Guest Post: Brianna West on Character Development

book-review

Joining us today for a humour packed guest post on the importance of character develoment is the wonderfully talented author, Brianna West.


The Joys of Authorhood: Raising Fully Developed Characters

Hello all aspiring and current authors desperate to figure out how to fully raise your characters into complex, well-developed, functioning-in-plot characters! I’ve come here because I was once like you: scared, unsure, slightly crazier than normal people and talking to all the voices in my head. The characters whose names you need to figure out, whose personalities aren’t complex enough, aren’t realistic enough to be featured in your current or maybe not even your future work.

Don’t be discouraged! I’ve come to give you my experience with how to raise fully functioning, story-ready characters and how to develop them over the course of your work in progress.

First things first, whether you plot your story out, outlining every detail, or you just write where your characters lead you, guiding when need be, characters that aren’t fully developed can sometimes cause a story not to feel real or read as well as one that has characters fully realized.

  1. Aw, he’s got your morbid sense of humor—get to know what their personality is. This is something I tend to do when I’m “imagining” how I want interactions to go. Whether or not the two characters would fit together with certain aspects of their personality. It’s a good time to figure out what characteristics you might want from them. Are they quirky, broody, moody, playful, quiet, and so on so forth. It’s important to get to know them and figure out where their personality needs improvement or adjustment.
  2. Playdates are fun until someone’s kid gets killed—there’s been a time or two where I’ve been unable to fully grasp an interaction between two, mostly because I haven’t really written them before or it’s been a while. So, giving them a test run in a small written interaction might help tighten up some of the aspects you were hoping to achieve or where they could change when dealing with other characters.
  3. Scarred for life—backstory is something you can get away with not knowing much of to begin with, having it develop over the course of a story and getting to know their history as the story unfolds. But it’s a good idea to have some sort of idea where you want your character to have come from, even if just that their daddy was a drunk and their mommy a drug-dealer.
  4. Growing up sucks, but it’s great for plot—the most important is the growing and changing of a character over the course of a story or series. Seeing them change as it goes along, reacting and transforming due to encounters, other characters etc., it gives the reader a sense of knowing them and real-time movement that builds a relationship with the readers that all the above doesn’t build in such an intense way.

These are just a few things to think about when dealing with character development, but in the course of my authorhood, the most important. Hopefully these help you raise well-developed, happy characters and not angry, superficial serial killer characters that spend their life blaming their author (unless that’s what you were going for).

Happy Writing!

Brianna West.


71zctz9tEAL._UX250_.jpgBrianna West lives in beautiful Northern California with her wonderful husband and four adorable children. She writes funny, real stories that are accompanied by humor and supernatural elements. Recently published in October 2015, Brianna has gone on to add several books to her main series and spin-off series since then.

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Web Presence: What I Know Now

I thought I’d do a ‘what I have learnt’ post. I dislike posts that dictate what is right and wrong because, in my opinion, there is only what works for you. This post is purely based on my experience.

I should have started building my web presence before self-publishing my debut eBook.

giphy (41)I never had a Twitter account, Facebook author page, or blog. It was after researching self-publishing that I decided social media was a wise idea. When it came to Twitter, I felt prehistoric. I had to ask Mr.O what ‘RT’ meant. Yep, prehistoric.

Now, I am happy to admit, I’m a Twitter aficionado. I quickly picked up the lingo and how to use a hashtag, and I’m loving the Twitter community I am now a part of. If I had joined Twitter before my eBook launch, I would have had a wider audience to market it to straight off the bat.

The same goes for my blog. Why I didn’t start sooner is beyond me. I love the blogging community and sharing my musings, excerpts, and any EVO Nation/ EVO Shift gossip. A blog is another great way to gain a target audience. It would have definitely been a help to have had my blog as a platform for EVO Nation’s release.

There is one downfall to all this web presence, and social media to keep up with… I can waste hours on it and not get any writing done. Swings and roundabouts, eh?

Editing Processes

I find it interesting to hear other writer’s writing processes, particularly in regards to editing. I can almost hear the resounding groan from writers everywhere. There isn’t a fool proof way to edit, or a quick way for that matter… (if there is, please inform me- seriously!)

Here is a run through of how I tackle editing:

1. I leave my first draft to breathe for about 4 weeks, so I can go back to it with a fresh head.

2. I do not print out my first draft to edit in paper form. I know a lot of writers like to view their draft in paper form as it helps them to look at it in a different perspective, but just the idea of all that paper makes me palpitate. Yes, I know paper can be recycled, but paper cannot be recycled forever. Each time paper goes through the process, the fibres get shorter, the paper quality diminishes, and sometimes the paper only lasts four or five cycles at the most. I edit on the computer to save using paper in the first instant.

 3. I use a colour system during the editing process. I work through each chapter using the highlighting tool in Microsoft Word. If I’m happy with a paragraph I highlight it in yellow, if I think something needs re-writing it gets highlighted in green, and if I really don’t like something I highlight it in red.

4. As I do my highlighting run through, I also keep my notebook beside me and jot down everything I need to double check, research further, or add in/ take out. This ensures the narrative runs smoothly, and any little details I miss when drafting don’t get missed during editing.

4. Once I highlight my way through the whole draft, I go back through and start to rectify the green and red highlighted sections. I also use this run through to work through the notes I have taken, and make the necessary amendments. Time consuming is an understatement. This part of the editing process takes me the most amount of time.

5. Once I am happy with my amendments, I complete another run through to make sure the changes work with the rest of the story. This part of the editing process is also my chance to check the basics- grammar, spelling, and so on.

6. After the initial editing process I read through my draft once again. I probably re-read EVO Nation about fifteen times (I’m not exaggerating). I worked my butt off for nine months, so I wanted to ensure my finished manuscript was perfect.

Please let me know your editing processes, and your tried and tested tips.