BookclubToday, we are in a book club together. No particular book by name, but the book you are writing, and we want to discuss characters.

How do you let your characters show their power of empathy? You know the sensitive side of themselves without being overbearing. Can your characters (male and female, protagonist or antagonist) let down their attitudes and become human? There’s one character who can never let down his/her guard. Always on edge, waiting for something bad to happen. Now, this character needs your assistance. How can you provide without taking away the edge? Try to work in a little compassion and let your character have one moment where she/he might be vulnerable. The desire to share her/his concern is there, but not all at one time. This may be a ‘sore spot’ for the character and to empathize would take away the hardness needed to survive, or so the character thinks. Show all of these emotions to your readers, a little bit at a time. Even the most hardened character needs to be transformed.

Your character has allowed small irritations to fester, and heaven help the next person to encounter this explosion. Do you ignore the outbursts? Do you try to show your reader the insights to this character and why? Or, do you build up these small raw spots so the reader can relate to this character and empathize with these trouble areas.

Secrets….always pose a problem. Secrets are not secret as they come out each day in our characters’ lives. SHHH….. well forget this. Someone has spilled the can of beans all over the sidewalk. As a writer, you can have a ball with this scenario. Do you go overboard and show an oversensitive character or a thin-skinned character? Does your character get irritable or touchy and has no respect for herself or himself? Does this character want to get in a pay-back mood? Only you, the writer, will know how to handle this in your story; but be aware, you can have a great turn-around or one less character.

Now comes some fun parts.Think about friendship in a love relationship. One character wants a relationship and the other a friend. What a combustible fragment you can create. You know your characters, so could this be avoided? Not if you want your readers to follow every word, line, and page. One of your characters needs to crawl on the sofa and be held, comforted, a back rub, and nothing more. The other character wants to give more than a hug, a few kind words, and when nothing happens walks out the door or goes to another room.

Okay, put your heads together and I would love to hear some of your responses. There is no one way to solve or handle , but when a group gets together……watch out. Writers know how to handle the most delicate or horrendous situations.

Got a couple more for the next time. So, let me hear from you and we will conquer. What? Whatever needs to be conquered.

Happy Writing.