Let’s talk characters - those folks who people your book. They give life to the story. They can reveal the truth or hide their intentions. Sometimes they provide laughter, sometimes fear. One thing memorable characters have in common is that they seldom reveal themselves completely.
Even the protagonist can be hiding things. As readers, we’re inside her head. We know everything. Don’t we? Not really. Even if you were in my head right at this moment, you wouldn’t know everything about me. As the writer, you can hold back things - or if you’re of the belief that characters write the book, not the author, then characters sometimes hold back things. If what the character is holding back or disguising is important, then there have to be little clues so the reader doesn’t feel cheated or hoodwinked when that something is ta-da: revealed.
But like real people, characters don’t reveal all. It’s given out over the course of the book. They keep their masks on. Even the good guys. This unveiling or character development applies to all the main characters (minor characters aren’t static either, but their growth is usually smaller and not as central to the plot).
Different characters have different reasons for wearing their masks. Perhaps they’re hiding something painful. Maybe they want another character to see them as they want to be not as they are. Maybe they know something but don’t want to tell or be involved. They could be trying to hide their feelings. They’re worried about their job. There are all kinds of reasons or motivations for your characters. When you think about your characters, consider what they can bring to the story, how they can advance the plot, how they will interact with different characters - and what they may be hiding.
Unlike Ms. Zorro, your characters can take off their masks - by the end of the book or as the series develops.
6 months ago