One of the most important elements of any work of fiction is character. If they are irritating, unbelievable, or flat in any way it can mean the difference between turning the next page or deleting the entire book from our readers. Authors strive to develop characters readers will sympathise with, understand, love, or even love to hate.
Creating a believable happy couple who find themselves in a world of zombies on their wedding day couldn’t have been easy. And when the apocolypse further tests their commitment to one another, throughout a journey across Southeast Texas, character development must have been challenging.
Here today I have author Greg McCabe, who shares how he managed to do just that.
That Character Has Character
By Greg McCabe
One could argue that creating and evolving characters is one of the most important aspects of writing a novel. When writing my debut novel, The Undying Love, I created roughly twenty characters (not counting animals), and discovered a method that worked best for me.
I found the process of creating a character easier when a real person directly inspired the character. A person or even combination of persons inspired almost every character in my book. These people may be friends and family members or they could even be celebrities or historical figures. As long as it’s someone that I’m somewhat familiar with, I can use him or her as a basis for creating a character.
Using a real person as inspiration for a character helps me define the character’s motivation. It also gives each character unique thought processes, decision making abilities, and speech patterns.
For example, let’s say I have a character inspired by my wife, Mandy McCabe. I might name this character Tina Thompson to play on the alliteration of her name. She’d obviously be smart, funny, beautiful, and blonde. Tina would also have an eight-month-old baby on her hip. Now let’s say I have another character who is inspired by George Washington. I’d probably name him Wally DeGeorge. Wally would be an older gentleman with white hair and painfully obvious fake teeth.
Now, let’s say that Tina and Wally are standing in line at a bank that is suddenly robbed by armed men in masks. Considering my wife inspired Tina, I imagine that Tina would be scared, but still have her wits about her and do everything in her power to protect her baby. A brave General inspired Mr. Wally DeGeorge, so I imagine that he might try to be a hero and break up the robbery.
Just by using real people as a foundation, I was able to make up character names, give them a physical description, and define their motivation with relative ease. Of course this is an over-simplified example, but the possibilities for this method are endless. You could have a character be inspired by two individuals, or an entire group of people. You could have their physical characteristics be inspired by one person and their emotional characteristics be inspired by a completely different person.
Creating characters can be a fun, yet highly important process when writing a novel. Well-crafted characters can make all the difference in the world to a story. My last bit of advice would be to always be mindful of creating characters inspired by someone close to you. There’s a good chance they could read the book and recognize themselves. So have fun creating your characters, but be careful how you portray your friends and family!
The Undying Love by Greg McCabe
For Diane and Jackson, life is just about perfect. They’re healthy, happy, and madly in love with one another. Unknown to them, a virus is sweeping across the globe that instantly kills the infected and turns their corpses into mindless, murdering cannibals. In short: zombies have taken over the planet.
Diane and Jackson find out about the epidemic the hard way when their wedding is crashed by friends and family who have succumbed to the virus. Now, fighting for survival, they’re faced with unthinkable decisions.
Follow their story across Southeast Texas as they meet unforgettable characters and face challenges that will put their love, and lives to the ultimate test.
About the Author:
Greg McCabe is a proud Texan. He was born and raised in Midland, Texas, received a degree in Speech Communication
from Texas A&M University, and currently resides in the Lone Star State. He enjoys spending time with his wife, Mandy, his daughter, Annabelle, and his dog, Walter, as well as traveling, sports, movies, reading, and writing. He enjoys all genres of fiction, but seems to gravitate towards horror and science fiction. The Undying Love is Greg’s first book.
Must announce that on 23rd of September my first ever Goodreads giveaway began and lasts for one month. You can find it here. Please go enter to win one paperback copy of Finding Esta. If you would, please mention it somewhere, that would also be wonderful!