Saturday, November 16, 2013

Saturday Chat in the Chocolate Cafe with DiAnn Mills

DiAnn Mills has won over fifteen awards for her myriad of books. She's a regular conference speaker and mentor for The Writers Guild. As we take our seats in the Chocolate Cafe, two things I like best about DiAnn: her quick smile and her long Texas accent.

She's visiting with us today to talk about characters and she's has the creds for it. Many of her conference talks are about building strong characters. Pull up a seat, snag a chocolate-drizzled raspberry pastry, and join us.

Who is one of your favorite characters you've written and why?

My character of choice is Kariss Walker, heroine in The Chase and The Survivor. Actually I would have loved a whole lot more stories with her. The reason? She's spunky and she writes romantic suspense novels. 
I love this character because she stepped out of her comfort zone to find the answers to crimes that touched her. Kariss Walker is fearless, compassionate, and able to embrace love. She understood her flaws and had the courage
to face her demons head on. 

Writing characters who leave a lasting impression in the heart of the reader means digging deep into the heart and soul of that character. Although I’m a seat of the pants writer (organic), I have to know everything possible about the character before I begin writing. The process involves a character sketch, personality testing, psychology books, counseling aids, and backstory. For me, it’s impossible to write chapter one, line one without knowing the psychology of my character. 

Fantastic reminders, DiAnn. 

Readers - how do you make sue you've dug deep into the development of your characters?

Quote for Today:
“But, how do you know if an ending is truly good for the characters unless you've traveled with them through every page?” 
― Shannon HaleMidnight in Austenland
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Angie Dicken said...

I love the idea of a fearless, compassionate character! Thanks for sharing, DiAnn. I used to jump into writing with a loose idea of character, and then got to know them on the journey of writing...however, the more I write, the more I realize starting out with a strong understanding of the person makes for consistency, even in the first draft!

Julia M. Reffner said...

Wonderful post, DiAnn. Thanks for this, Pepper! I love the quote for the day, too.

What is meant by counseling aids? Books counselors use?

Pepper said...

DiAnn, she sounds like a female version of Castle? (Well, spunky instead of a little silly)

Do you daydream about your characters before you write them? Or is it a long detailed process of character development first?

Richard Mabry said...

DiAnn, good advice. I sometimes don't have the whole story of what's behind some of my characters until I've written 20,000 words. With my next novel I had to start over twice after writing that much because only then did I fully understand my male and female protagonists.
Pepper, thanks for hosting this great post.

DiAnn Mills said...

When I mentioned counseling aids - I meant the guides a psychologist/counselor uses.

Yes, I daydream a lot! Good thing writers are known for being a bit eccentric!

Richard, I'm right there with you. I have to know my characters before I begin but it still takes getting them in and out of situations for me to know them like I should.