View Full Version : For Week 1: Characters

Amber Grosjean
March 3rd, 2010, 12:26 AM
Characters are very important. They are what the story is mainly about. The great thing about them is that you don't have to have human characters. But they should be believable for the story. That's why you should have a profile for the characters whether its in your mind or on paper (or in a computer file lol).

When there's a damsel in distress, is it believable that a clown will rescue her? It might be if your character is a potential hero. That's when you ask why is this clown perfect for saving a woman's life? Only you as the writer can answer that.

Remember, characters are larger than life. A man isn't big, he's plump. Using the right words can get the reader to use his/her imagination. That is why show and not tell is important. And we'll go into that more next week.

A reader needs to sympathize with the main character. Something important happens that will compel the character to do what he/she does which results in the story. And the character will grow as the story progresses.

Each story will be different because your life changes as you grow. Many writers take a piece of themselves, some without even knowing it. Keep that in mind as you mold your MC. You can take a little of your memories and put them in the story. You know how they affect you so now you know how they will affect the MC. Or you can borrow your own strengths and weaknesses. You can even make your MC look like you if you want lol. There's no rules that say you can't or have to so its up to you as the writer.

Dialogue and Monologue are different but they represent speaking and thoughts which a good story can't do without. Your characters should be able to speak normal as real people would. Quotations are used for the speaking parts. I'm sure you already know that lol. But you don't have to say he said or she said every time someone speaks. By using action in the same paragraph as the talking, you will know that Karen said "Catch the ball" when she throws it and says it. Then you would know that Brian almost catches it when he opens his hands, watches the ball bounce out of the palm of his hands, and lets it hit the ground while he says, "I'm not ready."

Using the same 2 characters you can show the readers a lot about this brother and sister by action. While Karen is throwing the ball hard and Brian constantly dropping it; you can show that she's strong and he's clumsy. That can work for your story by putting it into affect in another scene where that knowledge is important. You can take it further yourself.

We're going to develop the characters even more next week when we discuss tags. Tags are things you put into a story that will define characteristics of the people in the story.

Emotions are important and can be tricky at times. You don't want to show something that is over done so use your imagination on that and be original. Someone who is happy can cry, smile, jump around the room, ect. A nervous person would be seen watching the clock, rocking back and forth, biting nails, etc. Hey, those are tags lol. Don't forget to add them in the story to show how the character is feeling throughout the story. Without them, the character can feel flat like a cardboard. You don't want flat characters. Publishers can spot them a mile away as if they can smell them before looking at the manuscript lol.

It is easier to take away than it is to add so if you put too much in the story, its ok. Editing will help your story so don't worry if it sounds bad for now. Just write what you can when you can.


Hope this is helping you!