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Forensic Character Development

Think of the detective in a murder mystery. To start with, the victim is barely identified -- sex, age, maybe name. As he revisits the crime scene, examines evidence, the life framework of the deceased emerges: their relationships (or lack of) their work and usual activities. Finally, if the detective is lucky, he learns the exact motivations and micro choices that led the victim to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

That's the best way to create characters. Don't reveal too much up front. And for goodness sake forget eye colour. I know a poor book is coming when the author insists I know someone's eye colour.

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January 2015

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