While proof reading the hard copy of my first novel (“Millie’s Adventures in Time”) just now, I had a revelation.
It’s been a long while now since I finished writing it and it’s been awhile since I last worked on the sequel. So I had quite forgotten the tone of my writing and how I approached describing my characters.
One of my most favorite authors is Dean Koontz. Many years ago, before I considered writing any kind of real novel of my own, I thought that nothing would be better than to be able to write like Dean Koontz.
I am not comparing myself to that esteemed author. Nor do I think that I will ever write as well as he does. But I think there is one thing we might have in common. It is this: we love our characters. We love them deep down inside.
Until just now, I didn’t realize this was true for me. Shoot, I didn’t really think of Koontz’s writing in those terms either. But reading, just now, what I had written about Millie, I realized that I love her and all her foibles and inconsistencies. I love her opinionated ideas and uncompromising standards. It was then that I realized that the same must be true for Koontz.
I believe that Dean Koontz loves even his evil characters. You can sense this in the completeness with which he portrays their lives and motivations.
I think this is key. I think loving them is what makes my characters real for me. One needs to know and love their characters very well in order to write about them very well. They have to be real for the author in order for them to be real for the reader. And love is always a good place to begin.