Monday, December 6, 2010

Don't Forget the Tender Emotions in Character Development

Isn't that an interesting picture? You're probably wondering what it is. I'll tell you in just a minute, and I'll also tie it in to the title of this post.

As many of you may know I'm a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Once a year the First Presidency has a Christmas devotional at the conference center in Salt Lake City. Many years ago when my husband first started working for the church they had this special devotional for the employees. It used to be a Christmas tradition for our family to go down to temple square for the devotional. But as the years have gone by the Church opened the admittance to the public, so getting tickets has become very difficult. In fact, we have been unable to go for the last three or four years.

But Friday Hubby was given two tickets to this year's devotional. I was so excited. I had forgotten how beautiful the Mormon Tabernacle Choir sounded in person. There were times in last night's meeting they sounded angelic. Tears came to my eyes as I listened to them sing "Oh Come All Ye Faithful."

(This is not last night's performance, but it will give you an idea of how angelic they sound.)

The Christmas talks given by President Uchdorf and President Eyring were wonderful. And our Prophet, Thomas S. Monson, gave his usual outstanding and inspirational message.

When we came out of the meeting, I looked up and stopped in my tracks. I'd never seen such a stunning sight. The Salt Lake Temple was shrouded in a blanket of misty fog. For a moment, I felt as though I'd stepped into a Dickens novel in old England. But as we walked beneath this holy structure the awe factor kicked in and words can not express the stirring in my soul. The picture at the beginning of this post is of the temple from across the street. The one below was taken as we walked through temple square. We took several shots, but they just don't do the scene justice. 

As I thought about the evening and how it stirred many emotions within me, I thought about character development in my new book. Characters need to have a belief system that stirs them. Listening to the talks and songs of the evening, I was inspired and filled with the Christmas spirit. It's important for our characters to have similar emotions in their lives. This can apply to any religion or belief system. We, as authors, need to show our characters' feelings developing from experiences they have during the story. Layer by layer these feelings should accumulate and help build to the climax of the book.

Just imagine writing a scene where your character was touched by something emotional and then seal those emotions in your character with a striking sight that confirms to their heart everything they have heard or felt. Your character development will be off the charts.

How about you? Have you added scenes that reflect your characters' emotions on many levels? If so, I'd love to hear about them.


  1. That was a great message last night and the music phenomenal. The great part for me was watching it with family.

  2. Yeah! I'm your 200th follower, I've never been that before.

  3. We were at Temple Square last night too and the temple really did look cool with the lights and the fog.

    In my WIP, I discovered that one of my characters had guilt about something I hadn't anticipated him having. I love those little suprise moments!

  4. Stacy:
    So you know exactly what I'm talking about. :)

    Guilt is always good to ramp up during the course of a novel. Where to go!

  5. Patti:

    I know what you mean. I missed having my family with me. :(

  6. I miss living there and having those opportunities so CLOSE!! Our temple is an hour and a half away, which is better than non-existent in our state (which was not long ago).

  7. Kathi, the pictures look exactly as you describe, looking at them I feel I'm in a Dickens novel. So beautiful, thank you for sharing.

    Thank you, too, for the reminder about developing those tender or significant moments. And guilt! The knife twisting in one's gut. So glad you found my blog so that I could find yours. I think I will take you up on your contest, your book looks wonderful. I'll be back around when I have more time to read your trailers, etc.

    Merry Christmas, that rebel, Olivia

  8. Great post.

    I completely agree with you.

    Characters have to have a belief system of some sort. And what the see as a confirmation of it can be really revealing.

  9. Jolene:
    I feel very fortunate to live this close. I'm glad there's a temple in Alaska.

    Love stories always have a tender spot on in my heart. :)

  10. Olivia:
    I'm glad the picture is close to what I was trying to describe. :)

    I'm so happy you're joining in the contest fun! It's nice to have you visit. Come by any time. :)

  11. Misha:

    I don't know about you, but I'm always looking for ways to develop stronger characters. I'm glad you agree with me. :)



Related Posts with Thumbnails