Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The Rewards of Strong Characterization

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Good morning and Happy Hump Day! How's everyone's week going?

Today I wanted to talk crime fiction, specifically about one of my characters: Kyra Roberts. She's the heroine in my Street Games series. She basically goes undercover in the most dangerous city in the country (one I made up, not a real one) to find her brother, who has disappeared into a high-risk life style.

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So when I set out to write this character, I knew she had to be bold. Insanely bold. She has to uphold two different identities and will be facing off with everyone from desperate junkies to homicidal gangsters. (Not exaggerating. This is what she's taken on to find her brother.)

So I wrote her that way. She has her fears, of course, but they're all internal. The persona she projects to the world is utterly confident. No fear at all.

And I've been surprised to see the response I've gotten from readers about Kyra. She's turned out to be very polarizing.

Some people--more often men, which I think is funny in terms of psychology--think she's crazy. Like, totally insane. The choices she makes, the things she takes on... I've gotten a few comments along the lines of "this chick is nuts!"

Others, conversely, really love her. Some of the best reviews I've gotten (HERE) center on Kyra and how brave she is.

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The funny thing is, based on the reviews I've gotten so far, there doesn't seem to be much middle ground. Either she's awesome and brave, or she's crazy and gonna get herself killed.

For the record, I didn't write her to be a "crazy" character. Just crazy-brave. But I kind of like that she's polarizing my audience. It makes me smile and I'm endlessly fascinated by people's reaction to her.

I also think it's a good example of what happens when you not only stick to your characterization, but make your character's traits--whatever they may be--VERY strong. Even if that trait is timidity, run with that. Make it dominant. Make your character's personality traits strong and obvious. If you do that, the character takes on a reality all their own, and the audience will develop their own, very strong, opinions about the character, just as they would about real people.

It's awesome to see.

Dark Remnants, Book 1 of Street Games is FREE on Amazon, B&N and most other major retailers.
Desolate Mantle, Book 2 of Street Games is currently available only on Amazon.

Have you ever come across a character that polarizes people? Why do you think that was?

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