Character Design with Ella Carey, The House by the Lake #Giveaway

We have author Ella Carey talking to us about Character Design. She has a new release, The House by the Lake. She also has a Kindle copy giveaway for one commenter! 

Ella Carey on the web:

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Character design

I do quite a bit of character work before I start writing a novel. Having said that, characters often take on their own lives once the story begins, so things do evolve.

But generally, I like to start by seeing what a character looks like. I need to visualize them first.

Next, I ask them all sorts of odd questions, not stock standard ones, as to be honest, I just get bored doing that. I have quirky questions, such as what would be found in their rubbish bin in their bedroom, what sort of slippers would they wear, if they were to wear such a thing.

I often ask these questions and answer them in the first person, that way I can feel a real sense of the character’s voices, which then makes it easier to start to write.

After that, I like to put the characters to the test a bit- ask them what they would do if they were confronted with an emergency of some sort? I generally make these sorts of things up.

Some writers say there is no such thing as plot- there is, in the end, just character. I find this intriguing. It’s interesting when you think about it.

Thank you for having me here today!

The House by the Lake

Anna is content with her well-ordered life in San Francisco. But her world is turned upside down when her beloved grandfather, Max, reveals a startling secret: Anna is part of an aristocratic family who lost everything during World War II. What’s more, Max was forced to leave behind a precious item over seventy years ago in their estate in old Prussia. It’s now his ardent wish that Anna retrieve it.
Anna burns with questions as she heads for Germany: What memento could be so important to her grandfather? And why did he keep their history hidden? As she searches for answers, she finds herself drawn to Wil, a man who may hold the key to unlock the mystery. Together they discover that her family’s secrets are linked with an abandoned apartment in Paris, and these secrets go deeper than she ever imagined.
Alternating between 1930s Europe and the present, The House by the Lake illuminates the destiny of a family caught in the tumult of history.

Buy Links:    

Amazon Kindle          Amazon Paperback        Audio CD
Amazon UK              Book Depository


  1. Hi Ella! Hi Olivia!
    I love that you find out about your characters before you begin your story Ella. It shows.

    Denise :-)

  2. I love the suspense and secrets in the premise of The House by the Lake! Very intriguing. I try not to over-define my characters until I get feedback from CPs on the first five chapters or so. Sometimes flaws I give characters make them unsympathetic in the eyes of readers. I also try not to describe too much physically, leaving it up to the reader to picture what they feel comfortable with. However, I write plot-driven thrillers - and romance is a completely different thing, as seen by the fact that romance novels always picture the MCs on the covers. So Ella's advice is perfect for romance writers where characterization is the most important thing in the book!

  3. That's a good idea to ask characters out of the ordinary questions to get to know them. Sometimes when writing, I realize who the character is and how he/she should be written while in the midst of writing. Heh. Congrats Ella!

  4. I love to visualize my chatacters, but you're right that they tend to evolve from our original idea. I think it's awesome when they do that. :)

  5. I love to visualize my chatacters, but you're right that they tend to evolve from our original idea. I think it's awesome when they do that. :)

  6. It's good to know your characters. It sounds like you have a good process for fleshing them out.

  7. This is a great post! I loved hearing about how she develops her characters. I like to start off with physical descriptions too! :)

  8. I sometimes journal as the character to get their voice and personality down. Great post.


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