Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Realism of Characters

I am the analytical reader and writer. Everything I read is thoroughly analyzed for realism. With that said, it should be a given that everything I write is also analyzed for realism.

I'm often questioned by young people, who are also aspiring to be authors, why can't characters just be whatever you want them to be or do whatever you want them to. The answer is quite simple - if the character is not believable then the story is not believable. If the story is not believable it will not sell. Today, although many readers are reading for escapism, they still require a certain degree of realism in order to be able to relate to the characters and the events that occur in the story.

My first finished full-length novel, "Sticks and Bones" is written with a stark dose of realism to drive home a point to young people. I won't give a story spoiler here, but in order to write for young people they need to be able to see themselves in the story. Not always as they are in their own real life, but even as they might be in a fantasy story. "Sticks and Bones", a mystery crime thriller for young adults, required a certain amount of realism regarding high school students of today and why they do what they do in order to spark the interest of young people.

It was a fascinating adventure spanning four years immersed in the world of high school students of today so that I could demonstrate that realism in the book. This, in itself, is a testament to why characters can't just be what you want them to be. In this particular case they had to be as real as the reader and the friends of the reader. The characters of the book and their worlds are easily identified in the lives of the readers. A young adult will be able to say, "That sounds just like so-and-so," a person well-known to themselves. At the same time, I had to create adult characters that were just as realistic as the high school students of the story. If I had not created these realistic characters neither adults or young adults would understand the crime and why it occured thus diminishing the point of the book.

"Sticks and Bones" has yet to be published, however, I am hopeful that it will be picked up by a traditional publishing house and disseminated across the world. As arrogant as it might sound, I feel that the message carried in this book will send it soaring to the top of the readers lists all around the world.

The novel I am currently working on, "The Ten Thousand Hands Project" will astound even the most critical or skeptical reader. It is a work of fiction that has a very real place in the world in which we live. It will cause readers the world over to take pause and question what they honestly believe to be true in the world and what they don't. Why? Because of the realistic nature of the characters. Building characters is difficult. Characters require knowing everything about them - what they like or don't like and why they do or don't like those things; what are their physical attributes as well as their psychological attributes and how do each of these connect with the world in which they live - a world that must be created by the author with just as much realism as the characters themselves.

"The Ten Thousand Hands Project" is the prequel to the series, "The Malakai Chronicles". There are fantasy books, books on the occult, books based on religious history - but there are few books out there that touch the subject matter in "The Ten Thousand Hands Project" or "The Malakai Chronicles". I am hopeful for publication with this series as well and know that it will take the reader world by storm.