Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Keeping Characters In-Character

Hey all, Cheryl here with writing lessons I learned from Disneyworld. LOL! Disney is filled with oodles of diverse, interesting characters. You see them in cartoons, books, movies and even at Disney parks. While watching some Disney cast members in their various costumes, I was intrigued at how well they stayed in-character, not only for children but for adults.

Speaking of, a grown woman (not me!) waited in line for an hour to get her picture taken with the Disney character Aladdin who is Jasmine's hero. When the woman hugged Aladdin, the cast member playing Jasmine tilted her head and wiggled her nose snobbishly at the woman behind her back. All the children in line giggled.

I laughed too because what the girl was doing was staying in-character. Making a pretend jealous face and twisting her nose and sniffing dramatically at the woman getting too close to her man is exactly what the on-screen Jasmine probably would have done. See this reference to Jasmine on Wikipedia: Princess Jasmine & Aladdin It struck me then, and as I continued to study cast members as they acted out their characters at every park we visited, how well the cast members must need to know their particular character in order to do their job and make the children believe they are the real character. I have a nephew who is and was a few different characters at Disney and he has to step in and out of character throughout the day, depending on which show he's participating in that day.

I thought about contest score sheets and recalled how some judges mentioned things like, "I don't think your heroine would react this way...it seems out of character for her." At first I didn't know what they meant, but after my character-development skills improved I understood that for the most part, writers need to keep their characters consistent.

*There are times when it's okay to have a character step out of character, but those times must be intentional and for the purpose of showing either internal conflict or character growth or epiphany. Donald Maass talks about this some when he has workshop attendees write the number one thing their heroes would NEVER do...then have the attendees write a scene that puts that character in the direct situation to HAVE to do that one thing they said or thought they'd never do. *

But for the purpose of this post, my intent is to encourage you to KNOW YOUR CHARACTERS WELL ENOUGH TO KNOW if they are remaining in-character or not. In other words, if you've made your hero out to be a former Military Special Operative who served two tours-of-active-war-duty in Iraq, then it would be hard for your readers to swallow that an inexperienced, sloppy, bone-thin, knobby-kneed teen truant could knock the rock-solid guy over fleeing detention.

Likewise, it would be out-of-character for a heroine who is an infection-control nurse educator to walk out of a bathroom without washing her hands. Yes, some could argue that could be a quirk...but it honestly would look more like sloppy character development. My point with that is, it's okay to have quirks (A very tall Asian hero who hates Asian cuisine as in Ready-Made Family) that defy stereotypes, but don't give them quirks that will only serve to weaken their character or make them look inconsistent.

I recently critiqued a (stellar) chapter that contained a kick-butt heroine. This character REALLY impressed me as did the writer who created her. This book isn't yet published but the heroine is SO strong and SO well-developed, I really feel the heroine alone could sell the book. BUT, there was this one tiny instance where the heroine missed an investigation detail that I didn't think she would because of how spot-on instinctively and thorough of an investigator the author had made her out to be up to that point. If the author had made her less detail-oriented or not as sharp, or a week sleep deprived or something, I might have been able to suspend my disbelief for a moment to consider that the heroine might have missed the detail or forgot to check. But the author so well developed her as a stellar detective, I kept getting snagged on that one part. I suggested to the author that I really can't see her heroine missing something that significant. Yet I sensed the author needed that detail to be left unfound. But in my opinion, it severely weakened the heroine's character to have it be unfound due to her not thinking to check something so obvious. So, if you do something like this, be sure to properly justify or motivate the character's actions in that moment.

I'm sure the author will either justify how the officer missed the observation or she will figure a way to rework that aspect so that the detail gets hidden another way besides officer-fault or lack of checking. By the way, this author is a Seekerville frequenter and I am VERY excited over her writing. As I said, her heroine was one of the strongest I have read in any book lately...published or not and I am VERY picky on characters being likable. It takes a lot to impress me character-wise and this author sure did. I hope by now she knows who she is and I have total faith in her ability to alter that tiny aspect so as not to forsake character for the sake of plot. I also think that once published, her heroine will be very memorable to readers and for good reason.

If you get contest feedback that something feels "contrived" yet the plot point surrounding the part they've flagged is completely sound and believable, then the trouble may rise from the fact that you had your character react or act or do or say or think something that contradicts who you've made them out to be so far. I hope this makes sense.

I'm always surprised at how many things I've heard from contest judges that I then hear from my editors too. One of my last revision notes contained an editorial note that mentioned something about how the heroine or hero did something that seemed off or out of character. So many of the scoring elements on those contest sheets for unpublished authors have been developed by authors who have worked with many different editors and authors who have experience working with editorial teams. That might be something to keep in mind as you go through your next score sheet or comment sheet. The only reason I was able to detect a character-inconsistency in the (stellar!) Seekervillain's work that I mentioned earlier was because I got and get called out on it too and have learned by my own mistakes to pick up on it.

Back to Disney characters: we visited a Disney eatery where Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore and Piglet came out to greet each guest dining. When Tigger got to our table, he stood behind my youngest, put his hands under her arms and proceeded to bounce-bounce-bounce-bounce-bounce with her all over the restaurant. It was hilarious and riotously fun. The person playing Tigger seemed to have trampolines for shoes...I'm not kidding, that's how lively and bouncy he was. Then comes Eeyore and when a child tried to hug him, he put his head down and made embarrassed gestures. If you know the book and cartoon personalities of these characters, you know that Eeyore is shy with a low self-esteem and tends to be somewhat of a pessimist. The four people inside those costumes KNEW their characters and literally became them, acting them out.

To an extent, we need to be so familiar with our characters that it's like we don them like a costume that we crawl inside of and become them for a time while they're on-duty in our stories. In order to keep our characters in-character, we need to whole-heartedly know them, inside and out. You will always learn more about your character as your story unfolds, but whether you get to know your character before or during the writing of your book, you'll have to do less tweaking with regard to their consistency than if you figure them out after you've written the book.

I've jabbered enough. Your turn. I'd love to know some ways that you keep your characters in-character.

And if you're really brave, share three aspects of your character that will remain constant throughout the book.

Lastly, if you have found an inconsistency lately in one of your characters or any character for that matter, don't mention the book or the author, just the situation and how you felt that the character stepped out-of-character in that moment and why.

Okay, enough from me...talk to me about characters you have read or watched or written lately that did or said or thought in a manner that you felt went against the grain of who the author, creator, writer or producer made them to be. Talk away!

Thanks for coming by today even if you're like Eeyore and too shy to comment. :-)

Cheryl Wyatt


  1. Great points, Cheryl. And thanks for the Donald Maass reminder.

    I have Getting Into Character. Great book.

    Is it too early to start the coffee? Is everyone having a hard time getting into the groove today? I'm starting a grassroots movement to abolish daylight savings time.

  2. Deb, that daylight savings time comment is hysterical.

    My daycare moms are in total agreement. They're convinced someone's out to get them twice a year, and the pregnant ones are even more perturbed.

    Their kids won't go to bed at night and refuse to get up in the morning because their internal clocks KNOW they should get another hour at both ends.

    How well I remember that!

    Cheryl, great job here. I love strong characters. Just love 'em to bits.

    It's never too early for coffee, Deb. Nevah!!!

    So I brought some flavored to go with your first pot, and might I add, you've gotten really good at the coffee thing. Sweet!

    And the breakfast buffet is courtesy of Wegman's bakery and carry-out this morning. Help yourself to breakfast pizza done with ham, sausage, eggs, cheese and yes, potatoes, kind of like a frittata on pizza dough, I refuse to even contemplate the carbs or the calories because it's just that good.

    Fruit. Wheat and rye toast. Bagels.

    Dig in.

    We're expecting high forties today and I'm PSYCHED!!!!

  3. When I taught writing at school, I also used the Winnie-the-Pooh characters. They are so distinct that a person knows their separate characteristics.

    My peeve is when the illustrator doesn't know the character and draws them wearing a clothing or hair style that doesn't fit.

    To me, a good book is built on the character. My favorite books are the ones where the characters seem real and I would recognize them if I met them on the street. I hope the characters in my books will be that real to my readers.

  4. Great post, Cheryl!!! I love Disney characters! I've had my picture taken with Tigger and Mickey, two of my favorites. Fun to see walking examples of keeping characters in character. :-)

    Congrats to the Seekerville regular with the entry that impressed Cheryl! She's no pushover.

    It takes time for me to know my characters so well that I know how they'd react. And often it takes writing them. I can't just fill out character charts. I have to see them onstage. Then I discover things about them I didn't know and they become very real. I can go back and add tidbits that keep them consistent. Wish it would all come to me beforehand. Anyone able to know their characters from charts?

    Ruthy, I'd never had breakfast pizza. It's great! Thanks.


  5. Hey, Cheryl, what a GREAT post!! Of course, I'm a character-driven author, so naturally I could talk about characters all day long!!

    And, wow, you are SO dead-on about keeping our characters in character because your readers will KNOW when you step out and it will hurt the credibility of the story for them!!

    Just the other night, my husband and I were watching JAG (our new nighttime habit), and one of the scenarios was about a young female navy doctor who was arrested for a DWI or DUI after an accident during snowy weather, and Harm (the hunky hero ... let's pause here for a sigh, please) was the JAG lawyer assigned to defend her. She keep proclaiming her innocence, stating she only had one spiked egg nog at the staff Christmas party, but she still failed the sobriety test. She was spunky, smart, witty and pretty sharp-tongued with Harm in between coughing fits she would have. When she pulls a bottle of cough medicine out of her purse, Harm grabs it and reads the alcohol content and discovers she had taken several swigs before the cop stopped her, which NEVER occurred to her as a doctor that that could be why she failed the sobriety test.

    Are you kidding me???? I'm dumb as a post in chemistry, but even I know that cough medicine has alcohol in it! DUH!! It instantly hurt the credibility/believability of that character for me and depleted my interest in the story (uh, except for Harm ... :)).

    Great post, Cheryl!


  6. I love the Disney character analogy. I am by turns Eeyore, Piglet and Tigger. :-) And I often describe people by Pooh characters. Recently a co-worker asked me what the new finance guy was like. I told her he was a real Eeyore and she immediately knew what I meant and after meeting him agreed with me. LOL. A.A. Milne certainly had character consistency downpat, don't you think?

    Ways I keep my characters in character: definitely have to know their history because everything they say and do stems from their past. Sometimes, when they're giving me grief I carry them over into my world and start playing the "what would so-and-so do if she were me in this situation?" game. It's actually kind of fun -- and very theraputic and I get to act out of character for awhile. :-)

    Hmmm...three characteristics that will remain constant in my heroine throughout the book. I had to think about that and I know her (or I thought I did) so I guess this is a good exercise for me. 1)Stubborness. 2) Can learn to do anything from reading a book. (I don't know if you'd consider that a characteristic...maybe more a consistent quirk?) 3) fiercely loyal.

    I recently read a historical romance by an author who usually writes contemporary. While her heroine remained consistent throughout the book, she wasn't consistent with the time period, both in actions and dialogue and I found it quite jarring at times. So I'd say it's very important to keep your characters true to the setting and plot as well as themselves.

    Oh -- and Cheryl, I read "Soldier Daddy" and loved it. (I'm currently on a quest to read books by seekerville authors) I think you got the whole consistent character thing down pat, but I wanted to mention that I loved your secondary characters too. Especially Mina, the housekeeper. It struck me, as I read that book, how important secondary characters are to a story. They are often the way by which we get to know intimate details of the hero or heroine and they help to progress the plot and develop relationships.

    Okay, I'll shush now.

  7. I'm having an AWFUL time getting started today - hopefully the coffee will kick in soon.

    When I wrote the first draft of my manuscript, it was completely off-the-cuff. I thought I knew my characters, but I'm just now, after cutting drastically, and then adding new material, getting to know my main character. She's someone who is known for being "Little Mary Sunshine," but she's been hurt. That was the kicker. How does someone who's always been positive, who's always had things go her way, face life when it gets HARD?

    Character sheets didn't help - but it did help me keep consistency with details like her family members, education, etc.

    What a great post. Looks like a good one to share!!

    Oh, and my youngest daughter (known as "The Beast" on the soccer field) was afraid of every costumed character at WDW when she was 5 - except the Pooh characters. She KNEW them!

  8. Debra you need to move to Arizona. We don't go on daylight savings time.

    Cheryl, you can make a teaching lesson out of everything. Love the characterization analogy with the Disney characters.

    Yes, that comment has come to me. "Your character wouldn't do that." That's why I love and need my crit partners.

    Let's see: My character- Geri is:
    1.Independent to a fault - hero might think she doesn't need him
    2.Responsible- when committed-stays true
    3.Doesn't care about stylish clothes or the "In fads"

  9. I totally agree with Ms. Marvin.

    Great post Cheryl.

    Three things about my heroine: she is selfless, she has self worth issues, and she is fiercely loyal.

    My hero funny, blind to other's faults and avoids conflict.

    That took some thinking.

  10. Great post on characterization, Cheryl. It usually takes me a while to figure out my characters. I think I know them, but once I start writing the first few scenes, I figure out that I didn't really know them at all. They usually take on a personality I wasn't expecting, especially the heroes.

    I think the key to keeping characters consistent is letting the characters and not the plot carry the story forward. If you're totally married to the plot, you're more in danger of having your characters do things out of character.

  11. Hi Debra! I love Getting into Character. Yeah...coffeee!!!!

    LOL...thanks for coming by.


  12. LOL on abolishing daylight savings time. I'd totally vote for that.

    Ruth, yum on the flavored coffee! I must have left my manners at Disneyworld...forgot to offer food to our guests! Thanks to you and Deb for saving the day. It's the daylight savings time slog...yeah...that's the excuse I'm claimin'. Oooh...nothing beats frittatas and rye toast. Mmmm! And Ruthy, not only are your characters likable...they're memorable which is even harder to accomplish in mass market, to have characters stand out and be remembered like that.

    In fact I think all Seekers have the knack for creating memorable characters.


  13. Yvonne, that's interesting about the Pooh characters. I'm glad to know it. I have a feeling your characters will be great.

    Thanks for coming by!

    Janet, your characters are some of the most memorable to me. I love them so thanks.

    Julie, you, too. I LOVE the story about the jag character. That's exactly the kind of example I was looking for so folks can see. Thanks for that! Hey, at least Harm was a looker, eh! LOL.

    Kav, great thoughts! I also do the looking into their past thing. I'm glad you mentioned it. That's funny about you using Milne's characters to describe people...but nearly everyone would know exactly what you mean. Thanks for sharing!

    And thanks so much for reading our books! You rock! Hope you love 'em all. Thanks for your kind words about SD. I love creating characters, even secondary ones and taking time to flesh them out so your compliment means a lot.

    BTW I LOVE your heroine's three things...excellent! I think you have a strong sense of how to create lovable characters.


  14. Regina, the last rejections I had from Steeple Hill, my editor's exact words were: "I don't think you know these characters well enough yet. Delve deeper." I did and the story (Chance's which will release in June of this year and is titled Steadfast Soldier) sold. I'm selling on proposal now and so I can totally relate to having to get to know the character mostly before writing the book.

    Before selling, I had the whole book to finish figuring them out. LOL! I know you'll find your groove. Thanks for stopping by. LOL about your daughter...I can imagine what she's like on the field. Makes me wonder if she's scared of the mascots too.

    I rented a Barney costume when my nieces were little for their birthdays. One of them screamed her head off in terror when I walked out in-character. She was TERRIFIED. I felt bad but the other one was beside herself with glee. You just never know I guess.

  15. Great post, Cheryl. And thanks for those Disney pictures. Brings back so many great memories for me. I was in that exact restaurant with those characters! Sigh. Want to go back.

    And for the record, I vote to abolish all time changes. My body doesn't know if it should be tired or hungry and it definitely does not want to get up when the alarm goes off!!

    More coffee please!

    Have a great day.

  16. Sandra, thanks. You are so sweet in encouraging me. I love Pooh characters.

    Tina, I love fiercely loyal heroines. Can't wait to read it! Thanks for sharing.

    Melanie, that is a GREAT point about letting the characters and not the plot carry the story forward. Steeple Hill books, Love Inspired at least, are definitely more character-driven than plot-driven. Thanks for mentioning that for anyone targeting them.

    Okay...I'll check back in later...right after I sip another cup of that great coffee.


  17. Susan, you and I must have posted around the same time. LOL! I want to go back too. I love Disney. Sigh.

    Thanks for coming by!


  18. I have, in my possession, a completely RARE copy of Julie Lessman's next book, A Hope Undaunted, coming in September.

    It's just crazy good. I stayed up way, way way too late last night reading it and finally had to go to bed, but it STUNG. I'm so in love with Cluny and Katie and Julie is doing this wonderful job of bringing in the characters from her Passion series and staying true to those characters.
    Buy it HERE

  19. And now for characters.

    Hmmmmmmm Two things come to mind.

    One, if you truly create three dimensional characters, really do it well, the book is much easier to write because the characters make the choices that are true to type. So a brave man won't run in a pinch (okay, that's too easy, none of our heroes RUN from trouble)

    But lots of little things. Like Cheryl said about the infectious disease nurse. Her whole personality is shaped by her job and her knowledge. So she would always wash her hands, but she also might use a paper towel to open a restroom door. She might bring her own silverware to a restaurant and pull them out of her purse.
    She might be deathly afraid of rare meat.

    Or, the opposite, she might have a very resigned reaction to germs. "Hey, they're everywhere." But if that's true for her, that needs to be revealed then her character needs to live that out in all her choices. She might not flinch when dog licks her face, "A dog's mouth is cleaner than a humans."

    I said two things come to mind but now I can't remember the other one.

    Thinking, thinking, thinking.
    (does anyone remember when computers used to say, "thinking, thinking, thinking," while it called up whatever you opened)

    The other thing is...no wait...oh forget it. If I remember I'll come back later.

    You could have a character who's forgetful and easily distracted.

  20. For my next release, Wildflower Bride, I did a TON of research about white children who were taken in by Indian tribes and raised by them.

    It was really fascinating. The main thing that ran through those true characters was what a terrible time they had adjusting to life back in the white world.

    Except I also found that many DID make the adjustment and in fact, no one wrote much about them. It was the ones who couldn't adjust that had the stories written about them.

    So, I felt like the historical record was a little skewed in favor of the ones with troubles.

    One lady lived for years with the Indians Olive Oatman, had her face tattoed (to keep her from running away) and after she got back, she married and had a career speaking about her experiences. Considering the tatoo all over her face, she really couldn't pretend it never happened.

    Many children kept running away from home and going back to the tribe who had raised them.
    One man lived on land right next to the Indian reservation and made himself very rich and powerful being a go-between with the tribe and the US Government.

    One man moved into a small cabin in the back yard of his brother's house and pretty much never talked to anyone again. He lived for years like that. He had other siblings and nieces and nephews who knew him but knew almost nothing about it.

    There were also a few instances of a man marrying, then abandoning his family, moving a state away, then marrying again and again and again. It was like he couldn't put down roots. He was in many ways WILD, I thought.

    So I wanted my heroine to be true to that image I had of being raised Wild and having trouble adjusting. But I can't have her running off to find a new husband every few years. So she was a struggle to create but I ended up loving her.
    And of course, poor Wade, like he doesn't have enough troubles, now he'd hopelessly in love with Glowing Sun and willing to put up with anything to be with her. Which is a good thing, because she makes him put up with a lot.

  21. Cheryl,
    Perfect for you to be discussing characters today--you write strong characters that are each unique and special. That's tough to do and you do it so well!!!

    Love your Disney backdrop. When I'm in the theme park, I start to believe those characters are real. The parades thrill me, especially when the Prince and Princesses ride by waving. I'm a kid again, at least, at heart.

    Violet, in Killer Headline, was fun to write because she was young and headstrong, which got her into trouble. The book is in the Protecting the Witnesses continuity series so the editors told me what type of character they wanted...someone a bit more impetuous than I had written previously in my other books. The hero is older and tries to keep Violet safe, a difficult task since she's so doggone stubborn as well. Luckily, for her own good, Violet matured by the end of the story. :)

  22. Awww...shucks...blushing like Eeyore here. Do blue donkey's blush red or purple I wonder...LOL!

    Mary and Debby, great thoughts! Thanks so much for your teaching insights. Love both of your stuff too!


  23. As I reread my first draft, I've noticed my heroine jumping out of character every so often, but I thought she was just bipolar. This is a good reminder. Maybe I'll do a read-through focused on making sure my characters behave themselves.

  24. So, I can count on support for the Abolish DST campaign from Seekerville. Great! My dog and cat are completely confused as well.

    Sandra - I know about AZ. One of my best friends lives there so I am always stopping to think...is it 2 or 3 hrs difference now? And by the way, I planned on moving there for many years. I think I gave up. Saskatchewan or at least parts of it, as well as parts of Indiana do the same. You should be glad not to have to go through two weeks each spring and 2 more each fall trying to adjust!

    Julie L - Thank goodness for syndication, eh? Magnum PI stays just as young as he was back in the 80s

    I can't seem to do it right now but I'm planning on going through when this WIP is polished up and get into each character completely through each read through, just to be sure I am in their 'character' but also to see if I've missed anything that they were thinking of while I was busy writing.

    Thanks for the Tigger photo too!

  25. Cheryl,

    thanks for the post. I forego all the character problems and make them all the same. One Male character type, one female. Saves gobs of time and hassle.

    Ya think that's why I'm not pubbed yet.


    Merely kidding of course.

    Sometimes I've had my character, I'm sure. but I know of times where they were thrust into a new world and the hitch fit.

    As for having to pull back on a quirk...I've probably had to do that too. Just trying to think of a way out of character experience.

    But you're right, if the character goes too far beyound themselves too fast it could throw a reader.

    Better to take them through a few little changes to a big one. And the progression shows why the quirk isn't quite out of character anymore.

  26. Great articale. I have a character that once his wife and daughter were kidnapped into slavery, he went searching for them. But the problem was that he ping-ponged between trusting and doubting God. It didn't feel right and I struggled to make him authentic. Then I read about what Donald Maass said. What is the one thing my character would NEVER do? He would NEVER want to be like his abusive, domineering father. I made him do it! And once I did, I discovered something about my character that I think has made him more real.

    He has now walked away from his faith and is slipping into an old mold his father created. But, don't worry all is well in the end. He just has to get there. :)

  27. Cheryl,
    Taking a quick lunch break here. Great post. I LOOOVE characters.

    I love writing catastrophic and/or humorous events too, but it isn't as much fun to write the events if you can't throw a few good characters into them :-)

    In one of my wips, my heroine remains constant by
    1. Being compassionate
    2. Self-sacrificial

    3. Fantastic 'think-on-your-feet' skills (she's a WWI nurse)

    In another book, my heroine's constant traits are:
    1. Speaks before she thinks
    2. Optimistic
    3. Goes out of her way to help others

    So far,she's been my favorite heroine to write! But...my brain is crowded with so many more. I just finished spending half of my lunch break with some of them. :-)

  28. Excellent post, Cheryl. I'm busy working on my Genesis entry so I don't want to take time to look up examples, but you reminded me of my hubby.
    Just last week I accused him of rolling his eyes when I spoke to him and he exclaimed, 'Men don't roll their eyes!' Well, he did and I knew it.
    The next day, he was reading a Love Inspsired book and he said, 'This book is wrong, men don't roll their eyes!'
    But I got the last laugh a few hours later as we watched the TV program America's Funniest Videos when Tom, the host, rolled his eyes at a video.
    Let's just say hubby was in shock. LOL

    And Deb - come join me in Saskatchewan - we don't change to DST. :)


  29. Thanks Cheryl.

    Your post was fun and really made us think. Good job!!! :)

    As some others have done, you could do a "What is ONE thing that X, or Y, or Z Seeker would not do?" We could try to figure that out.

    Just something for when we are up with the DST issues. HA!

    I just finished Montana Rose - Mary's fine book. Her characters are quite memorable and consistent to character. She puts them in very interesting situations as we find out more about them. Did I mention I laughed out loud several times? A very enjoyable read, all the way around.

    It was a prize from one of the Seeker contests. Thank you Mary and all of you!

    Agreed with another poster today - I'm now "seeking" Seeker books when I'm out. You've made us all feel so welcome, we feel like we know you.

    As far as my WIP - it's a bit easy because it's about someone I live with. The challenge is going to be creating characters as you all are doing, which will be necessary for subsequent books.

    For May - 1) she is ready to play anywhere, any time
    2) she has boundless energy - tied to point 1
    3) though badly abused, she has fight in her - not cowed

    I'll have this to reference this blog when I begin Book 2.

    Thank you as always!

  30. That Is so true about getting to know your characters and not letting them slip out of the character you want them to be.
    My book that I'm working on I loved the way my heroine character began and know I'm going to have to go back and adjust some things because she doesn't seem to be exactly what I have envisioned for her, but I'm hoping once I'm done and, I've went back and I've done editing, and, moving around, and tweaking! I'll have what I want:)
    Thanks for the great post!!

  31. Awesome post, Cheryl! It's amazing what you can learn at Disneyworld! :) It's helped me think about my character now...

  32. Thanks, KC.

    It was a good time to write this.

    It's been one of those days!!!!!

    God bless you.

  33. Great photos and great characters, Cheryl! My kids are 17 and 19 and we never went to Disney World/Land when they were little. Probably scarred them for life...

    So true about staying in character. I don't know about you, but I can read character building books until I'm blue in the face and not get a thing out of them. It's not until I get to that aha moment in my character development that I can tell something isn't right in the way my character acts or reacts to something. You've got to know what makes them tick.

    Unfortunately, I usually don't pick up on that until well into my rewrites. Then I smack my head and think, *I should've seen that so much earlier.*

    Great post, C. Pooh bear and Tigger -- can't we all relate??

  34. Gracie, ROFL about the bipolar. LOL! Thanks for the laugh. I'm glad you stopped by.

    Debra, best of God's luck to you. I'm sure if there's inconsistency, you'll pick up on it when you set the ms aside for a short time and come back to it with fresh eyes.

    Tina, hey there! Great to see you here. I believe you've helped me with Air Force research before for the PJ series. LOL on just making them all the same. Too funny. I have a feeling your characters are anything but flat. If they're anything like your sense of humor, they'll be very lovable. :-)

    Casey, I love the real-time brainstorming. Sounds like you're on a roll. Keep up the great work! The story sounds interesting and I'll bet your hero is very sympathetic. Nice job.


  35. Pepper, excellent character traits! Nice job developing multi-layered characters. Thanks for sharing.

    Hi Anita! LOL about the rolling eyes. My husband did that to me yesterday but he doesn't recall even when I click my tongue at him and tell him he did. LOL!

    KC...OHMYGOSH! THAT is a FABULOUS idea. I think I am totally gonna do that on an upcoming Seeker post. How fun would that be! Glad you stopped by. Thanks!


  36. Hey Lindsey! Sounds like you are on the right track. Glad you stopped by. Your excitement for your story shines through...and that's a good thing.

    Camy, Audra and Mary, thanks for coming by and for your sweet words.

    Everyone, thanks for participating in the discussion. Keep up the good work and come back often. KC mentioned about folks feeling welcome here...but we are the ones who are blessed with each of your presence(s). Your readership of our blog and of our books is a blessing for which we are tremendously thankful. We hope to cheer each of you on as you ship off from Unpubbed Island one by one with cheers greeting you from the mainland. Keep the faith!

    Hugs all!