How do I make my characters seem convincing?

I have recently been thinking about/ dreaming about a new concept I have for a fantasy fiction story. It is based on some Welsh mythology - a topic that is very close to my heart. Because I will be writing about some characters that are well known in Celtic folk tales, I recognise the need to be careful with how I portray them in my story. So how can I make sure my characters are going to be realistic?

Research, research, research I have spent the past couple of weeks researching the era. I have read countless folk tales, websites about witches and magic, and a myriad of other books. I have enjoyed this process because I love to learn, but it is still a hard slog.

Character names I need to make sure the names of my characters are both authentic AND translatable to modern times. The reader shouldn't have to stumble over a pile of odd, unpronounceable names.  My way of doing this is to show my partner the names and ask him what he thinks. If he can't get his head around the Welsh spelling, then Johnny Normal won't be able to either.

Character profiles Before I begin to map out my story I need to know my characters inside and out. I will sit down and write all the insignificant details about all of the characters, even the man behind the bar that doesn't warrant a mention in the text. This will help me decide how each character would act in different situations. I don't want my heroine to do something completely out of form. I have read too many books that left me thinking "But she simply wouldn't do something that stupid!" to make me cautious about making the same mistake.

Write from the heart The story I am writing has, no doubt, be told many times before. A young woman's journey to save her people and discover herself along the way is old hat. But it has never been told by me before so I had damn well better make it my own. If I write from the soul it will be 100% my story.

And so onward and upwards with this new journey of mine. I was tempted to wait until my Children's Story is complete before I began, but I feel I need the time to walk away and come back to it with a fresh perspective. Off I trot to do some more research!


  1. This sounds like a fantastic idea for a YA or MG story. I love the idea of using ancient Celtic mythology, but tweaking the names a little with modern spellings so the rest of us can actually pronounce them. Traditional mythology speaks to a primal place in the reader. It's a great jumping-off place for fantasy fiction.

    BTW, you've got a number of lovely blogs that you obviously find hard to update often. What about consolidating them all here, with one topic for Mondays, another for Wednesdays, Or one for week one and one for week two, etc.

    I liked your review of Abraham Lincoln and Vampires. The whole concept seemed crass and blatantly copy-cat to me, but you made the point that it was a fun way to learn history. Thanks for that.

  2. Hi, Anne, thanks for taking the time to give me such constructive feedback!

    You're right about too many blogs. I was initially trying to find which style suited me best, and I've been slowly transferring everything across to this one.

    I'm glad you like my idea. It really speaks to my heart and I'm hoping to give the best to it that I have!



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