The Higher Dimensions
I've been thinking a lot lately about the various characters I've created in the in the four books I've written so far in the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency series. As one of my Amazon reviews for book #3 says "given that Kitty lands in a new place [in] every [book] requires a lot of different characters to pop up in the series". (That comment was dead-on correct, although I really hadn't thought about it before, to be honest.)
For a while now I've been kind of trying to evaluate all of these characters in my head as to how "dimensional" they are. Are they one-dimensional? Two-dimensional? Or best of all three-dimensional fully rounded characters with depth?
Some of the characters are one-dimensional, I will admit. In some cases it's okay. I mean, maybe it's not really necessary that the character of the bearded grounds-keeper at the Key West cemetery to be a fully rounded three-dimensional character since he's only in the overall story for a couple of paragraphs. But maybe Kitty's best friend growing up should been a little bit more dimensional than she is. Then again, with Kitty Hawk out there flying around the world she's also barely in the overall series for more than a few paragraphs.
Other characters in the series are quite solidly two-dimensional, as far as I was able to tell. And that seems about right to me. The minor character of the London Jack The Ripper walking tour guide who pops up in book #4, for example, seems to be solidly two-dimensional. You get a good sense of his personality but none of his backstory. He's got breadth but no depth, in other words. And that's just fine.
And then there are those wonderful three dimensional characters that I thank my lucky stars that I was able to breathe into life. Kitty Hawk herself (or at least I hope so) as well as a smattering of other characters throughout the series.
Now, you might ask yourself why I bother making these extensive self-evaluations about characters and books that are already in the past. And I suppose the answer to that question is pretty simple and definitely universal. Because I have no idea how I succeeded in making some characters so wonderfully three-dimensional and "failed" in giving such great depth to others.
And the answer? Well, I actually have no idea. I wish that I did. The closest I've been able to come to is this:
That some of my characters are one-dimensional because I didn't take the time or effort to really get to know what and who they were. I didn't picture how they looked in my head or even really imagined how they talked and acted.
Some of my characters are two-dimensional because even though I knew exactly how they looked and talked and acted, I didn't get to know them any deeper than that.
And finally (best of all) some of my characters are fully three-dimensional because not only was I intimately familiar with how they looked and talked and acted, I was also familiar with how they thought as well. I knew what motivated them to take the actions they did. And I suppose that's what made all the difference.
But having said all that, there's no real surprise in any of these self-revelations, is there? I mean, big surprise that a character that the writer gets to know better and deeper is a character that the reader also gets to know better and deeper. I probably could have guessed that before I bothered to do all this thinking about it. Maybe with the time I saved I could have breathed a little more life into some of the characters of the latest book I am writing as we speak.
Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold is available on Amazon http://amzn.com/B00AGY6WWK
Enter to win 1 Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold ebook. Open to anybody. The winner will get the prize via email.