Character Studies

While in the middle of writing my novel, I took a writing course that encouraged writers to know their characters. Really know each one, not just the heroes and heroines, but all those that came in contact with them. I took pen to paper and wrote until I had a strong sense of each personality, a little of their history, and their vision for the future. These character studies enhanced my understanding and sense of what each would do in any given situation. It also helped fine tune the voices in my head.

It’s been nearly a month since the launch of my novel, and I’ve noticed that one of my secondary characters is a standout for readers and reviewers: Gweneveera Bankhead, or Veera, for short. Veera is one of my favorite characters to write because her voice speaks loudly in my head. Veera wrote her own bio. I’d like to share it with you:

My name is Veera. I lived with my dad in Long Beach and went to Long Beach State. It took me six years to graduate, but I did it. When I was a teenager, one of my heroes was Queen Latifah. It seems like there ain’t nothing she can’t do. I want to be like that. A lot of folks tell me I look like her. We’re both tall, chocolate, cute, have a positive attitude and lots of bubbly personality. It’s hard for people not to like us. I don’t know for a fact, but she seems like she’s got brains. I’ve got smarts too, though I can’t sing a note and don’t dance too good. I always wanted to be in a position where I could get respect and help people. I thought about law enforcement, but I don’t want to go shooting anybody. I’ve been thinking I should be some kind of negotiator. You know, the types that talks folks out of blowin’ up a bank or killin’ innocent people. But I wasn’t sure how to get that kind of job so I decided to go to law school instead and work security during the day. I picked Newport Beach ‘cause it’s kind of a glamorous place and I like glam. Plus, I want to hang out with a different kind of people than I was used to growing up. Smarter people. I figure most rich people are smart. Plus, one of my dad’s friends offered me the job. It was either that or be a bouncer at Bobo’s in Santa Ana. That wasn’t happening.

I didn’t know that Veera lived with her dad in Long Beach or that she had high ambitions…until she told me so.

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