Every character must have one. The real test is figuring out the trick to creating a truly unique person. As an author, you want your hero to walk off the page, sweep the reader into his arms, and carry her off for the ride of her life.
The task can be easier said than done. Personally, I have tried any number of methods for fleshing out characters–from studying horoscope profiles to reading about the sixteen personality types. I've invested hours in studying the GMCs (Goal, Motivation & Conflict). In the quest to create memorable people that stand apart from the crowd, I've slapped my characters with scars, childhood traumas, and Tic Tac addictions.
Zachary Hunter, the hero of my erotic paranormal novel, The Mating Game, walked off the page Totally British. He's a mystery suspense novelist and a sexy werewolf. He also possesses a dry wit and biting sarcasm. His voice was crisp and clean, but his vernacular presented an immediate issue. I, his author, am from Northern California. My familiarity with English accents derives primarily from Monty Python and Joss Whedon characters.
California has a great deal of diversity, so Brits are sometimes spotted in the wild, lurking about pubs and book stores. My early attempts into research began with tea and scones placed under a box trap, but the English are shy, wily creatures. The snare stood empty for days.
When I switched to baiting with hard liquor, I caught a fine Scottish lad immediately. Only I coldna understand a word he said. Not fer the life o' me. Sadly, I set him free and turned to Google.
"TheBest of the British" and "A Dictionary of Slang" are the top two hits to return when searching "British Slang". Both are fun and interesting sites with a ton of useful information. I highly recommend them. I had a blast doing the research, and it presented a real challenge to use the jargon sparingly.
Zach talking to the heroine, Theresa:
“I’ve got a deadline, love. My editor is an absolute slave driver. That’s why I’m in this state.” He indicated the odious apparel with a flourish.
She rolled her eyes. “Of course. Your editor made you run through the forest in an orange dress. Makes perfect sense. I’m sorry I asked.”
He frowned. “I was running on four legs, love, not two. You know that.”
“Of course I do, but you didn’t expect anything but a hard time—showing up here in that.” Grinning, she gave him a quick up-down.
Zach chuckled. “Not really. To make a long story short, I left my clothes in a hunter’s blind but when I returned, my clothing was gone.”
“Did someone find your clothes?” she asked with a worried frown. Such a minor thing might result in unforeseen troubles for the pack. As a rule, the local werewolves went to great lengths to conceal their presence from the human population. Normal people in the small Nevada town of Iron Stone remained blithely unaware of the wolves living amongst them.
“Not someone—something,” Zach said. “Raccoons: three of the scrotty little sods. They ripped my clothes to shreds and dredged the creek with my shoes.”
“Oh, no!” Laughter again threatened to split her sides. She pressed her hands to her ribcage and gasped for breath. “Did you eat them?”
“No.” Zach looked miserable for the admission. “It was a mum and two babes. I didn’t have the heart.”
Theresa reached out and touched his hand. “You’re a good man, Zachary Hunter.”
“Thanks, but I’d rather be a clothed man,” Zach said. “I stole this getup off a laundry line in the Widow Crawley’s yard.”
“For shame! Stealing from a little old lady.”
Zach rolled his shoulders to add emphasis to the voluminous dress. “Not so little.”
THE MATING GAME is on sale for 99 Cents for the next two weeks.
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