Creating Characters

editing1Yesterday, twenty of us gathered at Symposium Restaurant for a workshop with award-winning author J.K. Coi.  Having written several novels in the urban fantasy, contemporary and paranormal romance genres, Coi is best known for creating compelling characters that “leap off the page and into readers’ hearts.”

Some of her tips…

  • Strong characters will offset weak plots.
  • Allow your characters to have flaws. There is no tension or growth in a perfect character.
  • Keep in mind that believable does not translate into realistic. Inject an element of fantasy to entertain the reader.
  • Make your character so unique that they couldn’t be dropped into any other book.
  • Feel free to make tweaks and twists that readers will appreciate, but not throw them out of the story.
  • Avoid cliches but respect reader expectations. If you must deviate, add humor or provide an appropriate back story.
  • Character-driven books have depth and are more memorable than plot driven stories.
  • Give your characters complicated relationships.
  • Secondary characters are there only because they have a purpose. They should not be more interesting than the protagonist.
  • Use other characters to reveal the protagonist’s blind spots.
  • Figure out the intricacies of the characters before starting the novel.

Coi also provided us with information about Romance Writers of America and Toronto Romance Writers.

Thanks to Cindy Carroll of Guelph Write Now for organizing this event.

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