Thursday, October 16, 2014

Character 101: Quotes and Links to Help You On Your Way - Caroline Starr Rose

When revising, it's essential you study your characters carefully to determine what's working and what's not. Here are some quotes and links I used in my revision class last spring. I hope they point you in the right direction with your own work:

Quotes from Novel Metamorphosis:
Villains and emotional complexity: “Look for a place where you dislike the villain the most. At that point, how can you work in a tender scene with the villain’s friend?”

“Most dialogue is too long winded, too formal, and includes too much information.”

Quotes from Second Sight:
“At the end of your book, your main character should be better equipped to live that life…”

Characters often don’t know what they truly NEED. Don’t spell it out for the reader! Let them figure it out.

“...a character is a plot.You just have to find the other characters and the moral dilemmas that will force the character to change and grow.”

“Put those characters in situations that fascinate or trouble you personally -- problems you want to write about, conflicts that move you in some way.”

Samuel Johnson: “Inconsistencies cannot both be right; but imputed to man [and characters!], they make both be true.”

“Use backstory to show the reader how the character became who she is, what her relationships with other people are like, and why the frontstory matters to her.”

“Action: what a character does to get what they want. Action is a result of Desire plus Attitude.”

“ To the minor characters in your book, the hero of your books isn’t your main character -- it’s them...Everyone has reasons for doing the things they do and you need to know the reasons.”

“[As we read] we are right there in [the characters’] heads, having these experiences with them, sharing their pain; as as a result we share their growth as well.”

“No description should ever be content to play only on the surface. Whether a reader is aware of it or not, he should always be learning about character on multiple levels, especially at the beginning of your story.”

“We must always know what your characters want (each and every one of them) when we see them in a scene together.”

Unconscious objective (Cheryl would classify this as an unknown need / desire): “Characters struggling with Unconscious Objective shouldn’t be able to articulate them. But those deep desires are something that you, the writer, must absolutely think about.”

“Think of how you can lend your stories a more complex undertone by always reminding us of your character’s worries and anxieties.”

Links:
Where Do Character Strengths Come From? :: Cynsations
Determine Your Character’s Destiny :: The Write Practice
The Sensitive, Passionate Character :: Live, Write, Thrive
Character Development :: Janice Hardy's Fiction University (a collection of articles covering protagonists, antagonists, developing strong characters, secondary characters, and character arcs)
Stickman Character Development (this is the super high-tech image from above!) :: Caroline Starr Rose

What tips, techniques, or quotes do you find helpful when thinking about character?

6 comments:

  1. I love this series, Caroline. The quotes and links are invaluable--thank you for your hard work getting them together in one place.

    ReplyDelete
  2. The quotes are great. The one from Second Sight about the character, at the end of the book being better equipped to live that life can also help when figuring out where to start a character's arc or journey developmentally. Thanks, Caroline!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So much here I need to learn, believe me.

      Delete
  3. This is going on my list of things to share in the course I will be teaching. Eeep. I'm teaching an adult course on writing. Good thing the Mayhem team is such a good source of material!

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for adding to the mayhem!