Characterisation

Okay, so, this is a little late on the heels of The Writing Festival in September.

Four weeks later.

I’ve had an excuse. I’m dizzy from writing.

I’m over 40,000 words. Good eh?

….and with Nanowrimo on the horizon, I hope to double the word count.

Anyway, characters, those living, breathing, real people inside. (I’ve actually started talking like my main protagonist).

I touched a little on this in this post. So this is really an addendum.

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1. Treat your characters as real people. They are the voice(s) of your writing. CARE about them, even those that are unlikeable.

2. Don’t make your characters conform to a plot – they develop the plot through their choices.

3. Show how they perceive themselves, how they are perceived by others – there’s so much room for conflict in the incongruence between how they see themselves and how they are seen by others, the mirror.

4. ‘Create sympathy for your characters, then unleash the bad stuff’, Stephen King.

5. How free are your characters? How much choice do they have? What has been determined for them? The reader has to be able to understand their choices and motivation.

6. How does the environment influence character? Are they active/reactive? Do they get other’s to react on behalf of them?

7. The character arc – your main protagonist(s) have to change in some way, from the beginning, through the middle, till the end.

8. In the first three chapters of your manuscript, an agent needs to see the character’s ‘voice’.

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Suggestions for creating characters

1. Pick a face from a magazine, write a biography for them.

2. On separate pieces of paper write down occupations and personality quirks, mix them up, then pair together. What do they reveal?

3. Pick a name from the phone book (or social media). Write a description based on the character of that name.

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