How Did You Build or Redo the Characters?


The characters are very important to the story. It is through them that all the actions, feelings, and emotions are displayed. Therefore, it is important to have characters that are real to you. I start by building characters around people I know, sometimes combining the features and reactions from several people to make my final character. But that is only the beginning. As the novel progresses and new ideas are incorporated, it is often necessary modify the characters. In this book, I started with a character that I had in mind would be a nemesis throughout the book. But as I progressed, I felt this person really had a soul and needed to display it. So later on, new features of this character came out, which also led to a twist in the story. In a mystery novel, you need both good people and bad people. But in my case, a bad character turned out to be a good person. This keeps the reader wondering if maybe other characters could change from bad to good, or even good to bad, as the story progresses. Keep the reader guessing and wondering—that is my guide to a mystery book.

In another instance, I had developed a character that I wanted to be instrumental in solving the mystery. But as I got further into the book, I saw no need for this character; he added nothing to the story. As a result, I removed the character entirely. Don’t be afraid to change characters or remove those that don’t fit or add any value. If you have too many characters it is difficult for the reader to keep track of them, and they may become frustrated. But without good characters you don’t have a story. Don’t be afraid to experiment until you have the right mix and the characters are alive in your mind.


James Frazee

Author, The Mosquito Bites

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