Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Author Spotlight - Shirley Kiger Connelly talks about making characters come alive

Story characters are inspired by those we observe throughout our lives, by experiences we've had with friends or acquaintances, both to the good or bad. Often the inspiration for our character comes from what we wish could happen to us or what we hope would never happen, but it’s sure okay for our characters. After all, these are just characters. Even if they fall from the sky, we won't feel a thing.

How about getting a character through a dream, especially a guy character. I could give you many examples of that potential guy, but then I'd have to share him. I'm not prone to pass on what took so long for me to dream up.

The characters in our stories must come alive The last thing we want is to see the character turn into cardboard, with no life-breath, stilted, easy to discard, inanimate, and without interest to the reader.

As you write, ask yourself how interesting your character really is. Does he jump out at you? Is he a person you'd like to get to know or invite into your home one day? Maybe he’s one you wouldn’t dare say hello to.

Oftentimes, we, as writers, need to step back and look with more of an objective eye to make sure our character is substantial to the story, doesn’t lack depth, and doesn’t seem artificial.

How do you avoid those uninspiring, uninteresting little men and women? How can you breathe personality back into them?
1 Give them memories.
2 Give them flaws.
3 Give each a past life.
4 Give yours a terrible memory or a nasty relative.
5 Provide something they want desperately to forget.
6 Make them flawed but find something to give them appeal.
7 Give them feelings; make them noisy or quiet, happy or sad, smiley or frowny.

You get the idea.

Always remember, a character without substance bores the reader in no time. Before you know it they'll close your book and grab another from their TBR pile.

There are numerous ways to inspire your character into that one that the reader finds irresistible--a fragment from someone somewhere. People all around you are interesting to observe. Writers can find them everywhere. It's amazing how quickly we can find that suitable one to fit our story needs perfectly. It works every time.

Buy links:



my website: http://shirleykigerconnolly.com
my author page at facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ShirleyKigerConnollyAuthor?ref=digest_email#!/ShirleyKigerConnollyAuthor
my twitter: http://twitter.com/shirleyhere

Review snippet from Decisions Book One: Say Goodbye to Yesterday: “From heartache to love to forgiveness and redemption, this novel will leave the reader breathless. The best part of this story is that it's the first in a series so there's more to come! I am excited to see what Ms. Connolly has in store with the second book. Take a trip into time, learn to accept your actions and move on with new friends and a fantastic story line! – Reviews by Molly…Romance Reviews


  1. Great article, Shirley. I enjoyed reading it.

  2. Thanks so much Barri. I love thinking up characters. I'll bet you do too.

  3. Great article about characters. I find in my reading that what makes the characters come alive to me is how the writer does the dialogues.
    Thanks for the article. Please add me. I've read some of your books, but am interested in your newest one now.
    Janice Ian

  4. You are so right, Janice. It makes such a difference to have the dialogue right between characters. If it is off even a little, it shows the reader in no time whether it's appropriate for the era or the setting. Thanks for writing in.

  5. I love to people watch to get character ideas, too.:) One of the perks of the business! LOL!

  6. I couldn't agree more, Patty. And what a great way to have the excuse to sit and observe whoever you want.
    thanks for writing in.