I’m sometimes asked if I base my characters on real people. Many authors do. It is well known that Sherlock Holmes was based on the observant physician, Joseph Bell, who taught Conan Doyle at Edinburgh Medical School.
My own answer to the question is always ‘No’. The better I know a person, the more difficult it would be to base a character on them. Real people are endlessly complex and frequently contradictory. The same person can be grouchy or optimistic, sociable or yearning for solitude, placid or foul tempered, confident or reticent – you get the point.
I wonder where other writers 'find' their characters. I'm not sure where mine come from.
In crime fiction plot is key. I thought multifaceted characters would be confusing but Cut Short has been criticised for its characters lacking depth. So I need to rethink my approach.
In Road Closed I worked on my main character, Geraldine Steel. She has become more engaging (I hope!) But has the plot suffered as a result of my focus on Geraldine? I don't think so, but I still have a long way to go before I'll be satisfied that I've mastered the craft of writing.
As I complete my editing of Road Closed and begin to think about book 3, Dead End, I need to keep my wits about me.
I know the formula:
engaging characters + dramatic plot = great crime thriller
But will my experiment produce the intended results?
How do other writers juggle plot vs character?
New review of CUT SHORT on Noir Journal http://noirjournal.typepad.com/noir-journal/