Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Day 2 with S. Dionne Moore!

In my past blogs for my books, I've talked at great lengths about the historical facts used to make stories come to life. But what about my characters? Who are they and how do I develop them? Evolve might be a better word. My characters generally develop traits based on what will be happening in the plot and what hurdles they will have to jump in order to reach a satisfying ending.

For Promise of Time the idea of two people falling in love across the lines that divided our nation in 1863 fascinated me. Ellie is a Northerner, Theo a Southerner, but Theo is first and foremost a man. A young man thrust into the atrocities of war because of the things he saw his family and friends suffer at the hands of the Yankees. He had watched the North wreak havoc on everything in the South and he wanted to fight to protect what was left.

From this I delved deeper into who I wanted this man to be. How did the realities of war affect him? Theo would, like many, be unprepared for the stark realization that it had become his job to shoot at a man just like himself, but labeled his "enemy."

But what if the months of war, of death and destruction became too much and he couldn't take it anymore? What if, on the eve of watching yet another friend die, he also saw a man who was his "enemy," but also a relative, murdered. . . ?

You can see the mire of questions I used to develop Theo into the character he became for Promise of Time. I wanted Ellie to be understanding of his mental anguish, thus she had experience working with the wounded in the aftermath at Gettysburg. But in spite of her compassion, wouldn't the idea of falling for a Rebel be repugnant to her. . .or could she see what others could not. That Theo was a man first, then a soldier.

How do you develop characters?

(Photo Credit: Google Images)


  1. It's a dance, isn't it? Who leads - plot or character? And you do the waltz well.

  2. How interesting that we both wrote stories growing out of the Civil War during the same month! /
    A dance, for sure. My characters grow as I write. I understand their basic motivations and background, but they come to life under my fingers.

  3. It's always exploratory for me, discovering who the characters are as I thrust them into tighter spaces. I'm trying to be more deliberate about my characters in the planning stages and pairing unlikely-but-complementary heroes and heroines to see what happens.

  4. Thanks for coming by, gals. Funny how developing characters can be so tricky. If they just weren't so real to us, maybe they would cooperate better. :)