Friday, March 20, 2015

Advice to Writers: Create A Character Outline

I never thought I would be a series writer. When I began writing, I knew I wanted to tell stories. I never imagined that I would create larger-than-life characters with stories to tell beyond one book. I wrote Walk A Straight Line as a standalone.

To my surprise, I received requests from readers to continue Keith, Gina and Michael’s story.  Excited, I develop the plot and began to write the next book in what would become the “On the Right Path” series. Pretty soon I realized that I had forgotten details about characters I thought I knew.

I had to reread Walk A Straight Line to retrieve information such as age, birth dates, appearance, employment, etc. I needed this pertinent information so the timeline in the follow-up novels, My Steps Are Ordered and The Fall of the Prodigal, would be accurate.

This taught me an important lesson. For every story I write, I outline my characters with descriptions and details unique to them. This is evident in their dress and dialogue. If you know your characters, your readers will as well. That is crucial. Readers are quick to note if a character does not talk or behave the way you’ve established. I save the outline and then update it with crucial events from each of the novels to reduce the possibility of inconsistency. Keep your characters consistent and they will drive your story and keep your readers turning the pages.

About Michelle Lindo-Rice

Michelle Lindo-Rice is the bestselling author of the “Able to Love” series. She enjoys crafting women's fiction with themes centered around the four "F" words: Faith, Friendship, Family and Forgiveness. She was nominated for Author of the Year 2014 in Building Relationships Around Books book club. Michelle's first published work, Sing A New Song, was a Black Expressions Editor's Choice featured selection. My Steps Are Ordered, the second book in the "On the Right Path" series made the AALBC bestseller lists on May/June 2014 and August/September 2014. My Steps Are Ordered was also#1 in UBAWA's 2014 Top 100 list. The Fall of the Prodigal, released January 27, 2015 made #2 in Black Christian News bestseller list.

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