Friday, July 27, 2012

Guest Post by A.K Flynn: Interactive Character Relationships

It's time again for another Literary+ Blog Tour!  Today's lovely Guest Blogger is A.K. Flynn.

Literary+ is a writer based project brought together and lead by Shen Hart. It brings together passionate, quality self-published writers to help each other promote their work, bringing more readers to every member. It was sparked by the simple fact that there are many top quality self-published authors being over-looked because they do not have the time and resources to efficiently and effectively market and promote themselves. With ambition and passion, Literary+ will take its members to the heights they deserve through a tight-knit community of like-minded writers.

Interactive Character Relationships

You've read it before, and you have questioned this exact question over and over again; why in the heck did this author put this inconsequential character in here it’s ruining the novel! I know I have read it, and I have written it, but I mostly kill mine off to get the plot back on track and keep my characters happy. (I think sometimes my characters talk to me in my dreams telling me to kill characters, or else they will haunt me.) Can you imagine a relationship with your friends that consist of incoherent babbling with lackluster interactions for a year! Well that’s the anguish you place on your readers when you have a character that is purposeless, and yes it can feel like a year when reading these types of characters. I often picture them being tormented in an incongruous way, which makes me tingle with vengeance for butchering an otherwise great novel.

To a huge degree, the art of character is really the art of characters in relationships. That means that writers need to think carefully about those crucial interactions between characters. Not only do the characters need to be fresh, quirky, and lifelike; so do those moments of meeting and interaction. If you have two key characters, the first meeting will be charged with significance. The choices you make there will echo through the rest of the book.

The characters you choose for your novel will help create conflict and make it easier for your audience to understand the resolution of the story. Furthermore, they create the dialogue and tone of the novel. I will admit some stories do not need dialogue, but I find that dialogue benefits many to understand the type of relationship each character has with one another. Remember that all fiction, and some non-fiction, requires drama to retain the reader’s attention. Writing dramatically means getting readers to wonder “what next?” as the story progresses. Do not confuse dramatic effect with melodrama.  Effective dialogue advances the plot and reveals information to create a unique story. So your characters interaction needs to be placed strategically and not haphazardly. Strategically placed characters that interact with the main character will encourage the parasocial affect in your readers which is crucial to keep them amused and invested in your novel.

You will also need to keep track of your characters throughout your novel, and I highly suggest you create a character map of each and what roles they play within the novel. The characters need to be consistent so that reader is able to make an emotional connection with them; instead of becoming frustrated with inconsistencies. You must know your character inside and out in order for them to interact with the protagonist, and know if they are they going to create a subplot, or add to the main plot. You need to be aware of many aspects of these additional characters in order for them to create a pragmatic and dynamic storyline. Remember that every sentence, piece of dialogue and interaction in your novel must serve a purpose, and if it does not then delete it or save it for a different novel.

Moreover, be vigilant about how your characters interactions change over the course of the novel. The changes could strengthen or weaken the reader’s interest in the additional characters. This may include circumstantial, environmental, subtleties, emotional, physical or psychological, and these changes can impact or influence the dynamics of the relationship with the main character. Think about how these changes impacted the characters; what did this relationship look like in the beginning of the book? What does this relationship look like now? What events or other characters caused the change in the relationship? How did the relationship change impact the characters? These key questions will aid you in keeping the story consistent and less frustrating for your reader’s when they follow each character’s storyline and interactions. Also keep in mind your audience and how simple or complex you want to make the relationships. Too simple can mean your novel will sit on a shelf; too complex and your novel might be thrown out of a window. So try and keep things balanced when it comes to these delicate relationships by keeping your audience in mind.

Your characters will take on a life of their own and it is up to you to breathe life into them. Do them justice by giving them the opportunity to be worthwhile to your readers, as characters need to interact and their pragmatism and authenticity dwells in those relationships. If you get those interactions right, you’ll be on your way to writing a brilliant novel.

Well I’m off to eradicate a few of my characters in unfathomable ways, because for me “A procrastinator’s work is never done!”

Salutations! My Name is A.K. Flynn, I'm a 27 year old bright eyed bushy tailed Child and Youth Worker to be, who is very ambitious and absolutely in love with writing all sorts mind perplexing Fiction. I also tend to pour my emotions out on the screen as it  is the only thing that keeps my hectic life sane. As of right now my website and second novel seems to be a major focus and writing is my major outlet so it all pans out perfectly. Oh did I mention I was a redhead? Well now you know! So you know my writing has got to be good, because redheads are very spontaneous... (runs off into the distance babbling to herself) 

About Lucid Dreams:

In dreams we are anyone we want to be, they are our escapes, our hopes and our will to thrive. Dreams are a pathway from one proverbial world to another; a safe little realm where we can explore and not be harmed, or so we thought... Ishya is a dreamer that suffers from insomnia, she finds herself questioning if her visions are real, or simply a lucid dream of which she controls. She slowly drives herself to the breaking point, and believes her sanity has truly left her. She uncovers the puzzling pieces that help her come back to the real world, but is it a dream or is it real? The lucid dream state is a rift not easily found, but once the gateways are open, a vivid dream is no longer a dream...

Relevant Links:
Where to Buy: Lucid Dreams
Writer's Blog: Perplexing Minds
G+ Profile: A.K. Flynn

Previous Stop on the Blog Tour: Character Creation Conundrum hosted by JD Savage
Next Stop on the Blog Tour: Gizmos for Non-Writers hosted by A M Jenner

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