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Trust the Characters in Your Novel to Tell the Story

Updated on May 9, 2014

The Teacher Is Taught a Lesson

As many of you know, I am now in the final edit of my new novel, “Resurrecting Tobias.” Before the final edit began, I asked some of my online writing friends to preview the manuscript, and give me their opinions. One of those opinions was an eye-opener, and it came from my friend Audrey:

“Sometimes, when you move away from the patter, it gets a little preachy--for lack of a better word--for me--and it does it in a way that feels very split off from the character for me--it tends to put me off--I would much rather that your message be delivered in Toby's voice and in how he views the world as he struggles his way through--

I think you can trust the characters all the way through to tell their story more--I felt that would be one way to get more depth--the old show me don't tell me thing—“

I draw your attention to the phrase “trust the characters all the way through to tell their story more.”

True words for sure, and a message that I have known for years, but…..

When we get wrapped up in writing a novel, it is amazing how quickly we forget some very basic lessons in storytelling.

Trust the characters!

The main character, Tobias Alexander King
The main character, Tobias Alexander King | Source

First, Though, You Have to Know the Characters

I have written before about characterization, but it bears repeating. The characters in any novel have a job to do, and that job is to tell the story. The reader sees through the eyes of your characters. The reader hears through the characters, and feels through the characters. That, my friends, is a huge responsibility that we place on fictional beings, but they are fully capable of delivering for you if you flush them out and make them real.

Before you ever write the first word of your novel, I suggest that you sit down and write a biography of your main characters. Interview them and get to know them. Once you know them as real people you will then be able to predict how they will react in certain situations. What would they do if a loved one died? How would they react if faced with a life-threatening situation? What would they say if they lost their job?

Only after you take this crucial step can you move on, and allow your characters to tell the story in their own words.

Back to Audrey’s Point

On the first draft of the manuscript, there was a section early on where I detoured into a discussion about Native Americans and their plight. It went something like this:

“You don’t need me to tell you that Native Americans, or Indians if you prefer, have pretty much gotten the short end of the deal over the years here in the United States. If there was a way to screw them then our forefathers found it, exploited it and grew rich from it. We eliminated their food supply, stole their land, taught them the White Man ways and refused them their heritage. Still, I’m not much on paying dues for century-old crimes either. I wasn’t doing the screwing back in 1840 and I see no reason why I should foot the bill for sins rendered then. Moon happens to agree with me on this point, as does Pete; one of those rare times when I am in the majority on an issue.

The three of us also agree that native sovereignty is a failure and will never work in this country. Too many chiefs and not enough Indians is what my dad would have said, and he would have been damn close to the truth. Tribal councils, the BIA, a few other agencies, all fighting for a piece of the pie; jurisdictions overlap, a few get rich, and meanwhile sexual abuse, drug abuse, alcoholism and abject poverty hold sway over the reservations. Places like Spirit Lake Reservation in North Dakota and Leech Lake Reservation in Minnesota make the Dark Ages of Europe look like a weekend at Disneyland.”

Long-winded for sure, and it is a perfect example of what Audrey was talking about. The point was one I felt important to make, but by making it in such a manner, I managed to ruin the flow of the story. Keeping Audrey’s suggestions in mind, I changed that passage to read this way, a conversation between the main character, Toby, and his friend and Native American activist, Yellow Moon:

“How’s the battle, Moon? How goes it with the Cause?”

“Toby, just between the three of us, the Cause is screwed. There are too many white men. There are too many tribes who can’t agree on a damned thing. Sure, we were shafted in the past, but what’s new? It’s pretty damned obvious that the government isn’t going to do anything about it, so that leaves the tribes to take care of their own, and in case you haven’t noticed, life on a reservation is no trip to Disneyland. Still, if we don’t keep battling, I know for sure nothing good will come of it all…so we keep on keeping on, buddy.

I’m sure you’ll agree that this leaner, meaner conversation between two friends says the same thing, but says it in a way that is consistent with the flow of the story. In other words, I have allowed the characters to deliver the message without having Toby go off on a long-winded tangent.

Maria was fully capable of telling her own story without writer interference
Maria was fully capable of telling her own story without writer interference | Source

One More Example to Drive Home the Point

About a month ago I completed the first draft of the novel. Over 139,000 words had been written, the story had been told, and yet I had one of those uneasy feelings about it. After several days of contemplation, I realized I really knew nothing about one of the three main characters. I had done a good job of developing Toby and Pete, but Maria somehow was left out in the cold. I had told her story through the eyes of Toby, and was left with an empty feeling. Finally it dawned on me to let Maria tell her own story in her own words. Once that decision was made, Maria became a real person to me, and I could relate to her immediately.

In other words, I had to trust Maria to do the job that I was incapable of doing as the writer. Through Maria’s conversations with the other characters, we finally learn what makes her tick and what motivates her.

Trust your characters!

This gentleman, the author, cannot be trusted to do the job as well as his characters can do it.
This gentleman, the author, cannot be trusted to do the job as well as his characters can do it. | Source

It’s All About Flow and Rhythm

When I think about the flow of a story, I think back to the decade of the 60s, and some of the concerts I attended. During that time, many bands, during live performances, would do extended versions of some of their hits, and those extended versions would include lengthy solos by some of the individuals. There would be five minute solos by the drummer, followed by five minute solos by the lead guitarist and the bass player. It would be interesting at first, but after awhile, the song was lost because the flow was drowned out by the solo performances. Trust me, after a five minute solo by a drummer, it is very hard to remember what song was being played.

It is the same way with a novel. The flow of the story and, in fact, the story itself, can be lost if one character takes off on a lengthy monologue. There is no need to do that if you have faith in your characters.

Take your characters out to lunch and chat with them. Tell them what you want to accomplish and then turn them loose. You’ll be glad that you did.

2014 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

Bookcover shown above by Alexandra Lucas....she can be found on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/TheSilvergenesGroup

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    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Guess not indeed, Jama! LOL

    • JamaGenee profile image

      Joanna McKenna 2 years ago from Central Oklahoma

      You're welcome, Bill! Funniest thing, I almost deleted that sentence from my comment before hitting "Post", since keeping an eye on the timeline is pretty much a no-brainer. Guess not! ;D

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jama, I'm laughing because I just caught myself in a mistake because I didn't consult my timeline. LOL I had to go back and correct ten pages because of it. Thanks for the late reminder. :)

      bill.....and thank you for sharing.

    • JamaGenee profile image

      Joanna McKenna 2 years ago from Central Oklahoma

      I think letting characters tell the story is one of the hardest concepts to grasp. After all, it's your book.. the world YOU are creating, right? Wrong. It's the world the characters live in. An author is only an observer with a keyboard (or a pencil and paper) recording their thoughts, their conversations, their actions.

      Another reason for writing extensive bios of characters is to keep the timeline accurate.

      Upped and shared as usual! ;D

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so much rdsparrowriter!

    • rdsparrowriter profile image

      rdsparrowriter 3 years ago

      Thanks sir billy :) Great advice and I'm saving this :) Voted up and useful :) Stay blessed!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Glimmer, your description was perfect. You should have written this article. :) Thanks!

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 3 years ago

      I usually go to the bathroom when the band starts doing their long "space" thing. But I definitely see the parallel with lengthy side bars. The novel loses me at that point. Many writers get caught up in how they want their character to be without letting their characters tell them. Good advice for writers in this one (as in all of yours).

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Great example, Deb! Carry on! You don't need my help at all.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Sounds like a great way to do the book. When I sit down to do Boom Lake, it is Boomer Lake that tells ME what is happening, not vice versa.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ann, I think it depends on the writer. I love first person, but I know a great many writers who are not comfortable with that method. Thanks for your thoughts and yes, it would help to know oneself.

    • Ann1Az2 profile image

      Ann1Az2 3 years ago from Orange, Texas

      Obviously, your listening skills are as good as your writing skills, Bill! A rarity, for sure. Wouldn't it just be easier to right in the first person? Of course, that would depend on how well you know yourself, wouldn't it?

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Liz. Coming from an accomplished writer like you, that is as good as it gets.

    • epbooks profile image

      Elizabeth Parker 3 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      Fabulous hub and I love the idea about writing a bio about the character. Great tip!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      You are very welcome, Wayne. Good luck with your and thank you my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Vellur! I appreciate you stopping by.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so much, DDE!

    • wayne barrett profile image

      Wayne Barrett 3 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      You hit the nail on the head, Bill. I'm in the middle of a first draft now and find myself confronted with much of what you mention here. I like your idea of having someone else read your work before going through with it. Stephen King gives the same advice in his book, 'On Writing'.

      I look forward to the finished product of your and once again, thanks for sharing your insight with us.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 3 years ago from Dubai

      Characters play an important role in telling the story, very true. Monologues can get quite boring and lose the reader. Great points put across, very useful and informative. Wishing you great success.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Awesome! Always great advice and worth considering.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Suzanne, thanks for sharing King's words, and he is right on! I happen to think he is an excellent writer too, and when he speaks about writing I listen.

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      Suzanne Day 3 years ago from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

      Sometimes characters will surprise you and do their own contribution to the story if you let them. Stephen King (whom most people sneer at in literary circles, but who I think is a really good writer) often says that his characters lead lives of their own in the stories, and do stuff he wouldn't have thought of. Congratulations on writing such a huge mammoth amount of words - voted awesome!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Flourish, thank you. I don't have any idea how well the book will sell, but I am proud of it.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      They are indeed, vkwok!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you, Jo! It is a tough lesson for many writers to learn, but we really do have to learn to trust the characters to tell the story.

      Have a wonderful Mother's Day my friend.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      You offer some good advice in this hub, as you do in so many of your articles, Bill. I love the cover of your book, too!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      and thank you again, MG. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so much, MG!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Audrey had some good advice. Such detours often feel like author rants to me and leave me wondering whose voice is this -- character, narrator, author? Best of luck with your new book. I like that you've gotten so much feedback on it as a part of the editorial process. Beta readers are important.

    • vkwok profile image

      Victor W. Kwok 3 years ago from Hawaii

      Characters are what makes the story move forward! Thanks for posting, Bill!

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 3 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Great example Bill, this is something I've been trying to find my way around, looks like you may have solved my problem. I really love the cover of your book, somebody did an excellent job there. Hope you and Bev are enjoying the weekend, my best to you both.

    • MG Singh profile image

      MG Singh 3 years ago from Singapore

      Great post Billy. You are one hèck of a top writer

    • MG Singh profile image

      MG Singh 3 years ago from Singapore

      Great post Billy. You are one hèck of a top writer

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      DJ, you can find them online, or you can just hire a trusted peer to do it. The rates fluctuate wildly, so if you do it, get one you trust.

      Happy Mother's Day to you, and thank you as always.

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Faith. Hopefully, within a month, I'll have it published as an ebook. Crossing my fingers.

      Happy Mother's Day to you my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Nadine, that is an interesting piece of advice, and one I had not heard. Thanks for that. I'll have to give it some thought.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Parrster, it is tightrope we walk as authors, constantly trying to be our characters while at the same time distancing ourselves. The good ones make it look so easy, don't they?

    • profile image

      DJ Anderson 3 years ago

      Great article, Bill.

      I heard you and Sha referring to a writing coach.

      Where does one find a writing coach?

      At what point does one bring in a writing coach?

      Do something great for Bev. on Mother's Day!!

      Many thanks,

      DJ.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

      It's great when you have someone to trust to tell you what they are truly thinking ... priceless!

      Woo hoo, it is getting close to celebration time. I know you are so excited. I really love the cover. It is a one of a kind for sure.

      I hope Bev has a lovely Mother's Day weekend.

      Blessings

    • Nadine May profile image

      Nadine May 3 years ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

      Billy many thanks for sharing that great advice. I will go back and check my own ongoing chapters in the two novels I'm busy on. When I'm editing i do what an editor told me years ago. If a chapter has 2000 words see if you can edit the chapter down to1000 words and still keep the story alive.

    • parrster profile image

      Richard Parr 3 years ago from Oz

      Great advice. I tend to get quite emotional with my characters as I write, which, I think (hope), helps maintain their realism. Contemplating their temperament and experiences helps present a consistent and authentic person to readers. Ensuring they don't deviate from their defined persona is one of the most challenging aspects of writing, as it involves distancing ourselves while remaining intimately aware of them.

      Vote up and most all else.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Ruby! I think you'll find it really helps a lot.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 3 years ago from Southern Illinois

      Writing a bio. of your charscters, never ever thought about doing that and that's where i have the most trouble. Like the last story i wrote, i wanted to say more about the girl biker, but all i said was she had black hair pulled back in a ponytail. I will do this. I think it's a great idea! Thank you for all you do...

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Dr.Bill. I'm on page 114....only 156 to go. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      MizB, thanks for your thoughts. No, this is not a sequel...it stands alone, so no worries about a previous one. :)

    • DrBill-WmL-Smith profile image

      William Leverne Smith 3 years ago from Hollister, MO

      The importance of character development cannot be stressed enough. Thanks for another super reminder. Best wishes on the continued edits! ;-)

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 3 years ago

      Your rewrite is much better. I wouldn’t have wanted to read the long-winded rant, either. I think you expressed the thought more tastefully in the rewritten conversation because it brought out valid points without details that might raise hackles on some people and cause them to put the book down. I’m pro-Native American because I’m part Native American but even I can see this. Your cover is a real eye-catcher, and I would love to read the book. Didn’t you say that it was a sequel? In that case we should read the first book before we pick this one up, shouldn’t we? Good luck with sales!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sheila, what a throw back you are...pencil and paper? I love it my friend. Thanks for stopping by and have a great weekend.

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      sheilamyers 3 years ago

      This is great advice! I love both your rewrite and your book cover. Thanks for the advice because I tend to do the same thing. While I usually catch it as I'm typing things up (I write with pencil on paper first), I'll have to remember to keep an eye on the flow of the story.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Great examples, Alan, but that comes as no surprise to me. As for Native American Rights, that really is the only mention of it....I really don't feel like kicking a dead horse if I can avoid it. :) Have a great weekend, and thanks for explaining the process you used on your novels.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Wiccan, it sounds like you already know all of this, but thank you for reading anyway.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      famhauz, thank you for your kind words. I have thought for quite some time now that I am an endangered species. :)

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      Alan R Lancaster 3 years ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      I'm with Audrey here as well.

      I remember reading a couple of books by Erich Maria Remarque, one 'All Quiet On The Western Front' and two 'The Black Obelisk', both written as by the central character and in the present tense. Something I 'borrowed' for my own writing, with lots of irony and witty observations.

      The first was set obviously during the war in the trenches, the second in the Depression when they needed a bucketful of D Marks for a loaf of bread.

      When I started writing RAVENFEAST I was also in the midst of reading one of Bernard Cornwell's historical novels, THE LAST KINGDOM about the Danes attacking the kingdoms around Alfred's Wessex, set in the first person, past tense. For my stories I set it in Harold's England at the time of the invasions in 1066, first person, present tense. You get a sort of description of Ivar Ulffson from observations by people around him and he gives brief descriptions of those around him.

      You read about everything as it happens, all the way through from book one onward.

      As for 'Native American Rights', I think it's been overworked. Best to broach it in another issue - as Ken Kesey did, wrapping mental health issues with the 'Chief' character in One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest'.

    • WiccanSage profile image

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 3 years ago

      I love fiction that's character-driven. I'm big on writing through the character, role playing the character, writing character diary entries and such to let the character's true voice ring through. This is great advice as usual!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Barbara, dialogue is great for maintaining the pace of a novel, as long as there is a point to it. :) Good luck with yours.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Blond Logic, that is almost what happened in this case. I really need to just get out of their way and let them do the job.

      Thank you and have a wonderful weekend.

    • famhauz profile image

      Peter Mwai 3 years ago from Kenya

      Bill, you know your particular species is endangered, right? Ever insightful...

      We get engulfed in the bigger picture and tend to forget the basics. Overlooking the little things that matter is a prevalent problem in many a field. A lesson even in the corporate world.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I got the message, Carol, but I don't have a clue where it is now....I responded to it too...oh well, thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      BNadyn, I agree with you completely. I have read many books where I just had no feeling whatsoever about any of the characters, so obviously the author didn't as well. Thank you for that observation.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Melissa, good to see you as always, and thank you! Look for the ebook in about a month I hope. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Marlene, thanks for sharing about that book of yours. Isn't it funny how a change like that can make all the difference? Well done in recognizing that fact.

    • Barbara Kay profile image

      Barbara Badder 3 years ago from USA

      This all makes a lot of sense. I should get busy finishing my novel. I was worried it had too much dialogue and not enough of anything else. Maybe that is good. Thanks for the good advice.

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 3 years ago from Brazil

      Everytime I read one of your hubs, I learn something new. I am far from completing a book but all of your advice and wisdom is soaking into me for future use.

      It is almost as though your character should stop, turn to you and say, "Bill, who's telling the story, me or you?"

      Another informative and useful hub, thanks.

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      carol stanley 3 years ago from Arizona

      i left a message..guess it didn't get on here. Characters are the story tellers and getting into their heads you can almost feel their pulse. I may take a few to lunch.

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      Bernadyn 3 years ago from Jacksonville, Florida

      I did prefer the conversation about the plight of Native Americans over the description of it - much more interesting to read. I like how you discussed your own novel here to show how it benefits the pace when characters tell the story and the significance of really knowing your characters. Love the name of the book, by the way. :)

      I think that often, readers can can tell when the author didn't take the time to get to know his or her characters, sometimes making obvious mistakes about the characters' background or personality at points in the story.

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      Melissa Propp 3 years ago from Minnesota

      You make a great point in this article, but by showing your example of how it impacted your own work---that made it relatable and a lot more useful. I really appreciate that. And I can't wait till your book comes out. I love the cover!

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      Marlene Bertrand 3 years ago from Northern California, USA

      I'm loving it, Bill. I just can't wait to go on this journey with Toby. I picked up a novel that I started writing so many years ago that it's almost a shame. You mention feeling uneasy about a character. That's the main reason I could not keep writing that novel. Something didn't seem right. I wanted to tell the story from the good guy's point of view. But, the story just wasn't flowing well. Now that I'm telling the story from Drake's point of view (the bad guy) the story is starting to come together. I would never be friends with a guy like Drake and when I read about his struggles in life, I have compassion, but only for a split second, because just as I start to think Drake's redeemable, he says or does something that is really not cool. Drake is now moving the story along and that's working out better. I'm learning so much from you, Bill. I'm taking my time writing and I'm having so much fun. Thanks Bill.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Dora, I am surrounded by very capable advisers, and for that I am very grateful. Thank you!

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      Dora Isaac Weithers 3 years ago from The Caribbean

      Another good lesson on the creation of the characters. Illustrating the theory with passages from your novel is very helpful. Audrey seems like a very keen editor. So thoughtful of you to share.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Eric, your comment is a great one, and speaks many truths. Thanks for it. Have a great weekend my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      one2get2no, my pleasure. Thank you and have a great weekend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Lizzy, thank you! You gave me some great advice too, about the passive voice. I'm still working on that one, but I'm aware now thanks to you.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 3 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Funny this, I know a lot of people that say "Bill said......" when in fact it was their own idea. Or they say I read or heard....... when in fact it was their own idea. Sometimes for deflection, sometimes for credibility and sometimes for lack of self esteem.

      They do not so much like "bloggy" here on HP so I find I write about "a man". Great food for thought here.

    • one2get2no profile image

      Philip Cooper 3 years ago from Olney

      Good advice Billy....thanks for sharing. Voted up and shared.

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      Liz Davis 3 years ago from Hudson, FL

      Audrey gave you some great advice. When you want to make a point, it's difficult to get out of your own head and write for the reader. Speaking from the character's point of view can help you do that. Cool concept!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      breakfastpop, thank you so much. It's actually a hard concept to explain; it's easier to understand once you start writing the novel. I think you have one in you....maybe a political satire???

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 3 years ago

      So many of my favorite authors have remarked that the characters came to life and told the story. I love the idea of that. I'm printing this, billy, and I thank you. Voted up, useful, interesting and awesome. I look forward to reading your novel. In fact, I can't wait!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      You are very welcome...tell her I sent you. :)

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      Shauna L Bowling 3 years ago from Central Florida

      Oh, okay. Yes, I'm familiar with SilverGenes Group. Thanx!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Mari. It turns out the characters are more than capable of telling their story without my interference. Who would have thought it? LOL

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sha, it's a she...Alexandra Lucas....and she is on Facebook as is her company, SilverGenes Group

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      dragonflycolor 3 years ago

      I like that, let the characters do the talking. I think you mentioned at one point that the book even took on a mind of its own! Love the cover!

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 3 years ago from Central Florida

      I'll have to hook up with him when I get to that point. I'll contact you to get his info when I'm closer to the finish line. In reading this post, it dawned on me I have absolutely no ideas for the cover!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks, Sha, and I have to agree with your writing coach, only because I am guilty of that and probably will be again in the future. Oh well, live and learn.

      Happy Mother's Day to you my friend, and I'm glad you like the cover. Alex Lucas did it by the way.

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Rachael....and you are right, the advice I am getting is right on!

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so much, Janine. I'll just be glad when the editing is done and I can actually publish the thing. :) Have a great weekend.

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Perfectly said, Donna! Thank you for summarizing beautifully.

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      Shauna L Bowling 3 years ago from Central Florida

      Bill, first I'd like to comment on your book cover. I love it! It's intriguing and is a hook in and of itself. I'd pick it up off the shelf in a book store based on the cover alone. As CloudExplorer would say, "awesomesauce"!

      You give great advice here. I like the way you modified Toby's lengthy reflection and turned it into conversation between friends. One thing I'm having to work on is long conversations. My writing coach has reminded me that it's not natural for one character to speak for a long time without some kind of interruption. Whether from another character, or movement seen in the periphery - whatever. I find it a bit difficult to change that aspect of creating dialog. On the one hand, we're taught not to interrupt someone when they're talking. On the other hand, it happens quite often.

      Your analogy of the drum solo illustrates the point quite well.

      Great post, Bill. Wish Bev a Happy Mothers Day for me!

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      Rachael O'Halloran 3 years ago from United States

      It looks like you are getting good advice from your editors/hubbers because in my opinion the revisions I've read so far have turned out better for the characters and for the readers. I can't wait to read this book when it comes out.

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      Janine Huldie 3 years ago from New York, New York

      Love, love, love this advice and you are right sometimes we do feel the need to explain instead of just going with the flow of the story for the story's sake. You pointed that out here perfectly. Getting to hear more about your book though is truly getting me excited and now I can't wait to read. Have a wonderful weekend now also, Bill.

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      Donna Brown 3 years ago from Alton, Missouri

      I love it! Your characters are like actors. Th better they are, the more they think they are real, the better they will act out the story.