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Brian Francis Heffron – How to Make Your Characters Believable

Saturday, June 29, 2013

How to Make Your Characters Believable

by Brian Francis Heffron

I think one of the most important ways to create authentic characters is through dialog. The voice of the character has to speak in the way that particular character would in real life and in his or her own time. I don’t mean slang or accents. I mean the voice has to come from whatever the character is. If they are good their voice must be kind. If they are troubled their voice must be provocative.

Another element to create real people on the page is through their actions. You are what you do and the same is true for all fictional characters. They must want things and do things to get the things they want. They must be proactive and not waiting for life to come to them. Drama requires action.

Lastly, I think characters need heart in order for the reader to identify with them on a personal level. They need to feel and express their feelings whether verbally or through acting out. As the reader watches what a character actually does and the place they ply in the book’s plot thay can compare that to what the character is saying and make their own determination about how honest and true each character is. A villain is duplicitous, or sometimes not. The more layers a character has the more intrigued the reader becomes to identify who the real person is inside all these words and actions. Characters also have to have their own separate and distinct voices otherwise all the characters in a book sound like the author!

With refreshing depth, distinct literary merit, and highly original poetic phrasings that spill from the pages like paint, Colorado Mandala is poet Brian Heffron’s debut work of literary fiction. It mines the complex landscape of post-Vietnam America to unearth the deep connections that bind individuals together, and also ferociously rip them asunder. Illustrative, luscious, seductive, and engaging, this rare piece of craftsmanship will stir the senses of any one who thirsts for artistic expression, or who longs for an era in our country now utterly, irretrievably gone.

In the heady, hippie backdrop of Pike’s Peak, Colorado, in the tumultuous 1970s, three souls swirl together in an explosive supernova. Michael is the flinty-eyed, volatile former Green Beret, whose tour in Vietnam has left unbridgeable chasms in his psyche and secrets that can never find light. Sarah is his fair-haired paramour, the ethereal Earth Mother widow of a fallen soldier and single mother to a ten-year-old son Stuart. Paul is a young wanderer, who is drawn in by Michael and soon bears the mantle of both minister and scourge. As they are drawn together, and torn apart, each is changed forever. And our hearts race along with them, through the rocky, raw Colorado terrain amidst the blood sport of man and beast.

Laying bare the loss and acceptance of a pioneering age, Colorado Mandala shines revelatory light on the crazy, glorious, and romantic notion that each generation conceives anew: that love can be a spiritual gift shared openly rather than coveted, or hidden, or hoarded. If you wish to go barefoot again and climb an unspoiled Colorado trail, look no further. If you long for something to wake you up in simple, clean language, a shimmering story awaits. Awaken to what you have always known: simple truths show you the way home. With his gripping and unforgettable Colorado Mandala, it is clear that Brian Heffron knows the way.

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Genre – Literary Fiction

Rating – PG

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