Building Character with Gillian Felix

One of the things I love about writing is building characters. They drive the story. One reader says:

Ms. Felix has written some of the most interesting characters and they come with an abundance of challenges that read like they’ve been ripped from the pages of the latest gossip mag.” – Patricia

In the original version of the saga, the characters were older; in their early to mid 20’s and they had promising careers. I decided to take the audience on a journey of how they got to where they were. So I never published that version. The version that is on the market today is kind of like the beginning. Sure, they all had lives before the story picked up, but the point where the story picks up comes from significant changes in their lives. Hence the name of the first book, Changes.

How my writing process has been working … so far

When I come up with a dilemma to put the characters in I don’t necessarily know how that scenario would turn out. I’d sometimes write points on my whiteboard or in my story bible but when I sit down to write the scene and the characters get involved, they pretty much take over. They usually get themselves in more trouble than I bargained for and that makes for a good storyline and more drama. Every once-in-awhile I think I’m the boss and try to direct them, then they stop talking to me and I don’t feel like writing for a few days; I start thinking that the scene is not working and I hit delete.

Another thing that I do that really gets in my own way is carrying on too many storylines at one time. I am currently writing Book 6, and I got stalled for about two months because I wanted to tell so much about one character and their back history that the essence of the story was getting diluted. I have to keep reminding myself that I am not writing for television and it is difficult for the audience to follow so many characters and storylines. It’s only when I cut those scenes that the ideas started to flow again and the characters started to bring their A game.

If you’ve read any book in the series you know that they are drama filled and different storylines all connect in the end. The books aren’t meant to be long 400 page literary masterpieces. It’s witty and in some situations dark, but in the end it makes fun of itself.

“Best line thus far Zax telling Adriana that her life is like a soap opera loved it.” – SassyGirl Books

Why I write short form versus long

I believe a great story can be told with few words. I believe in giving the audience enough information that paints a picture and they can fill in the rest as the characters take them through their world. My writing style is, I’d rather show than tell.  I read books the same way, on very very rare occasions you’d see me with a 400 page fiction, I’d quicker read a self-help with that many pages. With fiction, if it is too long then that’s too much information and descriptions and I tend to get bored. I’d rather immerse myself in the characters and storylines of a book than descriptions. But that’s just me, and that’s how I write.

Many characters

Frankie and Kristin

Frankie and Kristin

There is an exception to my rule of reading long books. Jackie Collins was one of my favorite writers. What I liked about her books was the interesting mix of characters and storylines. She didn’t pack her books with descriptions of every little detail, she gave enough so you got the picture. The emphasis of her stories were the plot and characters. She had many characters and that kept me interested.

With my Family Portrait Series (mine because there are a few others out there), you’ll meet many different characters, usually there are two storylines going on at the same time but in the end you see how they are connected.

“I was excited to read The Banovic Siblings after reading Changes. The way the Gillian Felix slowly builds her characters and intertwines all of their lives intrigues me.” – Author, Karen-Anne Stewart

To keep the characters authentic, they have a circle of friends, enemies and past lovers to contend with. These are the people who give the main characters their dimension. The supporting characters don’t just come in and leave, they have their own set of problems that they bring to the table. As the series progress readers get to know more about these characters.

“In the last book, I was feeling sorry for Kristin, who was being pressured by her father to continue her tennis career, and who seemed to have unresolved feelings for Frankie even though she was dating Zax.” – Teresa Kinder

The series is called Family Portrait, so of course a lot of the issues in the lives of the supporting characters are propelled by their own family drama. Readers will start to see that as the series continue. The trick here is weaving that drama in with the main characters’ storylines without taking away from their stories.

In another post I’ll talk about my favorite supporting characters. Maybe I can persuade them to visiting the website. Who knows?


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