A NEW DIMENSION


A NEW DIMENSION

After looking back at some of my writing, I noticed that my characters were flat, and not because they’re typed words on a screen. No, they  have no depth, no dimension.

As I start the new year of writing, I will create what I will call character interviews. In Gail Carson Levine’s book, WRITING MAGIC, she suggests making a character questionnaire.

Make a list of questions and fill in the answers such as: name or nickname, what type of being (human, alien etc…), age, sex, physical appearance and characteristics, family members and friends, pets, hobbies?

Then ask deeper questions like: What are my character’s talents and abilities? What are their faults, fears and good qualities?

If you have flat characters, try interviewing your character and give them a new dimension!

Rory C. Keel

UNFORGETTABLE FICTIONAL CHARACTERS


UNFORGETTABLE FICTIONAL CHARACTERS

Natalie Bright

 

Here’s a list of a few unforgettable fictional characters that seem to have life beyond the pages. A great character isn’t always likeable, but one that can evoke strong emotion or a memorable experience for the reader. Are any of these your favorites?

Atticus Finch, To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee

Emma Bovary, Madame Bovary, Gustave Flaubert

Prince Hamlet, Hamlet, William Shakespeare

Gandalf, The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien

Holly Golightly, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Truman Capote

Frankenstein’s Monster, Frankenstein, Mary Shelley

Peter Pan, Peter Pan, J.M. Barrie

Scarlett O’Hara, Gone With the Wind, Margaret Mitchell

Jay Gatsby, The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald

Just to name a few…

Leave us a comment and let us know your favorite, unforgettable fictional character. Thanks for following Wordsmith Six!

The Force


POSTCARDS FROM THE MUSE

The Force

Nandy Ekle

One of my favorite movies is from the 80’s is The Never-ending Story. It’s a kid’s movie, but it’s really ageless because it’s so deep.

A beautiful world ruled by a child-like empress, who is dying. The only way to save her is to get in touch with an earthling child. And the only way to get in touch with an earthling child is to have a warrior child go on an adventure. 

That’s the importance of characters in a nutshell. 

Without good characters, there’s no point to even having a story. You may have a profound lesson to get across to your reader, but you won’t contact them if you don’t show them someone who could be them. For example, Bastian would never have learned his lesson if Atreyu had not taken on a dangerous mission, losing his horse, nearly losing his very own self, and then nearly being swallowed by nothingness. Bastian identified with Atreyu, and that’s how contact was made.

The way to make a character your reader will identify with is, first, know your audience. Who are you aiming for? What are the characteristics of that group? 

Once you understand your audience, the research begins. I’m talking about people watching. Stand back in a corner and watch what happens. Listen to conversations. Watch body language and listen to their lingo. 

Now, this is where your imagination applies what you’ve learned. Step into their head and watch the world through their eyes.

When I was in high school I did a little bit of theater. One of the things I learned is “putting on a character.” This is where you become them. 

And this is where you make contact with your reader. And they’ll love you for it.

 

In Search of a Character


In Search of a Character

Rory C. Keel

When starting a story, we need characters like a Protagonist, the main character, and an Antagonist the villain. There may even be secondary characters that play a role in your writing.

So where do characters come from? Where do we get them?

The easiest way for me to find a character is to think about people I know in real life.

This idea could include friends, family, or someone you just met.

If you have a good imagination, then creating characters by mixing fantasy and reality.

Are you coming up with blanks? Then a trip to the shopping mall with notepad in hand can offer some relief as you observe people as they shop. Another quick starter that might help is to do an internet search for movie star images.

How many different characters can you create this week?

CHARACTER DESCRIPTIONS


CHARACTER DESCRIPTIONS
Natalie Bright
As a reader, do you like detailed physical descriptions of your characters? As a writer you can go nuts trying to decide: tall short, thin, long hair, red hair, bleached blonde, plain face, or Hollywood icon?
In answer to the question I refer to the book THE SUCCESSFUL NOVILEST: A LIFETIME OF LESSONS ABOUT WRITING AND PUBLSIHING by David Morrell (creator of Rambo) With thirty years of writing and publishing experience, this is a barebone, practical book of advice. I have found this book to be one of my favorites; I’m giving it a second read through.
Morrell notes, “I believe that readers can do a lot more efficient job of imagining the look of characters than I can and that characters are best described by their actions.” (pg.147)
The objective details of a character’s appearance don’t matter as much as the emotions they imply, as Morrell explains. So how do we, as writers make that happen? Morrell suggests that we concentrate on a character’s emotional effect, the reader will supply the physical details. What do her clothes convey; polished or destitute? Does the character radiate power, intelligence, or sexual desire? What about the character’s posture?
The example is from Tolstoy’s ANNA KARENINA (translated by Rosemary Edmonds). The main character is full of life, friendly, and her smile shows this.
“Her brilliant grey eyes, shadowed by thick lashes, gave [Vronsky] a friendly, attentive look, as though she were recognizing him, and then turned to the approaching crowd as if in search of someone. In that brief glance Vronsky had time to notice the suppressed animation which played over her face and flitted between her sparkling eyes and the slight smile curving her red lips. It was as though her nature were so brimming over with something that against her will it expressed itself now in a radiant look, now in a smile.”