Monday, August 10, 2009

More on character thoughts

I just finished Ransome's Honor by Kaye Dacus. (excellent book, btw. If you haven't read it yet, do so post haste!) The hero, William Ransome, is a captain in the Royal Navy. That can be a difficult type of character to bring to life, yet Kaye did so beautifully and in such a way that I am convinced he's real.

So how did she do that? A large part of it, to me anyway, was in her use of inner monologue and thoughts. William always thinks like a sailor. When Kaye is describing things in his POV, she describes things as a sailor would. He views things in terms of his vocation and finds his strength in the familiarity of his ship and the sea.

To me this is one of the strongest ways to bring a character to life. When done well, it flows seamlessly with the narrative and dialogue. Kaye does it very well in all of her books, but I think it's most clear in the way she writes William Ransome.

Which brings me to my own character. Nick, one of my SEAL's. He's Russian-born, adopted by an American family and grows up in Colorado on a cattle and horse ranch, then joins the Navy. His thoughts are a mixture of horse terms, cowboy slang, love of the mountains, Russian phrases and an intense love of the sea. Once he stands on the beach for the first time and looks out at the vastness of the Pacific Ocean nothing else will do. As he progresses through his training, more and more of his thoughts take on the images of the Navy and the ocean, and the slang that goes with his chosen profession.

I hope it all makes for an interesting character and shows his progression from someone with little to no self-confidence, to an officer in charge of a SEAL team.

1 comment :

  1. :-)
    Of course, being "in love" with a character like William can really help in bringing him to life and making him feel real, as well!

    So glad you enjoyed the book.