Guest Post – Characterisation by Ella Harper
I am over the moon to have the wonderful Ella Harper on Tales today to celebrate the release of If I Fall her new adult contemporary romance.
If I Fall is published in ebook by the lovely people at Canelo and is an unputdownable and emotional novel about love, loss and friendship.
So today Ella shares a fab guest post about Characterisation…..
I’m really sorry for what I’m about to do…
It’s fifteen years since graduation, and Connie, Jonas, JJ and Layla have managed to remain close despite the odds. They’ve supported each other, but are some things too big for friendship?
Connie is desperate to maintain the veneer of perfect family life.
Jonas is feeling the pressure at work.
Layla’s career is unravelling thanks to her ill mother
JJ’s past is catching up with him.
When they stumble and fall, who will be there to catch them?
A truly powerful and unforgettable story of love, friendship, and real life, If I Fall is perfect for readers of Alice Peterson, Amanda Prowse and Lianne Moriarty.
Praise for Ella Harper:
‘You won’t be able to stop reading’ Heat Magazine
‘Such a beautifully heart-breaking novel, written with such poise, strength and power.’ The Writing Garnet
‘I couldn’t put it down. I went without sleep to finish this book… If I Fall would definitely make my 2018 must-read list‘ Writerly Ways
‘Highly recommended, but be prepared for tears!’ Stardust Book Reviews
‘This book was heartbreaking but beautiful…Such a joy to read, while holding back tears’ Til Then Smile Often
‘Only very rarely does a book come along that captures me and engages me as much as this one did… But don’t despair, the ending was uplifting and filled with promise’ Bookish Bits
‘I finished the book with a whopping big lump in my throat but with joy in my heart’ JaffaReads
‘Wonderful, heart-breaking and poignant… The story touched me to the core with its deeply moving plot, beautiful characters and a unique, inspiring and insightful plot’ Read Day and Night
‘A great book to curl up with’ Daily Mail
‘I had tears in my eyes’ Bookworms and Shutterbugs
‘A beautiful emotional story… I shed quite a few tears while reading this book. It’s a marvellous must-read’ With Love for Books
‘I have a feeling this book will stay with me for a long time’ Lilac Mills
‘Warm, perceptive and razor sharp. It’s everything you want from a novel’ Veronica Henry
Back in the day, when I was first writing (as myself, Sasha Wagstaff), I used to have detailed notes about all of my characters. And when I say ‘detailed’, I really mean that. I would devote pages and pages to my characters – where my character shopped, what perfume they wore, their fashion sense, their food preferences.
Now, I spend just as much time working out who my characters are, but I keep neat, concise notes – roughly half a page long – which I check and add to as I’m working through the novel. I think the difference these days, is that I am more in tune with my characters once I’ve invented them. The one thing I spend a great deal of time deciding upon is the names of my characters. I use a really good baby naming book and I enjoy finding the right names for my cast. I was able to use far more flamboyant and unusual names in my earlier novels as they were escapist and set in glamorous locations, but for my Ella Harper novels, I use more relatable, normal names. But they still have to be absolutely right! Occasionally I start writing the novel using a certain name and decide halfway through that it isn’t sitting right for whatever reason and have to dig my baby naming book out again.
But apart from the name issue, I do find that my characters form themselves in more mind more readily now and I don’t feel the need for such detailed notes. I am aware mentally of each character’s personable style and behaviour and they feel very real to me from the off-set. If anything changes about them as I’m writing, I jot it down, but by and large, I flesh them out at the beginning and get their back story laid out. I remember when I was writing ‘The Years of Loving You’, I struggled with writing the present day and my very lovely editor suggested that I didn’t write in chronological order for once, but wrote the entire past and back story first. It was a revelation as I am a very ordered person and that seemed bizarre to me – but it worked! Once I had written the past, the present became obvious and clear to me and I knew who my characters were and how they would act in the present day. The beauty of a fabulous editor!
But I think the most important part of characterisation is making sure that each character is real and relatable to the reader. That their actions and thoughts are authentic. This is more important than the perfume or aftershave they might wear, although that may get a brief mention. Each character should be true to themselves and act in a way that seems fitting with the personality and history described. I miss my characters when I finish a novel – and I mean that, genuinely. I get very involved in their lives and they are real to me. And then I start all over again with a new novel…
You can buy a copy of If I Fall here
About Ella Harper
Ella Harper learned foreign languages, and imagined she might eventually get a glamorous job speaking French. After climbing her way up the banking ladder, Ella started idly mapping out the beginnings of a novel on an old laptop. When she realised her characters were more real to her than dividends and corporate actions ever could be, she left her job to become a writer.
You can follow Ella on twitter – @Ella__Harper
You can catch up or follow the rest of this fab blog tour at the following stops!
A huge thank you to Ella Harper for such a fab guest post and to Ellie at Canelo for organising and asking me to host!
Have you read If I Fall? What did you think? What was your favourite part? If you have not read it yet have we tempted you to go and grab a copy? I would love to hear from you! Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of this post or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy!