Kfir Luzzatto was born and raised in Italy, and moved to Israel as a teenager. He acquired the love for the English language from his father, a former U.S. soldier, a voracious reader and a prolific writer. Kfir has a PhD in chemical engineering and works as a patent attorney. He lives in Omer, Israel, with his full-time partner, Esther, their four children, Michal, Lilach, Tamar and Yonatan, and the dog Elvis. Kfir has published extensively in the professional and general press over is the author of several short stories but now mostly writes full-length fiction. Books: CROSSING THE MEADOW (2003 P&E "BEST HORROR NOVEL"), THE ODYSSEY GENE(2006), HAVE BOOK WILL TRAVEL (2012). He got the idea for his new thriller, "THE EVELYN PROJECT," from an in-depth research into the family archives. He has another book of fiction in the works. Author's website: http://kfirluzzatto.com Purchase this book through: Amazon and Barnes and Noble An Italian Obsession
Creating Believable Characters
You've probably read a great deal of advice on how to create believable characters. For instance, in his excellent book "Characters & Viewpoint", Orson Scott Card walks you through a long list of issues and considerations that surround the creation of your character and makes you pay attention to a myriad of details that must be taken into account. However, trying to find in that sound advice a magic formula that will help you piece together a character would be a futile exercise.
The reason why recognizing and understanding all the traits that play an important role in the reader's perception is critical, is that it allows you to dissect your character after you have created it, to find its weaknesses and fix them.
While it is true that before a character is created the author must have at least a rough idea of its basic attributes (male/female, good/bad, likable/not likable, etc.) those are merely the raw materials from which the character must be molded. The next step in the creation process requires placing the character in the environment in which it will move (and that, obviously, needs to rely on at least some prior plot development.) Characters must be adaptive and take on a more definite form as you watch them behave in different situations. This is a bit like voice recognition software: the more you speak, and the more varied the subjects about which you speak, the better the software adapts itself to you and naturally recognizes your speech. Similarly, placing a character in different situations and watching it as it deals with them will help it become more real in your head; that's where the characters must grow and reach near real-life perfection before they can become alive on paper.
And here is the fun part: to complete your creation process you must put yourself in the character's shoes and make believable choices when reacting to different situations. This is a wickedly enjoyable make-believe game and that's why I maintain that authors who create believable and likable characters must still be children inside. Boring grown-ups no longer remember how to play that game.
But then, someone might ask, how is that done when your character is of the opposite sex? To me, that's even greater fun, particularly when relationship building is involved, because I need to guess the thought processes of my female character, when confronted with my male character's behavior. At some points it feels like playing chess with myself without knowing what the idea behind my last move was.
And this is where we need to talk about mimics. I've seen people trying to borrow great characters from another writer's book. That never works, because that character was great while it existed in the world that was created for it and with it; transplanting it into a different world, even with some adjustments, makes it lose all its credibility.
So the answer is simple: if you want to create believable characters you must play God with them and take all the time you need to grow your private world together with what inhabits it; there are no shortcuts. Besides, who wants to shorten the fun?
ABOUT AN ITALIAN OBSESSION In the lax atmosphere of middle-class post-war Italy, sex and drugs are easy to come by. Roberto tries to find his own balance, but a crush he had for Alessandra in elementary school is reignited and the course of his life is changed forever. It's the 1970's, a time of political upheaval driven by disillusioned young people. Roberto is caught up in the times. He makes a new start, but his past catches up with him. Finding himself accused of a crime, he must defend himself even when he isn't sure he committed it.
A vivid snapshot of European post-war society, this novel is viewed through the eyes of a young adult coming of age.