Author K.D. Richardson


Character Development

Posted by kdrichardson on November 13, 2013 at 10:45 PM

Question: How do you come up with the characters you write about in your books?

Answer: Well, that depends on the book of course. Many times I use pieces of personalities that I’ve run into in my life and morph them into a complex character in their own right. In my book, A Union of Souls, the main character is actually portrayed through two personalities. I have known each of those types of people and in my life. They were on each end of the spectrum, and that made the united character a joy to write about. With The Second Season book, I was able to relate somewhat to that character, Clubber Wilson, as I played a little bit of sports in high school and ran into that type of competitor; a gifted athlete who came from a troubled home. Now, in the book A Different Drummer, the personality was one I was familiar with –an older man who has had ‘his run’ in life and now sees less days in front of him than behind - but the scenario was totally from my imagination.

Question: I take it that the situation these main characters find themselves in tilts the individual one way or the other. Do you find that to be the case with the characters you write about?

Answer: Oh, of course. In my book, Spirit of the Season, the main character originally was an older homeless man. In A Different Drummer, the character was of a similar build and similar age, but each man was on different ends of the spectrum. In A Different Drummer, Taylor Ross came from a very troubled home life, yet he made it big in the music industry and ended up quite wealthy, yet unfulfilled. In Spirit of the Season, James Downey was an older homeless and penniless man. He, too, was living an unfulfilled life. Similar characters, different setups. And, I think that’s the way it is in real life if you think about it. Then you get into the whole nature vs. nurture argument.

Question: How much of yourself goes into each character?

Answer: Well, as far as the main characters go, a little bit of me travels with each one. I think many authors follow that path. In my sci-fi/historical fiction book Journey Across Time, that probably would have been me if I had encountered that situation. That’s the closest any character I’ve written about comes to the actual me. I guess that’s because that was the first fiction I penned. Some of the ups and downs experienced by each main character I developed by either calling upon my own life’s experience, or I will think back to when I’ve run into a person experiencing such trials and tribulations in their lives, and mask and apply it to my character.

Question: is it difficult to write about the opposite gender as a main character?

Answer: For me, very much so. I’m able to write about an opposite gender character that is not the main character, and do so effectively, but I haven’t really attempted to use that type of thinking with regards to a main character yet. I say yet, but I really don’t foresee that happening in the near future.

Question: about minor characters; how important are the two your stories?

Answer: Several times in my writings I have taken a minor character and turned them into a narrator. In other words, I use this minor character as someone who is speaking to the reader as if saying, “I know this extraordinary person; let me tell you about them.” Occasionally, I will use a background character as filler. In The Reawakening, a book I have had this coming out in February, 2014, I have a doctor and a psychologist who play a very important part in telling the reader what is going on with the main character, yet they only appear two to three times in the book. In my latest work titled Winner!, I use a minor character to demonstrate the difference between someone who is grateful at a small windfall, and the main character who feels entitled to a giant windfall. The former is quite likable, the latter, not so much.

Question: Okay, you brought it up; nature or nurture?

Answer: Wow, that’s a difficult one because two people can be affected in very different ways when encountering the same situation in life. They may be from quite different socioeconomic backgrounds, yet they end up reacting similar to a given circumstance. In that case, of course it would be nature. And of course there have been people who’ve succeeded against great odds and therefore would lean towards nurture. As far as the characters that appear on paper, nature virtues nurture? Hmm, in that case, I suppose it’s in the eye of the pen holder.


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