Monday, Jun 29, 2009

Characters That Live

Dear Power Writers, 

I’m back. 🙂 We had a marvelous family vacation, and now I am spending the next two weeks finalizing plans for my daughter’s wedding on July 11th. We went to Mohonk in New Paltz, New York, a great place for rest and relaxation. I’ll be posting some pictures soon. 🙂 For the next two weeks, I’ll be finalizing preparations for my daughter’s wedding, so please bear with me if I don’t get to post three times a week. 

Most of you know that fiction is my first writing love. Today I’d like to discuss some techniques for creating characters that come alive to your reader: 

1) Make sure you know as much as you can about your characters, especially your main character, before beginning to write. Obviously, you will learn some things along that way that may surprise you, but the more you know before you write, the more alive your character will be to your reader. 

2) Give your main character lots of problems. The more serious, the better. Writers sometimes struggle with putting their characters in impossible situations. But if you don’t do so, your character will be flat. 

3) Use dialogue to reveal your character. Ensure that your dialogue is consistent with the time period and with your character’s personality. 

There is a lot more to be said about characterization. But if you start with these three steps, you’ll go a long way toward creating characters that are well-rounded and alive.

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3 thoughts on “Characters That Live

  1. Welcome back, dear MaryAnn! Your daughter’s wedding is 4 days after my daughter’s 2nd anniversary, so I know exactly what all you need to do in the next two weeks and the weeks following the wedding! What a busy exciting time!

    Great reminders about making our characters real instead of flat. A book I would highly recommend to anyone who hasn’t read it, or even if you have (I’ve read it twice and would love to re-read it if my TBR pile of writing books wasn’t already toppling over!)is Getting into Character by Brandilyn Collins. Excellent content with many helpful exercises along the way. Give yourself a present for our country’s birthday this week!

    June 29, 2009 at 5:46 PM

    • Thanks so much for your moral support, Rose. It is, indeed, an exciting time for all of us. How cool that your daughter’s second anniversary is only four days before my Lia’s wedding! Happy Anniversary!

      Perhaps I’ll get some ideas for a short story at the wedding. 🙂 The preparation has given me a few ideas as well. 🙂 At least from the Mom’s POV.

      Thanks for writing. It is so good to hear from you! 🙂



      June 29, 2009 at 6:12 PM

  2. Welcome back, Mary Ann. So glad you had vacation before the big event. Now, you’ll have energy to get through it. It won’t be long now!

    The really cool thing I find with characters is that as much as you think you know then, they sometimes surprise you. I’ll be typing along and suddenly my heroine will do or say something I did not plan. And it’s the perfect thing! 🙂

    My mentor says take your characters out to lunch and talk to them. What would you ask someone you’re just getting to know? And what are their answers? She’s given us several questions so we can know characaters, plot and setting better. I’ve discovered really cool things about the story that I, myself, had planted but didn’t realize.

    I love writing!

    June 30, 2009 at 7:40 AM