Tuesday, March 4, 2014

How to Create Characters So Real You’ll Be Tempted to Add Them to Your Christmas List

with guest Lisa Carter

“This will look great in Alison’s house,” I told my daughter last fall after returning from a Christmas shopping expedition.

“Alison who?”

“You know, Alison in Carolina Reckoning.”

My daughter rolled her eyes because once again I’d gone into crazy writer mode. “We do not add pretend people to the Christmas list, Mom.”

But I had—I’d bought a Christmas gift for a fictional character. Only to realize I just bought a gift for a FICTIONAL character . . .

How does this happen?

It happens when writers create realistic, wholly human characters full of tragic flaws, sublime potential, and compelling contradictions. These characters leap out of our imaginations, off the page, and into the hearts of readers.

Wrapping and layering the total package, here’s how I create such Christmas List Characters—

1.    The Shiny Wrapping Paper—Sprinkle all five senses throughout the hero’s first impression of the heroine and vice versa. I make it a game to see how many of the senses I can utilize in each scene.

Here’s tribal policeman Adam Silverhorn’s first impression of cultural anthropologist,

Erin Dawson, from Beneath a Navajo Moon

He inspected every inch of her, the cop in him taking mental notes.

The lush, luminous glow of women he remembered from his days at Fort Bragg. Women who’d spent their lives in the moisture-rich South, not the bone dry places the women of his tribe inhabited on the Rez of the Navajo Nation.

But nothing to write home about.

He stiffened as those green eyes of hers examined him just as intently.

And found him wanting?

Perhaps his carefully wrought reputation preceded him.

And this feisty, Southern heroine’s take on him—

Erin’s toes curled at the memory of the policeman she’d met a week ago. Or, sort of met.

Tall and broad-shouldered. Those high-planed cheekbones. The color of his skin the way she preferred her coffee.

She gulped.

Guess whose impression is bound to change? And won’t it be fun watching that happen?

2.    The Shake-the-Box Guessing Game—Did you catch the reference to Adam’s “carefully wrought reputation”? Ignite curiosity as you reveal characters. Entice the reader to turn the page. And the next page. And the next.

Erin swung around, the butter knife raised and glistening red.

Good-looking-what’s-his-name retreated a step. His eyes hopscotched from the knife in her hand to her face.

What’s-his-name grinned. “Death by strawberry jam.”

He cocked an eye at the knife in her hand. “What a way to go.”

3.    The Anticipation Mounts—Unfold the tissue paper of characterization layer by layer.

Reader empathy can be accomplished in 5 ways:

a.    Make them likeable.

Adam gave her a smug smile. “Á la mode all the way, babe.”

Erin rolled her eyes. “Stop calling me that.”

He grinned, unrepentant. “Ice cream makes everything better or hadn’t you noticed?”

“I thought that was chocolate.”

His eyes crinkled at the corners. “Not if you’re a guy.”

b.    Equip them with a unique skill set.

Tulley stared at her. “You speak Japanese?”

Adam faced the angry crowd. “Of course she does. Probably speaks six or seven other languages, too.”

Erin glared at him. “Only four. It’s my sister who speaks seven languages. I’m always the disappointment, remember?”

c.    Make them funny.

“You ride rodeo?”

Erin nudged her head at his belt buckle that read, Navajo Nation Rodeo Cowboys Association.

 She put a hand to her face as if to shield her eyes. “Kind of blinding.”

Adam grinned. “The small print reads, Bull Riding Champion.”

“No surprise you’d be drawn to the bull, Silverhorn.”

d.    Make the reader worry by placing them in jeopardy. 

Hang in there.” Adam returned fire keeping the gang pinned inside the hogan.

Despite the popping retorts of the gunfight, a strange sense of silence ran through his head

e.    Reveal character vulnerabilities. Erin has some insecurities. Don’t we all?

Good-looking didn’t begin to describe the vision that had walked in the Cultural Center.

Not that a man like that would ever give her a second glance.

Dad always said a person needed three things to make a happy life. Something to look forward to. Good work to do. And the third?

Erin frowned. The third—someone to love . . .

4.    The Ooh-Ah Moments—Let the romantic tension between your hero and heroine sparkle.

“What are you doing here?” Adam hissed between two busted lips.

“I’m rescuing you.”

“Looks to me like you got us boxed in four guns to one.”

Erin sniffed. “No gratitude left in the world, is there?”

He made a grab for the gun. “Give me that thing.”

She jerked free. “How about ‘Thank you, Erin, for saving my life’?”

“Thanks, Erin.” Adam planted a rough kiss on her mouth. “Ow.” Wincing, he put a finger to his busted lip.

Erin licked her lips. Peppermint. “You’re welcome.”
5.    The Just-What-I-Always-Wanted Payoff—Plan for an ever-deepening emotional and spiritual transformation. Touch readers’ hearts, minds, and souls with a character’s struggle to be more than they are now. Don’t neglect the significance of the eternal.

And without revealing the ending—

“That’s always been the crux of my problem with your Savior, Erin Dawson. It’s an all-or-nothing proposition.”

He laughed again, this time the sound without mirth. “I don’t do surrender. Never have. Never will. I prefer to be the master of my own destiny.”

Erin’s eyes locked onto his. “And how’s that working out for you so far, Adam

So I no longer shop for characters because I’ve learned:

Buying a gift for fictional characters = Slightly psychotic.

Just ask my daughter.

On the other hand:

Pretend people so real you’re tempted to add them to the Christmas list

= Unforgettable characters.

In the spirit of Speedbo—Which characters from films or books are most memorable to you? What makes a character memorable?

Leave a comment to be entered into a giveaway of Carolina Reckoning, or Aloha Rose, or Beneath a Navajo Moon. Three winners will be chosen.

Author bio: Lisa Carter is the author of two romantic suspense novels, Carolina Reckoning and Beneath A Navajo Moon; and Aloha Rose, a contemporary romance in the Quilts of Love series. Under a Turquoise Sky releases August 2014. She and her husband have two daughters and make their home in North Carolina. Lisa has strong opinions about barbecue, ACC basketball, and the Cola Wars. When she isn't writing, Lisa enjoys traveling to romantic locales, quilting, and researching her next exotic adventure. www.lisacarterauthor.com

What happens when love and danger collide deep in the heart of the Navajo Nation? When cultural anthropologist Erin Dawson crosses paths with tribal policeman Adam Silverhorn, it’s hardly love at first sight. But when the two are suddenly thrust into a common quest to rout an insidious drug cartel—they must rely on each other for their survival. The danger mounts as Adam gives Erin a rare glimpse into Navajo life few outsiders ever see and into a crime ring that no one dares to imagine. 

“Lisa Carter takes readers to a different world, one of poverty and struggle and one of majestic beauty as well. Don’t miss Beneath a Navajo Moon.” —Connie Mann, author of Angel Falls

“Against a backdrop of Navajo lore and cultural prejudice, two people find love while their worlds threaten to collapse. Lisa Carter has penned a romantic suspense that will keep the reader turning page after page.” —DiAnn Mills, author of Firewall



  1. Coffee's brewing!!!

    Hi Lisa. Good to see you here.

    Thanks for the insights.

  2. Great to see you, too, Helen. I'm so excited about your new book.

  3. I heard this at a coffee table after a funeral (names have been changed)

    Did you hear about Genelle?
    (Husband) who's Genelle?
    Another person across the isle - she lives at Smitten.
    husband where is Smitten
    Oh...in a series we've all read, but forgotten that it was, after all fiction
    So fun!
    Great post, Lisa. Thanks.
    I'm thinking you need more cinnamon rolls to keep up your productivity, so here's another batch

  4. Thank ya'll so much for the coffee and cinnamon rolls. My characters have their own favorite brands. What's your favorite?

  5. Lisa, I like homemade cinnamon rolls, but I've never drank a cup of coffee in my life. Get it in my mouth--can't swallow it. Ugh!

  6. Hi Lisa!

    I have a book where there's a Christmas. They're married but haven't had a honeymoon [long story] and are just now telling everyone about the elopement [they also haven't been living together].

    I'm not sure what my heroine gives my hero, but my hero... He gives her a copy of a book that holds great meaning for both of them. Inside is a document that means the world to her [no spoilers - thanks to Genesis] and tickets to the Caribbean for a belated honeymoon.

    Gotta love it!

    Monday's word count: 4025
    Total SpeedBo count: 9035

    [Yeah, I'm shocked by today's total too. Especially since it's a snow day. Tomorrow is too. But I have to work anyway which means hubs is taking the day off...]

  7. Carol, you are doing great with Speedo. You go, girl. Always hard to get serious work done on a snow day. Mine came home early due to weather and work essentially stopped. Sigh . . .

  8. Hi Lisa,
    Buying for your character makes fine sense to me. Love your post.

    When I fall in love with a character I practically stop reading the book because I don't want them to go away. When I do finally finish reading, I think about them for months, even if I'm engrossed in a new book! Someone once told me to read faster and just reread the book if I like the characters so much, but I live by the motto "So many books, So little time!" I have a very hard time reading a book for the second time. The Bible is my exception!

  9. Unforgettable character: Harrison Ford as Dr. Richard Kimble in The Fugitive. One - Harrison Ford. Two - will do anything to see his wife's killer brought to justice. Three - even while on the run he can't turn his back on a sick child.

    I'm in awe of Carol's word count. I did slightly over 1,000 on Monday.

    I have Carolina Reckoning, but would love a shot at Beneath A Navajo Moon.

  10. Welcome, Lisa! I just stopped by to say I'm finally stopping for the day. Worked through a whole manuscript today doing line edits! Woo hoo!

    I'll be back in the morning when I'm fresh to read what looks like a wonderful post. :)

    Night all! Helen, I'll have some of that coffee in the A.m. :)

  11. I have talked about things my characters might like. After spending so much time with them, they do feel like family.

    Speaking of characters, I think the most memorable are the ones who don't seem to be acting out a part. They seem approachable, likeable and make you wish they were real and could truly be your friend.

    If if you learn the actor or actress is a jerk it can burst a few bubbles.

    I shall not offer up my count today, as it was a tad dismal.


  12. One unforgettable character in the world of television is Leroy Jethro Gibbs on NCIS. Mark Harmon has created such a believable character that when I see him in other shows or movies I always call him Gibbs, not Mark Harmon. Love the smile, love the rules, love the way the cast is a 'family' of sorts. Well done characterization on the show.

    I have often finished a book and found myself thinking about the heroine or hero long after. I just finished Dancing with Fireflies by Denise Hunter and her hero Daniel Dawson became so real to me that I still can't shake him. :)

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

  13. Lisa, what a fun glimpse into your book! I love the rugged setting and the Native American hero... Swoon!!!!

    Helen, coffee, YES!!!!! Thank you!

    And characters, oh.... I'm going to go with Anne Kellwyn from "Running on Empty" one of my indie novels.

    Anne's story is helping real, live people to heal, she's facing the dragons of her past and taking control of her future, but she has the fury of an entire town to face... and a dying mother. Her hard-fought courage is touching sex-abuse survivor hearts all over the world, and that means so much to me!


  14. Lisa, don't hate me, one quick commercial announcement!!!

    "Safely Home", my newest indie release!!! is FREE today and tomorrow on KINDLE....

    That one you can run and "buy" now because it's FREE!!!!!

    I now return you to Lisa's wonderful blog about that totally delightful and inspiring couple... !!!

  15. Carol Moncado, wonderful job!!!

    So proud of you! I can't possibly keep up with you, but I'm proud of you!

  16. Good morning!

    What a great post Lisa. Thanks for sharing.

    Memorable characters? I don't remember the name of the movie, but Steve Martin and his wife go to NYC to see their daughter. Their marriage has settled into lukewarm. All kinds of bad things happen to them, and they begin to fall back in love. I think the movie hits everything on your list.

    Thanks again for sharing. On April 1, after Speedbo is over, I need to buy Erin's story. It sounds great.

    Thanks again for sharing!

  17. Lyndee H—I agree. It's so hard to come to the end of a book with those kind of unforgettable characters. Sometimes I just keep creating further adventures for them in my head. :)

  18. Terri—I love, love, love anything with Harrison Ford. The Fugitive is one of my favorites. I think that empathy you feel for him because of his compassion for the sick child is a crucial element in an unforgettable character.

  19. Missy—Hope you got some rest after your edits on Monday. Thanks for welcoming me to Seekerville.

  20. Tina Pinson—So true. Some of the most memorable characters I think would make the most amazing friends. I often base what they look like on well-known people just so I can imagine them moving and living in my head. But I deliberately do not find out anything about the real life person because, you're right, if they are a "less than stellar" individual it can wreak havoc with your characterization.

  21. Cindy W—I love Gibbs, too. One of my favorite shows. And how the writers have managed to multilayer Gibbs is a testament to the craft of writing and hence, the show's popularity.

    I'm still missing Ziva, though. :)

    I, too, am a Denise Hunter fan.

  22. Ruth Logan Hearne—Thanks for the heads up on Running on Empty. I love that kind of deep characterization and potential transformational character arc that can touch people who've endured those real life issues.

    And yes, Adam Silverhorn is quite swoon-worthy. :)

  23. Jackie—I'm going to have to locate the Steve Martin movie. I'm not familiar with it, but it sounds great.

    As far as Speedo goes, I quote Walt Disney when I say, Just "keep moving forward." Hang in there. :)

  24. Good morning, Lisa! So funny that you were thinking of your characters' preferences when Christmas shopping! Now THAT is really making them come alive!

    I love a good romantic suspense with snappy dialogue, so will have to check these out. Since you currently reside in North Carolina, please tell us a bit about how you did your research for the books set in Hawaii and on the Navajo reservation. I know the latter would be especially tricky due to cultural differences.

  25. I hope all of you Speedbo-going guys and gals have an especially productive day!

  26. Good morning, Seekerville. Welcome Lisa. To clarify, all Speedbo participants may check in here on the daily blog.

    Our guest bloggers get that Speedbo is going on. We told them ahead of time.

    Speedbo on!!

  27. Lisa, I dreamed about your blog post last night.

    I woke up realizing something...well, besides the fact that I need to get a life.

    This is a great way to develop your character ahead of time.

    I started thinking about the h/h and what their houses look like. What would I give them for a present.

    By the end of the story I do know all that stuff, but what a great way to get your story started.


  28. I'm also interested in why you picked the Navajo tribe for your books.

  29. Well, I'm in love with his name...

    But your heroine cracks me up, she is beyond delightful! I love heroines who have a sense of humor and chutzpah!

    So well done!

  30. Glynna Kaye—I've been able to go to Hawaii twice to the Big Island and Maui. I have several friends who have lived in Hawaii. I actually love doing research—I'm doing a workshop on that topic this year at the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference. Readers who have lived in Hawaii tell me I managed to capture the essence of the islands. My in-laws live in the Four Corners region so we've made many trips out there and the Navajo bun incident—you'll have to read the book—actually happened to my blond daughter. :)

  31. Tina Radcliffe—One of the things I do in my crazy writer mode discovery phase of creating a character is taking them with me wherever I go—they go grocery shopping with me (what would your character buy?); they go to church with me (some have favorite songs there, others can't wait to get out); they go to my children's basketball games (Beneath a Navajo Moon and Aloha Rose were pretty much plotted on the bleachers of a gym.

  32. The Navajo are the most well-documented tribe in that area. I've also had more opportunity to explore their Rez and meet members of the Navajo tribe. Also, can I even begin to convey to you how many episodes of Navajo Cop I watched in the writing of this book? :)

  33. Seekerville welcomes, #159. Esther Filburn. WELCOME TO ESTHER.

  34. Ruth—Adam Silverhorn is so full of himself but he meets his match in Erin Dawson. They were fun to write. My writing style is like watching a movie in my head and then me frantically trying to capture what I've seen onto my laptop. The sparks between these two characters made for an enjoyable ride.

  35. HA! I love that you do that..in your discovery phase. Love that phrase too!

    Hub is a fan of that reality show too.

  36. Okay, Helen brought the drinks, now that folks are waking up, I've brought croissants. Plain, cheese and chocolate.

  37. I want the chocolate one—for medicinal purposes only, you understand.

  38. Lisa, thanks for an excellent post! I love the idea of buying presents for my beloved characters. But how do you handle it when one of them thinks you gave something nicer to someone else? I hate it when that happ...Oh, never mind. :-)

    I wrote yesterday, but no Speedbo count to record. :-/

    Remember I said that I can't write without editing as I go? Neither can I start a new project until the last project is finished. I put 'The End' on the old project at 9:00 pm last evening.

    I've laced up my Speedbo skates this morning and I'm smokin' these keys today!

  39. Mary Hicks—My editor once looked at me (strangely) and said, "In your Lisa world all your characters whether they live in NC, HI, or AZ somehow know each other, don't they?"

    Of course they do. Because they're all friends of mine. :)

  40. The first unforgettable character that comes to mind to me is Charlie West in Andrew Klavan's The Homelanders series.

    Thanks for this great article!

  41. Lisa -- So great that you got to explore these settings IN PERSON (must have been a real hardship in Hawaii)! I'll never forget that author Diana Gabaldon wrote her "Outlander" before she'd ever been to Scotland and how her research and accuracy was applauded. So ever since then I've been fascinated with how authors research new settings!

  42. Jennifer Smith—I'm going to have to check out The Homelander series.

  43. Good morning LISA and thank you for joining us in Seekerville. Like others this morning, I just cracked up when you said you'd bought a Christmas gift for your characters. Only a writer would understand that you really could.

    And I love your daughter's response that you are reacting to "pretend people". That just strikes my funny bone. Probably because my husband accuses me of the same thing.

    I love it when a character really sticks with me long after reading the book. Last month I read Lisa Wingates, Prayer Box, and I don't usually even like first person, but Iola Anne and Tandi are still hanging around in my mind. smile

    Great list and thanks again. Have fun today.

  44. Glynna Kaye—I believe in suffering my art. :)

    In the research class I teach I talk about the importance of capturing the 5 senses of a setting. In all my books, the setting is almost a character in itself. Whether it's the laid back, sand between your toes world of the Big Island, a sultry Gothic Southern night, or the stark, otherworldly beauty of cinnamon red canyons on the Navajo Rez.

  45. HELEN it always makes me laugh that you hate coffee but serve it so nicely every morning. And MARIANNE I will definitely take some of your cinnamon rolls. smile

    Great going on Speedbo everyone.

  46. Sandra Leesmith—Breaking news about The Prayer Box. Lisa Wingate is going to be a guest on the travel column I write for Book Fun Magazine. In the column each month I explore the setting of a novel. The column's called Have Book Will Travel. In May, Lisa will be sharing with readers her favorite real life places to visit on NC's Outer Banks (OBX we call it) and photos from her research trip in the making of The Prayer Box. I can't wait and just in time for beach season.

  47. LISA, I'm with you on the research. The setting has to have its own character. I set a novel on the Rez. It was fun and fortunately I had Navajo friends who read it to make sure I had characterized "the people" correctly.

  48. Good morning, Lisa. I love the topic today...and for more reasons than simply I love to shop!

    A character needs so many layers to become real to the reader. I can look at a scene I've written 10 times and STILL find room to squeeze in a sense of two.

    You're so right about the first impression being critical. My first impressions of people are often WRONG, SO WRONG. I have to keep that in my frontal lobe as I write, because the wrong-er a character's first impression is, the right-er my characters become.

    Thanks for sharing, Lisa!

  49. How do ya'll feel about Pinterest in deepening characterization and exploring setting?

    I've created a board for Aloha Rose, Carolina Reckoning, and Beneath a Navajo Moon with some behind-the-scenes photos of topics, places, and characters in each book.

  50. Carol Moncado!! Great word count!

    At the rate you're going, you'll have a book in a WEEK rather than a book in a MONTH!

    YAYAYAYAY! Gotta love Speedbo : )

  51. Audra—I love taking that first impression—often completely wrong first impression—and turning it on its head. Making the characters "eat"their words and revise that first off-base impression.

  52. Ha, Marianne, I love the Smitten anthologies, too. What a wonderful pairing of authors.

  53. Ruthy is offering a free book.


    I love free.

  54. Already got Ruth's free book. How about you?

  55. It began on a restless January night. A strange dream that became a page of notes when I finally gained consciousness. Now it is "Take A Chance" on Speedbo Day #4. And I am loving it. The laptop is on a kitchen counter. I put in a few sentences, then work at something else, but my mind is always on the doctor who tries to pass as a 1910 cowboy in miserably cold South Dakota March! H-m-m, guess why that scene is so easy to write. The cold March in South Dakota, that is.

  56. I got Ruthy's free book before it was free, but I'm sharing the good news with the world!

  57. I'm back! What a fun post. Lisa, I can just imagine your daughter's face when she realized you had a gift for a character. LOL

    But you're right about memorable characters. For me, they make the book. I love a book that sticks to me long after I close the pages. The ones where I hate to leave the characters and wish I could keep following them.

    Or maybe I'm just weird, too. LOL

  58. The problem I have with Pinterest for character boards is I get concerned about where I get the pictures that I post. Re copyright.

    So I tend to not post the behind the scenes pictures there unless I purchase the pictures. Which takes time.

    So I tend to keep my behind the scenes pictures private.

  59. Lisa! I didn't know you write for Book Fun Magazine.

  60. Hi Lisa!

    My favorite character...hmmm...Gibbs is definitely at the top of the list. Mark Harmon uses facial expressions to really hit home on his otherwise hidden emotions. Love it.

    I went shopping for the character in my WIP last night - in the gun library at our local Cabela's. They had a Sharp's rifle, close to the carbine Bunk would carry. I also browsed through the antique revolvers...

    That man deserves the best, don't you think?

    BTW, I'm glad he's a fictional character, because then I could ignore the price tags :)

    Speedbo report: Lots of good foundation laid. Zero words.

  61. Dee, I'm experiencing this cold March in South Dakota, too! But it's supposed to warm up today.

  62. At my very first writers' conference, in the registration line, I heard--because I was snooping--sad and repeated reference to "poor Cathy," complete with sighs and damp eyes. I felt so bad for her I was almost tempted to stop listening, but when reference was made to middle chapters and keeping conflict alive, I understood. "Poor Cathy" was the heroine in her WIP.

  63. Missy—Great thing about being a writer, I get to continue my character adventures when they make guest appearances in future books. Readers will be able to catch up with Adam and Erin in Under a Turquoise Sky, releasing in August.

    And even weirder confession—I mentally revisit my characters at Christmas just to see what they're up to for the holidays. Yes, as my daughters will testify, I'm a sad, sad person. :)

  64. Bought Ruthy!!!!!!!!

    Audra - I'm actually ahead of last year when somehow [I'm QUITE CERTAIN the Grace of God was involved] I finished a full draft in 13 days.


    I'm hoping not to finish quite that fast this year. It was exhausting!

  65. Tina—Most of the pictures I post are photos I've either bought the rights to or (majority) taken on research trips to be used later.

    It's been a lot of fun writing the travel articles for Book Fun. I love to travel for real and vicariously through the pages of a book.

  66. Jan Drexler—I love how you do your research. I try to attend the Writers Police Academy every year since I write romantic suspense. Can't tell you what fun it is to mock storm a building with the SWAT team. As the leader of the team remarked last year to me, "You really love kicking in that door, don't you?"

    Yes, yes I do. :)

  67. Liz—My youngest daughter came in one day to find me sobbing over my laptop.
    "What's wrong?" she asked.
    "The baby died," I sobbed.
    Her eyes grew wide. "Oh, no, Mom. Who? How?"
    And as I sputtered to explain, her expression changed to mild disgust. She rolled her eyes. "Oh, Mother, really?" (That's how you know a teenager has thoroughly repudiated you) "Crying over one of those pretend people again?"

  68. Good morning, Lisa. I loved your post! What great tips you've shared for making characters REAL. :) I laughed when I read your story about the interaction you had with your daughter about Christmas gifts. I always knew to give my characters a skill set, but what you shared here helped me see it in a new light.

    Thanks for sharing your wisdom!

  69. Hmm, favorite characters... Indiana Jones and Gibbs (the characters that had me falling in love with Harrison Ford and Mark Harmon). Although, now that I think of it, Tom Selleck's Matt Quigley (Quigley Down Under) with "Crazy Cora" who kept calling him Roy. That was a pairing/love story that resonated. Of course, Alan Rickman as the villian was awesome too (I adore Alan's villians... he does them so well)

    Only a couple hundred words yesterday. I belong to a fanFic writer's club and had to catch up on some character sheets for that and I'm co-posting a story with one of the other writers that appears to be the beginnings of a romance.

    Oh...and I submitted my first page to the Killer Voice contest. While reading the forum Thread an idea grabbed my brain and wouldn't let go.

    SPEEDBO will be me frantically writing my first venture into suspense. Scuba diving, marine-bio research, illegal treasure hunting...

    help. i'm pansting and i cannot stop (or i'll have nothing for the kindly LIS editors to look at - right. like i'll get past the first round *rolling eyes*)

  70. Jeanne—So glad you stopped by to visit. What fun things writers get to do and be through their characters.

  71. oh. i forgot. i'd love a shot at winning Beneath a Navajo Moon. I love the peek you gave to us of hero and heroine.

    RUTHY: downloaded your freebie. Bless you and your generosity!!! So excited. Reading it will be my reward for reaching my next SPEEDBO goal.

  72. DebH—I am an Indiana Jones freak (my daughters'words). I can quote dialogue.

    For a project, my younger daughter had to interview me about what I wanted to be when I was her age.
    "Indiana Jones."
    Her eyebrows arched. "Indiana Jones was a guy, Mom."
    I lifted my chin. "Well, I wanted to be the female Indiana Jones."

  73. Welcome to Seekerville, Lisa! Thanks for the savvy tips for creating Christmas list worthy characters and for your wonderful excerpts! Your books sound wonderful!

    I've never bought my characters a Christmas gift, but I've fallen in love with them. Call me stingy. :-) They move in and stay. We may have to add on to our house. LOL


  74. Love NC being represented today. Put me in for Navajo Moon. I have the other two!!!!

    Just what I needed to jumpstart my word count today and add to my TBR if I don't win!

    Peace, Julie

  75. Oooo! I love Gibbs!!!!!

    Just got a text from the school. The campus I teach at is closed for the day after all due to ice.

    So I get to stay here with my kiddos.

    And write.

    And not go out in the cold.

    I'm good with that. ;)

  76. Carol M, you're rocking Speedbo!!!

    I almost made my goal yesterday. Almost isn't getting it done. Hoping my fingers fly over the keys today! My dh created a Excel file for my word count. Love hitting enter and seeing the count rise!


  77. LISA
    hooray for Indy! my all time fave scene is from the first movie when they're on the ship and he's cataloging all his injuries. the whole "Well, what DOESN'T hurt?" scene leading up to their lip-lock still makes me puddle.

    made me really wish i was Marion.

  78. Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch in To Kill A Mockingbird closely follows by Alan Rickman as Severus Snape in the Harry Potter series.

    Mr. Peck IS Atticus Finch... Even Harper Lee said so.

    As for Alan Rickman, he took what could have been a completely dispicable character and made him three dimensional. Made you see the he had a soul that was never beyond redemption.

    Speedbo update: 754 words... But more importantly, the story is no longer an abandoned bit of data on my hard drive.

  79. Janet—Thanks so much for having me here on Seekerville today. No surprise to anyone here after reading my true writer confessions that I, too, fall a little bit in love with each of my heroes.

  80. Julie—Yay for NC. We are a fun group here in the Old North State.

  81. DebH—I am Marion. :)

    My adventures always end up working their way into a novel in some fictionalized form.

    Before marriage and children, I kind of lived a Ernest Hemingway/Jack London life but without the alcoholism. :)

  82. Kim—So love the Gregory Peck Atticus Finch characterization.

    I think it's also cool how he and the real life actress who played Scout had a lifelong bond.

  83. Oh, Lisa, LOVE this post, my friend, because flesh-and-blood characters are the heart and soul of any novel I love.

    I would have to say the characters who have stayed with me the longest are Rhett Butler and Scarlett O'Hara from GWTW, which is no surprise since it was their story that inspired me to become a romance writer. :)

    And, although I am not tempted to add my own to my Christmas list (I gave up Christmas lists years ago since I always had to write a book in each one), I do see them as family. I lived with the O'Connors from my Daughters of Boston and Winds of Change series since I was twelve years old, so to me, they are blood. And to my hubby as well, especially when he says, "Oh, so your "other family" gets all your attention today."

    "Um ... no dear ... can I make you a Keurig?"

    Thanks, Lisa, for a wonderful post. Even with you very short clips (which is an art I have not yet mastered), I do feel as if I know Erin and Adam already, so if I had a Christmas list, I'm pretty sure they'd be on it! :)


  84. Lisa, you said, "And even weirder confession—I mentally revisit my characters at Christmas just to see what they're up to for the holidays. Yes, as my daughters will testify, I'm a sad, sad person. :)"

    Which means you reread all your books each Christmas, correct? I am SO glad to hear that because now I don't feel so crazy! My tradition was to reread each of my books starting from the beginning prior to the release of the next one. That way, I could freshen up on the family and get in prime soap-opera mode to see what was going to happen next.

    Last time I did this, I was reading one of my books in bed, and my hubby asked me how much longer before I turned out the light. "Just two more pages to chapter break, babe," I told him, "I want to find out what happens ..." ;)


  85. Julie Lessman—Why am I not surprised you'd pick Scarlett and Rhett? :)

    They were also for me maybe my first immersion into complete characterization. I was 12 when I saw the movie (as a rite of Southern passage I require my daughters to watch the movie before they leave the Southern nest). I've read the book several times, too.

  86. Yes, Lisa, I've gotten the eye roll from my teen daughter, too when I was wiping my eyes while writing.

    I've also gotten strange looks while sighing heavily. She'll ask why I'm sighing. And I'll have to tell her my character was sighing and I was trying to figure out how to describe it. :)

  87. I should add this is one pitfall of writing on the family room couch instead of in my office! :)

  88. Missy—I think all our families have realized the truth of that poster—
    "As writers, the normal ship sailed without us a long time ago."

  89. Unforgettable characters.

    One of my favorites...for about the first five books was Kay Scarpetta, Patricia Cornwell's forensic pathologist...is that what she was? Autopsies for crime victims.

    Love Jack Reacher. Love Dirk Pitt. Love Mitch Rapp. Love the early books in the Rina Lazerus/Peter Decker series before Faye Kellerman seemed to think good writing mean out-sicko-criminal-ing the former book.

    Love the Sacketts, particularly Tell Sackett. Louis L'Amour of course.

  90. Kim Payne said Atticus Finch. I love that book so dearly. You're talking movie but in the book Scout Finch is so perfectly written.

    And Abby Deal in A Lantern in Her Hand. Such a fantastic character and fantastic book.

  91. Possible favorite character of all time, Cale Anderson in Matchmaker by Jude Devereaux.

    Second...or maybe first...Imogen Waterstone in Mischief by Amanda Quick.

    I won't go into why I love these characters so much, just the basics. They made me laugh, feisty, Cale particularly could be vulnerable but she'd die before she'd admit it.

  92. Hadassah in Francine Rivers' Mark of the Lion Trilogy. She's one of the most perfectly drawn characters I've ever read.

    A little Jewish girl from a family that had converted to Christianity set shortly after Jesus' resurrection.

    Hadassah is taken to Rome as a slave in a time they enslaved Jews but fed Christians to the lions.

    And Hadassah falls in love with the son of the man who owns her. An absolutely forbidden love.

    The whole series is an absolute ACHIEVEMENT in fiction.

  93. Mary Connealy—I agree with you. Memorable heroines for me are always feisty and funny.

  94. You had me at Fort Bragg!!!

    Where my military hero son is stationed! Whoo-hoo!!!

    Love your blog post. Love the Southwest tie in.

    Move over Tony Hillerman!

  95. I really do know what happens to a LOT of my characters and I'd love to write about them.
    Did you all know Belle Tanner and Silas Harden from The Husband Tree had five sons?

    Yes, I know that and I know what happened to them, too.

    And Sophie and Clay McClellen from Petticoat Ranch had four.

    And Grace and Daniel Reeves from Calico Canyon had a scad of them, I don't have a number but they just kept having babies.

    And Heath from the Kincaid Brides has a story.

    I'd love to write all these stories someday.

  96. Debby—Love our soldiers at Fort Bragg. NC tends to be very supportive of the military with Seymour Johnson Air Base, Fort Bragg, and Camp Lejuene.

    I so miss the late, great Tony Hillerman. James Doss, too.

  97. Mary—Will we live long enough to write all the stories in our head?

  98. Thanks for all the great hints in creating characters worthy of inclusion on a Christmas list. Love the "Shiny Wrapping Paper" idea!

    Do you ever have "bad" characters? The ones who don't even deserve a lump of coal in their stocking? Do you picture them locked in a dungeon, exiled to a deserted island or run over by a train?

    Well...time for tea with My Sweet Husband...have to work on our To Do list for the antique mall...

    Happy Day everyone!!

  99. Kathryn—Most of my villainous characters experience villainous ends. This is what I do—I kill people on paper. Writer justice.

  100. SQUEEEEEEEEEE!!!! I have passed 10K for Speedbo!!!!

    Now off to the LEGO movie with the kids. Which I'm told is fabulous for grownups too. And while I'm there I'll try to think of Christmas presents FOR LEGO characters instead of LEGO characters as Christmas presents ;).

  101. Great post. I wish I could say I was that close to all of my characters. I'm closer to some more than others. I do have a story that I've never written but I have to remind myself it's not true. Someone will be telling a story and I'll start to tell them how that reminds me of...Wait. My story's not real.

    One of my characters is Sam Jarrod in the Fugitive played by Tommy Lee Jones.

  102. Mary - you know how I feel about you writing all of those stories...

  103. Please welcome our #160 Participant, Lee Carver.

    Lee..come on down!!!

  104. Connie Queen—The Fugitive is classic deep characterization. I equally love Tommy Lee Jones and Harrison Ford's characters. Which for me, being the consummate Harrison Ford fan, says a lot about Tommy Lee Jones' portrayal.

  105. Great article. I'll have to think on that one. Had a good writing day today, 1521 words down and my goal was just 500. woo hoo!

  106. Lisa, thank you for this great post! One of the most memorable characters of the many books I have read this last year is Katie in Julie Lessman's book A Hope Undaunted. Katie seems so real.

    Ruth, thank you for letting me know about your book. I just got it.

    I am hoping I can make some good progress on my book today. I am facing some challenges since I have difficulty with storm fronts causing vertigo and blurred vision. I fought through all of that yesterday and will also have to do it again today, but the Lord is Good!

  107. Lisa, that Writer Police Academy sounds COOL! Just yesterday, my daughter and I were talking about how we wanted to put my heroine on our church prayer list because she's in so much danger. :-) Thank you so much for the great tips!

  108. 161. Kristen Ethridge


  109. Meghan Carver—I love that about characters so real you could add them to your prayer list. :)

  110. Logan Sackett. He was my favorite character from Louis L'Amour. I still think about him. Thanks for the great post!

  111. My husband introduced me to Louis L'Amour books. Thanks for stopping by.

  112. I have been known to start praying for my characters ... only to realize they're not real, so their problems aren't either. I love it when a fictional character becomes so real that you feel you know them personally.

    Thanks, Lisa, for the great reminders!

  113. Ruthy, I just got your book! Thanks for the heads up :) Can't wait to read it.

  114. Victoria—Sometimes I find myself waking up in the middle of the night worried about a character while in the middle of writing a novel.

  115. Loved your article, Lisa. While I've never actually purchased a gift for one of my fictional characters, I do find myself hoping to catch a glimpse of her every time I walk past the cottage that inspired her story. (:

  116. Julia—I've picked out local houses where my NC characters live. I enjoy thinking about them when I drive by, too.

  117. I'm so glad so many of you have jumped over to Amazon and grabbed "Safely Home"!!!! Thank you all! I hope you love it to pieces, any book with an old dog has got to border on the up side of "good" right????

    Characters... so many good ones named, so I'm going to throw my hat in the ring with Hadassah and Scout, two favorites, Hush Thackery and Nick Jakobek from Deb Smith's "Sweet Hush", the love story of an apple farmer and the weary special operative who must protect the president's daughter.. and her new apple-farming in-laws...

    "Fairlight" in Christy...

    Marilla Cuthbert in Anne of Green Gables.... I love that woman still.

    Gibbs is a given. Pshaw. Most others pale in comparison although the new and improved Richard Castle is a love muffin. :)

    161 in Speedbo?????


    And Lisa, you went over and got Safely Home?????

    Aw... after I interrupted your blog and everything, honey, you could have shot darts at the computer screen with my pic and I'd have understood... shoot, I'd have CHEERED YOU ON!!!!

  118. Welcome Lee and Kristen! Don't let Carol M's word count scare you off! LOL We're all about our personal goals, not the goals of others.


  119. Hey, Lisa, I want to be a character in one of your novels.

    Just saying'


  120. Wow - I'm lovin' what you're doing with Navajo Moon. That's great!

    And too funny about the Christmas present. :)

    Look at Tom Hanks' character in Big. One of my favorites for character study.

    Thank you for an excellent post today, Lisa. Your present analogy was so clear to me. Appreciate this as I develop several new characters for the next book in the series!!!

  121. Ruth—Loved Fairlight and Marilla. I'm a big Anne of Green Gables fan.

  122. Pam—Being a writer, aka emotional vampire of others' experiences, you could yet end up in one of my books, you never know. Let's talk. :)

  123. May aka KC—Love Tom Hanks in Big. Happy writing with that next book in the series.

  124. I think one of my favorite characters would actually be a character in one of my favorite movies, Steel Magnolia--Sally Field played the part of M'Lynn, mother of Shelby (Julia Roberts character) I actually loved all the characters in this movie, (portrayed by: Dolly Parton, Sally Field, Daryl Hannah, Shirley MacLaine, Olympia Dukakis and Julia Roberts) because they all had wonderful lines that were well written and well portrayed. They all had strong character. My favorite scene in the movie was the one after the funeral for Shelby, when M'Lynn is screaming about how it is just not fair--a child is not suppose to die before their mother--"I just want to hit somebody!" You could hear everyone in the theater sniffling and knew there were many tears--a dramatic moment and a real tear-jerker moment in the movie! One of her friends, shoves another forward, and simply says: "HIT HER!" The once sniffling audience is now laughing hysterically. Such a well written (and well played) scene in that movie!


  125. My Speedbo progress from day 3 (my 1st day since i write during week days). I set a goal of 500 words 5x a week, and yesterday, I stayed up late until i passed that number, after a busy day. Today I have already doubled that number with 1358 words and still writing more! And during this writing i discovered a new character for my childrens book--a RL friend of mine will become 'the counselor' who will be sharing some of 'her RL story. I can't wait to add this into my story. Thanks again Speedbo for the push.

  126. Love seeing all these words add up.

    I added 1500 to my wip yesterday and stayed up late last night to catch up on some business. That late night has thrown me for a loop today.

    Must get back on track asap.

  127. Oh, I've seen Carolina Reckoning! It looks so good. Must. Read. Soon!

    Lisa, can we talk NC college basketball? Dare we? I'm a Duke fan. What about you?

    My husband's a Tar Heels fan. I've learned that when he tells me that Duke and North Carolina are playing, it's because Duke is already losing. :) Rotten man.

  128. Jon and Vicky—Steel Magnolias is another classic example of deep film characterization. And another rite of passage films (see earlier remarks to Julie Lessman on GWTW) that all Southern girls should see. :)

    Seeing this again last summer inspired some elements of my next release in August Under a Turquoise Sky.

  129. Sally—We're about to embark in NC into March Madness. North Carolinians as you know are ACC basketball obsessed. Life as we know it ceases to exist on Thursday-Sunday each weekend in March. I'm not kidding. Teachers stop instruction and turn on classroom tvs. Business owners bring in tv sets into the workplace to maintain worker morale and eliminate absenteeism. Tickets to ACC championship events are passed down from generation to generation. I've got no issue with Duke. But being raised in Raleigh and with multiple family members being NCSU alums, I've long given my loyalty to the Wolfpack. And being a Wolfpack fan since birth we are brought up to cheer for any team playing AGAINST UNC. I once—along with the rest of Raleigh—cheered Czechoslovakia to victory against UNC. Yes, a communist team against my fellow Americans. People, it can get ugly during ACC tournament time. March Madness is a real thing. :)

  130. Lisa, Go Carolina. My family is major Big time fans of Carolina! I live in the mountains of NC.

  131. Wilani—I'm going to love you anyway. :)

  132. Love these tips!

    And scanning the comments!!! Star-studded list of characters here.

    Most of the ones that come to my mind are Seeker characters. :)

    Another character that sticks in my mind is Lael Click from Laura Frantz's The Frontiersman's Daughter.

    Then there's always Frodo and Bilbo.

    Oh, and Mr. Thornton from North & South.

    Laura from the Little House books.

    Then there's the movie characters like Steve Rogers aka Captain America who repeatedly sacrifices himself for others. And is unapologetically cute.

    Speaking of thinking fictional characters are real, I attended a country church on vacation last year and read the prayer list that was in the back of the pew. I declare it read like this:

    John Boy
    Mary Ellen

    Now I wish I would have kept that piece of paper. Priceless!

  133. What a cute post, Lisa! Congrats on your new release! I love the Christmas analogies for characterization--adorable. Blessings!

  134. So far my word count today is about 3,500.
    Mmm, favorite characters.... Well, I really like Mandy McClellan Linscott In Sharpshooter in Petticoats. Sarah Prescott in A Lady like Sarah by Margaret Brownley. Selina Farleigh Bowen in The Unlikely Wife by Debra Ullruck.

    And in T.V. shows... Jimmy Hickok from the Young Riders. Sully in Dr. Quinn, medicine woman.

  135. We writers live in a world of our won. I often "react" or "think" as though I'm in my current heroine's head.
    As for heroes, Josh Holloway in "Intelligence" is at the forefront of my mind these days. It used to be Timothy Olyphant.
    SpeedBo not so speedy today, only a few notes. Hubby's doc appointments and the loss of a friend. Wed will be better.
    Great book prizes!

  136. Oh mylanta, I love Steel Magnolias!!!!

    WEEZER!!!!! You just have to love Weezer!!!!!

    We make it a yearly must-see, along with the Colin Firth Pride and Prejudice, our personal favorite version....

    But I think my favorite and the one I quote most often is Dolly Parton's "Truvy" from Steel Magnolia's....

    "The best thing I could say about her is that all her tattoos were spelled correctly!"

    "Janet VanMeter... That dress looks like two pigs wrestlin', under a blanket!"

    "Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion!"

    OH, that has just made my Speedbo and Lisa Carter-lovin' DAY!!!!

  137. Hi Lisa, What a great post! We are so excited about your new book. Loved getting a taste of it in the post. Betsy and Laurie

  138. Speedbo total from yesterday, 2380. Starting on today's totals. Happy writing everyone!

  139. Hi Lisa! Great article.

    If my characters aren't real too me, I can't write about them. I have to know them inside out before I can get inside their head to put their story on paper, and they still surprise me at every turn.

    Thanks for the tips!

  140. Sorry I'm so late popping in--busy day! Welcome, Lisa, and thanks for this excellent post on characterization.

    Your books sound exciting! I'm so glad I had the opportunity to meet you in person at the Abingdon authors dinner at ACFW last fall.

  141. Natalie—I so agree that Lael Click is an unforgettable character. Thanks for joining in the discussion.

  142. Hey Myra. Nice to connect with you again. Hope our paths will cross again this year, too.

  143. Rhonda—Our writing styles sound a lot alike. I can't write one word until I really know my characters. And like you, they still manage to surprise me.

  144. Betsy an Laurie—I'm so excited about your new book, too. Hope to see you ladies at a conference or two this year. :)

  145. Carrie—Loving that blue and white sugar bowl. Thanks for stopping by.

  146. LoRee—Josh Holloway is the sole reason I watched every episode of Lost. :)

  147. Crystal—Sully . . . wow! You are so right.

  148. Ruth—Love those Steel Magnolia quotes. Every time I go to the hairdressers the conversation flows a lot like this. Those ladies were an enormous help in my Under a Turquoise Sky book releasing in August. If you want to know anything in my town, you just need to stop by the beauty salon. :)

  149. Dear Lisa, Thank you for your blog. You opened my eyes to how writing is like peeling an onion with more layers underneath the peel. I especially liked your point about one character's assumption may be totally upended throughout the course of the book.
    So many people have talked about some of my favorite characters. I too love Marilla but also love Gilbert, Anne and Matthew in Anne of Green Gables. To the person who posted LOTR characters, I liked Sam. And this just starts memorable book characters. As far as movies, I love Lucy Warriner (The Awful Truth) and David Huxley (Bringing Up Baby).
    Thank you for the blog. I rewarded myself with reading it after meeting my Speedbo goal for the day.

  150. Seekerville welcomes....

    162. Erica Hearns
    163. Maria Buscher

    Wow! I guess I better get a new spread of food and drinks for the night shift.


  151. HELEN HATES COFFEE????? How did I miss that?

    Lisa, thanks for the great tips. I have to say I laughed out loud (still giggling here) at your daughter finding you sobbing over your keyboard. I'm sure it scared her and I hope she's forgiven you lol. I hope something like that happens to me seeing as how it means I've accomplished characterization. Please enter me for your book.

    Speedbo counts for the first four days are: 657, 612, 1124, and 556. Hope to write more tonight but my son is on his way over for the evening so who knows?

    Mary C, I've taken your advise to be proud of my small word count right now. Thanks!!

  152. The more I write, the more I am into my story. The main character in my story is based on events in my life so this character seems very much alive to me.

    I will take a break now and go to an author chat party on facebook with Janette Oke.

    Then I will be back to write more on my story.

  153. Tanya—Congrats on Speedo goal met for today. Keep writing everyone.

  154. Pat W—Thanks for stopping by. Oh, the stories my children would tell . . .
    Happy writing.

  155. What a fun day!!!!

    Food for night owls: Cream puffs.

    I had to make them for Yankee Belle Cafe so of course I wanted to SHARE!!!!!

    I'm that kind of girl.


    My computer is begging me for a plug-in. But it's too cold to go all the way into the kitchen!!!

    Those of youse down south, send me a pic of your spring bulbs, okay? I want a glimpse of hope.

    But I am writing a Christmas story, so the snow is a mood setter!

  156. Ruthy,
    I'm in Texas and the ground is WHITE. No spring bulbs for us yet.

  157. lol I love it! Buying a fictional character a gift :)

  158. Ended up at the doc's with a kiddo after LEGO :p. Had to kill two hours in between since I didn't want to drive "all the way home" [like 12 miles] since gas prices have gone back up. 6yo played on the tablet. I played on my AlphaSmart and pulled out like 875 words while we waited for the nurse practioner [she took her 430 appt before our 415 appt so she could chat with us longer ;) - hard to complain about that - but she adores my son and we had to talk books :D].

    Janet - absolutely!!!! No one should judge their word count goals by mine! I write fast, but man alive, my first drafts DEFINE rough draft. ROUGH is an understatement actually. I've already contradicted myself at least five times. And that has nothing to do with the craptastic word choices or telling not showing.

    But the only thing you can't edit is a blank page. So I do it. Then I fix it. :D

  159. Hi Lisa! I like your suggestion to give characters special skills ... I enjoy when what seem like odd skills actually lead to surprising plot points.

    I haven't read comments yet so don't know if anyone has mentioned Atticus Finch as their most memorable character. His integrity is inspiring.

    Would love to be in the drawing for Beneath a Navajo Moon. It sounds wonderful!

    Nancy C

  160. Well, this is just GREAT!!!!

    Grrrrrrr... set back to word count and I ain't getting it all back and then the forward progress I want, not this late at night. Still, the scene had to go. I've known it for a while.
    I did save it in a separate document. I might end up using parts of it sometime. But it was bad guy stuff and I don't want anyone to know who the bad guy is yet!

  161. Another way to make a memorable character... have a friend ask to be written into the story. That happened to me today! A friend - also a librarian - helped me find some reference material I needed. He then, laughingly, said if I wrote him into the story that we'd call it good. Well! Come to think of it, he'd be the perfect Quaker doctor I need. So now I *really* know one of my new characters for the book I'm plotting out during SpeedBo. :)

  162. Ha! Mary Connealy ... I shortened two scenes (which are in my 'cut and save' folder) deleted one (also in aforementioned folder), wrote a new scene ... and have two more words than when I started today. I don't know how to count it. I think I'll just consider it progress ... and pray I don't go back in a few days and delete the scene I wrote today.

    Nancy C

  163. Great post, Lisa! I love this quote by by Paul Sweeny:
    You know you've read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend.

    Past my speedbo goal for the day! Whoo hoo :)

  164. Hi! I new to all of this and completely overwhelmed. I wrote some last night but was at work for 12 hours today so that was a bust for me.

    Characters that are so real I could send a Christmas card? Probably Ashley Stockingdale from the series by Kristen Billerbeck. She is so much like me I feel like she could be my BFF.

    Glad to join in with a network of writers. Hopefully it will help me to get the juices flowing and get this first story done. It has been in my head for years and thanks to Carol Moncado I am finally deciding to do it!

  165. SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE Emily!!! [Plus I talked about you with your BFF today ;).]

    I CANNOT wait to sit and chat with you about this book! I'm dying to hear what it's all about!

    Did you know there's a new Ashley book coming out? K. Billerbeck said she even got the same cover artist ;).

  166. One of my favorite characters from books, TV, and movies is Dr. McCoy. Always liked his sense of humor.

  167. Jamie—Love that quote. Congrats on completing your goal for the day.

  168. Walt—Star Trek Dr. McCoy? I love the Star Trek series—I'm old enough I watched the originals. :)

  169. Emily Neyer—I'm so glad to hear you are working on your first story. So exciting. Keep reaching for that dream, girl.

  170. Pegg—I love those serendipitous moments when real people provide just what we need for our story characters.

  171. Chill N—Atticus Finch is iconic. Thanks for joining in the discussion. Happy writing.

  172. Eva Maria—Thanks for stopping by. Gifts for fictional characters—oh the other stories my children could tell. :)

  173. Thank you Tina and Seekerville ladies for allowing me to spend a fun day with you discussing characterization. Here's hoping all your characters become so real that readers will feel like they've found a new friend and be tempted to add them to their Christmas lists, too.

    Thanks everyone who joined in the party. SpeedBo participants, I salute you. Happy writing to all.

  174. NANCY It sounds like we had similar days. On to tomorrow and a better day. Well, you came out okay, but me....sigh.

  175. Love all the info about characterization. I'm going to refer to it as I create the characters for my novel.

  176. A most interesting post - and comments. It is important for the characters to grab hold & not let go.

  177. SCARLET O'HARA.....she was one brave lady! I admire her for her honestly, bravery, love, faith and all the other adjectives that describe a person who loved and had the faith of Job...I would love to have her as my BFF and buy her anything she wanted for Christmas! I would love to read BENEATH A NAVAJO MOON. Reviews sound great and I love anything about the west and the Native Americans. God bless you Lisa.

  178. After reading details in your book Beneath a Navajo Moon I want to read it!Sounds really good!

  179. Oh My ! How did I miss all this lovely banter going on! I read the blog and then got side tracked clicking all the links and checking out the books and then I forgot to come back and comment!

    Julie too funny about wanting to know what happens in your own book!

    I know what you mean though, sometimes I look back on writing I have done in the past and say " Did I write that?"

    I hope I am not alone!

    Thank you for this great post Lisa!

    What a great way to start my first Speedbo!

  180. Wow, Lisa! Cheering on a Communist team... it sounds,umm, awful, but that's how the sports world can be. I've rooted for the evil team before just because the other team was more evil. In my opinion. :) Have a fun March!

  181. Well, I decided to stop tonight as yesterday I took sick. Felt like horrible cold , had chillls, headache and today the same thing till now... Characters so real you are tempted to add them to your christmas list...Well, if Julie Adds Linda Marie Finn to her Christmas list, that would make her mighty LUCKY !!! Jules, you hear that... you can write me in so real that I will burn a hole in that christmas list...Smokin Hot !!! I need one of those Hot dresses in size 24 ! or a tight skirt , long with slit up the back...hint Hint lol Lisa I have yet to read one of you books,but I am sure when I get my hands on one of them it will be wonderful. Ut Oh Jules, I think Ruthy is going to beat you to the hero here, she is hot on the trail of this native american hunk...see what happens when your reading in bed... someone is out to steal the next bad boy before you can snag him... lol
    I am at 6,742 words !!

  182. Thanks, Lisa. Such good reminders of what I need to do to make my characters memorable. The other thing I keep forgetting to do is let the readers see my characters as I know them. Readers don't see inside *my* head so I have to work hard to portray real people on the page. :)

    Now, I'm grabbing one of Helen's coffees and heading back to my new WIP. I've finished the opening chapter and am ready to dive into the next. Speedbo, here I come!

  183. Not sure what makes a character memorable. A favorite one is Indiana Jones. I also like Once Upon a Time and Once Upon a Time in Wonderland and their characters. I thought the post about buying a fictional character a present was funny. Maybe a fictional character can buy me an iPad? Ha, ha.

    Please enter me in the drawing.

  184. Not sure what makes a character memorable. A favorite one is Indiana Jones. I also like Once Upon a Time and Once Upon a Time in Wonderland and their characters. I thought the post about buying a fictional character a present was funny. Maybe a fictional character can buy me an iPad? Ha, ha.

    Please enter me in the book drawing.