Thursday, March 12, 2015

Characters by Terri Weldon

Terri Weldon
A good character can make or break a book. Like most authors, I love to read – voraciously. A lot of the time how well I like the book depends on the characters. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying the other elements of a novel aren’t important, but a great plot with a dud or creep for a character just doesn’t do it for me. I’m sure the same is true for you.

Obviously we all want our story people to be memorable. So what do we need to imbibe our characters with to make people fall in love with them? Or hate them? Hey, like it or not some fictional folks stick with us because of how wickedly awful they are. Can anyone say Norman Bates? But I’m digressing here.

Years ago I read a book where the hero had helped out a restaurant owner with a loan. The owner kept the hero’s name on a special list, always had a table for him. That hero fell in love and at one point in the book he treats the heroine atrociously, accuses her of betraying him when everyone knows she’d never do such a thing. With no place to turn she goes to the restaurant and collapses. The owner tells the hero he’s off the list. It’s probably been twenty-five years since I first read that book. I still have it on my shelf and from time to time that story pops into my mind.

Why? Because of how wickedly cruel the hero treated her.

There are other reasons, good reasons, characters take up residence in our minds: fierce loyalty, quirkiness, animal lover, unusual hobbies/careers, and gentleness.

I can think of favorite books to cover all those traits. Needless to say, many of those books were written by favorite authors. Top selling authors. Two good reasons to pay close attention to the characters in your novels.

So, let’s have a mini-brainstorming session. Leave a comment and tell me who your favorite character is and why. Keep in mind, it doesn’t necessarily have to be the hero or heroine. I have a book where I absolutely love my villain – and he is bad to the bone.

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Misty Winslow is determined to find her prince, and she meets the man of her dreams through an Internet dating service. Or is he, because the new dentist in town also sets her heart aflutter.

It's love at first sight for Tyler Davenport, but before he can finish his first root canal, Misty is involved in an exclusive online romance with Wes99—Tyler’s online persona. How can he tell her he’s the man she’s been waiting to meet, and how rational is it for him to be jealous of Wes99! Soon Tyler's pulling out all the stops to woo Misty.

As Christmas approaches, Wes99 and Tyler both ask her to meet them under the mistletoe. Which man will she choose?

Terri is a lead analyst by day and an author by night. She enjoys gardening, reading, and playing in the hand bell choir. One of her favorite pastimes is volunteering as the librarian at her church. It allows her to shop for books and spend someone else’s money! Plus, she has the great joy of introducing people to Christian fiction.

She lives with her family in Oklahoma. Terri has three dogs – a lovable mutt and two adorable Westies.

Terri is a member of ACFW and OCFW, a local chapter of ACFW. Her dream of becoming a published novelist came true in November 2013 when Mistletoe Magic, released from White Rose Publishing. To learn more about Terri visit her website at


  1. Hi Terri! My favorite character is Adam in Barrett's Hill by Anne Stuart. It was one of her first books - a gothic written in the 70's. Adam was the hero but was a little bit of a bad guy with a very wicked sense of humor. Not your typical hero at all but very appealing. I still have the book and take it out and reread it occasionally.

    1. I've never read that book, but have heard great things about it. I think the sign of a great character is one that keeps pulling us back to retread the book. Great example!

  2. Terry, I don't have a favorite hero from a book, but I can tell you the book that brought the greatest emotional response from me. I read it before I ever started writing so was looking at it with a reader's eyes. It's A Gown of Spanish Lace by Janette Oke. I'd fallen in love with both the hero and heroine, who was placed in a horrible situation. Ms. Oke introduced a twist that meant the two would never be able to be together, and I can remember reading that and saying, "No! That can't be true." I wanted to throw the book across the room and quit reading it, but I was too invested in the story. I finished it and loved it. I've read the book four time--the most I've read any book. I loved it because it did create such a response in me--and it's an unusual story. As for heroes, I have a passion for bad boy hero's with a big heart. I love seeing them get redeemed and fall in love.

    1. Vickie, you've done a bad thing - added another book to my To Read List!

      Bad boy herpes, they are so appealing. I love them too. And they are perfect for Christian fiction.

    2. Um, major typo - bad boy heroes!😳

  3. Some very good points here, Terri. For me, a story really is all about the characters. If I love them, I'll love the book, especially if the hero touches my heart in some way. Villains? I never love them. I just want to see them hammered. lol

    1. Linda - you write amazing characters! Popbottle Jones sticks in my mind as a memorable character.

      For all you writers out there, this is an author to study.

      I'm with you, characters make or break the story for me.

      But I still love my villains, must be the wannabe suspense author in me.

    2. Lol, same with me, Linda. Enjoyed your post, Terri. :)

    3. I'm with you, Terri. Linda Goodnight is an author to study! : )
      I also like Jane Austen's characters. The obvious are in Pride and Prejudice (Mr. Darcy, anyone???), but I also like Fannie in Mansfield Park.

    4. Erin - how could I forget Mr. Darcy? He is timeless! I'd love to create a character people would still be reading and discussing after 200 years.

  4. I remember Popbottle Jones. Great character. I can't pick a favorite character. I loved Tyler "Cowboy" Steele in Charles Martin's Thunder and Rain. He was a modern day cowboy if I've ever seen one.

  5. Robin - there are too many great characters to pick just one. Hmm, I think you're like Vickie, adding to my to be read list. I've heard you say great things about Charles Martin's novels. I may need to read about this modern day cowboy.

    Cowboys are so appealing. I loved everything about them and rodeo in my younger days. Maybe I need to try writing a hero cowboy.

  6. Terri, you are simply not fair LOL Picking a favorite hero is like picking a favorite child! I love good-hearted outlaws who turn their lives around. xo


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