Characterization: Get Real!
If the plot is the backbone of the story, then the characters are the heart. Creating believable characters that your readers will identify with is crucial to a good story. Your characters must have depth, personality and the ability to evoke an emotional response from your reader.
Before you can formulate a riveting story, an interesting character must be devised. Many writers envision the setting first and the people inhabiting that world second. This often results in shallow characters. Developing a character in depth, complete with flaws, will give you a basis for your narrative. It is easier to build a plot around an individual than force that character into unrealistic situations.
Two factors will determine your character – their background and their personality type. Both are equally important and require some thought. Humans all share similar feelings and needs, but how they respond to those depends on their upbringing and their basic, fundamental personality. You need to be aware of these factors when writing your story.
Backgrounds are as varied as humans themselves. Race, culture, religion, and economic status all contribute to one’s development as a person. A person’s moral compass is easily affected by their upbringing, and you need to keep this in mind when creating your characters. A person raised by a loving family on a farm and someone raised on the streets of New York will not react the same! Flesh out your character with a family history, interests, and experiences.
Become familiar with the four basic personality types – choleric, sanguine, melancholy and phlegmatic. They will also determine how your character reacts in any given situation. (“Personality Plus” by Florence Littauer is an excellent book for researching these personality traits.) A bold, first-born choleric would likely take charge in a situation, while an introverted phlegmatic would step aside. You need to be aware of these personality traits in your character or you will find them responding in a dubious fashion.
Avoid the temptation to create a perfect character! People are flawed creatures and the more imperfections and internal conflicts your character possesses, the more intriguing your story. Give them weaknesses, impulses and unresolved issues. Negative aspects of your character might improve and eventually vanish, but this needs to be developed slowly during the course of your narrative. Life altering moments happen for us all, but a sudden change for no apparent reason will be looked upon as a mere plot contrivance.
Characters will always be the drive and focal point of any story. By putting a great deal of thought into your main characters, you will form interesting, relatable people. Once you have established this foundation, you can begin creating an intriguing tale!
- Author & speaker, L. Diane Wolfe, www.thecircleoffriends.net
Copyright 2008 L. Diane Wolfe
- The Literary Lynnch Pen
- The Literary Lynnch Pen is a weekly newsletter published by Lynn Tincher. About Lynn: Lynn was born in the small town of La Grange, Kentucky and grew up in Goshen. Lynn studied Theater Arts in College in hopes of becoming a Drama/English teacher. She has written articles in local newspapers and travel brochures. Now, she is focused on writing novels, short stories and poems. The second edition of her book "Afterthoughts" will be released in April of 2009 with the sequel "Left in the Dark" to be released on October of 2009. She also manages Artist Corner, an artist social website dedicated to help all artists become successful. Her eZine and website provides helpful tips and information. Lynn also provides email list management services. She has partnered with Constant Contact to help provide authors, artists, and small businesses the services to manage their email lists and marketing strategies, eZines, electronic newsletters, coupons and bulletins. Please visit: www.lynntincher.com artistcorner.ning.com www.myspace.com/lynntincher lynntincher.blogspot.com
- Developing a Crisis - by Lynn Tincher
- Play Writing
- Keeping a Positive Attitude - Lynn Tincher
- Keeping a Positive Attitude - Laura Griffith
- SPAN Connection Feature
- Getting Ideas by Laura Griffith
- Characterization - Get Real! by L. Diane Wolfe
- Successful Interview or Bust by L. Diane Wolfe
- Tracking Fans by L. Diane Wolfe
- Writing Non-Fiction
- Helpful Websites for Writers
- Be Open to Experiences
- Market Market Market
- Writers Block
- Writing a Query Letter
- Creative Writing
- The Importance of Journaling
- Writing a Sell Sheet
- Time Management
- Finding Inspiration
- Getting Ideas by Laura Griffith
- Finding an Artist
- Character Development
- Finding a Publisher
- Writing a Press Release
- Google Yourself
- Internet Research - by Laura Griffith
- Avoiding Common Grammar Mistakes
- How to be a Good Interviewee
- Writing a Thriller
- Finding an Editor
- Setting the Scene
- Tracking Fans
- Creating a Space to Write
- ▼ January (37)