Being True To Your Characters

That can be a very difficult situation if you are keeping certain characters the same throughout a series or a trilogy even. What do I mean by this? Just like as with people we all have certain traits and desires, needs and flaws and we act a certain way. Does this mean that we won’t try new things or perhaps have a bad day and react differently and with more rage to a situation we would have simply blown off two weeks before? Of course not. But there are certain aspects that do stay the same or they should. A reader comes to know your hero and heroine in a very personal manner. If you don’t believe me – think about a series that you absolutely adore reading and them make the good girl and really nasty one in your mind. Would you continue reading that series any longer? Odds are no.

For me in creating well rounded characters, I have to actually put together a sheet about them and I list everything from their personality traits – are they nice or the villain, do they love or hate sex, are they kinky or not – those kinds of things. I also then put down basics that we as all humans have. What do they like to drink? I insert a lot of drinking in some of my pieces. What do they drive? What do they wear? What do they do for a living and how are they perceived by their peers? What about family and friends? As you can see, it’s much like building a world – you’re giving them life and personality. The best books and the ones we can relate to generally have a well rounded individual.

Okay now you’ve determined how they are going to be so you begin the story and they grow some throughout. Perhaps they have an angst to deal with or some trauma in their life they have to get over. You certainly don’t have that happening in a chapter of the book. In true life a tragedy or loss would take a long time and we would go through so many emotional states. You have to remember that in your writing. As you move from book one to book two and beyond, the characters do need to grow some and change to keep the reader interested but you can’t have them take a one-eighty. You just can’t. You can have them enjoying something new or taking a step back because of fear but you can’t have them running off doing something so out of wack you’ve really given them a new personality.

I have a book I wrote that was going to be a stand alone and then changed into my guess at least five books. Those who follow me know about the On Becoming His collection with now my co-writer Benjamin Russell. It’s a D/s journey for two people written from the Dom’s and the sub’s POV and I can tell you as he and I discuss and go further in the piece it’s getting interesting how the characters are evolving. Without naming any names, I have had some of the most incredible emails and private messages on Facebook from readers who are also friends who tell me how much the book has touched them. For some women they are going through their own journey in their ongoing relationship and some even are now more curious about a D/s lifestyle or feel validated in what they desire. For others they can relate to the very emotional side of my female lead, a very strong willed woman who takes no shit from no man. Jessie loves and desires and she only admitted her basic NEEDS after meeting and learning to trust Luke. She needs to be owned by a man she trusts completely. A heady proposition, don’t you think?

The emails I’ve gotten have also reflected a growing closeness to Luke’s character. He isn’t your typical Dom – if there is such a thing. He’s strong, yet loving and so passionate I’ve heard the simple ways in which he talks brims off the pages. He’s also commanding in his quiet fortitude and understanding that this is such an emotional rollercoaster for Jessie. BUT he has his own angst and one the reader doesn’t know about yet. As Ben and I continue to discuss how to carry the characters through from book one on, we have to have this couple grow. They are exploring not only trust and patience but also their raw sexuality and darker desires including ones they haven’t been able to discuss with anyone else. This isn’t a vanilla relationship by any means but then again, they make dinner together and go out with friends and work and live. They are regular people. They don’t have a dungeon in the basement and wear leather and chains. They are you and me and are simply taking a different path with what they are doing.

I have a hell of a lot of respect for people engaging in this forever learning lifestyle and both Ben and I strive every time we put a passage down we make certain this is Jessie and Luke – not the media hype about Fifty Shades or anything else. To that end I put something in recently (they are really heating up the pages in Lessons Learned) that simply wouldn’t happen so soon. Ben pointed that out and he’s right. It’s a brutal enough sexual act that no way would the still emotional Jessie do this. It’s gone. Maybe I’ll introduce that later but truthfully you as a reader would have been left with a hollow feeling. This book has become important to a lot of fans and I am in utter awe of how much so. So Ben and I are going to continue our own personal journey with this book and with two characters we have grown to love so much in an honest way. They are telling the story, not Ben and I. Can that really happen? You tell me.

On Becoming His – Lessons Learned is getting even more in the way of telling a backstory that will draw you into to why Luke is the man that he is and what he is going to have to go through in an effort to truly have this relationship what he has always longed for. And Jessie – well she is coping with not only her changes but his and they are both growing together as a couple and apart as individuals. It’s the most exciting piece I’ve ever written and I hope you continue to love their journey.

Kisses   xxx



About Cassandre Dayne

Cassandre Dayne is the pseudo for the best selling author of romantic suspense and thrillers
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8 Responses to Being True To Your Characters

  1. I’m just a reader/blogger, but as a reader I can tell you that there have been occasions when I’m reading a book and the author will get character details mixed up. I hate that I notice those things but I do, and they are really distracting for me.

    For example, the character might start out with blue eyes and later in the book they say they’re green. Or just as an example, I read a book a while back where in the beginning of the book they make a point of saying these two characters had become friends. Then, later in the book, they meet, and it says they meet for the first time. I came to a screeching halt and literally went back through the book to make sure I had read it right, and to make sure there hadn’t been a time shift. It drove me crazy. Those are such small things and a lot of readers may not even notice, but unfortunately I do, and it drives me crazy.

    It goes without saying that this has never happened to me when reading a Cassandre Dayne book! 🙂


  2. You know I’m looking forward to the way Jessie and Luke evolve and the realness of it all. I understand keeping in real in my YA series I have the female character grow stronger with each book then have a tragedy that shows what could have happened if she’d never met the hero. How weak of a person she could have been. The hardest book in the series for me to write by the way and the one that brought me the most tears.

    Thank you for making Luke and Jessie’s experience real and for sharing their personal experience with all of us.


  3. I agree Cassandra, it’s so important to me as a reader that the writer take the time to get the details right. I think the details make a character more real, and either lovable or…hateable? Is that a word? LOL When I start a story I create a Notes page that goes along with the story, and each character’s personal stats go on that page along with any visual inspiration I have used. I have two different series I’m working on, so I also have a seperate doc that I call the Cast of Characters for a particular story. It’s sort of like my family tree for my various menage relationships/friendships etc.

    And for the record Luke and Jessie are one of my fav couples EVER, its all in the details!


    • behalle says:

      WOW – now that’s a huge compliment. My goodness thank you so much. You know I love the characters but to know others love them too is just fabulous. And I think getting the details is also eye opening for the characters too. Thank you for your comments!


  4. I have come across instances in a book when an action taken by a character just jarred horribly with what they were previously. I know what you mean when you say ‘be true to your characters.’


    • behalle says:

      It’s amazing sometimes how the little things really will get you as a reader. I think when authors pay very close attention to detail it is something we all don’t even pay any attention to. Thank you so much for commenting!


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