Susanne Marie Knight's
THE WRITERS' WORKSHOP on
Characters are what keep us interested in the story. In a successful work of fiction, whether a novel, short story, or screenplay (television or cinema), the reader must empathize with one or more of the characters, otherwise the reader is left unsatisfied. Characterization is the key. Memorable characters are three dimensional and balanced. Remember, no one is all good or all bad. Give your people a fault or two.
Flaws = Vulnerability = Humanity
Six Ways To Reveal Character:
dialogue or speech
inner thought or introspection
mannerisms or physical gestures
reactions to other characters/problems/situations
Another writing tip to remember is "Show, Don't Tell." Telling is narration; it's boring because it doesn't involve the reader.
Example: She had a stomachache.
Do you feel the character's pain? No, not really. Showing puts you in the character's shoes and permits you to experience the action.
Example: Doubled over with cramps, she barely made it to the bathroom.
Do you have sympathy for the character now?
One last item: Motivation. Your characters must have a reason for what they do. Why do they act a certain way? If your character likes to start fires, you must explain why this is so. Characters can be kooky--if there is an explanation behind their actions.
Imagine it is a rainy day and you are in a long line at a bus stop. After twenty minutes pass, the waiting passengers' true natures begin to assert themselves. The bus finally arrives, but manages to splatter you and two others.
Begin from this premise and flesh out these characters by showing, not telling.
Remember: the purpose of this exercise is to stimulate your imagination and your writing muscles. If you have any questions or would like to email your characterization exercise, an addy is at the bottom of the page.
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