The Wife of a Lesser Man by Sandy Appleyard
ISBN: 9781482794830 (paperback)
ASIN: B00BZAVEE0 (Kindle edition)
Publication Date: April 15, 2013
They were deeply in love, their days and nights filled with scintillating romance and passionate love making—even after 20 years of marriage. Then fate delivered a hammer blow when a heart attack led to Mark's impotency and Shelley’s unbearable frustration.
Encouraged by a friend, Shelley becomes flirtatious and unfaithful, finding those moments of glorious intimacy for which she hungered with another man. Mark, a police chief, suspects nothing as he channels all his time and energy into tracking down a serial killer. But when the murderer leaves a terrifying final clue too close to home, only Shelley can solve the case.
The Book Diva's Reads is pleased to host a visit by author Sandy Appleyard. Ms. Appleyard offers great advice on creating realistic characters, so writers and would-be writers take note.
How do you Create Powerful, Realistic and Interesting Characters?
Creating powerful, realistic, interesting characters is accomplished through compelling dialogue and action. When I transitioned from nonfiction to fiction, this was the hardest part. In nonfiction, you generally don't have to worry about much dialogue, except when remembering verbatim (for memoirs).
Creating powerful, realistic dialogue is probably one of the most important parts of writing good fiction. Here are a few tips to help you do this:
- Imagine what real people would say to each other. It sounds like a no-brainer, right? It isn't. You almost have to picture in your mind two or more people having a conversation, and pick out which parts your characters would exchange.
- Focus on one thing at a time; be sure not to add too much background information; you can add tidbits of necessary facts within the dialogue as needed.
- Have different personality types and multi-dimensional characters. Do you enjoy being in the company of someone dry, boring, unemotional and completely predictable? Then you wouldn't enjoy reading about a character like that, right? I make sure all my characters have different facets within their personality. What makes a story particularly interesting for me is when a character is one that we love to hate.
- Keep in mind when creating your dialogue what the purpose of your scene is. In the first draft of my first romantic mystery, I created a bunch of scenes that had no point. The dialogue was great (and maybe that was what I needed-to practice creating great dialogue), but none of the scenes had a purpose.
- If you don't know how to create the scene or what dialogue to use, just brainstorm and add notes at the end of the scene reminding you what the true purpose is. Come back to it later so you can keep your work flowing.
- Always remember you can edit. This is the most important point. Don't try to make a scene or excerpt of dialogue perfect the first time, especially if it’s an important or difficult scene. In my experience it's usually the second or third pass through different scenes that make them perfect or even better than what I had initially intended.
- Be consistent but also show growth. Real people don't like change and change takes time. The same should hold true for characters. If your character is going through transition, make sure it’s a slow and clear process. Don't have them trying to quit smoking in one scene and in the next scene they appear smoke-free.
Most of all just keep writing. Don't put your work away because you're struggling with a scene or with dialogue. If you're challenged, move on to something else or brainstorm ideas for other things in your writing plan. Keep motivated and positive; it will come to you when you least expect it!
About the author:
This is Sandy's fourth self-published book and her second novel. Her first romantic mystery, Blessed and Betrayed was received very well by readers and reviewers and was given an average of 4.25 stars on Goodreads and Amazon.
Sandy wrote her first two books, which are memoirs, while her children were infants. The Message in Dad's Bottle is about her father, who tragically passed at the age of 41 from alcoholism, and I'll Never Wear a Backless Dress tells Sandy's personal story about her life with Scoliosis.
Sandy is a full time writer and when she isn't writing she's reading, exercising, playing with her children, her cat, or obsessively cleaning her house.
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