Q&A With Colleen Gleason!
Q: What makes a character jump off the page?
A: To me, a character who jumps off the page is multi-dimensional and has a surprise or two that may or may not fit with their stereotypical archetype. For example, a Navy SEAL who is vegetarian. Or a librarian who has an addiction to video games. Or a Regency duke who likes to knit. (Well, maybe not that one. ;-) ) But something that makes the character a real person, not just a cardboard cut-out.
A character also has to have their own speech patterns, their own way of talking. For example, when I write a story with a love triangle, I work very hard to make sure the two men are different in speech and thought. I’d like the reader to be able to tell which person is talking without an attribution. And I often mentally replace them with each other in certain scenes, just to see how the “other” one would act if confronted with the same situation. They should think, speak, and react differently.