How well do you know your characters? For me, I create my characters by a motive or trait and then work out the rest of the details after. With my character, Matthias, I knew I wanted a strong, powerful angel. But I wanted one that was a fierce protector and everything he does stems from that protectiveness. Why is that? Well, I don’t want to ruin it for you if you haven’t read The Seer, but there’s a specific reason.
Today, we have author Pam Watts Harris with us, and I can’t wait for you to delve into her writing tip for the week.
Name: Pam Harris for my juvenile books and Pam Watts Harris for my teen/adult books.
Genre: Juvenile mysteries, historical fiction, contemporary romance, contemporary romantic suspense, all with a Christian world view.
Debut Release: Aimee was released last summer, and last fall Smoky Mountain Brides was released, a book containing two novellas, one by Katt Anderson (“Keeper of the Stars”) and the other by me (“Can’t Help Falling in Love”)
Writing Tip for Authors: I don’t know if this is actually a writing tip, but author Patricia Bradley, during a brainstorming session, asked me “What is the lie (character) believes about herself?” I love this question, because it causes me to think about who my characters truly are and understanding their motivations. It is a challenging question but worth considering.
I love this and love Patricia Bradley! It’s crucial that we know what motivates our characters, but asking it in this way makes it more human. We all struggle with some sort of a lie that we believe about ourselves, and if someone reads a book about a character that is going through the same thing, then the reader will connect to the character on a much deeper level.
Learn the craft. Read books about writing, be a member of a critique group or local writers group, read books in the same genre with a critical eye. Develop thick skin, because you’ll need it if you want to grow as a writer. Embrace the criticism and learn from it. And if it is what you want to do, never give up.
Having thick skin is hard, isn’t it? Writers have to be vulnerable to get the emotion to come across in writing, but at the same time, you can’t let that vulnerability hinder your progress and learning. It’s a hard thing to balance, but it’s vital to a writers life.
Aimee Winters has made the bravest decision of her life. Left alone and homeless, she has accepted her father’s offer to stay with him in the Arizona territory and teach at the local school. The problem is she has no memory of her father, having been raised by her mother and taught that her father died when she was a baby. Hungry to know the truth of her past, she leaves Memphis behind and journeys alone to the mountainous region where she faces challenges she never could have anticipated. The rugged living conditions and the isolation of the community are almost more than she can bear, but she is determined to prove she can do things “the Arizona way.” It doesn’t help that the handsome rancher, Levi Raines, seems to take special delight in pointing out her weaknesses. It isn’t long, however, until her heart is woven into the lives of her students, their families, and especially Levi. As their relationship grows, the shadow of their very different backgrounds and goals is ever present. Can they find common ground?
A native Tennessean and former Arizona resident, Pam Watts Harris developed an interest in writing at an early age. She writes historical and contemporary fiction for females of all ages and draws on her personal experiences and observations to create characters that reflect the Southern and Western cultures with which she is most familiar.
Pam has brought us some crucial tips that every writer needs in their toolbox. What about you? Is it hard for you to develop “thick” skin? Do you understand the lie that your characters believe about themselves? Join us in the discussion this week, and check out Pam’s book, Aimee and connect with her on social media.
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