about, you have to know a lot about their background and personality.
- Send your completed manuscripts to publishers in Canada and the United States.