Breathing Life Into Your Characters by Kamy Chetty

Let's welcome author Kamy Chetty as she discusses about Breathing Life Into Your Characters. Chat with her and share your stories! 

You can connect with Kamy Chetty on the Web:
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Breathing life into your characters

As writers we’re always told, make your characters believable. Make them real for the reader. Make the reader care about what happens to your characters.

You might ask why this is important. The key to getting your reader to turn that page and get to the end of the book to make sure it all turns out okay, is to have your reader form an emotional connection with the character.

You might think this is easy, but it’s not. The art to doing this, is knowing your character so well, you’d know exactly what their reaction would be to any given situation. For something like this, it helps to be a people person who genuinely cares.

Be a people watcher, watch reactions, overreactions and responses to situations. How does a father deal with the loss of his wife?

How does a sister deal with the loss of her sister?
Would she feel relief if she’d been made to save her sister? What did she feel growing up? Was there ever any resentment between the siblings and how was that dealt with?

There is a lot about your characters you’d know when you start your WIP, that you never tell your readers. If you did, your book would be boring and would result in a lot of info dump in the first few chapters. But in order to keep the readers’ curiosity piqued, you sprinkle little bits of information in exactly the right places, to make them want more. It’s one of the best ways to get them invested in the story. It’s effective in making them care about what’s going to happen next.

If your strong lead character is acting too soft, then ask yourself why? Has all the years of bottling things up been too much?  Is being back to where it all began now breaking down those walls she’d built?

What about your male lead? Is he rushing off charging to save the day? Do you think he might have been hurt and he’s too scared to put himself out there again? Maybe he has more responsibility like a child to take care of and he can’t be reckless anymore, because that would leave the child an orphan?

What about the villain? There’s always a reason the bad guy, is the bad guy. Whether its money, power or love, the reason is always the motivator for someone doing things they wouldn’t normally do. In order to make it real, the motivator has to be believable.

What I enjoyed most about writing Made to Die are the characters and getting to see how they developed or unraveled over the course of their journey. Getting that balance between character driven and plot driven is what makes a book exciting.


When a young woman comes home to find closure and say goodbye to the sister she was made to save, she discovers a program for organ trafficking linked to a mass body dump. 

What has Cedar Falls become in her absence and what has her mother and Troy Saban, her sister’s husband has to do with it? Sophie Summerfield must fight for her life and those she loves as she figures out who is behind this scheme to steal organs from young woman. 

Intrigue and drama captures the mind of the suspense reader.

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  1. We definitely have to ask our characters a lot of questions, even if not all the answers will go into the novel. Congrats, Kamy!

  2. Making those characters believable is a must - and not easy! Good tips :)

  3. I thought I had commented on this post already, but apparently not. Either that or it got lost in Google space somewhere. It's nice to meet Kamy. I agree, characters have to be believable to hold the reader's interest.

    1. Hi Karen- yes we have to make them real so the reader can care- or why would they bother:-)

  4. Great post! It's definitely a fun discovery process to get to know your characters :)

    1. yes Meradeth- I always wonder, if I'd want to be friends with them in real life and it surprises me that sometimes I really wouldn't want to meet them- like Grace, I really don't like her even though I understand her

  5. Great suggestions about watching people. There's a local chocolate shop that's a great place to go on a Friday night. Eat chocolate and watch people. Fascinating!

  6. Great post Kamy. I think the author needs to know so much about each character so they are relatable and believable. This takes time at the beginning of a novel when we'd rather be writing furiously, but it will pay off. All the best with your new novel! :-)

  7. I read lots of books without giving a thought to the writer. When that happens I know it’s a good book because I’m pulled along with the characters. I don’t give a thought to the author or the writing process I’m just gripped by the story. Of course, the opposite is also true. If I pick up a book and start thinking who on earth wrote this or do they really think I’m going to believe that – then I know I’m never going to finish it.
    Made to die sounds really interesting, and I’m sure I would find it easy to finish.
    Thanks for the insight into the writing process, I have nothing but admiration for writers – I’m not one, but rather wish I was.

  8. I always write down a lot of background details on my characters. I also pick a personality type and that really helps determine their reactions to situations and others.

  9. The more details a writer knows about her characters, even if she never uses them in her book, the more "real" those characters become to her. If the characters are real to her, they'll be believable to her readers. (That's the plan, anyway...)

    Your book sounds terrific. Good luck with it!

  10. Awesome advice! It's important to ask our characters questions. And to ask ourselves the same questions too, because we can use our own answers.

  11. So true about making your characters believable and relatable. It's especially important to have a strong antagonist. I saw this book on another blog the other day. It sounds really good.

  12. You certainly have to know a lot about your characters to make them interesting.

  13. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Kamy.

  14. Made to Die sounds like a fascinating read! I totally agree with Kemy, that we need to sprinkle in our characters' personalities. This took em a while to understand, but now I feel like I know so much about my characters and there are things that I know that helped me create them that no one else might really know (part of my character brainstorming exercises). Wishing Kemy the best of luck! :)

  15. Those emotional connections for the reader are so important. We can't have unbelievable or flat characters.

  16. Good points! I agree about avoiding an info dump, as long as you, the writer, knows the background of your characters, that's what's important.