One thing I get excited about writing and about reading is character introductions.
It’s great fun to be introduced to different characters, and the way they are presented to the reader and other characters from the outset.
When I write, I feel the way a character is introduced gives an instant impression of what that character is like, and also lets the reader know what part they are going to play.
For example, in Pride and Prejudice, Mrs Bennett talks about Darcy before we meet him, and that’s all very nice, but it’s his proper introduction that gives us that instant sense of the character.
It also becomes very, very obvious that he is going to be a romantic interest! Darcy is handsome and rich, but he’s not exactly very nice. Instant sense of character.
But that is rather a tame introduction. I do like when characters are introduced in fun or dramatic ways 😀
Romantic interests are usually introduced in such a way so as the reader knows it’s them. But still, when introducting a character, you want to be able to get across that first impression of who they are and what they are like. For example, when I introduced the romantic interest in Heart of the Arena, I was trying to get across the fact he was not only a romantic interest, but also his character and manner itself.
‘The two iron gates swung open and three of Sentius’ guards, wearing his uniform of distinct, red leather, entered and parted to reveal the gladiator behind. The primus palus was taller than his Roman escorts, his torso broad, muscled and defined, his arms thick and solid with obvious strength. He strode with a great confidence towards the mess. As he neared, Sabina found her throat becoming dry. He stopped at their table and took a seat by Appius.
“Where have you been, Cassian?” Carantii asked.
“Accompanying Sentius,” Cassian replied with a voice that surprised her with how well spoken it was, his soft accent evidence that it was not his native tongue. “Attempting to convince the man hosting the next games to use this ludus’ gladiators.” As he rested his arms on the table Sabina tried not to notice the way his muscles flexed, almost knocking over her mug in her haste to look away.
“Did you succeed?” Atto asked.
“Of course, who could refuse after laying eyes upon me?” Cassian gave a lopsided smile that exuded charm, a smile that would have made any woman weak to his requests. A laugh passed over the gathered gladiators and Sabina brought herself back from her gazing.’
Cassian is confident and a little egotistical 😀 I wanted to get across those fact upon first meeting.
But then there’s the other type of character to introduce. The bad guy or villain. They can be great fun!
Here’s the introduction of the Jester in The Queen’s Jester:
‘“Lords, ladies, Your Highness and Your Majesty.” He bowed low and Marie smiled at him politely. “There is one final act to present tonight, a performer of great agility, dexterity and a sharp wit to boot.” A small chuckle spread through the crowd and the little man shuffled to one side as a pair of topless men stepped forwards carrying flaming torches. “I give to you your entertainer, your performer. Your jester.”
Marie gasped as the two men blew against the torches, the flames bursting into life in a blinding flash and sizzling in the air. She shielded herself from the intense light and heat, only daring to turn back when the brightness subsided.
The flickering orange flames curled outwards, as though drawn away from whoever was walking through them. Through the parting curtain of fire, a pair of striking green eyes caught her own and stole her breath away. The jester was not what she’d been expecting and suddenly her reservations about having a fool in court vanished.’
You can tell he’s bad news, at least I’m hoping you can 😀 From the flames and magic, it gives the impression of someone you don’t want to get near, but Marie finds herself drawn to.
Another introduction that stuck in my head is Diesel from Visions of Sugar Plums by Janet Evanovich. Brilliant introduction!
‘He appeared out of nowhere. One minute I was sipping on my coffee, mentally planning out my day. And then the next minute… poof, there he was.’
You get the immediate sense that this guy is not going to be what he seems 😀
The way to introduce a character can be great fun, and it’s something I always look forward to reading when I crack open a new book! But it’s also fun to write, playing around with characters and finding the exact best way to introduce them to readers and give that first impression.
They do say you never get a second chance to make a first impression 😀
Have you written any introductions you love? Have you read a book with a great character introduction? Is there a particular way you like to introduce your characters?
> Stolen Bloodline– Marketing.
> The Queen’s Jester– Marketing.
> Heart of the Arena– Marketing.
May E-Book Review: Book read. Review written.