Character Building

I spend a lot of time creating the characters for my stories. I want them to come alive for the reader, to seem as if they could walk right off the page and up to you in your local Target. I want their problems and concerns to feel real, real enough to make you care about them, to love them, pity them, even hate them.

With that in mind, here are a few links you may find interesting.

An interview with Marny and Esther, two of the leading characters in my newest thriller, FRANTIC.

A post Tim George did about the leading men in each of my novels.

A guest post I did about putting the people in my stories first.

And a few words about the villains I create:

English: A stereotypical caricature of a villa...

Image via Wikipedia

When I set out to create a villain I want someone who walks off the page as a real person. I’m a firm believer in the redeemability of everyone. As far as Christ and the gospel is concerned, everyone is savable. So with that in mind I want to create a villain who is mean and demented and odd but still has the spark of hope in him. I want the reader to have some (even if it’s just a miniscule amount) of sympathy for the villain, maybe even some empathy. I hope readers will, in some essence, identify with his internal struggles and the scars of his past. But more importantly I want the reader to feel and realize “but for the grace of God, there go I.” We all have the potential for terrible evil. Praise God for his grace!

Villains are tricky to write because I’m big on putting a little of myself in all my characters. So with villains I have to tap into a part of me that’s best left untapped. I have to think about things I wouldn’t normally think about (like killing people). This is a fine line to walk. If I stray too far into the darkness I’m afraid of what I might find there and the difficulty I may have coming back. But if I don’t stray enough the character will come off as contrived and superficial. I take this task very seriously and treat it with the respect it deserves.

Question: who are some of your most-interesting villains of all time?

Want to read about some interesting characters? Try FRANTIC.


About mikedellosso

Mike Dellosso is an author of wide-eyed suspense. He writes stories that not only entertain but enlighten.

Posted on February 21, 2012, in Writing craft, Writing Life and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. and it shows that you put a lot into developing your characters


  2. Hannibal Lecter, The Joker, Darth Vader, Mr. Potter (Its a wonderful life)….of course ole Snidely Whiplash and his dog are classics also.


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