Under How To columns for FHL newsletter: Characterization

» Posted on Apr 12, 2011 in Articles | 0 comments

When Jessica asked the chapter to let her know what kind of articles and columns we would like to see in the newsletter, I emailed her about possibly having a how to column to address the various writing subjects that writers are interested in. She asked me to do one as a guest columnist for 2004, then hopefully another published writer will be the guest columnist for next year. Now what I would like from the members are suggestions on what subjects you would like me to discuss. Below I am going to wet your appetite concerning characterization but there are so many aspects of the subject that can be explored–not to mention other subjects that can be covered like goal setting, organization, point of view, conflict, synopsis writing, brainstorming, motivation, plotting and networking. What do you want to read about? Please email me at Mdaley50@aol.com with suggestions.

I think characterization is the most important ingredient in our stories. Without good characters, readers won’t care what kind of plot we have. We will lose their interest. This wasn’t what I believed when I first starting writing twenty-five years ago. So how can we flesh out a character so our readers will care enough to keep reading our story? We don’t want a perfect person because that would be boring but a character with strengths and weaknesses you can use to develop that intriguing plot that I still think is very important to a good book. Your conflict which is a large part of your plot will come from your characters’ strengths and weaknesses, motivations and goals.

I want to emphasize the importance of really knowing your character before writing about him/her. When you write a hero or heroine become him/her as much as possible. When you go into his/her point of view, immerse yourself into his/her beliefs, emotions, background, etc. If you can do this, there will be more emotional depth to your hero and heroine and they will come richly alive for your readers. The way your can immerse yourself in your character’s life is to do a profile on him/her. On my web site I have a character profile you are welcome to use (http://margaretdaley.com).

There are many areas you can delve into concerning your character. Physical description, belief system, drive (motivation), career, secrets (leads to conflict), fears (conflict), background, environment, hobbies, interests, hopes (goals), and matters of the heart. All of these areas are covered in the character profile with questions to get you thinking about your character. You can send me a self addressed stamped envelope to P. O. Box 2074, Tulsa, OK 74101 and I will send you a copy of the profile.

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