In This Chapter
Giving your characters depth
Daring to write about sex
Telling lies to reveal a truth
The great characters from your favourite books are the ones that stay with you long after you finish reading: Fyodor Dostoevsky’s agonised killer Raskolnikov from Crime and Punishment (1886); George Eliot’s idealistic heroine from Middlemarch (1874), Dorothea Brooke; George Smiley, John le Carré’s understated Cold War spy; or Susie Salmon, the dead narrator in Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones (2002). These characters have power and longevity because they communicate and resonate with you, and most importantly because they have depth. Their authors create penetrating portrayals of fascinating, complicated characters that you return to again and again. After all, shallow characters are like superficial people: they tend to wear out their welcome in your home pretty quickly!
As you dig deeper into your literary creations you start to discover all kinds of aspects to their personalities and may well be surprised at what you find. You need to get to know your characters intimately, so that you can be confident about exactly what ...