Steven James Keynote on Characters

Middle grade Monday 

Steven James Keynote on Characters

OWFI Session, 5 May 2012

by Natalie Bright

The keynote speaker for the Oklahoma Writers Federation Inc 2012 meeting was Steven James.  Following is a list on his observations regarding character development:

*  Your main character is a putty person. They change shape as a result of the struggle of the story, and as the story transforms, the character emerges always different

* One moment can pivot your entire book; heroes don’t back down

* Every verb you choose shows status for your character

* Raising the stakes of the antagonist also raises status of MC

* Develop characterization using internal dialogue, show sarcasm by thoughts, not words, posture, body language.

*Main Characters always have self control.

*Give your main character what he wants the most, then snatch it away.  Or,

dangle what they want the most in front of them and never let them have it.

* Main characters must interact with every sub-character; don’t waste characters. For every minor character in your book, the MC has attitude, history, intention

* Your #1 Goal as a writer:  always give the reader what he wants or something better!

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