Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Guest post by Kara Leigh Miller & Jody Holford + Giveaway

Creating Strong Characters

by Jody Holford & Kara Leigh Miller

There are loads of awesome articles about how to develop strong characters. You can create long outlines or lists that help you get to truly know your character inside and out. When we create our characters, particularly the women, we want to create someone that audiences can identify with, connect to, and see themselves in.

There’s a careful balance when putting together a character because they must be flawed but not annoying. No one wants to read an entire book about the girl in the horror movie who knew better than to go outside. She’s annoying. This is why she doesn’t last in the movie. If she’d just listened to you screaming at her not to, she wouldn’t have opened the door and she’d have survived.

However, they can’t be perfect, because that is also annoying. None of us are perfect and it’s human nature to compare ourselves to others. That’s hard enough in real life, but in fiction, we want an escape. We want to fall into a world where we could be friends with the character. Someone who never messes up, falls flat on their face, or makes a mistake is not realistic. Likewise, how they recover from those moments impacts how we feel about them.

Our character Kristy has several flaws. For one, she’s ignoring the fact that she has anxiety and posttraumatic stress disorder. She doesn’t heed the warnings from her friends, she blows off their concerns, and she ignores the symptoms and signs that she’s escalating. To balance this and hopefully make sure that readers don’t become frustrated with her, we have to have other qualities that redeem her. She’s funny, even when she doesn’t mean to be, which is sometimes funnier than if she’d tried. She’s got a charming innocence and faith and looks at the bright side of situations. She’s a loyal friend, she’s brave, and she’s willing, finally, to ask for help when she learns she’s in too deep.

For every characteristic we have, in real life and in fiction, there is a positive and negative. We capitalize on that when we write. So, for example, stubborn could be a highly irritating trait in a character if they never listen to reason, if they won’t do what they should, or if they push back against those trying to help them every time. Yet, flip the coin and that same stubbornness can be what saves a character’s life, helps them find the answers because they didn’t give up, and in Kristy’s case, refuse to let Jackson block her out because he’s scared of feeling too much.

The key, in our opinion, is to try to make a character that is relatable. Even your closest friends have ‘quirks’ or things you might wish to change. Your fictional friends need these as well. They need the good and the bad, the up and the down to round them out, to balance them and make them authentic. When you do that, you allow the reader to fall deeper into the story so it feels more like they’re along for the ride.

Jaded Love by Kara Leigh Miller & Jody Holford

They can pretend they’re fine…

Moving to NYC is supposed to be the fresh start Kristy Andrews so desperately needs, but she can't seem to shake the after-effects of having been kidnapped last year.

Detective Jackson Reed never meant to kill an innocent man, but knowing that doesn’t change the guilt he lives with every single day.

But they can’t hide forever…

When Kirsty and Jackson meet, the connection is instantaneous, but neither is ready to open up about their pasts. Can love and trust conquer their demons?

In order to have a future, they’ll have to face their past…

When Kristy starts receiving threatening messages, her anxiety kicks into overdrive, but the last thing she wants is Jackson worrying about her.

Jackson may doubt his ability to return to active duty, but he has no doubts about his instincts concerning Kristy. Someone is trying to hurt her, and he refuses to let that happen, even if it means going back to work; something he wasn’t sure he’d do.

As the threats increase, Jackson shows Kristy that strength doesn’t mean facing her fears alone, and Kristy shows Jackson that forgiveness starts from within. Can they save each other before it’s too late? Or will the past come back to haunt them?

About the authors:

Kara Leigh Miller

Kara lives in Upstate New York with her husband, three kids, three dogs, and three cats. When she's not busy writing romance novels, she's spending time with her family or attending one of her many writer’s groups. An active member of The Romance Writers of America and the CNY Writers Haven, Kara is also Managing Editor for Anaiah Press' Surge and Romance Imprints. She absolutely loves to hear from her fans and fellow authors, so feel free to drop her a line anytime!

Connect with her at her 

Jody Holford

Jody is a wife, mom, reader, and a writer. She is also a blogger and follower, a word twister, and a Gemini.

Connect with her at her website - Twitter


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