Characterization Tips – What to Avoid, Where to Focus

Author Don Massenzio provides us with tips on characterization. Thank you very much Don. These are very helpful!

Author Don Massenzio

This post is focused on a very important, if not the most important, aspect of your writers, your characters. Readers become invested in characters. They learn to love and/or hate characters. They sympathize and/or empathize with their flaws, quirks and events that shape them. Character development is both essential and difficult.

In this post, I hope to pull together some useful tips that I have tried to follow in my own writing or have learned from those that are respected and successful in the craft.

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  • Be consistent with what you call your characters – If you’re character’s name is John Doe, stick with calling him John or Mr. Doe or Johnny. But don’t alternate or you will confuse your readers. I actually broke this rule in my first book, Frankly Speakingand in it’s subsequent related books, I have a character named Clifford Jones, III. He is an attorney…

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Character, not caricature – written by Lisa Hall-Wilson

Lisa Hall-Wilson on Kristen Lamb’s blog writes about creating strong female characters, a blog post I read with interest and find worth sharing.

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Character, not caricature.

Portraying strong women authentically is tricky. Most of the time, I find strong female characters are caricatures of an extreme: the dim-witted blond, the stock-in-trade man with boobs, the femme fatale. These are stereotypes sure, but what they really are is extreme examples of real life. Can you find an example from history of a female warrior in a male-dominated society – sure, but she’s an outlier. If you want to write an outlier character that’s fine, but let the traits that make her an outlier be the source of her strength not her ability to wield a sword.

Let’s look at a real-world example, Malala Yousafzai. She’s a strong woman, but is she strong because she survived a bullet wound to the head? Yes, partly, but moreso she’s strong because of the choices that led to her being targeted, and the friends and family who empowered her to follow her heart.

Are you able to portray women without these extremes that’s both likable (or at least worthy of cheering for) and surprises readers? That’s the tricky part.

 

Please continue reading here:

http://authorkristenlamb.com/2017/08/the-write-stuff-creating-strong-authentic-female-characters/

 

Back to School – New W.A.N.A. Classes for September! – written by Kristen Lamb

Kristen Lamb has posted the new upcoming W.A.N.A. classes for September 2017! Thank you Kristen!

 

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It’s back to school for everyone – not just kids. Vacation’s over. Fun’s over…or maybe the fun is just beginning.

This fall, W.A.N.A. is back with new classes, new instructors, and lots of exciting announcements coming up. Bookmark W.A.N.A. and make sure to subscribe to my blog to stay up-to-date with all the news!

Don’t forget to hop on over to the W.A.N.A. Tribe to join in our daily writing sprints in the chat room! The Tribe is a thriving community, and we are planning on some awesome upgrades to the entire Tribe experience this fall.

NEW CLASSES FOR SEPTEMBER 2017(click the link for the classes)

 

http://authorkristenlamb.com/2017/08/new-september-classes/

A Sick Writer

By now I guess, it’s known that I have been sick for a few weeks, being ‘blessed’ with shingles and pneumonia to the same time. I could have done the one without both, but after all, I’m afraid, I had to take it the way it got me.

Now, being in pain and feeling sick, having a fever and not finding any comfortable position, I wasn’t able to do much more than drinking, resting, sleeping, watching TV and trying to keep my cats away from climbing on me.

And here exactly is the point I start complaining…

I’m a writer. A sick writer. And I would have loved to ‘use’ the time getting some work done. Typing, blogging, scribbling, planning new stories, reading and whatever else belongs to a writer’s life, but I had no chance.

Shingles caused me that much pain that all I could do was trying to find a way to spend the days on the couch with plenty of pain killers inside of me that nearly knocked me out. There was no way I would have been able to sit behind the computer and type much.

I was unable to turn onto my stomach to write by hand on paper. And when I tried to read I started feeling dizzy enough, I was ready to vomit.

I wanted to work, develop ideas, find new characters, plots, storylines, whatever came into my mind, and nothing was possible.

But of course I’m smart, right? I got my phone next to me. And whenever I had an idea, I recorded it. What a wonderful girl I am! The idea would have been amazing, if…

… yes, there’s an ‘if’…

… if, I hadn’t been too sick to make sense.

Yes, you can laugh. I did too once I listened to my ‘notes’. I was sick enough that I couldn’t hear much more than some mumbling. And if there was a clear word or two, it didn’t make sense.

My fever was high enough to cook my brain, which means, the ideas I got are entirely useless. This is annoying and nearly make me consider getting either a secretary, a nurse – or both.

I’m almost sure I’m not the only writer ever being sick. How are you doing this? Are you able to use your time fruitfully during this forced break? If yes, how are you doing it? Thank you for your advice!

Picture courtesy of wikimedia

What Happens To My Characters I introduced?

So far I introduced three of my characters to the public.

November 13, 2015, a short article on ‘Writer’s Treasure Chest’ was published. It looked like an entry of a demon called ‘Ethel.’ Ethel is hard to describe, very hard. I think it might be a good idea to refresh the memory here.

December 4, 2015, I was introduced to the followers of The Story Reading Ape, and the introduction is still in his “Hall of Fame.” Thank you, Furry Friend. Since I’m not yet published, I decided to interview one of my characters instead: Simin Arnatt, a woman guarding many secrets. If you like, please re-read the interview here.

December 15, 2016, I published an interview with one more of my characters, a shadow named Rapha Golden. It seemed that interview was quite successful. Rapha can charm a woman into ecstasy, I know. Just in case you don’t believe me, check it out here.

I ensure you, none of these characters are wasted or created only for P.R. purposes. They are in fact characters showing up in on of my books. (In my case, novellas).

When I published the interview with Simin Arnatt, I knew she would be one of my protagonists. I did not whatsoever know that the shadow Rapha Golden would become a bigger character than I had expected him to be. They both are currently woven into a story of passion, jealousy, and cruelness and I’m not sure yet how this will end. But I’m soon going to find out.

The big secret is Ethel. I’m currently working on the fourth, the fifth and the sixth novella in the series – and Ethel still hasn’t shown up. I regret this very much, and I hope this character, which I somehow got a liking of, will fit in somewhere soon.

I know, Ethel is my character, my creature, my possession and I could build more strength, but then it wouldn’t be Ethel anymore. Ethel is weak, a bit helpless, a bit evil, a bit of everything – but just “a bit.” Ethel isn’t a protagonist, not the main character. I figure I’ll wait and find out where to create a spot for Ethel.

Have you ever created a character you liked and then found out that you don’t know what to do with this character? Or that the character you created is the worst opponent you could have made and you hate him? Please, let us hear it.

 

 

 

…when minor characters loom large in an Author’s narratives…

Seumas Gallacher shares some of his writing experience. Thank you, Seumas. You’re great. We love to learn how it’s done!

Seumas Gallacher

…there’s no doubt major characters in a novel carry the storyline to the reader-at-large… the confluence of their highs and lows (in the scribblers’ jargon – ‘the crisis – the solution – the next crisis – the subsequent solution, ad inforeverum’) are the meat and drink of most dramas… but, right here, I must ‘fess up… the delight in having lesser lights intrude is important to this ol’ Jurassic writer… it’s more than just the scrivener’s equivalent of wallpaper music in the  elevator, or the colour of the restaurant’s backdrop… the insertion of wee players at pivotal points in my books relieves the main characters from having do everything themselves to move the chapters along… more often as not, they can also provide much needed humorous interludes in an otherwise heavy-duty regimen… Master Billy Shakespeare was an expert in doing so… tragi-comedies are built on such techniques… but I…

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The Ultimate Character Questionnaire (156 questions)…

Chris, The Story Reading Ape has provided us with part of a blog post and a link to the “Novel Factory”, where this particular post was published. The post provides us with the ultimate character questionnaire, asking 156 questions which help us to develop our characters.
(I thought the list was fascinating, even more since I don’t know myself as well as my characters after developing them with the help of this list.) But please, check it out. it is helpful.

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

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This character questionnaire has been collated from a variety of sources. It has been split into categories to try to make it more manageable, but this categorisation is far from perfect and lots of the questions could probably be in more than one category.

If you can think of a question that isn’t here and think it should be added – let us know!

Basic

First name:
Surname:
Middle name:
Nicknames:
Date of birth:
Age:

Physical Appearance

Height:
Weight:
Hair:
Eyes:
Distinguishing facial features?
Which facial feature is most prominent?
Which bodily feature is most prominent?
Skin:
Hands:
Scars:
Birthmarks?
Physical handicaps?
Type of clothes?
How do they wear their clothes?
What are their feet like? (type of shoes, state of shoes, socks, feet, pristine, dirty, worn, etc)
Race / Ethnicity?

Personality

What words or phrases do they overuse?
Are they more optimistic or pessimistic?
Do they ever put on…

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