Kat Jorgensen ~ On Characterization

Yesterday I was lucky enough to have Kat Jorgensen on my blog with an interview and review of her latest novel Your Eight O’Clock is Dead. Today I’m happy to welcome her back to share her thoughts on Developing Characters. So pay attention and take notes, this is gonna get good!

Get In Touch with Your Inner Characters

I’m one of those people who believe that everyone has at least one book in them.  Now I have more books and characters in my mind than I’ll probably ever use.  So how do we tap into our inner characters?

For “Your Eight O’Clock Is Dead” the main character, Becca Reynolds, presented herself to me almost totally formed.  Basically, she is a younger, thinner version of me with much better hair.  I have baby fine hair that I’ve struggled with all of my life, so it was a no-brainer to make my heroine have much thicker hair.  And be at her ideal weight.

But what about her characteristics?  They’re also drawn from me.  Things happen to me that don’t seem to happen to other people.  For years I’ve been entertaining my friends and family with my misadventures.  It was easy to translate those events into Becca’s life.  I keep a running list in a notebook of weird things that involve me – like getting locked in an airplane bathroom.  You can bet that whole episode will show up in a future book!  I can still tap into my claustrophobia just thinking about it.  I set Becca up to be claustrophobic right from the get-go.  By the time I get to book 4 where I use the airplane scene, readers will be very familiar with Becca’s fear of enclosed, tight spaces, and they’ll be feeling her panic right along with her.

Basically Becca is a lovable screw-up.  Her intentions are stellar.  The follow through is not always what she anticipated and how she reacts in any given situation makes for a lot of comedic opportunities.

Becca is inquisitive.  She loves life, and she loves a good mystery.  She’s also guilty of sticking her nose in where it doesn’t (or shouldn’t) belong.

Family and friends are important to her, just as they are to me.  So I peopled her world with a grandfather who gives her lectures because he cares for her and wants the best for her and a couple of hunky men (I only have one hunk in my life, and I’ve been married to him almost 25 years) – but hey, this is fiction.  Becca gets to flirt and fall for two good-looking guys.

In my non-writing life, I worked in mental health for many years.  The two doctors in the book are drawn from characteristics of many of the medical professionals I’ve encountered in my working life.  I’ve taken quirks and exaggerated them.

Character development is fun.  I always start with the characters. Who are they?  What are they like?  What are their strengths and their weaknesses?  How can I use them for plot problems?

Try it.  You may surprise yourself.

And a round of applause for Kat. For those of you who weren’t with us yesterday…

~*~*~*~About the Author ~*~*~*~

www.katjorgensen.com

A notorious daydreamer, Kat knew it was only a matter of time before she became a writer. She learned to read by age four and had her first library card before her fifth birthday. To this day, she can lose herself for hours among the books at her local library or neighborhood bookstore. Ebooks and online ordering have made it really easy for her to keep her To Be Read pile from ever going down. A native of Richmond, Virginia, Kat is married with children and has a cranky tuxedo cat named Ben.

 ~*~*~*~ About The Book ~*~*~*~

Becca Reynolds is having a bad day. Her grandfather’s lecture (#405: Eat a Healthy Diet or Die Not Trying) makes her late for her job at Daley and Palmer, the psychiatrists’ office where she works as the office manager–her title, not theirs. Then her sausage and egg breakfast biscuit creates an oil slick that takes out half her desk, along with that day’s patient files. But she knows the day has taken a really bad turn when she discovers the firm’s eight o’clock patient dead with Dr. Dick Daley’s letter opener opening the patient instead of the mail.With the fledgling firm in danger of an early demise, Becca appoints herself the unofficial investigator since the police seem to be looking in all the wrong places and doing a half-assed job of solving the crime. She begins a journey to find the killer, keep the practice afloat and with it, her job. In the course of her interfere–er, investigation–she finds a virtual cast of characters who could have done it, including the fancy side piece of the murder victim, his wife, his business partner, and even his psychiatrist.The case takes Becca from the sordid depths of the Russian mob, to the upscale West End of Richmond, Virginia (known locally as River City), and even to her own backyard. In the course of the story she finds herself in hot water, hot danger, and with dreams of hot men.

 ~*~*~* Buy the Book ~*~*~*~

Amazon
Barnes & Noble 
Smashwords

~*~*~*~ Kat’s Blog Tour ~*~*~*~

http://www.clpblogtours.com/2011/12/your-eight-oclock-is-dead-by-kat.html

Lots of <3– Amie

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5 thoughts on “Kat Jorgensen ~ On Characterization

  1. Becca sounds like me. Or maybe you do, Kat. I went into the bathroom on a Greyhound bus and almost got kicked off the bus for smoking pot- which I wasn’t! I was, however, a curious 17 yo who noticed a little door flapping in the wall of that 2×2 cubicle.

    This sounds like a hilarious series I want to add to my tbr. Good luck with it!

    1. Calisa, you and I would get along really great! I’ve got a true-life episode on a plane that will show up in a future book. Thank you for commenting and if you read the book, I hope you’ll enjoy it.

  2. Becca is a zany, lovable, and not a bad detective. She did figure out whodunnit. I had to wait until she revealed the culprit before all the pieces fell into place for me. LOL The cast of character’s Kat created are equally as endearing, entriguing, and entertaining. I love Higgins. I think she based the cat on one of hers. Fun characters, Kat. You’ve made them come alive on the page. I can’t wait for more River City cozy mysteries.

  3. Thank you, Judythe, for stopping by. Higgins is the easiest character to write because he is so much like my unlovable cat Ben. I’m busy working on book 2 and I have plans for at least 9 books in the series. : )

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