Today I’m pleased to be taking part in the blog tour for Gloria. My post is presented with thanks to Rachel Gilbey at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me on the tour and to Katherine Shaw for writing her guest post.
She just needed to get through this one night, and then she could leave. Forever.
For all intents and purposes, Gloria Harrison has the perfect life: a rich husband, a beautiful home, and all the free time she needs to work on her art. And yet, she is deeply unhappy. Initially resigned to be pushed around by her snobbish, manipulative husband, Greg, she discovers a shocking truth about him she simply cannot ignore, and has to get out.
As Gloria’s world unravels around her, she has to team up with friends new and old to escape not only her husband’s clutches, but also the country, even if that means giving up everything.
Gloria must rediscover who she used to be and realise her true worth to finally free herself from Greg’s stranglehold forever, or risk losing the person she holds most dear in the world – her daughter.
Katherine Shaw writes about how she creates her characters.
As writers, we all have an aspect of storytelling which is our absolute favourite, and I personally love the process of character creation. By this, I don’t necessarily mean coming up with the most exciting, superhuman, mind-bending heroes, but creating real, three-dimensional human beings with their own wants, desires, motivations and backgrounds. Whether it’s a brave solo adventurer in a one-off short story or a supporting character in a series of novels, bringing characters to life is both enjoyable and critical to making a good story shine.
So, how can you do it and why does it matter?
Not everyone enjoys doing these, but I can’t stress enough how useful a character questionnaire can be. If you’re unfamiliar with these, they are basically a list of standard questions you answer for your main characters to flesh them out more. You can find these readymade online, or make up your own by considering the most important elements of a character’s background, traits and values. I don’t always use them, but when I do I’ve found them to be both enjoyable and extremely valuable.
Ten minutes spent on a character questionnaire can provide me with a wealth of information to draw on as the story progresses, whether it’s the character’s past and previous relationships or even just physical attributes to keep myself consistent throughout the story, such as eye colour, exact age and height. These might not seem important at the start of the story, but when you’re halfway through and need to refer to them it is very helpful to have a crib sheet handy!
The Past Fuelling the Present
One of the most valuable consequences of taking the time to flesh out your characters before writing a story is the creativity it sparks. Once you sit down and dig a little bit deeper into why they’re the way they are, you stir up all sorts of great ideas for the current plot you’re working on. Through doing this, I’ve created side-characters, sub-plots and romantic interests that I never expected, but which enhanced the story and made it feel so much more real. Plus, as a plotter, it means some of the hard work gets done for me!
The Value of Motivation
Something I learned through years of playing Dungeons and Dragons is how a character’s motivation is absolutely critical. If you don’t know what drives a character at their core, how can you possibly know how they’ll react to a given situation?
I’m sure, as a reader, you’ve encountered stories where it seems improbable for a character to choose a certain path or react in a certain way to another character’s actions, and that’s why understanding and properly using motivation is so important. Even if I decide that I don’t need to do a deep dive with a character questionnaire, I always always always make a note of each character’s motivation, and that keeps them from acting in a way that will be jarring to the reader as I work my way through the story. Yes, it might mean my characters stray from my outline a little as I realise they wouldn’t do what I need them to do, but that’s great! It means the story feels real and whatever happens next is where the magic happens.
Not only do I put time into creating three-dimensional characters for the sake of telling a good story, I also do it because it’s fun! As mentioned above, I’ve been playing Dungeons and Dragons for years, and as much as I enjoy the battles and adventuring, I absolutely love the character creation. I’ve written literally pages of backstory for my characters, and they’ve even gone on to inspire some of my short stories because I enjoyed spending time with them so much.
Sometimes, if I’m struggling to kick-start a story or I’m stuck for ideas, I’ll start off with the seed of a new character, build them up and before I know it I’m having such a good time I’ve virtually plotted out their entire life!
My Favourite From Gloria
So, which of the characters from my recently released novel GLORIA is my favourite? I’d love to say it was a difficult decision, but it really isn’t! My hands down favourite is Meryl Hoffman-Mills – the stylish yet kickass artist and gallery owner who plays the mentor role in Gloria’s story, and is pivotal to her successful escape. She was a joy to write, and is definitely the most quotable character from the book – in fact, one of her lines features on all of my bookmarks and stickers I made to promote the novel! Feedback from my early readers has suggested she’s a fan favourite too, although I’d love to know which other characters people prefer.
Well, that’s it! Hopefully that gives you a bit of insight into my love of character creation, and if anyone ever wants to chat about it with me, I’m all ears.
Gloria is available from Amazon.
You can follow the rest of the blog tour here: