Moon Called – Rereading with an eye on characters

So this week I’m going to be taking another look at Patricia Briggs novel Moon Called. The synopsis from Barnes and Noble for this is: “Mercy Thompson is a shapeshifter, and while she was raised by werewolves, she can never be one of them, especially after the pack ran her off for having a forbidden love affair. So she’s turned her talent for fixing cars into a business and now runs a one-woman mechanic shop in the Tri-Cities area of Washington State.”

While I have read this series many times and enjoyed it, I have never looked at from a story crafting standpoint. So as I embark on this reread I’m going to be taking a harder look at the characters. From strengths, flaws, appearance, personality variations, how they interact, and what function they serve within the story.

In thinking about Moon Called one thing that leaps from my memory is that the werewolves tend to be attractive males and share certain personality traits. This is main reason that I’m going to be turning my writer’s on the character aspect of the book. One consideration that I will be looking at is if these shared personality traits are because they are werewolves or the author just wanted to write about hunky men.

The other reason that I decided to look at the crafting of the characters in Moon Called is because I have been digging into my own supporting characters, and often struggling to flesh them out more. So I’m hoping that by looking at crafting side of things in an established author’s work I’ll have some valuable insight to offer later this week.

To help me with this endeavor I’m going to be keeping in mind a colorful blog post by Chuck Wedig that breaks characters down into a whopping 25 elements. The title of the blog is 25 Things a Great Character Needs, and it has a ton of useful information. Now I’m not going to compare all the characters in Moon Called to see how they stack up to Wedig’s 25 elements, I don’t have that much free time or coffee. Also, I feel that kind of undertaking would involve a spreadsheet which I’m terrible with, in addition to some kind of complex rating system of 1 to 5 for each category. Maybe someday I’ll weasel away enough free time to formalize a rating system based on these elements, but it’s not going to be this week.

So what parts of the character am I going to be turning my eye towards? To start with personality, internal and external conflicts, appearances, motivations, fears, nuances and rounding out with complexities. Am I going to be limiting my follow-up to just those elements? No, I’m not going to lock myself into a corner like that (go ahead and quote Dirty Dancing) but I will try and make these things my main focus.

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