Thursday, May 22, 2008

Building and Staying in Character!

The best part of fictional writing, to me, has always been building characters. I often wondered why I love talking to people and hearing their stories. People are SOOOO unique- often having a few different characteristics or personalities. For instance, I know I have a tendency to appear quiet and sweet. But, talk to my husband about how I can get when I'm upset. He usually says the "New Orleans" in me comes out! HA! Of course no offense to my people, but we do have a tendency to get highrate at times when we're crossed the wrong way. But me? I'm sweet as sugar.

How about building a character in your book. Right now, I'm working on the main character in my book who is a bit fiesty and rude. Due to overwhelming emotional trama, this girl has clearly got issues. The challenge is, how does a sweet person like myself get into characterization for this girl in my book? It's certainly not easy- but it's fun. I can make her appear to be as mean as I want.

I imagine a clear man or clear woman.

When creating a character in a book, I believe it's important to start from scratch. I imagine a clear woman. She has no color, no particular hair length, no particular body shape- just someone clear. Then I begin to add color... give her a certain dominant personality, and dresses her uniquely.

This takes time. I think once you have the idea about what your story is about- take your time building that main character.

I then think about how God creates us in our own unique way. I think God gives us the ability to be very creative- after all, if we're made in his own imagine, clearly he's created us to be creative!

Staying in Character

Here's an excerpt from "20 Master Plots" by Ronald Tobias.

As you write, keep these points in mind:
1) The focus of your story should be about a single character.
2) That character should be strong-willed, charismatic and seemingly unique. All of your other characters will revolve around this one.
3) At the heart of your story should be a moral dilemma. This dilemma tests the character of your protagonist/antagonist, and it is the foundation for the catalyst of change in her character.
4) Character and event are closely related to each other. Anything that happens should happen because of the main character. She is the force that affects events, not the reverse. (This isn't to say that events can't affect your main character, but that we are more interested in how she acts upon the world than how the world acts upon her. )
5) Try to show your character as she was before the major change that altered her life so we can have a basis of comparison.
6) Show your character progressing through successive changes as a result of events.

There are more key points from this book- page 226. You can purchase it here.

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