Monday, October 19, 2015

Put No Limits on your Characters




Happy 8th birthday, Seekerville!! 

Hope we’re all reaching high, embracing Seekerville’s No Limits birthday theme. With our Great God, there’s no reason to think small when it comes to our dreams.

Today I also want to encourage writers, myself included, to think big when creating characters. Characters can be—should be—far more than ordinary people.   

Little kids often aspire to be whatever captures their fancy. They want to be astronauts, actresses, ballerinas and race car drivers. With maturity comes an understanding of what those aspirations entail. Some discover they’re terrible at science, cowardly at heart, are tongue tied with stage fright, and are unwilling to endure painful feet. Most then look at their talents and pursue goals that suit who they are. That’s a good thing!   

But our story people have no such limits. We can create characters to do anything we can imagine. Sure, they’ll have to surmount obstacles to reach their goals, but they can succeed, as long as we give them proper skills and strong motivations.


When writing heroes and heroines, most of us aren't going for cartoon superheroes. But a hero is no milquetoast. So let’s remove those limits and make our characters—heroes, heroines and villains—larger than life.   

Eight tips for creating larger than life characters

  • Don’t limit your hero and heroine’s first meeting. Whether these two are drawn to each other or in conflict, make sparks fly and start the story with a bang. Not necessarily gunfire—don’t tell Mary I said that—but make something happen that will grab readers and keep them turning pages.  
Conflict isn't arguing though it may cause arguments

  • Don’t limit your characters’ goals, motivations and conflicts. 

Goals: Make their goals big, at least, big to them. Make them book-length. What our characters want should matter enough that they’ll doggedly pursue it through the entire book. Each scene should see them working toward that end.

Motivations: The reason for wanting the goal should be compelling to the character and to the reader. Nothing is scarier than a strongly motivated villain. Without strong motivations for risking their lives, say in a tornado, characters may appear too stupid to live. 

Conflicts: When possible put the hero and heroine’s goals in conflict. Keep them scrambling for footing with rising stakes that fit the story and their need for growth. Make sure your characters drive the plot and aren’t helpless victims of others' actions. Not all conflict comes from bad stuff. When the hero’s an obstacle to the heroine’s goal and he’s kind to her, his kindness makes her ambivalent about her feelings toward him, which raises the stakes for her. 

  • Don’t limit back story. The pain and failure in their pasts impact their lives now. The past can be the motivation for the characters' goal. We can even keep them unaware of why they’re behaving as they are until their growth enables them to face and overcome what’s holding them back from happiness.

This guy has a strong goal he's pursuing. 

  • Don’t limit what your characters say and do

Dialogue: Make them say what you’d never say. Or allow them to understate events or emotions. Make their words matter. If they’re open about their pasts, they’re vulnerable and that carries a risk so they won't willingly spill their guts, especially to the one they’re starting to love. The love interest or some other character can force the other character to admit what’s hidden until now.

Actions. Allow them to do the surprising thing. Allow them to save the day. Maybe flip the usual scenario and have the heroine save the hero. Allow them to sacrifice their strong goal for the sake of another. Better yet, make them do what they don’t want to do, what they fear most.

This strong heroine has what it takes to save the day. 

  • Don’t limit your characters inner life. 

Introspection: Make characters look at themselves and face a painful truth. Let their thoughts reveal their vulnerability, their hopes and hurts—their heart and soul. Upon occasion show their behavior and words contradicts their thoughts. 

Setting: How characters see the setting depends on their mood, the trouble, the memories the setting evokes. Use their reactions to the setting to heighten emotion in them and in the reader. Don’t sidestep putting their pain on the page, even when writing emotion is hard.

  • Don’t limit your characters strengths and weaknesses. Writing strong characters with admirable qualities is fun. But without weaknesses they have no reason to change. Sometimes a weakness is a strength carried to extreme. A hero with a strong protective nature can go too far protecting the feisty heroine, which stifles her independence and ups the conflict between them.

In comparison to this hero, the heroine may be fragile but she may teach him that she won't tolerate his interference.
  • Don’t limit the consequences. Let the worst that can happen, happen. Let characters pay for their actions and decisions. Let them suffer before they’re victorious. 

  • Don’t limit your characters struggle to change. If you’ve ever tried to overcome a bad habit, you know change is hard. No matter how desperately they need to change, characters won’t volunteer. I believe Jeff Gerke said the purpose of the external plot is to force the characters’ inner change. Let’s not make that change easy or premature. Give them the happy ending only when they've grown and changed. 



A word of warning: No Limits can be carried too far. Obnoxious, unrealistic, wimpy characters will turn off readers. But some of us may play it way too safe. Let’s think big!

I brought a limitless pot of coffee, a variety of tea bags and a breakfast buffet of fruit, omelets, oatmeal, sausage gravy and biscuits, bacon, lox and bagels and every pastry imaginable. What we select may be determined by our back story, our goals and motivations. If you were forced to eat oatmeal as a child, you probably won’t grab a bowl now. If you’ve had an allergic reaction to salmon, you’ll avoid lox like the plague. If you’re determined to lose five pounds, you may bypass the pastries and gravy. Our pasts impact life now, even our food choices. 

Share an unforgettable, bigger than life character. Perhaps in a story you’ve read or a character you’ve written. What about that character made him or her defy limits?








Leave a comment for a chance to win both Seeker Christmas eBook novella collections, Home for Christmas and Heart Full of Christmas, along with a chance to win the birthday prizes below!
 





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174 comments :

  1. Wonderful post, Janet. Looking forward to reading the historical collection. Larger than life character? I'll have to think on that and get back to you!

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  2. Hi Janet:

    A very thoughtful post.
    My favorite line was:

    "We can create characters to do anything we can imagine."

    We two can agree on this but I don't know how many authors have told me that their characters wouldn't let them do this or do that.

    I always say, "Fire them and go to central casting and hire the kind of actor your story needs."

    I also prefer the metaphor of 'freeing our imagination so it can soar to its limits' over the 'no limits' mantra which always creates the image in my mind of a little boy blowing up a balloon until it explodes in his face.

    I also favor giving a character the kind of life that makes her stand out among her peers rather than giving her a larger the life life. A larger than life life makes me think paranormal.

    I'm thinking here of Jack Reacher who is still human with many faults but whose life makes him stand out among men.

    But that's just me. The first thing I always want to do is change metaphors to get the kind of world view I find most comfortable. Metaphors move mountains.

    Let's see what we can do with those awful Frankenstein characters who come alive and terrorize kindly authors.

    Vince

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  3. I love the inspiration, but also the warning that sometimes you can go too far. We all need limits - just appropriate ones!!!

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  4. Vince, did you notice the captions??


    Well done, Janet!

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  5. Awesome list!

    The more I write, the meaner I am to my characters. My next book has a heroine who spends a lot of time in a big foam cupcake costume, dancing badly and sweating profusely. Terribly unglamorous, but she does it out of love for her family and I just love her for it.

    This is a keeper post!

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  6. Oh, sorry! I see the question now.

    Larger than life... Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games (offers herself for her sister Prim and survives by her wits while showing deep compassion for others). Also, Augustus in The Fault in Our Stars (one legged cancer survivor determined to live every day fearlessly). Eion Colfer has a great ex-assassin character trying to go straight, but nobody will leave him in peace. Haven Kimmel has a grad school drop out character that has always stayed with me (Langston butts heads with every person in her tiny town while fighting for two orphans). Sophie Kinsella writes amazingly larger than life characters even though they're usually "just like us". (The heroine in Can You Keep a Secret? is desperate to prove herself to her successful disapproving father, and discovers her own worth along the way, as hilarity ensues.)
    I guess some of these are real heroes (Katniss saves her people and Langston saves the orphaned kids) and some are just the quiet variety (August teaches Hazel about life and death an love). But definitely no limits in those books!

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  7. Great post, Janet! Since I tend to be shy, I love to make my characters say things that I'd never say. :)
    One of my all-time favorite characters is from the movie Rudy. If you haven't seen it, it's a must see. It's based on a true story of young man who defies all obstacles to fulfill his dream of playing football for the University of Notre Dame.

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  8. Good Morning, Janet.

    Terrific advice today! It's hard when we love our characters to dump problem after problem on them, but it must be done to develop a good story. Right?

    The first bigger than life character that comes to mind is James Bond. Ha! And I'm not even a fan.

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  9. HELLO JANET! Thanks for the informative post! As a reader, I appreciate larger than life characters. I've brought coffee, tea and cranberry scones this morning. Have a wonderful day.

    Please put me in for the drawing.

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  10. There is a lot of information jam-packed into this post. Thank you! I am printing this off and making sure my characters measure up. A movie I watch over and over for the character is Tommy Lee Jones in Volcano. His interactions with his teenage daughter touch my heart. Another one is Sharknado, the first one. Fin's daughter says something to the effect that he likes her brother more. He tells her I came for you first. Brings tears to my eyes every time.

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  11. Hi Marianne, you bless us with your interest in the process of writing! Hope you find some larger than life heroes in the books you're reading.

    Janet

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  12. thanks for this post, Janet. I'm finding I need better character development. I tend to have ideas from one particular scene I've written for a flash exercise that grabs my imagination - but no character development beyond that little scene. I think this will help me "flesh out" my peeps better so I can sustain believability for the duration of a book. This post is very helpful. Of course, all Seekerville posts (especially this month) are so helpful and educational.

    I have Home for Christmas, but would love a shot of winning Heart Full of Christmas. I so love the Seeker anthologies thus far. They have all been so awesome!!!!!!!!!

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  13. This is a good post, Janet. Characters really are what it's about, aren't they? Even in plot-driven work. When it's done well, it cuts you to the bone.
    Early in the contest process, I had various judges comment that they couldn't relate to Caroline, the heroine in "Trail." I had to go back several times and work harder on showing her vulnerability, the deep losses she suffered, and her uncertain future. These were lessons I had learned by the time I attempted the sequel, and I think I was a little better on voice, backstory and relatability. They're still not published, but they're better than they were.
    Off to do a dozen things, will check in later.
    I just won a BIG prize, THE KINDLE, so don't put me in the drawing.
    Love the Seekers!
    Kaybee

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  14. You offer some great tips, Janet! I tend to not make things too terrible for my characters. I'm working on that. I didn't realize how much I don't want to hurt them until someone told me I needed to make them suffer more. ;) But, it's walking through the hard stuff that makes us better people. Hopefully. :)

    I love the idea of making our characters #nolimits sort of people. I'm very literal and practical, so this is a stretch for me. Thanks, Janet!!

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  15. Hi Vince, don't sic Frankenstein on this kindly author! You're wise to personalize a post until it works for you. Larger than life=standing out=being outstanding. Love it!

    Janet

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  16. Janet, this is a lot of information for a Monday morning.

    I can see where I need to ramp up my characters. I am working on a heroine that starts off wimpy and is transformed into a confident character by then end. (Think Fried Green Tomatoes.) I struggle w/making her likable at the beginning. I really like this story I just can't have people throwing the book against the wall after the first page. It's been a challenge for me.

    JILL, I love the movie Rudy. Our family watches it 1-2 a year.

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  17. Hi Janet, good points. Your characters always come across as real people which is important to me. I like to read and write about ordinary characters who deal with extraordinary situations.

    No, Vince, I can't fire my characters and get a new cast because they bring the story with them. I've never been able to separate the character from the plot.

    Have a great day, everyone.

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  18. Hi Janet,

    This is definitely a keeper post. You packed a lot of tips into today's post. Thanks so much!

    Have a great day!

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  19. Hi Virginia, your heroine is sacrificing for the sake of others. She's admirable, as heroines should be. Is she one of the "characters" on the street corners trying to entice passersby in for a deal who stick with it no matter how hot or cold it is?

    Bless you for calling this post a keeper!

    Janet

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  20. Good morning Janet Wow, I'm going to print this off. I so need to be reminded of all of these things, especially for my female characters. I never seem to have trouble with the males. chuckle. But the women? sigh.

    One of my bigger than life heroes is Zane in Love's Miracles. He grew up in a loving and caring family, but his experience in the VietNam war made him think he was not worthy to love anyone, especially the heroine. He and the heroine both battle their inner secrets to overcome and love one another.

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  21. Kaybee Congrats. I was so excited when I discovered you were the winner. Be sure and send your address to Seekerville address. Hugs.

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  22. Virginia, thanks for the fantastic examples of characters that are larger than life. As per Vince, characters that stand out and stick with us.

    Janet

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  23. Hi Jill! I have not seen Rudy, but after your endorsement, I want to. The fact he's sticking with you proves he's not the run-of-the-mill character. His goal is easy to see. His motivations are probably not extraordinary but I can envision the conflicts, the setbacks, the struggles, yet he didn't give up. Keeping on keeping on is a great example that I should've added to my post.

    Janet

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  24. Good morning, Rose. James Bond was definitely larger than life. I'm not a fan either so don't know if he had weaknesses. If he didn't, he's more a superhero, than a real guy who must overcome them.

    Janet

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  25. Hi Caryl, we love readers who feed us! LOL Thanks for the yummy scones and the beverages. You're in the drawing!

    Janet

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  26. Hi Tina:

    Yes!

    The captions were the first thing I noticed! I even wrote a caption for the last picture:

    "She's not heavy. She's my daughter."

    A metaphor for doing the 'heavy lifting' needed to take your creativity to the limits!

    Vince

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  27. Hi Janet:

    You wrote:

    "You're wise to personalize a post until it works for you."

    While all the facts may stay the same and all the lessons learned also remain the same, it's how the new knowledge fits into the grand scheme of things that changes.

    "I'd rather edit reality than let reality edit me."

    BTW: I just pre-ordered, "The Bounty Hunter's Redemption," for delivery on New Year's Day! I resolve to start the year reading the which is crystal clear!

    Vince

    P.S. If I were a preacher, I think I'd suggest you put a picture of, "The Bounty Hunter's Redemption," in this post so as not to hide its light under a basket. : )

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  28. Great Post Janet! I am working on characters for my next story. This will be helpful.

    I am trying to decide whether or not to do Nano, or just to keep writing on my own. One of the obstacles is I don't want to wait until November 1 I want to begin now.

    Have a great week everyone.

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  29. Great tips as always, JANET! When I think of a larger-than-life character, the first one that comes to mind--probably thanks to JULIE's obsession--is Scarlett O'Hara!

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  30. As a reader, I totally love your post! I like it when characters make sense. An underwhelming character doesn't keep my attention.

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  31. Good morning, Janet. What a timely post. I'm getting ready to send a manuscript per request to an editor and you've given some great tips to consider.

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  32. Just what was needed as I continue working on these characters.
    May the K9 Spy's 4th story (incidentally entitled May Saves the Day!) is the most ambitious cast of characters yet.
    As usual, your thought-provoking post is helping me push them to #NoLimits!

    Thank you Janet!

    Crazy few weeks. (My brother in law just left and we have company in from The Netherlands. Just returned from a terrific festival where many will be starting the May journey, plus some great leads on school visits!!

    A quick share... One young fan from last year came to our booth to say that though he'd only read the first book, it'd encouraged him to read much "thicker" books from now on. THAT was a new one! So pleased!!! Another young fan said she'd read book 1 "four or five times" and bought book 2 and a Mini-May with her own $$. Much encouragement received which is heart-warming for those long sessions.

    Hardly any computer time, so Happy 8th Barkday from all of us! :)

    THANK YOU for who you are... You are a blessing to so many...

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  33. Good morning, Janet! This is just the post I needed to read as I am struggling with my hero and heroine. When I finally decided to sit down and chart out their GMCs I found myself stuck. I'm not sure if their goals are big enough, if they're motivations are believable and their conflicts? Let's just say I've gone through an entire legal pad, scribbling blocks of text as I go and still not sure. It's enough to make me crawl under a blanket and toss an old favorite DVD into the player and run away. But after reading your post, maybe I'll give it another go. Hope you have a great day!

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  34. Hi Elaine:

    You wrote, and I think most authors would agree with you, that:

    "I can't fire my characters and get a new cast because they bring the story with them. I've never been able to separate the character from the plot."

    Again, I think most authors would agree with you.

    However, here is what I fear.

    If the characters bring the story, then the story is only as good as the characters themselves: independent of the author.

    Conversely, if the story is great then the story will still be great given a much greater variety in the choice of characters.

    As with real life actors, you can change their impact by changing their motivation. The author should control the motivation.

    One approach puts the author in change while the other hands creative control over to the characters and thus renders the author a de facto spectator.

    I think the great danger of this philosophy is in allowing the characters to entertain the author, who is flying by the seat of her pants, rather than having the author focused on creating most entertaining experience for the reader.

    But then, as Myra says, "There is no one right way to write a novel," and she writes great books. I'm just a philosopher. : )

    Vince

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  35. Janet, it wasn't that I can't find larger than life characters in my reading. After all, I'm reading Seekerville books! I have a harder time deciding which one to choose. Today I'll go with Zane in Sandra's Love's Miracles, though like I said, the characters in the books I read mostly are larger than life. Thanks!

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  36. Well, thanks, VINCE! I'll accept your compliment gratefully!!!!

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  37. Virginia, I totally agree about Katniss and Augustus! Characters that stick in the mind, larger than life.

    Janet, great post! It makes me want to re-work some of my characters. :)

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  38. This is such a great post! Thanks for the tips for creating great characters. I am a brand new writer and really appreciate the tips!!

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  39. Connie Q, that is a tough balance. I've had the same problem, because I like characters to grow a lot. I think the trick is to make them likable or have some great quality at the beginning (even if they're a mess in some other area). And give them a save the cat/pet the dog moment in the beginning. :)

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  40. Missy, I hadn't thought about that and it makes perfect sense. I'll see how I can work that in. Thanks.

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  41. Hi Janet,
    Great post! It solidified the need for an extra scene in the book I'm working on now to tie up the hero's GMC! So thank you for that!
    A character that's larger than life... well since I've just had the privilege of reading Pepper Basham's sequel to the Thorn Bearer (The Thorn Keeper), I'd have to pick her heroine, Catherine Dougall. A fallen woman who discovers her faith and uses all her resources to help others less fortunate! A great story! (And lots of kisses, too!)
    I'd love to be in the draw for one of the collections!
    Cheers,
    Sue (who is working to a mad deadline and mostly lurking!)
    sbmason at sympatico dot ca

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  42. Hi Janet,
    You did a great job with your characters in A Daddy for Christmas. I loved it! I hope to get a review out for both collections soon. I am a Christmas story junkie and can't even say how many novellas I've already read this fall, but as I expected, both Seeker collections are 5 star reads.

    I just received my Fairytale Brownies I won a couple of weeks ago, yummy.

    Thank you Seekerville and Happy 4th Birthday week!

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  43. I love reading stories with larger than life characters! Great post and advice :) Keep on celebrating Seekerville!

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  44. DebH, I hope the post helps. When you give your story people weaknesses, a past that still impacts their lives now, and strong goals that both cause them trouble and force them to grow and change, they'll leap off the page.

    Your support of Seekerville is a blessing. Thanks bunches!

    Janet

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  45. Kaybee, I'm rooting for your characters and applauding you for working hard to make them better. Learning craft is a process, not absorbed overnight. One thing I've learned, even when I have knowledge, I have to remember to bring it from my head out through my fingertips onto the page.

    Congrats on winning the Kindle! Seekerville is a very special place, but especially in October!

    Janet

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  46. Jeanne T, you're not alone. Decent people struggle to cause others trouble, even if they're imaginary and badly in need of rising stakes in order to grow and change. Just remember you will give them that happy ending, but they need to earn it. Otherwise they'll stay stuck in the lie they tell themselves, in their bad self-image. So the trouble is a kindness. :-) Keep telling yourself that.

    Janet

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  47. Hi Connie, you make an excellent point. We must make our characters likeable. If they're too wimpy, too caustic, they'll turn off readers. Have you found a way to make yours more appealing?

    Janet

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  48. Elaine, you said: I like to read and write about ordinary characters who deal with extraordinary situations.

    The fact they can deal with extraordinary situations makes them far from ordinary. To me they're larger than life as we watch them not let life defeat them.

    Thanks for your kind praise of my characters. To appear real matters. That's different perhaps than being larger than life. But unless they feel real, they won't impact readers.

    Janet

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  49. Hi Jackie, you caught me! I'll admit my eight tips are really far more as I grouped them. :-)

    Janet

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  50. Hi Sandra, heroines who must deal with strong heroes should have no problem appearing larger than life. LOL

    My heart ached for Zane. Love's Miracles was a great story.

    Janet

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  51. What a fascinating post. Lots of information. :) Thank you!

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  52. Vince, I somehow forgot to add a caption to the mother/daughter photo. I like your take on it. I was thinking more of the impact of setting, a gorgeous fall day that filled them with joy and let them forget...

    Whatever painful thing that's going on.

    Janet

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  53. Laura Frantz always manages bigger than life characters.

    Great post, Janet. I'll look at my WIP tonight to see if I have my characters fighting change. (I do it, but not in a very heroic manner!)

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  54. Vince, your statement "I'd rather edit reality than let reality edit me." is powerful!!! I've heard it said that what we think is our reality. We can let reality depress or frighten us (edit us), or we can refuse to see reality as doom and gloom (edit reality) and put our hope and trust in God. Thanks for sharing!

    And thanks bunches for preordering The Bounty Hunter's Redemption! I love this story! The cover reveal, along with Tina's and Ruthy's, is set for after the birthday party. Our way of keeping the fun going!

    Janet

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  55. Hi Wilani, delighted you think the post might help you create your characters!

    I say begin now. Then don't tell Nano. ;-) Seriously, if Nano doesn't allow you to start early, maybe you can do more planning. Or are you a Seat of the Pants writer?

    Janet

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  56. Thanks, Myra! Scarlet is indeed larger than life. And got into my trouble than pigs in a corncrib. Some people love her. Some hate her, but that's a sign that Margaret Mitchell did a great job creating her. It's reader indifference that's deadly.

    Janet

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  57. Great post, Janet. Writing gems to remember. I just finished reading Intertwined by Jennifer Slattery and she did a really good job of creating a larger than life heroine without going over the top. In fact, at first glance you might think the heroine, Tammy is your typical single mom trying to juggle the demands of work and family, but when you get to know her you realize that she is living her Christian life in a big way. And what I love about her is that she isn't perfect -- not always right but she tries so hard. It's that effort combined with her shortcomings that made her so relatable for me. A real overcomer, even when she couldn't see how it was possible.

    No need to enter me in the draw -- I just finished reading A Heart Full of Christmas and I have Home For Christmas waiting for me.

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  58. Great post & comments today.. as a reader I enjoy reading how you all think :)

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  59. Love all these great tips, Janet. I need to study this as I work on my wip. :)

    Somehow I have to know my character's backstory, their here and now, their GMC, and all their actions/reactions to the circumstances they're in and to other people. No wonder that when I'm deep in a story, the slightest distraction pulls me out completely.

    I remember years ago that more than one contest judge said that they couldn't empathize with Slade in Claiming Mariah. I finally browbeat that surly, scowling loner of a cowboy into telling me his backstory, and I shared that with the reader and the heroine in little bits and pieces, and then, and only then did he become the hero he was meant to be.

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  60. Hi Missy, if your editor allowed your characters into a published book, they're fine. Now the ones we're playing can be tweaked. Or even overhauled upon occasion. Writers are powerful. Our characters better cooperate. LOL

    Janet

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  61. Marsha, thanks for saying: An underwhelming character doesn't keep my attention. We writers need to take your statement to heart lest readers lay our book aside. And what if that reader is an editor?

    Janet

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  62. Janet,

    Thanks for sharing these great tips!! I'm going to print it off too!!

    Bigger than life characters are quite fascinating...especially if you've met them in real life! Sometimes it's a moment in time that defines how the character accelerates into extraordinary status.

    In real life, in our very remote ranching community there was a young man in my daughter's grade school/high school class. Just an ordinary kid...kind of shy, not outstanding at sports or academically. He married young, I think he was eighteen. We kind of lost track of him through the years...we knew he was in the Army, but only saw his family occasionally to catch up on news of what he was up to. When we heard of him next, he was receiving the Medal of Honor...and being inducted into the Hall of Heroes at the Pentagon.

    He was a Staff Sargent in the Army and his men said they would follow him anywhere. When he was told he'd receive the Medal of Honor, he said, "it wasn't just me out there, it was a team effort." Spoken like a true hero!!

    He didn't set out to be a hero...he didn't plan it out or decide ahead of time... he did what he had to do with great courage...and sacrifice!!

    I know we all know folks like this young man. True stories inspire me to capture the essence of bigger than life!

    Here's a link to part of his story...http://www.army.mil/article/96370/Romesha_inducted_into_Pentagon_Hall_of_Heroes/

    I love thinking about heroes and heroines...thanks for your encouragement, Janet.

    Have a wonderful day everyone!!

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  63. Hi Jamie, I hope the post helps as you revise for this editor's request. Wow, this is exciting!!! Pulling for you!

    Janet

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  64. Kathryn,
    Love the story of your real life hero! Gotta love a guy in uniform...and a Medal of Honor winner! Oh my gosh, that's huge! God bless him and the town/family/schools that played a role in his upbringing and helped form him into the MAN he is today!

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  65. Hi KC! I can imagine the fun your big cast of characters will have in the next May book! Where's this one set?

    The fabulous feedback at your signing shows that your stories are making an impact and cultivating readers!

    Thanks for the 8th Barkday congrats from you and May. And for your sweet words for Seekerville!

    Janet

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  66. Janet, such a wonderful post on characters. You had me reviewing the heroes and heroines in my own stories. I like strong women who conquer huge odds and are triumphant in the end. Plus, my guys are usually Alphas. I can't help myself. Those take-charge types are the men who steal my heart! But they have to be flawed, and their backstories have to play into their external conflict. All of which you mentioned in your packed-with-information-and-character-tips post!

    Thank you!

    For the breakfast too! So yummy! It's turned a bit cool in Georgia so I'm loading my plate with carbs to get ready for the long winter ahead! :) Not good for the diet, but my tummy is very happy.

    Hugs!

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  67. Janet, I have to go with my favorite book of all time and say - Gone With The Wind! I love the two main characters - Scarlett and Rhett! Talk about no limits!! Boy, were they bold and brash!!! They stick with you forever!!! But there are many characters that have stuck with me also. Sometimes I'll be in the grocery store, driving, taking a walk, etc. and all of the sudden, a character in a book will pop into my head! I guess I live in a world of fiction! Thanks for your post. It was great! I'd love to be entered into the drawing for the Christmas novellas!!!
    Valri

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  68. Hi Christina, figuring out GMC is hard for me, too. The back story is easy for me. So maybe if you're stuck on GMC, you could start there.

    What's happened to the h/h in the past? Give them some troubles. How do those trouble motivate them to want something?

    For example, childhood homelessness might make the heroine want to buy her grandfather's farm, the one place she felt secure. Her past still makes her feel insecure so owning the farm is her attempt to get back the feelings of safety. To bring in conflict, the hero could stand in the way of her goal. Things get worse when she learns if he outbids her, he plans to tear down the house and build a subdivision there. Maybe he needs to prove to a disapproving father that he can make it, which to his father means make big money.

    As adults, they need to find security and approval from within or from God, but this is a lesson they have to learn and the plot will teach.

    When the h/h are in conflict over the goal, a romance isn't likely, which makes writing the story easier since that keeps them in conflict until the end.

    This isn't your story but perhaps if you start with their pasts, you'll "see" their goals and why they desperately NEED them. And the trouble that causes, the measures they'll go to. Make sense??

    Janet

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  69. Hi Sue, glad the post triggered an idea for your story. Understand the pressure of deadlines. Hope the story flows off your fingertips.

    The Thorn Keeper's fallen heroine sounds great! Nice shout out for Pepper!

    Janet

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  70. Hi Tracey, thanks for your lovely praise of the characters in A Daddy for Christmas and for all the Seeker novellas! We're grateful and especially thankful for a review!

    I've been curious what makes brownies, fairytale brownies. Too yummy to be believable??

    Janet

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  71. Good afternoon, Heidi! We know how to party in Seekerville! And share birthday gifts. Thanks for sharing in the fun!

    Janet

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  72. Hi Amy C, thanks for stopping by. I love your party dress!

    Janet

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  73. Good afternoon, Debra. If they're honest I'm guessing they won't welcome change. Hope you can find ways to make them resist, ignore, deceive themselves until they can't ignore their need to change. Not sure they'll be heroic about it. Big strong heroes find it hard to admit they're a mess. LOL

    Janet

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  74. I loved Heart Full of Christmas...would love to be entered for the other collection.
    I am presently INTO Ruthy's HOR......oooo so good!

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  75. Hi Kav,

    I love when Villagers add important nuggets to the post as you did when you said:

    And what I love about her is that she isn't perfect -- not always right but she tries so hard. It's that effort combined with her shortcomings that made her so relatable for me. A real overcomer, even when she couldn't see how it was possible.

    Striving shows strength. Overcoming shows persistence. Tammy's real because she has shortcomings, but larger than life because they don't stop her, nothing does. Readers can't help but pull for a character like her.

    Janet

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  76. Hi Deanna, glad you like the way writers think. Some might want us committed. LOL
    Thanks for stopping in!

    Janet

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  77. Ooops....I totally goofed on that title.......I meant Refuge of the Heart!!! lol

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  78. HI Janet,
    What a jam-packed post! This is a keeper that I'll be referring to often.

    I try to do many of those things, but have to remember to watch the pacing. I received recent feedback that my characters butted heads so much throughout the MS that by the time it ended the love story was no longer believable. Ouch! So I'm now rolling that back and giving the characters the chance to breathe. It's amazing how they're bonding now that they aren't standing toe to toe at the end of every scene. Live and learn. I'm doing that along with my characters.

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  79. Hi Pam, I loved Slade, the Slade who admitted his back story. Back story is what kicks it all in gear for me. I may have the inciting incident but until I know what happened in the past, I can't see their present or move them toward the future.

    Distractions are like throwing a bucket of ice water on the flame of our creativity.

    Janet

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  80. Kathryn, I followed the link and am so glad I did. I was teary eyes reading what happened that day. What a wonderful young man Clint is, a bigger than life hero in a moment of time that defined his life.

    Our stories begin in a moment in time, a moment when things change. We can debate whether the man defines the times or the times define the man. I'm not sure it matters. Both matter and are interwoven like character and plot.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Janet

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  81. Hi Janet:

    Shhh!

    (Don't tell anyone but you revealed those three covers on Sunday, 18 October. Like a mother can hear her baby cry in a noisy house three rooms down the hall, I can spot your new release with the slightest scan. )

    About editing reality, I often thought that if you wanted to change the world, you shouldn't try to change people (they rarely change) but rather you should edit reality. What really drove this idea home was when I applied it to Christianity.

    Up to the time of Christianity, all the gods needed to be placated with gifts and sacrifices. They were like powerful kings requiring gifts and tributes. We're talking thousands of years of history here. Even the Jewish god followed the same historical pattern.

    With Christianity, God loved mankind so much that He sacrificed his only Son to redeem man from sin. It was God who did the sacrificing. The world did not know how to deal with this new reality.

    Jesus edited reality and no one in history has ever had more impact.

    That's something to think about.

    To make great changes in your characters, edit their reality. Think big! Think metaphysical metamorphosis. See, I'm on topic. : )

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  82. JILL, I'm just checking back in here before I get back to writing. I loved RUDY. :) Such a great movie and wonderful character. Talk about an overcomer! :)

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  83. JANET—"The trouble is a kindness." I like that!

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  84. Hi Debby, you're just eating breakfast. I've put lunch on the solarium. Big pots of chicken and noodle soup and chili. I made cornbread and chocolate chip cookies. It's chilly but sunny here in the Midwest.

    I like alpha males, too. Jayne Ann Krentz said in Dangerous Men and Adventurous Women: The romance hero must play two roles. He is not only the hero, he's also the villain.

    That statement amazed me at first, but I've found it to be true.

    Janet

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  85. LOL, Vince!! I was wondering who would tell Janet the cover had already been revealed. You did it nicely. ;)

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  86. Hi Valri, I agree Scarlet and Rhett were brash and bold. Rhett was that hero/villain I mention in the prior comment.

    The characters who accompany you on your daily activities are bigger than life or they wouldn't linger in your head.

    Janet

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  87. Hi Jackie! Hope Ruthy gets here to see your praise of Refuge of the Heart!

    Janet

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  88. Hi Lyndee! Great point! We need pull (attraction) as well as push (conflict) between the hero and heroine. Mixing them together is really fun. LOL

    We also need to alternate tension with rest, even levity, or we'll wear out the reader.

    Live and learn is right!

    Janet

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  89. Hero and villain! Love it, Janet! My thanks to you and Jayne! :)

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  90. Good afternoon, Janet! It seems to be a fine balance for me, like you wrote at the end of your post, to create a strong, no limits character without him or her being unlikeable or wimpy. Thanks for the tips!

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  91. Janet, you made chili? It's cold here in NH, think I'll have some.
    KB

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  92. Vince, Tina linked the titles to Amazon in the WE. I saw that. I thought we were revealing the covers later so I ignored reality in favor of my perception. Maybe I believed no one would go out. Don't tell Tina I said that. LOL

    A transition of sorts for what you said: To make great changes in your characters, edit their reality.

    Don't we change our characters reality, the world as they know it? Often early on in the story. Usually by planting hero or heroine in front of the other's nose. Suddenly they're dealing with things they've never dealt with before. They care about things they never cared about before. The hero may be outmaneuvered by a feisty female in petticoats, forcing him to admit his world has changed and alas, he'd better change, too, if he wants the girl.

    Janet

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  93. Say that twenty times until you believe it, Jeanne T! Nurture your meanness. LOL

    Janet

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  94. Missy, Tina called me to make the journey (to Amazon) but I refused to go. LOL

    Janet

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  95. Larger than life? Hmmm, who have I liked recently? I love Cathleen Armstrong's heroines in the Last Chance series, especially troubled Lainie and troubled Kaitlyn. (And if you're in the mood for a good minor character, check out the waitresss Juanita, who steals every scene in the diner.) I liked Elizabeth Camden's Lydia in Against The Tide, and I really liked Anna Schmidt's Beth Bridgewater in All God's Children, an American living in Europe during the fall of Germany who actually married her German husband so they could go to a Nazi prison camp TOGETHER. That is courage. She was an American but wouldn't go home without him. I also liked Mary, the red-haired nurse in the second book of Myra's "Till We Meet Again" trilogy. She was true to her principles, though it tore at her very heart. I want to do heroines like those! Craft, craft, craft.
    KB

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  96. Isn't that cool, Debby? That can only be true if the hero is an alpha male. To add more of what she said:

    The hero in a romance is the most important challenge the heroine must face and conquer.

    Then later: The hero must be a source of emotional and sometimes physical risk. He must present a genuine threat.

    Nate, the bounty hunter in The Bounty Hunter's Redemption is definitely a real threat to the heroine and her son. And she's not about to be intimidated.

    Fun conflict. :-)

    Janet

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  97. Hi Meghan, balance is key if we hope to make them larger than life but still keep them believable and likable.

    Janet

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  98. Hi Kaybee, I can relate. My poor mandevilla froze last night. We thought the frost warning was past.

    Janet

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  99. Great examples of larger than life characters, Kaybee! Thanks for sharing!

    Janet

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  100. Janet, this post is a keeper! It goes into my Seekerville e-file to digest later.

    My first thought of a larger than life character was the same as Myra's--Scarlett O'Hara, the woman we loved to hate until we came to admire her.

    But since I'm immersed in Winston Graham's Poldark series, I gotta say Ross Poldark has moved up to the top of my list.

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  101. KAYBEE! Thank you for mentioning my character Mary McClarney from Whisper Goodbye! She's a favorite of mine, too!

    I'd have to say Mary Connealy writes some truly larger-than-life heroines. The Wilde sisters are a perfect example, disguising themselves as men to fight in the Civil War, then braving the wild west to homestead and make new lives for themselves. Tough, strong, but also tender and with huge hearts for their men.

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  102. You know, if I made my next cowboy a ballet dancer that would just come RIGHT OUT OF NOWHERE!

    Janet THANK YOU!

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  103. The two characters who popped into my head were Mitch and Charity from A Passion Redeemed, Julie Lessman's second book. I love all her characters, but those two were just BIGGER land life, honestly.

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  104. The characters from my book that I first thought of were (it strikes me as funny) Gru, the wild mustang that hung with Matt Tucker in Now and Forever and oddly, Tom Linscott's horse. He was the hero of Sharpshooter in Petticoats but he was in six of my books and that horse kept everyone on their toes.

    I also loved that wild man Seth Kincaid in Over the Edge, bk #3 of the Kincaid Brides series. Pulling him back to the right side of sanity was just pure fun and a fair sized challenge, too. His wife Callie Kincaid was a larger than life character, too. She wanted to shoot Seth every time he opened his mouth and said something crazy.

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  105. Ah, Myra, you like my Wilde Women? :)

    Bailey is the wildest of them all, but they were all so fun to write.

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  106. i also think of super heroes. Superman, Batman, Spiderman, on and on, these guys are larger than life and so are the villains thrown at them

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  107. Vince thank you for the reminder, I pre-ordered Janet, Ruthy and Tina's new books.

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  108. Vince what you said about editing reality no characters, this is a fundamental thing I do in my books. And I'm not even sure it's right, it's just how I see things.

    I think people do NOT change, not their fundamental self. But all people can use their skills for good or for evil.

    So a take charge woman is NOT going to just step back and let someone take over, maybe if a man really EARNS it she will respect him enough to follow, but it's best if he's leading her some direction she really wants to go.

    That's how I see faith and education and all sort of personality traits. The faith changes you in that now you aim for good, you are rooted in belief in God, but if you were a sassy, confrontational, brilliant doctor before you became a Christian, you're going to be the same, you'll just use all your basic traits for the Lord now.

    And if you're a shy, submission, knitter, well, you're not going to just become a flamboyant stand up comic.

    Right?

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  109. Barbara, I STILL haven't seen Poldark! I really want to do that!

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  110. Wait. You mean I am NEVER, EVER, EVER going to become a stand-up comic????

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  111. I also loved Eluzabeth Camden's Lydia. A very interesting, unusual character. And Karen Witemeyer's Archer Brothers.
    Thanks for a very interesting post and please enter me in the drawings!

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  112. Janet, this is a wonderful post! I like my life to be conflict free, boring for a novel. So I have to work hard to add enough in my books. I never thought of overplaying a strength and turning it into a problem. Definitely something I plan to try. Please include me in the drawings and Happy Birthday Seekerville!

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  113. "maybe if a man really EARNS it she will respect him enough to follow, but it's best if he's leading her some direction she really wants to go."

    Once again this carries over to REALITY!!!

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  114. This is such a super teaching post, Janet. I especially appreciate your point about not limiting backstory. When there's no feeling that the character had a life before I 'met' her or him in the story, there doesn't seem to be any depth to the story.

    As far as 'no limits' characters go, I have to mention Walt Longmire in the Longmire books. Any man who pushes himself through a blizzard to the very ridge of a mountain does not think he has limits.

    Thanks for a helpful reminder about what's appealing in characters!

    Nancy C
    P.S. Where's the link for ordering a guy like the one on horseback? :-)

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  115. Great post Janet. This gives me a lot to think about in creating characters.

    I already have the two Christmas novella collections so no need to enter me for those but please put me in for the other prizes.

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  116. I can't really name a specific hero or heroine who stood out to me....there's been way too many to count for any ONE of them to stand out! I love when an author makes their characters unforgettable, and strong balanced characters make a story special for this avid reader!! If I can relate to them, feel as if I'm a part of their fictional lives & want to sit down and have a cup of coffee and conversation with them, than that's everything to me! And I love that they can do anything you want them to do in your books, any goal you want them to achieve & any dream you want them to chase! I can live a new life through them :-)

    This is a great post & I think most authors I know and have read books by, have done an incredible job on their characters! I think too, that secondary characters can make the story as well. A well-rounded set of characters to me are like making a new circle of friends :-)

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  117. Oh, I forgot to add: I already have this set of books so no need to enter my name for them :-) I just wanted to chime in on today's post!

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  118. Hi Barbara, delighted the post is a keeper and you've found another larger than life hero. Scarlet needs some competition.

    From what I've read, Margaret Mitchell patterned Scarlet after herself. After her death, her husband worked to protect American authors' copyright abroad, as books were being serialized in the newspapers.

    Janet

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  119. Mary, I refuse to take the blame for your ballet hero!

    Janet

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  120. We've got some excellent recommendations for larger than life characters from Seeker books. Now we're talking!

    Janet

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  121. Mary, do the Superheroes have weaknesses? Not talking Superman's weakness to kryptonite. I'm talking weaknesses that make heroes believable.

    Janet

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  122. Hey, Mare, thanks for ordering Tina's, Ruthy's and my January books! Vince has started an avalanche. LOL

    Janet

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  123. Mary, the change I'm referring to is overcoming something that prevents the h/h from falling in love with another or with God.

    Janet

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  124. Myra, neither you nor GQ will be a stand-up comic.

    Janet

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  125. Loves To Read, thanks for sharing two larger than life characters! The list is growing long.

    Janet

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  126. Hi, Terri! When a character overdoes a strength until it becomes a weakness, he finds that what he derives his self-esteem from is now criticized.

    Janet

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  127. Tina, I'm nodding and laughing.

    Janet

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  128. Myra I don't THINK you've got an inner Jerry Seinfeld, but if you ever do it, PLEASE let me know. I am coming even half a country away.

    And I'll bet I'll laugh too, though maybe AT YOU.

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  129. I LOVE Karen Witemeyer's Archer Brothers. Those were great books. But she could have kept them going WAY LONGER, C'mon, Karen, six book series, YOU CAN DO IT!

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  130. Nancy C I just finished watching the 4th season of Longmire on Netflix, which is the first time I've ever done a Netflix series. I LOVE THAT SHOW and of course, I'm through the season and the end is a KILLER.
    There'd better be another season.

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  131. Nancy C,

    Thanks for sharing another larger than life hero!

    If I knew where to get the hunk on horseback, I'd order one for myself. For my next story you understand. :-) If you just want the picture to inspire you, I purchased it on Crestock.

    Janet

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  132. Hi Sandy. Hope you enjoy the Christmas novellas!

    Janet

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  133. Janet, I don't know, do they all have weaknesses (superheroes). Batman is a brooding loner and he has no superpowers, only great toys.

    What else? They must.

    I always wished they'd do the superheroes but NOT the super villains. Think how peaceful things would be if the super heroes only had to catch regular bad guys. Things would be running so SMOOTHLY by now.

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  134. Hi, Trixi! When readers live a new experience, a new life through a story and find a whole new set of friends, the author has done her job! You've described what I aspire to as a writer. Thank you for sharing!

    Janet

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  135. Mary, I didn't know Batman was a loner. What happened to Bat Boy? Or am I confused?

    Without villains, how would we know Superheroes had super powers? I suppose Spiderman could walk up the side of the tallest buildings to clean windows. Superman could open a new airline, himself. They'd keep busy but they'd soon lose their hero status.

    Janet

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  136. Great column for a Monday, Janet. It seems you've stirred up quite a lot of different opinions on superheroes and take charge women. I'm impressed. We need both to entertain the reader and get the conflict in. Good job.

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  137. Happy Birthday to all in Seekeresville. There are eleven days left to celebrate. Toss out the confetti and free the colorful balloons and let's cut the cake for all. Coffee's on.

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  138. Hi Mary & Janet:

    I see two levels of changing reality. Both of you have given examples of the first level. For example, this would be changing one's perception within the familiar reality. As when a single person marries and has a child. They say everything changes. I feel this is like going from steerage on the Titanic to a state room. It's a whole different world but you're still on the Titanic.

    The second level is more profound and is when one's metaphysical system itself changes. For example, going from a flat world to a round world or from a earth centric to a solar centric view of the solar system.

    Another example of this happened when the early English missionaries went to India to convert the natives to Christianity. For the first time, word kept coming back to the Church in England that the highly intelligent India metaphysicians were converting their missionaries to reincarnation and a completely different cosmology. In a sense the missionaries were removed from the Titanic itself.

    Another way to change a character's reality would be to have them take a mind altering drug or, in a theme not as popular as it once was, give the character amnesia. Both of these approaches fall short of course of simply going the paranormal route.

    So yes, you're both right. It depends on how big a change your story requires.

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  139. Yes, Janet. Batman is most definitely a loner.

    When I think of being mean to characters and upping the stakes, I think about the fact that in two of my books, I kill the older brothers of my heroes. I have very nasty villains

    I also have both sets of novellas

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  140. Janet, many of your ideas will help me improve my characters, but I especially like this: "Allow them to sacrifice their strong goal for the sake of another." Thank you for your excellent #nolimits post.

    Please put my name in for the Home for Christmas historical collection.

    Even though I need to lose five..or more....pounds, I'm still helping myself to the pastries. Seems I need to work on my motivation, as well as my characters' goals! :)

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  141. This is wonderful! I consider myself a beginner when it comes to writing because I have trouble developing my characters. Motivation and introspection are two key aspects I've been ignoring. Thank you for bringing this to my attention! Hopefully with this article and some more practice I can create a unique and believable character.

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  142. Dear Janet, Larger than life characters? With movies, I immediately think of Rosalind Russell in Auntie Mame. Mame Dennis is larger than life but so loving and caring that she dominates the screen. I love that movie.

    I'm in the process of starting to plot my next book, and I love some of these tips, especially those involving the meet-up.

    Thank you so much.







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  143. I tend to make my characters too real. Thank you for the great advice on how to make them larger than life!

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  144. Janet I just loved this post! There is so much great information here! I think my favorite over-the-top character is Scarlett O'Hara. She makes some very impulsive over-the-top decisions and dogedly pursues her goals. And then there is the wearing of a dress made out of curtains. Love that!

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  145. It is a great post. I like characters that give you such a big HELLO here I am.

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  146. Janet,

    This was excellent information! As I move from writing non-fiction to fiction, your post will be a great help!

    Please enter my name for the drawing!

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  147. Awesome list Janet! Thank you. One character I have always thought was larger than life is Rhett Butler from Gone With the Wind, I guess because he had to deal with Scarlet.

    Happy Birthday Seekerville!

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

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  148. Hi Suzanne. Great point! We always want to entertain the reader.

    Thanks for joining in the celebration of our 8th birthday!

    Janet

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  149. Vince, that type of change is more than I'm going for in my books. I want the characters to discover the truth of the premise on a journey that both entertains and perhaps touches readers and even teaches them something of value, a takeaway. Often the story teaches the writer something, too.

    Thanks always for your thoughts. You're a blessing, always keeping things lively in Seekerville.

    Janet

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  150. Hi Walt. Guess that Batman lives in a cave should give me a hint on his loner status. You can tell I'm not a big fan of Superheroes. LOL

    Why did you kill off the older brothers? To open the way for the next in line? To escalate tension?

    Janet

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  151. Hi Sherida, I can identify with the lack of motivation when it comes to losing those pounds. But, hey, this is Seekerville. The calories are as fictional as our novels.

    Have fun torturing your characters. :-)

    Janet

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  152. Hi, Margaret. This is an exciting time when you're learning and growing in the craft. Have fun fleshing out your characters by adding their thoughts and giving them strong motivations that will keep them striving to reach their goals. Kind of like how we strive to write a book. Our goals to get there may change from day to day, just as our characters' goals change from scene to scene, but the long term goal is to finish a novel, as theirs is to reach their book-length goal. Go you!

    Janet

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  153. Hi Tanya, perfect example of a larger than life character.

    Have fun plotting the opening of your next book!

    Janet

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  154. Hi Donna, Too real can be a problem if the characters lead a trouble free life. We writers may aspire to that, but our characters need to struggle.

    Janet

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  155. Hi Kelly. Scarlet sticks with us, that's for sure! One of my favorite episodes of Carol Burnett's show--this is probably before your time--is a skit where she wore the drapery dress with the curtain rod attached. Hilarious. We'll know we made it when a TV show uses scenes from our books.

    Janet

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  156. Mary P, those characters will not be ignored. Thanks for stopping by.

    Janet

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  157. Hi Edwina, from non-fiction to fiction is a leap. I wish you the very best with it!

    Janet

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  158. I'm going to have to re-visit some characters now! But that's a good thing. Thanks for a really helpful blog.

    Linda Tillis

    www.lindatillisauthor.com

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  159. Hi Cindy W, the interesting thing about Rhett was he took part in cheering on Scarlet's refusal to bow to the customs of her time, then as the years past, he wearied of her antics. Of course, if she'd known and acknowledged how much she loved him, he'd have been a happy man. In my head, they always got back together. I wonder how GWTW can be classified as a romance without a happy ending.

    Janet

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  160. JANET!!! My apologies for coming late to the party, but I am sure glad I'm here now because this is an excellent blog destined for the printer!'

    You said: "Nothing is scarier than a strongly motivated villain."

    Oh, WOW, I never thought of that, but that is soooo true! I would NEVER go see Silence of the Lambs or the Freddie Krueger because those characters were SO strongly motivated, they scared the pejeebers out of me!

    You also said: "Don’t limit what your characters say and do."

    LOL ... I've got THAT one down, I think, mostly because I don't limit what I say or do, often to my detriment! ;)

    MYRA SAID: "When I think of a larger-than-life character, the first one that comes to mind--probably thanks to JULIE's obsession--is Scarlett O'Hara!"

    Then my job here is done! ;)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  161. MARY SAID: "The two characters who popped into my head were Mitch and Charity from A Passion Redeemed, Julie Lessman's second book. I love all her characters, but those two were just BIGGER land life, honestly."

    LOL ... you just made my day, Mare, so THANK YOU!!! They are my favorite couple in the DOB series, and I feel the same way about Katie and Luke in the WOC series. We must like those spunky types of heroines that butt heads with the heroes, igniting LOTS of sparks!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  162. Hi Julie, your characters are larger than life. I'm sure that comes from the huge impression GWTW made on you and as you say, your own personality. :-) I'm privileged to know you, dear larger than life prayer warrior.

    Janet

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  163. I like the idea of characters doing or saying the things we never would. If they don't have our inhibitions (or different ones at least), there is so much potential for bigger than life action!

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  164. I loved reading your post today. As for myself I am not a very outgoing person so I prefer reading about people that are. I just finished today the book The Headmistress of Rosemere by Sarah E. Ladd. Absolutely loved it by the way. Patience ( the headmistress ) has so much going against her but she doesn't let it hold her back. She perseveres and after secrets are revealed,betrayal dealt with she overcomes with God's help.

    Deanne Patterson
    Cnnamongirl at aol dot com

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  165. Larger than life ... Charity O'Connor is definitely one!

    The most recent fiction I've read are comic books, so Batman comes to mind as a larger than life character (I saw he's already been mentioned in the comments). It's interesting to see how much darker that character and his world of Gotham became from the 1980s - onward. Also seeing how his relationship and mentoring differed depending on the personality of his Robin protegees (Dick, Jason, Tim, Damian, etc.).

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  166. Hi Sparks of Ember. You are so right! uninhibited dialogue can make a story zing. As long as we don't go too far. LOL

    Janet

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  167. Hi Deanna, Sarah's book sounds great! I'm not one bit surprised. Thanks for sharing.

    Janet

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  168. Hi Artist Librarian. Interesting observation on Batman.

    Charity is definitely larger than life and she's a favorite of Julie's heroines!

    Janet

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  169. Wow. I really very information post! Though I am not a writer per se, I enjoy reading and this post gives me a sense of how characters and their story are put together. Thanks!

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  170. I really needed this post to help me work on making my characters real. Thanks!

    I'd love to win :)

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  171. Hi Just Commonly, we love readers in Seekerville! Thanks for stopping in.

    Janet

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  172. Hi Becky, Hope the post helps you make your characters bigger than life!

    Janet

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  173. Hi, Janet!!

    I love "larger than life" characters in the books I read, I find them in most of those I read - it would be hard to pick a favorite. A few of those I've enjoyed are those in any of Julie Lessman's books, Ruth Logan Herne's 'Refuge of the Heart', Erica Vetsch's 'The Cactus Creek Challenge', and Pam Hillman's 'Stealing Jake'. So many more I've enjoyed - I love characters willing to take a risk for others, stand up for their beliefs, exhibit spiritual growth through their experiences, etc..

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  174. Hi bonton, thanks for your input! You've given some wonderful examples of larger than life characters and the reasons why they deserve that esteem!

    Janet

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