Saturday, February 23, 2008

Novel Writing: Character

Today I'm going to focus on character development. The more you know about your characters the better. I keep many notes on each character in a story. I also keep a file of scrap that includes elements of the physical appearance of each character. This practice keeps the descriptions consistent throughout the book. I keep notes on the history and future of each character. It's useful to think about where a character has come from and then extrapolate out to where they are going. This kind of exploration brings authenticity to world building. This link will take you to a site that offers many links with hours of advice on how to build characters.

Some of the common pitfalls:

*characters that are too similar (Rx: You need to do the back-story work.)
*characters that don't suffer enough (Rx: Look for someone close to the character that must die tragically. Loss is a great way to make a character suffer.)
*characters that lack dimensionality. (Rx: This is usually a love/hate problem. What does the character love? Hate?)
*too many characters (Rx: Combine some of the characters into one.)
*characters that we don't care about (Rx: You need to add nuances of complexity to the characters' thoughts and speech. Work on understanding the uncertainty of each character. What are the characters unsure about?)

Hopefully something here has sparked your drive to create a meaningful novel.

This is the time of year that I work on a novel push. I'm writing Profit and have about 37000 words currently. I'm past the halfway mark.

Life is not a journey to the grave with intentions of arriving safely in a pretty well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out and loudly proclaiming ... WOW! What a ride!


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