I am now onto writing Book 6 in the Maze Investigations series and it’s time for a new character to come in and shake things up!
Not that this didn’t happen in Book 5 (spoiler alert!) but there’s always room for someone new who can add a dimension to the life of one or other of the main protagonists. This time it will be someone coming back into Maggie’s life after a long absence.
How I Go About Introducing a New Character
The first question is always: what do I want this person to add to the story? In this case, it’s to provide information that hadn’t previously been delivered, some of it being controversial/shocking, revealing an unexpected side to the main character. Of course, this has to be relevant to the central book story, too.
Next: is this male or female? Once the question above is decided upon, this one is an easy choice.
Then: How will this character interact with the main character and other established characters? That depends entirely on the character of this individual and this is where the research becomes interesting. Personal traits are what makes a character come to life on the page. I start with a picture in my head of physical characteristics, such as height, hair and eye colour, physical appearance in general. Then it gets more intricate, in deciding what are the basic psychological traits that define this individual and will determine how they will speak and react, what body language they will exhibit and what their actual speech will be. I am not a psychologist, so I need help with this ‘rounding out’, in a set of Thesaurus books by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi. These help define character and traits, negative, positive and emotional, plus the behavioural outcome of emotional wounds.
Finally, the big one: choosing a name. This is harder than it sounds. I go through at least ten rejections before I settle on the right name. And that’s based only on how and when it eventually ‘feels’ right. Nothing scientific here!
As you can imagine, this all takes some time. But, once I have that person firmly embedded in my head, he or she is good to go, and clamber out and onto the page.
Book 5, ‘The Policeman’ is due to be published in early January 2021. I have experimented with a couple of new minor characters in this book, some of whom won’t make it any further, but one who might.
I would be happy to reply to any comments or questions you have about this process. Get in touch at: email@example.com.
Until next time!