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Monday, August 18, 2008

Characters

As I'm working through revisions this week, a new character has been elbowing his way into the story. He's a minor character, but important to the plot. His unexpected arrival has had me thinking a lot about creating characters.

On that note, my dear friend and mentor, Marsha Skrypuch, just completed running the Brantford Summer Writing Workshops, wherein she presented a workshop on creating characters. When sharing her notes with me, she said, "Another thing that I point out is that not once do we ever talk about appearance when building characters because appearance has nothing to do with character."

That really struck me. It's absolutely true in real life, right? So naturally the same holds for characters we're creating. I just had never thought about it. Of course our readers want to know what the characters look like, but that's just packaging. Who they are is the important thing.

How do they act when they think no one is looking? How do they handle stressful situations? What makes them happy? What drives them up a wall? And, more importantly, why? What makes them tick?

Often, our characters don't even know the answers to those questions... but they should find out through the journey of the story.

Anyone else have a revelation on creating characters they'd like to share? How about a favorite character from something you've read? What made that character memorable to you?



1 comment:

Nicole said...

Linda,
Thanks for doing the blog today and thanks for all the cool pics! (You'll have to teach me how to do that. *g*) I'm in the process of casting my male lead of my current WIP. I LOVE this part. It's funny, I cast all my male leads but I rarely cast my female protags until after the book is finished. I think because my female protags are all too close to home for me and it's impossible for me to see them as anyone else! But once the story is finished, and I've separated a bit from it, then I'm able to cast them.